“Le Patineur” / “The Ice Skater” – Julien Clerc – French lyrics + English translation

“Le Patineur” – “The Ice Skater”
Lyrics: Étienne Roda-Gil
Arrangement, Vocals: Julien Clerc
Album: “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité… ou la Mort”, 1972

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On the face of it, it seems a strange subject for a song. Why would an ice-skating man have such an impact on the songwriter’s memory? And why is the fact that he was skating on one leg so important that the writer felt it necessary to repeat it several times?

The re/solution lies in the quatrain where the ice-skater’s companion, a “woman with white hair” – puts a cane in his hand.

He can’t walk without assistance. But when he skates, it’s a “spectacle”, a “show”.

Despite his disability, he still indulges in his art, in his sport. For a time, until the night falls and the demands of the world make him stop.

That’s the beauty of this song. When you do what you love, you’re beautiful and memorable – even if you’re old and damaged, outside of the performance.

So, write. Sing. Dance. Paint. Cook. Compose music.

Do whatever you’re good at, because this world needs beauty.

“Ars Gratia Artis” – “Art for Art’s Sake”.


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