75. Freaky Bertrand
Bertrand Belin is a remarkable person. Also produces good songs if you dont mind them a bit intellectual. He is not the chap for a singalong chorus so much as the meditative lament. But his voice has a wonderful tremor to it, and his diction is big on ‘t’s, which he utters with explosive emphasis.
I’ll begin with ‘Folle folle folle’ (which means mad, mad,mad). In the first video he is shown ‘throwing poses’ to begin with, in the course of a rainstorm. he leans on a table and then lies on it. The film is intercut with the scene of an old man and his wife having dinner, implicitly in a room above where he is standing outside in the rain. The old man’s dinner habits are not flattering, but his wife loyally supports him by handing him bread and so forth.
An intriguing feature is that the old man eating away has, like Belin, his hands covered in raindrops!Belin, still standing in the pouring rain, knocks on the bricks of the wall facing him. Inside the woman appears to hear him, but the man does not. Belin continues his dance around in a circle beneath what looks like a neaon sign, inside which the couple are dinging.
The man turns his plate of food, and outside Belin turns round and round in sympathy.Its interesting to compare this with another version of the same song, where he is shown singing and playing the guitar. He does this in a distinctive feathery way. He also waggles his face as he sings ‘folle, folle, folle’ to emphasise the strangeness and madness of the song.
The next song is ‘j’aime regarde less filles sur la plage’ (I like to watch the girls who are walking down the beach). He does not look like someone who’d spend much time on the beach but he was born in Brittany to a fisher family so maybe its too much like hard work to hang around them.
This is repeated quite a few times. Belin now has quite a fully grown beard. When he does not have a beard his face looks quite odd and angular, though usually adorned with some bit of beard.
Tu voulais revoir ça
Here are some of the words. Like Belin’s work generally they are rather stark. ‘you wanted to see the place, here it is is front of : a ruin’. This sounds like a reference to a broken relationship, and probably is. But quite savagely observed.
Belin did a cover of a Bowie song ‘Where are we now’ which is full of doomy words. He conveys the mood perfectly, sitting on a chair and playing the guitar:
By way of keeping the slightly freaky mood here is one of his songs called ‘I speak as a madman’ which is set in a mysterious art gallery where people appear to be the exhibits: all numbered. The centrepiece is a mad dance: Belin is pretty good at mad dances I think.
The following song, of several years ago, is cited as being from the Froggy Sessions. Presumably as its in English.
This is in English, but with a strong French accent. It also shows Belin’s face, normally covered in hair. Its a strange and interesting countenance. He has a mannerism of sudden nods and shakes of his head. This goes well with his angular dancing, shown in the videos above. Long may his weirdness continue!