Showing posts with label French celebrity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label French celebrity. Show all posts

Friday, May 6, 2011

A rose by any other name

The names given to varieties of roses don't necessarily mean much. But one of the roses I planted in 2009 has a name that means a lot, not only to me, but to countless ordinary French people. Called Coluche, it's one of the first roses in my garden to bloom.

Michel Colucci, known to everybody as Coluche, was an inimitable French comedian who died in a motor-cycle accident, a quarter of a century ago (at a time when I was out in Western Australia).

He rose to fame instantaneously, on the evening of 19 May 1974, an hour or so after Valéry Giscard d'Estaing won the presidential election. TV viewers were awaiting the reactions of the defeated candidate, François Mitterrand, who was running late. To prevent viewers from becoming impatient, the TV host called upon a little-known 29-year-old stand-up comic, Coluche. His drawn-out sketch, L'histoire d'un mec (Story of a bloke), not only filled in time, but literally went down in history. Coluche lived just the street from my place in Paris, and I used to see him regularly seated outside his favorite bistrot with his fellow-comedians from the nearby Café de la Gare.

The famous sketch about a bloke can only be understood by French-speakers, and Coluche's style of humor is so special that it's almost impossible to even outline the gist of the sketch. But I've included it here for any nostalgic Coluche admirers among my readers.



Coluche is remembered by his compatriots as the founder of a great charitable organization, Restos du Cœur (Restaurants of the Heart), which hands out countless meals to people in need throughout France.

In a month's time, on 19 June 2011, France will be commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of Coluche. By then, sadly, the blood-red roses will have disappeared, like Coluche.