As time passes, life in Paris evolves from that of a simple observer to what it is: Life in my new city, in my new country – without renouncing the quality of observer of course which is some kind of a second nature. That impression of “belonging”, though not complete yet, satisfies my wish and my tries to be part of the place I love. Under this state of mind, pieces of information and of everyday life come together and form a larger picture and a frame which is consistent both to one’s whole life as much as to the new environment and conditions.
It’s been several months since I visited an exposition at L’Hôtel de Ville, The (Paris) Town-Hall, dedicated to Coluche.
Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci, as was his full name, lived between 1944 and 1986 which means he died too early, too young. And yet, it is safe to say that he lived several full lives.
He has been an important actor, musician, comedian, persona, “intense”, gifted and sensitive personality, humanist and a man socially and politically involved – presidential candidacy in 1980, which he withdrew before elections of 1981.
I had no knowledge of him and the exposition has been my first source. The single fact that the presentation made me adore and admire that person and to feel a bit “non-privileged” for not having knowledge of him while he was alive, means that the expo-tribute succeeded its purpose. After all these months and the information which followed, I have to say that I feel lucky to have visited the expo-tribute which has been “eye opening”.
Personal and professional objects, costumes, music intruments, posters, publications, clips of shows etc., formed the storytelling of a distinctive, “politically incorrect” person with an iconoclastic humour and a strong will to live to the edge – omnipresent throughout his life and till his death.
Charlie Hebdo front page: Coluche vs Miterrand….
The Charlie Hebdo team
Charlie Hebdo supported Coluche during his electoral campaign
A year before his death Coluche proposed the idea of Les Restos du Coeur which initially were meant to offer food to those in need. For the purpose of collecting money from private and institutional donors he endured a four-hour TV show.
The first of the Restos opened on 21 December 1985 and Coluche crashed with his motorcycle on 19 June 1986.
His legacy expanded and at present is a respected institution in France. Part of the funds for the Restos come from Les Enfoirés, “The Tossers” or “The Bastards” in English an annual concert of artists who (like everyone who offers) participate voluntarily. The number of volunteers is now 75.000 and that of the “shops”/ reception centers is 6.000, all over France. The help they provide is food offer, support in finding and maintaining a residence, help to those living in the street, consulting in finding a job, psychological support and many more.
I encourage you to get a deeper look in that triptych Coluche-Les Restos du Coeur-Les Enfoirés and, why not, offer to the cause, while enjoying the 2017 song.