Friday, 30 March 2007

Ca Plane Pour Moi

This blog is for comments on the translations of Ca Plane Pour Moi and other Plastic Bertrand songs that can be found at


Dan said...

Hey there,
The phrase 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' translates pretty well to 'I'm on a roll' in English.

Hope that helps you!

Meg said...

The direct translation of "ça plane pour moi" is "this world's for me"

Plane is the base word for the english word 'planet'.

Just thought you'd be curious.

Dan said...

Just one further thing, the line you've got written as 'Ou que l'alcool me manquera' I've got as 'et que la colle me manquera', i.e. with the line before too, you get 'It's not today that the sky will fall on my head, and I'll come unglued'. What do you think?


Erin said...

In the Plastic Bertrand Song "Ça Plane Pour Moi"," nana translates as "babe". Don't worry, it's not hilariously wrong :)
Great website!

David said...

Really enjoyed your translation and I"m sure I"m not the first to point this out, but all my sources say: Ca plane por moi translates
as: tough shit for me..not literal, but idiomatic..your version is more joyous, but I wonder

Simon said...

IMHO there a few changes needed in one or two lines;;;(but I still can't translate Ca plane pour moi)

.....Wham bam my cat Splash.......
was (Git short ofr 'agit'?) on my bed ate his tongue ( a bouffe sa langue) whilst drinking all my whiskey as for me hardly slept etc..

going to ask this french chick )lol) about the rest

James said...

For what it's worth, I always thought that PB sang "En GAF couleur" after "J'ai eu un flash", referring to the photographic film manufactureer. This could be because "GAF Couleur" posters were all over the place while I lived in France in the 70's.

Just a thought!

Bertrand said...

Thanks for the opportunity to put in my 10c about the origins of the expression "Ça plane pour moi"
I came in Boston USA in 79 from France. Some folks thought I was "Plastic"
Since I was kind of an "Artsy Wild" new waver, French, into performance art and my name was and is Bertrand. The first time I heard that tune was in a punk/New wawe fashion boutique on Newbury street called High Society (Designer Eddie Kent where are you?) I think I have the best shot at explaining the title than anyone I know, having grown up in France and being of the same generation as Plastic.
In the 70's a radio station (France Inter ou Radio Luxembourg) had a cool show called "Je roule pour vous" (I drive for you). It aim was to link and match drivers (cars and specially cross Europe truck drivers) with hitch hikers. Hikers and truckers would call in the station and meeting spots and times were chosen. These were the golden days of hitch hiking.
It was a very hip pop show, with good music, and "Je roule pour vous" was somewhat of a Pop icon.

Now "plane" means gliding, as in having your head in the cloud, being a dreamer, an artist, or immature. (I have heard that one countless times:
"bertrand, Il plane!") It quickly got used also as a reference to being high .
I do believe the unique "ça plane pour moi" is a mashed up of these 2 expressions. Literally "It is gliding for me" meaning "being high works for me."

Bryan said...

With your page about "Ca Plane Pour Moi" lyrics...

Footnote 1 is referring to "four colours" (or maybe not).

In viewing a video of him singing (or probably lip syncing) you see him raise 4 fingers when this line happens. See:
I think should put to rest what he thought he was singing.

You may also wish to compare your lyrics to that of Record Mirror:

Thank you for your efforts!

Adrian said...

Read your site - great stuff.

But, in the 1st verse of the lyrics to Ca Plane.."j'ai eu un flash", I was told by the French teacher father of my best mate in 1978, meant, roughly, "I had a tr¡p" - in the drug sense. This would make sense with the next line "in 4 colours".

Funny the things one remembers!

Tom said...

I found myself on your website, googling for what had become of Plastic Bertrand.

And I always thought it was:

it's not today que le ciel me tombera sur la tete
et que la gueule me manquera

understanding this as as something like: 'and that my big mouth will fail me'

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

i am the king of the divant is im the king of the couch, so a couch potatoe

Allison said...

I noticed on pretty much all translations of the song Ca Plane Pour Moi, they always leave the line "I am the King of the divan" simply as that. Why does nobody translate "divan"? Its very simple, at least through

According to Babelfish, divan means couch. This makes that line incredibly funny because he's saying that he's the king of the couch.

I was just wondering why nobody ever bothered to translate it? Its obvious that divan is french, not english. And when you look at the song as a whole, King of the couch makes perfect sense.

Have a great day!

David said...

hi Allison, thanks for that

I think the reason that no one bothers to translate it is that "divan" is a word in British English - not sure if it is in other dialects though. It variously means a backless sofa or a bed.


-- David

John said...

I'm a french canadian,bilingual. We dont use the same slang in canada but i can understand most of it.

lit à bouffe : probably a dinning table.
gueule de bois : Feeling bad after being drunk the day before divan : couch que la colle me manquera : I think he's talking about glue used as a drug in a metaphor with the sky falling.
le pied dans le plat : Being in trouble

Anonymous said...

My cat Splash lay on my bed,with puffed-up tongue, from drinking lots of my whisky
As for me, not much sleep
Emptied, bullied, I had to sleep in the gutter
Where I had a flash in four colours (could refer to printing colours CMYK)

one morning a darling came home to my place
cellophane doll, Chinese hair
a plastered, hungover (girl).
drank my beer in large rubber glass
Like an Indian in her igloo

This chick, what a gas,
What vibration to take her on the door mat.
Filed down, ruined, emptied, fulfilled
she says to me in passing
You are the King of the Divan

Don’t mind, don’t worry
Don’t affect my world
It’s not today
That the sky will fall on my head
Or that I will miss alcohol (et que l'alcool me manquera)

the chick
cleared off, left
finally had enough,
smashed everything
the sink, the bar
leaving me alone
Like a big jerk.
I put my foot in it

Cailin said...

"Le pied dans le plat."

It can mean basically "my foot in my mouth." Which makes sense later with "et que la gueule me manquera." And my mouth fails words fail me.

Anonymous said...

i'm french and i'm sure that these are the right lyrics :

"et que L'ALCOOL me manquera"

"Allez hop! ma nana s'est tiree,
S'est barree, enfin c'est marre, a tout CASSÉ"

Anonymous said...

I don't know much French, but the reference to Glue make much more sense.
For a start, glue sniffing was huge in the 70's and many punks used glue to spike their hair.

Also. The song is more or less the same as Elton Montello's - Jet Boy, Jet Girl.

There is a reference to getting hight with glue on that song and Plastic probably used it.


Anonymous said...

It really is "Et que la colle me manquera" ("and I'll be without glue"). The reference is to sniffing glue. In the video Plastic makes a large gesture towards his nose.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not sure why no one translates "I am the King of the Divan" into "I'm the king of the couch," because that's what a divan is in French. Again, maybe there's another meaning but given the context, "I'm king of the couch," makes perfect sense to me.

David said...

As I mentioned earlier up the page, I think it's because "divan" is also a word in English. English English anyway!

Phil said...

Just a note about a possible alternative translation for the line (translated) "...where I had a flash ... in four colours...".
I've seen "flash" used (rarely) as a euphemism for "vomit" or "spew". In Australia, a vomit is sometimes called a "technicolour yawn". So "I had a flash in four colours" could be interpreted as "I had a technicolour yawn". This would also tie in with the previous line's reference to sleeping in the gutter.

Jud said...

it translates into "everything goes well for me"
(it's some kind of humor, he says everything goes well but actually it's not going that well.) we often say in an ironic way the contrary o somethin gin french, you can only tell its the contrary thats mean because of the way you speak the sentence.

Anonymous said...

It is definitely "et que la colle me manquera", watch his movie on youtube: you will see he points to his nose like he is sniffing glue

Anonymous said...

I'm not that good at French, but I've heard that "Ca Plane Pour Moi" translates to "These are my planes"... I think that could be Swedish, though. Just an idea. By the way, I love that song!


Lovette said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Just a thought ... The French word "planer" means to soar or glide. In a colloquial sense, it means "to take drugs". {Collins-Robert French/English dictionary].
Therefore, an approximate meaning to "Ca plane pour moi" might well be, "It gets me high" Slang expressions rarely translate accurately.
I don't insist, but it's well worth considering

[I used to teach French]

bennelliott said...

"quant a moi peu dormi, vide, brime"

I'd have translated this as:

"as for me, little sleep, shattered, hard-done-by"

sounds more... 'what we would say' if you get me...

Anonymous said...

"connard" means arsehole. Although it can also generallyt mean stupid (person) etc and shortened to "con" means c**t

Anonymous said...

where it says ' ne touch pas ma planete ' in english that is ' dont touch my planet '

mm w said...

Hello Bertrand,

I enjoyed your translation, but translate "nana" by my girl, a girl, this is the true meaning, anyway "glue" works for me :D but the original one is alcohol,

I will ask him if he would endorse your version,

for Meg, "planer" means "to glide", when you are smoking marie-juana you are just gliding,

I am fully alright with "I had a trip - in the drug sense."

Limée, ruinée, vidée, comblée that is for the girl but I would prefer not to translate even if I could :D you are right, this is slang,

"Comme un indien dans son igloo" he is playing on word, this is about a mixed drink.


Nickname unavailable said...

My name is bertrand. I am French and came to the US at the same time that the tune "hit the fan". Folks thought I was him.
The expression Ca plane pour moi"
I beleive comes from 2 expressions mashed together:
Planer means(meant) being "In the clouds"or High
Ca plane pour moi I beleive comes from a popular radio "les routiers sont sympas' its Bumper sticker,that was all over france: was
"je roule pour vous" "I drive for you". The radio show was very hip and connected Trucks drivers and Hitch Hikers all over France and Europe, so the expression "je roule pour vous" was popular. Being in France when the song was written, I 'm pretty sure that the "Zeitgeist" connected the two.
Also I think there might b a connection between the girl in the song "cheveux chinois" and the girtl roller skating girl in the Movie (1980) Diva. same character it seems, but I maybe be on thin ice...but why not. There are allusions to Srerge Gainsbourg in that film , so why not Plastic B
Merci for having thi lovely time waisting meet :),
Bertrand Laurence

Anonymous said...

I had a French pen pal when 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' was popular in Australia. I asked him about the meaning of the song - even though he hadnt heard of it before - he said it roughly translated as "Get High for me" - Dont know whether it referred to drug use - which I thought, or it meant a type of luck. Has anyone actually gotten any info from Plastic himself????

Anonymous said...

I read an excerpt of an interview Plastic Bertrand id on English radio where he explained that it roughly translated to "I'm high beacause of that" or that's why I'm high

Benoit said...

I come from the area where Plastic Bertrand lived and french as spoken in Belgium is my mother language.
Many people seem to just translate something that makes sense, however in this context it is quite evident that Plastic is simply saying in his own way that he is STONED! and the words in the song describe just this.
'Planer' in slang french means 'being stoned'or 'being high'.
'Ca plane pour moi' literally means 'it glides for me'. 'Je plane' is what people say when they are stoned, meaning 'I am high'.
The whole song is also reflecting the incoherence of someone stoned and hallucinating from dope, alcohol and more [glue].
The 70s in Liege {where Plastic comes from] was a time and place where dope was very common.
I personnaly do not like the translation 'It works for me' as I do not believe it reflects at all what Plastic Bertrand meant. I would rather use 'I'm really high', 'I'm really high, high, high', 'I'm really high'.

Anonymous said...

following on from benoit's comment, i was a student in Lyon 1983-84. i used to drink in a bar and i asked a barman, "ca va?" he repiled with a tone of indifference, "ca marche" (it's working). i later asked another barman, "ca va?" and he replied with gusto, "ca roule!" (it's rolling). my guess then, is that ca plane (it's gliding) is a step or two up from rolling, indicating that life is going smoothly and without friction, or, as benoit said, plastic bertrand is stoned, high and everything is top notch. i'm particularly pleased with my interpretation as i only thought the whole thing through about 3 months ago - about 25 years after dropping out of my french degree.


Anonymous said...

Hi, could anybody please post the lyrics of the song of Plastic Bertrand Super Cool. many thanks

Anonymous said...

Being french I thought I'd give you the meaning of a few expressions in this song.

"s'envoyer sur'l'paillasson" = to have sex. (the whole expression would be "s'envoyer en l'air")
"Ou que la colle me manquera" in the 70's and 80's, sniffing glue was a popular way for teenagers to get high, particularly in Europe.

"Ça plane pour moi": I'm high. Or :"All's well with me" Both meanings would make sense in this song.
Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

This the closest translation listed in comments:'I'm on a roll'(ça plane pour moi) in English. 'je plane.. I feel high, because everything's fine for me..)

Meg wrote:Plane is the base word for the english word 'planet'.
That is not the case, 'plane' is the verb Planer (gliding, and as slang : to be/feel high)

As for 'j'ai eu un flash', it is nothing more than 'I had a flash', the term is widely used in Frncophone countries, like : I just had a flash..

Both expressions are not PB's invention, they are common slang.

Anonymous wrote:
I don't know much French, but the reference to Glue make much more sense.
For a start, glue sniffing was huge in the 70's and many punks used glue to spike their hair

_still the word in the song is ALCOOL, alcohol, booze..and glue was not as prevalent as you think, and the 80's punks used GEL, which beacme very popular and tredy.. I doubt they used glue, although some masochistic fool migh have tried it (Glue on hair?)

Now this is going too far, Anonymous:
I'm not that good at French, but I've heard that "Ca Plane Pour Moi" translates to "These are my planes"... I think that could be Swedish, though. Just an idea. By the way, I love that song!

Not only this is wrong, but its totally out of context..

Have a nice day..

Anonymous said...

I Love The Song But Has Anyone Noticed Its Random in every sense?


May I add also that "Dance, Dance" is a Desmond Dekker tune with new lyrics added.

Anonymous said...

The part where it says "I am the king of the diban could also be translated into I am the king of the divine".

bossrat said...

I learnt the words to this song when it was released. The lyrics were printed as 'en buvant TROP mon whisky' and 'et que la colle me manquera.'

Carys said...

Thanks for the translation!
This song made me cry now that I know what it says. T_T I'm waaaaay too emotional.

Anonymous said...

The author of the song is Lou Deprijck, and he has a video of the song on Youtube. When he sings "...a bu ma biere dans un grand verre en caoutchouc", there are condoms floating around.

Fedguy said...

The line:

It's not today
Quel le ciel me tombera sur la tete
et que la colle me manquera

I'm pretty sure it should be:
et que la couer me manqeura (or ma couer me manquera) meaning my heart will give out. Makes sense in the context of the rest of the lyrics where he's saying I'm not going to die today (its not today that my heart will give out) so I'm not going to worry, everything is just fine.

Fedguy said...

I always thought the line:
It's not today
Quel le ciel me tombera sur la tete
et que la colle me manquera

Was in fact:

et que la (or ma) coeur me manquera

meaning my heart will give out. Makes sense in the context of the other lines where he's basically saying the world wont end today (its not today que la ciel me tombera sur la tete) and my heart wont give out.

GRD said...

I love the image conjured up by "coming on the doormat"! I rather think that's "doormat" in the sense of someone who is walked over, not "doormat" as in the mat upon which one wipes one feet on entering a building. "Le paillasson" means "easy shag" - at least it did in the late 1980s and probably a decade earlier.

Anonymous said...

It says in the chorus of the song "Ca Plane Pour Moi" - "this works for me"

Anonymous said...

Uh...No. It's not "Que la colle me manquera", rather "Que l'alcool me manquera" as in he won't be sober for a while. Absolutely nothing to do with glue. As for the Canadian thinking that was a metaphor about the sky falling, Sky falling on your head is a reference to Asterix et Obelix. A famous comic in which a small village of superpowerful gauls fear not the great Roman empire in its apogee but do fear that the sky might one day simply fall on them.

Anonymous said...

ok this is a song with a lot of french expresion,(sexual sens) i m the king of the divan , it s most like you said i'm the best for sex, i can understand that you don t understand lolllllllllllllll cz french language, if you translate with a traductor or if you try to translate if you are not french can be very hard, i m french, ''pure'' loll and ca plane pour moi it s like i feel good, everything is well, poupée de cellophane like=Barbie girl
Allez hop! la nana quel panard!
Quelle vibration!
de s'envoyer sur le paillasson! like let s go, babe, what a lucky man, what a feeling, fucked fucked on the porch(entry of the door), well it will be very long to write all, cz it s a long list of French expression with a sexual sens

Anonymous said...

While I'm not a great fan of punk music, I first heard this when I was 7-y.o. and still living in Eastern Europe, and has become one of my No. 1 favourite from Europe.

Anonymous said...

The guy took some LSD... it's the message of the song!

zeblob said...

I believe it's
"Que la colle me manquera" (not "l'alcool" or "la gueule")
In the (full) video, you can see him pretending to be snorting something at this point. Sniffing glue was a cheap way of getting high...
That might also be the reason why this part of the song is cut out in some versions.

Kinoaiki said...

I find "ca plane pour moi" could be translated as "it`s fine by me me me me, it's fine by me". slightly sarcastic

Kinoaiki said...

It' fine by me
me me me me
it's fine by me
u u u u
it's fine by me

Kinoaiki said...

It's fine with me
me me me me
It's fine with me
u u u u
It's fine with me

Anonymous said...

Excusez- moi pour mon francais mal, je suis une etudiant anglais.
. . Au cour de francais nous ecoutons du chanson
"c'est du lourd" par Abd Al Malik pour notre sujet au la culture des jeunes au France.
J'ai les paroles de chanson en francais mais je voudrais un traduction en anglais pour me comprend. - et je ne peux pas le trouve!. . In english: can anyone find me a translation to the lyrics of C'est
du Lourd by Abd Al Malik. Plz dont say use a translating tool because they only give literal translation - not useful especially as this song includes a lot of slang!
. . Merci/ Thanks :).
Here is my webpage :: John Lindstrom

Chris said...

Nice site. I was living in Paris when Ca plane pour moi came out. I too worked as a translator but must have had a less respectable upbringing than J Finlay! There are a couple of things that are important Ca Plane Pour Moi is slang for I'm stoned!

They had sex on the doormat and presumably the sofa as when orgasm-ing (en passant) she told him he was the 'king of the sofa'

(Ne) Touche pas ma planete, is the same as 'get off my cloud' it became an eco slogan much later as a play on words and referencing the 'Touch pas ma pote' anti racist campaign.

It is definitely colle as in glue NOT Alcool. '...and I will run out of glue'. Plastic always mimes snorting it in the videos!

Casse l'evier is again slang meaning 'totally' (even the kitchen sink) so she totally and utterly dumped him leaving him alone at the bar like a total dick. She didn't smash the place up!

Hope this puts things in perspective.

Anonymous said...

"J'ai eu un flash" does not mean "I had a trip" in French. When you have a flash in French it means that you suddenly realize something.
But the rest is nicely translated.

I am French btw.

Anonymous said...

I just see this post now. I think I'm coming far too late... Though..
As a french girl, I can tell there is some stuff you didn't understand in your translation. TOO MUCH SLANG haha.
"Bouffer" is french slang for "eat".
So the cat just ate its tongue. It drank the whisky and ate its tongue. I agree. It doesn't make any sense. It has to be really drunk.
"darling" is too good for "louloute". Louloute is quite familiar.. More like chick.
"nana"... yeah.. it could be "pussy". What a gas?! I don't know this term.. but in french, 'quel panard', is like "what a thrill"
"de s'envoyer sur le paillasson" is litterally.. "to shag on the door mat"
"ma nana s'est [...] marrée" "marrer" is french slang for "laugh".
"my girl has gone away, flew away, laugh and broke the sink, the bar, leaving me alone"

I'm sorry, maybe there are some mistakes in my english.. u..u

David said...

Thanks to everyone for all the recent comments and corrections. When I get a moment I'll try to update the main translation to take them all into account - perhaps having a literal translation and an idiomatic one. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I love this song :)

TastyWithPasta said...

About "I am the king of the Divan". Divan does not mean divine. It is french slang for couch, although it was originally use to designate an oriental type of padded seat.

Anonymous said...

it talks about sniffing glue and missing it

Paul Clifford said...

Having worked with many french and belgian(as is bertrand) people as a chef,I have had umpteen discussions about the literal meaning of "ca plane pour moi".it is agreed by all whom were rigorously questioned by me about this,that it is to be translated as "is(or it's)good for me".this makes sense and I have been prepared to accept this translation...though,it's highly possible I was duped by a bunch of illiterate frogs(they were waiters after all)...great song,love screaming it out whilst getting raped in busy service...merde!!