Title: Anne Pigalle: Brighton, Zap Club
Author: Jim Shelley
Publish date: 7th December, 1985
Non root en toot
ANNE PIGALLE Brighton Zap Club
WHILE MORLEY continues, frantically and very skilfully, to sprinkle his hundreds and thousands over the stale bread that is Andrew Poppy, Instinct and the increasingly perfunctory Propaganda, Anne Pigalle has (mainly because of her very ordinariness) been left to her own devices.
At the Zap Club, staring out the last drop of the drink clutched between her hands, gazing blankly at the ground, she looked tired, drunk and bored. Stood hugging herself, she even forgets her drummer’s name before raising a perfectly sloshed, quizzical eyebrow and then shrugging, smiling. It was all rather fetching.
Certainly, her disdainful indifference gave the best of her muzak shanties (‘Souvenir’ and ‘Looking For Love’) an eccentric, erratic edge that the overblown LP, ‘Everything Could Be Purr-fect’, was always lacking.
But sadly, the novelty of this much-needed character quickly wore thin. With all the stage presence of a bored cauliflower, we see no spark of The Star. The voice of the distinctive ‘scorch singer’ never appears — she never really sings and when she attempts any grander moments (such as the hopelessly strained French recital of ‘Gloomy Sunday’) her exaggerated delivery becomes rather comical. The playing patchy, her singing shaky, her dreary stories become still more purposeless. Even ‘Hé Stranger’ loses all its (fake) dramatic effect and the moments of music-hall simply look as if she’s shaking herself out of her despondency back into the performance: it’s all either too forced or not theatrical enough.
Without the flair or humour of Hermine, Pigalle is really only half the voice and face we, and ZTT, desire. Despite all her “Look at me! I’m French!” flirtations, there is no sensuality in Pigalle, she is not sexy. How she does this I can’t imagine. Her apparently drunken caprice, all her volatile nonchalance, was just a necessary distraction, a sensible deceit. Too much of Anne Pigalle is pretending.