The death of Jacques Vallet, writer and founder of the magazine “Le fou parole”

The writer, journalist and founder of Le Fou Parle Jacques Vallet died on November 15, in Lorient (Morbihan), at the age of 84

The death of Jacques Vallet, writer and founder of the magazine “Le fou parole”

The writer, journalist and founder of Le Fou Parle Jacques Vallet died on November 15, in Lorient (Morbihan), at the age of 84. He was born on February 16, 1939 in Stenay (Meuse) – “born in the Meuse, that says it all”. He experienced the bombings there, the nights sheltering in the forest, experienced the exodus, then lived with his seven brothers between a horticulturist father, from whom he inherited the bearish and taciturn side, and a mother of Martinican origin, who passed on to him a love of books and poetry. Her grandmother was one of the rare survivors of the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelée.

He was boarded by the priests, "disastrous, perverted, pedophile, mentally ill, alcoholic", as he told the Literary Magazine in 2003. And, above all, they confiscated his books. Because books, literature and art were Jacques Vallet’s passion. After two long years of incorporation in Algeria, like many of his generation, he returned to France and, after founding a theater company in Avignon, settled in Paris. He spent a few years teaching, published his first collection of poems, Les Chiens de la nuit (Imprimerie Colin, 1964), before becoming a journalist.

In 1977, Jacques Vallet made a folly that transformed his life: he founded a literary and graphic magazine, Le Fou Speak, whose title refers to the eponymous poem by Paul Eluard: “It’s my mother, sir, with my fiancée… »

“An improbable voice”

The Fool Speaks was a strange and inspired magazine, rich, beautiful, daring and libertarian, which earned it the Grand Prix de l'humour noir in 1979, a unique case where a newspaper director was rewarded. Vallet wanted everyone to express themselves “in an improbable, impolite, impulsive, uneven, unexpected, indecent, insolent, outdated, interrogative, useless voice.” The Fool Speaks welcomed more than six hundred writers and artists. Georges Perec, Philippe Soupault, Serge Rezvani, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Jean L'Anselme, Roland Dubillard, Jean-Claude Pirotte, Elias Petropoulos, Jacques Sternberg, Serge Doubrovsky, Viviane Forrester, Gilbert Lascault, René de Obaldia, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Claude Simon, Nathalie Sarraute, and even Jacques Derrida were illustrated by Aslan, Arrabal, Botero, Willem, Topor, Folon, Reiser, Olivier O. Olivier, Sempé, Cardon, Cabu, and we are sorry to only mention 'them.

In the magazine's highlights, Jacques liked to quote "Le Carnet noir d'une prostitute", where the professional had noted everything, the names of the clients, their preferences, the prices. Or the writings of an old man who died in his maid's room, entitled "Carnet à Georgina Gattineau", where the man inventoried every moment of his life. The adventure of the Fou Speaks, despite countless difficulties, will last eight years and twenty-eight issues.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Jacques Vallet became one of the singular voices of the France Culture program “Des Papous dans la tête”, created by Bertrand Jérôme and hosted by Françoise Treussard. There he found a new, friendly community of artists and writers, including Vassilis Alexakis, François Caradec, Henri Cueco, Jacques A. Bertrand, Lucas Fournier, Nelly Kaplan, Serge Joncour, and finally Jean-Bernard Pouy.

Perfect self-taught

It was the latter who, in 1997, asked him to write a “thriller” in the collective series “Le Poulpe”, published by Baleine. L’amour tarde à Dijon – the titles had to be execrable puns – gave Vallet a taste for noir novels. For the books that followed, very often published by Zulma, from Pastouche à Desdouches (1997) to A shell in the closet (2000), he invented a recurring character, Othello Destouches – an allusion less to Céline than to the Bar-Hôtel des Douches located in his street –, an antihero who could well be his double: “ex-journalist”, having “exceeded the expiration date”, “dabbled in publishing” and been “paid at the slingshot for months of 'investigations'.

Perfectly self-taught, Jacques Vallet could write as well about the Japanese mafia and the yakuzas (Monsieur Chrysanthème, Zulma, 2001) as about Lebanon in the 1970s, as in Abli babli (Zulma, 2003), inspired by an ancient road trip. stop. His latest novel sees him return to his roots: L'Endormeuse (Le Cherche Midi, 2007) is a moving story which recounts the Popular Front, the nine months of motherhood, the quest for a father who mysteriously disappeared, against a backdrop of rise of warlike perils.

Beyond his libertarian commitment, his permanent anger against those in power, his implacable desire to resist everything that threatens man, his vituperation against the age of merchandise, Jacques Vallet was above all a tender, a delicate, a lover of life: “We only need to arm our hands with laughter to give ourselves the illusion of being able to crack the wall. »