Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Leave a comment

Shoulda got vaccinated

Nat'l Lampoon EuropeRobbie Williams’s song “Tripping” came on the radio the other day, reminding me that it’s the official theme song of my European Adventure.

Prior to moving to Spain in 2005, the only thing I knew about Robbie Williams was that he’d done a version of “Something Stupid” with Nicole Kidman and I only knew that because the video had been played over the end credits of whatever celebrity news show aired before Jeopardy! while I was living in DC.

In my second apartment in Barcelona, one of my roommates was a French guy, Hugo, who’d gone to boarding school in England and couldn’t believe that I didn’t know all about British stuff. One comment of his prompted by watching a music video channel was “You’ve really never heard of Take That?! Are you joking?! They were only, like, the biggest group EVER in England in the 90s! How could you not know who they are?!”

I really hadn’t heard of them, so Hugo became the first person to hear my justification: the US is really really really big. Massive quantities of entertainment are produced there every year. We don’t really need to import a lot of pop culture since there is already so much made indigenously. I could probably have named dozens of recent bands that he’d never heard of that sold more records than a lot of UK groups had. As I tried to explain to him: A crab in a terrarium may look big, but you put that same crab on a beach and he suddenly isn’t even worth noticing.

Hugo didn’t particularly care for my analogy, but that damn Robbie Williams (who’d been a member of boy band Take That before he went solo) had crafted an incredibly catchy tune and, much like the rhythm, it eventually got me. The damn song was played on the radio all the time and was also a big hit at dance clubs (discos) and on the beach, so it was impossible to get away from it all that long summer.

Of course, once colder weather started setting in, it didn’t receive as much radio play and I actually started to miss it. A lot. On the rare occasion that it would come up in the rotation, I’d get so happy that I realized I had to have it available at all times.

So, I downloaded it. Robbie Williams’ “Tripping” was the first Euro song that I liked, nay, loved so much that I had to have it, officially inducting me into Euro culture.