Sunday, 14 July 2013

Leo Ferre: Twenty Years On


It's twenty years today, Bastille Day, since Leo Ferre left us. He was a strange, very patriotic soul--an anarchist who raised a few eyebrows by releasing an LP with a picture of his wife's vagina on the cover! Needless to say it soon sold a million copies!
I saw him twice--once when he was putting anarching texts to the works of Beethoven at the Palais de Congrés in Paris, and then at the Opera de Bruxelles when he was on stage for three hours. He walked on, pointed accusingly at the spotlight and shouted, in French, "I eat, I shit, I piss, I vomit, I ejaculate!" Not sure what that was all about, but he was superb. And who of course will ever forget Dalida and "Avec le temps"?
It was chez Ferre that we met the lovely Pia Colombo, depicted here. She'd been in Attenborough's "Oh What A Lovely War", and sadly was dying of cancer--she left us in the April of 1486. That night, she whipped off her wig and said, "I'm dying--so what?" A truly gorgeous creature who sings Ferre, Brecht and Weill almost better than anyone.
So tonight, dear friends, when you're celebrating leading those aristos to Madame La Veuve (and probably like me wishing she were still here today to rid us of a little more human debris!), raise your glass for the superlative Monsieur Ferre!

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