The mistrust that my father began to nurture against us can also find its roots in a small sequence which we watch with amusement today. But which certainly caused some generation conflicts in France.
On the 7th of May (1986) , Depeche Mode were invited on the set of the 12 o’clock news by Antenne 2 ; during the two days of the Celebration Tour in Paris Bercy. The moment our musicians came out of the mythology of our rooms to invite themselves at the family lunch table, an hour of great audience.
Only Andy and Martin were there.
The journalist who interviewed them, Hervé Claude, also an anglicist writer, had the full consideration of my parents for he represented a refined form of intellectuality which was kind of influential in the media of our country.
In front of him, two young, unkempt boys who were badly awake, and whose dazzling success, which had pushed them to fill Bercy rather than the “narrow” Zenith seemed an incongruity to the eyes of the very elitist establishment.
It was clear from the start that the interview would be conducted, through the prism of this French rationality; with simple questions that these poor guys couldn’t even answer clearly… So what ? A French name could be given to a band by pure chance , just because a magazine was lying there and that it seemed a “good idea”?
These children couldn’t therefore define their role other than by “keyboard player” ( and Colin was fuming against the translator who said “keyboard” for “keyboard” and then “clavier” while “synthesizer” would have been much more significant for those who didn’t know Depeche mode !) ; and since when the fact of having lived a “heavy night” was an excuse for Dave’s and Alan’s absence?
“ He isn’t even polite” mumbled dad between his teeth. And it made Colin laugh; it made us both laugh; discreetly of course , this disheveled Martin with his eyes still glued from the “heavy night” and who no longer considered it useful to talk about his work of composer or about the meaning of his lyrics…
“ Why is there no question about this title “Master and Servant”? asked Colin during the musical seconds
– I don’t think that Hegelian dialectics will be very popular among average French people.
– Since when do you care about average people?”
Mum hurriedly put her hand on daddy’s, what I thanked her internally; because I wanted to hear the rest.
“ You on the top and me underneath … charming manners, they have ! Forget all about equality ? ”
And those poor parents were dismayed to see us jiggle, knowing these sulfurous words by heart ! … But anyway, internet did not exist of course, and it was not every day that we could enjoy some glimpses of Alan’s profile …
“ Oh, come on, can he stop being Franco-French for two seconds? Success in France, French public, French name, blablabla …I thought he loved Anglo-Saxon culture …
– But is it “culture”? “Daddy snapped in response to Colin.
We hadn’t reached a climax yet, before the bits of vitriolic criticism, that the presenter read, with the newspaper spread out in front of him “ Kleenex songs”, “pathetic on stage”, “hairdresser boys looks”, “no humor at all” ; and I saw gradually the sad eyes and the sad smile of Martin who was probably wondering when it was going to end.
“They would be unhappy all these critics if they did not have the hairdressers boys. Always the same old tune !
– It is “Le Monde”, nevertheless …”
But before the Question Of Time and the Question Of Lust, Martin replied by the “Question Of Taste” , what else could he and Andy say? It still appears that this kind of talk has no other effect than to strengthen each in their position . We left the table in tension and Colin went to make up his eyes.
Much later, in the first decade of our millennium, I saw Alb come back from the bookstore with a gay thriller named “Death of a Drag Queen” by Hervé Claude …