I WILL PREVIVE [The Book Of Rocks] diary extract, 3 December 2016


“The art of communication is not the most straight forward thing. It’s hard enough to understand each other in our native language let alone in another. All those nuances and double entrendres make it a minefield for misinterpretation.

I don’t think I will ever be English-French bilingual. Fluent oui, bilingual non. My parents decided not to bring me up speaking both languages. Dad was worried it would be confusing and I would end up as master of none. For me, that approach is a big regret. My French was at its best in 2000 after four years of study and some immersion in France. When you dream in another language you know you are getting close but after a decade Down Under and only SBS exposure, I can say that my French is pretty nul. I miss it.

I would watch Julie Delpy in some youth TV drama after a day at the beach in the south of France in the summer holidays. (You can actually learn a language by watching TV alone, you know!) Later she rocked up in the English speaking film Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawke. Friends of mine loved it: the pair talk all night long until sunrise (c’est fantastique!). Julie wrote a lot of her own dialogue in English. But I didn’t really get it: all this chit-chat and no action. Quoi? Je ne comprends pas! Maybe I need to revisit 1995 to understand it better? There are 171,500 words in English and only 100,000 in French (looks like Shakespeare did a better job than Molière) so let’s keep on talking because apparently if you talk out loud to yourself you are meant to be some kind of genius.

Obviously, today’s sunny Saturday vin blanc is Foreign Language by Flight Facilities.”