A case of cream and punishment in France

Forget crippling strikes, allegations of corruption and social turmoil. The French political establishment was reeling yesterday after the shock decision of an appeal court gave Belgian surrealists licence to continue their violent attacks on politicians - using cream tarts as ammunition.

After dozens of attacks on showbiz personalities in the past decade, a Belgian humourist known as the Entarteur decided last year to switch his activities to politics. On the night of 21 May, he and two accomplices lay in wait outside the Hotel Carlton in Cannes. As Philippe Douste- Blazy, the French culture minister, left a reception for the film festival, the Entarteur darted forward and hurled his tarte a la creme, splattering two bodyguards instead of the target. While police wrestled him to the ground, a second Entarteur finished the job. Both were arrested and Jan Bucquoy, a Belgian artist and film-maker, was put on trial for attempted assault.

The practice of attacking famous people with cream tarts was started by another Belgian, Noel Gaudin, in the early Eighties. But he became too well-known at Cannes after a number of successful, but unpunished, attacks on prominent showbiz figures. Willing acolytes, Bucquoy included, donned false beards and stepped in to support him.

The group acts under the name "l'Entarteur". Their mission is to prick the pomposity of European public figures. A contract has been put out on John Major, with the Entarteur calling on British colleagues to follow the lead of the Belgians. "If no one takes up the challenge," says Bucquoy, "I shall have to do it myself." Also on the British hit list are Baroness Thatcher, Mick Jagger and the surviving Beatles. Should Tony Blair prove to be nothing more than a Conservative in disguise, he will shoot to the top of the list.

At the original trial in Grasse, the prosecutor demanded a six-month prison sentence. Bucquoy, defending himself, claimed that tart-throwing has been a traditional Belgian method of self-defence since the Middle Ages. It is also, he maintained, a legitimate form of artistic expression, continuing the strong Belgian traditions of Surrealism, Dadaism and Situationism. He apologised for splattering the bodyguards, blaming the inferior quality of Cannes patisserie for the spray effect.

The judge dismissed the case, but the head of the French prosecution service immediately appealed. According to Bucquoy, the second trial was held to punish him as a scapegoat for "patisserie terrorism" in the wake of the bomb attacks in Paris. The court upheld the first judgment, leaving Bucquoy to pun at liberty. "With the dismissal of the case, we have been given tarte blanche to attack any public figure we want. We use them [cream tarts] to show pompous, stuffed-up figures just how ridiculous they are."

Bucquoy expects to be donning his Entarteur's beard at Cannes next summer, where his new film Camping Cosmos, the sequel to The Sexual Life of Belgians, will be on show. "When I get on stage to receive the Palme d'Or, I will be pelting the audience with cream tarts," he says proudly. "Better than watching all those other boring films."

This new problem for the French judicial system is something that Belgium, has had to contend with for years. There, Bucquoy's paintings of Tintin violating his dog, Snowy, and pictures of the Belgian royal family in the nude have caused problems over the right to free expression and archaic laws protecting the royals. Bucquoy was recently arrested after beheading a bust of the King in the centre of Brussels. For the future, he has big ideas. "I want to invade Luxembourg," he says. Plans are already under way as soon as he can find a business sponsor and a Sherman tank.

For those wanting to join the alleged 30,000 members of the International Patisserie Brigade, from whose ranks are selected the Entarteurs of tomorrow, there is an annual training session, held in a secret location in the Ardennes from 15 to 30 August. The tarts are provided free, but you will need to take your own tent. This year, the training will focus on the use of catapults to launch tarts from a distance. This is a useful technique for such highly protected figures as the Pope, the Entarteur's number one target.

Budding cream-tart throwers unable to make it to the training camp can profit from the Entarteur's advice. Ensure your tart is compact, can be easily held in the hand or hidden, and can fly through the air without breaking up. The cream must be firm; the Entarteur's choice of cream is creme fraiche and the best tarts are, obviously, Belgian.

The next time you are asked to name five internationally famous Belgians, the Entarteur must be up there with Hercule Poirot, Tintin, King Leopold and that punk fellow who sang "Sa Plane Pour Moi" - he was Belgian, wasn't he?

CHRIS WILSON

Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Travel
Streets ahead: Venice
travelWhat's trending on your wishlist?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Day In a Page

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect