Before we get to the tunes, here's a bit of a recap on what's been going on with my blog lately.
Ok, that's the short version. The long version is that for whatever reason I've posted here SIXTY-TWO fewer times in 2010 than I did in 2009. Another way of saying that is to note that this is my 11th post so far this year. Fairly pathetic, really.
So what's going on? Why haven't I been posting to Lemuria Press as much as I used to? Let's see the run down:
1) Facebook. The conversational nature of Facebook and the near-real-time give and take with readers makes it a far superior venue for short observations, link sharing, and nearly everything other than in-depth posts than Livejournal. I regularly post several times a day over on Facebook, even while this place dies a little each day. If you haven't already stopped by, check out my "fan" page over on Facebook and join the conversation!
2) I moved in June, and a lot of my life is still in boxes. At long last, my paperback and pulp collection is shelved and sorted, but my scanner is still in mothballs, which means no new paperback scans. No new paperback scans mean no new posts to my other blog over at Paperback Flash (which I crosspost here), which means less posting in general. I hope to rectify this soon.
3) Work, work, work. Paizo's editorial staff (which I manage) is now around 15 people, and we're making more stuff (and re-making new printings after sell-outs) than ever before. That means more work has crept into personal time, which means less blogging. All work and no play makes Erik a dull boy. That said, it does make Erik money, which is a nice substitute for excitement.
So that's the reasoning behind my absence here of late. I hope to do better next year. One thing that I KNOW will happen next year, however, is a Serge Gainsbourg Christmas extravaganza. Speaking of which...
Last year I presented a bunch of Serge's music from his slow descent into alcoholism and mediocrity. Enough of that. This year I'm going to start with a couple of tunes from his early period, jazzy "chanson" tunes that fit within the musical style of French music in the late 1950s and early 60s, but which have a heaping helping of the brilliance that would set Gainsbourg apart in later years.
I start today with one of Gainsbourg's earliest hits, Le Poinconnuer des Lilas, a brilliantly written song about a ticket puncher in the Paris Metro. I chose this clip because it includes English subtitles. A lot of Serge's lyrics are absolutely brilliant, and although the songs that go with them are often extraordinary in their own right, the brilliance of the lyrics are often lost on those who cannot speak French. I myself have only high school French to guide me, so I only catch part of it. Thanks to the maker of this video, you can get a chance to see Serge at the height of his lyrical power. I love this song.
Next we have another tune from the same era, a little ditty called "Chanson de Prevert." The lyrics are haunting and the song carries a hint of sadness just perfect for the deep winter months.
Ok, how about some up-tempo Serge, from a little later in his career? I thought you'd never ask. Here's is my 100% absolute favorite Serge Gainsbourg song on YouTube, a duet with French pop starlet France Gall that won the Eurovision Song Contest. It's a song about a little girl named Annie (Gall) who likes to suck on lollipops. Of course, the song is actually about blowjobs, which Gall didn't realize until some time later. She was allegedly furious, but the joke is on her. Something tells me Europe was in on it. The duet in this video (to say nothing of the weird imagery on the scenery) does a lot to bring up the creepiness factor, which is probably why I love it.
Unfortunately, the douchebag who uploaded this to YouTube disabled embedding, so you'll have to click the link. Trust me, it is absolutely worth it.
CLICK THE LINK! CLICK THE LINK! OMG, CLICK THE LINK!!!!
Ok, enough about twisted lyrics. Did you know that Gainsbourg was also a talented film score composer capable of laying down an awesome track without a single word? Here's a song from the movie "Cannabis," in which he starred with the love of his life (and later wife), British actress Jane Birkin. It's called "Danger," and it's my unofficial theme song for 2011.
On that tune, Serge collaborated with his all-time greatest music partner, the unparalleled Jean Claude-Vannier. Vannier helped Serge score his opus, Histoire de Melody Nelson, which is where I first came across Gainsbourg. If you've never listened to this 1971 masterpiece, you really owe it to yourself to listen to the whole thing. Thankfully, it's all on YouTube for your listening pleasure. Trust me, everyone you know who really knows about music knows and loves this record. I'm sure I've included the main track below on previous Gainsbourg Christmases, but because I'm such a nice guy, here it is again.
There's a slightly better version here, but the same ass disabled embedding, so I leave it to true experts to seek out by following this link. With a little work, you can piece together the whole TV special "music video" version of the album from that link. It's weird, it's wild, it's perverted beyond imagination, and it was parodied on a Flight of the Conchords episode you probably love. It's available in its purest form on YouTube. Give yourself something for Christmas and check it out.
So until next year, or until the next time I post to Lemuria Press (very likely the same thing), Merry Christmas from me and Serge!