From Gainsbourg to Gainsbarre
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From Gainsbourg to Gainsbarre

From Gainsbourg to Gainsbarre

French painter Ernesto Novo spray-paints a portrait of Serge Gainsbourg on the wall outside his Paris home, rue de Verneuil in the 7th arrondissement, on March 2, 2021. 30 years after the singer’s death, the passion and love is still there, and his fans are still very much present.

French painter Ernesto Novo paints a portrait of late French singer Serge Gainsbourg on the wall outside his house in central Paris on March 2, 2021, thirty years after his death. Three decades after his death, French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg remains a go-to reference point for British and American artists trying to tap his distinctive blend of musical risk-taking and louche style.

Gainsbourg made his debut at the Milord l’Arsouille cabaret. The reserved, shy young pianist struggled for seven years on the Left Bank to make a name for himself, while managing to attract the attention of the great artists of the day, such as Boris Vian, Marcel Aymé and the regular patrons of the Vieux Colombier. He manages to hold the stage for five weeks in front of the Grand Escalier at the Casino de Paris, which leads to the music legends of the time and other sacred monsters of the Paris music halls.

Finally, his lucky star has followed him everywhere: the showbiz vagabond, the fabulous tramp, the marginal and cynical insult, the puncheur des lilas, the man who used to punch a time clock in an old-fashioned metro, now lounges in Michel Drucker’s comfortable armchairs. He’s got his fingers in every pie, turning everything he touches into gold, rolling in it, gorging himself, with no disdain for class. He sells razors, cigarettes and stars, stars, women and actresses, and collects platinum records for himself… and hardly anyone minds anymore.

Did Gainsbourg tire of the provocations inherent in the system, and as he approached sixty? Would he have felt tired of it all? The painter of Parisian harmony strolls the ramparts of his madness. His latest clip, Lemon Incest, in which he sings half-naked in his daughter Charlotte’s bed, is the epitome of a life always on the edge, borderline, of propriety and republican values. The Vatican’s official agency, Loservatore Romano, has dealt with scandals, as in 1969 when, with Jane Birkin, he released the second edition of Je t’aime Moine Non Plus (in which his first companion, Brigitte Bardot, had escaped). Was it his fault that the paratroopers no longer wanted to beat him up for his crimes against this reggae version of the Marseillaise? But he knew how to turn things around, so many times, he knew how to turn the crowd around, this guy was a genius!

We won’t forget you Gainsbarre, you’ll always be in our hearts!

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