Vieux Bouc (Old Goat) is a song # 3 from the very first album Cendres de lune released on 1 April 1986. Must be the Fool Day song – seriously! It cracks me up every time I hear it…Laurent Boutonnat was clearly fooling around the song’s lyrics and frankly the melody as he is the one sololy responsible for creating them both.

This one for sure gives you a glimpse of Laurent’s dark sense of humor. You probably would not believe it, but I write my chapters in random order. Somehow this one happened to follow the L’annonciation ….hmmm… spooky

The song is about a ritual of witchcraft called the Sabbath, in which the goat symbolizes the Devil. Farmer addresses him and takes part in Satanic rites including baptism.

A choir of children, a goat’s bleating and the singer’s laughter are used in the background vocals and for sure creates quite a believable wickedness which Laurent was most likely aiming to achieve.

At the beginning of the song, Farmer imitates a question-and-response from the Sabbath, in English: “Do you love the devil, my dear? Oh, yes, I love him!”

It was recorded in style suggesting usage of an effect known as backmasking, as well as being recorded and played back normally.

It has never been performed on tour nor on television; however, on Mylène’s performance of “Chloé” on Azimuts on June 25 1986, you can hear bleating goat along with the orthodox choir in the first few seconds before she sang “Chloé “.

Asked in 1987 by the magazine “Gai Pied” on the “black mass” side of this song, Mylène answers not without humor:

“Sometimes I have fire in my veins. From time to time, I am the Devil! (…) When I was little, I modeled dolls with the effigies of a few people. I never have them. pierced with pins though” (Mylène Farmer – ” Gai Pied “- 12/01/1987)

Interestingly enough, Laurent keeps being drown to the whole thing of the Witches’ Sabbath and uses the Goya’s famous painting again as an inspiration for the Sans Logique which comes out a few years later in Ainsi soit je… album (1988).

Witches’ sabbath, nocturnal gathering of witches, a colorful and intriguing part of the lore surrounding them in Christian European tradition. The concept dates from the mid-14th century when it first appeared in Inquisition records, although revels and feasts mentioned by such classical authors as the Romans Apuleius and Petronius Arbiter may have served as inspiration. The sabbath, or sabbat, derived probably from the term for the seventh day used by the Jews, might be held on any day of the week, though Saturday was considered rare as being sacred to the Virgin Mary.

The Witches’ Sabbath or the Sabbat are the eight festivals celebrated by Wiccans, Witches, and Neopagans, spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the annual cycle of the Earth’s seasons (the “Wheel of the Year”). The word “sabbat” itself comes from the witches’ sabbaths attested to in Early Modern witch trials. Most of the names of the individual Sabbats derive from historical Celtic and Germanic Pagan festivals, although some non-traditional names Litha and Mabon, which have become popular in North American Wicca.

The Sabbat was most often celebrated in isolated places, preferably forests or mountains. Some famous places where these events were said to have been celebrated are Briany, Puy-de-Dôme (France), Blå Jungfrun (Sweden), Blocksberg, Melibäus, the Black Forest, (Germany), the Bald Mountain (Poland), Vaspaku, Zabern, Kopastatö (Hungary), Carignano, Benevento, San Colombano al Lambro (Italy) and more, but it was also said that Stonehenge (England) was a place for Sabbats.

The Witches’ Sabbath are ceremonies that can be considered religious or blasphemous depending on the observer in question. Implemented under cover of darkness in remote and solitary places like a forest, the witches gather around a fire to honor their Master. Bare, sometimes covered with blood or hell-pitch, they dance invoking the spirits so that they realize their pleas. The Sabbath is also an opportunity to make the most important liturgical rituals, just as to start the Grand Rite with the necessary sacrifices. Distinguishable features that are typically contained within a Witches’ Sabbat are assembly by foot, beast, or flight, a banquet, dancing and cavorting, and sexual intercourse.

Four of the Sabbats fall on the solstices and equinoxes and are also known as “quarter days” or “Lesser Sabbats”. The other four fall (approximately) midway between these and are commonly known as “cross-quarter days”, “fire festivals” or “Greater Sabbats”.

The quarter days are also referred to as “Sun Sabbats” (as they are based on the astronomical position of the sun), and cross-quarter days are sometimes called “Moon Sabbats”, and may be observed on the full moon closest to the traditional festival date (or the second full moon after the preceding Sun Sabbat). The ritual observances of the full moon within Wicca and other Wiccan-influenced forms of Neopaganism are known as Esbats. Traditionally, the Sabbats are times of celebration, while “magical work” is done at the Esbats.

The Sabbats are as follows:
Samhain (aka Sowyn or Hallows or the Festival of the Dead): a Greater Sabbat, October 31.
Yule (aka Midwinter, the Winter Solstice): a Lesser Sabbat, December 21.
Imbolc (aka Candlemas, Oimelc or Brigit): a Greater Sabbat, January 31.
Ostara (aka Lady Day, the Spring or Vernal Equinox): a Lesser Sabbat, March 21.
Beltane (aka May Eve): a Greater Sabbat, April 30.
Litha (aka Midsummer, the Summer Solstice): a Lesser Sabbat, June 22.
Lughnasadh (aka Lammas or Lunasa): a Greater Sabbat, July 31.
Mabon (aka Modron or Harvest Home, the Autumn Equinox): a Lesser Sabbat, September 21.

One of the iconic description of the witches sabbath in modern literature was created by Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov in “The Master and Margarita” (Russian: Мастер и Маргарита). Its the most enigmatic and philosophical novel in Russian literature up to date. It was written in 1928 – 1940 but was published in Paris(!!) only in the late 60s after the writer’s death. It an amazing book. Please read it.

In the nutshell, Bulgakov portrays evil as being as inseparable from our world as light is from darkness. Both Satan and Jesus Christ dwell mostly inside people.

Did you know that in Russian an expression “Old goat” (“старый козел”) has a sarcastic connotation as it refers to the perverse old man who is usually chasing after young girls. Funny really how Boutonnat uses it in the pun context (knowingly or unknowingly). It is especially amusing as he ended up with a Russian woman Ilona Orel who probably improves his knowledge of Russian slang. 😂 More on Laurent here

Laurent Boutonnat most likely borrowed A phrase “L’enfer, c’est les autres” (“Hell is others”) from Jean-Paul Sartre‘s play Huis Clos (1944).

Let’s talk for a bit about the Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre –  a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism.

Jean-Paul Sartre, (born June 21, 1905, Paris, France—died April 15, 1980, Paris), French philosopher, novelist, and playwright, best known as the leading exponent of existentialism in the 20th century. In 1964 he declined the Nobel Prize for Literature, which had been awarded to him “for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age.”

Sartre believed in the essential freedom of individuals, and he also believed that as free beings, people are responsible for all elements of themselves, their consciousness, and their actions. That is, with total freedom comes total responsibility.

Sartre took over the phenomenological method, which proposes careful, unprejudiced description of the phenomena of conscious experience, from the German philosopher Edmund Husserl and used it with great skill in three successive publications: L’Imagination (1936; Imagination: A Psychological Critique), Esquisse d’une théorie des émotions (1939; Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions), and L’Imaginaire: Psychologie phénoménologique de l’imagination (1940; The Psychology of Imagination). But it was above all in L’Être et le néant (1943; Being and Nothingness) that Sartre revealed himself as a philosopher of remarkable originality and depth. Sartre places human consciousness, or no-thingness (néant), in opposition to being, or thingness (être). Consciousness is not-matter and by the same token escapes all determinism. The message, with all the implications it contains, is a hopeful one; yet the incessant reminder that human endeavor is and remains useless makes the book tragic as well.

No Exit (French: Huis clos, pronounced is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors. The play was first performed at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in May 1944. The play begins with three characters who find themselves waiting in a mysterious room. It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity. It is the source of Sartre’s especially famous phrase “L’enfer, c’est les autres” or “Hell is other people”, a reference to Sartre’s ideas about the look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object from the view of another consciousness.

Three damned souls,Joseph Garcin, Inèz Serrano, and Estelle Rigault, are brought to the same room in Hell and locked inside by a mysterious valet. They had all expected torture devices to punish them for eternity, but instead, find a plain room furnished in the style of the French ‘Second Empire’. At first, none of them will admit the reason for their damnation: Garcin says that he was executed for being an outspoken pacifist, while Estelle insists that a mistake has been made; Inèz, however, is the only one to demand that they all stop lying to themselves and confess to their moral crimes. She refuses to believe that they have all ended up in the room by accident and soon realizes that they have been placed together to make each other miserable. She deduces that they are to be one another’s torturers.

Garcin suggests that they try to leave each other alone and to be silent, but Inèz starts to sing about execution and Estelle vainly wants to find a mirror to check on her appearance. Inèz tries to seduce Estelle by offering to be her “mirror” by telling her everything she sees but ends up frightening her instead. It is soon clear that Inèz is attracted to Estelle, Estelle is attracted to Garcin, and Garcin is not attracted to either of the two women.

After arguing, they decide to confess to their crimes, so they know what to expect from each other. Garcin cheated on and mistreated his wife, and was executed by firing squad for desertion; Inèz is a manipulative sadist who seduced her cousin’s wife, Florence, while living with them—which drove the cousin to kill himself, and resulted in Florence asphyxiating herself and Inèz by flooding the room with gas while they slept, out of guilt—and Estelle had an affair and then killed the resulting child, prompting the child’s father to commit suicide. Despite their revelations, they continue to get on each other’s nerves. Garcin finally begins giving in to the lascivious Estelle’s escalating attempts to seduce him, which drives Inèz crazy. Garcin is constantly interrupted by his own guilt, however, and begs Estelle to tell him he is not a coward for attempting to flee his country during wartime. While she complies, Inèz mockingly tells him that Estelle is just feigning attraction to him so that she can be with a man—any man.

This causes Garcin to abruptly attempt an escape. After his trying to open the door repeatedly, it inexplicably and suddenly opens, but he is unable to bring himself to leave, and the others remain as well. He says that he will not be saved until he can convince Inèz that he is not cowardly. She refuses, saying that he is obviously a coward, and promising to make him miserable forever. Garcin concludes that rather than torture devices or physical punishment, “hell is other people.” Estelle tries to persevere in her seduction of Garcin, but he says that he cannot make love while Inèz is watching. Estelle, infuriated, picks up a paper knife and repeatedly stabs Inèz. Inèz chides Estelle, saying that they are all already dead, and even furiously stabs herself to prove that point. As Estelle begins to laugh hysterically at the idea of them being dead and trapped together forever, the others join in a prolonged fit of laughter before Garcin finally concludes, “Eh bien, continuons…” (“Well then, let’s continue…”).



lyrics with translation

vieux bouc, je vous sens fébrile 
aimez-vous mon petit nombril ?
j'entends hurler dans le vent
est-ce le cri d'un chien, d'un enfant?

vieux bouc, êtes-vous fragile
aimez Vous mes cloches matines ?
l'hymen sera mon présent
maintenant, j'ai l'enfer dans l'sang

ma p'tite âme est sale
prends-la nue dans tes bras
et je m'en irai loin, si loin, si loin
loin de toi, vieux malin

ma p'tite âme a mal
prends-moi nue dans tes bras
et on s'en ira loin, si loin, si loin
...vieux malin

vieux bouc, c'est l'heure du baptême
je vous aime devant l'éternel
je sais l'enfer c'est les autres
en ce monde, on est tous des vôtres

ma p'tite âme est sale
prends-la nue dans tes bras
et je m'en irai loin, si loin, si loin
loin de toi, vieux malin

ma p'tite âme a mal
prends-moi nue dans tes bras
et on s'en ira loin,. si loin, si loin
vieux bouc

old goat, I feel you feverish 
do you like my little navel?
I hear howling in the wind
is it the cry of a dog,
of a child?

old goat, are you fragile
do you like my morning bells?
the hymen will be my present
now I have hell in my blood

my little soul is dirty
take her naked in your arms
and I will go far, so far, so far
far from you, you old devil

my little soul is hurting
take me naked in your arms
and we'll go far, so far, so far
...old fart

old goat, it's time for the baptism
I love you before the eternal
i know hell is other people
in this world, we are all yours

my little soul is dirty
take it naked in your arms
and I will go far, so far, so far
far from you,
old malicious man

my little soul is in pain
take me naked in your arms
and we'll go far, so far, so far
old goat

The page last edited July 28, 2022

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