"In this room we have two No 1 artists, and the First Lady of France." It wasn't a phrase I recall Jimmy Savile ever using to introduce Top Of The Pops, but then Carla Bruni's predecessors, the various Madames Mitterand, Pompidou, Chirac etc, probably never had much cause to rub shoulders with the likes of Mud and Spandau Ballet. But Later With Jools Holland has built its reputation on mixing disparate strains of music together in one room, and this was pretty much par for the course, musically, with Bruni's tiger-rug, torch-song sensuality the luscious foie gras of a sandwich, squeezed between the crusty doorstep slices of heavy rockers Kings Of Leon and Metallica, currently atop the singles and album charts, respectively.
The piquant juxtaposition of Bruni's cabaret elegance with the bewhiskered, burly industry of the boys' bands gave this show its particular frisson. The plaid and denim-clad Kings Of Leon opening the show with "Sex On Fire", and the none-more-black-clad Metallica appeared to wrestle their instruments into submission during a death-themed finale.
For her part, Carla played the temptress to the hilt, poised on a bar-stool that made her seem to be hovering, oozing her way alluringly through "Tu Es Ma Came" as bassist and blues guitarist conjured a 3am vibe behind her. You could almost smell Gitanes seeping through the screen. Sadly, the song was not accompanied by the subtitles required to bring out its full Gallic sauciness, which uses a metaphorical stimulant more potent than nicotine. "It means 'you're my junk', 'you're my type', 'you're my cup of tea'," she explained to Jools, before clarifying that it was about "being in love in a toxic way, and in a lovely way." Well, who doesn't like a nice cup of tea?
Probed gently about her relationship with hubby Nicolas Sarkozy, she gave Holland's enquiries a cool body-swerve by claiming she didn't mix music and politics. "I play my music, then I go with my husband when he needs me," she offered, throwing her host a little tidbit by admitting that when she played her music at home, "I disturb him with it".
Seeing a chance, Jools asked, "Do you write songs about him" – knowing, the sly fox, that she has indeed written at least one song about the President – "Ta Tienne" ("I Am Your Yours"), in which she described him as "my orgy, my folly, my blessed bread, my charming prince".
"I write songs about, y'know, my life," she stonewalled, before musing upon the differences between politicians and musicians. "They have a tough job, and we have a very lovely job."
How their lyrics compare
Metallica "Prince Charming"
There's a dirty needle in your child
Ha ha, stick me
Empty bottle's still in hand, still dead, still me
I'm the suit and tie that bleeds the street
And still wants more
I'm the 45 that's in your mouth
I'm a dirty, dirty whore
Carla Bruni "I Am Yours"
I give you my body, my soul and my chrysanthemum
For I am yours
You are my lord, my darling
You're my orgy
You're my folly, my mix
You are my blessed bread
My charming prince
I am yours