Le cul entre les deux chaises

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


Spanish Bandstand: Lobo-hombre en París

The Bandstand series, where I expose you to non-English language music and we all dance.

La union lobo-hombre

1000 silhouettes!

There isn’t much good Spanish-from-Spain music, but this song is one of the great exitos of the Iberian peninsula.

Around 5:30 on a day before Daylight Savings, night was coming on fast as my foot touched the street in front of the Opéra Garnier. At that moment, my iPod shuffled to one of the few Spanish songs on it, La Unión’s 1984 classic <<Lobo-hombre en París.>>

The video, which I just saw for the first time, is appropriately moody and has pretty decent production values considering the era and that it’s Spanish.

It’s impossible for me to choose just one part of the lyrics to translate, as the whole song, about a werewolf named Dennis on the prowl in Paris at night is across the board fantastically 80s and therefore amazing (to me).

Here’s the beginning, just to give you a taste of what the rest is like:

Cae la noche y amanece en París,            Night falls and begins in Paris
en el dia en que todo ocurrió.                    on the day in which everything happened.
Como un sueño de loco sin fin,                  Like a lunatic’s endless dream,
la fortuna se ha reído de ti,                        Fortune is laughing at you.
ja, ja, sorprendido espiando                      Ha-ha! Surprised while peeping,
el lobo escapa aullando                               the wolf escapes, howling,
y es mordido, por el mago del siam.        and is bitten by a wizard from Siam.

The song goes on to talk about how in the dark streets of Paris, Dennis becomes a man and meets a woman who’s most likely a prostitute. Just after paying her “some francs,” he starts howling, so we can assume that whatever transpired made him turn back into a werewolf. (Keep in mind this was almost 15 years before BtVS’s great two-part “Surprise / Innocence” which has a similar plot point. I think this song is way better.)

If you don’t like 80s music, you will probably think this song is terrible. If this is the case, I am sorry that your life is devoid of fun and pleasure, but please do tell me what things bring you happiness.

Racism note: just in case you missed it, in the 80s, Spaniards were still calling Thailand Siam. In English, this hasn’t been the case since 1939. One could argue that Spain was a little busy in 1939 and didn’t get the memo, but by 1984, they could have caught up on the inbox.

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Very Important Peanuts

Honestly, the name alone would have gotten me to buy these peanuts I came across at the Monoprix near my Opéra movie theaters.

ViP 1

That I also happen to love peanuts and am fond of both barbecue and Indian food meant that I was definitely going to buy them.

ViP 2

“Warning may contain nuts”

That these “New York” peanuts were totally unfamiliar to me is not surprising since there’s nothing New York or even American about them.

These "New York" peanuts can even be found "as far afield as the US."

These “New York” peanuts can even be found “as far afield as the US.”

That they tasted not very much at all like barbecue or Indian food should not have come as a shock. That they were well roasted and not at all greasy was.

ViP 4

Verdict: would eat again though I wouldn’t seek them out.

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Battlestar Galactica toilet in Paris

If you’ve seen the show, you know what I mean. If you haven’t seen it but don’t like stories that end “because God wanted it this way” or “the character was Jesus all along,” I wouldn’t recommend it. Regardless, this toilet in a restaurant near the Opéra Garnier was weird enough that I was compelled to pull my camera out in a public restroom.

BSG toilet in ParisI like to imagine that in a parallel dimension there’s a version of me who consumes all the media and then tells this version of me what stuff to avoid (like LOST and BSG).

Wait, maybe *I’m* the version who has to suffer through all the Christ parables in pop culture so that *another* version of me doesn’t have to.

Whoa, maybe *I’m* the Christ figure in this scenario, sacrificing my own happiness and need for narrative cohesion and closure so that some other version of me lives in a world of well plotted original stories. This kind of cosmic irony may definitively prove or disprove the existence of a higher being, though I’m not sure which.

Funny Things Happen on the Way to the Opera House

Like this and this and this and this.