Saturday, 8 December 2012

Love Songs

Over the last year I read two books by the French writer Jean Genet. In some ways they are fascinating works about criminals and homosexuality, but having no direct experience of either I've also found them a bit of a struggle. "Our Lady of the Flowers" was an almost stream of consciousness narrative of masturbational fantasies, and "The Thief's Journal" - which seems more autobiographical - also slid from one story into another without much of a linear plot. Just as something seemed to be actually happening, it felt like Genet got distracted and we followed his mind elsewhere. Nevertheless, they are an important part of French literature, and subsequently googling Genet I came across this short movie he made in 1950 which is very Cocteau-like in it's b&w imagery. For me, this is a far more accessible introduction to Genet, and I suggest you watch it (beware, there is some sexual imagery that is not for non-adult viewers). I found it a fascinating allegory (and whilst I'm not sure if the musical score was added subsequently I felt it perfectly suited the images). It's titled "Un Chant d'Amour" (Love Song).

On an otherwise unrelated note, but with serendipity bringing the two elements of this blog together, I saw The Damned in concert last week. I've always had a bit of a love/frustrate relationship with their music, although "The Black Album" is probably one of my favourite records. The gig was excellent in many ways, yet despite their musicianship they always sound like a band falling downstairs (not a bad thing). Like Genet, there's some self-indulgence to their work; yet for me the energy can be incapsulated in one of my favourites songs. The one I have to leap around to like a 15yr old idiot (the more observant might glimpse my bobbing bald head). And, coincidentally, it is "Love Song".

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