Tribute to Annie

Sometimes a face from the past returns to haunt. In the 1970s, when I was a withdrawn and curious child, uprooted to a foreign land, French TV became my staple viewing. It is through TV that many children discover their worlds, and Annie Girardot, a woman with a passing resemblance to a mother-figure, was henceforth to be a part of my wildly inappropriate and adult-centred orbit. She was at times sexy, cheeky, playful, passionate and tender. She was vulnerable and feisty. She was French. She had a beguiling smile and playful eyes. She inhabited a world similar to my own,  but infinitely more glamorous, a world of Parisian sun and cloud, crowded with tinny curvy Citroens and Renaults and pavement cafes. She was a woman in her prime, emotional and fizzing with energy. I do not remember when I first encountered her, or why she has now returned to my memory. Nor do I remember when I stopped remembering her. Then she returned, the invisible spirit of her ghost, and in it the scent of forgotten summer evenings in front of a huge TV, with echoes of the trains that passed metres away, and the rumbling of waring parents. It was a time when tears where never far away, when loneliness and otherness stabbed like a dagger, and I sought refuge inside my own soul. I have painted several versions of her portrait now, and one is available as a signed £ 7 print from  The originals are available too, starting from around £60 at




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