Sunday, October 02, 2011

Book Review: "Mylène Farmer: The Single File" by Steve Cabus

In the "old days" when I had much more time to blog than I do now (although I really don't know why I don't have as much time anymore!) I wouldn't have taken my eye off the ball when it came to celebrating the 50th birthday of my most favourite French female singer of all time. But unfortunately that's what happened this year and I've only recently remembered that she reached this big birthday milestone on 12th September. So a belated happy birthday Mylène!

However, as I was searching the web for Mylène-related stuff last week I came across the first-ever book to be published in English about the notoriously reclusive superstar. Needless to say I bought it! I have only just started reading the book so can't really call this a proper review, but I wanted to tell you all about it in case you didn't know about the book's existence.

"Mylène Farmer: The Single File" by Steve Cabus avoids the traditional biography format and instead takes an intensive look at the singer's career from the beginning in 1984 right up to the present day, single by single. Steve Cabus is a native French speaker but in his introduction he tells us that he has been speaking English exclusively for the past 23 years. Therefore he is perfectly qualified to convey all the aspects of what it's like to be a Mylène fan in the English-speaking world. Don't expect a big professional presentation - there are no pictures of Mylène, for example, just front and back cover art illustrations, and the title font in good old Comic Sans MS. But the old saying goes "don't judge a book by its cover" as it's what's inside which really counts.

The author is without doubt a superfan who is very knowledgeable about his subject. He spends a lot of time in each chapter listing the various formats/remixes etc available for each single, and vividly describes the making of each video and what it's about. Of course if you're a Mylène fan you will know that her music and videos are loaded with controversy, dark themes and "after-the-watershed" content - this is an excellent reference book about each song/video and will definitely be a "go-to" book whenever I'm listening to a Mylène song or watching one of her videos.

You can buy the paperback book (priced £12.99) on Amazon in the UK:
there is also a Kindle edition available if you're that way inclined -

Also if you Google the book's title and author you should be able to find other online bookstores which stock this book in your country.


Steve Cabus said...

Hi Laura;

My name is Steve Cabus, or the guy who wrote the book. I just happened across your blog and review while (I must confess) shamelessly Googling the book's name. I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to post a review of The Single File. It has been a real labour of love for me and I am delighted whenever I hear of someone, somewhere, enjoying it. Of course, as any MF fan will know, especially in those countries where she is not so well known, spreading the gospel about France's best kept secret is hardly a chore at all, and the whole experience has been a joy from start to finish. I hope you enjoy the book overall, thank you again so much for blogging about it. All the best, Steve.

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

Hi Steve,

What a great pleasure to hear from you. I'm really enjoying the book and it's reawakened my interest in a lot of MF songs which I hadn't played for so long.

I've been a fan of hers for about 20 years by the way. There used to be a French music show on BBC Radio 5 (before it was Five Live) and they used to feature "Regrets" and "Je T'aime Melancolie" which got me interested, however that show ended and I never heard any more about her until a few years later, when I began going on holiday to Belgium and France. I would always come back with one of her cassette albums or CDs, and the rest is history!

Congratulations once again on a great book, I hope that Mylène will discover and enjoy it too :)