Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Rehabilitation of Raymond Domenech, by Catherine Ringer

Raymond Domenech is once again an embattled man forced to put on a brave face as the players under his command mutiny and succeed in undoing the damage he has inflicted on the French national team over the past five years. It happened once before in the 2006 World Cup when Zinedine Zidane, Fabien Barthez and Claude Makelele generated a team spirit and fluidity previously absent under Domenech. And now Thierry Henry has decided to take matters into his own hands and the approach has produced two good performances in recent qualifiers against Romania and Serbia. It will probably allow France to progress to South Africa via the playoffs as they enjoy a resurgence of form and confidence.

Raymond is not the most popular of sports personalities in France, and his penchant for astrology, though not uncommon among the French, hardly serves to boost his credibility. But he now has an admirer from an unlikely quarter, Catherine Ringer, former lead singer of classic 80s band Les Rita Mitsouko. She has just released, free to download on her website, a track entitled 'Je kiffe Raymond' ('I love Raymond' in the slang of the era). It goes as follows: "Je kiffe Raymond !/ Trop beau ce mec/ Ouais, son style, son nom/ Il est impec ce Domenech/ J’aime son image, sa stature de vieux crampon/ De son ramage, ouais je monte à l’action.." (Rather ungainily translated: "I love Raymond!/What a looker/Yeah, his style, his name/He's the tops this Domenenech/I love his image, his clinginess [an untranslatable pun on 'crampon', meaning both football boots and leech]/At his command, I leap into action.")

The mind boggles like never before. One wonders who's going to benefit most from this strange project. But maybe Catherine, who started off as an actress in films that one might diplomatically call 'exotic', detects in Domenech a certain outré raciness from another era. Certainly the moustache he sported during Strasbourg's championship-winning season in 1979 wouldn't be out of place in some of Ms Ringer's early work.

Catherine Ringer - Je kiffe Raymond


aidan said...

I was at the Romania game - it wasn't a great performance: the lack of French pressure and intensity reminded me of Brian Kerr's Ireland. But once again the French team will save Domenech despite themselves - he's surely the most unpopular man in France, even more than Sarko...