Monthly Archives: August 2009

France Gall & Maurice Biraud – La Petite

In case you’ve never tasted this slice of delicious yé-yé cake, here’s France Gall duetting with Maurice Biraud on ‘La Petite’. The lyrics, for those who didn’t take French, talk of the feelings of a young girl just grown up and her father’s friend who should have grown up a long time ago. There is, it has to be said, something very risqué and at the same time out-of-touch about Serge Gainsbourg’s song: it both sexualises youth (and the way Gall sings is clearly intended to make her sound almost childish) and it ‘lays claim’ to youth as an older gentleman’s… right. He waxes lyrical while he notes how she’s grown up recently; she knows that he will teach her ‘a thousand things’.

At the same time, it really is a great song, wonderfully produced. Together with ‘Teenie Weenie Boppie’, ‘Les Yeux Bleues’ and ‘Made In France’ it cements Gall’s ‘1968’ album’s status as both a pop classic and the rearguard action taken by writers like Gainsbourg against the threat of rebellious American rock’n’roll. This is a subject I intend to write more on soon, so I’ll leave you with France et Maurice…


This is war! War makes madness! This is madness?

This billboard is on my walk from the bus to work. It’s advertising the ‘This is war! Robert Capa at work’ photographic exhibition which has come to Barcelona after a successful stint in London. The image used is, of course, Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death – a fine photograph which most experts consider to have been posed (not that this makes any real difference: all images are created, one way or  another, and this is a particularly good image).

Attached to the billboard is an interesting statement from persons unknown, pointing out that Capa’s great work was staged, and then continuing for lines and lines and lines without really saying anything that makes sense. Is this madness?

One other thing worth noting: hampones is a synonym of ladrones, I’m told. It’s a new one on me.

capa2 capa1