Friday, 25 May 2012


 Following my humiliating failure as a cabaret entertainer, I found myself in deep parental trouble.
 I had had the nerve to appear at the Café Royal, a venue which was not only one of Eddy’s valued business clients, but sacrosanct as it housed the temple for the French Freemason’s Lodge of which he was Grand Master. He considered that I had made him a laughing stock, my mother suffered the brunt of his displeasure and it took a number of profuse apologies to both and several months of knuckling down doing what I was told before life at home became bearable again.
 Every day I took an early morning train with Eddy from Pangbourne to Paddington and a tube from Paddington to Oxford Circus where we walked for two minutes to the firm of V.Benoist Ltd. manufacturers and importers of high class table delicacies, situated behind the Palladium. Curiously, he travelled 1st class but made me travel 3rd which I suspected he would not have done had I been his real son, but then, he was a severe Victorian man with principles and perhaps this was a way of making me understand that I was still an apprentice while he was the Managing Director.
 So I worked in the kitchens cooking Real Turtle soup in huge steaming cauldrons, in a cold store room filling stone jars with Sevruga caviare fresh from Russia, in the canning section where I packed ox tongues in tins, and then in the Despatch and Accounts departments. At weekends Eddy gave me fishing and driving lessons, I made sure that I didn’t play the piano or the drums when he was around, and pretended to read the Financial Times for pleasure.
  In July 1951 he accepted the delivery of a brand new company car, an impressive black Wolseley saloon, and announced that he and I would motor down in this symbol of entrepreneurial success to Vigo in Spain to visit our sardine supplier, stopping at his mother’s in Pau on the way. It was to be a part holiday part business trip and we would take turns at the wheel.
 In August we crossed over to Calais by ferry, stayed the first night in Evreux, lunched the next day in Limoges and, as we cruised happily along one of those beautiful straight French roads lined by plane trees, we had the most horrendous accident . I was driving.
 I had relied on Eddy to tell me when it was safe to overtake as the Wolseley naturally had right hand drive steering. We got stuck for a while behind a heavy lorry, he then told me the road ahead was clear, I accelerated, started to overtake, saw another vehicle coming in the opposite direction, cut in too quickly and in a split second the heavy lorry’s massive front bumper hit the passenger door behind me sending us spinning uncontrollably across the road to be smashed violently against a tree, the impact completely wrecking the car.
 Dazed, numbed, I looked at Eddy. He was sheet white, his face creased with pain. We were both covered in small, sharp cubes of Triplex glass from the shattered windscreen. People shouted at us to get out before the petrol fumes ignited. They wrenched his door open and dragged him out. I crawled through the open window on my side, apparently unhurt except for a few scratches.
 Badly shaken and stunned, I sat on the grass verge and stared, confused, at the steaming mangle of black metal that had been a comfortable limousine, and at ashen faced Eddy now laid out in the middle of the road.
 The police arrived, sirens blaring, followed by an ambulance. Paramedics lifted him onto a stretcher, slid him into the clinical vehicle and bundled me in after him. During an interminable journey to the nearest hospital, he lost consciousness and I thought he was gone, but on arrival he opened his eyes and managed a grim smile.
 I was checked over for any injuries while he was taken to an operating theatre. A couple of hours later he was settled in a private ward, heavily sedated, and I learned that he was not in danger but that he had a severely fractured femur. His hips and left leg would have to be put in plaster for several months.
 I checked into a hotel close by, sat down on the bed, picked up the phone and rang my mother to break the news.
 Her reaction, long distance, was hard to gauge, but it seemed to me that her main concern was how she could get out of coming down to Pau where he would want to stay till he had recovered, expecting her to look after him. 

Car after accident

Monday, 21 May 2012


The story so far:
I am born into a middle class French family who live in England. Aged 14 I find my mother in bed with the lodger and learn that my father is not my biological father.
I am sent to a public school, the army, a slaughter house in France to learn the family catering business. I sing in a casino night club and lose my virginity in a brothel.

 In March 1950 I returned home to Pangbourne to live with my father who wasn’t ( Eddy ) my mother who was 
( Simone ) and her lover (Pierre ) My sister had got married to an Italian industrial spy and disappeared somewhere abroad. In my twentieth year I decided not to take life too seriously but bide my time working in the food trade till an opportunity to escape and go on stage came my way.
 The opportunity came earlier than expected.
 One day the landlord of ‘The Swan’, the neighbouring riverside pub which I frequented regularly, asked me if would do a little turn at a party as he and his wife were celebrating their silver wedding anniversary. I had occasionally thumped away at the piano accompanying friends who liked bawling out rugger songs and they hoped I would join in a cabaret of local talent they were organizing.
 On the night, removing my glasses and wearing a straw hat I slipped into an imitation of Maurice Chevalier, then a stupid little sketch with an imagined performing flea which I killed by mistake, put in a matchbox and cried over while playing a funeral march. It was quite funny if you’d had a few drinks. I got a satisfactory round of applause but to my surprise an elderly man asked me if we could talk somewhere quietly.  It was important.
 I followed him out to the terrace and he introduced himself as Arthur Waters, brother of Jack Warner and Elsie and Doris Waters.
 Jack Warner was a very famous radio and musichall comedian at the time, who starred in several films, his sisters were an equally famous musichall act known by their stage names of ‘Gert and Daisy’.
 ‘I’ve been watching you most of this evening, 'Arthur Waters said,' and I think you have quite a lot of talent and a certain youthful charisma. I’d like to introduce you to my brother’s agent. He could get you some cabaret work if you were willing to follow his suggestions and advice.'
 An amazing offer out of the blue.
 The following week I went to Jack Warner’s West End flat, met the great man himself, was introduced to his agent and nervously went through a cabaret routine at the piano. It wasn’t too original, nor that brilliant. I simply did my Chevalier number, sang a Charles Trenet song in French, and followed that with the flea business.
 ‘I can get you a gig next Thursday at a Freemason’s Ladie's Night ' the agent said. ‘We’ll have to work on it a bit, tidy it up, but it would be a good experience for you.'
 I rehearsed the act with him in a room above a Soho pub for three nights before the booking, then met him in the anteroom of one of the banqueting halls at the Café Royal on the appointed night.
 I had told no one about what I was doing. I was nervous enough at the thought of appearing professionally in front of a London audience, but to be doing so at the Café Royal where my father had serious business connections was sailing close to a wind which could turn stormy.
 Through a gap in the curtain behind a small stage I watched the freemasons, their wives and guests in all their finery finish their dinner, and became more and more tense as endless speeches were made. The musicians took their places on the little rostrum, I was the opening number to be followed by a tenor who would sing Victorian ballads, after which Elsie and Doris Waters would top the bill.
 End of speeches. Roll of drums. Announcement from the Master of Ceremonies.
 'Worshipful Master, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen...tonight....for the very first time in London and fresh from his native Paris, a young rising star..André Lior !'
 My new name had been thought up ten minutes before.
 I went on, guts knotted so tight that they held back any risk of me being sick or worse. I got through it somehow. Without my glasses I never saw the audience, hardly saw the piano keys, just sang through Trenet’s Boom and Chevalier’s Louise wearing the straw hat, was startled when the band joined in at the end, then did my stupid performing flea act, played the funeral march and got a standing ovation.
 I couldn’t believe it. They laughed, dug each other in the ribs, clapped their hands. I took a bemused bow, walked off, dazed, not understanding why I was so successful and, backstage Elsie Waters slapped me on the back
 'Lousy performance, but great idea.,' she said.
  I stared at her confused.
 'The death of a flea and the funeral, the matchbox, all that. Perfect for this audience.'
  I looked even more puzzled.
  'It’s a funeral director’s Lodge deary, didn’t you know? Our brother, Arthur, is a funeral director.' And, turning to her sister, 'Doris, Arthur didn’t tell him. He can be such a shit sometimes. 'Then back to me 'Never mind love, they enjoyed it, but if I were you I wouldn’t go on stage again, you’re not made for it. Just try writing stuff for others. You’ll be good at that.'
 The tenor went on, Gert and Daisy went on. I sat in a corner of the ante room with the straw hat on my knees going over what had just been said.
 Lousy performance.....Not made for it....
 The evening ended, the band packed up their instruments, the tenor left for another gig, so did Gert and Daisy. Jack Warner’s agent handed me a fiver and patted me on the head. ‘Well done sonny. That wasn’t too bad. Don’t call us we’ll call you,' or something similar.
 I had been laughed at because I had been conned into doing a silly act to amuse a funeral director’s Lodge, that was all.
 I wasn’t made for the stage. I wouldn’t stand a chance professionally.

Gert and Daisy  and further down Jack Warner.


Thursday, 17 May 2012


I was surfing the web last week in the hope of finding some information about my biological father who has been on my mind since I started this Blog. To my surprise I was able to trace him to the Town Hall archives in Antwerp and learned that he had died in 1965 aged sixty eight. He never knew of my existence, so I felt it rather put a sad end to the story, but of course it doesn’t, for reminders of his presence in the back of my mind will keep cropping up.
 My mother gave me his name when I returned from Pau to Pangbourne in March 1950 on the condition that I kept it to myself. His Christian name was Paul. She had no photographs of him but told me he looked a little like Valèry Giscard d’Estaing (who later became President of France) which fitted in nicely with the image I had of him as a diplomat.
 At the time I asked her how Eddy got to know I wasn’t his son - and that story is worth recounting in more or less her own words.

 'You will remember,' she started, 'That it was the Nanny that I had hired to help me look after you, who told me that she thought you looked like the gentleman next door.  Shaken by this accusing comment, I immediately went to check dates in my diary and realized that when Eddy had proposed having another child I was one day away from my periods. It was likely, therefore, that I had not taken from him, but from Paul in the two weeks that followed.
 I took you out of your pram to examine you carefully and it became quite evident that you weren’t Eddy’s son. You looked like Paul, you smiled like Paul and I could not believe that Eddy wouldn’t realize it sooner or later.
 I totally lost control. It was a moment of senseless panic. I could not face the possible consequences of what I had done.
 Wanting to escape, to run away, then realizing this was impossible, I was overwhelmed by the insane idea to end everything, to not exist another day, longing for oblivion. But I couldn’t leave you. What would Eddy do with you if I was dead and learned that you were not his son?
 I had to take you with me, but to do so I had to end your life first.
 I intended to lie in a hot bath and cut my wrists after drowning you. I filled up the bath, pushed you under the water, counted five, but you thrashed out, terror in your little eyes, a look of astonishment that I should do such a thing. I tried again, counting up to ten, then Nanny, aware that something was wrong, hammered on the bathroom door. I unlocked it. I was holding you, wet, naked, spluttering, howling.
 She wrestled me from you. She dried you and fed you and put you in your cot. She waited till Eddy came home from work, told him what I had tried to do then packed her things and left . 'I don’t want to have anything more to do with this family,' she told him.
 I didn’t move, I didn’t speak but remained in the bathroom curled up on myself on the floor. Eddy called the doctor who diagnosed severe post natal depression and prescribed a sedative. The next day Eddy took me to see a Harley Street specialist
 I told this man everything -  that when Eddy had gone to France, coincidentally at the same time that Paul’s wife was in Belgium, we had enjoyed a clandestine dinner together and one thing had led to another. I assured Paul that we did not have to take precautions as I believed I was already pregnant from Eddy.
 When I finished, the specialist very calmly said 'Your husband is a very intelligent, sensitive man. My advice to you is to tell him the truth. Tell him André is not his son, tell him he is Paul’s and ask him to forgive you. He will do so because he is a good person and will understand.'
 To this day I cannot believe that that is what he advised and that I did as he suggested.
  When we got home I confessed.
 Eddy crossed the bedroom, smacked me hard across the face with the back of his hand, picked up a vase given us by Paul and smashed it against the wall. It was terrifying. I cowered against the dresser. He didn’t look at me again but left the room. I heard the front door slam, the car start up outside, the tyres screaching as he turned out of the driveway into the road,  paralysing sounds of frenzied rage. Then silence, that awful English suburban silence with nothing happening anywhere, everyone behaving like the good people they were.
 Eddy did not come back at his usual time that evening. At ten he rang from a hotel somewhere to tell me he would be away for a few days. I did not question why but just asked him how he was. He just said 'What do you expect?' then 'Does Paul know the boy is his?' I told him no.
 The boy, not André. Was that the shape of his attitudes to come ?
 I would have liked Paul's help. He must have felt some affection for me and his advice would have been comforting, but he was the last person I could contact. He had begged me never to tell anyone of our relationship.
 When Eddy came back after two days he told me he would adopt you as his son and we would never speak of the matter again.
 'The rest you know....he has never been able to forgive or forget.'

 Apparently, Paul looked so much like Giscard d’Estaing that in the late 1970s, whenever the president appeared on television, Eddy changed the channel or switched off. 

Valèry Giscard d’Estaing and me as a baby.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


One evening, late in 1949, when chatting with the musicians of the band with which I sang at the little night club in the Pau Casino, the topic of conversation turned to their domestic problems, the relationship with their wives, infidelity and the joys of sex, which I admitted I had not yet experienced, a fact that upset them a great deal on my behalf.
 On my nineteenth birthday, 12th December 1949, the band invited me to a surprise dinner party - they said.
 When the night club closed, they drove me out of town to an exclusive country club and, as we parked outside, I noticed that the front porch was discreetly lit by a red light. This, I suspected, could augur badly..
 They rang a bell. The door was opened by a heavy-jawed woman with platinum blonde hair piled high on her head. She wore a rose bonbon evening gown which hardly contained her massive bosom. She greeted us warmly but then looked at me doubtfully.
 'He is far too young to come here,' she said.
 'It’s his nineteenth birthday,' my musician friends protested. 'Not only that, but he is English and still a virgin'
 'Oh, quel desastre!' she exclaimed, 'Come in, come in. I will get la petite Mireille to attend to him immediatement.'
 The entrance hall of the country club was like a Western saloon, with a wide oak staircase leading up to an oak balcony that had doors leading off.
 'Comment tu t’appel, mon petit ?' the Madame asked me.
  'Johnny Launay,' one of the musicians replied.
  'Tres bien Johnny. You just sit down here on one of the sofas and I will check when Mireille will be free.'
 She went up the stairs, along the balcony, disappeared through a door and returned shortly.
  'Mireille will not be long. They are nearly finished,' she said.
 The musicians followed the Madame into the bar which was crowded with hearty gentlemen. A few minutes later a number of them peeped round the door to see what I looked like, grinned, winked and gave me the thumbs up.
 I was trapped. There was no possibility of me running away and I could hardly refuse the generous present I was being offered. I waited.
 I tried to imagine what Mireille would look like. ‘La petite Mireille’ the Madame had said. Seventeen? Eighteen ? 

 A small dusky maiden perhaps ? A tall Nordic blonde ?
 A door opened on the balcony above me and a woman appeared, forty five if a day, wearing only a loose dressing gown..
 'Johnny?' she asked, looking down at me.
  I stood up, terror stricken.
  She crooked her finger at me. 'Vien Petit,' she said, pursing her lips in way of a ‘come hither’ kiss.
  I started up the stairs in as manly a manner as I could, followed her down a corridor and she ushered me through a door.
 It was a bedroom designed to remind the toughest of men how comfortable they had been in their mother’s womb. A huge double bed, turned down as in the best hotels, was surrounded by purple, red and pink velvet walls and the indirect lighting was thankfully low. There was a Japanese screen hiding something in one corner and above the bed on the wall hung a large gilt framed photograph of a famous cowboy film star.
  'Ah ha...!’ I said nervously, recognizing the actor.
 Mireille dropped her dressing gown and stood before me stark naked.
 'I can never remember his name.,' she said, untying my tie and my shirt buttons.
 'I can’t remember it either,' I stuttered, thankful that we had a subject of conversation.
 She undid my belt and my flies, my trousers dropped around my ankles. I was paralysed with embarrassment and didn’t dare look at her ample breasts which she was coyly rubbing against me. .
 'There is a bidet behind the screen,' she said in way of a suggestion.
 I had nothing on now except my socks. I went behind the screen, heart pounding, face flushed. The icy cold water failed to dampen my growing enthusiasm. I knew that during the experience which was about to follow, it was essential for me not to lose control quickly. From the musicians I had learned that women took hours before being satisfied. To counter this, excited young men should not think about what they were doing but occupy their minds with a mathematical problem, in this way the great moment could be delayed.
 I came out from behind the screen. Mireille was lying on the bed, studying her nails, waiting for me, the qulit and top sheet discarded on the floor.
 The moment had come. This was it. Heaven’s gate was about to open. Nature’s most bewitching gift to man.
 She was helpful. A true professional. She whispered sweet nothings in my ear, sighed not too convincingly. I decided to surprise her. I would be the first nineteen year old to seduce her completely. I couldn’t think of a mathematical problem so instead concentrated on remembering the cowboy star’s name.
 Arthur...Basil....Charles....Donald.....the mattress was squeaking but I was doing well. 

She was impressed....Edward....Frederick....
 My very being shuddered.
 'Gary Cooper!!!' I blurted out, and at the same time the great moment was suddenly over.
 'Oh, yes!' she exclaimed. 'How clever of you.'
 Had she thought me clever because I had remembered the film star’s name or because I was a great lover? The whole episode must have lasted at least two minutes.
  Mireille got off the bed and disappeared behind the screen.
 'You have to go now,' she said. 'I have another customer waiting.'  
  I didn’t want to know that. I wanted to remember this, my first experience, as something romantic, something sweet, delicate, and loving. Instead, I knew that the only memory I would have of the momentous occasions was Gary Cooper smiling down at me. 

Gary Cooper 

Friday, 11 May 2012


There is nothing more confusing to a late teenager than to be told by someone of the same age that you have no true identity.
 At eighteen, already troubled by not knowing very much about my biological father and starting a career I disliked in order to please my surrogate father for reasons explained in previous posts of this Blog, the last thing I needed was the friendship of an intense philosophy student seeped in Jean Paul Sartre who claimed to be an existentialist ...
 My new friend lived close to my grandmother’s where I was staying while suffering an apprenticeship as a pork-butcher in Pau, South West France. When we were introduced, he saw me as a lost soul wandering aimlessly in the desert of life and insisted I delve into the realms of Heidegger, Kierkegaard, Nietsche and Camus to put things right. Understanding only half of what I read  I, however, drew from the heavy duty ideologies the fact that life was too short for argument and that I should commit to what mattered to me.
 What mattered to me ? The need for an identity.
 Where would I find one ? Obviously the theatre where, as an actor, I would be cast in the parts of ready made identities..
 I looked for an amateur drama group, there were none in Pau, but someone pointed me in the direction of the Casino Municipal complex where there was a theatre.
 The theatre management were not a bit interested in me, but I was not dismayed for it suddenly dawned on me that I had an identity. As a self aware individual reflecting on my own existence and needing to find a destiny and purpose in life I was existentialist. Problem solved!
 Deciding on a drink to celebrate, I sauntered into ‘Le Brummel’ the casino’s cosy little night club where a five piece band played to smooching couples. I could, I suppose, have been drawn to the roulette tables and become an addicted gambler like my maternal great grandfather, but instead I became addicted to ‘Le Brummel’.
 Sometimes the place was full, sometimes there were no clients at all. I went  there so often that I became friends with the band and, one evening when there was no one around and boredom had set it, one of the musicians suggested I sing one of their Cole Porter repertoire numbers in English. I had told them that I intended going on the stage.
 By coincidence, a party of Americans who had had a good night at the gambling tables came in as I was in the middle of my rendition of Night and Day. When I finished they applauded loudly and asked for more. The champagne flowed, I sang I’ve got you under my skin and I get a kick out of you, I could not remember the words of any other songs so had to stop.
 The next night the band leader asked me to sing the same songs again. The club was quite full, there was more applause, and at the end of the evening he invited me to get four or five more numbers together and perform them the following Friday at a Grand Gala in the dance hall. They had the music but they did not have the words so, in the days that followed, while decapitating dead geese and ducks and chopped up their livers, I rewrote Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and Ira Gershwin lyrics in my head and rehearsed them in the bath when I got home.
 On the night of the Gala I dressed for the performance -  white shirt, bow tie, white jacket and trousers. I checked my appearance in the casino toilet mirrors to calm the mounting stage fright then, half way through the evening, the band leader stepped up to the microphone and introduced me as the young, dynamic, singing sensation from London - Johnny Launay
 Though surprised by my new name, I got through the numbers successfully, walked off the stage to resounding applause and the next morning my grandmother’s cook and housekeeper handed me the local newspaper. A photo of me was on the front page with the caption - Le Gran Bal au Casino de Pau a connu un succés formidable avec le dynamique chanteur anglais,  Johnny Launay, dans son repertoire de swing. 
 I was an overnight celebrity.
 I hid the newspaper from my grandmother in case she sent a cutting to her son and went on singing at ‘Le Brummel’ and at Gala nights for the rest of my stay in Pau. I tasted mini fame in the local cafés and shops. I looked too young to attract the attention of the girls I fancied, but a mother or two thought me ‘adorable’, including the wife of the salami factory’s managing director who turned up at the Brummel one night with her husband.
 This rather serious gentleman promptly mentioned my appearance as a cabaret turn in a business letter to my non-father, resulting in my mother writing to warn me that he was not too pleased and begging me not to let my amateur performances go to my head.
 But they did and, what's more, I had three identities.
 During the day I was a butcher mutilating dead animals, in the early evenings I was an existentialist suffering  anguish, nausea and revulsion against the state of being and, at night, I was Frank Sinatra at Caesar’s Palace. 

Aged 19 singing at the Casino, Pau, France 1949.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


The town of Pau is situated 100 km east of the Atlantic, 50 km north of Spain, stands on the edge of the Pyrenees and is the birthplace of Henry IV of France.
It is provincial, bourgeois, and my first impression of the place in September 1949 was that it could prove deadly dull but not as dull as my paternal grandmother with whom I was to live for six months.
 I had not seen this grumpy old lady since she had visited us in England just before the war when I was eight. She was now seventy four and in those ten years she had not changed much, but I had changed a great deal.. Apart from noticing that I was taller than her, she said very little to me and was so indifferent that I would have suspected she knew I wasn’t her grandson if my mother had not made a point of telling me that ‘Grandmere’ knew absolutely nothing about my birth and that she was the one person on earth who was never to find out the truth because my non-father, her son, believed she was proud that a third generation of Launays was going to carry on the family business. I didn’t think she cared a fig and got the distinct impression that my presence being foisted on her was just an unwelcome imposition.
 ‘Grandmere’ whose husband had died before I was born, lived in a 1930s villa which resembled a Swiss chalet. It was surrounded by a neat garden and inside smelt of furniture polish and Gruyere cheese. She was looked after by a thin, repressed Swiss German spinster called Elise who did everything in the house from cooking meals to cleaning the bidet without ever complaining. Though I must have doubled her work load - she made my bed, washed my socks and plied me with apple strudel - I sensed that I provided a little light relief in her tediously humdrum life.
 Before my arrival it had been arranged that Elise would wake me up at 6 am, make sure that I ate a hearty breakfast and send me off on a bicycle to the salami factory where I was to learn the profession of ‘charcutier’. As the lunch break in France lasted from noon till two. I would have time to cycle home to eat and have a short rest before peddling back to work. By four I’d be free to do what I wished. It was hoped that I would make friends with acceptable persons of my own age, go with them for walks, play tennis, or perhaps fish for trout in the local mountain streams at week ends like a good boy.
 On my first morning of employment, after a pleasant enough ride through the empty misty town and down a hill past Henri IV’s sixteenth century chateau, I clocked in with the French, Basque, Spanish, and Portuguese butchers and was handed over to the burly Italian factory manager who whisked me off to a store room and kitted me out with a pair of chequered chef’s trousers, a white chef’s jacket, a black rubber apron, yellow gum boots and a huge carving knife. Thus apparelled I was thrust through a pair of stainless steel doors into a slaughter house.  
 I had seen pigs on Berkshire farms wallowing in mud. I had seen sides of pork in Smithfield market, but I had never seen live pigs hanging from their back legs on a conveyer belt squealing blue murder before having their throats mercilessly slit by a savage looking individual who sang La Vie en Rose, as his face got spattered with blood.
 I was not asked to do any slaughtering but put at the end of a long wooden table on which the dead animals and their entrails were unceremoniously dumped  to be dismembered and sorted into piles of livers, kidneys, intestines, fat, bones, eyes and flesh. I watched my work mates, copied their example and did my best with the carving knife, trying not to breathe in the unsavoury odours. My colleagues waited for me to throw up, I was stoic but, within minutes of attempting to remove the cartilage from a pigs trotter, my knife slipped and I cut my hand deeply enough for me to be rushed to an outer office where I was bandaged by a motherly secretary and sent home.
 During the one day of convalescence suggested by the motherly secretary, I visited the town like a tourist and discovered, under one roof, a theatre, a cinema, a dance hall, a night club and the gaming rooms of the Casino Municipal.
 This pleasure palace, a gift from the Gods, was to become my nightly headquarters for the remainder of my stay in Pau.. 

Granmere and further down Elise the house keeper by Granmere's car.