Photo detail: cc lttlrdhn, thanks!
In those days, I only had the Universal Question of Doom: “Are we there yet?”
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST EMMANUELLE LAMBERT
When I was a kid, I used to travel a lot with my parents in the Summer holidays. “Travelling a lot” meaning driving across France to reach our destination which in general wasn’t very glamourous in this kid’s eyes.
I mean, what was the point of staying in France, and then not go to the South where the sun, the beach and all the cool people were? Why on earth choose to go to Dordogne, of all places?
(Disclaimer: I was born and lived all my life until the age of 23 in France, so not very exotic when I was 10; plus it’s the size of a US state; and I was 10! End of whiny disclaimer).
The Mighty 80′s: 20th century fromage, s’il vous plaît
In those days we didn’t have portable DVD players or computers to play a movie while our parents tried to keep their eyes open driving. In those days, I only had my brother to wrestle with have fun with, and my parents to annoy with the Universal Question of Doom: “Are we there yet?”
And the radio. Oh the radio! Bless the mighty eighties, the Decade of the Great Musical Catastrophe!
Back then, our road trips would be soundtracked by what can only be described as marvelously cheesy songs that would be on high rotation on mainstream radios.
In French this kind of music falls under the category of “Variété”. I don’t think there’s an equivalent on English so I’ll just describe it as not-so-good mainstream pop-as-in-popular music.
For once France hadn’t missed the train, and music there was as bad as it was around the globe (USA I’m sorry, but I’m looking at you).
You want proof? Try Image’s Démons de Minuit (number 1 in the charts for an insane amount of weeks), Julie Piétri ‘s Eve lève-toi, or France Gall’s Babacar – these, among others, are now pop staples in France. I know, right? You’ll thank me later.
One famous radio show back then in Summer was – and as far as I know, still going strong! – was RTL vous offre vos vacances (“RTL” – the radio name – “offers you your holiday.”)
Basically they would call up someone registered as a contestant, have them pick up one of two songs, and give them a list of words. The contestant then had to choose 3 words that hopefully were in the lyrics of the song. If a chosen word came up, a little alarm bell type sound would go off.
Oh how many times did we listen, anxiously waiting for the bell to go off, shaking our head in disagreement when the contestant chose the 3 words! Oh the shame of winning only an RTL branded watch because you got only one word right!
Summer 2011: Ba-ba-caar, où es-tu où es-tu?!
Fast forward twenty and bananas years (I love literally translating my expressions, never mind).
Lovely Boyfriend and I are driving – ok he is driving, I am pretending to be his co-pilot – to Mont Saint Michel (by the way peeps, if you have the chance, go there. Except NOT in Summer. You see I love human beings, but there were far too many of them).
First 52 kilometers: a breeze. Last 8 kilometers: an hour (see above). I think I saw a snail passing us, so we decided to be patient, and blast the radio on.
Who would have thought? Then, under the beautiful sun, Lovely Boyfriend and I travelled back to the past. The radios we could grab then were playing what are now oldies, but are still very vivid in our memory. I am positive we also caught a glimpse of RTL vous offre vos vacances!
The music we heard then brought more than memories. It brought back feelings, sensations, and experiences. I felt that my holidays were somehow complete, because the context I found myself in and the music blaring to mye ars were what I experienced more than twenty years ago, when all I had to worry about was when we were going to the lake. It felt like coming back home to my holidays.
So there I am, Summer 2011, belting out “Ba-ba-caar, où es-tu où es-tu?” like it is my job, under the beautiful sun, while driving at snail pace to a wonderful place.
À la recherche de musique perdue
I turned to Lovely Boyfriend and said, “You know what? Now THIS is holiday, getting stuck in traffic in the country, beautiful weather, and the cheesiest music ever, the one that would play when I was on holiday with my parents.”
He smiled, nodded, and started singing with me.
Because despite the circumstances, this music brought back happy memories and experiences. 8 km in one hour? Who cares?
That’s the power of music, and that’s why I will always have a soft spot for this dreadful genre.*
*Peeps, I didn’t know better, and did I tell you I was 10?
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.