Tomber la chemise by Zebda
This was THE song when I was in Tahiti on exchange as part of a group of Kiwi french students. If it wasn’t this song playing then it was instrumental polynesian music that bounced and rolled and pushed onwards like a speeding minivan on dirt roads. Perhaps my inability to remember that instrumental music precisely is what makes Tomber la chemise my cord to Tahiti.
Tomber la chemise puts me in the back of my host family’s truck bumping along to a relative’s house. Jumping down from it, being surrounded by lush greenness, climbing up to a house elevated from the ground and staring at a simultaneously gorgeous and intimidating raw fish dish. Getting a quick lesson from my host’s wiry male cousin on the verb “draguer”*.
The song feels especially right when seeing myself on the back of the truck as it started to rain. Rain, real island rain of fat droplets. I had assumed that I and the two others at the back were screwed, but no, we were duly handed our black rubbish bags. Little black cone-shaped boulders … “Tous les enfants de ma cité, et même d’ailleurs!” I would peek out every so often to watch other vehicles carrying little black boulders pass by, and attempted to keep getting friendly waves – the usual custom between back-of-the-truck passengers passing each other, at least when unencumbered by rubbish bag. Jumbly and happy and entertained as hell, *plat* *plat* *splat* *splodge*, “Tomber la! Tomber! Tomber la che-mi-se!”
*draguer = to hit on someone