Sunday, 19 February 2012
This versatility reminds me of another of my heroes. The other day I came across Boris Vian on youtube. Vian was an engineer (he is credited with the design of the rubber wheels in the Paris Metro, which ensure a smooth and relatively quiet journey) but he is better known as a writer and one of the people responsible for bringing jazz to France (he died in 1959). His books were required reading for arty French adolescents when I was young (I'm less keen on the best known J'irai cracher sur vos tombes, but L'herbe rouge, L'Ecume des jours and L'Arrache-coeur are amazing). I wonder whether he is still read.
I had not realized that Vian wrote music too. His anti-war song, Le Deserteur is wonderful; a very simple but powerful song written as a letter to the President on having received his military papers to leave for the war `by Wednesday evening'. Another example of versatile vituosity.
I suppose both Stark and Vian show that extraordinary people are often extraordinary in a variety of ways. The rest of us just get on with what we do.