Women band the Lou’s, French/English translation


This live music video is the Lou’s, playing No escape, in the Olympia in Paris in July 2018.

More and more information about 3/4 French 1/4 Dutch pioneer punk the Lou’s is added to their online biography.

Translated from French monthly Rock & Folk, 132, its punk section Béret Punk, January 1978:

Born to Lou’s [an allusion to the Johnny Thunders song Born to lose]

The Lou’s, do you know them? Yes. They are a rock group. A good band, but most of all a real girl band. At last, the first band proposing an active program. A macho approach, strongly male-like accents. I liked to get to know more. And I met them at the place of Raphaëlle (guitar), near the Place de la Bastille.

An apartment without luxury. On the walls, posters of the Clash, Iggy Pop and Richard Hell. They are just back from a tour in England, as support band of the Clash. They have changed their soft T-shirts and jeans to clothes from London punk shops like Sex and Boy. Trousers with straps, extra-large knit sweaters. The London look.

‘Our first concert was in the theatre-restaurant Campagne-Première [in Paris]. To get that concert, we passed an audition, to see whether they wanted us. It was advertised in Libération daily as a free concert. 450 people came. We have been playing together for nine months. We had enormous problems getting somewhere to rehearse. At first, we went to a dance hall in the Marais neighbourhood. We had to get out because of noise. We landed in a sordid cellar where we froze. That did not last long as well. Then, we went here, Raphaëlle’s place. The amps and the drum kit in the apartment, that was terrible noise … the neighbours wanted to murder us. Then, in mid-December, we left London again. We have good contacts and a manager there. We managed to find two rooms. We will be able to work, rehearse and improve for four months. It’s good but it also requires big sacrifices. It’s badly paid but the lack of money does not hold us back. There are so many other advantages. The relationships in the music scene are not the same as in France. There is no real rivalry between bands. They all play in their own way, there is space for everyone. There, bands have the right to be just ordinary bands, while here, you are stuck in a permanent quality contest.

And then, in England the public is fantastic. The funniest thing is when they gob at you. That shows they love you. The band that has played best is the band most covered in spittle. Over there, the guys are impossible. When you talk to them about their gobbing, they open their mouths! It is disgusting. The concerts have nothing to do with the ones over here. With French audiences, you have the impression of playing at a fridge. Over there, the audiences move, they dance up and down, they move, they move massively’.

And then the Lou’s have just landed a nice contract with CBS. It opens up horizons.

The band consists of Sacha, drums; Raphaëlle, guitar; Toto, bass; and Popo, lead guitar.

‘Mainly Popo writes the songs. Then, we work together, insert special things. We sing in English. In French, it does not work. In a band like Bijou, the instruments sound excellent, but the lyrics don’t. Similarly with Téléphone. In French, it is difficult to avoid clichés. That starts either in the beginning or later. Only Higelin is an exception. Also, basically, only the chorus matters. It is the main thing which the people remember. What we want is music which connects people, which makes them jump into the air! We are just crazy girls. Crazy girls! And we tend to stay that. It is so boring to be intelligent. We are seen as a group of non-serious girls, it makes us laugh. Every time it happens, it makes us laugh.

When it was announced that we were the support band of the Clash during their UK tour, some pretended to know why. CBS had supposedly imposed that on the Clash. Or, they said, we had given in to the sexual wishes of the CBS manager. Or, again, the Lou’s musicians, one by one, had gone to toilets with all Clash members. Only one Clash member at a time? No, three Clash members at a time. They never considered that we might have become support band because of our musical quality. All that because we are a band of girls, and girl bands supposedly should not be taken seriously.’

Translated from Rock & Folk 143, 1978:

‘The Lou’s, Pamela Pop[o] and her bandmates, watch out, they bite! And after that, they laugh, because deep in their hearts, they nevertheless love us. ‘No Escape’, the sugary/acidic taste of the Seeds and 1960s punk. No need to run away, it’s better to stay and have fun with them.’

French-Dutch punk women Lou’s biography now online


In this video, you can hear French-Dutch punk women’s band the Lou’s playing their song Back On The Street.

Three Frenchwomen and Dutch Saskia aka Syama de Jong on drums, they were one of the first punk bands on the European continent. Also the first all-women band in any rock genre in France.

They were the only band playing on both days of the 1977 Mont de Marsan punk festival. Later in 1977 and 1978, they played with many British bands in Britain: Sham 69, the Skids, Subway Sect, Penetration, the Mekons. On 14 November 1977, The Lou’s played with Neo, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Siouxsie and the Banshees in the Music Machine in London. They were support band to The Clash during the 1977 Out of Control tour in the UK and Ireland.

In 1978, they played with Public Image Limited, both in Paris and in London. The Clash helped them land a recording contract with CBS. However, the Lou´s did not like that contract, broke it, and went back to small label Skydog in France.

Yesterday, an extensive Lou’s biography was published on the internet, here.

French-Dutch women´s punk band Lou´s interview rediscovery


Lou´s badge

This picture shows the 1977 badge of all-women French-Dutch punk band the Lou´s, as reconstructed in 2020 by Dutch visual artist Marion van Egmond.

Today, thanks to Sounds Clips, a 31 December 1977 interview in British Sounds weekly with this pioneer band was rediscovered. Three French girls, a Dutch drummer.

It is here.

Caroline Coon, the interviewer, was very happy about the rediscovery, as she, and many others, did not have the interview anymore.

Pioneer all-women punk band Lou’s biography updated


In this live music video, pioneer all-women punk band the Lou’s play No escape, in July 1978 in the Olympia in Paris, as support band of John Lydon (aka Rotten)’s band Public Image Ltd (PIL).

PIL liked the Lou’s so well that they also played twice with them in the Rainbow Theatre in London in December 1978.

Other bands with whom they played: eg, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sham 69, the Mekons and Subway Sect.

The Lou’s were three French women and Dutch drummer Saskia aka Sascha aka Syama de Jong.

In 1979 two of the Lou’s, Ms de Jong on drums and Raphaelle Devins on saxophone, joined London band Conflict. They played many concerts for Rock Against Racism.

In 1980 Sascha and Raphaelle went to Leiden in the Netherlands. Sascha de Jong founded the all-women Miami Beach Girls. Raphaelle joined the mixed-gender band Cheap ‘n’ Nasty.

The biography of the Lou’s on Last.fm was updated today.

French punk women getting more research attention


This video (audio really) is French all-women punk band The Lou’s playing their song Back On The Street. Three Frenchwomen, one Dutch drummer. The Lou’s were the first all-women band ever in any rock music genre in France.

This crucial band is neglected in punk historiography. The Wikipedia article Women in punk rock does not mention them (for not being British or US American?). The Wikipedia article on French punk does mention them, but only fleetingly (for being women?).

On 5 December 2020, there was the Punk Is Not Dead Pre-conference event of the Punk Scholars Network in France. It was various lectures on various aspects of punk in various regions of France. On the internet, by Zoom. 27 people attended, not only from France, also from Indonesia, Britain and the Netherlands.

Christophe Pécout spoke on the band Végétator’s (1978-1981) from Lisieux town in Normandy. Once they threw a crucifix into water ‘to see whether it could really walk on water’. This got them a ban on playing in Lisieux. They played against militarism in a Rock Against Army gig, and a Rock Against Clergy gig.

A question from the Netherlands about the Lou’s was answered with that there should be more research on women in the French punk movement.

Pioneer punk rock women Lou’s badges reconstructed


This music video (only audio, unfortunately) is the Lou’s playing their song Back on the street.

The Lou’s were the first punk band in France, and the first all-women rock band in any genre in France.

They were Dutch Sascha (aka Saskia, Syama) de Jong on drums, and three Frenchwomen: Raphaelle Devins on rhythm guitar, Tolim Toto on bass and Pamela Popo, vocals and lead guitar.

They were the only band playing on both days of the 1977 Mont de Marsan punk festival.

This video shows British band the Damned at that festival.

The Lous were support band to the Clash during the 1977 Out of Control tour in the UK.

In 1978, they played with Public Image Limited.

In 1978-1979, Sascha became drummer, and Raphaelle saxophone player, in London band Verdict. They played much for Rock against Racism.

Meanwhile, Pamela and Tolim founded Les Rois Fainéants in France.

In 1981, Sascha was back in her native Leiden, the Netherlands. She founded the all-girl Miami Beach Girls.

This is a live video of the Miami Beach Girls playing their song Delight in Utrecht in 1981.

Raphaelle came to Leiden as well, playing saxophone in Cheap ‘n’ Nasty.

Now, in November 2020, Dutch visual artist Marion van Egmond has reconstructed the original 1977 Lou’s badges. Today, there are 5 big and 5 small glow-in-the dark badges.

Lou's badge

In 1980, Ms van Egmond was one of four 12-13-year-old girls, the youngest punk band in the world. Younger than Eater. Dutch national radio interviewed them. But the drummer’s father did not want his daughter to play. And so, Marion’s and her bandmates’ plan to play a support set to British band Crass and Poison Girls and Dutch Cheap ‘n’ Nasty did not happen.

Nestlé corporation accused of killing many fish


Dead fish in the Aisne river in France, photo by Fédération de pêche des Ardennes

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Nestlé sued for thousands of dead fish in French river

A French fishing federation is suing food corporate giant Nestlé after finding thousands of dead fish in a river near a Nestlé factory. “Everything is dead over a length of seven kilometers,” says the fishing federation.

The dead fish were spotted on Sunday night in the river Aisne near the village of Challerange, between Reims and Verdun. According to local authorities, the fish died from a lack of oxygen in the water. The Ardennes fishing federation estimates the damage at several thousand euros and wants this to be paid by Nestlé France, the owner of the factory in Challerange. Where milk powder is made for in coffee cups.

“Fourteen fish species have been affected,” the federation told AFP news agency. “Including the protected eel and the lamprey.” Volunteers from the Fish Federation and the Fire Department have been working all week to remove dead fish that have washed up. At least 1 ton of fish has already been removed. The banks of the Aisne are off-limits until further notice because there are still many fish that are decomposing by the heat.

The factory says that a liquid was indeed accidentally spilled into the river on Sunday evening. …

It is still being investigated what exactly was in the water.

Rape suspect becomes new French Interior Minister


This French TV video says about itself (translated):

Gérald Darmanin, first day under pressure

Barely appointed, already controversial: Gérald Darmanin is a new, already weakened Minister of the Interior. Accused of rape, still under investigation, he attracts the wrath of feminist associations which have multiplied their demonstrations throughout the day. They demand his resignation. A BFMTV document of Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

By Ben Chacko, 8 July 2020:

French Prime Minister defends appointment of Interior Minister facing rape charge

FRANCE’S new Prime Minister, Jean Castex, today defended his appointment of Gérald Darmanin as Interior Minister despite the latter facing a rape charge.

Mr Castex said the charges against Mr Darmanin weren’t relevant as everybody is innocent until proven guilty.

Feminist organisations led protests in Paris on Tuesday over his appointment and that of new Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, who attacked the #MeToo movement against rape and sexual harassment, complaining that “crazy” women were “crucifying” men on social media, and condemned France’s 2018 ban on street harassment of women as a “joke”.

Like new right-wing Prime Minister Castex, Darmanin is a former acolyte of discredited right-wing ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

French-Italian proxy oil war in Libya continues


This 8 May 2019 video says about itself:

Italy Pressures France Over Support For Libya’s Rebels

France has backed Libyan rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s efforts … But after complaints from the Italian government, the French have apparently backed off their vocal support of Haftar’s advance on Tripoli. But the head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party says Haftar is taking advantage of diverging international interests in Libya to get ahead.

Guests:
Guma el Gamaty
Head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party

Mohamed Eljarh
Founder and CEO of Libya Outlook

Anne Giudicelli
CEO of Terr(o)Risc

By Alex Lantier in France:

Bombing of Turkey’s Watiya base escalates Franco-Italian proxy war in Libya

8 July 2020

Even as COVID-19 spreads, the decade-long civil war between rival imperialist-backed warlords triggered by the 2011 NATO war in Libya is spiraling out of control.

On July 5, unidentified warplanes bombed al-Watiya airbase, which Italian-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) forces recently retook from French-backed Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar. The attack damaged hangars and destroyed military equipment from Turkey, which is coordinating its support for the GNA with Italy. LNA official Khaled al Mahjoub told Al Arabiya that “other attacks similar to the one on the base will soon be carried out. … We are in a real war with Turkey, which has oil ambitions in Libya.”

Turkish military sources told Spanish news site Atalayar the raid included “nine precision airstrikes against Turkish air defense systems,” which wounded several Turkish intelligence officials. They added that the attacks were “successful” and left “three radars completely destroyed.” However, Atalayar refuted reports that MiG-29 or Su-24 jets Moscow has given the LNA carried out the strikes, saying that it was the work of French-made Rafale jets.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and France itself all field Rafales, support the LNA, and could have bombed al-Watiya. On June 21, Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi threatened to intervene in Libya against Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office reacted to the strike by tweeting that Turkey would escalate operations in Libya, attacking the coastal city of Sirte and Al Jufra, Libya’s largest airbase, both located in central Libya and held by LNA forces. It cited control of oil supply lines and Russian support for the LNA to justify its intervention.

The bombing of al-Watiya, barely 150km from Tripoli, followed visits by Turkish and Italian officials. It came only a few hours after Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar concluded a trip to Tripoli, during which he proclaimed, “Turkish sovereignty and our return, after the withdrawal of our ancestors, to return forever in Libya.” This apparently referred to the Turkish Ottoman Empire’s control over Libya, until Italy seized Libya and held it as a colony from 1911 until 1943 and its defeat during World War II.

On June 24, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio visited Tripoli, after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara and amid joint Turkish-Italian naval drills. In Tripoli, he said the war was central to Rome’s strategic interests, calling Libya “a priority for our foreign policy and national security.”

The strike on al-Watiya has revealed the bitter divisions among the NATO imperialist powers, as well as between the regional powers, over the division of the spoils from the 2011 war.

Amid revolutionary uprisings of the working class in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Paris, London and Washington pushed NATO to bomb Libya and arm Islamist and tribal militias to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Berlin declined to join the war, and the belligerent powers ran roughshod over initial Turkish objections. Western media and petty-bourgeois pseudo-left groups like France’s New Anti-capitalist Party claimed it was a humanitarian war to protect Libyan protesters, but it was an imperialist rape of Libya.

It set the stage not only for the ongoing proxy war in Syria between Russia and NATO, which sent to Syria many Islamist proxy militias it had mobilized in Libya, but for a ruthless struggle to carve up Libya and its massive oil reserves.

Thousands have died in fighting between rival militias unleashed by the 2011 war, and the coronavirus pandemic is now ravaging Libya. The number of cases doubled in the last two weeks of June, to 713, and now stands at 1,117. Only 269 have recovered while 34 have died, as the disease spreads across a country whose health and industrial infrastructure have been shattered by a decade of bloodshed.

This month, the International Rescue Committee reported: “This year Libya has recorded the highest number of attacks on health facilities of any country in the world. Just yesterday, an ambulance was hit by an airstrike, severely damaging the vehicle and the health facility close by. Last week two doctors were killed by a mine that exploded under a body they were moving from a hospital. With Libya’s health system already on its knees, continued attacks such as these are making it even harder for medical teams in the country to respond to the pandemic.”

The NATO powers are not bringing medical and humanitarian aid, however, but plundering Libya and threatening to escalate the fighting into an all-out regional war. Several regional powers play a major role—with Turkey and Algeria backing the GNA, and Egypt and the UAE backing the LNA. Moscow has also intervened to back the LNA against the Islamist-dominated GNA. However, a decisive aspect of the conflict is between major oil corporations like France’s Total and Italy’s ENI.

On July 3, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency wrote that the GNA is “advancing on Sirte, the gateway to the east of the country and oil fields.” It called Sirte “crucial” for two reasons: “First, Sirte has significant economic value as a gateway to Libya’s oil crescent region, consisting of vital ports such as al-Zuweytinah, Ra’s Lanuf, Marsa al Brega, and as-Sidr, which reportedly supplies 60 percent of Libya’s oil exports. Secondly, it is a strategic city that could enable the GNA to take control of the Libyan coastline from the capital to the west and Benghazi to the east.”

ENI dominates the oilfields in GNA-held northwestern Libya. But many of the oil reserves and refineries in the “oil crescent” region are held by Total and LNA militias in the Cyrenaica region around Benghazi, the center of the NATO-backed revolt against Gaddafi, and in the Fezzan. This region in southern Libya borders two former French colonies, Niger and Tchad, that Paris exerts control over as part of its so-called war on terror in Mali and the Sahel.

Conflicts between the NATO imperialist powers are increasingly evident. Commenting on French support for Haftar, Tarek Megerisi of the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Financial Times: “France has different interests to Germany and Italy in Libya, and it has moved to protect these interests. It has security interests in the Sahel and a wider security partnership that it is building with the United Arab Emirates—and in which Egypt is a big part.”

Dorothée Schmid of the French Institute on International Relations (IFRI) said there is “strategic panic” in Paris at Haftar’s recently suffered reverses. She pointed to growing chaos and uncertainty in NATO: “France is rather isolated in this affair, and everyone is waiting for the American elections.”

The only way to avert a further escalation is a mobilization of the working class in Africa and the Middle East, resuming the struggles launched a decade ago, and the unification of these struggles with growing strikes and protests in America and Europe in a socialist anti-war movement. Absent a revolutionary intervention of the working class, the ruling elites are all sliding towards war.

Naval tensions continue to grow in the Mediterranean. France withdrew from NATO operations in the Mediterranean on July 1, protesting that a Turkish warship allegedly threatened to fire on a French frigate as it tried to inspect a merchant ship bound for Libya. Egypt has for its part reportedly acquired a Russian “Bastion” coastal defense battery amid reports that Turkey intends to set up a naval base in the Libyan city of Misrata.

Macron jealous of prime minister, sacks him


This 3 July 2020 video says about itself:

France: Jean Castex named new prime minister after Philippe resigns

Jean Castex was appointed as the new French Prime Minister in Paris on Friday. Earlier today, Edouard Philippe handed in his resignation.

Footage shows the official residence of the Prime Minister of France Hotel Matignon.

A cabinet reshuffle has was widely expected after French President Emmanuel Macron promised to chart a “new path” for the last remaining two years of his term. Macron’s party En Marche had experienced a major setback in the municipal elections last Sunday.

Mr Castex was a right-hand man of disgraced right-wing ex-President Sarkozy. In the Macron administration, his job was recently ‘reopening the economy‘ in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic in France.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

French Prime Minister Philippe and his cabinet have stepped down. This was announced by the Elysée, President Macron‘s palace. The president had already said he wanted to reshuffle the cabinet. Macron’s party, La République en Marche (LREM), suffered a large loss in the municipal elections on Sunday.

In recent months, Édouard Philippe had become prefered to Macron for many French people.