Mon cul sur la commode

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Sur la commode – illustrated by Guy Arnoux

The naughty song Sur la commode tells us the story of a young lady who cannot afford a holiday at the seaside or in the mountains to escape the stifling Parisian heat. But resourceful as she is, she refreshes her behind on the marble top of a commode, thus saving a lot of money.

Jeanne Aubert
Jeanne Aubert (1900-1988)

Jeanne Aubert brought the young lady to life in the revue V’la l’travail! and the song became an instant hit in France in 1937. It refers to the annual leave or congé payé that granted French employees two weeks of paid time off. The congé payé was part of the important social reform in 1936 achieved by the Front Populaire, an alliance of left-wing movements.

Jeanne Aubert, aged 75, re-enacted her rather enervating song for  French television in 1975.

The song has since slipped into oblivion but part of the chorus still lives on as a multi-purpose expression. Mon cul sur la commode (literally: my bum on the chest of drawers) can indicate a sloppy realisation or something that is badly put together. Sometimes the expression is used to cut a story short, like et cetera.  Or to express that something is meaningless gibberish, pure nonsense.
Whatever!

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