Welcome, one and all, to the first of this week’s series of mini-celebrations of some of the fabbest pop waxings ever to emerge from that annual spectacle of televisual bonkersness, The Eurovision Song Contest. Every day there’ll be a video of a personal favourite, accompanied by some Talk About The Passion-style Fab Facts about the song and performer in question. But beware! Some of these ‘facts’ are totally false; anyone who spots them all during the course of the week will win the star prize, Funtastian Retrololz Being Kicked Into Space.
Today, it’s all the way back to 1965 for Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son, the dramatic France Gall-crooned, Serge Gainsbourg-penned satire on how girlie pop singers are just hapless puppets being made to prance about for the dubious edification of unsavoury ‘Uncle’-type characters. Take that, Boy Krazy!
- Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son was the winning entry for Luxembourg in 1965, only narrowly beating the UK entry, I Belong by Kathy Kirby, the dimly recalled Dusty Springfield clone who sang the theme from cult BBC time-travel detective drama Adam Adamant Lives! (Leave This Song Alone), and, according to David Bowie, urinated in sinks. Less successful applicants for the honour of representing the United Kingdom in 1965 included Lionel Morton, The Settlers, and The Waltham Green East Wapping Carpet Cleaning Rodent And Boggit Extermination Association.
- Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son became something of a cult favourite in the Britpop era, which brought with it a logically taxing side-order of accompanying craze for ‘Frenchpop’. Needless to say France Gall’s superb run of sixties discs gained a good deal of exposure through this, with her one-time Eurovision anthem becoming the perfect soundtrack for making a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt at impressing That Becky with your mastery of the French language in the Student Union, which came to an abrupt halt when your chair fell backwards due to overleaning.
- artists who have covered Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son include Belle & Sebastian, Dubstar and Arcade Fire, though the most interesting cover by far was a contemporaneous English language version by English language prancer for the dubious edification of unsavoury ‘Uncle’-type characters, Twinkle, translated into an Early Bowie-esque ‘dark side of Swinging London’ lament for being a fashionable dolly bird who could never attract male interest. This subject matter, and indeed the overall cut and thrust of the song itself, would have made it ideal for confirmed Twinkle fans The Smiths to cover, but unfortunately they chose the boring Golden Lights instead and ended up with their worst ever recorded moment which still somehow inexplicably makes it onto all of the ‘Best Of’ compilations.
- France Gall’s performance of Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son is the only remaining fragment of the long-lost BBC variety show It’s Happening With Cilla!, due to it having been cut out of a transmitted edition on the orders of producer Charles McHaltenwood (who objected to the Luxembourg win, citing problems with the telephone link). It was copied by a France Gall-obsessed, VT engineer, who recorded it over the master tape of Doctor Who And the Space Pirates: Episode 5 and attached it to the end of a reel of stock footage of model trains, where by pure chance it survives to this day.