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12 Reasons to Love Christophe (Daniel Bevilacqua)

As if you need to be given reasons to love Christophe, but for those who have not yet been won over by his many charms here’s a few reasons why I love him:

  • TROUSERS – This is a twofer reason.  It’s 1966 and there’s handsome Christophe having his photo taken for the cover of his J’ai entendu la mer EP, get this, with writing all over his trousers. So punk *before punk*!  He’s got the names of his favourite musicians scribbled in thick black pen all over his legs – Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Charles Mingus, etc  But if you think he’s too “dangerous” with his little leather jacket and his anarchistic legwear, he’s petting a tiny puppy dog to show his gentle side.  What’s not to love?  The two-for-one bit, I’ve not forgotten – the second part of this is that he used to sell Levi’s jeans from the back of his car (when he was allowed to drive, he’s had his licence withdrawn – probably speeding, he likes to drive fast), even though he wasn’t short of a bob or two at all, but lately he has started selling his old jeans (the ones that don’t fit him anymore) at flea markets in the south of France. Who’s ever heard of their favourite pop star selling their jeans on the market?!! I really want some, so long as he writes all over them!

Christophe j'ai entendu la mer

  • DA-DA SONG / GELSOMINA – This track is mental, it’s 1969 and it’s not long ago that Christophe was singing popular songs on TV for the masses, but he’s doing his own thing now.  It’s psychedelic, it’s soundtracky, it’s crazy – I love it! La la la la!

Christophe Gelsomina

  • LA PETITE FILLE DU 3E – 1970, the year I was born, and Christophe releases this little gem.  This is a song about a custodian, who minds his own business when looking after the building, he sees and hears everything but he never says anything.  There’s the little girl from the 3rd floor who’s always got problems; the old lady from the 5th floor who reads the tarot cards and told the man from the 8th floor that he’s going to die tomorrow. A veritable drama in “pop”

Christophe Petite fille 3e

  • ROCK MONSIEUR – Jump forward a bit to 1973 and Christophe is sounding all Suicide-like before he even knows who Suicide are.  A bit of wordplay – Rock Monsieur, Rock c’est mieux – Rock, it’s better.  Lots of repetition musically – that’s not a bad thing, I could listen to this track on a loop; sometimes I do.  Sounds like an average evening in Christophe’s life – some poker, get in the car, some hedgehopping, drinking too much, having a hard time etc  He’s not kidding either, even with the facial hair he is a “joli garçon“, look!

Christophe Belle

  • ALAN VEGA – Yes, talking of Suicide, as I was, this leads me on to the next reason.  Christophe, yes, the same Christophe who sang songs about puppets and girls called Aline (nothing wrong with any of this) is, believe it or not, a massive fan of Suicide and Alan Vega.  He got into Suicide in 1979 and he’s not turned back since.  So, is it any surprise he actually got together with Alan Vega, no, but to see him meeting Alan Vega and asking for a photo together as a souvenir and asking him if he would like to listen to some of his songs, “Because I know you but you don’t know me.  I know you very well”, it makes your heart swell – you can watch the video here.  Then he turns up at an Alan Vega gig in 2011 and joins him for a rendition of Saturn Drive Duplex  – god knows what Christophe is singing but it doesn’t matter, look out at the end as he kneels in front of Alan Vega in deference and Vega kisses him on the head. Brings a tear to your eye!

Alan VegaChristophe Alan VegaChristophe Alan Vega 3Christophe Alan Vega 2Christophe Alan Vega 4Christophe Alan Vega 5Christophe Alan Vega 6

  • EXCUSEZ-MOI MONSIEUR LE PROFESSEUR – Jumping back a bit, my favourite track from the Salut Les Copains years is this one from 1966.  It tells you a lot of what you need to know about Christophe – at school he’s always in trouble because his mind is elsewhere, his pages are all blank in his notebook as he prefers climbing trees instead of doing his work, because he has been told he’s not allowed to climb trees; if he’s absent when they take the register it’s because he got lost on the way to school and he’s been looking everywhere for it through a thousand fields, he’ll try and find it again tomorrow.  You’ve got to love him for that, he’s supposed to be a positive role model to the SLC kids and he’s saying lessons aren’t the most important thing in life.  He’s a rebel in a little checked shirt, sigh!

Christophe Excusez moi M le Professeur

  • DENNIS HOPPER – You probably don’t agree but I still reckon that young Christophe looks like a young Dennis Hopper, which makes him seem even more edgy as far as I’m concerned.  Anyway, I can’t find a picture where he looks anything like Dennis Hopper right now… This is a rubbish reason, right?  Well, here’s a nice picture anyway…

Christophe 1

  • FILMS – Talking of Dennis Hopper, Christophe is film crazy.  So film crazy that he doesn’t just collect DVDs of films, he collects original 35mm film prints and projects them himself.  He has good taste too.  On his 2013 album of previously unreleased tracks, Paradis retrouvé, he included a song called Silence on meurt, which had a sample from a film – I understand it’s from Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (the French language version).  It’s a brilliant electronic track but nobody seems to have uploaded it anywhere, so you’ll just have to buy the album to listen to it instead.  Christophe’s own music has also been used in films…
  • ROAD TO SALINA – Check out this film from 1970 just for Christophe’s soundtrack, especially the beautiful Girl from Salina – don’t forget the song, never try to!  Don’t worry, you won’t be able to forget it anyway, one listen and it will be in your heart forever

Christophe Girl from Salina

  • COLLECTIONS – Christophe is a fan of “stuff” and he collects loads of things.  He loves jukeboxes and even had his own exhibition of jukeboxes once; he’s a specialist and a connoisseur.  He used to import jukeboxes for his friends from the music industry.  He’s an all-round “hawker”.  He also collects 78 records, which he trades with other collectors, and he used to collect expensive cars too.  I believe he has a fabulous robot, which I want to see.  I want an invite over to his apartment to check out his stuff.  Ideally he would screen a film too and make me some food, but maybe I’m pushing it for a first visit, ha ha!

Christophe Jukebox 2 Christophe Jukebox

  • DANDY – In the early 70s Christophe grew his moustache and changed his image a bit, turning himself in a bit of a dandy.  I really admire him for this, when Michel Polnareff was singing Je suis un homme because he was upset when people said he looked gay in a lady’s blouse or sequinned trousers, Christophe was just getting on with it and not giving a damn.  What would Christophe care if you pointed out he had eyeliner on and his hair’s long like a girls?  What would Christophe care if you laughed at his soft velvet suit and his purple neck scarf and flower in his lapel?  What would Christophe care if you said he was channelling Peter Wyngarde/Jason King with his new look?  He wouldn’t care one little bit because Christophe rocks and you can go suck a big fat one!  A dandy, a bit accursed, a bit aged, talking of crumbling luxury, singing sophisticated rock, it’s a vision – a vision Christophe created around himself

Christophe Les Mots BleusChristophe Paradis perdus

  • SAD EYES – Just look at these sad eyes, so sad that he even has a permanent line between them from scrunching up his brow.  These are the sad eyes of a man who has seen too much and he’s hurting inside.  Hear him singing Les mots bleus and look into those eyes, how could you not want to at least give him a pat on the back and say, “Everything’s going to be alright, Christophe, it’s okay, it’s okay…”

Christophe Sad Eyes 2Christophe Sad Eyes

Christophe, you have to love him – you just have to…

If you want to know anything more about Christophe, I recommend that you read the fabulous biography by Christian Eudeline – Portrait du dernier dandy.  It’s one of the best biographies I have ever read.

 

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About tinynoggin

I love films (anything from exploitation stuff to stylish Eastern European cinema, but I'm not really into blockbusters and modern Hollywood), music (Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Michel Polnareff, Left Banke, Francoise Hardy, The Seeds, Love, The Zombies, etc) and books (Kurt Vonnegut, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Hamilton, Alan Sillitoe, and more). I take photographs with my Lomography Diana F plus or my Olympus Trip and like making stuff in my spare time.

3 responses to “12 Reasons to Love Christophe (Daniel Bevilacqua)

  1. Penny Elder ⋅

    Hi there. I am a huge Christophe (Daniel Bevilacqua) fan. I don’t speak French but I am trying to learn. I live in the U.S.A and I was wondering if there is any chance that the biography of Christophe has been interpreted in English? Also how would I buy one (even if it is only in French) as I only have American currency. Thanks for all the cool Christophe stuff here.

    • Hi Penny! Thanks for getting in touch – it’s good to hear from other Christophe fans. My advice would be to learn French anyway – I’m not fluent but because I’m such a big fan of French music I picked loads of French up from lyrics, watching films with subtitles (although some subtitles are really badly translated!) and generally just reading anything I could get my hands on and watching as many TV shows about French pop music as I can see as well. As I want to know everything and there’s little or no chance of books like this being translated into English (my guess is, sadly, Christophe’s just not well-known enough outside French speaking countries yet to warrant putting out an English language version) I just make myself learn as much French as possible so I can understand as much as possible. It also explains why my reading is far better than my written and spoken French! If you want to get the book, it is for sale via Amazon in America (here’s a link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/2213680639/ref=tmm_pap_new_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1433081813&sr=1-1-fkmr1) – just get yourself a good recent dictionary and don’t rely on google translate too much as it translates literally and doesn’t consider the position of a word in a sentence so sometimes gets things very muddled indeed; if you have a grasp of French already you can work with that but it’s not brilliant. As for the book, Christian Eudeline is my absolute favourite music writer. I have his book on Polnareff, which I consider my Polnareff bible; the Christophe book is excellent, the way Christian writes about music you just know he loves his subjects and actually cares about the music (as opposed to a lot of music writers who just knock books out with little or no research or consideration) and he does all the leg work – numerous interviews, lots of research. His hard work pays off because it’s brilliant, the only thing that makes me sad is the lack of photos. Aside from the front cover there are none. I guess from a publisher’s point of view it makes it cheaper to work with – not having to pay too much out for image reproduction – but it would be so good to have some photos in there. That’s my absolute only reservation about the Christophe book – other than that it is perfection. It’s the same for the book Christian has just had published about Alain Kan (Christophe’s brother-in-law) – it’s excellent, but there are no images aside from the photo on the front cover. With Alain Kan that is a real shame as he was very much about image and to not be able to see photographs of him in his various phases and guises is a crying shame. But I won’t complain too much – so long as Christian keeps writing such worthwhile books (not just worthwhile, excellent) I’ll be happy. I can’t recommend his work more and I hope you manage to get a copy of the book and master the French language. Get yourself over to INA (http://www.ina.fr/recherche/search?search=+Christophe-chanteur&vue=Video&x=0&y=0) or YouTube and watch a few Christophe clips – you can find the lyrics online and sing along so you get to recognise the way the words sound. That’s how I taught myself French and I still conjugate verbs by going to the French music jukebox in my head and seeking out lyrics to songs that have the words or conjugations I need! Hopefully see you back here when I get around to writing something more about Christophe soon. Thanks for visiting the site and getting in touch. Best wishes Raechel

      • Penny Elder ⋅

        Thank you so much my friend for your prompt reply. Yes, I totally agree with you. I started learning French from Christophe’s song “Aline”, as it is fairly simple, and someone kindly put up the French and English translations, so I could learn to pronounce the words and know what they mean. I also found a French teacher online who is from France. Yes, you have given me some good advice. I will keep trying to learn French (I am of French descent myself). And I do want to get that book. I have watched everything I can find on Christophe on Youtube, even the clips where they are interviewing Christophe. Even, at 69, he is just very endearing. I absolutely love his attention to composing beautiful music, and his piano playing is outstanding. Well, I am sure you agree with that. Thanks again for all this glorious info. I shall put it into practice. I shall return again in the future and see what you have posted. Thank you for all your help. Best wishes to you as well, Penny ~

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