Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Le Saturday Night Telly En France

So, relaxing on my hotel bed, which was the size of Wales, I decided to spend the latter part of Saturday evening improving my French by watching television.

Oh, all right then, I simply decided to watch telly. And it happened to be in French. But luckily, I was able to follow it because I do speak French - not absolutely fluently, granted - - and also because - - well, it was Saturday-night telly, not too demanding, vocabulary-wise. So now I'm going to broaden your horizons with some French culture.

It was a popular-science-type game show, a kind of How? for grownups. It's not that the science was any more advanced - far from it - but you could tell it was for grownups because the presenter was demonstrating some of the differences between men and women by wearing a very low-cut frock.

There were two competing panels of unfeasibly attractive young people - one of men, one of women. They were mostly actors, and one was Miss France - you could tell from this that the emphasis of this programme was perhaps slanted away from the science, I didn't spot France's answer to Stephen Hawking anywhere - and one of the women was clearly The Comedy One. The young men all seemed identical - - spiky hair, expensive-looking clothes.

The Science Man wore glasses to prove he was a real Science Man. He resembled a better-looking Woody Allen.

The programme started with a real-life dilemma that must be truly terrifying for any Frenchman or woman. Suppose that you had friends coming round for dinner. And, further, suppose that, just before the visitors arrived, you realised that you had made a dreadful mistake. You had forgotten to chill the wine! Oh no! What should you do?

The panel were offered three alternatives for quick wine-chilling.
Should you:
a) Wrap the bottle in paper dipped in vinegar and sugar and put it in the freezer?
b) Make a mixture of ice cubes, water and salt, put it in a bowl and lay the bottle in this?
c) Cover the bottle in lemon juice, wrap it in silver foil and put it in the freezer?

The panel hadn't the foggiest, but they did look very attractive, which seemed to be their purpose. Miss France smiled a lot, displaying some excellent dentistry.

After a bit, the bottles' temperatures were measured. A and C were at 21 degrees Centigrade and B was the winner at a mere ten degrees.

So now you know – so very useful, I'm sure you'll find. Bear it in mind when your friends pop round. It could save you from so much social embarrassment.

We turned our attention to what might happen if we dropped some sodium in some water. I was by now shouting excitedly at the screen. “I know! I know!” For my old chemistry teacher, Mr Nolan, once showed me exactly the same experiment. Would it:

a) dissolve

b) sink

c) explode

Yes, it exploded nicely. I was delighted to find that the French for "explode" is "explose" and they all said it in one of those "Is anyone expecting a beumb?" Inspector Clouseau-type accents.

Finally, dans quelle liquide la television continue-t-elle de fonctionner? (Did they ever teach me that phrase at school? No, they did not.) But let me tell you, just in case you ever need to know, that if you drop a working television into water it will go off bang, and the same in an isotonic drink. But - and I can feel your mounting excitement - it will work in a big vat of kitchen oil! But don't try this at home, folks! (The same goes for the sodium, by the way).

And so we arrived merrily at the closing credits, and everyone seemed very pleased with their achievements. To think we in poor old Blighty have to make do with The X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing!

The good news is that I will, if I so choose, be able to watch the next instalment this coming Saturday.

"Why's that, Daphne?" (Go on, ask me, ask me)

Because I've been invited to return to Paris next weekend to do the same job again, that's why. I fly out on Friday, back on Sunday, and I hope I can get the wifi to work this time.

"And stop thinking you're not good enough for that fancy hotel," said my friend, supportively, before pausing for a moment and then following it up with a glorious and perfectly-timed punchline:

"I mean we all know you're not......but stop thinking it."


Blogger CLS said...

Tres Humereuse......

Looking foreward to making your acquaintance in Novemberxhbro

3:37 am  

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