Les Pinocchios watch their nose on the radio
I came to France a lowly assistant, but I will leave a celebrity.
Alright, this is not entirely true, but permit me to at least think it is. Alas, the benefits of living in a small town are finally catching up to my friends and me.
For example, the other day, a large group of students and I went to see the film ‘Le Couleur des Sentiments’ (‘The Help’). The amazing English professors at my school were able to work together with the cinema to bring the film back, even though it had screened a few months before. A Parisien or Lyonnais cinema owner would probably have laughed in our faces if we asked this sort of favor for a small group of 120 students.
However, I can’t mention the special care we receive in a small city without mentioning forays into serious broadcast journalism. OK, I’m joking … but that’s the idea! I’ll explain.
Les Pinocchios and their journey
A few months ago, my Italian assistant and I had the idea to host a satirical radio show (or rather, he had the idea and I invited myself to join him) on the local community radio station. We had the said idea on Wednesday, went to the station on Thursday afternoon, brainstormed ideas for the topic of our broadcast on Friday evening, got back into contact with the radio station on Saturday, and started rehearsing on Monday. We don’t work on Sundays.
About three weeks later, here I am listening to myself on the radio while I sip a cup of coffee during my winter vacation (not to be confused with the one I just had in December). Next step: Pulitzer.
The idea behind our radio show, Les Pinocchios, is this. Either Alessio, the Italian Assistant, or I introduce a ‘weird news’ story from one of our countries, but add a twist.
Our most recent broadcast was about an Italian man that, it was discovered, was pretending to be blind to collect social aid from the Italian government for 15 years. Given that the news story is already bizarre, we give our listeners the chance to talk amongst themselves during the pause musicale to try and find what part of the story we made up. (We said he was condemned to life in prison when in fact he’ll be there for a few years).
The mission of our broadcast is not to offer an English or Italian 101 class. Even our description online states it clearly…
We then introduce a few idiomatic expressions, in English and Italian, that could be used to describe the story; for example, essere cieco come una talpa, which means ‘to be as blind as a mole’, and ‘to steal acorns from a blind pig’. Each broadcast is also interspersed by a few songs that also have to do with the theme (I chose ‘More Than Meets the Eye’ by Yodelice) and many, many jokes.
Obviously, the mission of our broadcast is not to offer an English or Italian 101 class. Even our description online states it clearly: “These expressions will probably not be of any use to you.”
Our honesty with our listeners is, I think, part of our charm, along with our accents, our small errors in French pronunciation or grammar, and our odd sound effects (to demonstrate my expression about pigs, I decided to oink into the microphone). We’re not here to talk endlessly about Claude Geant, Francois Hollande or Kim Kardashian, nor to explain the rules in conjugating subjunctives.
I doubt we would have been able to do this in a large city, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
If you’re interested, tune in! We’re on Radio Saint Ferreol, which streams live at 10.30 am CET on Wednesday, with a rebroadcast at 6.30 pm CET on Sundays.
Radio St. Ferreol’s other broadcasts are just as interesting, as well as their diverse music collection.
Hope to see you on the airwaves!
Have you listened to Les Pinocchios before? What did you think?Image Credits
1. © Julia Gueron
2. Ross Murray via Flickr
3. Via www.radiosaintfe.com