Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tempus Fu**it: Francophilie

You can guess who the poseur at the top is. Let me garner instant scorn by revealing that my eyesight was in those days absolutely perfect and the glasses I wore were, ahem, a mere fashion accessory. Repugnant as this may seem, I find it no worse than wearing lifts in your Cuban heeled boots in order to appear a bit taller, which one of my best friends at the time certainly did. My aim was, of course, not to appear taller, given a skinny six-foot-four stature. I think I just wanted to look serious...

Not that I was in Paris on business. It was pure, unadulterated pleasure and the first time I had visited the city which until then I had only dreamed of... At last I was able to take the escalator in the Quick Elysées snack bar which Jean-Luc Godard had negotiated in a wheel chair while filming a breathtakingly fluid travelling shot in A Bout De Souffle...

At the famous Olympia concert hall topping the bill that week was
Trini Lopez, whose hit If I Had A Hammer seemed to appeal to the French. I knew Trini from a few years earlier, having booked his trio to play regularly at summer semester dances at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. When I left the States and moved to London, Trini had re-located to the West Coast and there his career had taken off. By pure coincidence one of Trini's Los Angeles friends, Mike, also wound up parrt of my London clique and we realized that we had a mate in common. And so both Mike and I reckoned we should lend our support when Trini was booked to play Olympia.

The snapshot of me Mike took early one morning. When over forty years later I suggested that my daughter sit on the steps of the Opéra Garnier I promised that I'd find for her Mike's photo one day, when I could get my hands on my archive. Promise kept.

Of course I told her about that week in 1964, how the four lads from Liverpool were second or even third on the affiche; Beatle-mania was still to come; how one evening after the show a bunch of us were in the discothèque, le Bilboquet, I think, a telegram arrived announcing that for almost the first time ever a single by a British act had risen to the top of the Billboard charts, I Want To Hold Your Hand.

No comments: