Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Every damn thing you do in life, you have to pay for - Piaf
Edith 'Piaf', the Little Sparrow (born Edith Giovanna Gassion) is one of the world's icons. The French cabaret singer/songwriter is widely regarded as the voice of France.
Her personal life was a shambles, a tragic mix of circumstances and poor life choices. Born in 1915, she spent her early childhood, while her father fought for France in the First World War, in the care of her grandmother's home, a brothel in Normandy.
At fourteen she performed in public for the first time with her father, a street acrobat. The minuscule Edith (4'8") sang with her half-sister Simone as buskers while the father performed.
When she was sixteen she fell in love for the first time and had a child a year later. In 1935, when Edith was twenty she was discovered singing in a nightclub, given the name La Môme Piaf (The Little Sparrow) and a job in a Paris nightclub by Louis Leplee, who also told her always to wear black. (He was later murdered).
Michaela Burger as Edith Piaf (Photograph courtesy of M Burger)
Piaf's personal life and relationships were chaotic and made worse by her addiction to painkillers and alcohol. She died at the early age of forty-seven of liver cancer, leaving a legacy of heart-breaking songs and the adoration of hundreds of thousands of fans.
Since her death her reputation has grown due to her recordings and the many biographies and films about her.
Her singing voice was distinctive and her vibrato gave her songs a richness and pathos in which her sadness, desperation and love of love resonates.
Michaela Burger and Greg Wise in Exploring Edith (Photograph courtesy of Perth Fringe World)