From time to time I get French TV shows sent to me through the post – sometimes they are truly exciting. This is one of those TV shows that is really worth watching and not only because Michel Polnareff is on it performing, yet again, La poupée qui fait non:
Discorama, 30 May 1966, director Raoul Sangla
Why a Beatnik Special? Well, because as Michel Sardou says in his song Les Beatnicks, they are the subject we are talking about. The beatnik movement was a bandwagon a lot of people jumped on back then, I guess. Sardou looks well on it and who’d have guessed he’d do a track like this considering what he became? I’d never heard it before but enjoyed it very much. By the way, Sardou says the beatniks have hair and it’s what gives them their strength – more on long hair later!
I don’t know if Michel Sardou ever really was a beatnik but next up, here’s someone who was…
…one of my special boys – Michel Polnareff. Sigh! This is his third TV appearance with his smash hit La poupée qui fait non and he looks so pretty here. For the beginning of the appearance he is joined by his cute hamster Véronique.
Next up is Stone – a girl in trousers going for that androgynous look with her Brian Jones style haircut. I wouldn’t mind but I really hate that black and white suit she seemed to wear quite a lot back then. She’s cute though. This track C’est ma vie (It’s My Life) was written for her by Eric Charden, who later became her singing partner and husband. It’s quite good. As in Sardou’s Les beatnicks, the lyrics of this one indicate that people laugh at the beatniks. But Stone says she chose her life and wants to be the way she is – a common theme with the young singers back then. Not quite sure why Stone has to be “stage directed” by the sexy beatnik guy (Is it Eric Charden? It could be – he looks lovely with this image if it is him) but it is quite amusing to see her being beckoned down from the roof and directed to dance and then directed to exit!
Next, one of the most exciting English rockers, Screaming Lord Sutch – appearing here without The Savages to lip synch The Train Kept a-Rollin’. Can I just say, Lord Sutch looks very sexy here in his caveman gear and cape (and, no, I’m not joking!).
That’s just a bit too much excitement, what with Lord Sutch flashing his nipple and all. Anyway, next up a great garagey-folky track from Elsa called Ailleurs. You can find this track on the rather wonderful Swinging Mademoiselles (Vol 1) LP, which is where I know it from. It’s about travelling the world, probably by hitch-hiking. Beatniks! A great song but not a massively inspiring performance here, hence not so many screengrabs. Sorry, Elsa!
The next track is a treat – Édouard performing My Name is Édouard complete with his long wig, apparently a parody of Antoine with his harmonica etc. Looking at him close-up, this Édouard guy looks quite cute so it’s a shame he has his Cousin Itt wig on. Regardless of whether or not he’s taking the p***, this is a great little rockin’ number about meeting a girl in Liverpool and not being able to communicate with her because all he can say in English is “My name is Édouard”. The saddest line of the song: At her place, there aren’t any chairs. Sob! Still, it’s okay cos Édouard can sit on his hair.
Apparently Édouard is the songwriter Jean-Michel Rivat, who wrote the wonderful Bébé requin for France Gall. It’s a shame Édouard was just a joke, but this is such a catchy track I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t like it. It’s lots of fun anyway.
It’s another shame – the show closes with The Beatles doing Help!… I don’t hate The Beatles but for me they’re a bit over-played and a bit over-rated. My favourite UK beat band were The Troggs, who were much more edgy. But that’s just my opinion. Here’s a few screengrabs to make amends but that’s all you’re getting!