All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Everyone has one...



I miss my copy of Le Canard Enchaine  (the duck in chains) every Wednesday.
The editorial buggers are so French that they refuse to have an online edition...probably because they don't have enough women on the staff to make them see sense.

There you would find all the scandals, all the whitewashes, all the things the governing classes did not want you to know....until Hollande took power at which point, so Guy tells me, criticism stopped dead. Even a chained duck of a journalist likes his 30% tax exemption.

I'm ambivalent about cartoons.....loved Steve Bell's earlier stuff, loved Giles completely, and had  odd moments for Posy Simmonds...but those in the Canard Enchaine on Edouard Balladur gave rise to a pleasure in understanding the society in which I was living by reference to them.
Like living anywhere abroad...once you master the small ads and the cartoons you are well on the way to getting to grips with things.

One strip cartoon particuarly intrigued me...Les Nouveaux Beaufs.
So I asked Madeleine what is was all about.
She explained that, to her, 'les Beaufs' was a Parisian phenomenon.....guys  with big moustaches whose lives revolved round beers at the local zinc and holidays at the same campsite in the same mobile home every summer, playing boules with the same holidaying neighbours over copious amounts of pastis.


But 'les nouveaux beaufs'?

Their sons. More money, white collar not blue like their dads, their 'bobonnes' ( female helpmeets)  underclad chicks as opposed to the rolling pin wielding harpies of the previous incarnation but the underlying passions were the same....cars, football, booze....and holidays.

I came across them once...not being addicted to campsites...on an Iberia flight from Madrid to Paris. Behind me there was a group of about twenty middle aged men and women, returning from holiday.

First gripe....the 'what to do in an emergency' instructions were broadcast in Spanish....and English.
Uproar... even though a stewardesss then came forward and repeated it all in French. This flight went to Paris, didn't it...so why wasn't there a French broadcast!

Second gripe....not that they had to pay for refreshments, but that the beer they all ordered was....Spanish! This flight went to Paris, didn't it...so where was the French beer for the French clients!

And once the Pyrenees were crossed, what a sigh of relief went up....soon be in Paris where people spoke a proper language and served proper beer.

I saw Madeleine's point...and that of the cartoonist who invented 'les beaufs'...Cabu. He memorialised them as men who never let a thought enter their heads, who swallowed any brand of popularism, who were mindlessly sexist, who thought that their car was their juggernaut......so even if you don't have any French you'll see from the clip below that they're not a breed you'd welcome into the family..


I don't for one moment imagine that they are a purely French phenomenon....in fact I know they aren't. We all risk having one of them somewhere in the entourage.....because the term 'beauf' comes from 'beau-frere'...the brother in law...and most of us have one of those.

And because 'les beaufs' like to celebrate daft things...I thought I would celebrate them in this my three hundredth post.
Happy beaufday!




 

36 comments:

  1. I love this.....as someone who has come to recognise the importance in understanding the small ads and cartoons, but mostly in learning that it's not just the Brits that can be appalling abroad.....great post Fly, has me smiling out loud. Jx

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    1. And you should see the American tourists in San Jose...troupes of Crocodile Dundees taking coffee in the nineteenth century splendour of the National Theatre.

      I suspect every country has them...but we're always more aware of our own horrors!

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  2. Oh yes, we all know these cretins!shudder...
    And I wish I'd had the phrase "Happy Beaufday" when my blogiversary came around!
    Happy Beaufday, Mme Fly!

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    1. Thank you! I only realised it was 300 when I noticed the 299 alongside the last one...

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  3. Wonderful post. Happy Beaufday! :)

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    1. Linda, thank you.
      I'm still enjoying the trains in your last post.

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  4. Oh yes..every country has them. I just think that they come alive when they go abroad..all their worst traits are on display when they are on holiday. Somehow when they return home they blend back into their familiar surroundings and you don't notice them so much.

    Happy Beaufday!

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    1. Rather sinister that...conjures up visions of a whole beauf society....

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  5. My 300th Beaufday is approaching in about 12 posts -- but I'll never ever be able to surpass this one! Brilliant stuff -- and so global in scope!!!

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  6. They are strangely familiar as a breed. I'm sure I've seen them in the supermarket and down the pub...

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    1. In the boozer and in the booze aisle...yes, you're right.

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  7. Hello:
    'Les Beaufs', or so it seems to us, grow in number daily. And no more so than in the British Isles. We fear for the future!

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  8. I think I have been deprived the pleasure of having a beauf in the family, but I've certainly seen them on holiday. They are like another species...

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    1. Makes you wonder about Darwin's theories....

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  9. No beaufs in this family but I do have sister-in-laws. Then we do have the beauf next door.

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    1. Crossing my fingers for you that he makes a sale soon...he's do well on a beauf campsite....fit in nicely.

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  10. “Like living anywhere abroad...once you master the small ads and the cartoons you are well on the way to getting to grips with things.”

    Brilliant!

    As a mere snotty at school I used to play the part of editor for a gestetnered magazine devoted to the exploits and adventures of Asterix & Obelix. Whilst in the dentist awaiting the curse of the drillings to come, I’d happily distract myself deep inside the well thumbed pages of Giles. The irony of the dentists humour didn’t register till many years later.

    And yes… most of us do have a brother in law, except I wouldn’t exactly call my one a ‘beau-frere’. Way too cordial and complimentary for him and my pallet.

    Huge and hearty congratulations to you on publishing your three hundredth post Mme Fly. What a truly magnificent effort, not least because of the enormous entertainment, inspiration and enlightenment you bring to your readership about really ‘real’ life in off piste France as much as the consistently superior level of writing skill your sharply crafted and incisively informed posts present for us all to indulge in and enjoy so much with you along your blogger journey.

    Bravo to you! And I for one keenly look forward to enjoying the next stage of the voyage with you enroute to your 400th, 500th and way, way beyond.

    Now go and prepare dinner for M. Fly and all the guys, finish the washing up, herd the cats, do some more ironing, clean the pigs, fix the roof, scrub the veranda, mend the generator, feed the onions and peel the parrots…. then take the rest of the afternoon off and live a little, why don’t you.

    Salut…

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  11. Well, thank you! I think I might frame that!

    And just how did you know what my morning schedule was today...is that you controlling those drones...?

    I've always thought this belle-mere and beau-frere stuff was a bit like turning away ill chance...like the ancient Greeks calling the Furies the Kindly Ones.

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    1. Nope, not controlling the drones…it’s much worse than that… try sat astride one. I’m the reason you need to fix the roof.









      I’m really, really sorry.

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    2. Ah...an airborne version of those World War II Italian manned torpedoes, then.
      You'd better stay to lunch...as you've just dropped in.

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  12. Happy Beaufday, Fly and I look forward to many more of them. :-) Oh yes, cartoons can be so revealing, and as for the small ads.... What do all those ads for psychics say about the much-vaunted French rationalism? I reckon every country has its quota of beaufs and they all behave even worse abroad. Sigh...

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    1. Yes, off the chain, so to speak...with more of their kind.

      I grew to complete disbelief in French rationalism....as you say, the ads for psychics, which always seemed to lead back to Societe Francaise des Jeux, not to speak of the magnetisseurs....

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  13. Happy Beaufday Fly, I look forward to your next centenary.

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    1. Thank you...by which time you'll be safely living in your new house and looking back on your househuinting adventures with wonder.

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  14. ha ha I like the clip
    happy 300th, congrats
    anni

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  15. 300.. Good grief! Happy day to you!

    I seem to be a bit behind in reading your posts, my alerting mechanism has failed me, but should be OK now.

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    1. I was a bit taken aback myself....

      Thank you.

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  16. Oh my gosh, I married into a whole family of beaufs. Luckily, none of them started traveling until later in life after I'd already divorced them. But the thought of meeting any one of them on a street in Europe makes me shudder. (I can't see the cartoon for some reason)
    Best of Beauf Months, Fly

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    1. Sorry about the cartoon..it's beauful.

      There are some things it's best to leave behind!

      Thank you.

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  17. Happy 300th. Lang may your lum reek.
    :D

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    1. Thank you!

      I am currently lumless...crumbs, I could start a charity for myself as all the rich filth do...

      The Lumless Foundation....sounds good!

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  18. It is not often that I laugh out loud reading a post but his one had me giggling away merrily.
    Not having enough women on the staff to make them see sense started me off at the beginning and it just got better and better. Could not have been better reading for your 300th post. Well done. have a great week. Diane

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it...the 'beaufs' have made me laugh for years!

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