Posts Tagged ‘Gigi’

Thank Heaven!
Rabbi Benn Weiss was waiting for me at the sidewalk. Cock-eyed Happy Place catered to anyone who had a certain style. The raffish sailors frequented there as well as beggars who paused in between panhandling for a swig. They paid in style of course with the money they cadged from the customers. Anyone with the style, I mean those who had money, got attention. When I reached the Rabbi he had just disposed a beggar who claimed had acted in the production of South Pacific.
“ There is nothing like a dame.” I crooned knowingly. Benn Weiss shrugged his shoulders and suddenly he said in alarm, “ You look as if seen a ghost!” I explained after having downed a couple of shots of whiskey, “ I suddenly remembered Gigi!” My friend looked perplexed.
“ Remember Maurice Chevalier singing, ‘Thank heaven for little girls?’ I was just twelve and was in love with Leslie Caron myself.”
The Rabbi was listening closely. “ Oh Jake you’re a romantic.”
“I went on singing for days the same number till my father kicked me in the seat of my knickers.
“So you mooned and was in love. So what?”
“ If I sang ‘Thank Heaven for little girls’ now like I did then, would not I be thought of being a closet paedophile or something?” I said.

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The outstanding French woman writer of the first half of the 20th century, whose novels largely concerned with the pleasures and pain of love, are remarkable for their exact sensory evocation of sounds, smells, tastes textures and colours. Reared in a village in Burgundy where a kind and wise mother awakened her to the wonders of everything that germinates and blossoms or flies. She accepted the world as it was and wrote of love and nature with a mixture of innocence and guile and an acute observation that endeared her to five decades of readers who forgetting the scandals of her life eventually made her a member of the Belgian Royal Academy (1935), the French Academie Goncourt 1954 and a Grand Officer of the Legion D’Honneur. La Vagebond, La Paix Chez les Betes belong to her years of apprenticeship. After 1920 came the decade of her masterpieces which include ‘Cheri’ (1920) and ‘La Fin de la Cherie’ (1926). Special mention should be made of her evocative prose distilling her nostalgic memories of her childhood or going back to the faded pleasures and disillusions of shallow love affairs. ‘La maison de Claudine’ (1922) and ‘Side’ (1930). After thirty she enjoyed twenty five productive and serene years. ‘Gigi’ (1944), which is about a girl reared by two elderly sisters to become a courtesan, and ‘L’Etoile Vesper’ (1947) and ‘La Fanel Bleu’ (1949) are reminicences which belong to the last period. Her format was the novella and her style, a blend of sophistication and natural, laced with all the cadences of sensuous pleasures and intuitive acumen. She ended her days a legendary figure surrounded by her beloved cats confined to her beautiful Palais Royal Apartment overlooking Paris.


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