Taste: the final frontier

Jean-Paul Gaultier and Antoine De Caunes have published a weird guide. Dominic Cavendish attends the trash bash

the woman from Good Morning... with Anne and Nick remains unconvinced. "Can we do that again, please?" Under the glare of camera lights, Jean- Paul Gaultier and Antoine de Caunes squint up at her from the safety of a sofa. They are neither rude, nor polite. They behave as stars should - they acquiesce with a collectively raised eyebrow, a shared shrug of the shoulder. The woman does a piece to camera: Eurotrash... madcap... rapid fire... groundbreaking... managed to track down... the presenters. "I'm Antoine de Caunes," says Antoine de Caunes. "And I'm Jean-Paul Gaultier," says Jean-Paul Gaultier. "We are here in London, and we're trash. We're Eurotrash."

Oh, but zis is impossible. Zis is not a TV studieau, zis is Ormond's, a central London night cloob. The pair are inaudible above the rising hubbub of arriving media tarts, here to kneel at the altar of a new series and the new book, The Weird Guide to Europe. "Once more for luck," says the presenter, unconvincingly, "really go for that `Eurotrash'." The two are looking distinctly bored. Peroxide skinhead Jean-Paul is sporting a camouflage creation, seemingly sown from old combat jackets, zipped up to the neck to protect him from the cold, and opening out into a sort of sealed skirt below the hips. Antoine is playing it smart casual: dark jacket and shirt, no tie. The man from Channel 4 press, who is organising the launch party, is looking flustered. "Who are all these people?" he mutters as more and more photographers and clubbers pile in. There are some who have clearly been invited, if not paid, to attend - the two large transvestites in red sequin dresses, for example; Joan Collins's daughter, Tara; the Jesus lookalike wearing a leather donkey jacket - others, like the small middle-aged man in the trilby who suddenly takes a polaroid snap of De Caunes and asks him to sign it, have obviously winged it.

It's that kind of programme, Eurotrash. It doesn't have a cult following, rather it embraces different cults under a pseudo-federalist umbrella. They're all here tonight. The closet De Caunes fanciers, the languid gay Gaultier groupies, the Europhiles and Europhobes, the sad perves. According to the producer, the book is "a phallic monument to everything Eurotrash stands for" - which is, primarily, the phallus. Apart from a graphic rehash of reports on, say, the sadomasochistic restaurant in Sweden and the French holiday camp where they make porn movies, the only relief from bizarre sexual practices is its author, and series creator, Peter Stuart's ongoing concern with `poop' - poop art, and the show's ubiquitous cardboard giraffe mascots, Pe-Pe and Po-Po. "It's a way to have nudity and fun without buying a porn mag," he smirks, before adding "anyone who is titillated by it is in deep trouble."

a, c'est Eurotrash: having it both ways. Frenchmen who put on froggy accents, reportage which breaks down English taboos by laughing at "deviancy" abroad, two professional men who play at children in their spare time. It's Anglo-regression therapy masquerading as Euro-voyeurism. It regularly attracts two million viewers and the new series promises to do the same: Michael Winner reviewing a drag queen restaurant, an interview with the French author of `A Brief History of Buttocks' and a peek at the Brussels Women and Underpants Museum. Stuart believes that it is the double-act of two old friends which really pulls the punters. "It's the sadomasochistic relationship that does it, I think. There's a bit of sexual flirtation and yet there's not. Antoine is more of the deviant one - Jean-Paul is the innocent, the masochist. He has a sort of angelic purity about him - just look at him."

I look over to where Gaultier is busy signing autographs. He is drawing a large, hairy phallus in the front of Joan Collins's daughter's book. "I am ze priest of bad taste," he titters, defending the programme that has made him a household name here. "It's truly responsible, we don't say `don't wear condoms', like the Pope does - that is criminal," and to ram the point home, he offers round a selection of rubbers.

"The liggers are eating all the food," someone wails. "Never mind, never mind," hisses the press officer, "let them. They're all arriving now - Julian Clary has just walked in." The house beat gets louder, the lights dim, the press pack disperses. De Caunes, who hasn't been in London for two years, or a club for five, briefly loiters, then vanishes. Gaultier, who is alleged to have wished he was born English, is in his element. His muscular entourage descend to the dance floor and the fashion designer stands for a moment at the entrance, silhouetted against spectral rays of light. Is he going to dance? "Oh, but yes," he scoffs, "I 'ave pree- pared a ballet, Swan Lake. Yes, hmmm." He throws his eyes heavenwards and trips off to meet his, how you say, leetle English friends.

`The Weird Guide to Europe' (Boxtree) £10.99. The fourth series of `Eurotrash' begins Fri 12 May, 11.05pm C4

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

film
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Arts and Entertainment
Sassoon threw his Military Cross into the Mersey
booksAn early draft of ‘Atrocities’ shows the anti-war sentiment was toned down before publication
Arts and Entertainment
Actors and technicians on the march against changes made by Hollande
theatreOpening performances of the Avignon theatre festival cancelled as actors and technicians walk out
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West performed in a chain mail mask at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park
Rapper booed at Wireless over bizarre rant
Arts and Entertainment

They're back, they're big – and they're still spectacularly boring

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil