petite anglaise

December 4, 2007

poupée de cire

Filed under: Tadpole sings — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:42 pm

Tadpole came back from “daddy’s house” this weekend singing an unfamiliar song, over and over again. The tune sounded consistent, but the lyrics a little approximative in places (including a reference to ketchup which I strongly suspected had no business being there whatsoever).

By way of explanation, Mr Frog emailed me a link to a youtube video of France Gall singing her 1965 Eurovision winning, Gainsbourg-penned Poupée de cire, poupée de son.

I couldn’t possibly have felt more like a stage mum last night in my bathroom recording studio, my MacBook balanced on my knees. Tadpole squinted at the lyric sheet I’d pulled off the internet and sang her heart out, occasionally adding a little splash for dramatic effect. Once she’d gone to bed, I began the editing process and shuddered to hear how very bossy I sounded as I attempted to squeeze the very best performance out of my very own singing doll. Move over Lynne Spears…

So fascinated is Tadpole by Miss Gall (a teen star/singing puppet when ‘Poupée’ was recorded) that she clicked on several of the links on the Youtube page (under my strict supervision, of course, as I’m sure you could get from “princess” to “porn” in under five lateral clicks) and unearthed the controversial Les Sucettes.

Now, I’m aware of the fact that, at the time of its release, children sang this hit song in playgrounds all over France, oblivious to Gainsbourg’s blindingly obvious double entendres. France Gall herself claimed to have no idea whatsover that she was singing about fellatio.

But when Tadpole began singing along with Miss Gall I must admit that I clicked away, long before we got to the part about barley sugar running down her throat and sending her to seventh heaven.

“Let’s sing Poupée de Cire” again,” I said hastily. “Mummy likes that one better.”


    Tadpole is so funny, and you can hear the teensiest trace of english accent in her rendering of the song, which makes it even cuter !

    Comment by CrainTyph — December 5, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  2. Ah ah ah…and what about “je t’aime, moi non plus” with Jane Birkin ? ;-)
    What is funny in Les sucettes, is obviously the double entendre :-D

    Comment by Vonric — December 5, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  3. Right there with you, petite. My six year old has recently taken a liking to Britpop, of all things. He’s a big fan of Jarvis Cocker, and while I cannot criticise his musical taste (it’s my albums he’s been listening to, after all) I can’t help squirming when he sings, “oh I wanna take you home, I wanna give you children…”

    Thank goodness the inlaws don’t understand English and just assume it’s a charming little ditty I’ve taught him.

    Comment by Suziboo — December 5, 2007 @ 12:07 pm

  4. C’est adorable !!!

    Comment by Pauline — December 5, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

  5. Arcade Fire do a brilliant version of Poupee de Cire – a lot rowdier (and somewhat spookier) though and less catchy for the likes of Tadpole. Sorry, I know this isn’t a musical blog but I thought you might like to know. Haven’t been aware of your blog for long but I’ve been hanging on for a new post since I learnt about it from the Penguin blog. Check it out! (I’m sure you have already…)

    Comment by girlofslendermeans — December 5, 2007 @ 1:55 pm

  6. You mean you didn’t know “Poupée de Cire” before Tadpole brought it home?

    For me it was something of a historic first, being the first “Yé-yé” ever to meet with a modicum of parental approval. It got sung all the way back from Grenoble to London, a two-day drive in those days.

    I’d be fascinated to know what Tadpole’s original lyrics were (ketchup etc.).

    A classic Petite “slice”, by the way. You’re at your best when writing about (a) Tadpole, (b) French culture.

    Comment by Penny in Amsterdam — December 5, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

  7. Un jour mon frère m’a emprunté mon auto et mes filles de cinq et six ans environ alors.
    Je revois son air pincé en me disant sa gêne quand ayant mis une cassette dans l’autoradio, il les a entendues reprendre en choeur le refrain de “je t’aime moin non plus” et qu’elles ont râlé quand il a voulu sauter la chanson parce que celle la elle l’aimait beaucoup !

    Comment by marie-hélène — December 5, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  8. Serge Gainsbourg

    Both an incredible writer / Musician and and incredible pervert ,)
    Our daughter is not into Gainsbourg Yet. Just “the chanson douce que me chantais ma maman”.

    Catchy tune for children !

    Comment by Thierry_J — December 5, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  9. Wait until she gets on to Lemon Incest… ;-)

    (I was going to leave it at that, but for those who are not well-versed in Gainsbarre, I hasten to add that this was a duet that Gainsbourg recorded with his daughter, Charlotte…)

    Comment by Teaperson — December 5, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

  10. How utterly adorable! :) I can’t wait until I have sufficient French to catch double entendres… or even single ones for that matter… :)

    Comment by Passementerie — December 5, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  11. I first saw Les Sucettes about a year ago and I was both amused and shocked.

    Another good one is Laisse Tombe les Filles, which I was thrilled to hear at the end of Tarantino’s latest film, Death Proof. The lyrics are the perfect climax to the story.

    Comment by Zerlina — December 5, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

  12. How cute, how she’s getting into it. She’s a star in the making.

    Comment by Matt Maddox — December 5, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  13. I love it! Is it sad to admit that I own a France Gall CD? I am the only English person I know who like French music.

    Comment by Hungry Hippo — December 5, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

  14. Wow, Mlle Gall must have been the Twiggy of France–she looks so thin in the video. My French is not that good but even I got the double-entendres in that song lol

    Cheers from Seattle

    Comment by Beau — December 5, 2007 @ 7:27 pm

  15. Whi is Lynne Spears? Do I need to know her?

    Comment by Sawyer thge Lawyer — December 5, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

  16. Um. Britney’s mum?

    Comment by petite — December 5, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

  17. Oh let’s not turn prude! Let Tadpole continue to sing — she will be just like young Miss Gall and no harm will come of it!

    Comment by Lost in France — December 5, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

  18. I have this The Best of BB cd and it’s Gainsbourg alright. She (BB) sings Je t’aime moi non plus exactly like Jan Birkin. Very touching, Tadpole.

    Comment by Elisabeth — December 5, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

  19. This post has brought back happy memories since I was an innocent 19 year old in Quebec when these song were new (and I never understood all those hidden meanings). As well as the song in comment 11 (which has a stray comma at the end of the link), I was reminded of “Sacré Charlemagne”, who had the silly idea of inventing school at
    And well done, Tadpole.

    Comment by pierre l — December 5, 2007 @ 11:19 pm

  20. Fantastic,

    And now for the one where you are being bossy..?

    Comment by Daniel Durrans — December 6, 2007 @ 12:04 am

  21. I have ONE wonderful song recorded by my son when he was 4- He is now 23 and every once in a while I pull it out and listen to his wonderful lisping. Save this!! And record a few more if you can – you will treasure them (and your heart will melt when you listen) in 20 years or so- trust me!!

    Comment by amica — December 6, 2007 @ 12:09 am

  22. And once again, the sheer sound of this child’s voice makes my uterus skip a beat. She is so adorable, and I’m beginning to frighten myself with these unfamiliar maternal longings …

    Comment by Jenny — December 6, 2007 @ 1:42 am

  23. Encore! Encore!

    Tadpole always does well with these short exhibitions.

    Double entendres? Not with songs about lollipops (or any other sort of confection). Heavens, no! :)

    Comment by Gruntled — December 6, 2007 @ 3:24 am

  24. I always have fun reading your blog. As an American living in the USA, I enjoy stories about life in more interesting places.
    Tadpole’s singing is adorable. Much, much, much better than Ms. Spears.

    Comment by Judith Marie — December 6, 2007 @ 3:52 am

  25. Aujourd’hui, France Gall. Demain, Dalida!!

    Especially her rendition of “Je suis malade”…

    Comment by Louis — December 6, 2007 @ 5:21 am

  26. I’m a France Gall fan and I got a kick out of this post. Tadpole sings it better than France, I’m sorry.

    Here’s a better, funnier video of Les Sucettes

    and how could you miss the dancers on this
    Baby Pop

    Comment by epikuryooz — December 6, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

  27. Not Ms Spears..a more apt comparison might be made to Alizée (who is French, cute and can sing)perhaps, but at age four nothing is obscene.
    And as always, Tadpole is adorable.

    Comment by Drusilla — December 6, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  28. He he! Lovely! :-)

    I used to love France Gall in the 80s growing up in Geneva, Switzerland at the time (well along with Kate Bush too). I still remember her songs…

    I love that she enjoys singing. You go Tadpole!!

    Comment by Karma — December 6, 2007 @ 10:58 pm

  29. Lest we forget Le poinçonneur des Lilas de Gainsbourg

    J’fais des trous, des p’tits trous, encor des p’tits trous
    Des p’tits trous, des p’tits trous, toujours des p’tits trous
    Des trous d’seconde classe
    Des trous d’première classe
    J’fais des trous, des p’tits trous, encor des p’tits trous
    Des p’tits trous, des p’tits trous, toujours des p’tits trous
    Des petits trous, des petits trous,
    Des petits trous, des petits trous

    Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall….I’d love to turn you on

    Comment by rocket — December 6, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

  30. Once upon a time I was a middle school teacher and the kids I was teaching fell in love with the song “Candy Shop” by 50 Cent. Oh my GOD, speaking of double entendres… they would sing it constantly, even more after I asked them not to!

    Comment by Rachel — December 7, 2007 @ 3:36 am

  31. You could always go back a generation or two and play her Mistinguett’s “Je cherche un millionaire…”:

    Comment by Autolycus — December 7, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

  32. The ketchup misheard lyric reminded me of a story my mother likes to tell. Apparently when I was 3, like Tadpole, I was an enthusiastic singer. My favourite was Boy George, but I also really liked “Dream” by the Everly Brothers. Except that I used to sing “Only trouble is… cheez whiz… I’m dreaming my life away”. (real lyrics: gee whiz) Took my parents a while to figure out what I meant when I requested the Cheez Whiz Song… I always assumed it was because I spoke only French at the time, but maybe this shows a trend of misheard food names in lyrics!

    Comment by Emilie — December 7, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  33. Very cute. I love the acoustic, and the slight sigh she makes during the pause, as if implying “Mummy’s so unreasonable!” Lovely.

    Comment by anglital — December 8, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  34. I love France Gall and ye ye, your daughter is so cool!

    Comment by destinationmetz — December 8, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  35. I had this grumpy Belgian guy with blocked sinuses sitting across from me at his desk, without asking I turned the volume up and played Miss Tadpole – he smiled, he couldn’t help himself :)

    Comment by Di — December 8, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

  36. Adorable! If only I could get my kids to sounds this cute.

    Comment by Steve — December 9, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  37. …I am reading your book and I like your lovely blog too (^_^)

    Take care.

    Comment by hana — December 9, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  38. I must have been buried under a rock (I blame moving to New York from London & the subsequent headfry), but this is the first time that I have visited your blog. C’est formidable! And after some manic googling, all I can say is felicitations for winning your case. You are an inspiration, m’dear. LLG xx ps cute song also

    Comment by Libertygirl — December 10, 2007 @ 2:12 am

  39. She has a wonderful singing voice. I could listen to her sing just about anything.

    Comment by Peggy — December 10, 2007 @ 7:11 am

  40. @hana (37): how come you’re reading the book when it hasn’t even come out yet? Do you work for petite’s publisher or do you have access to her laptop?

    Comment by Suziboo — December 10, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

  41. i love france gall!! my father brought home her cd when i was probably tadpole’s age… yikes! i love this blog :)

    Comment by eliza — December 11, 2007 @ 8:07 am

  42. I am doing my hardest not to laugh at work. It’s a good thing I’m often listening to twee music as is.

    Comment by ambika — December 12, 2007 @ 12:20 am

  43. Dear Ms Anglaise,

    I think that your daughter would enjoy a popular Christmas song, here at Homeward, it is called “On a Bitter Winter’s Night” and often tops the charts in the holiday season.

    On a bitter winter’s night
    By the gates of METZ,
    I waited in the fading light,
    In my thin torn VEST.

    Only just across the way,
    Was a sausage SHOP;
    But it was no good to me,
    Pfennigs I had NOT.

    On a bitter winter’s night
    By the gates of ULM,
    I waited in the fading light,
    With my fingers NUMB

    There are more verses in a similar vein – documented in my biography.

    Yours Faithfully


    Comment by Uncle — December 12, 2007 @ 11:18 am

  44. Funny :)

    Comment by Parisian Cowboy — December 12, 2007 @ 11:04 pm

  45. Les Sucettes- now that is a funny video. The dancing “lollipops” add a nice touch. Old Serge was quite the prankster.

    Comment by Misplaced — December 13, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  46. That was so gorgeous!

    Comment by Julie — December 13, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  47. She’s got rhythm! Adorable!

    Comment by Kate — December 14, 2007 @ 9:46 am

  48. Yes, I was 19 when my Israeli boyfriend at the time played me both “69” and the Love on the Beat album. I didn’t stop blushing for days.

    My own kids have added Mika’s “Lollipop” to their repertoire and with my Gainsbourg baggage, I do wince when I hear my 8 year old piping up with “Sucking too hard…” (It’s not really that bad, I suppose.)

    Have a good time with Wikipedia’s Mondegreen entry. Hoping the link works; I’m a little new to that.

    MILF? Do think up your own acronym – that one’s a little insulting, no? Besides, you’re a MHLF. Presumably.

    Comment by Alethea — December 14, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  49. C’est mignon, cette intonation qu’elle a sur les mots “bonbons” et “cheveux blonds”… C’est craquant. Heureusement que tu n’es tout de même PAS Lynne Spears, cette petite serait déjà sous les feux de la rampe !…

    Comment by Ménille Avénale — December 21, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  50. Serge, Serge, Serge… what a dirty old man… I still love the clip with him and Whitney Houston (
    As my partner seems to be stuck in a time warp, I didn’t really know about many French singers other than Gainsbourg for a long time (in fact, when pressed to recall a French radio station, I can only think of Nostalgie!) but I must admit, after seeing the Zenith concert on the Telerama DVD, I think we’ll both be moving a little more with the times!

    Comment by Bettina — December 27, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

  51. Me and my best friend Claudine use to sing “Annie aime les sucettes” when we were about 8 or 9 and nobody ever said anything about it or look at us in funny way… I suppose because we were children nobody saw anything wrong in saying you like lolipops!!!
    Teaching us this song was Claudine’s young Tatie Françoise… talk about entertainement!

    Comment by Sophie — December 29, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

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