Beyond The Gates

Pontaillac, August 1986

Dear Alban,

I’ve been waiting for days, we all have. For summer, Depeche Mode coming back in the great south west of France and we’re in ! 11th of August, on the Stadium Esplanade. I had never found such interest in this place …

The old-stock inhabitants must have thought it queer to see their parking invaded by a horde of young people in leather with smoky eyes, hats, pearls and chains. All that the region had for synthpop fans had landed there with a loud clatter. It was joyful. People were singing, mostly “A Question Of Lust”, while the most qualified among them were talking about Emulators, Guillaume Tell studios in Suresnes ( where the album was recorded) , and the curious percussion curtain on which Alan beats obstinately.

The atmosphere was electric, with that hot asphalt blast, trampled with more and more frenzied ardor by thousands of big soles.
Behind the opaque grilles, we heard the first bars of “Black Celebration”. A breathless silence fell immediately.
Alan, Alan … He was certainly there, making the last adjustments, playing.
Fucking incredible. In our little town.
Between the walls, inside our derisory Sundays events’ area ! Alan was honing his sound magic, in the open air , in Royan evening.

Then nothing, the wait again. Colin sat on the ground, then one by one, all those who belonged to our little group, except two guys from Poitiers who you know I guess, for they’re also fond of New Order. Pierre-Louis and Hugues , I think… with peroxidized brush cuts. They remained standing, in this attitude of guys who think they are clever not to sit with the others , and not to drop their long raincoats while we are in the middle of August …
I’m sorry if they’re friends of yours, one of them is DJing in the cellar of the Grand’Goule where Low-Life is a religion…

But they were stubbornly standing. And the sky, I hadn’t noticed it, was heavy like the bottom of a bottle, through which passed a weird greenish sun; and you could almost hear the clouds clashing each other. It was a kind of drought growing in us from the overheated ground, and to make matters worse I stole a cigarette from Colin, what made the others laugh because I finally know how to smoke.

I don’t know how long we’ve been sitting there, long enough to feel this was the bivouac of an long and uncomfortable joke; long enough to feel the first big drops of a summer storm. It was not driving rain, but something insidious that strummed on our foreheads and cheeks, that didn’t stop. The good mood of the beginning was gone, necks were raised to try seeing above the gates.
But a strange silence had replaced our imaginary sounds, those that hope in our rooms had forged before coming here; they dissipated in a single word

It’s difficult to understand such a word, especially when you don’t know exactly where it comes from in the crowd. Your dumbfounded conscience doesn’t believe it, you remain paralyzed while the others begin to disperse. You want to shout at them “Don’t leave ! They gonna call us back”
You cannot imagine that it could happen otherwise, in these cases it’s the reality that seems inconceivable.
Many people were just staying there.

But there were all the rational ones, (starting with your two friends) to give their technical explanation.
“The sound was not good enough”
“ They didn’t think on a proper protection for the machines”
But don’t you remember?

Oh God it’s raining
But I’m not complaining

I’m not complaining … the very diffuse sound of my dumbfounded consciousness, or that of an angry crumpled paper that rolls in the wind on the asphalt.

Why did they not … ?
Tears were not coming by me. I saw Maude and Diane slightly crying but I was unable to.

David and Colin got together to pick me up.
We brought everyone back, and then we drove home. Silently, I was still not crying.

Dad was surprised to see us arrive so early, but he didn’t make any comment. Colin and I have stayed together in his room, and there it came. It came because the magic didn’t happen, and that the time of trials is coming, for good …
Colin made us some tea, lit a candle, burned copal incense.
I didn’t want to listen to Depeche Mode, so we played the whole Victorialand from the Cocteau Twins, that I didn’t know completely, and it was wonderful…

Well, precious Alb, that’s it … I’m not telling you anything new in fact, Colin has already told you everything on the telephone, but it was necessary for me to write it all with my point of view. I remember you saying once that great love stories often begin with a missed appointment; and be sure that I’m not giving up, but still…
How many were we, from the Disease Generation, to come there believing it.

I hope that on your side, you fill up with beautiful sunny hours and music in Italy, and that I’ll see you again completely “refreshed” in September! I can’t wait for it …

Have the best time my friend, I send you all my kisses


Palmones & Love

Algesiras, July 1986

My dear Alb,

I guess this letter will be quite long, since this trip was a surprise for Colin as well as for me. Because he’s leaving for Berlin, and that he will settle there at the end of the summer; parents decided to give us a holiday in the sun, maybe the last that we’ll spend together all four.
It was done by an exchange of houses, this is the way we can afford travels abroad for several years. They found this family of Andalusian teachers, and this house near the beach of Palmones from where we see the rock of Gibraltar all lit up when evening falls and where we met the group of revelers Colin has been hanging out with for three days.

I don’t think I have ever been so hot as on this car ride, when some cars have a thing called air conditioning… we spent our first night in a hotel north of Madrid taking showers in turn with Colin. So we all got up a little late, and we couldn’t do otherwise than to picnic in the middle of Mancha.
You know, when people say the air trembles with eat, well, there it was not even on the horizon, but just around us; we felt like hearing the stones crack and split , and I found it wonderful. While the parents were a little further away, Colin and I settled in the approximate shade of two olive trees. And we spoke really well at that time, he told me his fears about next year; about his roommate with people from his school that he hardly knows. He says things would have been so much easier with you, but also that mum told him “He’ll watch over your little sister”. Do you believe that? Despite all the maneuvers to watch me, she may have always been on our side …

We arrived very late at night on the coast, dad desperately looking for our house on the seafront where people were savagely driving; while we were upsetting him by singing “Here is the House” every time we thought we were in the right place, and even when we realized that we were wrong.
Colin quickly found a party companion in the person of the neighbor’s son; but it would have been easy anyway, young people here seem to live on another planet where speed dance and drunkenness determine without any possible dispute the tempo of existence.
It’s even strange to see all these cities which seem to have emerged on the sea only for the parties.

I didn’t like Marbella that much, it’s a nice place ; but the music played in the clubs just gives the impression of molding itself on the body of  partying people. You know it by now, I love that my body becomes the music , and not the reverse. That’s why I do not share the enthusiasm of others on some “arranged” songs.
You would be glad  here, people breathe , drink , and may be more… on New Order. But what is this remixed version of “Subculture” however? You no longer feel the youth and the stumbling, inspired intonations of Barney in it. It has become an accompaniment to fluorescent cocktails and to sequined bikinis which has lost all its charm (at least for me) . I no longer see him beating his sole in the park and almost improvising by walking this rhythm of a sweet melancholy.

I think I’m not made for this manufactured sense of rejoicing, and even less for this thirst of fun at all prize.

I just kicked Alejandro out of my room, he asked me maliciously if I wasn’t bored too much.
They’re next door with Colin and Pepita, “The girl who loves Stripped the most in the world”.
 I will stick to my role as a lookout to warn them if the parents come up. It’s funny after all.

But I just want to stand on my balcony , listening to the real
I like talking in my sleep
When people work so hard

and watching the laughing moon on sparkling sand, with the citadel of the rock which beckons to her with all its glittering lights …
Read you soon my friend…

With all my hugs !


Cover up that bosom …

Saujon, August 1985

I’m impressed. I don’t dare talking too much, among those tall girls, but I feel good right here, even by putting slices of blood orange on the glasses rimmed with sugar.
Why are they getting tired to craft such cute things while outside, and in the living room, everybody is already half drunk ?
However, I like listening to their conversations, insignificant maybe ; but I feel introduced in the world I was dreaming of , sitting alone in my room a few day earlier.

“Who’s playing the music? I may like Nitzer Ebb, but so loud …
– It’s David, he arrived with Colin and our little Eponine.
– Oh, shit, we won’t be allowed to ask him anything.
– It’s true he has a very high idea of ​​his function, but take him as he is; a nice guy in the end.
– I prefer when it’s Virgile to the turntables. He’s hectic, and he at least refuses you nothing…”

Sylvain, the boy who’s my age, is some kind of shaggy little brown thing, with a shapeless AC/DC t-shirt, tumbling down with a beer bottle in hand.

“ WHO gave you this ? asks Valentine, frowning.
– The guys at the barbecue, much cooler than you as it seems…
– Then what are you doing here, stupid ? Eponine has arrived, you know the girl who’s your age…
– V’nin …
– Thanks for the enthousiasm !
– But it is that there is urgency, they say over there. Coquelicot put the shopper in her leg.”

The news is greeted by a concert of loud cries.
“Couldn’t you say it sooner, you asshole?
– You didn’t let me speak, guys want you to come quick ‘cause she pisses blood.”

I’m taken with the group of frightened girls; in the living room they keep on dancing most naturally in the world.
Two huge guys with dizzying hairstyles support the famous “Coquelicot” (so named because of the red firecracker she has on her head) ; they wrapped a t-shirt around her leg. They take her to a guest room on the ground floor.

“ Shouldn’t we drive her to the hospital? I ask timidly
– No, weeps Coquelicot, it’s not that deep … But I’m sick of it, only shits happen to me…
– I told you not to go at the barbecue, Coco; says Valentine, with Alex around you would necessarily be too nervous.
– All guys are bastards, she sniffles in a sob”

Maude, the long haired girl,  brought tons of gauze and mercurochrome; I help her to disinfect and compress the notch which indeed is not as deep  as the flow of blood suggested.
“ Don’t worry for me, “little”. I may know who brought you here. But you may get bored to always be called “the sister of”… What’s your real name?
– Eponine.
– Wasn’t it a girl in Victor Hugo’s novel?
– The eldest of Thenardiers. The one who falls desperately in love with an aristo , and who ends up on the barricade. Funny idea they had, my parents.
– I find it suits you well however. She’s a romantic character, perfect for tonight !
– Dad told me it was for her “redemption” ; but literary first names are a mania in our family.”

Both girls are laughing. We are only the three of us in this room now, everyone rushed back to dancing and drinking as soon as they knew their buddy was not at risk of bleeding. And apparently, it also itches her  to go back with the others; so we help her; and I like the tight pressure of her arm on me.

“ Oh cool, Fad Gadget ! screams Maude, come with me Epo. Colin didn’t tell us you were prohibited from cocktails.”

“ Grenadine” is traitor. Barely a few sips and everything starts to waver around me. Synthetics chords and liquid tones form a sparkly curtain in the mist of tobacco. Maude has been caught by a guy who dances close to her , crumpling her hair on her back.
People are eating grilled pieces with both hands and I’m slightly disgusted by all this meat.
“ You’d better eat something, advices Valentine, otherwise you won’t hold alcohol…”

Oh, what to do
Not to feel and who are you ?

I like this sensation though, not feeling my feet on the ground nor this too young body, out of step with what surrounds “him” now; just being in the fog of running with sweat silhouettes, just being the same pulsation as them.
I sometimes see people dancing in front of me, encouraging me, but what I like is not being myself anymore.

“ Another glass, little Epo? Great Colin won’t blame me. My name is Alban, but I don’t know why, everybody calls me Albrecht; my hairstyle maybe …”
The guy looks a little bit like Barney indeed, with blond hair all in spikes; but the simplicity of his outfit, black jumper on a white shirt, contrast with the sartorial madness of the moment.

“ You mustn’t miss Valentine’s dessert, I have special instructions for that…”
Music is silent for a moment, and the already dim light goes down further, while some sort of big a pink cardboard dome is brought in the middle of the living room , surrounded by two cakes,  or rather two mountains of whipped cream studded with strawberries.
“ And now , darlings, let’s all rise our glasses to the 20th anniversary of Valentine !” screams David in the microphone.
Thunder of cheers; some drunk “ Happy Birthday” collpapse quickly behind voices that I know well.
To the rhythm of “Master and Servant” the boiled cardboard dome splits in half, freeing Colin and Simon, both coiled in a gigantic feather boa which they throw away by dancing.
Guests, in line, pound the floor with their Doc Martens…

“ Hey Colin! Cover up that bosom, which I can’t endure to look on….
– Shut up Tartuffe !  answers my brother, you perfectly know where it comes from !”

Stunning girls

Saujon, August 1985

To cheers, the cork goes vertically, exactly through the sunroof of the 4L.

– How did you do that ?
– David is also a specialist to open beer bottles all at once with the teeth! laughes Colin , driving the car.
– So “little sister” , says Simon ( one of Colin’s prépa Montaigne mate) ; how does it feel to go for the first time at a decadents’ party?
– Operetta decadents… Luckily dad knows Valentine and liked her well as a student. If he saw her now! We’ll have good fun …
– It’s here Colin, you can stop on the side, says David casually.

I’m surprised we stop here, in the middle of trees.
– We could not leave the house in our party’s outfits. Would you please do my eyes, Eponine?

I follow him and Simon in the middle of a lost pine wood, in which hardly the evening light passes.

“ He wants to have his little sister with him, so that I don’t do anything stupid.”

I find Colin handsome when his eyes are underlined in black, that’s why I trained to make him up. But the total decency lack of the two boys who undress in front of me disconcerts me a bit.
“ Don’t you see that your brother’s got the most exciting tits in the galaxy?
– Why d’you think I’ve chosen an oversize “Marcel” ?
– Your new leather trousers …it makes you one of those asses.
– Grabbed in American Surplus… I didn’t imagine I would find one there !
At this moment, Simon catches Colin’s arms , and kisses him “frenchly” in a falling ray of gold.

I move away to find David  sitting on the hood and smoking.
– They’ve finally done it?
– Yeah, but they’re taking their “moment”.
– You don’t seem perfectly relaxed…
– Well, you know, in the space of just a few minutes, I see my brother half naked, then in ultra-tight leather trousers, and kissing a guy greedily..
– Does it shock you?
– No, but that’s a lot all at once.
– More, those bastards took the bottle… Don’t move , I will speed up the movement.

His cigarette is still smoking on the ground , I hear the pine needles’ mat cracking.
“ He’s peed on my shirt !”

It’s David who takes the wheel now, and I sit in the dead man’s place while Colin and Simon are behind, giggling like school mates (they are).

Valentine’s birthday takes place in her parents’ house, isolated in the countryside  adjacent to Saujon.
I waited all July for Colin to take me in one of these evenings; but I must admit that now I’m scared. Even if I am not the youngest, Valentine has a 14 years old brother too, but I feel that’s an alibi. And I’m afraid I’ll play the “green plant” all night among all these “grown up”.

But when we arrive, the music immediately grabs me, a feminine voice
We found you hiding, we found you lying
Choking on the dirt and sand
It’s wonderful, but I don’t dare to be ridiculous by asking what it is.

In the smoky half-light, there is a smell of perfumes and alcohol coming from all those bodies waving , their eyes to the ceiling.
Girls are magnificent, with their fishnet stockings and their hair like bouquets of fireworks. Me who spent hours in front of my mirror, I realize that the road will be very long before I reach this natural felinity that they give off ( I believe it at the time) without thinking about it.

“ Hi, you’re Colin’s sister aren’t you? I’m Valentine. I hope you’ll spend good times here , we’ll watch over you.”
I realize that Colin, Simon and David have disappeared.

I stammer, stunned by this tall brunette who drags me into the kitchen.
“ Would you please help us to prepare the bloody cocktails for everyone? Boys are useless…
– Is it Colin’s sister? asks another girl, with an emerald square hairstyle shaved on the sides. G’evening beauty… You don’t look like him or your father…
– No, retorts another siren with long straight purple hair which fall all the way down to her hips, but I think I see your mother.
– Do you know her? asks Valentine.
– Yes, she made a replacement in English in Marennes when I was fifteen. A beautiful woman, I adored her.”

Somehow I’m confused.
What, a girl like that, who seems straight out of the fashion pages of City, and who neither raves about Colin’s charm, nor about daddy’s culture; but on mum’s beauty … She would be so pleased, she who is so complexed by this bastard status of teacher among all her “friends” with their prestigious and stable jobs.
I’ll always be grateful to this girl.

Disease generation

Pontaillac- Royan, July 1985

Acquired, listened to, re-listened to, recopied by entire stanzas; lyrics step by step are revealed.
They are thousands, like me, in the derisory secret of their room to feel the same creaking swell that sweeps them away, the same surge of hardened steel that overwhelms them, at the same time.

It’s a need for any growing generation to cling madly to the new musical wave, who, while drawing abundantly from the sources of previous generations, wants more than anything to stand out.

“You didn’t invent anything …” daddy launches us at the table, while in a few weeks my clothes have turned black, that my eyes are hemmed in coal all around; that Colin, disproportionately grown up, gets scolded , because of his long legs he can’t sit really straight anymore without shooting in mines.

Disease generation, silent, pampered and sulky, which carries ingratitude and universal mockery as a standard in its outfit and outrageous makeup.
Like acne, it’s an unjustifiable evil that erupts in every pore; with tight leather collars, unnecessary trinkets sprouted into incongruous growths, with their set of pins and nails, with the explosion of hairstyles. And our tongues, they remain paralyzed.

I feel adults are irritated by these kids who no longer communicate.
Our revolt is no longer played on the barricades of May 68; it’s only an obstinate silence. Edouard calls us “ New Romantics” ( but he hasn’t invented anything either) ; that makes Colin mad. Because once we’ve been given this label, it is no longer necessary to try to understand us.

Colin and I often escape to Royan in the afternoon. First, for clothes.
This time he found me a t-shirt ,very close to the body, with a bare shoulder, diagonally. I really don’t know what my brother has, with shoulders in general… But I trust him blindly.
The record store is a second obligatory place. It’s where I spend all my pocket money, in tapes.

– “A Broken Frame” this week ? laughes David, you’ll soon be smarter than us !
– When Eponine found out the doctoral thesis existed, she said she wanted to write one about Martin Gore …
– Frankly, I pity your parents. I can’t be easy everyday !
– I think you did more to bleach my father’s hair than any of us both…
– Me ? I was the kindest guy with him. It’s just that dissertation and me don’t see eye to eye. But I liked when he taught us about poetry… when I listened …

But I’m praying…

Pontaillac, July 1985

If I close my eyes by touching the glossy paper on the wall, I can feel the leather of your dress. I guess the shadow of a smile that passes over your lips and my universe fills with the words that are yours.

I am Happy
That I have you
Even though you’re not here now

They are all elsewhere and they have the right to live your songs ; but me, I’m only fourteen.
New Wave parties on Friday nights are not safe for a young girl like me.
Colin is not too resistant to parents who refuse to let me go. At the breakfast table, outside; while the tall pines glazed with the sun sway over our heads , he tells me about drugs , sex and alcohol, all those things that seem to be the dangerous price of good music. Maybe he wants to experiment them , after all, without having me around.

The big white tablecloth spread out in the July light then shines like an impassable border between him and me.

– It’s gonna be so long, before i can enjoy it all.
– Not that much, remember what I told you about this Music section in La Rochelle.
– But it’s still that damn classical guitar, and I can’t stand music theory lessons anymore.
– I understand, but look, you can avoid Cordouan High School, with dad teaching there … Believe me, work ; there’s no other way, study, work, work, work.

Nothing of this beautiful summer, neither the glorious sparkle of the sea, nor the deep chords of Shake The Disease which sometimes come up from the street at night; none of this seems to have been done for me.
There’s before me an endless ocean of nights like this one, where Colin is dancing a few kilometers away, where I’m sitting on the floor in my room, in the shade of shutters, my walkman on my ears, trying to unravel the secrets of adult life by listening to Martin’s words about the worries of love and the thrills of bliss, so hard to reach, but sometimes …

A dizziness of truth suddenly stretches in a melodic line. By dint of listening , during these long lonely hours, something is revealed, a light, even furtive, of pure emotion.

All the things I detest, I will almost like

I know now , unlike what we were told at church, that nothing is really given; and especially not this arbitrary grace which separates the happy from the others.  All is a question of listening.
I’ll wait; impatiently sometimes, I know it well; because I have to wait, because I am too young. But I am not alone. The comforting words I always yearn for, when I leave ( too quickly ) the dinner’s table ; they are not misleading.

Girl of sixteen, whole life ahead of her

They tell a true story, and for me it is not over; it will continue, as long as this pencil somewhere in England keeps writing.
I am lucky.

You know how hard it is for me …

Pontaillac, June 1985

I drank a little bit this evening ; my confused mind doesn’t find the sleep refuge.

I hear , in the distance,  the murmur of the sea.
Leaf shadows dance in the glow of the moon, on my ceiling. Their slow movement reminds me of Capucine who held me in her arms while we were dancing , still wet, by the pool, on Shake The Disease.
When I close my eyes, snatches of conversation arise.

Colin, explaining the words.
It is like a substantial discomfort, which takes hold of our tongue everytime we try to say what comes out of the smooth circle of agreed language.
The character speaks to his love, but doesn’t say that she is. He needs understanding on her part, she, who knows him better than anyone.
Their love is something extraordinarily strong; but it must be felt in the absence.
That’s how it has to be built and shaped, some spiritual stream, eternally growing between them; even if they are not together.
Apparently, this is not their first conversation about it; but there they are about to separate. And for him, it is vital that they separate; but at the same time, his heart begs her stubbornly for comprehension.

I don’t know what happens, but Edouard, who hardly speaks to me usually, turns to me and tells me:
– It talks about you, Eponine.

It throws like a cold in the assembly but for once I’m not looking at my feet:
– It doesn’t have to be necessarily called poetry. That’s just what we can feel for each other.
– What absolutely everyone can feel, adds Colin behind me.

And at the end of the evening, after all this delicious food; and those evening swims, they play it finally; my record.
Nobody really dances in rhythm; because it’s not one of these easy summer songs which cadence nicely suits to friends meetings.

Besides, Colin doesn’t dance; he’s like collapsed on a reclining chair by the indigo water , staring into space.
And it’s Capucine who accompanied me this evening on my song; I can still feel the freshness of her wet arms .

– Are you sleeping, Eponine?
– Not yet, I can’t.
– You can come and use my record player; with headphones of course to avoid parents’crisis … But I’m sorry, I didn’t find “Some Great Reward” in my board School boxes.
It will be for tomorrow, I really need to rest …

The Golden Hour

Saint-Palais-sur-mer , June 1985

Through the curtain of shower’s drops , I hear them both laughing. And when I come out of it, an amazing makeup collection is spread out on the bed. Capucine sits casually on her side, the perfect curve of her tanned leg shining in the evening sun. She’s redrawing his eyes with khôl.

– Go ahead frankly, I want to have a panda face when I’ll emerge from the pool.
– It’s been a long time since water-proof was invented, Colin.
– You didn’t tell me how his « new one » looked like …
– Like the ancient, straight auburn hair, long legged… To believe that all these dolls are just pretexts.
– Sure, they are. It’s all a huge comedy, and you’re really the one that I prefer in this house.
– And me?

Both turn around and laugh, really nobody takes me seriously.

– You won’t finish listening to us like that soon, Epo? You’re my only one sister, who on earth could I prefer you?
– I like your new swimsuit, it highlights your shoulders well …

I think this Capucine’s word will be the only compliment for me in all this endless evening. We’re crossing the bright living-room where the golden hour gently plays with his light. Adults sit outside , in this muffled purr of good conversations where even laughs are measured.
I’d love to be alone, with my new record playing on .

Dad, Jacques Dumont and Edouard were glorious friends in Cordouan High School, and it seems that this hard core of friendship shaped the rest of their lives around. Edouard has become a writer, and it “explains” the prestige he enjoys among us. He’s sitting in the center of the table, with his new “doll” by his side, wonderful in some kind of silvered sateen dress. With a conventional “Good evening Eponine” his gaze slides slightly on Colin, not without repressing a slight frown.

“ Here comes our brilliant laureate , with his anarchic hair and smoky eyes …
– Don’t you like my new style, Edouard?”

My brother then goes around the table to kiss everyone, ostensibly tinkling the buckles of his straps hanging on his hip. Mom, who always seems a little offbeat in this kind of meeting, gives his son a disapproving but tinged with admiration glance. He knows how to play, even  in the most rigid atmospheres; but above all he has the tact to compliment the newcomer on her dress and to ask her name…

“We were just waiting for you to drink, and toast to this nicely concluded hypokhâgne…
– No Edouard it’s too… commonplace. I’d rather drink to the best poetry of the year; you’ve always loved lyrical register, didn’t you?
– I really never know what you’ve got in mind, but then, let’s rise our glasses to the best poetry of the year, boy …
– Let’s raise our glasses to the longest life of Shake The Disease !”

I can not believe it, all those people, the Dumont couple in evening clothes, their children Maxime, Ilya and Capucine;  my parents, Edouard and Suzanne, all seriously toasting Shake The Disease by their pool on this evening…

“ Now, can you explain us, Colin?
– As clearly as lyrics can be … We just found the most accurate words to apply on the beauty and the ordeal of human relations .”

Pictures and Ice cream soda …

                Royan, June 1985

Colin wants to take his time in Royan, he wants to enjoy the early evening by the sea, with all those people strolling and sitting down everywhere.

“ We’ll arrive late. There’s no point on hurrying in an hour like this. What about our unreasonable coke- float with Malabar-strawberry ice cream in it?”

I jump into my adorable brother’s arms. He always knows what pleases me , all the more so if we disobey our parents a little… and just before taking a seat on the terrace, he grabs a magazine from the little kiosk next to our favorite Café.

“ Maybe you want to know how they look like… the article is in the middle, I think.”

While I’m searching , he lights a cigarette and scans through his mirror sunglasses the crowd of young people who also notice him.

I laugh by seeing the four boys on glossy paper.

“ The guy in the middle , what is he doing?
– Oh, this is Martin Gore, says Colin leaning over the photo, maybe you’ll reconsider his style by knowing that without him there would be no Shake The Disease, no Master and Servant and all their gorgeous songs. He’s the heart of the band. Lyrics and melodies, it all comes from him…
– I still prefer the one who rests his head on his shoulder.
– Alan Wilder. In fact you’ve got good taste. He joined the band a little bit later, and he’s a magnificent musician. A classical pianist basically.
– Like you?
– Nothing to compare, sister.”

I couldn’t say now how I loved this moment with Colin, the taste of unctuous and chemical melting ice-dream in sweet to death soda, almost head to head over the magazine.

“ On the left, there’s Andy Fletcher; he plays synthesizer also; and you see the main singer at the bottom. Doesn’t his hairstyle remind you of someone?
– David , I guess.
– His name’s Dave…
– Oh, I see… just because he wears the same name he will copy all of him…
– You don’t seem to like David very much, why?
– I found him contemptuous.
– He’s not, I can assure you. Once you know him, he’s the embodied loyalty. I met him in Cordouan; he was the kind a little angry with school; the archetype of heartbreaker… and the perfect friend for me ! I thought you would found him cute…
– I don’t know if I should have an opinion on this…

I leaf through the magazine a little nervously, surprised that my brother undertakes me on such a subject.

– But as I see, Alan will definitely win the palm … Well, we probably have to go now. Even if I find it unfair to impose this evening on us while I have just returned from Bordeaux and that I am dead tired.
– I didn’t congratulate you for your…rank in first year? I’m sorry, I don’t know precisely why everybody considers this as such a success.
– Because it’s nothing extraordinary, for the time being. It’s just something that feeds the pride of family, and relatives. I did it, but I don’t recognize myself in this part anymore.

The record store

Royan, June 1985

Depeche Mode. Of course, I’ve heard their name before, a quite famous name as far as I know ; but searching in my memory I didn’t hear anything from them before.

Sitting in the front of the car, Colin gives me amused glances.
“ D’you think we’ll have the time to go at the record store in Royan before tonight mum?
– But Colin, aren’t you exhausted enough? You felt asleep in this train…
– I’m perfectly fine now, and it’s for an emergency. I take Epo with me, the 4L still starts well?
– What do you have in mind, you both?
– Never mind mum, Epo and I we’ll join you at the Dumonts’. I’ll take my shower in Capucine’s bathroom ; but can you please prepare my clothes and bring them for me?  Plaid pants, suspenders, black tank top …
– Edouard is going to comment on your outfit again…
– He will be there? One more reason !
– I find you a little ungrateful, my boy, he promised to make things easier for you when you’ll integrate Normale Sup in Paris.
– Who knows what life has in store for us until then? I just want to be “kindly” dressed to blow away your boredom at this party… You can do me this little favor, mum?

And he kisses her tenderly on the cheek. As usual, all her doubts vanish at this time.
I envy my brother for this ability he has to always be original and charming at the same time. I still believe that he devotes a lot of effort on deconstructing his image of good student and kind boy. But when he’s here, time flies at full speed. Like now where we jumped from one car to another; in the old 4L which nevertheless took us to Morocco three years ago. The heat is unbearable in it despite the open windows, however, we’re driving slowly along the sea, which makes the traffic jam more pleasant. All those people who’ve worked hard all winter and spring long yearn for terraces on the seafront; and I seem to hear this song, my song,  through a door next to us.

Shake The Disease will shake up summer nights, sister. You really didn’t hear it before ?
– I would have remembered. It was so special, I mean earlier, like I wasn’t in my body anymore…
– I guess I understand what you feel ; I’ve experienced that before , with music. I’m sure they’re some kind of signs those … ecstasies. We have to feed them , so, shall we go for it?”

Colin hard pulls the handbrake, and just after, we’re walking arm in arm in the crowd ; under the golden sun which blinds and streams over the seafront.
Drums beat heavy on the red walls in the crowded record shop , and seeing Colin arrive, a saler with a geometric brush cut peroxided on top, in a advantageously white tight 501 leaves a couple of customers and joins us.

“ Hey Colin ! It’s been ages… what can I do for you?
– Not for me , dude, for my sister . What have you got for Shake The Disease ?”

The guy barely looks at me, and take Colin to the shelves.
“ Well it’s weird; nothing announces that they will release a 33 rpm this summer… But here’s the 12”maxi-single version.”
He pulls off a large cover, half in black; with a weird picture of a man raising his arms in a thick line of multicolored paint. I didn’t expect this picture that I like now, Colin and the boy are surprised at my reaction.

“ We never have enough of songs we love; maxi 45 rpm are lovely for that… Would you please give us the simple 45 rpm also? To dance with uninitiated friends …
– When you’ll be bored of them, there’s a real New Wave party in Rochefort on Friday night. Will you finally join us, you intellectual?
– I’ll try , David … Are you still playing with your band?
– No, I’ve met more interesting guys… in La Rochelle. Potential was a little limited here, and in terms of girls…
– If you’re interested, I spend the evening at Capucine’s… Parents’ party…

The famous “David” pat him friendly but a little hard on the shoulder.

“ Nice of you , sugar. But I’m not fond of snobbishes…”