Ah I love Serge Gainsbourg...I especially love the music he made in the sixties My favourite Gainsbourg song is Initials B.B. It's just perfect (L)
my blog: saskiasaskia.tumblr.com
3D animation of 5 years at Serge Gainsbourgs home
Here is a 3D video documenting the graffiti that appeared outside the Gainsbourg home over the course of 5 years.
The legacy and continual appreciation of Gainsbourg is clearly apparent, as is the case for many other great artists (namely The Beatles), who have property affectionately defaced to this extent, in a shrine-like fashion, by the 'people'. Even if the property is put up For Sale, I am sure there will be no end to the tagging, ensuring that any prospectful buyer would need to factor high exterior paint costs to any purchase price! The people would argue the property should not be for sale...he was our Artist, this is our place of ritual....
I can't name my favourite Gainsbourg song, however, lyrically it would have to be 'La Chanson de Prevert'.
For those like me who only speak broken French, this is a wonderful site of translated Serge lyrics. Definitely worth bookmarking.
Grace Issue Out Now
by the way, i have that book chansons d'aujourd'hui and there are two nice interviews with him in it. one from june 1966 and other from march 1968. if anyone is interested, i could try to translate them and post here.
catchin' colds and missin' trains
First Interview: June 1966
- Serge Gainsbourg, you are a character apart in the music world. You’re the first to introduce a certain cynicism, a harshness, a violence that isn’t found elsewhere. Why?
- Why? Because I thought my looks were the antipode of chanson de charme. That’s it.
- Only because of that?
- No, but also for personal reasons, secret reasons…
- And the misogyny you show, would it be for secret reasons too?
- Yes, the disappointments… with love. But that’s been a while!
- Even your latest songs, we find characters who are defeated, beaten by women. I’m thinking of “Docteur Jekyll and Mister Hyde”.
- I regret. Dr Jekyll isn’t a victim. He avenges himself, he becomes bad.
- And is it the real Serge Gainsbourg behind these songs? I have the impression that behind the misogyny, there is a certain romanticism. Do you believe in mad love?
- Yes, but in temporary mad love… short-term.
- What is a woman to you?
- Oh! It is something indispensable for a man, but isn’t amusing.
- A partner, not a companion.
- Not a partner, an adversary.
- That means each time you meet a woman, you start a battle?
- I start a battle that I know I’m going to win… A short-term battle… A long-term one will not work, because time is against her, unfortunately, and not against me.
- Are you sure you never find yourself hurt after a battle like that?
- Yes, later… when I go see ballets, the ballet students… I’ll be 65 by then. Maybe I’ll slobber. For now, because I’m also an idealist, and not a complete bastard, as an idealist, I have difficulties.
- You always feel solitary, you never find in any man…
- …any woman!
- …what you seek, a presence…
- Presence? What do you call a presence?
- A support for the hard times.
- Bah? That’s easy! I’ve been in a very bad state here alone for eight days. I’ve understood my solitude, a much more evident solitude than the usual… But if it is in these cases that we need a (male) friend, it’s too easy… Or a (female) friend… So it went well. Solitude evidently isn’t amusing, but that’s how it is.
- And you don’t believe that it can break off one day.
- No. I’m not generous enough to give something to someone. Well, if it’s not reciprocal.
- Are you sure you wouldn’t give anything to anyone?
- I believe I talked nonsense. I believe I’d give everything and then… (laughs)
- Once you told me you wanted to be a disquieting character in music. A bit like a certain movie actor …
- Yes, Anthony Quinn. Well, now it got normal, with the English bands, the “ugly mugs”, the Rolling Stones…
- The disquieting characters are accepted.
- Absolutely! And how! Except that these guys drug themselves to death, and I have always said I was on drugs. Although, ultimately, I’ve never been on drugs. It’s about the presence: maybe I have something in the eye, I don’t know…
- Maybe the fact that drugs appear in many of your songs?
- Oh, no. Because I was against drugs. That would have been a total phony.
- “Coco and C°”, for example.
- “Coco and C°”, that was the jazz. Once I said that I had abandoned the jazz a little because of this universe of drugs and that I was into rock. Then I realized there wasn’t anyone more into drugs than the guys from the English rock. But I like that.
- The rock, is it your latest musical discovery?
- It isn’t my latest discovery. It’s my first discovery. I have here in my record collection a Johnny Ray disc from 57, and a disc from 58, from a completely unknown guy who Boris Vian tried to launch and scared everyone, Screaming Jay Hawkins. That’s been a while, this rock thing! But I was still into jazz… But the current jazz, all of those who want to use it have a style that dates from 55…
- A style you consider outdated?
- Yes, absolutely! There have been the “free jazz” and all those sorts of attempts.
- And you don’t think it is possible to make songs with the “free jazz”?
- Oh! No.
- We have the impression that in your songs, the text loses its importance to the music.
- The text is more, say, schematic! Yes. I’m fed up with puzzling my head over elaborating texts that pass unnoticed. I’m thirty-eight years old, I have gray hair. In painting I’d like to be misunderstood, but not in music.
- Do you believe your texts pass unnoticed?
- Yes, in the long-plays, there is one or two songs that worked, and the others didn’t. The most beautiful ones, the ones I like don’t work. They’ve never worked. Never!
- Which ones do you like?
- Never “Intoxicated man”, never “Ces petits riens”, never “La Javanaise” that no one understood, never “Ce mortel ennui”. And then it sounds pretentious to say I work for a minority. One says: minority, one thinks: elite, and that isn’t true. You have to work for a majority in music.
- When you write for others, and I’m thinking of France Gall, your texts are permeated by an unusual mark in the world of mates*, of yéyés. Was “Baby pop” a harsh song? (*"dans le monde des copains", i didn't know how to translate that)
- …and toned down. The text was quite terrible initially. I was censored. Bah! They are not so bad, all these: “La Gadoue”, “Les Incorruptibles”, “O Sheriff”… they are jokes.
- Yes, but “Baby pop” wasn’t, “Les petits papiers” wasn’t.
- Ok! There is a certain language, but… If in the end I was to remain elaborating texts and depicting a sophisticated world, with girls who are a bit dumb and quite rich, eh well! I’d be ruined!
- I’m not sure.
- You are not sure. Me, I’m sure!
- When we find ourselves here at Maison des Arts, we have the impression that it’s a key decor for your songs. It’s an ultra modern decor that exactly fits the style you have adopted.
- That’s completely fortuitous. I’m not here for nothing. Actually I have an English armchair. Gadgets, well!...
- A television, a Japanese electric clock, and then the shape of the windows, the shape of the studio, all that is a song decor.
- It’s no bad. It lacks one or two Picabia. Paul Klee, too… But that will come… I have hang-ups. Here, it’s the Cité Internationale des Arts. While walking through the corridor, I heard… Stravinsky, Chopin, then Bartok… and I said to myself: “I am alone in music”. And I didn’t dare playing rock and jerk on my piano. And then I realized – there is a floor for painters, a floor for engravers, a floor for musicians – I realized we find some really bad elements among the painters, some really bad elements among the engravers, some really bad elements among the musicians.
- And you feel less uncomfortable?
- I feel absolutely comfortable. There is no hang-up to have.
- You have a very clear taste for modern words in your songs, even brand names, words we commonly use.
- Yes, but English words. When I compose a melody, I jabber in English, whatever it may be, to see if it flows. English is a criterion. French is more guttural and corresponds, to an English ear, to what Yugoslavian is to us. We have difficulties with the tonic accent that English people don’t have! So I cheat and I put English words in my songs.
- What do you think of Etiemble?
- Eh well, tell him I said bonjour. But in English, of course!
In the end he is right: French is a beautiful language. But the world nowadays is under an English influence, not a French influence, we must not delude ourselves. And then, we must not be chauvinistic…
my translation from Serge Gainsbourg - Chansons d'aujourd'hui by Lucien Rioux | Editions Pierre Seghers, 1969.
catchin' colds and missin' trains
Last edited by *ana*; 06-03-2011 at 08:56 PM.