TamTam Books News

Thursday, November 28, 2002:

The Origin of ‘TamTam’

People have written to me over the years, months, days, and actually 12 minutes ago to ask one question. "Why the name TamTam for your publishing?" The name came to me out of a small movie theater in Saint Louis where they were showing a Josephine Baker film retrospective. I find the combination of Black America and Paris an remarkable aesthetic relationship– and Josephine Baker was in a sense, the bridge between the two cultures.

Since Vian’s "I Spit on Your Graves" is a novel about a Frenchman’s ideal of what America is (or was) – without ever stepping onto the shores of the States - is fascinating to me. Ms. Baker was a perfect example of someone from another part of the world who conquered or influenced another culture. More likely over the years culture have a way of exchanging their influences.

So in that spirit I named my press after Josephine Baker and her film "Princess Tam Tam." Also TamTam is French for Tom Tom as in tom-tom drums. A rhythmic form of communication – which to my mind combines my interest in music and literature. Therefore we now have TamTam Books. Two of the authors on TamTam Books are both musicians (Vian and Gainsbourg) and both of them were heavily influenced by outside (French) culture

Tosh // 3:22 PM

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