In a Rush

La Rochelle, March 1986

My dear Epo,

I said « quick » to myself this night. And hopefully quick enough to catch you packing for Germany , for I’ve been lazy those days, joyfully recovering from my ascent of the Mont Blanc.
Nature, physical stimulation, blinding sun have made me fly so far away from you all , I needed to be scorched a little bit; with the company of other guys,  to make my decision and write you, and tell you all.

Colin has always been reluctant to tell you what happened between us.  I wanted to respect his choice, not having had the experience myself of a little brother or sister; I did not feel well placed to judge what was right or wrong to do. But I think that from the moment you love someone; it is not coherent to hide anything from on the pretext that this person should be “protected”.

Colin probably felt from the start that I would not engage with him.
It is really important for me to help him, besides I continue to do it; we’re still in touch. But to understand each other so well, in his adversity that I felt as mine; we were seized with a fever that is not love. Your brother is a wonderful guy, physically, intellectually; his sensitivity is immense and the fact of having grown up in a favorable environment was able to preserve this sensitivity. Do not interpret it as a reproach, I believe on the contrary that it is a blessing; but Colin has not yet learned to beware of illusions.
He was distraught, I wanted to help him because at that moment I was more solid; this may be called a rebound relationship, although Colin was still with Simon , but not satisfied with him.

He told me he had to go and live his own life, for that he takes competitions to reach interpreting schools in Germany. We looked for leads together, we went to Paris together for the written exam who could open the doors of Berlin to him. He’s eligible to an interview over there in April. It was a wonderful joy until he asked me to go with him, and if he succeeds to settle down with him in Berlin.
Despite all the affection I have for him, it is not part of my plans. Since graduation (and even before) I want to go to finish my studies in England. I gave up music so as not to overload mom with worry but I want to be in the heart of  places where this music ferments, before this decade comes to an end. You understand that, Eponine, do you ?

I know my time is running out and I have already refused other things to make this dream come true. Virgile and I did our year of military service right after graduation. I remember us entering the barracks, exhausted because we had such a short rejoicing night… even if I had told him that I would not go in his sound engineering school in Paris ( far too expensive for mom anyway…)
England will be my time, which I’ll embrace with full arms and heart, once I’ll have my master in pocket.

But I don’t want Colin to spoil his chances by still nourishing dreams of us both. I’ll keep on doing everything I can for his success, but he’s not the guy of my life. If you’re not hurt by what I’m saying, you could accompany him also; to go over what I think is a fallacious attachment, while our friendship is true and precious.

You already both found a way, let’s enjoy this early and wonderful spring; let’s enjoy “Black Celebration” . I bought it.
I yearned for “A Question Of Lust” ; which Colin told me about. The more I listen to Martin’s lyrics, the more I realize their invaluable universal scope.
I imagine you felt side by side in the sweetness of this night the same feeling of liberation as me; as everyone who suddenly finds the outcome of a too tight heart when a stranger voice full of pure emotion miraculously comes to find its place in its intertwining too complex for the reason.
If I can suggest one thing to you though, when you’ll buy “Black Celebration” certainly in Stuttgart, that would be to listen to « Stripped”; I don’t tell you more.

Have a wonderful trip, sweet; I can’t wait to read you.


A Question Of Lust

Pontaillac, March 1986

«  Don’t worry bro, he’s certainly freezing his own balls on the mountain , while we have near 20°c tonight on this terrace …
– Precisely, I would love him to be here and enjoy the exceptional sweetness of weather. But he may not care, sun shined brightly in the Alps today.
– What’s going on Colin? You seem so sad. Is it because of yesterday afternoon, when dad caught you wearing this silver crop top?
– No, I piss them all off. He helped me for that, he helped me finding my way to escape them next year. But I wanted him to share the travel with me.
– And Simon?
– Sorry for him, but you can’t longer enjoy an ordinary wine when you’ve tasted a Chasse-Spleen
– He wouldn’t like you being desperate and emphatic like that, bro.”

Colin looks at me deeply. Maybe I’m farer from him on this soft falling night. I ‘d like to help him, but it’s impossible for me to have bad thoughts on Alban now. And it doesn’t fit with this moment we have both outside, brother and sister, with the lazy wind and the rising stars; and the radio sizzling in the open kitchen.

“ You know him better than me, don’t you sister?
– Nobody knows him, I think. But this mystery hasn’t got the right to spoil the holiday evening we have together … there may not be many more. It’s nice out, maybe nature is beckoning us to let simply go…
– You know him. You talk like him. But you’re right. “

At this point, the sound of our radio becomes clearer. They have a great announce to make. Their LP is out , on sale, and here’s the host’s favorite track by Depeche Mode.
I jump on my feet.

“ Oh, your Walkman again? Going to have an artisanal recording which you alone have the key?”

But we have to keep it , bro. You don’t know yet that it will be priceless.
Heavy sounds hit the spring air which still stammers, little by little they form a difficult melody by repeating; and the voice that emerges is not what we expected

There’s so much tenderness and supplication in the words we catch
be gentle
never willingly do you harm
my weaknesses, you know each and everyone

And most of all
Independence, is still important for us though …

Is it there the freshness of a winter which tries to take back its rights on the night?
We’re standing in each other’s arms , voiceless and suddenly transfixed.

What is this for a song? Not a slow, not a ballad, nor a damn romance.
It weeps gently , but it strikes also ; and it talks about us all , about all that far from false noise can shape and consolidate what really matters between two people ; desire, loyalty , despite the whim that governs and constantly threatens human relationships .
 And the heavy sounds of the beginning, that resonated in the background , they beat again louder in the end , obstinately, as if no end, no night could erase them anymore.

Who is Virgile ?

La Rochelle, February 1986

My dear Epo,

It’s been a while, and I’ve been so busy with exams lately; but during a conversation with Colin ( not what you think about, we’re just elaborating plans to make him escape from Paris next year) he told me about your new addiction to “High Meanders”. It really pleased Virgile himself, he begins to understand all the interest there is to embark the youngest in our passion for music.
It must be said, he is a rather complicated character. But I know very few New Wave’s fans who are not, and it takes a certain amount of grudge to be really in the spirit. The fascinating elegy of this movement cannot accommodate with conventional good humor; but a little nonchalant cynicism will however find its place …

I think I’ve had to learn all this when I left my fishermen’s quarter to come and study in a city center High School. But curiously it was an asset, to know gruff guys; and scratch my fingers on bad guitars with buddies who wanted to play Joy Division. Without that I think I wouldn’t have been able to approach Virgile, and even less to forge the friendship that you know between us. Music is a great medium for guys like me to gently fuck the boys from the upscale neighborhoods (not as much as football but almost)

Virgile belongs to an excellent background, where I was very learnedly explained that he had his annoying mood from his mother’s neuroses, and he lost her a year after we got to know each other. But already before that, Virgile was kicking in the stretchers : for him it was out of the question to follow the royal road and to study medicine. He still conceded to his father a science baccalaureate which would allow him to access sound engineering. And of course, the fool that I was followed him in this adventure…

However, we often threw our equation sheets to listen to records. In 1983, The Sister of Mercy’s “Body Electric” had already been released, and it was the glorious time of “Alice”. We were quite intrigued by a band which started by creating his own label even before realizing its first LP; and by the time there were only singles from The Sisters Of Mercy. It was already a real universe though, carried by the production of John Ashton ( from the “Furs”) of course, but also highlighted by the lyrics like “ Pass the crystal, spread the tarots / In illusion comfort lies” that the voice of Andrew Eldritch makes emanate in meanders of smoke.

I have often seen Virgile sitting on his bed in astonishment when later he was listening to “First And Last And Always” , and it’s not hard for me to understand; it’s a mesmerizing album. We had talked about the tragic loss of his mum ( and maybe he’ll tell you himself about it) , but in these moments , only the catharsis of words, on a harsh guitar line “ Because the world is cruel / And promises are broken” ( Some Kind Of Stranger) could really help him. Emotions are kept inside , the voice is deep, and just the guitar weeps …

You have it now Epo, Virgile is the melancholic one among us ; and certainly the most inspired. I usually work at the bar on Friday evenings but my boss allows me to record “High Meanders” and I listen to it on Saturday morning while I’m taking my bath.
Not last time. It was a Friday off ; and I had the chance to have my bath by listening to “High Meanders” live … But he didn’t tell me that his former Londoner girlfriend , Sheeranee , had brought back precious recordings from the Southern Studio. And the end, oh, what a wonder … Promise, I didn’t think at all about using my toes to make soap bubbles anymore… (it is likely that the atmosphere of “High Meanders” is generally not suitable for it, but there even less)

You can’t imagine how much I’m happy that you discovered “Virus Meadow” at the same time; it really means you’re part of the great alchemy that makes us vibrate now. Tell me what you felt. Or write it, because we won’t see each other in February’s break. With dancer friends that I’ve known in High School, we decided to climb the Mont Blanc. I’m probably the least prepared of the bunch, but I’ll do my best to stay alive because I want to read your letter from Germany in March…

Meandrous hug and gothic kisses,

High Meanders

Pontaillac, January /February 1986

I should work on my solfege. But there’s “High Meanders” on the radio, like every Friday (late) evening.

Sometimes I hear Virgile’s voice in it; and I don’t know the girl, with that voice made hoarse with cigarette; that I love …
No need to count on me during these two hours; my answering machine is unavailable.
How I try to record, purists would laugh at me… I’ve got only my Walkman, and it’s already better than the old dinosaur Panasonic “block” straight out of the 70s.
The connections that I make are often hazardous, and it happens that on the tapes we find incongruous noises of the outside, a Colin’s fart (even if he denies), doors slamming and one time the flush…

But I want to keep it all so bad, as much as the magazines which pile up dangerously in the dust.

On this cold and endless winter, where sometimes electricity fails because of the storm, I still have my Walkman and the radio , like a friendly presence which reminds me of what I’m in love with.
It is the sound of these long nights where my questions about the life to come grow and accumulate.

From what I remember, “High Meanders” often started with Sisters of Mercy’s “Body and Soul” in an extended version that shaped blue ethereal forms floating over an unreal swamp of darkness.

L’Equerre, 1986

I knew that , far from the jubilation of sets with David and Alb; Virgile was a melancholic; and you could feel that when he made his programs alone; playlists took the beauty and the depth of his elegiac mood, and blew coldness on the flying time of those two hours.
It happened that however I could hear the others’ presence in what was played, Valentine’s cute temptation with “Under The Milky Way” ; Coquelicot’s fire in “Love Like Blood” and several times in the end , the call of Alb’s  desire for rejoicing in a burning version of “Duel” which sounded like a decadent climax after the silver flood of these romantic rivers.

But what fitted the most with the cold darkness of dawning February was this song that Virgile in the end of a broadcast announced. There I could feel all the beauty of his, in “Virus Meadow”

Just recorded, and stolen, only for you who listens to our bizarre volutes…

It is like, in Worcestershire,  the mossy humus of a fantastic forest, where the oldest poetry of England ferments and rise again.
Dark and deep roots crawling on grass and ferns, friends , you can barely see them in your candlelight ; but you can hear them whispering tales  of a temptation from another age

Suck enchanted nightshade twine

Hear the bells beneath us chime

… And also the trees…

This was “High Meanders” , listener my beloved
Have an inspiring night

Take this break … and dance

Pontaillac, January 1986

Dear Alban,

Happy new year my Alb, and once more, infinite thanks for your letter ; your understanding, your strength, all … You wrote just the words I needed to read.
I’ve thought so many times about this contrariety which almost ruined my night with you all , and I couldn’t find a real explanation to what happened… I’m so sure that I’m not provocative when I dance ; it’s just that I feel music so much that I become music by dancing sometimes. I mean, there’s no boundary between myself , my body; and rhythm, and words when I’m into it. And I’m not aware of what may come out of me when it’s like that.
I wondered if I could, if I was allowed to express myself in such a way again; if I wasn’t a little bit responsible for this guy’s behavior after all…
I know such thoughts could make you jump of indignation , but you know, I’m still surrounded at school by boys who sometimes act as if we were taken for granted , it’s a common way of being ; even if it’s not acceptable, and nobody tells them much about it; about self-education with girls …

But I received your gift; my own “A Secret Wish “ album , Colin had bought it already; but having mine filled my heart with joy. And I discovered it again; especially “Frozen Faces” that is made for this night…
Take this break and dance

There are so much nuggets in it ! Listening to a vinyl is magical.
I’ve got my own record player , as a blue pick-up now (my Christmas present ! ) … And I love to drink tea , and listen to an album from the beginning to the end ; with nothing more in my head than the blood pressure of songs.  Alone and concentrated , I felt exactly what you wrote me about Propaganda’s masterpiece ; how their universe formed in my mind over the tracks, how Edgar Poe’s verses shaped the strength to dream upon Fritz Lang’s buildings and landscapes.
There are only few weeks until my school travel to Stuttgart now, I’ll try to bring back all I’ll find about this wonderful band…

I got a great mark on my folder about “A Secret Wish” it fell into the hands of Greta, my penpal. She did a bit of the same kind of thing about A-ha.
But I have the impression that she is even more enraged than me … Anyway, she seems to be a cool girl , living with her grandma in a little house near the High School . And she’s got a “fan room” in it, what can it be? Of course I’ll write you about it all ; still hoping than the rantings of a dumb teenager in full age won’t annoy you.

I feel like having another  brother with you. But one who would come now with just what’s good in fraternity; without the arguments or the experience of stupid things done together ( even if stupid things are so good sometimes !)
I’ve seen your anger in front of this dumbass  who attacked me; and I usually don’t like anger or boys’ fights .
It really seems  anger is the only feeling boys can allow themselves , because anger is virile; and it gets on my nerves but here, it was such a rightful anger that no one has dared to stand in your way.
I was a little afraid that you would strangle this asshole who wouldn’t even deserve it, and we were all paralyzed because we felt it was something else than defending me.
It was putting a stop to all those who would allow themselves inappropriate gestures on girls this night; it was putting a stop to those privileged people who think that the bodies of others are at their disposal.

And even if it is not advisable to strangle idiots with their shirt collars; I think you did us, girls in particular, a great favor…
So, I send you all , all my wishes for this new year; and I hope Colin will drive me in La Rochelle again before summer, and I hope I’ll study in this beautiful town next year.

Loads of Kisses  


Enjoy the Music …

La Rochelle, January 1986

My dear Eponine,

Well, it was last August, five months ago, that I took my old clunker and drove to Saujon-City-in-the-fields for Valentine’s birthday. She had it hard with Virgile, but he accepted to do the DJ for her, with David on first part of the night. Not me. I had a tough working day in the bar; and to be honest, I came just not to disappoint her.

I didn’t even have time to change my clothes, and in fact I didn’t want to. It would already be such a festival of nails and fishnet stockings, and not only for girls … I wanted to enjoy the show quietly , maybe it would bring me sleep after all. To be honest, I’ve been annoyed when Colin asked me to watch over his little sister “just the time he and Simon prepared “their burlesque act” for dessert”. I had jumped in my car directly after the service, I was tired and the idea of ​​playing the babysitter enchanted me about as much as going to a Jeanne Mas’s concert.
But it was Colin, the fresh blond baby of Montaigne’s preparatory class; the kind of guy so sweet you can’t deny him anything. I only knew him ( by David) since a few months, he already was with Simon, but I was attracted by him, as I’m always with those guys who breathe easy life and the cultural ease of good families.

I looked after you in the house, trying to chase the thought of my mum who had lost her second baby; and who was alone with me when it happened because daddy  was on the seas ( by the way, he was not a docker, but a fisherman; at the time in charge of a crew without having the salary of a captain ) . Virgile and the guys were running all over the place because Coquelicot had just planted the chopper in his thigh, and I was asking why the hell they didn’t call Royan Hospital’s emergencies. And then I saw you in the room where she was, laughing with her and Maude ( the delightful Maude !) about your literary name… I understood then that it wouldn’t be as difficult as with the other “kids”.
Don’t misunderstand me, I quite like Sylvain but I do not understand this mania that the youngest have to piss off their elders by all means, because they know well that their elders are responsible for them. But it was not only  your support for Coquelicot that I liked. After that I saw you  dancing; first with the other girls, then little by little, in your own light…

And it was so obvious, so crystal clear; you enjoyed the music we plaid. I say “we” because David, Virgile and I build our sets together; and they are made of all these songs which at one time or another made us jump also from our chairs.
As you asked me the playlist, I realized you didn’t know all of them, but you lived them; and you didn’t see that people were pleased to dance next to you, because they’re was something, beaming from you; which seemed to say Here’s  the real breath of my chest, the very beat of my heart; right now, in just what I’m listening to : life.
Look, you probably find I’m too shy usually, but here is the moment where things come out; in joy.

And that’s all there is , Eponine. Dancing like that is your absolute right. It’s pure, it’s shiny; nobody has the right to spoil it.
But I know, some sad, frustrated, petty or predatory minds are on the lookout for burning moments like these ; because the frozen dryness of their hearts is incapable of these, they can’t even feed on ; they have to grab and pollute the one who creates them. The clear fire of a young girl’s innocence is the most fascinating and threatened thing that exists. There are individuals who profess to damage innocences as much as possible. And what for? I don’t know. Keep their miserable egos alive, I guess.
I think I’m (most often) a very peaceful guy, but this kind of persons gives me puffs of rage. I can’t admit that society is so complacent with them, when at the same time it is also implacably severe towards young girls.
And I believe this is precisely where the music of our generation plays a role. It can free words and bodies , to become  the bishop’s whirlwind on a chessboard, which overturns the towers, the old queens in its path; before he stands himself in front of the tyrant to defeat him.

So , what should I say now Eponine, what could I tell you other than to dance again this year, to dance and to succeed; and to love, a lot ; under the beard of all these junk kings that we are going to bring down, one by one; with music and dance, and real love.

You’ll find what you need for it with this letter , and all my  wishes for your parents, Colin and you.

Read you very soon , Lark; and lots of kisses !


About three days in La Rochelle (end)

La Rochelle, 1985

Then my rage rises like the tide, and I don’t know exactly by now all that I tell him. Of course his disrespect gets me mad; but I am especially ulcerated because he ‘s dirtying a song. And a beautiful, most poetic one; I can’t bear it.
I start insulting him, a lot, violently; so much that I clearly see his jaws twitch; and he grabs my hand, twisting it in a very brutal way. There are threats in his voice, but he still pretends to kiss me.

“ What the hell is going on , Eponine ?”
It was Virgile. Surprised, the guy let go of my hand. They stared at each other for a moment. Virgile was a little taller than him, but the other held his gaze, obviously ready to do battle; in any case not at all impressed by the beautiful eyes first full of incomprehension, then filled with a rising thunderstorm that Virgile darted on him.
“ You’d better go the fuck out of this place.”
The guy jerked his shoulder off the wall, still looking Virgile in the eye; he didn’t answer and pretended to walk away, but I was sure he wouldn’t go very far.

Virgile took me to the bar, however; and in any other moment I would have been happy feeling his arm around my shoulders; but there I was terrified and in the most total misunderstanding.
“ He’s not gone.
– I know, but you must drink something and calm down. Holy shit, it seems to me he’s  a “regular” though. No place is safe. But where are all the others?
– Dancing I guess. You’re not at the set?
– I just needed a pee break… it was charming, as you can see. Coquelicot is replacing me for a bit. Well take some “fruity juice”; how do you feel now?
– Still spoiled. But thank you so much for intervening.
– So natural; you’re part of us now “Lark”. But I can’t help wondering what your brother’s doing in a moment like this…”

By the time I was so scared, I didn’t enjoy the end of the guys’ set. Music was far away in my head, still good; the beat of my body hung up to it at times, but I no longer had the energy to really care.
“ We have to go back to dance, said Virgile, you know it’s like when you learn to swim and drink the cup, you have to go back immediately in water.”

On “ Laughed” , the US remix of Propaganda’s “Sorry for laughing”; our bodies have been close to each other in the dancing crowd. Music caught me again, and pleasure; so that I barely saw Alb and Colin crossing the dancefloor, followed by Diane, Valentine and Maude. It had been the last song of their set , at almost three in the morning.
“ We must go with them, told Virgile however. Alban seemed very upset; we’d better avoid a riot if we still want to mix here eventually.
– But don’t worry, Alban is not the kind to fight…
– Don’t believe that ! Sometimes the dock worker’s blood awakens in him. It’s rare, but it may happen.”
I was a little annoyed that Virgil himself mentioned once more the social origins of Alban, as if it was absolutely necessary to be a “working-class” guy to defend feet and fists the integrity of his friends.

But for the fight, Virgile was right. If the guy hadn’t been impressed by Virgile’s threatening tone, he no longer allowed himself to laugh when he saw an Alban, livid with anger, swoop down on him. Because it wasn’t just about me.
In this brief moment I could see the embodiment of wounded honor taking cynical oppression by the throat. The guy had apparently brought his pals back to get the shit, but seeing him suffocate in the collar of his branded shirt; they did not insist.

More, there were some guys from La Pallice, the merchant port where Alb was from in the dancing room; and obviously the guy’s friends were only brave to show off in front of girls.

“ You’re part of us” , Virgile said this night. And I felt at that moment how much it was true, and later when we sat all together ; drank and laughed the rest of the night away. We were building our own family, and even if I was not accepted in Dautet’s high school the following year I knew that I could count on them all, even Virgile , by whom I was more and more charmed; but in secret, because Valentine was there.

No need to tell you that we had a little trouble getting to sleep with Diane then, in the little bedroom that Alb left us next to the main room he shared with Colin in his flat.
“ Don’t worry , she told, they’re both deep asleep …
– I wouldn’t be that sure, Alb never sleeps.
– Really? And he never fights either it seems, you should see him with Colin in his arms …”

About three Days in La Rochelle (3)

La Rochelle, December 1985

The boys installed Virgile’s Emulator next to the turntables, and when it comes to “Shake The Disease” sampled voices of radio hosts announcing the track with dreadful french accents rise and mix on the extended version; which makes people laugh and dance at the same time.

All three take each other by the shoulders in front of us, and move frenetically for a bit , chained like that; before returning to their respective positions. Virgile adds chord and voices effects several times. Of course they don’t have their own mix table yet, and they get by with what they have.

But the temperature has gone up a notch in the room, and we have the impression of moving in a sphere of heavy steam in which the violet light diffuses.
I met on “Just One Kiss” the same trance of tears I had on Val’s birthday ; a smooth trance, but one of those I often have when I’m with friends , and the music is so good , that neither my mind nor my body is anymore in conversation; or just with the melodic lines and the imperious pulsation of the rhythm. I’m not with anybody anymore, even not with myself I think. It is likely that this passion for music has at times made me a little asocial; because I no longer belong to the world around me when I’m in states like these.

What has been magical in all boys ‘ set , is that from mockery moments , with their own contagious beat, took over pure puffs of amorous lyricism in forever-extended songs like those of The Cure. As I was not to myself , I felt briefly some presence around me though.
And it was not a good one, even if it disappeared quickly . In an instant all my flesh came in alarm; and I came back to myself.
Maude and Diane were looking at me with a devastated air.
“ Didn’t you feel it , Epo? The boy, he touched you .”

I was still all dizzy, unable to answer anything; feeling all the weight of shame grab my flesh.
“ We will not accept that, said Maude, come , we’re gonna find him; he needs to hear a few home truths…”
We didn’t find him in the crowd, but Coquelicot who just arrived from Marans where she was working, Girls must have told her what had happened, but I felt the event was drowning in the pleasure they had to meet each other again.
Where the fuck was Colin? Enjoying himself, for sure. Everybody was enjoying himself, but I couldn’t share their happy mood anymore. Something twisted my stomach and made me tremble all over the place.

I don’t think they noticed that I was walking away; I really wanted to go to the toilets; to lock myself in and let my tears of rage run free. What was going on? I felt so dirty and I couldn’t help but fear that they would despise me, because I had not reacted, because I had not defended myself; because in a nutshell I was elsewhere when it happened.
From there also I had to go out, because other girls were getting impatient at the door.

Leaning against the wall of the room where we danced, He was there. Quite tall, and I could barely see a look that I yet felt cruelly ironic:

“So you never resist, like that?”
Against all caution, I stuck my head towards him, I wanted to see him; to see his pervert face within reach of my spit.
He had nothing from a thug, on the contrary. Judging by his clothes, he even seemed precisely a motherfucker from a good family. But with the features weighed down by unashamed concupiscence and alcohol.

“ Just fuck off. I was immersed in music.”
I still remember his nasal and unbearable burst of laughter. I remember it like the very sound of the abuse; the one perpetuated for centuries by this kind of privileged little guy, for whom the whole world must be at his disposal or even at his mercy. But I didn’t have the strength to spit, anger and fear had made me run out of saliva.

“ Hey c’mon baby, it’s obvious you’re made for me. Just One Kiss …”

About three days in La Rochelle (2)

La Rochelle, december 1985

Oooh Our Love is like the floweeers …

That’s what Virgile stubbornly sings in a falsetto voice in front of the bathroom’s door. Colin and Alb are not coming out , giggling in the bathroom, for an endless seance of “self-approval” ( that’s how we call it) .
Valentine ends up taking him by the elbow and dragging him to the living room.
“ Old chap, you’re really in an unbearable mood. Leave them alone!
– Colin is supposed to have a boyfriend. But it will end up like last time.
– I told you, Virgo, not in front of his sister…”

Apparently, Virgile didn’t notice that I was here, or he told it on purpose. But it doesn’t bother me, I gave up understanding about elder’s complicated feelings.

“ You could have made an effort for your outfit tonight.
– I’m perfectly in tone. Black is the color of my true love’s hair…”
Argument disappear in a kiss; Virgile did indirectly compliment Valentine’s Siouxsie-like hairstyle , and obviously it’s enough for her. But it’s true that Virgile did the strict minimum : black jeans, black turtleneck, black perfecto. And you know what? It suits him wonderfully and he doesn’t need more.
Virgil’s style is to piss everyone off, and he would disappoint if he applied more. Of course Diane and I try to steal a glimpse of him; this guy’s charm is truly addicting and unfair at the same time, especially when Valentine made up his eyes. A thin black line just below, and they take on a sparkling depth, swept away by his stiff and soft locks.

Oooh Our Love is like the floweeers …

“ You wanna play this, asshole ? says Alb, his face a little crumpled going out of the bathroom. You haven’t finished hearing it, this fucking song !
– Hop, hop, hop; you so vulgar, and in young girls’ presence?
-This is the first time I see you caring to be so decent. This evening will be historic on your way to civilization…
– Don’t forget I am named after the cantor of the biggest antique civilization…”

The bickering between Virgil and Alb are a real lifestyle, not only are they the sign of a very old friendship; but it’s also their way of stimulating themselves before mixing together.

And the night will be great indeed. Even longer than those we have lived until now.
We enter the nightclub through a small discreet door with a mesh skylight. Spaces are separated by high aquariums; and silence sequences of old scary films are projected on the walls.

Alb and Virgo are not the ones to start, it’s the official DJ on board. He doesn’t look like he’s that pleased. Young boys are voluntary and could constitute unfair competition. But they have attracted a clientele that seems to know them well and of which Diane and I eagerly note all the finesse of style.

We are immediately offered a drink, at a table crossed by the trunk of a potted banana tree. For a long time, I will love these fuzzy and smoky atmospheres; which give to laughing groups and to supple and dancing bodies an air of sulfurous elegance that most often smacks of deception. But music, in this overheated and spicy fog, loads with all the soul of our friends who play it; and of the artist who created it and who we love.

Tonight we’ll leave the tired leaves of the poor banana tree, to go crawling on the croaking samples of The Perfect Kiss .

About three days in La Rochelle (1)

December 1985

Once again we did it. Just in time, a 43-page dossier with photos, musical press articles, inserts about Fritz Lang and Edgar Poe,  lyrics and testimony of all these teenagers who loved Propaganda; one in England who Alban knew, one in Germany who Colin knew ; several Colin’s mates in Montaigne’s preparatory class, Coquelicot, Virgile and of course Alb himself.
Colin pointed out to me not without malice that he forgot to talk to me about former member Andreas Thein. It seems that the rivalry with Susanne made him leave (sadly) .

(Andreas Thein)

Over the course of this work, and throughout this year of my fifteenth birthday (1986) I saw two fraternal figures grow up; and it wasn’t always my real brother Colin who had the most influence on me anymore. Eventually I understood why; Colin sometimes tried to shape me while Alban always liked me just how I was. His company has always been both reassuring and stimulating, he had no prejudices; about nothing, and he made it his duty never to refuse anything to those he liked.

Colin, David , Diane and I took the old 4L and drove to La Rochelle in the beginning of Christmas holidays.  We believed in a punishment from heaven when the front left wheel burst in the middle of Rochefort’s swamp, still white from the morning frosts and drowned in the fog.
But when we arrived in La Rochelle, finally in the early afternoon, a soft light gilded the towers of the port.
“ It’s always like that; said Alb. Your road can be long, dreary and rainy; there’ll always be a bit of sun to welcome you when you arrive in La Rochelle”

And it is true that to see the young people walking around in ample gabardines, on the bridge leading to the Saint-Nicolas quarter, one would have thought in the early days of autumn for the air was so soft.
Alban rented an old apartment on the second floor of an old house, whose owner, he said, had the extreme advantage of being almost deaf. The main room, with its antique crisp floor, was the entire width of the floor, with a tiny balcony overlooking Saint-Nicolas street. He and Virgile had pushed the table there, so we could eat in the sun while the more cautious sat down inside. Maude and Valentine were there also, in red and emerald pull over dresses, quite short over their high varnished boots.

The guys were wearing berets, autumnal paisley shirts over their turtlenecks, wide pleated pants with tight ankles; and paraboots. I soak up everything; grilled fish from the port, lots of white wine , chocolate cake , joyful sounds rising from the street and sometimes greetings for Alban when he sat astride the balcony railing with Colin, to smoke.

Tonight would be their set, in a little club behind the port and near what was at the time called the “House of Culture”, they had to go there and install their equipment, bring some of their records ( Alb, David but especially Virgile owned maxi -tracks and remixes LP imported from UK, Japan or USA) while we girls would go shopping with Colin, with a lot of good thrift shops addresses in pocket.

“ If we’re not too destroyed tomorrow, we’ll go make our wishes in front of your future high school.
– I want it so much , Alb, all is so cool in here !
– I love the way you’re always happy , Lark, don’t become one of those high school girls who think it’s stylish to sulk all the time.
– I wonder why on earth I could pull a face right now …”