This is something of a fringe question. I hope it's considered on-topic.

There have been two books published which purport to be French poetry. The joke is that when read aloud, the poetry sounds, with some artistic license, like well-known English texts.

The first book is 'Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames', which 'translates' to 'Mother Goose rhymes'.

The other book is 'Guillaume Chequespierre and the Oise Salon'. I can't work out what English phrase could be meant.

What is the English almost-homophone for 'Oise Salon'?

EDIT: From the front pages of the book. This lends credibility to mplungjan's answer.

13, Rue du Chat Mort

  • 1
    'Guillaume Chequespierre, and he was a loon?'.
    – Kris
    Sep 1, 2014 at 12:09
  • 1
    Perhaps whistle on, defined by someone there as Irish slang for "Go away!", but understood by me as "Dream on!", "In your dreams!" (i.e - "You can whistle for what you want, but you won't get it from me!"). Sep 1, 2014 at 12:34
  • @FumbleFingers That's also credible.
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 12:37
  • "William Shakespeare and 'er Whistle On?" - I dunno. Sep 1, 2014 at 13:07
  • 3
    I don't understand the objection, Edwin. This is a play on English words, and question about a specific joke. It would not be possible in another language, although a similar joke could be made in another language.
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 15:13

3 Answers 3


I would suggest "Wazz salon"

as in

William Shakespeare and the Wazz Salon

  • The pronunciation matches:

From Wikipedia

Oise (French pronunciation: ​[waz]) is a department in the north of France. It is named after the river Oise.

  • The book is from Oct 1985

Wazz - Urinate - 1980s: origin uncertain; perhaps an alteration of whizz.

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/wazz


sometimes vulgar : an act of urinating —used especially in the phrase take a whiz

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whiz

  • It is mentioned in this thesis:

"This translator masquerades his traducsons as the original works of a school of French poets who meet regularly by a pissoir to recite their creations. The group is aptly called the “Oise Salon” (“Wazz Salon”) and calls a certain Guillaume Chequespierre its leader."

Source: Sound Translation: Poetic and Cinematic Practices, Ryan Fraser

  • and this review points out the pissoir

The Oise Salon was located in front of the Louis XIV pissoir at 13 Rue de Chat Mort (#13 Dead Cat Street), Paris where a group of eccentric poets in the 1880's gathered to recite their works.

Source: http://www.ivillage.com/forums/node/12881163#post-12881163

Note: Since I cannot find the text of the actual book online, the above two points are not verifiable

  • Fantastic, I had no idea the books had received any academic attention! But 'wizz' and 'wazz' aren't English words and those phrases don't make any sense (at least tome). Why would they be 'apt'?
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 12:10
  • 2
    I'd assumed that the 'translation' would be some kind of Standard English (I was aware of the American English slang but had discounted it). I the other suggestions of "was a loon" or "was alone" might be more likely?
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 12:13
  • 1
    I think your last update is conclusive. It's been some years since I read the book, and I've ordered a copy (hence coming here to ask). I'll add any corroborating evidence! Thanks for all your efforts @mplungjan!
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 15:05
  • 1
    Typo: It's Shakespeare NOT William Sharepeare
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 1, 2014 at 19:59
  • 1
    @mplungjan The book arrived. Pictorial evidence added to the question backs up your hypothesis.
    – Joe
    Sep 11, 2014 at 8:59

Perhaps Once Alone or Was Alone, both of which would suit the notion of an outhouse and how one finds oneself there.

  • 1
    Guillaume Chequespierre and the Once Alone?
    – mplungjan
    Sep 1, 2014 at 14:20

'Guillaume Chequespierre and the Oise Salon'=

William Shakespeare and he was alone.

  • no, I don't have sources. No, I shouldn't need them. If it's supposed to sound alike, this would make reasonable sense. Especially in light of the pronunciation of Mother.
    – SrJoven
    Sep 1, 2014 at 15:34
  • That's one option certainly. I accepted mplungjan's answer because it seems to fit with the theme of the book (as per his last quote).
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 15:47
  • Certainly agree. Though it would be hard to argue against the William Shakespeare reference, right?
    – SrJoven
    Sep 1, 2014 at 15:54
  • Sorry, don't understand. Which Shakespeare reference? Perhaps if 'the' had been spelt 'thé`. Maybe that's the joke. Mystery. The joke might be that it doesn't have a dual meaning after all. Who knows?
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 16:04
  • 1
    Yes, sorry. I assumed that was a given.
    – Joe
    Sep 1, 2014 at 17:38

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