France's Minister of Culture Jacques Toubon has a busy week ahead of him -- pour commencer the French Grammys at the Palais de Congres in Paris on Monday night. All the top French singers will be there, and, from the U.S.A., dear Diana Ross, who will be recognized for having sold 130,000 copies of her latest CD. But the big excitement is over Paul Anka, who will receive the Award of Chevalier of Arts and Letters at the hands of M. Toubon for his 35 years of show biz, singing, acting, writing songs, the lot.
Years ago, Paul, on holiday in the south of France, heard a French song, "Comme d'Habitude," on the radio. He loved it, bought the rights to it, and by the time he finished with it, it was "My Way," his most famous song, which has sold 400 million copies and been recorded by over 1,000 artists including Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. Oh, and Frank Sinatra.
Shirley Lord, the beauty director of Vogue, has written a hot new novel, "My Sister's Keeper," and the world is giving parties to help her launch it. The latest was a big dinner given in her honor by Bernard Leser, the president of Conde Nast, in the flower-filled Trustees Room of the New York Public Library for about 50 of her friends and fans. They all sat back and heard Mr. Leser describe Shirley's new book as "five-alarm, hot, salty, saucy, bodice-ripping fiction." Then they all sat up.