I really like Antoine a lot. I’ve previously written about him (briefly) on the subject of the Antoine “pill” keyring I have in my collection and he also appears in some of the French music shows I have reviewed on here. This entry was prompted by my recent acquisition: Antoine’s autograph.
I was so excited to find a signed Antoine EP this last weekend in London. And to make it an even better find, it was only £7. Is it genuine? I don’t know but it certainly looks genuine and I’m happy to have it in my collection.
Okay, so if I was to choose I would get one of the earlier EPs signed but that doesn’t matter – it’s Antoine’s autograph!
My other favourite Antoine items are my Italian language singles and the Antoine autobiography I picked up quite a few years back.
I found Le Divagazioni d’Antoine along with the Je l’appelle Canelle / Un éléphant me regarde 7″ in a charity shop in Muswell Hill a couple of years ago. They weren’t cheap but they were in great condition and were well worth the price. Here’s Je l’appelle Canelle and Un éléphant me regarde in Italian – Cannella / Un Caso di Follia (Disques Vogue, J 35140 x 45, 1967):
The other Italian language single I have is a track called Pietre backed with an Italian language version of Pourquoi ces canons (La Felicita’). I think I got this one in London too, for an affordable price. It’s amazing what crops up from time to time. Anyway, Pietre isn’t one of Antoine’s own tracks translated into Italian, it’s an Italian language track he recorded and performed in the Italian song contest Festival di Sanremo in 1967. It’s fair to say it’s not as strong as his own tracks translated into Italian, but it’s a good track to have and it is backed by the excellent Pourquoi ces canons. Here’s Pietre / La Felicita’ (Disques Vogue, J 35127 x 45, 1967):
That’s the extent of my special Antoine items, for now. I’m sure I’ll find other items to join my collection though.
I have always wanted to try and find out more about Antoine’s time spent in London. In his autobiographical book 1965 Roman (Les éditions Arthaud, Paris, 1987), Antoine recalls how he spent some time in Worthing in West Sussex and how he passed quite a bit of time in London at a certain 24 Milborough Road. Now, I’m not sure if Milborough Road no longer exists but I certainly can’t find a Milborough Road in London; there’s a Milborough Crescent in South East London and there are Marlborough Roads in various areas in London, but I can’t find Milborough Road. Maybe it’s one of those places that only the initiated can find – Antoine said it was a magical place and that once you discovered it, nothing was ever the same again.
For me Antoine was the real deal when it came to travelling songsmiths – he travelled far and wide with his guitar and had adventures wherever he went. Some of those “beatnik” hippie types from the 1960s just went for the image but Antoine really lived the lifestyle and what I really like about him is that he never let the entertainment industry take over his life – I read somewhere that once he became famous and was earning some money from music he would work for part of the year and then travel around on his boat for the rest of the year. Sounds great to me.
Anyway, going back to the London story, Antoine hung out at The Troubadour in the Old Brompton Road and the Café des Artistes in Fulham Road. He also mentioned a French club called La Poubelle, which was in Poland Street, and The Flamingo. Basically, it sounds like he found the places that mattered. He stayed at 24 Milborough Road where 5 girls lived – a wise choice! His friend Patrick fell in love with a blonde girl called Penny and Antoine got it on with Frederika. I’m such a nosey so-and-so I want to know more about Antoine’s time in London with his friends and Frederika but I guess I’ll never find out more. I might have to read the 1965 Roman again though as I remember enjoying it very much when I read it years ago. That’s all for now, but I’m sure there will be more on Antoine soon.
Postscript August 2013: I have added some more nice looking Antoine 7″s to my collection:
Pietre / Je l’appelle Canelle / Juste quelques flocons qui tombent / Mon prince et ma princesse EP, Hispavox, Spain, HV27 168 – three of the tracks are in the original French and one was recorded in Italian; nothing in Spanish!
Votez pour moi / Je reprends la route demain / Ma fete foraine / Nadine EP, Hispavox, Spain, HV27163 (these tracks are just the original French language versions but the EP sleeve is so beautiful it’s worth having it for that alone)
La Tramontana / Io Voglio Andare In Guerra (Moi, je veux faire la guerre sung in Italian), disques Vogue 7″, Italy, V451479