Jane Birkin: the quintessential French chanteuse. Who isn’t actually French. Little known fact is that Jane was actually born in London, but after a bit role in “Blow Up”, had the good sense to get herself to Paris in time to screen test for the lead female role opposite Serge Gainsbourg in Slogan. Jane could speak as much French as me (which consists of 3 words: “oui”, “no” and “champagne”) and as the legend goes, the forlorn Gainsbourg (having recently broken it off with Brigitte Bardot) teased her to the point of tears. Impressed with her ability to cry in front of the camera, Gainsbourg and director Pierre Grimblat agreed that she was to be their leading lady. It was beginning of a 13 year passionate and public love affair between Jane and Serge. Serge had written and recorded “Je’taime…mon non plus” for and with his Brigitte Bardot in ’67, but had never released it. He asked Jane to re-record it with him, which she did (supposedly in such a high register so as to “sound like a little boy”). It caused an enormous censorship sensation. Here’s something to be proud of: the song was “banned in Spain, Sweden, Brazil, the UK, Italy, Poland, and Portugal, banned before 11 pm in France, not played by many radio stations in the United States because it was deemed too risqué, and denounced by the Vatican (source: Wikipedia). ”
All of the publicity, plus the song just being the best ever, made it enormously successful. (Side note: I’m kind of offended by how offended by how offended the world gets over witnessing a woman’s perceived pleasure- stay tuned for a future post on that tip). Jane also played Brigitte Bardot’s lover in 1973’s Don Juan, or if Don Juan Was a Woman. 14 albums and 33 movies to boot, Jane has also mothered 3 children, and worked for Amnesty International for immigrant rights and on AIDS issues. All this plus she was the muse for Hermés’ coveted Birkin bag.
We salute Jane for inspiring us foxes to get out and discover our inner mademoiselle. To the chanteuse, the muse, the actress, and the mother, we raise a glass. Cheers!