Jane Birkin: ‘Serge Gainsbourg was never a boring genius’ 

Jane Birkin.

Jane Birkin began keeping a diary aged 11, with the entries addressed to her beloved stuffed toy Munkey. She was born in London; her mother was an actor and her father a spy during the second world war. Birkin’s concerns, initially, were typically teenage – boarding school, boys – but quickly become more juicy: aged 18, she married the James Bond composer John Barry; a year later, she appeared in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup. In her 20s, she became involved (creatively and romantically) with the French musician Serge Gainsbourg and set out on a lifelong path of singing, acting, writing and being one of the most renowned muses of the 20th century and beyond. Now 73, she lives in Paris with her bulldog – regularly seeing her daughters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, who are both actors and musicians; her oldest daughter Kate Barry, a photographer, died in 2013. Munkey Diaries: 1957-1982 is published this month.

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