Bonjour from Pézenas, a small village in the Languedoc, which has a webcafe even though it looks roughly like this:
The music signs weren’t great at first, notwithstanding the obvious influence that local boy Molière had on Neil Young. I’m speaking, of course, of Arnolphe’s description of his ideal wife in L’Ecole des Femmes:
En un mot, qu’elle soit d’une ignorance extrême:
Et c’est assez pour elle, à vous en bien parler,
De savoir prier Dieu, m’aimer, coudre, et filer.†
translated in “A man needs a maid” as
I was thinking that maybe I’d get a maid
Find a place nearby for her to stay.
Just someone to keep my house clean, fix my meals and go away.
But bien sur, Pézenas’s greater and most-recent contribution to music is Boby Lapointe. Wedding duties and irksome French opening hours mean that we’re currently unable to bring you a report from the Musée Boby Lapointe, and so a fuller appraisal will have to wait. For the moment, a potted biography of the French Ian Dury.
You’re most likely to have seen Boby Lapointe in Tirez sur le pianiste [right], where he plays the burly pub singer doing a jerky dance singing a suggestive song, with subtitles. This was his his big break, courtesy of François Truffaut, who’d seen him at the Le Cheval D’Or cabaret in the 1950s.
Prior to that, Boby had been many things: a childhood prankster (he desecrated the church weathercock I can see from my chambre d’hôte), a mathematician (he later invented a binary system which the community seems to have found quite useful) and resistance figure (he escaped from a Linz labour camp and spent the rest of the year on the run).
In post-war Paris he started writing, mainly intricate tumbling patterns of words which variously make your brain hurt, make you laugh, or give a snapshot of people living their lives.
What money he earned from cabaret, films and recordings he tended to squander on bad business ideas, and eventually Yéyé shoved Boby to the sidelines, but he carried on recording until returning to Pézenas to die in 1972. The town now has, as well as the Musée, a Place Boby Lapointe, a Papeterie Boby Lapointe, and sculpture all around town dedicated to Boby.
Unless the Aubade De Boby is rescheduled, or the Musée adopts normal hours, the next mention of Boby will be about the CD we nabbed here. Until then,
Avanie et mamelles
Sont les framboises du Destin!
As you might expect, Les Inrockuptibles are delighted that The Cure is back, and offers a career retrospective, where we learn that Seventeen Seconds is
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Le chef d’œuvre de Cure. Un disque paranoïaque et sombre, quasi heideggerien dans son intérêt métaphysique pour la question de temps, de la mort, du feu.