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The Gazette 21 Juin 1998


Quick, hide the kids and lock the doors. Noël Godin is among us.

So the name doesn't ring a bell. Well, think back to February. World's wealthiest geek gets planted with cream pie in mug, and Luddites everywhere lick their lips. Newspaper photo editors rejoice too.

But computer mogul Bill Gates is only the most recent of Godin's pie-targets. The Belgian anarchist/performace artist has been creaming deserving politicos, captains of industry and celebs since 1969. Such is his status in Europe that Godin is right up there with the Muscles From Brussels, high-kicking Jean-Claude van Damme, as the greatest cultural treasure to emerge from Belgium. OK, it's a small country.

Unbeknowst to local law-enforcement authorities, Godin slipped into town last week to confer with Les Entartistes, members of the Montreal chapter of his Brussels-based L'Internationale Patissière. you know, to give pratical advice on the relative merits of Rich Whip and Reddi Whip, the key to a perfect pie crust, and tossing techniques. That sort of stuff.

Les Entartistes -Pie-o-neers, in the mind of some- made their mark recently, flush on the face of former top-cop Jacques Duchesneau, who is now making a bid to become mayor of Montreal.

Duchesneau's crime: "He said he was the Bill Gates of Montreal, but the only thing they have in common is a pie in the face," says Entartistes rep François Gourd, whose absurd political roots can be traced back to the Rhinoceros Party. "But now the pie is the limit for us."

Pie-tossing entails military-like precision, even for a subversive goof like Godin. For example, the Brussels creaming of Gates required the deployment of 30 daring tossers who sneaked 25 pies into the computer convention. Lost in the ensuing reportage, according to Godin, was the fact that Gates got belted with not one, but four pies. And so distressed was Gates about getting cream in his hair and glasses that he fired his entire nine-man bodyguard crew for not preventing the attack. (Maybe if Mr. Techno had supplied his bodyguards with the latest Windows software, they could have foreseen the cream.)


But Godin claims he's not a malicious man. He's merely waging a high-caloric war on pretentious people in positions of power. Among his targets have been pretentious French writer Marguerite Duras and pretentious French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who has been dinged a record five times by Godin's gang. "He thinks he's Jean-Paul Sartre," Godin says. "But he's just a Jean-Paul Tarte now, and a local pastry paranoid."

Godin sees his mission as a combination of politics and art. He calls it "poli-tarte" and maintains that it is merely a throwback to the days when the surrealists reigned on the arts-and-bistro scene.

"They delighted in sending insulting letters to pretentious people," Godin says. "We've just taken that one sticky step further into the domain of slapstick terrorism. But we've never hurt anyone, other than their self-esteem."

What's astonishing is that Godin has never done time in the jug. In fact, he's only been arrested once in France, but the charges were dropped when he convinced the judge that pie-tossing was a time-honoured Belgian tradition. "As a result, we set a legal precedent in France," godin says. "Now the French can throw pies at their politicians with impunity."

Gourd's Entartistes, on the other hand, have been cautionned by the RCMP and Sûreté du Québec that they don't see the humour in pie-chucking. Indeed, the SQ apparently informed Gourd that bodyguards for provincial ministers were armed with weaponry more potent than pie.

Oh yes, while Godin's L'Internationale Patissière is largely cash-strapped, the tossers are not wanting for fresh cream pies. Bakers everywhere gratefully supply the group free. Just as well, since Godin doesn't know how to make a pie himself and he's too lazy to learn. Another myth is debunked when Godin confesses that his charges don't really throw pies -they push them in the target's face. "That's because we're such terrible athletes. But we do have a 95-per-cent success rate."

Pie-pushing is not just limited to Godin's group and it's Montreal subsidiary. New York City's Pie Man has been squishing his wares in the faces of people like Andy Warhol, Anita Bryant and at least one CIA boss for 40 years.

But Montreal audiences may have established themselves as the most ardent devourers of poli-tarte. Godin has an hour long video highlight package of his pie-strikes, wich has played to packed houses at city clubs like Foufounes Électriques, Lion d'Or and Porté Disparu. Also on the same bill is a video short of the Duchesneau attack.

It was Entartiste member Pape-Tarte who is credited with scoring the direct hit on Duchesneau. He's still pumped by the experience. "I had tried every drug there was," Pape-Tarte says. "But there is no high that compares with the Duchesneau hit. I'm addicted now. So much that my friends want to get me into Pie Anonymous."


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