giovedì 25 giugno 2020


Twenty tips to follow for those who want to slip into the Chief Inspector’s skin 

Venti consigli da seguire per coloro che volessero mettersi nei panni del commissario
Vingt conseils à suivre pour qui veut se glisser dans la peau du commissaire 

Who never thought, at least once, about putting himself into Maigret’s skin? Maybe it’s something that not everyone is willing to confess... yet such a fleeting thought is not unlikely to have flashed for a moment in the imagination of those who read the Chief Inspector’s investigation or follow the series on television. There is nothing strange about it. It is part of the complex identification process between the reader and the protagonist, especially present in the serial literature (and also between the spectators and the actors in the TV serials or in movies). Here are twenty tips you could follow if you would like to resemble the Chief Inspector… The first ten tips are taken from what was stated by Simenon himself in a 1963 interview given for the French televisionThe other ten tips are taken from clues in the novels. 
1) You don't have to take on a clever air. Maigret is not intelligent, he is an intuitive man. 
2You don’t need to assume a keen look, typical of one that immediately perceives the smallest detail (even if, in fact, you are a good observer, without seeming to…). 
3) You’ll need to assume, as far as your build permits, a massive appearance. 
4) Your gait should be characterized by heavy footsteps. 
5) In front of a criminal or a suspect you are interrogating, you have to assume an indifferent air, watching him without any reaction, even pretending being a little bored. 
6) You will have to learn to smell the atmosphere around you, and also people and especially their mind. 
7) On the crime scene you’ll have to go from one room to the other, open a drawer or the waste bin, here and there, but without seeming to have discovered any clue. 
8) However, having the air of thinking about anything else than the murder, the probable culprit, the witnesses… 
9) When you are interrogating a suspect, tell him that he seems to be a good person, offer him a cigarette, ask him whether he doesn’t have problems living in a house like his, with a wife like his. Your first approach must finish with a sentence like “Of course… Well, it must not have been funny at all…does it? 
10) Show utmost confidence in your inspectors, but no affectation, sentimentalism or alike. 
11) Eat blanquette, sauerkraut, andouillette, and other substantial dishesin order to reach the 1m80 and the 100 kg necessary for your presence. 
12) Drink much beer, alternate with white wine, prunelle and calvados, which will allow you to have the comfortable overweight essential to the role. 
13) Smoke your pipe a lot, and often enough so that your office will get misty, which will give you a ready-made excuse to open the window and look at the barges on the Seine. Only heat with charcoal and avoid radiators. 
14) You don’t really need to play sports, but if you really want to, you can go to your office on footWell, you can practice a bit of angling, billiard and gardening. On the other hand, you’ll have to go out in all weathers, and you will not fear the heat wave, nor the storms, nor the gusts of rain or snow. 
15) When travelling, favour slowness: instead of the metro, take a good old bus that gets stuck in Parisian traffic jams; and instead of the plane, take a small country train that stops at all stations. 
16) For dressing, you’ll be content with a suit and a white shirt. Discreet tones (grey, black, navy blue) are recommended. You’ll have to wear a tie, but it is allowed to untie it by strong heat or justified anger. You can get a touch of colour by wearing mauve suspenders. You can choose either a bowler hat or a fedora, but the overcoat is required. 
17) Use the phone, but leave out modern techniquesYour only concession to modernity will be the use of television, but in moderation: watch some news, and from time to time a western or a detective film. 
18) With regard to culture and the arts, you will not show off your knowledge, but you will be able to show on the occasion of a few notions: recite some verses from Ibsen, read a novel by Dumas. You can go to the cinema once or twice in a week. 
19) Make friends with doctors, concierges, little maids and cabaret dancers, and avoid judges, lawyers and magistrates, and also grumpy housekeepers. 
20) Are allowed and even prescribed: nostalgic childhood memories, various dreams, looks at the bodices of pretty women. And above all, you will take your time to soak up the world around you... 

by Simenon-Simenon 

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