5th December 2008

As you will have gathered by now, I like old traditions - particularly those from the '50s when I was growing up. So, when we moved here, I was delighted to discover a tiny, but wonderful, cinema in the nearby town of St. Antonin. Despite its strange name (Le Querlys), it shows some marvellous films. Depending how brave you are, there is a selection in the French language, plus others - mostly English. And the proprietor somehow manages to obtain all the latest films even before they are premiered in the UK. Inside, it has that wonderful intimate feel I remember from the Gaumont in the '50s: all velvety chairs packed close together. You almost expect to see an usherette walking backwards down the aisle, shining a torch on the selection of Kiaora and Walls icecream. Ah, those were the days.
It seems that even today there are others who feel the same way, as a legendary club returns to its music hall heyday. Paris music hall Le Palace has reopened after being abandoned for over a decade. For those old enough to remember, it was famous for hosting such stars as Maurice Chevalier and Charles 'AsNoVoice', followed in the '70s by such names as Gloria Gaynor, the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. Following a 3million euro re-fit, the venue has now been transformed. But when I read of the new performers there: a French comedienne Valerie Lemercier, and next Spring Jane Birkin, former wife of Serge Gainsbourg, I wonder.
You can certainly transform a building, but how do you bring back the stars of yesteryear? I watch the X-Factor every week, hoping that Al Jolson will waltz on to electrify everyone with 'Mammy'. Will the new venue in Paris be able to bring back Edith Piaff? As Bruce Forysth would say: I don't think so. Domage!

No comments: