Serge Gainsbourg’s music happens to have an effect on my vagina. Having an amiable relationship with my vagina, I took it last night to the New Museum to see a preview screening of Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, sponsored by East Village Radio.
It’s not like we went without apprehension. The catch phrase on the American trailers is “You know the music, but do you know the man?” In all honesty, I wasn’t achingly curious to know him as a person. I’m even glad I don’t understand French. As far as I’m concerned, listening to Gainsbourg, there are no questions, just a vigorous pointing in a general vicinity.
The rhythm; the tight, controlled, and understated looping on the drums has this effect of dropping the pelvis. A kind of swirling-slash-grind gesticulation announces itself. This is the drumming that teaches you how to walk, like a loose whore, on a mission. Gainsbourg’s deep, staccato whisper is like hot breath on your neck, this sweet encouragement and reward for walking so damn good. If you ever go losing your vagina, listening to Gainsbourg will help you find it. Like the best of Can, the rhythm and control, the understated confidence of Gainsbourg makes my heart beat faster while my breath slows down, deepens.
What else is like that? Go ask your mom. She can tell you.
Did I really want to spend two hours listening to stories about his childhood? I guess I could put my vagina aside for a moment, maybe learn something. There were little twinkles. Like Gainsbourg himself, Eric Elmosnino, who plays him, has this Jeff Goldblum/Thom Yorke/Javier Bardem stare that upsets the geography. According to the director, Joann Sfar, the film is “not really a biopic,” and in this interview Sfar says of the character Gainsbourg, “He is the same as a child as he is as an adult, in the sense that he is a boy mature beyond his years and an adult who is childish.”
Arghhh, says the vagina. We’ve totally hit that before.