Jacques Brel was great, and he was in pain.
Jacques Brel is every Parisian’s idol.
Parisians reluctantly admit to see value in other human beings. Only a few can make it to the pantheon of Parisians’ acceptance. Even fewer artists (living artists being slackers in Paris). Jacques Brel was one of them.
Jacques Brel was Belgian. Usually, Parisians would hold that against him. But Brel’s talent made him universal. And therefore ultimately Parisian.
Every Parisian believes deep inside that he has the talent to be a fantastic artist. Life turned out differently but the potential was there. The Parisian is lazy or caught up in life. But he is immensely talented. Brel was a fantastic artist: by excelling in song writing, in singing and in interpretation, he kindly put a mirror in front of every Parisian’s face. Every Parisian could be Jacques Brel. Every Parisian is Jacques Brel. At least the greatness of Jacques Brel.
A man in pain got it.
His sulphurous combination of pain and talent, presented with the lustrous of elegance and truthfulness, is a turn on for every Parisian. In Paris, constant pain is a form of intellectual distinction. Brel turned pain into beauty. Parisians are forever thankful for that. Brel did not destroy the pain. He magnified it.
While engaging in a conversation about Brel with a Parisian, it is imperative to also mention Brassens. Brassens and Brel in Paris come as a package.
NB: If thanks to this post, some of you get to discover or rediscover Jacques Brel, I will have made the world a better place today.
Useful tip: A great present for a Parisian is the poster of Jacques Brel, George Brassens and Léo Ferré (see image above). Definitely belongs in his toilettes.
Sound like a Parisian: « Brel, c’était le plus grand… ».