Is Martin Gore cool ?

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 …


Pontaillac, June 1986

How you came into my house
I thought you were an enemy
A viper’s song
A siren’s touch
And all that makes softness deadly

Don’t understand you
You said
But you’re not even trying
You’re not even trying

How your cruel dark eyes appeared
This was my last dreaming of brass
Subtile music
Fine elegy
Shivering in your heart of glass

Don’t care for you
You said
But , poet, you’re lying
You’re obviously lying

How your influence chained all mines
It happened so treacherously
O learned speeches
Mean fallacies
Under the coat of decency

Don’t fear my guard
You said
But man, I’m escaping
Today, I’m escaping

Greta’s Eyes

Stuttgart, March 1986

Dear Alban

I received your letter just before leaving, I read and read it again in the train, at night ; when everybody was sleeping in the compartment around me. I thank you for telling me things with such sincerity, and the problem is that I can understand you both in different ways but I don’t know how to help each of you.
I’ve been tired in the morning when we arrived, and people were lovely ; but all these “receptions” and all this food, when I just wanted to sleep and think …

The arrival by Greta remotivated me however. She’s living alone with her grandma since the drama of her birth. Her mother died life by giving life to her daughter, and since the dad refuses to see his girl , who’s the portrait of her. Very early wounded by life, Greta has shaped her own kind of devotion. In the little house where they live, in addition to her bedroom, she has a very small room where she devotes a real cult to A-ha.
Not a square centimeter of wall that is not covered with the languid or triumphant pictures of her three idols.
Morten , Magne and Pal, cut to life size, welcome you from the entrance, in the midst of a great jumble of themselves…

I am as impressed as my compatriot-girls who have visited the sanctuary three days later. I had never considered the adoration of my mythical band from that angle, of individuals and their potential for seduction. Or not so much.
The carnal relationship, I think I have it a lot more with vinyls.
And if you saw the record store where Greta took me… I’ve never seen anything like that in my life… Three entire floors !
I was mad, I wanted everything. I broke my piggy bank quite well … Propaganda’s maxi singles ( I don’t tell you everything) , “ In Visible Silence”  “Who’s afraid of the Art of Noise” and of course “Black Celebration”. I even talked with a very cute seller with a promontory hairstyle that you would have liked ( I guess you would have liked the all guy by the way) , but he told me that “Tinderbox” will only be on sale in April …

I realize by writing that I won’t talk to you that much about the activities and visits that we made with school, I could describe you Heidelberg with its wonderful medieval center , and its university. The place would suit Colin very well, as much as the scholarly discourse he could write you about all these historical things. I’ll never be a good relater I fear, concentrating only on what gave me emotions during this trip.
For example , this professional skater , as we had an evening party at a big ice rink in Stuttgart. When she learned that we, french girls, loved Propaganda, she improvised a choreography on “Frozen Faces” and it was simply magic!

A little anecdote to finish, and post this letter on time … We had a listening party in Greta’s “fan room” yesterday evening, with all the vinyls we’ve bought during this trip.
My “Black Celebration” record is light gray , a grenade as bright as the cover is dark. But I had to compare my acquisition with the trophy of a guy who’s known at school like a fine connoisseur of Depeche Mode. He also loves vinyls , cover’s artworks , rare extended singles, and if, in addition, the record is not black ; we are close to orgasm…

The pisslord also wants to make me swallow a privilege; that of owning two copies of “Shake The Disease” , one blowing red ; the other of marble with grey veins ( Colin found them for me !) . From his bag, he took out a “Black celebration”, also gray, but the black edges of the cover had small relief designs while mine are hopelessly smooth!

And I can guarantee you that at this moment he did not have a modest triumph …
Although it really pissed me off, already I can’t measure the importance that it may have compared to the musical discovery that awaits us …

We’ll talk about it again in ten years… I’m sure he’ll be a much shittier fan than me ( and I’m so humble …)

I kiss you with a muzzle full of beer foam ( chuuuut ! )