Is Johnny Really 'Live?'

photo: l'estaminet gaya
A minimalist bistro, not far from the Madeleine.

America Perplexes Europe, and Me

Paris:- Saturday, 12. September 1998:- While Johnny Hallyday performed his replacement concert last night in a downpour at the Stade de France, controversy about whether it was a 'live' performance swirled about his head.

His first concert in the 80,000-seat stadium was called off last Friday, on account of the lousy weather's possible interference with the 'special effects.' The concerts on Saturday and Sunday took place without incident.

Then yesterday, Le Parisien published an interview with an unnamed insider, who claimed that parts of the concert were pre-recorded. The informant cited a technical reason for this: the 'Larsen-effect' or what we know as 'feedback.' Having the performers' microphones too close to huge speakers, can cause acute acoustic squeals.

As true as this is, concerts advertised as 'live' are supposed to be performed this way - 'live.' According to Nigey Lennon's book 'Being Frank*,' performers routinely wore earplugs during 'live' gigs.

Ms. Lennon, who played guitar and toured for a time with Frank Zappa, wrote that musicians could not hear what they were playing and since the acoustics in most large places were so poor, the audience couldn'tphoto: champs d'aviation hear any details either. Experienced musicians could play perfectly - they had rehearsed - but sound systems couldn't handle it.

'Aviation' or no, the Champs-Elysées stays open.

In Saturday's edition, while the paper stood by its claim, Johnny replied that the accusation 'attacked his sincerity and honesty.'

The back-up concert last night played to a full house in the pouring rain. The series of three concerts filled the Stade de France, for a total of 240,000 paying spectators.

America's Mistrial Perplexes Europe

The distribution yesterday and today via the Internet, of the truckloads of 'evidence' collected by the special prosecutor, seems to have shot his case against the President of the United States to legal pieces. His 'evidence' has been 'leaked' to the public before it has been presented in court.

Under US law, Bill Clinton can now be considered to have been tried and convicted in public, without the aid of judge, jury or court; all without a platform for defense. This is not how trials normally operate in the United States.

It is impossible to tell whether this legal sabotage has been done on purpose - Americans presumably know how their own legal system is supposed to operate. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

There is no basis for 'proven guilty' outside of courtrooms. Prosecutor's charges and the publication of them via the Internet, do not make a case.

In Europe, not surprisingly, there is bafflement and bewilderment. You would think American behaviour would not seem strange, simply because it has always been so to Europeans. Yet once again, Americansphoto: yak 11 show themselves capable of surprising the world.

A Yak 11 on the Champs-Elysées.

France's former culture czar, Jack Lang, has been particularly vocal with his defense of the American president. But on levels of international politics and security, European leaders are worried that the whole affair will impair the US role as world leader.

The world's financial markets are pretending to be tossed by troubled waters too. All the actors in this game are claiming ignorance of the fact that stocks were over-priced. A bit of a dump chases out the timid and this generates welcome revenues for brokers; meanwhile the alert short-sellers clean up too - as well as the bargain-hunters who have been waiting for opportunities.

All of it is good entertainment. The beginning was the election of the outsider from Arkansas. The middle - somewhat dreary part - was the four-year investigation of nearly nothing. Now we seem to be near the end, and we have no idea of what will happen next.

A sequel to the movie, 'Primary Colors,' is also impatiently awaited. No doubt it is being speed-written, just as the 'report' was read at high velocity.

Speaking of Movies

Get ready for another round of Paris' own nostalgia wave - or waterfall? - as the movie 'Lautrec' hits the screens and short people with moustaches and wearing bowlers come back into fashion.

With the city going to work on the 'Grands Boulevards,' this short-painter movie comes along at the right time, to be a test of how the 'Gay Nineties' will replay.

Le Parisien says '1890's-era postcards are selling like 'petits pains' on Montmartre. This is not news, because they have been selling like this since then.

Few original locations were used to film the movie. Although some of them do exist, such as the Moulin Rouge, they have been modernized too much. Instead, substitute locations, some real - the Opéra room at the Hotel Intercontinental - some staged - the Musée Grévin, were used.

I like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's work, but around Paris I find that it is in my face too often. This said, the poster for the film is on the issue's Poster page II.

From Big Screen To Little

The first episode of the Count of Monte Cristo with Gérard Depardieu as the count, was broadcast on the private station TF1 last Monday evening.

Even though Dumas' Château de Monte Cristo is in my neighborhood, I do not know the story. As filmed - with aposter: 100 years aviation cast of thousands! - it is intelligently written and I am looking forward to part two - of four parts altogether.

Gérard has had his ups and downs; starting out as a total loser - a part he once played endlessly in early films. These days we have a 'new' Gérard. He must be one of the most intelligent actors around.

This is the poster for the Champs-Elysées' event.

He is the 'Count of Monte Cristo' even on the little screen, and the count is a smart cookie. With much more to come there are bound to be downfalls and I suspect that the all-knowing smirk will be wiped off his face.

I don't mean Gérard's face, I mean the Count's face. TF1 is reported to have put 100 million francs into it, so they took a page of Le Parisien to tell us how good it is. Rendez-vous then on Monday evening, for the next 100 minutes of the remaining 300.

The Government's Budget Proposal:

Le Parisien's three word summary last Wednesday: 'Pas de Cadeaux!' was all in huge caps. I immediately turned to the horoscope page.

*'Being Frank' by Nigey Lennon. Published in 1995 by California Classics Books, Los Angeles CA. ISBN 1-879395-55X.

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