Douches Ecossaises 4 July 1966

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What a joy it is to watch a well-made and stylish music show – this one is Douches Ecossaises directed by Jean-Christophe Averty who makes great use of early visual effects, which may look a little dated now but which would have been exciting at the time and still look interesting when compared to what they do nowadays; people have little imagination these days. Sigh!

I’m looking at this one because, as ever, it’s got a TV appearance from Michel Polnareff – yet again promoting La poupée qui fait non – and there’s also another favourite of mine in the show:  Zouzou.  

Originally transmitted on 4 July 1966, Michel Polnareff had just turned 22.  He looks really happy in this clip, but before we get to Polnareff here’s the rest of the show in order:

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First up is French actor Christian Marin, who I know from Costa Gavras’ 1965 film Compartiment tueurs.  Here though he is singing a song which appears to be called Pourvu qu’il ne flotte pas au mois d’août, but I’m not really sure about that.  It’s not my cup of tea – very old school, accordeons, silliness etc – but Christian Marin has a great face.

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Next up, scary triplets – Les Jiminis 3 – singing Ah ! Quel malheur d’être petite fille.  Good job their parents had 3 kids because if this song is anything to go by it sounds like they use them for child slave labour, at least they can share the chores (washing, scrubbing, polishing etc) between the three of them.

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I’m not a fan of kiddies or kiddy-pop so this does not appeal to me at all.  The closest I come to liking kiddy pop is that bit in Keith West’s Excerpt from a Teenage Opera when the kids sing the Grocer Jack chorus.  These Jimini kids are way too frightening for me.  Brrr!!!

Quickly moving on:

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This is Albert Santoni singing Mon bateau.  Back to the old school again with this one – accordeons, hand clapping, background cheers, hat tilting, it’s got it all.  It sounds like a rather bad drinking song – maybe they were drunk when they recorded it. Next!

Ah! This is more like it:

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Slightly morbid clip for a song from this singer/songwriter Maurice Dulac, but it’s understandable because the track is called La veuve Sylvie, which translates as Widow Sylvie.  Maurice tells Sylvie she’ll never be his widow because he’s still alive and he’ll never marry here anyway.  Why not?  She’s to-die-for beautiful but she’s already been widowed twice before and Maurice is not going to be her third husband. Or is he…?

Great use of visuals here with the lovely little skellybobs:

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Now for a bit of dancing from Vélérie Camille:

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Very attractive lady but she looks like she’s getting on a bit so it’s all about the hands as far as she’s concerned – she wouldn’t want to put her back out, would she?  Very graceful and looks stylish but I’m not here for the dancing.  Plus she looks like the template for Pete Burns’ cosmetic surgery here:

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What has Françoise Fabian got for me?

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She’s a French actress, who later went on to appear in Buñuel’s Belle de jour and got the part of Maud opposite Jean-Louis Trintignant in Rohmer’s Ma nuit chez Maud.  Lucky!  I like her already.

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She’s a very attractive lady and here she is singing a track that seems to be called Les honneurs de l’amour – I know nothing about this, but what’s new?  It’s not bad actually, sounds like something from a film soundtrack.  It’s okay.

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And here’s Jacques Loussier with a jazzy Bach track and lots of monochrome zig-zagging all over to make my eyes go funny:

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This is good but I prefer The Swingle Singers doing Bach.  I like a bit of Bach, me.

Next up, the fabulous Zouzou. I can’t get enough of Zouzou, she’s one of my absolute favourite French singers, and this is a track written for her by the handsome Mister Jacques Dutronc – Il est parti comme il était venu. 

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Like Françoise Fabian, Zouzou also appeared in a Rohmer film: L’Amour l’après-midi.  I’m not sure why she didn’t make a bigger career out of films because she was very good.  There was talk of drug addictions and a couple of stints in prison during the 90s.  Quite sad, but I think she’s fine these days, which is good news.  Anyway, I can’t recommend Zouzou more – check out her music.  I always say this, but this particular track reminds me of Nico/VU, only better.  I think.

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From one extreme to the other – fancy following a fabulous track like that with Albert Raisner and his harmonica, eh?  O well, sit back and let it play…Douches ecossaises 31Douches ecossaises 32Douches ecossaises 33

Albert is all about the hands as well, so maybe he could join forces with Vélérie Camille and they could do a “all hands on deck” double act?   It couldn’t get any worse. Or could it…?

Douches ecossaises 34What’s this?  It’s Henri Virlogeux (ignore the typo in the TV credits, they have got his name slightly wrong) doing some ridiculous bull fighting sketch.  I will let him off but only because he was in Truffaut’s Les quatre cents coups; in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s stunning unfinished film L’Enfer; and in Balducci’s Trop jolies pour être honnêtes with Jane Birkin, amongst other things.

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You are forgiven for wasting my time, Henri.  Next, here’s Stone – what is she wearing, I wonder?  O no, NOT that horrid black and white suit again!  She certainly got her money’s worth out of that purchase.

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In any case, this is Seul, a French language cover version of Norwegian Wood.  It’s alright but Stone can do better than cover versions.  And she can change out of that suit at the same time.

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I shouldn’t complain, should I?  No, I should not because this is what happens when I complain:  Georgius doing a track called On l’appelait fleur de fortifs.  They may call it that but I call it a blast from the past – the French love their chansons, don’t they?  I would say it seems a bit out of place on the show but it doesn’t really – it’s a free for all here.  I’m just waiting for Polnareff now but in the meantime at least the visuals are good:

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Next up in this Michèle Arnaud produced TV show is, you’ve guessed it, Michèle Arnaud!  Not too shy to give herself a slot on her own shows from time to time.  It’s a wonder her little boy Dominique Walter is not here too but you can’t have it all.  Well, you can because this track, Ballade des oiseaux de croix, was written for Michèle Arnaud by my number one favourite: Serge Gainsbourg.  In that case, sing away, Michèle, sing away!

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Right, the first track from Claude François (yeah, sorry there are two…) is Mais combien de temps – a slowie.  I must admit I quite like this track.  I tend to think of Claude François as an all-singing, all-dancing freak show but I am secretly fascinated with him – especially since I saw the Cloclo film last year.  Who would have known he was such a weirdo?  Hiding a son, running porn magazines, sleeping with countless groupies, all at the same time as portraying himself as a cleaning living family friendly chap. Amazing.  Of course it could be an inaccurate biopic as it was with the Gainsbourg film – spit!  Anyway, here is Cloclo:

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Wow, it’s a Gainsbourg-fest here, with Pourquoi un pyjama? from Régine:

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I love Serge – I love him SO much – but what is this song, eh?  It sounds like it was written for Klaus Nomi but instead has been sung by the Divine looky-likie Régine.  It’s not a good one.  And if asked for an opinion, I would say that even though Régine claims never to wear pyjamas, I could give her 100 reasons why I would rather she wore some. 

To make up for the disappointment here is Claude Bolling with a tiny kitten!

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Bolling was a French jazz pianist and he seemed to work with everyone and recorded loads of film soundtracks – including Vivre la nuit (which Serge was in) and Qui? a fabulous film starring Romy Schneider.   He was a busy guy, here he plays Kitten on the Keys with a little help from a gorgeous kitten, aw!

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And, now, the moment I was waiting for – Michel Polnareff with La poupée qui fait non and some scary ladies in masks who keep shaking their heads at him:Douches ecossaises 53Douches ecossaises 54Douches ecossaises 55Douches ecossaises 56

He looks totally cute here, doesn’t he?  No need to answer – I know I’m right.

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No special effects for Michel, just some quick editing which made it difficult for me to get the screen grabs I wanted, dammit!  Excellent clip though and worth waiting for.

Next up, another Gainsbourg collaborator, Valérie Lagrange – actress, singer and a very interesting and beautiful lady.  She’s appeared in films by Barbet Schroeder and Andrzej Żuławski, you know?  Anyway, this might not be Gainsbourg but it’s fabulous. It’s Le même jour by Francis Lai and Pierre Barouh.  Incredibly catchy, you’ll find, and doesn’t she look wonderful?

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Next, round two for Claude François who claims he has a tiger by the tail – Je tiens un tigre par la queue – he might be better off putting it in his guitar like Dutronc did.  The track’s okay and Cloclo’s dancing is good too, plus there are some good visuals.  This is alright, I suppose, but I preferred the first track.

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Not sure why he looks like he’s about to sneeze in that second photo…

Finally, to close the show with something annoying there’s a sketch from Muller et Ferrière (I guess they’re a comedy double-act, I really don’t know) with Jean-Christophe Averty in the municipal showers.  It’s not my kind of funny.

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But they seem to find it amusing, giving Jean-Christophe Averty the douche écossaise treatment.  O well.

Luckily the closing credits are fabulous so the show doesn’t have to end on a bad note:

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More French music shows soon.