Funky Town

Funky Town by Lipps Inc came on the radio, that irritatingly catchy song, where the singer keeps on singing about wanting to get to funky town and how it’s the town that’s right for her. When the song ended, Jul, irritated, turned to me and said, “She doesn’t even say what she’s going to do in funky town!”


Together with our yellow plates, blue bowls, and wooden spoons we are moving to Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, which will be our current location.

Aix-en-Provence where the sun shines and where fountains spurt (that doesn’t sound so right) and where there are strawberries and a host of curious fruit selections in the markets.

Aix-en-Provence where it’s hard to find parking space.

Aix-en-Provence where it’s not as cold as Lyon.

Aix-en-Provence where maybe we can get a loving, affectionate cat and call him Euclid.

Aix-en-Provence which is more or less near the beach.

We could very well dub Aix-en-Provence Funky Town.


Man, the thing about moving is that you’ve gotta lug around all your stuff in crates and boxes, install them somewhere new, forget about them while you’re there, and rediscover them when it’s time to move again. It makes me sad to pack things you know you aren’t even going to remember when you get there. I left all my books in Manila, and now I wish I’d brought them along. Like the Don Skiles book scored for 10 pesos at Booksale with these winner short surrealist stories.


However, going back to Funky Town, I can’t wait to continue my French lessons there. I will miss my funky classmates at Alliance Française Lyon, though. We are linked by the unanimous goal to speak perfect ‘Fransh’ and to be understood by the ‘Fransh population’.


Yuichi is from Japan and his boots are lined with fur. He also has a black-and-white checkered pair, but that is another story. He smokes cigarettes whose brand I’ve never seen before. He’s going to be a fashion designer in Paris as soon as he’s fluent. He wears this nice hat with a little ball of yarn on top. The thing I like about him, aside from his being shy despite the loud clothes, is that he has a Magritte notebook.

“Tu aimes Magritte?” I asked him as we were packing our books after a day of lessons, pointing at his notebook cover.

“Hai. Oui,” he replied. There was a Magritte museum in Japan which he liked, he explained.

The next day he arrived two hours late for class, obviously with a hangover. Still, he showed us his newly-purchased Magritte calendar from Artès. Even with his head probably still spinning, can you think of that. Years from now I’m going to be wearing a Magritte-inspired dress. Hopefully, with fur.


A boy from China in my class is a genius. I can hardly understand him when he speaks, but he’s a genius. He’s the earliest one to arrive in class (I know because I’m the second) and he’s always mumbling to himself, memorizing irregular verbs or conjugations. All that, and he doesn’t even own the required class books!

I sat next to him most of the time in class, so he always shared my book when we had to read something. “Did you lose your books?” I asked him – not to be rude or anything -but just because I was amazed that for someone as ‘obsessed’ with learning French as he was, he didn’t seem to give a horse’s ass about not having a book.

He gave me a long, lengthy answer complete with hand movements, and ended with a hearty laugh. I stared at him blankly. I probably don’t understand him because he ignores the periods in sentences. He just doesn’t like them, I guess; much less respect their presence in a sentence. He’s going university in Lyon afterwards.

In a class discussion, he always looks bored, and to prove his point he yawns occasionally, but when everybody’s stumped and can’t answer a question tossed at us he’ll give the correct answer, expression a bit impatient, bulldozing his way into sentences without stopping for the periods, of course.

So that’s how he is, the Chinese genius. Occasional bursts of rain and thunderstorms. During one break time, we were all discussing our countries when suddenly he joined in the conversation, out of the blue, wanting to know if we knew something or other about China. He clear cut off the Spanish girl in midsentence, too. We were kind of shocked that Chinese Genius spoke to us. He wrote down Chinese syllables on a paper, explaining to us that in Chinese, you wrote words according to syllables. We were talking about oceans and he was talking about another thing, but that was all right with us. He’s really intelligent. I know it because he got the highest score at the end of the course. And because he didn’t buy the 20€ workbooks, which we used not-too-often, when you really think about it. I imagine him smiling patronizingly at us for ‘falling for the book trick’.


Sadly I have to go to another school, especially since we were more or less in the same age range and there were some pretty fun people I’ve made friends with.

But life goes on, times are a-changing as Dylan says, and I wouldn’t mind making more friends down at Funky Town.

Before you go, oh my god, you have got to see the music vid of Funky Town. Cheesus Crust, what a trip!

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