Deanne Pearson talks to trés chic songstress Anne Pigalle about the men in her life. Discreet snaps Mike Prior.
When Anne Pigalle’s record company saw the photos for the cover of her debut album ‘Everything Could Be so Perfect…’ there was more than a flurry of concern. Not only were the fingernails of their chanteuse unfilled and unpainted, they were also dirty.
Everything could be so perfect, but rarely is, and for that reason Anne Pigalle was perfectly happy with that cover photo as a true representation of (S)He Stranger.
Anne Pigalle came to England from France nearly five years ago, and signed to ZTT Records nearly two years ago. She named herself Pigalle after La Pigalle, a seedy area in Paris populated by pimps, prostitutes, transvestites and the like. Yet she’s been generally portrayed in this country as a dark, mysterious, sophisticated siren á la Edith Piaf or the more contemporary Sade.
It is not an image Anne Pigalle has had pushed upon her: “I actually took that image myself because I like it you know? I suppose the look just means I’m a woman and I’m still going to keep falling in love with men, that’s something I can’t help…”
If that sounds impossibly romantic and misty-eyed, then you’ve still not got the picture. Anne Pigalle is romantic, she’s also brutally realistic, as should be obvious if you’ve listened to ‘Everything Could Be So Perfect…’ It’s certainly obvious when we sit down over lunch and a bottle of wine to talk about men. And women…
“Basically I didn’t see very much of my father. I’m very much like him in a lot of ways thought. He is a very shy person but very strong on what he thinks is right and how you should do it. He’s a very passionate man and very much in love with what he does —
“When he was younger he played double bass in a jazz band and had to give it up because it was not really giving him a way of earning his life.
“He’s very intense about his work, and I think I’m a very intense kind of person, when I feel for something I really go for it, and I can become a bit blind.
“I have one brother, four years younger. We’re not very close. I think my brother is very different from me. Very different. Sometimes I’m not sure he is my brother you know…?”
I had lots of boyfriends in France, but they were never long-term things. Never serious. I could never find a French man —
“Even now I always go for someone a bit crazy, a bit spontaneous, not too planned.
“I’m not in love at the moment. I find that very difficult, I wish I could be in love more often, but I find interesting men are not running in the streets. And I find a lot of men are really scared of women who know what they are talking about.
“For me, the important ones are quite rare, so every time I find one it’s like… I go a bit berserk, in a passionate way, which maybe is not that good if you want to keep some sort of health between the two people. But that’s something I’m learning to control.”
“The music business is still a very old-fashioned and very male-orientated thing, but you can use it. It’s like being a woman, it has its advantages and its disadvantages.
“I don’t think men have got the same sensitivity as women. I mean, some have a feminine quality to them and can understand things, but a lot of them still rely on their macho thing. When these people suss out I’m not a musician, as such, in that I can’t read music and I’m not a technical kind of person, they love to use that against me.
“What do I do in that situation? Er… I throw a tantrum, because that’s the only thing people like that understand.
“Nick (her co-writer) is different. I met him after being here one year. He’s been quite an influence on my music. It’s my project, and I tell him where I want it to go, but he’s got quite a strong style of his own and sometimes it’s difficult for him to understand exactly what I want. But it still works y’know —
“I don’t actually have that many friends, but I suppose it’s half male, half female —
“Being able to communicate with and stimulate someone is very important. I mean, I’m sexually more attracted to men, as far as the physical side of things is concerned, but sometimes I find a woman, intellectually and in quite a sexual way, very stimulating.
“I think there is some kind of a rapport you can’t quite have with a man. I mean, I think you can have that friendship thing with a man but it’s not quite the same. When you’re with a girl you feel it’s more like a gang thing. With men sometimes it can be like a competition.
I think maybe the man are getting afraid because the women are getting so strong. They don’t really know where the role of man stands, so they don’t know what kind of game they have to play…”