Kit Hesketh Harvey presented a two part documentary
on the "french chanson" and its influence on english songwriters and performers,
as well as its perception by audiences outside France. There are interviews and
clips of Gainsbourg, Aznavour, Brassens, Brel etc.
Part 1 features a clip of Philip performing "Don't
Walk Away" at the Edinburgh Festival, followed by a interview in which he
describes David Bowie's "Amsterdam" leading him to discover Jacques Brel. He
talks about how Brel's writing is unlike anything in the english language with
reference to the structure and rhyming scheme of "Ne Me Quitte Pas". He
distinguishes chanson as being songs about life - political, funny, sad songs… a
tradition that hasn't carried on in the UK in the same way.
Part 2 - Philip describes audience reactions to performers of chanson, and the
acceptance of hearing a sad song by a french audience is different to that of
an english audience who may nervously laugh.
He also talks about the impact of Serge Gainsbourg's
songs and presence in the music scene and the reaction in France to the death of