Ming the Mechanic:
Moi non plus

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Moi non plus2003-12-09 16:58
picture by Flemming Funch

I just had a chat, half in French, with Roland. And then he says "Moi non plus". And, hey, since I'm learning French, and the web is such an exquisite philosophical time waster, it leads me off on the 1/2 hour wild goose chase of clearing up what that really meant in that song, you know. The steamy "Je t'aime (moi non plus)" with Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin. Which was sort of interesting, so I might as well relate it here.
"Je t'aime
oh, oui je t'aime!
moi non plus
oh, mon amour...
comme la vague irrésolu
je vais je vais et je viens
entre tes reins
et je
me retiens-je t'aime je t'aime
oh, oui je t'aime !
moi non plus
oh mon amour...
tu es la vague, moi l'île nue
tu va et tu viens
entre mes reins
tu vas et tu viens
entre mes reins
et je
te rejoins- je t'aime je t'aime
moi non plus
oh, mon amour..."
..and so forth. Oooh, I'm blushing. (Well, not really). A full translation is below, even though it isn't a perfect one. And, indeed, the title is somewhat non-sensical. It means "I love you. Neither do I." or "Nor do I". Which isn't entirely correct. It is poetic license. And we'll have to hear from Serge Gainsbourg what he really meant by that:
"I love women as an object, the beautiful women, the mannequins, the models. This is the inner painter in me. I never tell them I love them. Je t'aime... moi non plus (I love you... me neither) expresses erotism overcoming sentimentalism… So many songs about romantic and sentimental love, encounters, discoveries, jealousy, illusions, desillusions, betrayals, remorses, hatred, etc... Then why not devote a song to a sort of love much more current these days: physical love? "Je t'aime" isn't an obscene song, it's very reasonable to me, and fills this gap. Its explanation is that girls say "I love you" during sex, and the man with their ridiculous virility doesn't believe them. They think the girls only say it as a result of enjoyment, of pleasure. I guess I believe the girls, or maybe that's a result of my fear. But that's also an aesthetic step, a search of absoluteness"
Leave it to the French to know how to weave together outrageousness, philosophy, eroticism and poetry. I think I get it. Moi non plus.

Quoted from here (a Serge Gainsbourg discussion group):

"I have to say that the translation the person above linked to is not a very good one... I recommend anyone seeking a good English translation of the beautiful song, Je T'Aime (Moi Non Plus), to check out Mick Harveys version featuring Nick Cave and Anita Lane. Not a perfect translation but it is one of the best I've come across. The lyrics (not printed in the sleeve but posted on a Mick Harvey mailinglist);


I love you I love you Oh yes I love you

Nor do I

Oh my love

Like the wave Irresolute

I go I go and I come Inside you my love I go and I come Inside you my love And then I hold on

I love you I love you Oh Yes I love you

Nor do I

You are the wave And I the naked island You go you go and you come you go and you come inside me my love and then we are one

I love you I love you Oh yes I love you Nor do I

Oh my love

Like the wave irresolute

I go i go and I come Inside you my love I go and I come Inside you my love And then I hold on

(orgasms--universal, i think, in any language)

I love I love you my love Inside me my love I love you my love Deep inside me my love And then we are one

I love you I love you Oh yes I love

Nor do I

Oh my love

Physical love is a dead end*

I go I go and I come Inside you my love I go and I come And I hold on


(orgasms again)

*another translation says "physical love is without exit" I think Mick Harvey's translation is good, but it is still a bit rough. You should check out the song--Anita Lane and Nick Cave (from the Bad seeds--"red right hand")"

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10 Dec 2003 @ 23:52 by Roland Tanglao @ : merci
thanks ming, as always it was a pleasure to chat with you; someday i'll also master the nuances of "moi non plus" :-)  

11 Dec 2003 @ 04:28 by ming : Avec plaisir
La beauté est dans les nuances  

11 Dec 2003 @ 18:15 by JOn @ : Les nuances
Je croit qu'une des aspects le plus interessante de la culture Frabcaise est qu'ils vivent les nuances, n'est-ce-pas?  

11 Dec 2003 @ 19:06 by ming : Nuances
Mais oui. Ils aiment bien l'expression et la discussion avec finesse sur toutes les nuances de la vie.  

12 Dec 2003 @ 18:41 by Jon @ : Zut alors!
...que tes capacites avec la langue francaise sont ameliores ?! Est-ce que tu es capable, maintenant, de franchir et soutenir une conversationles complexites, les nuance de la vie en France ?

Apres Los Angeles, n'est ce-que c'est comme "a breath of fresh air" de vivre la quotidienne dans une culture dont les valeurs sont encore plus-ou-moins constant, et encore reliee aux etres humains?  

12 Dec 2003 @ 19:26 by ming : Conversations
Conversations philosophiques sont encore difficile, mais j'ai reussi quelque temps. La clarté de prononciation fait toute la difference. Je connais beaucoup des mots deja, mais je ne sais pas toujours que je les connais quand certaines gens parlent tres vite.

Je me sens plus tranquille ici. Mais ce n'est pas encore completement 'normal' pour moi. C'est comme c'est une surprise. La meme chose quand j'ai connu des gens gentilles ici et ils me surprisent quand ils faitent exactement comme ils disent. A Los Angeles il fallait tous le temps me demander si les promesses sont sincères.  

6 Jun 2007 @ 18:33 by Sarah @ : thanks!
Thanks for the explanation, I always wondered what was going on with that "moi non plus" :)  

27 Jun 2008 @ 06:58 by Mark P @ : Merci.
I think that most French speakers take the title to mean "I love you, but not really," which makes sense given the context of the song. I don't speak French myself, but I've known quite a few people from France who are old enough to remember the controversy this record inspired.

The consensus,it seems, is that Serge Gainsbourg is a genius, and I would have to agree. There really aren't very many songs that ooze this kind of sexuality.  

28 Apr 2010 @ 14:08 by Sebastian L. @ : plus
Well "non plus" can also mean "not any more" or "not any longer".  

12 Jul 2011 @ 00:58 by Marocs de Santos @ : Serge Gainsbourg lyrics
There is this site: www.myownrole.com with alot of Serge's lyrics in English, including Moi Non Plus  

19 Sep 2012 @ 05:07 by Ge @ : 'moi non plus' translated
A simple Swiss-French man explained this to me. The source man is a logical engineer, an observer of culture, 6 languages and having lived all over the world, without lofty idea nor poetic generalizations.
He stated...
It is a French expression for "me too" with less courage, or perhaps, more sentiment of vulnerability. Instead of replying to "I love you" with I love you in kind, some might well say, "me too" as they are not ready for this exposure yet. The French, understanding this tendency, would take it a step further and go so far as to say, "me neither". It is more than just bashful sarcasm, it deals with the entire condition of sex versus love. As in, "of course I love you, you fool, but it is too much for me to say that, and I might end heartbroken, or you might, or maybe it is only pheromones and the moment and what truth is there in saying this now then? it is too predictable to say this to me in bed."
And on a similar note, it is cited that Gainsbourg was influenced in saying 'moi non plus" by Salvador Dali, mimicking a statement by Dali of equal fear, avoidance, and ultimate lean towards absurdism as the only viable outlook.  

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