Hobart Paving – Saint Etienne (1993, Heavenly Records, Taken from ‘So Tough’)
It was inside a small shop on a campsite in the tourist village of Wissant, France, that a 16 year old me realised that, despite being taught the language for five years, when it came to the crunch I couldn’t actually speak French at all. Around six weeks earlier, I had taken my French GCSE exam, which folks included a bit where you had to have a conversation with the teacher, in bloody French.
The problem was that the three chaps I was with spoke even less French than I did and the shopkeeper thought we were stealing his biscuits. It turns out that French people don’t speak really slowly about driving a Citroen to La Rochelle, they talk really fast about phoning the police and point angrily at large sticks kept behind the counter when you accidentally insult their wife.
Of course it was a misunderstanding, I had already paid for the biscuits, I just didn’t know how to say that. His wife served me about ten minutes earlier, “Ton Femme, Monsieur m’a appris” I kept telling him over and over again. Apparently his wife wasn’t a teacher and I was “Une Brule”. Something which I could only be offended by a hour later when I looked it up in the French Dictionary that I had stupidly left inside the tent.
Saint Etienne are an indie dance band from Croydon, that are named after a French football team (but also a city). ‘Hobart Paving is taken from their second album the excellent ‘So Tough’. Hobart is also the capital city of Tasmania (or Tazzy, as every single Australian I have ever met calls it) so we have double city bubble this week.
‘Hobart Paving’ was a top 30 hit when it was released in 1993, it was backed with a cover of the Jigsaw classic ‘Who Do You Think You Are’. Which is also brilliant.
Who Do You Think You Are – Saint Etienne (1993, Heavenly Records, Taken from ‘So Tough’)