March 1, 2011

We conjure ghosts and then we feed them

Daniel Weiss, Respect the Truth

* Serge Gainsbourg's 20 most scandalous moments. excerpt:

2. Dating the already married Brigitte Bardot

In 1967 Gainsbourg became infatuated with the French siren who, while enduring a difficult time in her marriage, agreed to go on a date with him. So intimidated was he by her stunning looks that on the date, he lost all of the wit and charisma that he was renowned for. Thinking he had ruined his chances with the sultry blonde, he returned home to hear a ringing phone over which Bardot insisted that as an apology for his poor performance on the date, he write her the most beautiful love song ever heard. The next morning, there were two: Bonnie et Clyde and Je T'aime … Moi Non Plus.

3. Recording songs in steamy, sweaty vocal booths (also with Brigitte Bardot)

Understandably, this upset Bardot's husband. Upon hearing Je T'aime … Moi Non Plus, Bardot headed to a Parisian studio with her new beau to record it. Throughout the two-hour session, sound engineer William Flageollet claimed to have witnessed "heavy petting" in the vocal booth while the sighs and whispers were committed to tape. The song had been mixed and readied for radio when Bardot, remembering that she was married, revoked her consent for its release. News of the recording had reached her husband, German businessman Gunter Sachs, and after desperate pleas, Gainsbourg relented to Bardot's wishes and the version was shelved. Bardot later went on to release the recording in 1986. And also to divorce her husband.
8. Explicitly stating his sexual desires to Whitney Houston on French TV

After a performance on the French prime time show of Michel Drucker in 1986, Houston found herself seated next to France's most notorious lothario for a post-performance chat. Little did she expect that the praise she would receive would turn into something sordid as Gainsbourg, in his best English clearly and confidently informed his host that he wanted "to fuck her". Houston's already highly blushed cheeks deepened a shade, and the scenario has never since been forgotten.

* RIP, Suze Rotolo, who, most famously, was on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

* From an interview with James Hannaham:

Q: You recently published your first novel, God Says No, which is receiving wonderful reviews. Is it difficult to make the switch from novel writing to short story writing? Does your style change in the different forms?

JH: In the middle of writing GSN, which began life as a very different book in 2001, I wrote a story that changed my approach to writing significantly—I realized that, like the composer I started out wanting to be, a big component of what turned me on about writing was the sound and rhythm of words, and discovered that if I took more pleasure in those elements, better stuff began to come to me quite naturally, even in terms of what people often call “content” or “narrative.” In the middle of a class this past semester, I told my students “writing is a kind of music,” which sounds sort of confusing, I think, until one admits that writing is made of sound as much or even more than meaning. Poets seem far more accepting of this idea than fiction writers for some reason. I’m trying now to adapt my style to something that’s appropriate for each new idea or project, betting that some essential quality will remain. Probably my favorite building blocks: the tacky, the tragicomic, the bittersweet.

Q: What are you working on now?

JH: Turning those ‘wonderful reviews’ into cold hard cash. It’s like alchemy only more difficult and less scientific.

-- Hannaham is reading this Friday, March 4, at the Bethesda Writer’s Center. The evening also features a reading by Matthew Pitt, and a musical performance by The Caribbean celebrating the release of their latest album, Discontinued Perfume. FREE.

* "I don't necessarily agree with everything I say." -- Marshall McLuhan


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stoner by John Williams arrived at the Branch Library today. Read the intro and about 1/2 of the first chapter. Very good. Thanks for the recommendation.

Thought it was about the 50's/60's generation and somebody making their way through those times... not about a farmer boy from the late 1880's - the early 1900s.

Had a nice laugh about that.

Also checked out "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home by Rupert Sheldrake.

When going out for a cig. break before my computer time, picked up a "freebie" book the library was giving away.

"Bicycle Repair Manual" by Chris Sidwells. It is what is expected. A bicycle repair manaul. Don't have a bike but who knows? Reference books are always keepers.

And finally, finished While Mortals Sleep by Kurt Vonnegut. Very enjoyable. Much better than the reviews suggested.

So there you go.


Allan Smithee

5:25 PM  

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