Title: Anne Pigalle: London, Madame JoJo’s
Author: Mark Sinker
Publish date: 5th December, 1987
MADAME JOJO’S has a nice airbrushed and blow-dried sense of sleaze to it. A clutch of waiters in impeccable and impenetrable drag, purring blankly at the customers. It sounds like a brothel in an entertaining but not very good film, and it stands on the site of a Soho peep-show live-sex dive. Its past gives if most of its, um, character.
Same with Anne Pigalle. One of the would-bes on ZTT who’got swamped in Frankie’s unexpected success, she was all promise that never got delivered, a rough French night-club act to set against the smooth Hornery. She’s reacted against that, up to a point.
Her band look like the bands you see in clubs in adverts, so it’s a surprise that they can play, and they play with a grating post-punk rock in a very precise, coolly mannered kind of way. Funnily enough, apart from Pigalle herself, who’s nonchalant to the point of immobility, they remind me of the very early Roxy Music. Same poise, same deadpan, same sax, same grainy, resinous sound. No tunes, though. They have identity, they have a certain strength; they couldn’t be British, and they couldn’t be American… they seem to weigh in with the usual French over-fascination with the trappings of rock culture as style, but at this point in history that seems a more cunning move than it could have done. They haven’t paid any dues and it works, for them — it cuts them away from grebo’s scumminess.
Hard but ugly. And she’s smart, and if you’re not completely allergic to French singing, she has presence. But not enough at the moment. I don’t mind her. But I was a bit bored.