Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

LJ Idol: Exhibit A - Second Chance - Week 4 - Nothing Good...

Josef Ira Dassin, 5 November 1938 - 20 August 1980
American French singer

Vladimir Semenovich Vysotskii, 25 January 1938 - 25 July 1980
Soviet actor and bard



     My favourite singer Joe Dassin worked on many of his best songs together with the French songwriter Claude Lemesle. Their collaboration lasted a decade, until Dassin's untimely death in 1980, and in the years that followed, in most memorial programs and interviews there was his friend Claude sharing in the grief of the millions of fans with a tear in his beetle eye and warm stories to tell about his colleague and friend Joe.
     In 2005 among the many memorials dedicated to the 25-year anniversary of Joe Dassin's passing such as an "Integral" collection of his songs, TV programs and several books, there was announced a much-expected story Puisque tu veux tout savoir (Because you wanted to know everything), a collection of anecdotes about Joe Dassin told by the family friend Claude Lemesle to his son Julien, who was but two years old in 1980.
     Only, it was nothing of the sort. Behind the wonderful, easy, etheral word of one of France's best songwriters we discovered upon reading it a shallow, jealous little man who had always felt overshadowed and under appreciated by his famous friend, and poured all his long-time bitterness over the pages of his book. It was not about Joe Dassin that he finally wrote, but about himself in his shadow.


     One of my parents' favourite singers is Vladimir Vysotskii, who by some strange coincidence was Dassin's contemporary. I am not a fan, but I love many of his songs, and he himself is one of the people I admire, one without whom the world would have been a darker place. Whatever his real or imaginary faults, this man had charisma given to him in spades.
     A movie was filmed about the last year of his life recently, they called it Vysotskii: Grateful to Be Alive. Not being very fond of biopics, I did not watch it when it was screened in cinemas, and the reviews of those who did were diverse and tending towards negative with "good acting, rotten plot" the most common thing about them.
     On my way to Israel last month, I skimmed the descriptions of the movies offered to view onboard the plane as I always do, and among the "Coming Soon" section I read Vysotskii described as follows: "A story of a father told by a family friend to the son who never knew him". The phrase sent chills down my spine which I did my best to ignore.
     Upon returning home, I spent a delicious lazy Saturday afternoon channel-hopping, and lo and behold, Vysotskii was on one of the channels. The reviewers were right indeed saying the cast was good, and I liked the few glimpses I had of them... but for the major character. Whether the rumour that the real death mask of the singer was used to base make-up off is correct (wear a copy even?) is true or not, I have never yet seen more macabre a spectacle. Gone was the wonderful charisma, gone were most human characteristics at all. All I saw on the grotesque background of the wonderfully alive other people was a reanimated corpse, an inferius, a zombie.


Why, people, why?


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
ConCrit is welcome.

Do you think this formatting looks better than when I left lines between the paragraphs (like in the previous Idol entries), or vice versa?
Feb. 20th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
This formatting seems fine to me.
Feb. 20th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
Good. Thank you :).
Feb. 25th, 2013 08:09 am (UTC)
It seems more natural with lines, but I find once I've scrolled enough for the header to disappear, I adjust to the difference in paragraph breaks readily enough. I suspect the reason that it seems more natural with lines is simply that I'm aware that this is online, and once the visual reminders of that awareness vanish, I'm able to accept a formatting that I traditionally associate with printed media.

I think you've captured how awkward it can be to portray people when we're caught up in ourselves as well.
Mar. 1st, 2013 01:21 pm (UTC)
I was trying to see if it would look more natural or not if I made it look closer to book style. I see that it is better the other way round. Thank you!

And thank you for the comment about the entry itself.
Feb. 20th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
I find entries easier to read with breaks every so many lines.

This was an interesting piece because it was all totally foreign to me.
I have never heard of these characters but I like learning new things. Your reaction at the end was a great way to sum it up for yourself. I have no answer, though. ;)
Feb. 20th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
Here's one of my favourite Joe Dassin's songs, , in English, We Ain't Makin' It: http://www.4shared.com/mp3/t5cwKRo4/JD_-_WAtMI.html

And one of Vysotskii's, Ballad of Fighting from our version of Ivanhoe. Sorry for the sound in this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZZn9pDVWX4
Edit: found a nice version of the same song with English subtitles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWUC--O7kjE

Thank you. I do not want to understand people who do this instead of remembering people for their best work and laying skeletons where they are, who does not have them?

I will keep to my other formatting then. :)

Edited at 2013-02-20 05:57 pm (UTC)
Feb. 21st, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Thank you for sending the links. I really enjoyed the Fighting Ballad one.The story was remarkable and such emotion in his voice!

I have a record album I bought when I was in Russia in the 80's. It is Russkaya Karusel,( Anatoli Belyaev.)I haven't listened to it in quite a while but I love Carousels music. If I am ever in an amusement park that has one, I always gravitate to them and have to a ride on the merry-go-round!

The sticker on the back of the album jacket says Beriozka 1.96. I wonder how that compares with today's prices? I have a child's story book all in Russian and lots of postcards and souvenirs.
Feb. 21st, 2013 10:15 am (UTC)
When did you purchase the album and in what currency? :) Beriozka is a series of famous stores where you could buy stuff in foreign money (dollars, I think), and I've heard stories that it was very overpriced.

I have not bought any musical CDs for a while at home, but I think good quality one may cost from 8 to 20 dollars and more.
Feb. 22nd, 2013 12:32 am (UTC)
It would have been the summer of '84. I really can't remember if we used U.S. dollars. We likely shopped for souvenirs in places that did accept our money. I was chaperoning with a high school musical group so we didn't exchange a lot of money.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 20th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
You are very right. I do not really want or need to know of theses human sides, because private lives should remain as private as those persons want them to be.

And such 'disclosures' usually show those who do them in much worse a light than those who they are about.

Thank you!
Feb. 21st, 2013 05:10 am (UTC)
I've never heard of either of these folks (although I did follow the links you provided) but I like the parallels you drew between them.
Feb. 21st, 2013 10:17 am (UTC)
Thank you!

The parallels are strange. Not only were both of them born then died in the same year, but now this as well.
Feb. 21st, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
What odd parallels between these figures! So sad to see great artists belittled that way.
Feb. 24th, 2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
It is!

Thank you!
Feb. 24th, 2013 07:18 am (UTC)
Hey I just heard a quote that made me think of this entry.
"Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is usually Judas who writes the biography." Oscar Wilde
Feb. 24th, 2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
This fits so well I could have made an epigraph with this quote had I known it before writing the entry. Thank you!
Feb. 25th, 2013 07:31 am (UTC)
How strange and sad to write a book that pretends to share anecdotes about someone and instead grinds your own ax of dissatisfaction. It makes me wonder why it was published, once it was clear that it was not the book that was supposed to be written!

And how typical that the author never saw how very much he revealed about himself while he was trying to drag a beloved icon down.
Mar. 1st, 2013 01:28 pm (UTC)
The saddest thing about is that, being a member of the French Association for Writers, Compositors, and Redactors of Music (SACEM), a big figure in their musical world in other words, he knows very well where the fine line between what is and is not technically acceptable lies. The things I wrote about were never said overtly, but hinted at very heavily. I am not imagining them, either, many people had a similar reaction to the book.

Which makes it somehow even more disgusting.

Thank you for commenting.
Feb. 26th, 2013 01:24 am (UTC)
Our heroes rarely live up to our admiration for them, sadly.
Mar. 1st, 2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
They do not, because they are human. Yet it is not the point.

It is dishonest to wash someone's dirty laundry in public years after the person concerned has passed away. And it is especially dishonest talking about the aspects of their private lives they did not want known while they were alive. So I choose take such post-mortem revelations with a kilogram of salt.

That is my opinion :). As you can guess, in the debate on whether the public has a right to know stuff about a public person or if that person has a right to keep their private life private if they so choose, I am strongly on the side of the latter.

Sorry for the rant, but it is a very sore point for me.
Mar. 1st, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
Right. I did understand that was the point of your piece. You'll have to excuse me: I was rushed when I wrote that comment. If I"d had more time, I would have added that it seems particularly malicious to write such things when the people in question are not alive to respond.
Mar. 1st, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
It's all right. It is so obvious to me, that I might have understated this point. :)

Yes, exactly.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

November 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com