This morning I did a web search to try to find the word for “at sign” in Spanish. For what it’s worth, the answer appears to be arroba, which seems fairly close to the word arobase used in French.
It’s a quiet Friday at the office, so after quickly getting the answer to my question, I started clicking around on links that led me to tangents upon other tangents. First I learned the at sign is sometimes used as a substitute for the circle-A symbol used by some anarchist groups. Then I learned about Crass, a former English anarchist punk band, who at one time had a lead singer called Eve Libertine. That led me to the song Libertine by French singer Mylène Farmer. I was already familiar with both the song and the singer, but I wasn’t aware the song had been covered by Belgian singer Kate Ryan. However, I’d heard of Kate Ryan because of her earlier cover of a different Mylène Farmer song, the pop anthem Désenchantée.
I can remember hearing the Kate Ryan cover of Désenchantée on European pop radio stations shortly after it was released. It climbed the charts quickly. Since I travel to Europe every two to three years and listen to French radio stations on the internet when I’m home, I thought to myself, it couldn’t have been more than a few years ago I first heard this song.
As it turns out, it was 2002. Sixteen years ago.
Damn, I’m getting old.