I have a soft spot for Serge Gainsbourg, the Gallic hedonist and naughty boy of the 1960's
French pop scene. This is partly because I recognise, from the little I've heard of his work, a
quirky musical talent. But it's also because, with the exception of now departed Daily Telegraph
columnist Jeffrey Bernard, he was in his later years the unhealthiest person I have ever seen
outside a hospital. On one hand this invokes in me a feeling of pity, while on the other there is
only gratitude for his selfless sacrifice in acting as a human reminder of the effects of a dissolute lifestyle.
As for the music, all I clearly recall from my youth is the infamous "Je t'aime....Moi non plus"
from 1969 - a song-come-simulated-sex-romp with Jane Birkin so blatant that it managed to outrage much
of the listening public even at the height of the era of free love. This was by no means a great song in
the usual sense of the word, but it did at least hint at an underlying creative talent, the repetitive theme
having a similar sensuous power to Ravel's "Bolero".
Serge being dissolute....