Some old photos from RoBERT concerts

This post is a bit self-indulgent. Some time ago I posted some of my RoBERT memorabilia on here including the flyers and tickets I got for RoBERT’s concerts at  Café de la Danse in 2000 and 2001.  I recently found these photographs amongst my “stuff”.  They are awful quality, taken with disposable cameras from quite far back in the audience – most of them have heads obscuring the view.  In all honesty they’re not really worth sharing from a quality point of view (I cropped them a bit but didn’t bother tidying them up because it didn’t seem worth doing) but they brought back memories for me so I thought I’d share them anyway.  Who knows, someone might like to see them.

Café de la Danse, Paris, 17 June 2000

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Here’s a photo after the show of RoBERT with some fans – I don’t know them, just took an opportunity to take a better snapshot:

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Café de la Danse, Paris, 30 March 2001 – Soirée Rose

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Café de la Danse, Paris, 31 March 2001 – Soirée Bleue

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RoBERT as a young Geraldine Chaplin: Le voyage en douce

RoBERT (or to give her right name – Myriam Roulet) was cast to play a young Geraldine Chaplin in Michel Deville’s 1980 film Le voyage en douce.  They couldn’t have found a better person for the role, look:

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Geraldine Chaplin plays a character called Lucie, who one evening turns up at the home of her school friend Hélène unexpectedly.  She’s in a bit of a state but it’s fair to say she’s a bit of a drama queen.  She say’s she’s left her husband François because he lets their dog stay in the bedroom when they’re making love.  It’s a reason, I suppose.

Anyway, Hélène is also a little odd – she leaves her husband and kids behind to go off on the road with Lucie for a few days.  They spend their time together reminiscing, telling stories – half remembered and half made up – sharing fantasies.  You don’t know what’s real and what’s not; neither do they sometimes.  They both come across as being slightly bored with their lives – some of the time Hélène writes books for children but the rest of the time she spends fantasising about sexual encounters that never came to pass.  In the end Lucie goes back to her husband but the film ends with Hélène reenacting Lucie’s arrival at her apartment, taking the role of Lucie herself.  Really she just needs to let herself in the apartment and spend some quality time with her husband who is waiting for her – that’s what I think anyway.

It’s watchable but I found Hélène’s character quite manipulative and a bit cold and scary.  I’m glad I don’t have a friend like her, but that’s probably just me…

Some pictures of a very young RoBERT from Le voyage en douce:

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RoBERT with Jean Francois Coen on Taratata

I first heard Jean-François Coen’s La Tour de Pise when I attended a screening of Michel Gondry’s music videos at the BFI a few years back.  I loved the video but I loved the song even more.  I had gone in the hope of seeing RoBERT’s video Les Jupes on the big screen, but disappointingly they didn’t include it in the screening nor was it included on the compilation video The Work of Director Michel Gondry.  Afterwards though I found out that the pretty backing vocals on Jean-François Coen’s La Tour de Pise were provided by none other than RoBERT – so that was a happy discovery.

Jean-François Coen performed the song live on an episode of the French TV show Taratata (this episode was in the main dedicated to Sylvie Vartan) and it has to be said he doesn’t look best pleased to be on the show.  If you’ve not seen it, the show was abysmal – aside from this one ray of sunlight when Jean-François appeared with his band and RoBERT on backing vocals. Afterwards Jean-François was interviewed alongside Sylvie and he didn’t seem to want to be interviewed either.  I don’t blame him, if I was him I would have been terrified that the host was going to dress up as Sylvie Vartan and perform a silly sketch again…

Anyway, here’s a few screen grabs from the show:

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Screen grabs taken from Taratata – Sylvie Vartan, 26/02/1994

 

My Favourite Stuff: A Kiss from French Singer Robert

I was very pleased to finally get my hands on RoBERT’s box set Premier Écrin, which I understand is limited to just 100 copies.  I guess the main reason it’s so limited is because RoBERT had to sit and kiss 100 photographs to insert into the boxes.  It’s that kind of personal touch which makes Premier Écrin so essential to a collection.  Here’s my kiss from RoBERT:

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A mwah pour moi! But aside from the kiss, the lovely box – écrin means box or case in English, but more like a jewellery box – is full of gems and is incredibly great value.  I knew that there would be some items in the box that I already had in my collection but in fact it turns out that even the CD albums are for the most part different versions to the ones I previously bought.  For just 30 € you get the following:

  • Sine CD – DEA 2001 reissue with 2 bonus tracks and 3 videos
  • Princesse de Rien CD – 2007 reissue with 3 bonus tracks, 13 instrumentals, RoBERT interviewed by Amélie Nothomb, 3 Karina Square versions of Princesse de Rien tracks
  • Sourde et Aveugle CD – 2009 reissue, including 2 bonus tracks
  • Aux Marches du Palais CD – 2012
  • A CD single – either Sorry or Ange & Démon
  • A Live Album – either Haute Couture (2007) or RoBERT live à la Cigale (2004)

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Five albums, a CD single, a kissed photograph all in a lovely box for 30   – how can you resist?  If you’re lucky, you’ll still be able to buy Premier Écrin from RoBERT’s website, where you will also find some other bargains with items from just 1 €.  I bought myself a set of the fanzines and a calendar and I’ve since ordered some more of the CD singles I hadn’t yet got.  It’s not just about getting bargains, of course, it’s also important to remember that it’s better to buy directly from RoBERT’s website – send the money directly to the musicians and not to enormous online shops.

Aside from being delighted with my kiss, I have finally – finally! – managed to find the holy grail of RoBERT’s discography: the Karina Square version of Princesse de Rien (1997), which is the baroque version of the album before it was reissued with more of an electronic sound.  Nothing wrong with the reissue version from 2000 at all but I had always preferred the baroque version and I’ve been looking for it since it was released, so impossible was it to find the CD even at the time of release.  I have had to make do with a copied CD all these years but now I have an official copy in my collection and that makes me very happy indeed:

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Expect another post about RoBERT soon, but in the meantime get yourself over to the RoBERT shop to buy some stuff or go to the RoBERT website to find out about RoBERT’s new collaboration, Plastic Art Noise – there will be a digital version of the album (Like Strangers Do) later this month and then the CD will be released at the end of April.

My Favourite Stuff: flowers from Robert, Princesse de rien

When I wrote the article about the French singer RoBERT the other day, I somehow forgot to include this photograph of my RoBERT daisies:20130218_112837

One of my favourite concert memories, these fake daisies were purloined from the stage after one of her shows at the Café de la Danse – I don’t feel bad about stealing them, as I recall it we all invaded the stage afterwards and got the set lists and daisies by the handful.  I’m sure RoBERT expected / wanted us to steal them!

To see the daisies in their natural habitat, see these photographs also stolen from the RoBERT website many years ago:

Concert7 concert13 robert17A couple of my flowers have long black hairs ensnared in them – the hair of a Princess; a Princess named RoBERT.

Another photograph, this time without the daisies but with other flowers – just because it’s a beautiful shot.  I think it’s from the Colchique Mon Amour video shoot:

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French singer Robert, Princesse de rien, over the years

You know musical roads always lead to other musical roads, well back in the 1980s / 90s I was a massive fan of the French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer and somehow this led me to the French singer who calls herself Robert; these days RoBERT.  In some ways RoBERT has eclipsed Mylène for me – good thing, then, that Mylène played that record by Robert on that radio show all those years ago.

I was a fan of Robert in the earlyish days – especially for an English person, I’d say,as she’s not exactly a household name here.  Maybe some people noticed her singing and voiceover on a Givenchy Ange ou Démon TV advert in 2009, but I doubt it would have made her known here.  And there must have been some kind of attempt at breaking through over here; a UK remixes 12″ of her first single Elle se promène; the 2007 album Princess of Nowhere, with English language versions of songs from the Six pieds sous terre album and various other tracks.

Anyway, why am I telling you this?  I don’t know.  It’s just that I have found various bits and bobs in my collection dating back to the late 1990s / early 2000s.  I was first in touch with Robert in the late 1990s to arrange to do an email / telephone interview with her.Robert011Robert012

Then I finally made the trip over to Paris to see her in concert in 2000 at the Café de la Danse:

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I went back to Paris in 2001 to see her again for a two-nighter at the Café de la Danse – the first evening (30 March) was the pink night and the second evening (31 March) was the blue night.

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I did buy some live DVDs after this but there was an 8 year gap from the 2001 concerts to the next one I attended, so I missed out on the Cigale and Haute Couture shows in the 2000s:

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I made it back over to Paris to see Robert again in 2009, when I went over to catch the Serge Gainsbourg exhibition at La Cité de la Musique before it finally closed:

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It was quite an odd experience – I really enjoyed the music but somehow everything had got “bigger” and therefore it was no longer so intimate.  In the eight years that had passed, the prices had gone up from 121 French Francs a ticket to €36,30 and it was all merchandised-up.  I had invested in one of the limited edition Mathieu Saladin (Robert’s husband) books, Robert des Non-Dits  – I got book number 120 / 400.  In all, it was a pretty expensive affair.  Still, I guess everyone has to make a living.Robert015Robert016Robert017Robert019

Back to the concert, like I say the music was great but the problem for me was that the audience had got a lot younger and less cultured – I was trodden on in the queue by a goth in clodhoppers and had to tell him off in French (it’s really strange being angry in another language!) and he was most unapologetic.  Quite frankly, at the risk of alienating a lot of RoBERT fans, I wasn’t too keen on the goth element and there seemed to be a lot of them there.

I also didn’t enjoy sitting so far away – row J seemed like a million miles away from the stage.  I haven’t been back to Paris to see Robert since then although I still buy and very much enjoy the albums.  Maybe I am just getting old.  I am getting old.

O well, I shall write an article about Robert – or should I say RoBERT? – shortly to explain the Robert, Princesse de rien myth in more detail.  In the meantime, here are a few photographs sent to me back in the early 2000s, not sure quite when, by a French friend.  This is from an appearance Robert made with Mathieu Saladin at a FNAC store:Robert FNAC001Robert FNAC004Robert FNAC002Robert FNAC003