COCCINELLE, Avec mon petit faux-cul, 1959Posted: October 23, 2010
I´m never looking for anything in particular, when I´m entering a record shop. Rather I like to be surprised by what I find. It´s really like digging for “something else”. That´s why I hate alphabetically organized shops. I´m never looking for anything in particular, so I have to then dig through all of the records in the shop. In the case of the Lisbon record shop where I bought this week´s selection, there were more than 10.000 45´s in the store. None of them sorted and I dug through all of them. I like it if shops are sorted by genre, because I do have a roughly sketched set of odd genres that I´m searching for: comedy records, advertisement records, political records, children´s records, records made by kids, records made by old people, records from exotic countries and adult records.
This one is not really an adult record but I did buy it because it had the “Interdit de moins 16 ans”-tag and obviously because of Coccinelle´s semi-nudity. I even listened to it in the record shop, but apart from the suggestive Avec mon petit faux-cul (With my little fake ass) there was nothing dirty about the music at all. A faux-cul was the late 19th century fashion of upholstering womans dresses to make their behinds look bigger and more beautiful. A play of words, faux-cul can also mean hypocrite.
I didn´t know anything about Coccinelle until I got home to my Lisbon hosts, Marcos and Joana. They really loved this record and took the time to read the liner notes on the back cover.
Joana then quickly searched the Internet and seconds later presented the surprise: Coccinelle (French for Ladybug) is France´s first and most famous transsexual! A national celebrity and a renown club singer, Coccinelle had a sex reassignment surgery in 1958 in Casablanca. She performed regularly at the famous nightclub Le Carrousel de Paris and appeared in some movies. Her first marriage in 1960 was the first transsexual union to be officially acknowledged by the French government , establishing transgendered persons’ legal right to marry. A transgender activist, she founded the organization “Devenir Femme” (To Become Woman), to give emotional and practical support for those seeking sexual reassignment surgery. She also helped set up the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity. Coccinelle died in July 2006 following a stroke.
I don´t think I would have found all this, without digging randomly. Luckily, as compulsive and crazy as my record collecting habit may be, it can also educate.