Because we know that so many reality TV shows are scripted, it would be easy to imagine that Britain’s version of American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, might be a total set-up, were it not for the undeniable gifts of some of its contestants. Even if we hadn’t been taken by this promotional “docu-video” of 81-year-old Janey Cutler’s seemingly guileless manner on the show, we couldn’t help but be knocked out by her rendition of “No Regrets”, a bastardized version of the song Edith Piaf made famous in 1960, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”.

It reminded us just how forthrightly and fiercely Piaf – who was known for ballads that echoed her life –  sang it in this famous video a few years before she died (which we couldn’t download here)…if you don’t want to go to YouTube, here’s a next-best version:

Cutler sang “No Regrets” like she meant it, too, and with a huge amount if daring:  performing in front of millions of viewers, while challenging notions of what people her age are supposed to be like AND having fun.

We looked up a translation of the original Piaf version to discover just how amazing the lyrics are, in their defiant embrace of the NOW…:

“No, nothing at all, I regret nothing at all
Not the good, nor the bad. It is all the same.
No, nothing at all, I have no regrets about anything.
It is paid, wiped away, forgotten.
I am not concerned with the past, with my memories.
I set fire to my pains and pleasures,
I don’t need them anymore.
I have wiped away my loves, and my troubles.
Swept them all away.
I am starting again from zero.

No, nothing at all, I have no regrets
Because from today, my life, my happiness, everything,
Starts with you!”.”

…We figured out that Janey Cutler would have been about thirty years old when Piaf started performing “No, Je Ne Regrette Rien”…and wonder if she’d heard it, and what the road was to bringing her to that stage fifty years later…

With thanks to Cara de Silva!

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3 replies on “singing as courage and daring

  1. thank you so much for this. the lyrics hit me where I live right now. I believe you and I are kindred souls. have a great day, sally.

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