In France the chanson paillarde or bawdy song is intimately linked with the medical profession, more precisely the world of the hospital. They are commonly called chansons de salles de garde or duty-room songs, the duty-room being the common room where young interns rested when on call. It also served as a refectory where they took their meals together, and sometimes staged boisterous parties. It was for many years a predominantly male preserve, though more recently the duty-room has become increasingly inclusive, and female interns these days are usually willing participants in such revels rather than coerced nursing staff. Here the interns sang about drinking and loose women, the heightened joie de vivre helping them to accommodate themselves with the closeness of illness, suffering and death. In these songs there are constant references to every form and deviation of the act of sex, as well as prostitution, venereal diseases, and scatology.

This edition of Chansons de salles de garde is notable more for its illustrations than its text, which includes an introduction by Jean Dardèche, author of the quickly-forgotten erotic novel Et Virginie, also published by the short-lived Éditions 2000. The illustrator is given as ‘K. Plain’, the true identity of whom will probably never be known, but they are well-drawn and colourful, and an excellent complement to these well-known songs.

The collection consists of nearly forty of the best-known chanson paillardes, many of which will still bring a smile to the faces of newly-qualified French medics:
     Allons à Messine (Let’s go to Messina)
     L’amour autour du monde (Love Around the World)
     Au château (At the Chateau)
     Le bordel a fermé ses volets (The Brothel has Closed its Shutters)
     Les bretons  (The Bretons)
     Caroline la putain (Caroline the Whore)
     La catin de la rue Pigalle (The Whore of Rue Pigalle)
     Le club des biroutes (The Cock Club)
     Le cordonnier Pamphile (Pamphile the Shoemaker) 
     De Profundis      
     Et autre chose aussi (Something Else Again)     
     Les filles de Camaret (The Girls of Camaret)
     Frère Domino (Brother Domino)
     Le Gotha (The Elite)
     Le grenadier des Flandres (The Flanders Grenadier) 
     Le gros curé de campagne (The Fat Country Priest) 
     A l’hôpital (At the Hospital)
     A l’hôpital Saint-Louis (At Saint-Louis Hospital)
     Le hussard de la garde (Hussar of the Guards)
     L’invalide à la pine de bois (The Patient with a Hard-on)
     La machine à laver la vaisselle (The Dish-washing Machine)
     Les moines de Saint-Bernardin (The Monks of Saint-Bernardin)
     Le musée d’Athènes (The Museum in Athens)
     O mon berger fidèle (Oh My Faithful Shepherd)
     Le père Dupanloup (Father Dupanloup)
     Le petit écu (The Little Crown)
     Le plaisir des dieux (Pleasure of the Gods)
     Les poils du cul (Ass Hair)
     La pompe à merde (The Shit Pump)
     Le pou et l’araignée (The Louse and the Spider)
     Psaumes (Psalms)
     Qu’on apporte (Bring it All On)
     En revenant de Nantes (Coming Back from Nantes)
     Les stances à Sophie (Verses to Sophie)
     Tonton Jules (Uncle Jules)
     Les trois orfèvres (The Three Goldsmiths)
     Le wagon de pines en souffrance (The Overdue Cock-Truck)