On this Fête Nationale holiday in my home province of Québec – aka Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste – there’s been much talk about the promotion of homegrown music.
But listening to a radio show today focussing on the wealth of music generated in this province made me reflect back on one time I was in the close presence of a real vedette québécoise.
I think I was about 15 at the time. I was heavily into acting, obsessed with anything related to performing in theatre, TV, film, and as fate would have it one day, commercials.
My dad was working on a commercial for Coke Diète and they needed someone to serve as a stand-in for a very famous Québec singing star named Diane Dufresne. As I happened to be around the same small stature as the performer, I was well suited to take her place during lighting and camera setups, allowing Mme. Dufresne to swoop in and do her bits once the technical setup was all ready.
I remember being quite hot under all the lights, so they let me wear my shorts, alongside the odd bellhop-reminiscent pink hat, and a top made out of the same satiny material the star would be wearing.
I can’t recall much else – it was a loooong time ago – but I do remember feeling like it was a cool, probably once-in-a-lifetime experience. And indeed it was.
Miraculously, the entire commercial is up on YouTube, so if you dare, go ahead and feast your eyes on the marvel of Diane Dufresne shilling for Coca-Cola in the 1980s, in what is probably one of the weirder commercials of the decade.