Do you remember when you were a kid, and you would pretend to speak Spanish (or French or Swahili or Mandarin), and approximate a bunch of sounds that seemed suitably foreign and, to your ear, could passably compare to the language you were imitating? Heck, I practiced this at a bar recently when a dude I didn’t really want to talk to approached me and I pretended to be Russian, and quickly mentioned that I “no speeek Eeengleesh” (I thought it was a reasonably muddy Eastern Bloc accent at the time).
My mistake. “Как поживаешь?” He asked with enthusiasm. “Ahahaha!” I said, nervously. “Yur agzent… bery gud.” Then I hightailed it to the bathroom to hide.
Anyway, if you have ever been a child, you know what I’m talking about: the pleasures of gibberish and linguistic imitation. When I attempt the broken, ungrammatical Spanish I sometimes inflict on folk today, I can’t help but give it a little extra UMMPH, a little rrrrroll of the “r” – una pequeña mas pasión! – than I would making the same ungrammatical statement in English. “I no go… THE BED!” for example. My Spanish is slightly less sophisticated than that of a very emphatic toddler, but just as intense.
In the same vein, I have wondered before what The English sounds like as a gibberish language to foreigners. Surely kids in Mexico and Spain and Chile were pretending to speak English in the same insane-o manner I was pretending (still do!) to speak Español. Turns out, I was right, and there exists a grown-up person music video from Italy (very close to Spain) from 1972 that nicely illustrates the point.
I can’t possibly list all the reasons you should watch this video, but I will start with:
1) The ’60s nostalgia (yes, even though it is from the ’70s)
2) The weirdly prescient/retro hairbows
3) The acting – sincere and hip-tastic (see #9)
4) The set pieces(more mirrors please!)
5) The costumes, particularly those of the synchronized marching band (?) who have no instruments other than their natural bangin’ rhythm
6) The A-OK sign!
7) The fact that,”You can call me Sailor!” is the only (possibly) actual English phrase – or maybe not! It’s just what I heard, because…
8) You can make up your own lyrics!
9) Hip-shaking action (see #3)
10) Hair-whipping action (intense)
11) Hot harmonica action
12) The fact that is is GIBBERISH
You haven’t even seen it yet, but you should be convinced of its Greatest Video of All Time standing. The song is “Prisencolinensinainciusol” by Adriano Celentano. In an interview:
Celentano explains that the song is about “incommunicability” because in modern times people are not able to communicate to each other anymore adding that “prisencolinensinainciusol” is supposed to stand for “universal love”.
Excellent. That makes no sense at all, which is fitting. Without further ado, I present, What-Lyrical-English-Sounds-Like-to-Italians-Who-Do-Not-Speak-the-English-but-Wish-Nonetheless-to-Make-an-Awesome-Danceable-Video-(Circa 1972).