Illustration via Hallo Heute
Weeks leading up to Gilles' birthday, he had sent out a rock n' roll themed cocktail and hamburger menu, requesting us to pre-order our selections for the party. Also, in place of tangible birthday presents, each guest was asked to share a Spotify playlist of five favorite songs onto the family Facebook page that would be shared for everyone's enjoyment the day of the big bash.
Okay, can I just take a minute to say how cool this family is that they have a family Facebook page? On this private page, Séb's brother and sisters leave notes about upcoming job interviews, travel announcements, or just to say coucou. I would love this sense of community with my own family, but unfortunately they like to withhold information to use later in some form of power play, thus a Facebook page would be rendered completely useless.
Following the wishes of Gilles, I pre-ordered the "Don't Look Back in Hunger", a burger which consisted of a juicy steak haché, confit oignons, barbeque sauce, fresh tomato slices and shredded lettuce, while Séb went for it, and took on the "Nothin' But a Cheese Thang" challenge. For those watching their carbs, Gilles offered the "What's Bun Got to Do With It?" option that you could mix and match with the other menu selections. Washed down with a "Smells Like Lime Spirit" cocktail for me and "Proud Bloody Mary" for Séb, the lunch gave a whole new meaning to comfort food. Again, just what I needed on what was meant to be a rather bleak weekend.
Keeping with the theme for the decor, Gilles used concert t-shirts to dress each table setting, and we all had to guess which seat was ours. For Séb and myself, this didn't impose much of a challenge but for Françoise's mother Mimi, by default, her options were Ozzy Osbourne who fashioned red rhinestone drops of blood dripping out of his mouth or a spread-eagle shot of Debbie Harry on a car.
With reluctance, she chose Debbie.
After a few drinks, our hearty burgers, and homemade baked fries, Gilles announced that it was playlist time. I immediately perked up from my major carb attack, looking forward to listen to the mix I had prepared for the party. I admit, I was proud of my soundtrack. I put some goodies on there that I knew Gilles would enjoy; some of favorites by The Smiths, The Kinks, Nine Inch Nails, Coconut Records, Sleater-Kinney, Jacques Dutronc and Elton John. Gilles then asked us all to choose one song from the playlist, he didn't tell us why, we were just instructed to choose one song. Assuming that we were all either just going to dance while eating cupcakes and dessert or play a round of name that tune, I chose a song that was upbeat but still a bit challenging to guess. I have been in this family long enough to know a few tricks o' the trade...
Gilles disappeared, and after fifteen had passed, he came down from his office with a pile of papers.
He had printed out the lyrics of our selected songs...for us to all have a group sing along.
Serves me right for being so confident, and it was at that very moment that I had deep regrets in regard to my choice...
Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like A Hole"
What the hell was I thinking?
I looked over at some of the other selections, innocuous choices like of Oasis' "Wonderwall", Serge and Brigitte Bardot's "Bonnie and Clyde", David Bowie's "Life on Mars" and the Barbapapa theme song for the kids.
"Can I change my song?" I asked Gilles, desperately wanting to replace the hit track to an album called "Pretty Hate Machine" with The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" - a much more appropriate track to say the very least. "Non!" Gilles said with a smile, "It'll be fun, don't worry!"
Clearly he didn't know the song either.
Well I'm just going to say it, you haven't lived until you've seen an 85 year old French woman trying to follow along the lyrics to a Nine Inch Nails song with lyrics that scream "I'd rather die than give you control" and "Bow down before the one you serve, you're gonna get what you deserve".
By the second verse everyone had given up and I ended up singing the song by myself. Just picture it. But once again, it serves me right. But hey, it could have been worse. I could have selected one of my other favorites: "F*ck the Pain Away" by Peaches, but I'm not that stupid...or am I?
Good thing Séb is already well aware of this hurricane he's about to marry! I can finally see clearly why it didn't work out with my past boyfriends, I was meant to be in this family. Hindsight is pretty cool, isn't it?