The Roses of Picardy

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The Roses of Picardy

I've been writing three pages a day, in the morning, first thing, by candlelight, both sides, longhand, even though or maybe even because cursive's now a curse word.

The point of the exercise is... to... I'm not exactly sure what, but Eva Green made me do it, that look in her eyes, that Pandora's Box of trust, faith, challenge, passion, and furious miserable anguished contempt if disappointed. You know the one.

evagreenkitten.png

French actress Eva Green stands in for the one that got away.

I've decided I'm James Bond, the Daniel Craig kind, and I've watched Vesper Lind (Eva Green) drown, dragged her topside but failed to restore her with kisses, so there's nothing left for me now but to go out there and fuck'n'kill mercilessly for money in the service of my art.

Vesper Lind's suicide by Venetian elevator in Casino Royale (2006).

So I lie abed with two hot water bottles and write about Eva Green and the woman who broke my heart who led me to adopt EG as my totem bitch, lover, slut, anima, muse, and I weep and have revelations and drink tea and it's a great way to start the day except yesterday I kinda OD'd and had some trouble snapping out of it.

But I arose to drive through the wilds of Berkeley to my singing lesson, vocalizing along the old-growth tree-lined twisting hillside primo real estate feeling fine. My teacher greeted me with "The Roses of Picardy" to sight-read, calling it the number one song of 1916. My soprano felt wobbly on the florid phrases so I went for comic effect, exaggerating the sentimentality of the lyric and my voice, making us both ridiculous in self-defense.

When I got to the end of the refrain, "But there's one rose that dies not in Picardy! 'tis the rose that I keep in my heart!" I realized I was singing my song. This loss, this heartache, this death, this beauty is the same love I write three pages about every morning. As Gertrude Stein so knowingly annoyingly put it: a rose is a rose is a rose.

"The Roses of Picardy" by sentimental French tenor Jean Lumière.

I was a jerk to mock this 93-year-old ballad, to make fun of feeling, to deny my pain. I sang it through a second time, humbled by the memory of EG refusing to vacate that fatal elevator, choosing death over a lifetime of love and adventure with James Bond. How could she leave me? Why did she have to die? Ouch, this rose in my heart has thorns. That's the part you sing with.

My singing teacher, like a good bartender or lounge pianist, has seen it all, nothing fazes her, and she knows all my secrets whether I speak them or not: she can hear them in my voice. I stumbled out of my lesson a bit drunk on sentiment and sublimation, and spent an hour lost in Berkeley streets. I couldn't decide whether I was glad I didn't have to go to work that evening but I did spend the time learning "The Roses of Picardy" and when I'd get to that line I'd choke, I couldn't sing it.

Boogie version of "The Roses of Picardy" reveals the joy inside the sorrow.



Comments [89]

Erin Blackwell's picture

haha! you mean separate

haha! you mean separate love'n'sex, sex'n'romanticism? yes, that's what Miss G tried to pry me loose from, although she herself used the L word. i can still hear her say it.

this dreadful chilvaric code kicks in, which is sometimes just sloth, strangely enough, or ennui, i discovered, but aspires to highmindedness... a waste of time, particularly in today's economy

beauty's picture

simmer down mr. bond. ms.

simmer down mr. bond. ms. green and i have tea every now and then. she's the one that tells me you're at the top of your game. in other words you're bottoms up. but i'm not gonna tell nobody...except maybe tex. is a double negative like crossin' yer fingers? Wink

Erin Blackwell's picture

we teach each other, that's

we teach each other, that's the thing.

did you listen to renée? god in heaven. has she got a grip on herself. then there's the cutest diva ever, Frederica Von Stade, who's also a great actress
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSoa-xuFPh4&NR=1

i'm trying to get a grip on my griplessness, this not-being-able-to-really-have-anyone

the key to singing is to not impede the voice, to let it free, and i guess that's true of love

illusive reality, the reality of illusion

beauty's picture

that's what i was trying to

that's what i was trying to say.

beauty's picture

oh, blackwell, you're not

oh, blackwell, you're not homeopathetic. sometimes i'm so darn tempestuous. that's my whole problem. my wiles just get the best of me and before you know it people are fucknkillin' everyone. i don't want that for you.

i feel your pain, truly i do and i'd like to help you spread it around so you can win applause for it but you've got to get a grip on yourself, can we really have anyone, real or illusory? i think that sometimes the illusory is more real than the real or at least more obvious or less subliminal. i'm no sage or nothin but maybe ms. green is more real than me for instance even though i'm real and she's...well she's real too. see, sometimes i can be so keenly apt yet homo, i mean homeo-pathetically inept (see what i mean?). i guess i'm the one that can't tell the real from the illusory. maybe you can TEAch me how.

Tex's picture

"Erin at the bottom" -

"Erin at the bottom" - Beauty, you now know me as well......

Twitter Time @kdhales

Tex's picture

Oh geezy meezy - stop mincing

Oh geezy meezy - stop mincing words - you need to taste some of that home cookin' - put a smile on your face - afterwards satisfyingly ask, "Miss Green who?"

Utterances from the genteel....

Twitter Time @kdhales

Erin Blackwell's picture

Beauty, i must kill you now.

Beauty, i must kill you now. you know too much.

beauty's picture

"Erin at the bottom" (all in

"Erin at the bottom" (all in caps, no less)??? ms. green would be furious.
EB, if you like singin in front of a crowd then why can't you sing in front of a crowd. you might even be able to "win applause for it".

Erin Blackwell's picture

minn, i'm sad not to see your

minn, i'm sad not to see your handwriting, which already made much less noise than the hootenanny down south, and some damn spam-filter's rendered INVISIBLE...

send me a handwriting sample
c/o
Cal Shakes, 701 heinz, berkeley 94710

Erin Blackwell's picture

wooee whatta vision she is in

wooee whatta vision she is in that silk fringe, how intent on her song, i could hear hearts breaking...

Tex's picture

Classic

Classic EmmyLou:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6WD1yzQscE

Having big fun,

Tex

Twitter Time @kdhales

Erin Blackwell's picture

perhaps girls we must

perhaps girls we must organize a field trip to boost the local economy & our morale & taste some of that home cookin'

Erin Blackwell's picture

whoa! there's so much going

whoa! there's so much going on in that video... the corollation between singing & yearning & getting laid & coming home

thanks, Tex

beauty's picture

i'm glad you jumped for

i'm glad you jumped for emmylou. i met her a couple of years ago. it was exhilarating. she really is a classy lady.

Erin Blackwell's picture

poignance on poignance: a

poignance on poignance: a farewell concert, the final number... yes, indeedy, c'est la vie, baby! very lovely choice, Love-0, those tight-fitting jeans.

Tex's picture

Yes, mam, he's from Carencro,

Yes, mam, he's from Carencro, LA - heart of Acadiana

http://www.carencro.org/acadiana.html

Yer welcome, LMZ

Twitter Time @kdhales

Erin Blackwell's picture

Love - 0 he lives on in song,

Love - 0
he lives on in song, n'est-ce pas? he's a rose we wear in our hearts.

Erin Blackwell's picture

you gals are too fast for me.

you gals are too fast for me. i went looking for serge gainsbourgh's "je vais et je viens" but stumbled on Renée Fleming's "Song of the Moon" in Russian, which reduces the exercise to its best essence:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1PMzQ8PuCo&feature=rec-HM-fresh div

check out the designer décolletage: talk about focusing an audience

Erin Blackwell's picture

BUT I CAN'T HAVE MISS

BUT I CAN'T HAVE MISS GREEN!!!!!!!!!! that's the "whole problem" that's what SUBLIMATION is for i was hoping. i want a way out that's a way in so i can embrace suffering without its hurting... so much... spread it around & win applause for it... immunize myself homeopathetically against... MY CUP OF tempest in a TEAcup

the eternal feminine leads us on...

lmz's picture

a nice jump in ... i love

a nice jump in ...
i love that music. Is Marc Broussard acadian (He has a french name) ?
i'd like to feel that muddy Louisiana water
thanks Tex

lmz's picture

Hélas ! Mr Montand is dead

Hélas ! Mr Montand is dead

Tex's picture

beauty.......that was

beauty.......that was hot!

Just breathe,

Tex

Twitter Time @kdhales

Tex's picture

LMZ - this is what your

LMZ - this is what your EmmyLou triggered in me.......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC1v5trmB1E

.......you got that muddy Louisiana water in my blood stirred up!

C'est la vie,

Tex

My apologies for the jump in, Beauty...

Twitter Time @kdhales

beauty's picture

it's all about breathing in

it's all about breathing in and out and your diaphragm going up and down. when you sing up and down and in and out does ms. green get lost in your voice?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3qnv-cT9qA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5CWsFaVnWM&feature=related

beauty's picture

that's how good my francaise

that's how good my francaise is. j'aime emmylou. She and Monsieur Montand should do a duet together. they could learn each other american and french.

lmz's picture

that's what dreams and songs

that's what dreams and songs are made for
can you dream ?
yes, you can

lmz's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-4MOuQTN9g

talking about french syntax ...

beauty's picture

Do you think the timeless

Do you think the timeless illusory blissful baby of which Monsieur Montand sings can live up to your real one? Eternal bliss...I don't think Ms. Green would stand for it being the drama queen that she is and if Ms. Green is your cup of tea then you wouldn't stand for it either.
C'est la vie.* You better go "fuck’n'kill" some more. Wink

*Is that the correct syntax? I don't speak french very good...i mean well. i don't speak english very good either.

Erin Blackwell's picture

how astute you are, Tex. all

how astute you are, Tex. all art is sublimated sex, none more obviously than singing: classical technique uses all "those" muscles... opera arias are extended love cries... your heart has to be in it... and you do it with a crowd.

now the podcast idea's makin' me blush

Tex's picture

THIS COMMENT IS FOR ERIN AT

THIS COMMENT IS FOR ERIN AT THE BOTTOM

Good lord.....rehabilitated, technique, variations, what you do with it, how far you push......are we still talking about "singing"? Looking forward to the podcast.....

Twitter Time @kdhales

minniesota's picture

Sorry, Erin, I tried to post

Sorry, Erin, I tried to post some cursive writing for you but it was marked as spam.

Anyway, here's what I wrote in long hand:

"Dear Erin, I enjoyed reading your blog. ~Minnie"

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

minniesota's picture

Erin, you inspired me to do

Erin, you inspired me to do some cursive writing:
(not sure this is going to work so this is a test)

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Erin Blackwell's picture

it's possible to "lose" your

it's possible to "lose" your voice. i did. my teacher rehabilitated me & instilled classical technique. there really only is one technique, with variations. people come to it various ways. and then it's about what you do with it, how far you push in which direction.

i feel a podcast comin' on

Erin Blackwell's picture

ouahou, Yves Montand.

ouahou, Yves Montand. beautiful man. great to see an old singer still singing so beautifully. that's it: the regret that isn't one [qui n'en est pas un] because in his rewritten lyric, he's still dancing with his baby. the loss is containable, not tragic. yet time swallows us all.

merci!

Erin Blackwell's picture

wow. andy williams, take me

wow. andy williams, take me back. he sounds like he's singing into a coke bottle but yeah, mr. smoothie. i'm stylistically allergic to that arrangement but yes, that's exactly it! basically, the same song. here "the closing door that wasn't there before" = death. and the lyricist even quotes POE, the mother of all mother-loss, "Nevermore!"

thanks, Beauty!

beauty itself's picture

For some reason this rose

For some reason this rose song came to mind as I was reading your blog:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGA6b-DoX4c&feature=related

Maybe you can add it to your rose repertoire. It's one of my favorites but I do get choked up every time I hear it.

lmz's picture

à propos de ce que les

à propos de ce que les chansons en général et celle-là en particulier inspirent :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELyOqwATzHo

Tex's picture

Some people try a lifetime to

Some people try a lifetime to "feel" how to sing.....it is an innate quality few possess......I would love to feel you sing.....

Twitter Time @kdhales