Bon Anniversaire!

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Unknown-1 copy 2If Serge Gainsbourg hadn’t died a quarter of a century ago, today he would be celebrating his 88th birthday. Quel homme – et quel enfant terrible!

Sylvie is working with Light In The Attic records on a podcast devoted to Gainsbourg and his music.

Meanwhile, if you want to check out the expanded digital edition of Sylvie’s acclaimed biography Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes, here’s the link.


A Fistful of Serge Gainsbourg

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

There’s a brand new excerpt from ‘Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes’ in the influential UK web magazine The Quietus – the chapter on Gainsbourg’s best-known song, the sexy and controversial Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus and the lovers who inspired it and sang it. You can read it here.

For anyone who missed US webzine Salon‘s excerpt from Sylvie’s acclaimed biography of Gainsbourg – this one about how a shy French Jew, forced to wear a yellow star by the Nazis as a child and mocked by prostitutes in his teens, became the sexiest man in Paris – here’s a link.

And here’s an in-depth interview with Sylvie – in English and in French – about her and Gainsbourg and how she came to be his English biographer.


Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of E-Cigs!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Serge G burn record

He’s back, he’s smoking – and he’s digital: ‘Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes’, long out of print, has risen from the ash-tray and is being released today as an e-book in five different languages!

Here’s the Press Release:
For the first-time on e-book, a New Expanded Edition of Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes by Sylvie Simmons, the award-winning rock writer and the New York Times Best-selling author of I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen. Originally published in 2001 to worldwide acclaim and never-before available digitally, A Fistful of Gitanes was the first biography in English to capture Gainsbourg in all his gleeful outrageousness and contraditions, and counted Gainsbourg’s longtime partner Jane Birkin and legendary novelist JG Ballard among its avid fans.
Simmons’s work will stand as the definitive take on a dizzying genius.This new edition, which includes an expanded new discography and additional photos, will be available digitally in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Japanese will be available exclusively through starting April 27, 2015.

You can order here:

And here’s what people have been saying:

“I highly recommend A Fistful of Gitanes by Sylvie Simmons, a highly entertaining biography of the French singer-songwriter and all-round scallywag.” – J.G. Ballard
“Wonderful! Serge would have been so happy.” – Jane Birkin
“An excellent piece of writing.” – Leonard Cohen
“A marvellous book.” – Mariannne Faithfull
“Gitanes is a stone masterpiece!” – Stephen Davis, Hammer Of The Gods.
“A wonderful introduction to one of the most overlooked songwriters of the 20th century.” – The Times
“Anyone interested in learning more about Gainsbourg’s ravishing, Gallic, (spell-binding too) degeneracy would be well advised to check out A Fistful of
Gitanes.” – Mother Jones
“A riveting read.” – OK Magazine
“This dizzying biog recounts the holy-fool highs and sad-bastard lows of the French cultural icon. Converts will relish this ribald tale and newcomers will be correctly corrupted. Smoking!” – Uncut
“The most intriguing music-biz biography of the year.” – The Independent
“Sylvie, a fluent Francophone, brings him to life, guides us through the subtleties [and] perfectly evokes her subject.” – MOJO
“Impeccably researched and eminently readable.” – The Guardian
“Fascinating and superbly written, this proffers insight and constant entertainment.” – Time Out
“Superbly written.” – The Jewish Chronicle
“Simmons’s work will stand as the definitive take on a dizzying genius.” -Goodreads

Record release!!!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

thumb_325_tmp_2F1406584129656-s1lgcijko7n1att9-fc3b6f2f0bcaf468a745532b0d6364cf_2FLITA122_SylvieSimmons_SylviejpgSylvie has signed a recording contract with Light In The Attic – the renowned US record label that’s released albums by legendary musicians including Jane Birkin, Serge Gainsbourg, Lee Hazlewood, Karen Dalton, Rodriguez, Mercury Rev and  Kris Kristofferson! They will release her debut album  –Sylvie  – on 28th October in the US, UK and Europe. The  album – 11 original songs and one cover song-  was recorded at Wavelab Studio in Tucson, Arizona with Howe Gelb of Giant Sand producing.  Here’s a peek inside at the lyrics booklet.Sylvie cd InsertAnd here’s what some celebrated names are saying about it: “Fragile and fearless, direct and poetic, timeless and absolutely beautiful.”  –Devendra Banhart

“Sweet music just like Sylvie.” – Brian Wilson

“A lovely voice, a unique voice, the kind of voice that people will get into- that they’ll want to get into.” –Bob Johnston (producer of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash)

And here’s a song to listen to.


an organised mind

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Things I managed to lose on the last leg of my book tour:

– two guitar/uke cables (specifically one cable, two different occasions)
– a purple folder full of paper
– any recollection of what those papers were
– a copy of my book with post-it notes picking out the parts I wanted to read
– toothpaste (how does a person lose toothpaste?)
– any belief I might have had in my organisational skills.

Writers don’t get out much – well, okay, music journalists do, we’re tossed all over the place, but writers of 600 page books tend to spend a lot of time within the same four walls, staring at just one of them, which tends to be blank, or have a calendar pinned on it on which you’ve covered the picture of a calm Alpine scene with pictures of- um, let’s see – Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison (September) and a xerox of a naked Iggy Pop (October). But mostly my roadying skills have been restricted to organising my book, my computer desktop and keeping the fridge supplied with chocolate and wine.

Serge Gainsbourg’s refrigerator, I remember Jane Birkin telling me for my book ‘A Fistful of Gitanes,’ had a glass door, so that he could easily check to see that everything in side was in the right place, neat and tidy. Everything in the house they shared had its own designated place and woe betide anyone who moved it. Leonard Cohen, who was acquainted with Gainsbourg, has a similar taste for order – he didn’t have a see-through fridge in his kitchen, but the room, like the rest of his small home, was ship-shape – much more simply-furnished than Serge’s, but extremely tidy, ship-shape. Each of them said, in so many words, that they needed order in their environment to counter the disorder in their head.

Anyway, not long before I go back on the road. I’ll try and develop some organisational skills in the meantime.