Saturday, April 23, 2005

"Lemon Incest"

I'm making no apologies for blogging this. Serge Gainsbourg was one of the most provocative artists of the 20th century, never settling for anything less than controversy in all he did. But people tend to be blinded by the provocation and tend not to look beyond the surface. For a start, he was one of the wittiest writers going, and if you have even a basic understanding of French, you'll see what I mean. This track caused an immense furore when it appeared: a duet with his daughter Charlotte. Obviously, he's doing his best to outrage. But in French "Incest de citron" sounds awful close to "un zeste de citron", or, a zest of lemon to the cooks out there. And the song itself is an arrangement of one of Chopin's finer moments. I'm sorry, but I'm prepared to give the man some latitude. Look beyond the deliberate attempt to upset morals, and give him some credit for seeing humor where it might not always be evident.

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