I have seen Michel Polnareff in concert – in Nice in June 2007. But I wasn’t at this concert in Japan in 1979; the programme is an item of memorabilia I purchased several years ago. Here it is:
The above page is my absolute favourite part of the programme – okay, I can’t understand the rest as it’s in Japanese but that’s beside the point; I am certain this has to be the best article in the entire book. It’s a kind of “fan letter” to Michel Polnareff from someone called Yuko Yoshimi. I don’t know if it was translated from Japanese or if it was originally written in French but something has to be wrong somewhere, or else Yuko Yoshimi was being slightly (and possibly unwittingly) insensitive when writing this. I imagine it’s meant as a compliment but at times it doesn’t come across that way. Anyway, to add yet another level to the “lost in translation” aspect of this, here’s my translation of the letter into English. Bear in mind I’m not fluent in French so I may have missed out on some of the subtleties somewhere along the way:
Dear Mr Michel Polnareff
The first time that I saw you was at NHK [Japan Broadcasting Corporation] and I realised that I did not really know you: but when you played the piano I realised that I would never really know you. Your music is so beautiful that, without knowing why, I compared it to that of a violin. You are such a mysterious character. I stood near the door and although near you, the distance between us seemed tremendous.
I have seen you only once, but the one memory I have is of a dazzling light that radiated from you which I’ve never seen in any other star or any other human being. Michel Polnareff – the very name is a music, you are the choreographer of the world.
You are a child and like a child, you confuse beauty and truth. You are not handsome and yet beauty emanates from you. You hide yourself behind a mirror and you use your sunglasses to avoid seeing the ugliness of the world, and having to suffer it. I can glimpse your concept of beauty, but I could never grasp a reflection.
This is why there is this unbridgeable distance between us. If you were the ocean, I would not want to cross it. If you were the sky, I could only contemplate it. If you were a locked door, I would not dare open it. And you know very well that nobody would dare to. I think that to understand all this brings me closer to you.
I love your world. You come from space and no one else but you can breathe there. David Bowie is accessible, but you, I cannot reach you. You do not have to be an astronaut on their way to the moon because it belongs to you. Seeking to know you is like trying to go to another planet.
Without being sexy, even so you are the symbol of sexuality. Music, you sculpt it. You do not like a woman for her looks but for herself and whatever she may be.
You sing love like a sublime sin of the Renaissance. And now where are you going to take me?
Without knowing one another, I’ll visit your planet, go to your capital city, my invitation in my hand, and climb aboard your spaceship where I will respect all the blackout lights.
Amazing, eh? I hope I’ve never been so clumsy when I’ve written fan letters!
Check out that ballet school photograph if you want to know which way Michel Polnareff dresses!