Interview originally published in the netly news 14/2/98
What the Dali Lama is to Richard Gere, Noel Godin is to Anti-gravity
Until last week, Noel Godin was relatively unknown in the United states.
A 52 year old Belgian author, film historian, actor (the Sexual life of the
writer (cream and punishment) and "entarteur" (a Godin coinage that roughly
translates as "encaker" or "pie-er")
Godin led the gang that gave to Bill Gates what so many of us can only dream
A big wet pie in the face.
The attack took place at the entrance of Le Concert Noble on Arlon st in
Brussels and was widely reported in the press.
Who are you, Noel Goden?
Noel Goden :
I'm part of a gang of bad hellions that have declared the
pie war on all
the unpleasant celebrities in every kind of domain.
(slogan: "Let's pie! Let's pie! Nincompoop guys!")
We began to act against "empty" celebrities from the artistic world who were
thinking they were the cats whiskers. Then we attacked the TV news business
in France, foe instance, Patrick Poivre D'Arvor [a famous French TV
presenter]. Then it became political with Philippe Douste-Blazy in Cannes,
the French minister of culture, or the other French minister Nicolas Sarkozy
last year in Brussels.
When did you first pie someone?
In November 1969, with French writer Marguerite Duras,
represented for us the "empty" novel.
Why did you choose Bill Gates?
Because in a way he is the master of the world, and then
offering his intelligence, his sharpened
imagination and his power
to the governments and to the world as it is today--that is to say gloomy,
unjust and nauseating. He could have been a utopist, but he prefers being a
lackey of the establishment. His power is effective and bigger than that of
the leaders of the governments, who are only many coloured servants. So Bill
Gates was at the top of our list of victims. The attack on him is symbolic,
it's against hierarchical power itself. Our war cry was explicit: "Let¼s
pie! Let¼s pie the polluting lolly!"
So you have a whole list of people you want to
Yes, we have meetings here in my house. These are funny
We have a good time with good drinks and at the same time we plot. We always
agree on the target choice and then we have to study how to reach the
How did you prepare to pie Bill Gates?
For several years, there's been a new phenomenon.
Traitors appear in the entourage of our victims who contact us to give
us firsthand information. Our victims, at first sight, are very unpleasant
and they are far from being loved in their own circle; this is our trump.
For instance, these last years Patrick Poivre D'Arvor, [producer] Daniel
Toscan du Plantier and [French minister] Nicolas Sarkozy have been betrayed.
In the case of Bill Gates, a member of the staff of Microsoft Belgium
contacted us and gave us a mysterious rendezvous. Thanks to him, the
operation was a success. Of course we won't give his name. It's a secret;
only a few know his identity. But we want to tell it because we would be
very amused if there was suspicion in the staff of Microsoft.
"Who's the traitor?!"
It happened one week before the arrival of Bill Gates in Belgium. We
received, little by little, very precise information about the planning of
the Bill. Some Parisian accomplices followed him the day before, step by
step, notably when he first met Lionel Jospin [French prime minister]. For
instance, we learned that he was always escorted by five armed bodyguards,
but no more. In Belgium, he had four motorcycle policemen and he had a very
important rendezvous that day.
So, to succeed, we only had one solution; our number. We were 30
individuals. That's why we succeeded. We were extremely determined, we were
in a good mood. We were a funny commando.
We were divided in „gloupinesques¾ [from his pseudonym, Le Gloupier]
fighting units of three on Arlon street, where people were waiting for him
in Le Concert Noble. There was traffic in the street so the plotters were
anonymous. When Bill Gates arrived with screaming sirens, he walked outside
his car and as he was climbing the steps several of our fighting units
gathered and they created a kind of pie whirl that fell on him. The
bodyguards were completely distraught. None of them even took out his gun.
They were as dazed as Bill was.
Do you know why there's a traitor in the staff of
What were his motivations?
This man told us he really loved Bill Gates in the past,
saying that he
was very cool and passionate. But little by little he considered that his
power had tainted him, and that he was becoming more and more haughty with
his own collaborators. So the man who gave us the information considered,
and he's not alone, that it wouldn't be bad to teach Bill a lesson, to bring
him back to reality. That's how he explained to us why he was doing it, He's
far from being a member of our band, he's not an anarchist and he likes his
work with Microsoft, but he thought it had to happen.
So you weren't paid by someone from Netscape or
Certainly not; I wasn't even aware of their
Weren't you afraid of the armed bodyguards and the
This time, yes, we were afraid. We didn't sleep well
the night before.
We thought, since the bodyguards of Bill Gates are professional, they won't
fire. I told my men, "Be happy and show it's only cream."
To be strong , we drank some good Trappist beers. So they were laughing and
joking when they went to the front... Of course I wasn't in the commando
because the authorities, the press...they know my face. It would have been a
mistake, even with a disguise. So I was on an adjacent street.
How many pies were thrown?
Four touched Bill Gates in the face. There were 25
pies in all. One of the
secrets of the gloupinesque operation is
that you don't have to throw
the pies. You must put the pies point-blank
in the face of the victim.
One of the members of the victorious commando is the filmmaker Remy Belvaux
("Man bites Dog"). He unfortunately lost his papers and so the cops revealed
What were their feelings just the second after
they touched Bill Gates
with the pie?
The exhilaration of victory. Exquisite pleasure. The
operations have a 95% success rate. But each
time we are stressed
and each time it's the same pleasure.
How did Bill Gates React?
He had a kind of promotional smile that became a
kind of smile
made of sand...
When you touch your victim, don't you have the
feeling of being
powerful? You had pies, but it could have
been a knife.
Yes, but that is not our problem. We are comical
terrorists and the pie is
symbolic. The victim is only injured in his
self-esteem. We take a lot of
care that the pies can't hurt physically.
The pastry is soft and full of
Do you cook the pies?
No, we are very lazy. We buy the pies in a shop
nearby the place of the
crime. This time, the pies were coming from a little shop called Au Petit
Pain Frais, chaussee de Haecht.
Will Bill Gates pursue your commandos?
No, it would be catastrophic for him and his
If someone gave you money to pie his enemy, would
you accept it?
We have never been pie mercenaries. But we've had
several offers of
a good amount of money. For instance, I had an offer to pie Catherine
Deneuve in Cannes and also Sharon Stone. I refused. I love Catherine Deneuve
and the movies of Jacques Demy; and that year Sharon Stone was in a western
I really liked. So I had nothing against her. We are pie pirates. But if we
receive money when we pie someone, we are not puritan leftists. We received
money once: in the case of [famous French singer and actor] Patrick Bruel.
We offered the money to the anarchist Parisian magazine Mordicus. So if
anyone wants to give us money we won't misuse it. I could really enjoy life
if I could earn much money doing this job! It's a big game and we have fun
together. We want to live fast and to laugh as much as we can. We want to
transform our lives just like Oscar Wilde wanted to. Everything is awful
around us, so lets try to have fun.
If Bill Gates had come back in a few months in
Belgium, would you
pie him again?
We shall see. But we declare war on all the
governments of the world,
on Tony Blair, on Bill Clinton, on the Pope...When the pope last came to
Belgium, if we had a traitor sponsoring us, we'd have pied him. We had a
strategy. For us, the Pope is a dangerous serial killer because he is
against birth control. On our blacklist you will also find Demi Moore; Tom
Cruise and John Travolta, who are both members of the Scientology; Bill
Graham... On the other hand, we have more and more sympathisers everywhere.
We had thousands of propositions to help us, even abroad. We also have many
enemies. But we are like the characters of a cartoon. We are like Laurel &
Hardy, Bugs Bunny, The Marx Brothers, the Yippies of May 1968.
Written by Hugues Henry, lifted by Anti-gravity theatre and transcribed to
save you advertisements you so desperately don't need.