December 31 2019

Jane Birkin: To London With Love

London
Singer. Actress. Style Icon. Who better than Jane Birkin, the London-born, national treasure of France, to take the stage at Decimo for our very first New Year’s Eve at The Standard, London?
Jane Birkin, best-known for her blush-inducing duets with Serge Gainsbourg and her impeccable, effortless style  (the most famous handbag of all time is, after all, named for her) will be serenading us into 2020 at Decimo with an intimate performance of timeless classics and a few surprises. Before the big night – where you can expect dancing, dinner and delicious cocktails from premium vermouth brand, Belsazar - we spent some time with the muse and songstress to ask what she has in store over the festive season. 

Tell us about your New Year’s Eve performance at Decimo. What can we expect? 
Hopefully a rather tender evening. Songs with Nobu on the piano, a lot of Serge, a little of Tom Waits, and a dash of Rufus Wainwright.

What’s your favourite song to perform?
"La Javanaise." In France people join in and know all the words, it has become like a sort of hymn.

What’s been your most memorable performance to date?
Probably in Hong Kong with their philharmonic orchestra. It was just so unreal to see that big Opera House full for two nights running with a Chinese audience, coming to see me singing in French. A girl gave me a cotton bracelet and I still have it on my wrist to this day. Otherwise, maybe singing "La Javanaise" this summer at Vieilles Charrues Festival in the pouring rain in front of 40,000 people drenched but still there and singing with me. I was so moved.

Do you have an outfit chosen for New Year’s Eve?
Yes, my little Saint Laurent suit, a gentleman’s smoking jacket with an ancient Agnes B silk shirt, and tennis shoes.

You’ve become nearly as well known for your style as for your music and acting – what’s your secret? Any style tips you always hold on to?
I’ve been lucky to go on working, having Serge’s songs to go on singing and people seem to follow me through the ages in France. My very loose style, if it is one, is big trousers and jackets with big jersey. Add a big bag so you’re never at a loss. Before it was a basket bag and the jeans were tighter!

The Standard
Where would you be if not at The Standard, London for NYE?
I’d be at a loss! I never know what to do for New Year so this is a great excuse to come to London and do something fun with my crew, who equally said yes to London. I think we’re always at a loose end for the 31st. Christmas is family, but the New Year….

What do you love about the city?
Londoners, a kindness and consideration that always makes me proud when the French remark upon it. At Christmas it’s just so pretty with decorations everywhere. It’s the best town for Christmas spirit that I know.

What are some of your favourite London spots?
I don’t know anything new! I feel quite foreign really. I go back to places of my youth but avoid the sadness of no one I know being there anymore. My sister’s not far and she matters most, so meeting up will be fun, and maybe to see an exhibition at the Tate. People matter more to me than places.

You’re here to celebrate NYE – do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Always, but they’re secret!

What are your highlights from 2019?
Concerts, concerts, concerts, my diaries coming out, promotion - not enough time for private life! I wrote six songs and I haven’t noticed the years go by. It must be to do with getting on, I only just wrote out a cheque with ’99 and we’ll be in ’20 soon!

Where will you be spending Christmas and what does it look like for you?
It looks like one hell of a rush. I haven’t bought one Christmas present or bought food, just tossed up the tree. I better get going as it’s round at my place this year with my girls and grandchildren. Must run for crackers at WHSmith and get things Christmassy!