Earlier this month ipanema éditions published a new book about Michel Polnareff – Le Polnabook – which is currently the pride and joy of my Polnareff collection. It’s a large hardback book, presented in a box, and full to overflowing with beautiful photographs of Michel Polnareff from childhood through to the current day. The book is well-designed with little pouches containing numerous inserts – reproductions of original concert tickets, programmes, sheet music, postcards, posters. It’s visually stunning but the problem is I just want to get all the bits and pieces out to look at them properly but I’m terrified I’ll damage the book if I play with it too much. Here’s me trying not to ruin it too much:
I got my copy via Fnac but I’m sure it’s available elsewhere – the recommended retail price is €44 but I wouldn’t even think about the price; it’s worth every penny and must have cost a fortune to make.
I have various other books about Polnareff, some of which are well-read and used and others not to much. Here they are in no particular order:
Polnaculte by Benoît Cachin (Tournon, Paris, 2007) was a book I found when I went to Nice to see Polnareff in concert. It’s well-researched and informative, including interviews with various musicians and songwriters who worked with Polnareff from 1966 through to the 2000s, taking each song, recording and TV appearance in turn. It’s one of my favourite Polnareff books and one I always use when I’m looking for information for my little Polnareff articles – it comes highly recommended by me!
Polnareff Mania by Christophe Lauga (Scali, Paris, 2007) is a book I totally understand – a book by a fan and a massive collector of all things Polnareff. It’s a book I only bought earlier this year when I went to Paris to interview the French singer Evariste, but it’s one that should be taken very seriously by any Polnareff fan and I’m sure I’ll be referring to it in future articles.
Polnareff Le Roi des Fourmis by Christian Eudeline (Eclipse, Besançon, 1997) is well-used by me and unfortunately it shows it. For years it was my only real reference book and it’s been a great source of information for me since I bought it in 1997. It contains lengthy interviews with fellow musicians and friends and lots of invaluable information. If you can find it, buy it.
Polnaréflexion by Michel Polnareff in collaboration with Jean-Michel Desjeunes (Dire/Stock 2, France, 1974). This is the first Polnareff book I ever found and it’s fairly rare now. Highly amusing but doesn’t really tell the story of Polnareff, just selected highlights. A must for any Polnareff collector even if there are no photographs or illustrations.
Polnaréférences by Philippe Margotin (Lagune, Enghien-les-bains, 2007) feels, to me, a little bit like a cash-in book to coincide with the success of Polnareff’s comeback tour. It just seems like a summary of everything else that you can find in the other better books about Polnareff; it doesn’t seem to have any new information unavailable elsewhere but maybe I am wrong. In any case, don’t take my word for it – it’s cheap enough to buy a copy and try it anyway.
Les Photos Collectors by Fabien Lecoeuvre (Ramsay/Vade Retro, Paris, 2004) is a beautiful collection of photographs of Michel Polnareff in a large hardback format. It’s not a biographical or a reference book, it’s more of a photography book with informative captions but for any Polna-lover it’s a must – there are lots of photographs in the book I hadn’t seen before.
Polnareff par Polnareff by Michel Polnareff in collaboration with Philippe Manoeuvre (Grasset, Paris, 2004) – this is absolutely hilarious. I bought this when I went to see Polnareff in concert in Nice and I remember sitting on the beach reading this and laughing out loud. It is outrageous and unlike its predecessor Polnaréflexion it seems to be more of a traditional autobiography. It’s great fun but I can’t pretend that I believe everything Michel Polnareff has to say about himself! Buy it now!
There are, no doubt, many other books about Polnareff and I will inevitably get them at some point or other to join the rest of the Polnabook collection. I’ll have to do little items on my Gainsbourg, Birkin and Hardy book collections some time soon, when I can dig them out.