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Call me Gainsbarre –by Paul Alessandrini


GAINS… BARRE like MAL BARRÉ , (bad start) POINT BARRE ! (the end)) Tu te BARRES ? (are you going?) BARRE TOI ! (Get out!) ALORS, JE ME BARRE aussi …DÉFINITIVEMENT. (so I’m going too… definitively.) That’s what this cabbage-head man did, on March 2, 1991, right to the Montparnasse Cemetary, his rendez-vous with other deceased poets and artists (alongside Desnos, Brassaï, and professor Choron), the cigarette in his mouth and the same sad smile. He didn’t like himself, yet seduced some of the most beautiful girls in France and Navarre. But they all left him. He considered himself a minor artist, music being a worthless art compared to the paintings he admired, but he was already legendary. And photography played an essential role.

This shy, introverted, extremely talented, fabulous songwriter loved playing the unscrupulous character. A good photographic subject. No surprise then that he was easily enticed into photography studios, including that of Pierre Terrasson, where he branded his broken image, his chiseled face, three day shave, showing off his delinquent handcuffs. And then there was the alcohol, tobacco’s lovely companion. With a glass in hand, Gainsbarre is up in smoke, puffs he admires while slowly dreaming. But even as Pierre Terrasson’s television set photos demonstrate, this destroyer dandy (a highly manicured look), despite his advanced age, intrigued the little ‘70’s “No Future” starlets in heat.

Gainsbarre, the author’s affirm, was born right after his separation with Jane “je t’aime moi non plus” Birkin. It is this “Gains” described and featured by the book. At Gainsbourg’s burial, was Gainsbarre wearing the infamous white Repetto flats from “Poinçonneur des Lilas”? The authors unfortunately don’t say.

Paul Alessandrini

by Alain Wodrascka and Pierre Terrasson (photos)
Premium Books, 28 euros

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