Vive la France

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


I've decided. I'm going to learn the words of the Marseillaise.

I think this every year, when the Six Nations rolls around and all the other countries are droning out their mirthlesss dirges at the start of each game before being obliterated by the triumphant, bloodthirsty, powerful song of the French. This is the year I will actually do it.

Knowing the words of the Marseillaise is the kind of pointless achievement that appeals to me. It says I'm a glamorous, jetsetting francophile (the same impression I've been trying to cultivate with my swanky new French coat), who also has enough spare time on my hands to sit around and acquire obscure knowledge like the foreign-language lyrics to national anthems of countries that I don't even live in. There are very few occasions where knowing the words of the Marseillaise will be useful, seeing as how I'm unlikely to play rugby for France any time soon, but to be able to whip it out of my pocket at just the right moment, well. Won't I look like a smarty pantalon.

(I should clarify that I'm only aiming for the first verse and the chorus, not the fifteen verses that apparently exist. I might be crazy, but I'm not crazy.)

I've set myself the target of learning the words by the end of this year's Six Nations. I don't actually know when that is, since I don't actually know anything about rugby and usually like to avoid watching Scotland embarrass ourselves at sport if at all possible (it's not always possible), but I should probably get cracking. Da da da da la patriiiiiii-uh da da da da daaaaa, da da da. Yeah, needs more work.


Speaking of watching my fellow countrymen humiliate themselves in internationally-televised sporting events, I'm VERY EXCITED about the Winter Olympics. ALL CAPS EXCITED. Despite the fact that it's basically just one big sliding competition, the Winter Olympics are vastly superior to their summer counterpart. The quirky human interest stories! The ridiculous outfits! The very real risk of severe and permanent injury! I love it.

My love of the Winter Olympics goes way back. In pride of place above my childhood bed, I had a poster of Hidy and Howdy, the official mascots of Calgary 88. In 2002, Fin and I first locked eyes across a crowded bar in which there were not one but two people in fancy dress as gold-medal-winning British curlers (neither of which was us, sadly). I screamed when Alain Baxter won his medal, wept when he lost it again, was flabbergasted when Lindsey Jacobellis did this. Just the other day, my dad emailed me to let me know that a British woman came fourth in the Olympic slalom in 1968, because that's how my family rolls.

Of course, the downside of watching the Winter Olympics as a British person is that we are just so chronically bad at them. Sure, we win the occasional medal in an obscure sport, but where's the downhill gold? Where are the glory days of Torvill and Dean in matching purple chiffon? I suppose you can't blame us for doing badly at the Winter Olympics, since we don't really have much of a winter - or a summer, come to think of it - but it gets depressing after a while.

Maybe I'll support the French instead. At least I'll be able to sing along.


SEE ALSO:


Images: 1. A French women's rugby team, source untraced 2. Competitors in the Ladies Figure Skating competiton at the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, February 1928, via Olympic.org

13 boats moored

  1. My high school party trick was knowing the school songs of all my friends' places of study. So believe me when I say this doesn't sound all that crazy in comparison.

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    1. I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or worse!

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  2. I'm a kiwi, but know all the words to the Australian national anthem, and for some strange reason, have caught myself humming it. Its much more fun than ours.
    I love the Marsellaise. I want to learn it too.

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  3. There are some good British prospects this year. I say this as a l believe everything Ed Leigh says ever. I need to stop this but he presents all the best sports (FMX, Rally, Snowboarding and Winter Sports). EEE!

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    1. I LOVE ED LEIGH!! His commentary on that Lindsey Jacobellis video is amazing. Did you know he is also a former British Air Guitar champion? I wish I could hang out with him and Graham Bell in real life every Sunday.

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    2. I actually did know because I love Ed Leigh. I was afraid to mention it in case you thought it was weird I knew that!

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  4. You've made me excited now (and I wasn't, at all).

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  5. For no particular reason I know the first two lines of the Marsellaise and then I just start whistling the rest. It's certainly an improvement over Flower of Scotland (no really, our best days aren't behind us!)

    As for the Winter Olympics, my enthusiasm is inversely correlated to whether I can attempt any of the events in my front garden. Two feet of snow here = no interest in the goings on there.

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    1. Not that there's two feet of snow in my garden at the moment, but the way last month and this month are going, nothing would surprise me.

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  6. The French anthem is pretty cool, the America is good too. Much better than ours
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

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  7. I'm excited for the Winter Olympics too! I'm so glad someone else has said it. Recently I have become the friend who says "Who's looking forward to the winter olympics! Meeee! Anyone?...No?" and I'm met with crickets. SO GLAD I have someone who's with me.

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  8. I'm confident you'll have no problem with the french lyrics. However, a little birdie told me it might be a different story with the melody????

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