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Minuit Cinq No 11 – The Coup De Panne

The Coup De Panne

On the road, the highway, a young man was going, dreaming …

It started like a song, but it’s true!

I was walking.

For the young man was me, would you believe!

I had big boots on my feet, a stick in my hand and, in a haversack, my toothbrush.

And this was all like a dream, as I have already said

A goal, too.

My friends Christiane and Pierre had just bought a mill in the Eure. I spent my holidays in Mantes, but I had no inspiration there, so one fine morning I said to myself,

“Here, go and look elsewhere for inspiration, at your friends’ house, for example.”

A glance at the map had persuaded me that it was only about forty kilometres away. Hardly a day, strolling gently and stopping to break a solid crust. I settled into a rhythmic march, pipe in mouth, my thoughts searching for tunes.

Successful tunes, for I should tell you I am a composer

Sometimes – rarely, I must admit – at my approach, a car slowed down as if waiting for me to raise my arm, the ritual sign of hitchhikers. But I was too keen to walk. And besides, I do not like hitchhiking. When I am in a car (because I have a car, I do not doubt it), I refuse to take in strangers. Especially since the story of the young German, have you seen it? who killed the motorists who consented to take him, which proves the point about slaughter.

Let’s go on…

So I followed my route, humming. It was mild. It had rained, very early in the morning, and now the sun was smoking.

The road cut regularly from the thin shadow of the poplars. Cicadas sang in the millstones. A truck passed me at the turn. Then, a straight road led me to lengthen my steps, which I did.

Then, on the horizon, appeared a car. It was coming towards me, not very fast. Suddenly, I saw it do a semi-sheer, then stop along the road as its momentum ran out. But no one got out.

After five hundred yards I came up to it, intrigued.

At the wheel there was a woman in a fur coat. In this heat, it was almost comical.

A pretty brown-haired girl, with a pale face, and an uneasiness in her eyes that the engaging smile of her thick, well-hemmed lips could not fade.

“Excuse me, sir, but I’m tired. Can you change a tyre on this car? ”

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Minuit Cinq No 7 – Gloria

Gloria – La Coquette

After a month of touring, the troupe had agreed to come and play an impromptu concert for a night party that the Count of L … gave in his castle.

Gregory was very fond of this tradition of playing from time to time within the castle, finding that it was a “great honour”. He liked to see his troupe make their entrance into the main courtyard, he loved this atmosphere of festivals and fairy tales. It had been arranged with the Count that the show should be given at about ten o’clock, and that the actors and actresses would be invited to the grand dinner, under the elms at the water’s edge which he had organised for his five guests.

The night was sweet, almost warm as the show unfolded. The jesters made him laugh, the misfortunes of the ingenuous made him weep and the women of the company seduced the squires of the place.

The dinner was cheerful, and he noticed that Genevieve was leaving her favoured friend, with regret, to sit beside the son of the house. Rosette was being courted by a naive old Englishman, and his star, Gloria, was laughing at the jokes of a journalist. The dinner was splendid and the wines generous, which slightly heated the heads and the spirits.

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Minuit Cinq – The Galant Relay

Minuit Cinq

The Galant Relay – (Le Relais Galant)

With difficulty the post-carriage was rolling along the dusty road, at the rhythmic trot of the four horses that were driven by the voice and whip of the post boy.

The only occupant of the carriage, Police Lieutenant Jean de Larche, slept, rocked by the creaking of the axles and by the monotonous trot of the horses.

Awakened by a jolt, he rubbed his eyes, yawned and leaned over the door. The plain stretched, uniform and grey, and was lost on the horizon in the red light of the setting sun. It was a sad landscape, confirming the feelings that the traveller had had since his departure.

Almost mechanically, he took out of his pocket a parchment, sealed with red, unfolded it, and re-read it for the hundredth time:

“By order of His Majesty the King.

“It is ordered M. de Larche, the First Lieutenant of the Royal Police, should go immediately to Bordeaux, to search for and arrest Rose Vernier, the so-called Countess de Beldieu. She is an adventurer who is accused of espionage, grievance and abuse of trust.  And having taken possession of the said lady, he is to take her to the Petit Chatelet, where she is to be held in custody pending trial. This present ordinance will serve as a mandate and will enable M. de Larché to request all the military or judicial forces which may be useful to him in order to carry out his mission.” Continue reading Minuit Cinq – The Galant Relay

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Minuit Cinq – The little bird will come out

Minuit Cinq

The little bird will come out … (Le petit oiseau va sortir)

My job is to press a button. That is to say I am a photographer: it is an interesting job, for which it is necessary to have the vision and agile fingers of an athlete or a gymnast. I need to be able to take a shot showing the difference between two rocks, or balancing at the top of a ladder in order to dive into the cleavage of a pin-up model. Not to mention being able to show resistance to the weather, because to be able to take photographs in winds strong enough to raise skirts out in a fan, it is necessary to know how to stand solidly. In a storm, I am able to take wonderful snapshots, without my lens dancing or shuddering.

For most of my life I had taken photos of things like crushed dogs, when the idea of ​​doing nudes came to me like an inspiration from heaven. In all honesty. I was quite convinced that I had finally found my way. The only thing is that, at first, it is a little embarrassing when a pretty girl undresses in front of you, without considering in any way that it might arouse you – which could, theoretically, be dangerous. But let’s cut short the modesty – I soon got used to it. In the end, I just kept on trying. It takes a lot of courage to push these young girls into the last entrenchments of striptease.

I began by summoning some amiable persons, by announcement. Although I was very embarrassed to receive them; it was a beginning. I was afraid that they would imagine I wanted something else. So I had hired a good friend, Nanny, to open the door and stay in the office with me, so they could see that wasn’t the case. Later, I made a sign to Nanny, and she disappeared, giving me a funny, worried look which should have put me on my guard.

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Minuit Cinq

Minuit Cinq

Minuit Cinq

I have a small collection of Minuit Cinq (Five Past Midnight) – a French magazine not a million miles away from the likes of Spick and Span, but with a more professional approach to the photography, and with some of the models being quite familiar to us all.  I am very fond of their content and would like to show it off here from time to time. The text is, of course, all in French, but I will translate where I can.

Any information about them would be gratefully received. They are all undated, but I believe them to be late 1950’s, early 1960’s.

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Minuit Cinq No 7

Minuit Cinq No 7 – (Rosa Domaille – Eve Eden)


The Maid

Mr. Kirlikoff was in turmoil. Outside the theatre, nothing interested him and if he paid particular attention to the appearance of his actresses, it was not for their physical charm but for the good of his troupe, as he needed to be irreproachable. From time to time he gave way to a sudden passion for a young debutante, but it was no longer his desire to transform her and to shape her image only by carnal temptation. He couldn’t be more than thirty years old, but his immaculate white hair allowed him to play the older man or a noble father.

At this time Rosette, a girl from Bordeaux, made her theatrical debut as a maid. Her colourful accent, the dimples of her cheeks and voluminous chest rising from her corselet were bound to be a certain success.

She was lively and cheerful, and her comrades had adopted her at once. Despite all her good qualities, she often provoked the anger of her director because she could never take anything seriously. Everything was, she said, subject to joke. One evening, unable to stand it any longer, the Russian sent for her.

“Tomorrow you will rehearse all day, you will come to my hotel room and I will show you how to play Marion.”


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