Serge gainsbourg

The weaponisation of Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin, who died this week at the age of 76, appeared to be a delightful woman – attractive, adventurous and stoic. Nevertheless, I had to look twice at the Daily Mail headline on Monday which screeched ‘Jane Birkin, a true style icon who put today’s trashy celebs to shame’. Are they talking about the same Jane Birkin, I wonder? The one whose first film role, when still a teenager, was as a naked, nameless model ‘romping’ in a threesome with David Hemmings and Gillian Hills? I mean, talk about nice work if you can get it – but pretty ‘trashy’ if you want to fling around words like that about

Beauty and the beast: Jane Birkin’s love affair with Serge Gainsbourg

I met Jane Birkin’s parents, who flit across these pages. Her mother, Judy Campbell, was an actress in Noël Coward plays and a cabaret singer who’d worked with Charles Hawtrey, and when I invited her to a party once she drove her Mini up the steps and into the hotel lobby. Jane’s father, David, had a good war, his boat picking up pilots and spies hidden by the Resistance on the Breton coast. He told me ’Allo ’Allo wasn’t a comedy, it was documentary realism. He endured many operations on his optic nerve. A piece of hip bone was grafted to his eye socket. His lungs, as Jane says, were