Friday, October 12, 2012

Jane Birkin Quotes

1. I know what it's like to have someone coming home who looks at you not in the way they used to in the old days, and I've seen my own face contorted with sadness and rage in the mirror.



2. If you fall in love with a country and its people, that makes any country warm to you.

3. Any film I see at two o'clock in afternoon with my mother seems to cast a strange spell that means we both come out sobbing.

4. He painted me when I was young because he was in love with me, but now that he has loved me he doesn't paint me anymore.

5. I don't know why people keep banging on about the '60s. I came from a conventional family and I didn't go off with different people - I rather wish I had now, seeing all the fun everyone else was having.


6. I grind my teeth and keep my thumbs in so tight that I've dislocated them, just not to scream. Sometimes as an actor one is lucky enough to be asked to scream.

7. I love Dickens because it makes me chuckle to myself so. He has taken me to another world and out of so many earthly miseries.

8. I only like boutiques.

9. I'd rather live on my own than live with a face that looks at me with the wrong eyes.

10. If I were mayor, I'd invite everyone to have free boat trips on the river and free balloon rides over the city. I'd let the elderly in residential homes wander free.

11. Keep smiling - it takes 10 years off!

12. My mother was right: When you've got nothing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust.

13. People always like things that seem exotic.

14. Robert Louis Stevenson... I'm focusing on the late short stories that I was ignorant of. I always thought he was a boys' author, but he's not at all.


15. When I was at school I used to scream in trains, in those concertina things between the carriages. I used to try to be so good that sometimes I couldn't bear it any more.

16. Big Ben... hearing the chimes makes me feel at home.

17. Everything I wear doesn't put me in the league of women. If I were a boy, I could look a lot prettier than a lot of boys I know.

18. He was intensely shy while not being falsely modest, and was always chic, even when in great chagrin and pain. That was the remarkable man that he was.

19. I didn't think I was going to get caught up in Serge again, but this tour with Arabesque turned up. It lets me have a bit of overtime with him.

20. I didn't want to go to Cannes with the film because by that time both Serge and my father, the pillars of my life, had died, within three days of each other.

21. I like tending to scabs and sores and reading people stories.


22. I made some more films and went to Sarajevo in a tank after I finished doing Women of Troy. I took copies of the play because it could mean something to women living through a siege.


23. I never saw Serge in anything but a dressing gown, and none of the children ever saw him naked. He thought being naked was the most vulgar thing in the world.

24. I recall climbing the Albert Memorial as a dare, Winston Churchill's funeral in 1965, and the flowers at Kensington Palace following the death of Lady Di.

25. I remember being married to John Barry and trying to be the best wife in the world.

26. I remember crying in that scene, but it didn't strike me as significant at the time because I didn't know Jacques and I would part later on.

27. I should have realized he was saying goodbye. I would call and ask what he was doing, and he would be sitting at home, heating up a frozen cod and watching a western.

28. I stand back while young people marvel at the brightness of him.

29. I thought I had a criminal record because of my criminal record, if you see what I mean. But it just shows that time heals all.

30. I was never separated from my Monkey. My uncle Michael won it in a raffle in a pub, and I never travelled without it.


31. I went to a concert because I thought it was going to be Mahler, whom I love most, but it turned out to be Olivier Messaien. He's quite easy. I've got some of his CDs now.



32. I went to Sarajevo during the siege, otherwise an army convoy would not have been necessary. I regret not going to Afghanistan.

33. I would tell him to come and see the play I was in. It had been running for a year. He did turn up and smoked throughout, which was against fire regulations. He died soon after.

34. I'm always drawn to the author sitting in deep shadow, not daring to take off one minuscule portion of his clothing.

35. I'm pleased for my mother, who's stuck up for me for the past 30 years. I'm glad she has a bit more credibility now.

36. I've been on tour for the past two years, visiting Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Korea.

37. I've just launched a new album called Rendezvous. I'm still on tour with my last one, Arabesque; and I'm making a film with my mother.

38. I've never been a self-conscious performer, so perhaps that's why my music has gone down well in Japan. I remember sitting on the edge of the stage and these little Japanese girls kept touching me.

39. In 1986, when I was rehearsing for a concert, I said: "I'm going to wear some men's trousers, a vest and an old shirt of my father's".


40. Melody Nelson has become a hit, 30 years after being released. It hasn't been happy for me to sing these songs.




41. Much of the audience had heard of relatives dying in the floods in Algiers, when the mud came down the side of the hill and went into the poorest part of town.

42. My daughter, I thought, oh good, she's got an English sense of humour.

43. My only contribution to him, apart from inspiring his songs, was telling him not to shave and giving him a diamond to wear around his neck. He had a dandified quality.

44. Serge wanted all publics. He wanted the covers of magazines to prove he still existed.

45. The music is suffused with melancholy, then suddenly it pirouettes on itself and turns into something you can dance to.

46. We thought it was going to be the most fantastic hit. It was so beautiful and so thrilling, we thought it would be like wildfire. Nothing. It didn't sell a thing.

47. When John went to America with another girl, what should have been a disaster for me was the thing that made me do something for the first time in my life, because I had my baby, Kate, to support. So I went to France.

48. When Ma died I found she had a folder of all my paintings, and amongst them was a piece of cardboard, on which I had stuck Cliff Richard, in bathing trunks. Audacious!

49. When Serge died I put Monkey in with him in the box to make him feel less lonely and to comfort the children.


50. When we get to heaven, perhaps it will be Monkey there, with his terrible jockey cap and one eye gone.




51. Serge bought a Rolls-Royce that he used as an ashtray because he didn't have a driving licence. It amused him to say that he got the money for it from Tito's communist government.

52. I'm about to buy a new bulldog called Dora, named after Freud's hysterical female patient.

53. I promised to go to Ingushi, but the Russian government won't let me.

54. What fun it is when people vomit. One is asked to very rarely, so I stuffed everything with gusto into my mouth, sweet corn especially-which never goes down the loo, you might notice.

55. By meeting people in Sarajevo I realized I had nothing to complain about-they'd lost children crossing the road trying to find water. I stopped thinking about my problems and would sit with women in underground places, singing songs.

56. Serge was Jewish, yet very Arab in temperament-you could imagine him travelling in caravans with a suitcase full of loot.

57. People go on about me being a gamine, a girl-woman, but I'm not conscious of it.

58. I'd asked my mother what she did in the war when her flat had been blown up. She remembered taking a bottle of Shocking perfume, by Schiaparelli. She said: "When there's nothing left, you stick to the superfluous".


59. It was when I turned down a project, because I thought I couldn't be funny anymore, that my mother booted me in the ass and said: "You have to get out of this. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone".


60. I do rather like Shelley Duvall-adolescent and gauche. A stringy girl who hasn't really become a woman.

61. We performed Arabesque in a little park in Rome, where Serge's sister came to see us. I haven't a clue whether Serge would be happy about it or not, but it made his sister happy.

62. Serge was such a complicated person. He wanted to be loved by everyone, while at the same time lighting 500-franc notes on television to be provocative.

63. I admit-it seems strange to say it-I was so crazy about Serge I didn't want anyone else to be cooped up in a telephone booth singing with him in my place.


64. I thought-how strange that it's permitted to be happy, when for so long we had all been so sad.



65. Usually I wear a simple black top and trousers, but my stylist came back with this tiny red dress. when I stepped out on stage, I was overtaken by this longing to dance that I haven't felt for 30 years.

66. Madonna has used excerpts of "The Cement Garden", a film by my brother and daughter, and she respects Serge. I'm impressed by that.

67. I saw a program where 60 little kids came on a TV show smoking Gitanes and dressed like him, and he was so touched that he burst into tears.

68. I like to treat myself at Chelsea Flower Market.


69. When I went to Sarajevo I filled my rucksack with bras and knickers and chemises du nuit and lipstick and took them to a university which had been bombed. I gave them to the girls there.





70. I have lived in Paris for 36 years!

71. Newsweek magazine came over to London and did an interview with him. They wrote about John Barry and his E-type Jaguar and his E-type wife. I remember thinking: "I'm not sure this is a compliment".

72.  Serge was terribly self-conscious about his looks. He got over it with the help of beautiful women.

73. He always said that he liked me because he was scared of breasts-although Bardot and Bambou had the prettiest bosoms imaginable. Serge got girls because he was so clever.

74. Serge was loved in English pubs as soon as he started playing darts and the piano. People couldn't get over the fact that he'd rather be there than in a French nightclub.

75. Explore Chelsea. You should talk to taxi drivers and eat in gastropubs.

76. The director said: "Believe me, you can't go on looking like a vielle fille, an old adolescent".


77. David Attenborough... has that wonderful, breathy voice and he's always so fascinated by what he's seeing. There's nothing about him that I can't find attractive.

78. I was overtaken by something so lovely-it made your arms go goosepimply, and it was strangely auspicious to hear Serge's song done in this melancholy style.

79. For my latest film, I play a grandmother, which I wasn't worried about because I have grandchildren, but the director wanted me to have the right blend of matronly authority.

80. I wish I had a percentage in Birkin's Bags. I drew it. I have one now, of course. I use it all the time. I put in it exactly the same mess I put in the basket I had when I was 17.

81. I felt rotten about Le Pen getting so many votes. I go out of my way to demonstrate against Le Pen when possible. I walked against him five years ago in Strasbourg when I had six hours between two concerts in Marseilles and Lyon.

82. As there is no one to be pleased or unpleased with me, I'm actually rather merrier with my cat.


83. I return to Graham Greene: his self-doubt. Perhaps that's why I identify with Scobie more than any female character-The Heart of the Matter. I was lucky to have been in his play when I was 17.



84. My father died trying to come and help me with Serge's funeral. After that I didn't want to leave my house anymore.


What do you think of Jane Birkin's quotes?

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