The wider context surrounding GOTGE (Plus Links)

‘The Story So Far’ portion of the posts on the GOTGE Blog – which concludes with a summary of my experiences going to Slovakia for the first time in my life, variously to attend a concert marking the fortieth anniversary of the death of Eva Kostolányiová, in Bratislava and to visit the birthplace of Valérie Čižmárová; Michalovce – was a way of illustrating the sheer rapidity of how this music scene crept up on me. It was a partially redacted digest of the emails I sent to my poor put-upon brother about my latest discoveries.

However, in a manner of speaking, there was a ‘The Story So Far’ that pre-dated ‘The Story So Far’ – that takes us all the way back to May 2004…and to the Female Pop Scene of the France of the 1970s through to the early 1980s.

In November 2014 my late father just happened to switch on the local radio station as ‘I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me’, by Jimmy James and The Vagabonds was being played, which I overheard and was reminded of a French version of that song – ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’ (‘Don’t Hang Up, I Love You’) by Carene Cheryl, of whom I first became aware some decade or so before that, after finding a photo of her in an old ‘Paris Match’ (dated 13th November 1976) which had been amongst a pile of old copies of that publication, dating from the Mid- to Late-1970s in our attic and wondered why I’d never heard of her – she coming from what I would call ‘my generation’. It fairly soon became clear to me that we were rapidly approaching the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of her recording career in January 1975, so I decided to start ordering her records on-line on the respective fortieth anniversaries of their original release, although, in view of the subsequent, almost overnight developing of an interest in the Pop Music of the Former Eastern Bloc, regrettably, I have had to abandon this – which I eventually decided to do as of her fourth single, ‘Samedi, dimanche, et fêtes’, released in the Spring of 1976 – on the basis that one can only order so many records on-line. It meant that I have, ironically, missed out on the aforementioned ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’ and Carene’s second LP, also of that name, both released in the Autumn of 1976, but when once one does decide to do something like that when is a ‘good time’ to do it?

More relevant facts in this respect are that she shares the same birthday as me, incredibly enough, she later (in 1978) changed stage name and image and became Karen Cheryl and that her real name is Isabelle Morizet and that under that name she has, in more recent years, presented programmes on the French radio station Europe 1, interviewing personalities from various fields of public life. In addition to all this she was a Winner of the First Prize at France’s National Drumming Conservatoire.

The clip of Carene performing a live version of ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’ comes from an appearance on 30th January 1977 on the show ‘Musique and music’. During this episode, since her agricultural background was often traded on, she drove her father’s tractor and also led a cow onto the stage, improbable though that may sound, given the glamorous gown she was wearing!




(Note the spelling ‘Carène Cheril’…it was fortunate that my initial searching on that mis-spelled term way back in 2004 found something. Otherwise my personal life history might have turned out somewhat differently!)

The clip below of Carene being interviewed after playing a short drum solo comes from an edition of the TV magazine programme ‘Aujourd’hui madame’ dated 11th August 1976. If one has an outline understanding of the French language one will note that there is a reference to her being eighteen years of age at the time of the interview, which may not seem to chime with the birth year of 1955, quoted in most places on the Web. This is because, apparently, Carene’s Producer/Manager, «Mémé» Ibach instructed her to make out that she was two years younger than she actually was. On that assumption, if this interview had been conducted between 19th July 1975 and 18th July 1976 she would indeed have been ‘eighteen’, therefore. That timescale would probably go with a broadcast date of 11th August 1976. If one has an outline understanding of French, likewise, one will note a reference to her previous ambitions for a career in medicine.

Elsewhere in that collection of old ‘Paris Match’ magazines (in an edition dated 31st December 1976 – so just a month or so before the aforementioned performance of ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’) one can see who the presenter of ‘Musique and music’ was – the great French entertainer, Jacques Martin, whose life and work was celebrated in November 2015 (21st) on a programme on France 2, entitled ‘On a tous en nous quelque chose de Jacques Martin’ (‘We’ve All Got A Bit Of Jacques Martin In Us’), a trailer for which one can see linked below. I suppose one could call him a sort of ‘French Sir Bruce Forsyth’, in that context.


This ‘French Connection’ fittingly links in with another from France’s partner in the ‘Auld Alliance’; Scotland.

In the Summer of 2013 – in the series of re-broadcasts of ‘Top Of The Pops’, The New Seekers appeared singing ‘Anthem (One Day In Every Week)’ – incidentally, on the episode from the day after my 17th birthday on 19th July 1978, when I was actually out of the country for the first time in my life, on a schools’ exchange trip to Nienburg, about half-way between Bremen and Hannover. Since I was so impressed with it I looked into it on YouTube and my attention was, in the process – somewhat indirectly, clearly, since it is very difficult now to try to re-construct how that might have originally occurred – drawn to a lot of related material on the early-1970s group from Scotland, Middle Of The Road, which, in turn, led me to all manner of connections on the Continental Mainland (and in some cases way beyond) performing their own versions of MOTR songs. Amongst these was Hana Zagorová’s ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ (‘Mr. Tydlitýt And Mr. Tydlitát’). My careers advisor’s suggestion at the end of May 2015 that the future of careers in languages lay in those of Central/Eastern Europe made me think of that part of the World and since I’d found out all these things about Isabelle Morizet over the years I wondered what I’d find on Hana.

…and the video below was my first-ever encounter with the world that was to become GOTGE.

I hope that this adequately sets out the wider context.

Although the initial fascination for this hitherto unknown world of Pop Music was based on the fact that this was music emanating from the ‘enemy camp’ in the years of the Cold War it is not the primary objective of GOTGE to deal with the politics of the era and the controversy that this provokes to this day, although, inevitably, this will be touched upon from time to time. GOTGE is ‘all about the music’ and if one is after political analysis one should really look elsewhere!

A fellow Blog on this sort of subject: ‘Funky Czech-In’ – An introduction to Czech and Slovak pop music from the sixties, seventies and eighties with a touch of funk, soul, disco and jazz.

Another fellow Blog: ‘Interstellar Medium’ – Vintage Eastern/Western Pop from the 20th century, without necessarily being psychedelic! Spices, perfumes, tissues, seeds…, of which I have started to be a ‘Follower’….and which is now a ‘Follower’ of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’.

The first ‘Follower’ of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’: ‘Cue Castanets!’ – Musings on Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound and similar music….and going the opposite way around to the aforementioned Blog, ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ is now a ‘Follower’ of ‘Cue Castanets!’, in return for the favour.

The party in charge of the following Blog has been good enough to link ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, so, by way of a returning of that compliment…: Denim Disco – Blog dedicated to the pop music and culture of the 1970’s. ~ Glam Pop and Discotheque Rock ~ The Sound Of The 70’s.

For a general resource on European Pop and Rock Music, please go to ‘Europopmusic’.

For everything Czech (and some Slovak!) please go to ‘Très Bohèmes’.

I had the very great privilege to have had my application to join the ‘Valérie ČIŽMÁROVÁ’ Facebook Group accepted as a gift to ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ for the New Year of 2017.

‘Bananas For Breakfast’ – My Fan Blog for Valérie Čižmárová.

Aleš Korábek’s Valérie Čižmárová Fan Site.

My first professional writing contract – for the Blog, ‘Englishman In Slovakia’.

Go East: The Sensual Sounds (and Sights!) of Female-led Czech and Slovak Pop From the ’60’s to the ’80’s

…the full text of which I originally submitted to ‘Englishman In Slovakia’ being linked below.