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Title: Stranger than fiction
Author: Glyn Brown
Source: Sounds
Publish date: April 13 1985

Anne Pigalle: just another ZTT puppet? Glyn Brown takes French lessons

ANNE PIGALLE thinks aloud for a moment. I have asked her a difficult question.

“Which men make better lovers, the French or the English? No, don’t laugh, because I think that the French are better as friends, you know, and English men as lovers. The English man is much more romantic…”

Do you know about Anne Pigalle? Well, soon you’ll know everything. She is the Parisian siren with the sort of bruised-looking lips they used to call bee-stung, the stunning Surrey with the jet black fringe on top, the kind of exotically foreign flavoured beauty who sends British men into a frenzy of uncontrollable carnal desire. Maybe that’s why Sounds sent me.

Anne Pigalle is the latest in the ZTT power-push, and her publicity, written as only ZTT know how, is weird enough to drive even Prince to slashed wrists in the bath. Anne Pigalle also kept me waiting for over an hour and, as I brooded on her, I thought about that name, conjuring the sleaze-bag Soho of Paris, and about the femme fatale pic that sells her single, and about that Bardot-esque accent. She had to be an imposter from Stoke Newington, with surgical cheekbones and Linguaphone French.

Anne Pigalle arrived in a flurry of raindrops. Her clothes were crumpled, her hair was rumpled and she wore little make-up. She still, I was disgusted to see, looked wonderful. It transpired that she had been sent on a blind date with one Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy what a wacky sense of humour we British have. Tin Tin, she says with exasperation, is “a strange man”.

Anne is a woman of insight. We discuss a rather caustic write-up she received in a glossy music publication — “I was perfectly nize to zat man. Why did he write such things? I think he is frustrated…” We talk about puppet-master Paul Morley, whom she likens in his entrepreneurial ability to Malcolm McLaren. And, although I’m itching to ask her girly questions like how she gets her eyeliner so straight, we mull over music.

As rapidly becomes obvious, this is a very sincere woman. Only her name is made up — she chose it, she says, because “it is funny to play on that myth that the English have about the French, their sexuality. Yet it also expresses me, it’s a way to introduce my personality.”

The lady describes her own sound as “not jazz, not soul, but very French”. The single, ‘Hé Stranger’, is a dark cry from the heart set in an almost menacing waltz-time — listening to it is like hearing your most drunken nightmare illustrated. The accompanying video shows Anne, the stranger, driven to work in a strip joint and terrorised by a bevvy of beerswilling skins (the drunkest of the lot, by the way, played naturalistically by Sounds photographer Gavin Watson). Is this based on truth, too?

“Well, I’ve never been a stripper but yes, people have been very unkind to me because they don’t trust me, just because I am foreign.” A Gallic shrug and a smile. Has it put you off live work?

“Oh no, no, I will probably tour in May. I want to stage a really good show, almost on a circus theme, very visually attractive.”

Aren’t you more suited to tiny, smoke-filled clubs, being a chanteuse? A lesson follows. “But I’m not quite a chanteuse. It takes more than just a pair of long black gloves to be that, you know.”

Anne’s album, ‘…And Everything Could Be So Perfect’ is due for release in May, and she is optimistic about it. Her calm smile doesn’t even slip when I tell her ZTT are boasting about her forthcoming autobiography.

“Oh. I didn’t know about that…”

“It’s due for publication in early 1986,” I needle.

The smile widens.

“I’d better start it now, then, hadn’t I?”