Saturday, 19 December 2009

A Nation in Mourning

La Tuilerie Website

Friday evening the first 20 minutes of the 30 minute news were dedicated to Johnny Hallyday. Saturday evening the first 10 minutes were dedicated to Johnny Hallyday. The whole of the front page of the local newspaper on Saturday was dedicated to Johnny Hallyday. Sunday evening the first 5 minutes of the news were dedicated to Johnny Hallyday.

A number of questions may arise from my faithful readers, who is Johnny Hallyday? and what has happened that elicits so much attention from this great nation?

 Johnny Hallyday is a national icon, in a country where religion and state are strictly separated, he is a god for the masses. He first started making pop/rock records in 1959 and is still on tour today (albeit on his 3rd final tour). His face appears on the posters of the gossip magazines every week, quite a feat for just one individual. The ins and outs of his many marriages, his latest child, his latest divorce and any other titbit is chewed over and regurgitated. However, one has to have some respect for someone with a career spanning 4 decades and still making records that attract an audience of all ages, not just the aging baby boomers and the born-too-laters.

But the current hype and exposure is unprecedented, so what has happened? Johnny was admitted into hospital in Los Angeles with a post operational infection. His French medical team have flown to Los Angeles, the whole of his extended family and many stars in the French music business have flown to be with him, even one of his ex-wives has arrived. This must be truly serious! We are however, reassured by the reporter in the hospital that all his vitals are fine, all his organs are fine, the infection is under control and everyone expects him to make a full recovery. Tuesday evening on the news it was reported that the president, Nicholas Sarkosy, has been in touch with the family and Johnny is going to be all right, the nation can now rest easy. Storm in a teacup? Who knows, but the media has given up its reporting of him and we are back to trivial items, like the climate conference in Copenhagen and the search for a mass murder.

For a few days the French media was in a frenzy. We are just left as bemused observers, wondering what on earth will happen if he dies?

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