John Lynch (51 years)
Back in the 1960s, there was an English television show starring Patrick McGoohan called "Secret Agent", the theme song was Johnny Rivers singing "Secret Agent Man." On one episode, there was a song I had never heard before, sung by a woman, in a language other than English, and it haunted me. I did not know the name of the song, but sometime later, I had a Trini Lopez record, and he sang it in Spanish (I might mention, by the way, that Dalida did a French remake of Trini Lopez’s version of the Pete Seeger “If I Had a Hammer”, and did some of his hoots on it). The Spanish version gave me a possible name, “Historia de un Amor”,but I still felt haunted. Years later, I saw an Edith Piaf song with a name like the name of the song, and bought it, but it wasn’t the same song. One night, I was watching the Tonight Show or Letterman and they had an actress named Victoria Abril, who was promoting a movie called “French Twist”, this movie is “Gazon Maudit.” I went to see the movie and it is perhaps then that I heard Dalida for the first time. About a year or so later, a Virgin Megastore opened somewhat near me, and I went there. I bought the Dalida Annees Barclay box set. I knew nothing of Dalida other than that she had sung that song that haunted me so, whether she sang it the first time I heard it or not. She was to haunt me more. About a year later, in May of 1998, I went to Paris for the first time and what I hope will not be the last. Somehow I had found out about the Place Dalida. I will never forget going to the cemetery in Montmartre, and visiting the graves of Stendhal, Francois Truffaut, and Dalida. I took some pictures there. Later I went to the Place Dalida and took some pictures of the bust and helped some tourists get their own pictures there. And I remember saying to an older couple in my very poor French, “Pourquoi?” He could not explain it to me. There was also a very synchronicitous moment, as I walked away from Place Dalida, some painters were painting a house nearby, and Edith Piaf singing “La vie en rose” came on the radio. I stopped by their window to hear it. A little after I got home, I became interested in the Internet and soon sent my Dalida grave pictures, along with some Gainsbourg Montparnasse Cemetery pictures, to a site called www.findagrave.com . Since that time, I occasionally get e-mails from their admirers around the world, thanking me for taking the pictures. Some time later, I bought the video of “Mina Tannenbaum” in a French-Canadian version, because our American videoplayers do not play European videos very well [or maybe not at all], and I was very touched to both see Gainsbourg and Dalida for the first time on the t.v. in the movie, which I would also recommend to anyone who likes Truffaut or Woody Allen. I used to volunteer at a very large old theatre that shows foreign and independent films. One time we had a film called something like “A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries” with Kris Kristofferson. Leelee Sobieski, Barbara Hershey, Jane Birkin, and Virginie Ledoyen. I am not sure now, but I think Dalida may have very briefly been on a t.v. set in that movie, too. Sometimes when I am touched, it is difficult to put it into words. When I was at Dalida’s grave, there were two very young people from Switzerland who were passing and stopped. Dalida’s grave is a very impressive and remarkable grave. They asked who she was. My French was very poor, but I said that she was a singer and an actress and that the easiest way to say it might be to say she was the French Marilyn Monroe.