Hero Culte and the Disappointment of Hero Worship

It’s a sad day for Hero Culte.  I need to explain something.  The reason I started this particular blog was two-fold – one, because I felt I had to close down my Klaus Kinski fan website Du dumme Sau! after his daughter’s revelations of abuse but I still wanted to write about something; two, because it felt safer to write about stuff I like in general rather than one particular subject matter – it also gave me a much wider scope, which was nice.  Also, add to this, I have a lot of “stuff” I have accumulated over the years and I wanted to share that with others.

Some time ago I discovered a little-known French singer who went by the name of Léonie or Léonie Lousseau in the 1960s and 1970s.  I thought she was great, I wanted to find all her records and also find out more about her.  She immediately became one of my “heroes” on Hero Culte and I started sharing the information I found out about her on here.  I thought this was something nice to do – I made a lot of effort in my research and I could reveal facts about this mysterious singer as I discovered them; other people on the internet started referencing the information from my site and I could tell it was of interest to Léonie’s small but dedicated fan base.

Out of the blue I received an email from another Léonie fan asking me if she had contacted me demanding that I should remove all articles about her from my site as this is what she had requested he should do; he was concerned that all his hard work on his site was about to come to an end.  At that time I hadn’t heard from Léonie at all and I wondered if this was because I didn’t share her music, which, after all, is not mine to share; otherwise I wasn’t sure why she would contact just this one site with not so much a request as a demand to remove all posts about her from the site.

I lived on in ignorant bliss for a while but, sadly, yesterday Léonie contacted me via YouTube, telling me that my articles about her constituted an invasion of her privacy and that she wanted me to remove them, otherwise she would be obliged to make me remove them.  Imagine how upset I was about being threatened in this way?  She wasn’t just asking me to remove the odd comment that she objected to, it was everything.  As if no one is ever allowed to write about her as someone who once chose to exist in the public eye.  That can’t be right, surely?

One of my friends said to me, “You really do a very good job.  It’s not nice to see that and you don’t deserve it – indeed, this little forgotten artist exists because of people like you.”  Other friends went out of their way to offer support and advice, and even to share similar horror stories of bad experiences with their heroes.  That was the only nice thing to come out of this whole experience, seeing that people support your efforts.

My friends told me not to worry, I hadn’t done anything wrong.  But I find I am still worrying.  I still love Léonie’s music but I don’t think I even like the person behind that music and that is what is so disappointing to me.  Yesterday I considered giving up writing the site, at the moment I am going to take a break from it all and see how I feel later; I don’t really feel like writing much at the moment.

But going back to Léonie’s complaint, is there really any truth in the fact that (she feels) my articles are an invasion of her privacy?  Let’s consider the situation:

  • Léonie has her own YouTube channel  where she occasionally uploads her own music, including alternative versions of tracks and unreleased tracks with images previously unseen – she obviously has some desire to create an interest in her work and her uploads, even if she only does this surreptitiously and intermittently.  She clearly does not want to be forgotten and even throws in the odd reply to people who post comments on her uploads – her comments are always oblique, but it is clear the comments and uploads are coming from Léonie herself.
  • All of the articles (and I mean ALL of the articles) I have written about Léonie and published here on Hero Culte have been based on information that is in the public domain – I have not included any hearsay about her, every item uploaded here can be verified against its source material.
  • Most of the information I have used comes from interviews with Léonie herself.  Surely she cannot object to this?  Original copies of these interviews have been scanned and shared on this site along with my poor attempt at translating that information into English for the non-French speakers out there.
  • Even if Léonie is no longer a recording artiste (and she may well be for all we know), she once was and as such she appeared on TV shows and carried out interviews, revealing information about herself as she saw fit – that information is still out there and is still available to those who care to search for it.  All I have done is found some of that information and pulled together elements of the puzzle.  And, to be clear, in doing so I have promoted her music in the most positive of ways.
  • Léonie also worked as an actress in several films, several of those films are referenced on IMDB under her various pseudonyms – these films are, on the whole, easily available on DVD or in some cases are even on YouTube.  If I choose to buy those films and write about them, I should imagine that I am free to do so, particularly because I do so with an interest in the subject and with, on the whole, the most positive of intentions.
  • Finally, I posted a comment on one of Léonie’s videos five months ago, asking her for an interview and including a link to the articles I had written about her on this site.  She did not respond to my request for an interview, but at that time she posted a bizarre response claiming that unlike Martine Collet (which is Léonie’s real name) who was born in 1947, she (Maarnie47) was actually born in 1847.  She did not raise any objections at all to my articles five months ago.  What has changed since then, I do not know, but what I do know is that I made her aware of my articles five months ago and that should she have wished to raise any objections or take any action against me for these articles, she should have raised it five months ago.  It’s regretful that it should have to come to this.

My message to Léonie is this:  I was a massive fan and I promoted your music, which I loved.  I wrote about you because I thought you were great.  But I won’t be writing about you anymore.  I will not remove the articles about you on your demand, but if you have any serious concerns about anything in particular I am happy to listen to you because I would not wish to make anyone unhappy unnecessarily; I am a good person.  I had only the best of intentions where you were concerned but your email was truly upsetting.  With great sadness I have to say, Léonie, that you are no longer a hero to me and, furthermore, by sending such messages to your fans, all you are doing is alienating the people who are (or were) your greatest supporters.  So long, Léonie!

Gainsbourg crossword

Wondering what to do this weekend?  Have yourself a Gainsbourg party and see who can complete the Gainsbourg crossword first!  I’ve nicked this from a magazine in my Gainsbourg collection:  Paroles Musique (issue number one, November 1987).  Hope you enjoy it.

Gainsbourg crossword 1 Gainsbourg crossword 2 Gainsbourg crossword 3


Pst!  The answers are here in case you need them:

Gainsbourg crossword 4