That's Monsieur Gainsbourg to You

Serge Gainsbourg. The ultimate 70's swinger. I'm having the hardest time posting videos right now, or I'd show him in action, but I'm compelled to write about him anyway, so enjoy these photos. Serge Gainsbourg was a russian jew who during WWII had to wear the yellow star, and ultimately flee Paris. He came back and worked as a piano player in bars for a while until finally, 20 years into his music career, he started writing hits. His whole persona is that of the smooth, smoking womanizer. He had big ears, droopy eyes and a deadpan expression that for some reason, turned everyone on. He does have a certain je ne sais quoi, but honestly the cheese factor is a bit much for me to take too seriously. For me the attraction is a kind of sadness, desperation. I've seen interviews where he's drunk, hiding behind his cigarette smoke, and burning 500 franc notes to make a point about taxation. It's all so incongruous: the desperate sexuality, the homely looks, the dead expression and the over-the-top 1970's backdrop.
One of the best things about Serge Gainsbourg is his fantastic daughter Charlotte. I fell for her when I first saw "Jane Eyre", the one where she stars with William Hurt as Rochester. I've seen that movie 5 times and I love it every single time. I'm not crazy about her new record 5:55, but I am crazy about her style. According to Nylon magazine she's "the coolest girl in paris", and I have to agree. She looks like a young Patti Smith, but seems a bit kinder, not as tough. "Slender as an haricot vert" as one article put it, she is rock and roll cool, and yet if she's anything like Jane Eyre, (and I think she is), she's learned a few things her father never did.


Anonymous said…
Hi Diane-I have to tell you that in recent years I have become a huge fan of Serge ,Francoise Hardy and France Gall. Have you ever heard the band Baby Birkin? They do mostly Jane B covers ,but also other 'ye-ye' stuff. Same with Dutronc Dutronc Dutronc. Good stuff. Didn't Serge kind of pull one over on France Gall with a song that he had written for her?."Les Succettes"? -Thank you for putting this up.I can't find your e-mail address. Love Martin B.