English Translation of Mark Steyn’s Interview with Bonjour le Chat

December 15, 2015

Feline Groovy cover art

Mark Steyn writes, “A couple of days ago France’s leading feline forum, Bonjour Le Chat, interviewed me about Marvin. For non-francophones, I’ll provide a few anglo snippets once this Senate testimony’s behind me.”

I’m not as bilingual as Mark Steyn (or at least I’m certainly not any more), but I’m also not a panelist in Senate hearings; so I had a little free time this afternoon, and produced this rough translation.  Enjoy!

A BEAUTIFUL STORY FOR BLACK-CAT WEDNESDAY!
A special interview for Bonjour le Chat
(December 2nd, 2015)

We’ve received questions about Marvin, the cat belonging to Mark Steyn, who decided to record him “Feline Groovy”, an album of songs entirely devoted to cats!  See below pictures of Marvin, the hungry kitten rescued from the streets of Brooklyn one day, now turned show-business star.

When he took in this little black cat, Mark was a little worried about how his dog, Willy, who has been with him a long time, would take the arrival of this newest family member in the country home in Vermont [sic] where he lives with his family.  He explains that Willy is a “difficult” dog.

“It’s been eleven years now, but you can still tell that he was terribly abused by someone who apparently used whatever was to hand to hurt him.  One day I took out a measuring tape from a drawer to measure something, and Willy went crazy.  It’s happened with kitchen utensils, with things you wouldn’t imagine,” Mark says.

“A banana makes him go into a fit, and we’ve never figured out why.  And when he’s afraid, Willy may attack.  But from the first moment, he never even started to go after Marvin; on the contrary, Marvin changed his character, calmed him, ‘tamed’ Willy, who always seeks his company.  The two are more than friends; they make each other happy.

“That’s something I’ve noticed with cats. In the morning, when I come down the stairs to make myself my first cup of coffee in the kitchen, Marvin risks tripping me to rub between my legs, and there’s something marvelous about seeing that he needs my presence, as I need his.”

Mark has always had cats, and other animals.  “When I was starting out, when I had just gotten a difficult interview, I went home one evening to find my first cat, Elliott, playing with a ball of ‘yarn’—which turned out to be the tape of the interview, which I had to reassemble piece by piece like a puzzle…”

Mark is a conservative columnist and writer well known in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.  A former radio disc jockey, he came to political journalism in parallel with another specialization: the popular American music of Broadway and Hollywood, and the musical comedies and movies for which it was written.  Apart from his articles and his many books, he also does radio shows: a hectic life, made more peaceful by the presence of Marvin.

“Cats can sense how you’re feeling, whether you’re tense….I think there are few moments more magical, or more apt to give you perspective on life, than hearing the purr of a cat stretched out against you.  The British aesthete Lord Berners, on whom I did a documentary, said that he preferred cats with a very loud purr; and, upon reflection, I believe he was entirely correct.  When I spend a half hour with Marvin like that, I can face any stress; ideas come to me; and that’s how I decided to record Feline Groovy.”

(Original article in French—and pictures of Marvin—available here.)

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One Response to “English Translation of Mark Steyn’s Interview with Bonjour le Chat”


  1. […] (February 2nd, 2016):  While you’re here, also check out my exclusive amateur translation of this French-language interview with Mark Steyn about his cat Marvin.  More on Steyn here.  Mohammed drawings […]


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