Monday, June 21, 2010

The Thing About Serge Gainsbourg And France Gall!

Ok, so once upon a time in France (but still, actually), there was a teenage girl named France Gall. She sang songs and had really cool hair.

See? She was super freakin' cute. She sang a kind of music called "ye-ye" which was pretty much like, twee pop but from the 60's. And in French. So, anyway, she knew Serge Gainsbourg for some reason. You know who he is, right? Or like, you know who Charlotte Gainsbourg is. Or you know what a Birkin bag is?

Yeah, ok, so the Birkin bag was named after Jane Birkin, who also had awesome hair, and was married to Serge Gainsbourg. And he was pretty much like the Phil Spector of France. Sort of! He wrote songs, and was kinda creepy and predatory seeming, and one time he wrote a song for France Gall about how she was a singing doll made of wax, and that won her the Eurovision song contest. Then he wrote her this other song. This other song was called "Les Sucettes" and it was about lollipops. But not really! See? Unfortunately you have to watch the video on youtube (follow the link!) because embedding was disabled by request.

(*Edit!!- Also, you'll want to see this video version of the song, done as a duet with Serge. He plays the stranger your mom told you to avoid at the carnival. Seriously, kids, don't take candy from strangers. Duh.)

So, uh, if you don't speak French (which I barely can these days ayway), the lyrics are basically "Annie likes lollipops, anise flavored lollipops, Annie's aniseed lollipops give her kisses an aniseed taste. And when the barley sugar, perfumed with aniseed, slides down Annie's throat, she is in paradise." Gross. I hate anise, and anything remotely licorice flavored. Jaeger is totally gross, and if you buy me a shot of it, I will probably surreptitiously dump it on the floor. I don't understand how anyone can drink it by now- I mean, I can't be the only one who has smelled it mixed with vomit on a few too many hair holding back occasions by now. Ugh.

Ok, so duh. The song is not so much about lollipops as it is about blow jobs. But France Gall didn't know that, because she was just a teenager and not too bright. I feel like, at 18, I probably would have picked up on it, but whatever. I mean, really, dancing penis shaped lollipops? Really? Anyway, so when she caught on, she totally freaked out and didn't leave her house for forever due to the shame and whatnot.

Now, hypothetically, if that happened here and now... A) No fucking way would that shit get past the censors, and B) Serge would probably have to make a public apology, and then he and France would go on Oprah, and it would be all over the tabloids. But this was France, in the 60's, and pretty much everyone thought it was hilarious. Mr. Gainsbourg still tells the story like it was the most awesome shit he ever got away with. Even though, I mean, really- it was pretty gross and shady, and frankly kind of meanspirited. But whatever! It was France! In the 60's! It was a crazy time! For pervy old dudes, anyway! What's even weirder is that Ms. Gall is pretty non-chalant about it these days and kinda takes the position that it helps her career. She still won't sing any of the songs he wrote for her though. Weird.

So, that's pretty much the climax free story of France Gall and Serge Gainsbourg. Tell it at cocktail parties?