Hermine Demoriane (Hermine, Hermine Williams) (born 1942) is a French singer, writer and former tightrope walker. Daughter of an engineer and a journalist, she married the British poet Hugo Williams in 1965, with whom she has a daughter, Murphy Williams, also a writer and journalist.
At the end of the 1960s she contributed to International Times, a hippy magazine, carrying out interviews with Jean-Luc Godard, Philippe Garrel, Len Lye etc.
In the early 1970s she spent time as a tightrope walker (see her book The Tightrope Walker), performing, for example, with COUM Transmissions (pre-Throbbing Gristle), and spending a season with Jérôme Savary's Grand Magic Circus in Paris in 1974, acting in Copi's play Goodbye Mister Freud. She played the character of Chaos, singing Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette rien", in Derek Jarman's Jubilee. She also took part in Alternative Miss World, organised by the artist Andrew Logan.
Hermine wrote three plays; Lou Andréas Salomé (starring Richard O'Brien and Jenny Runacre), He Who Is Your Lord Is Your Child Too (starring Anne Bean) and The Knives Beside the Plates (with the Neo-Naturist Cabaret), between 1978 and 1980. From October 1980 until 1981, she performed musical interludes at The Comic Strip, a pioneering café-theatre in Soho with comedians such as Rik Mayall and Jennifer Saunders. In addition she performed and organised various evening shows of performance art.
She acted in John Maybury's Court of Miracles in 1982 and Hilda Was a Goodlooker by Anna Thew (London Film-Makers Co-Operative) in 1986.
Links to Peel
Peel and Hermine both worked for the International Times in the late 60's and she also performed with one of his favourite artists in the 70's, COUM Transmissions.
In a 13th February 1974 diary entry, republished in David Cavanagh's 2015 Good Night and Good Riddance book, she wrote of her experience in seeing John Peel DJ at a church hall:
"I go and see John Peel playing his favourite terrible records in a church hall. These are things by Link Wray, Fabian, Annette Funicello ("Jo Jo the Dog Faced Boy"), Conway Twitty, Mrs. Mills' rendering of "A Hard Day's Night", Stark Naked and the Car Thieves, the Cats who do "Swan Lake", Wild Man Fischer, Bill Oddie (singing "On Ilka Moor Baht 'at" in the manner of Joe Cocker), "The Battle of Lieutenant Calley" by B Company, Mitch Miller's "Peace Singalong". Later on he complains over the radio that only eighteen people turned up."
Hermine was not impressed by Peel's musical tastes at this point, but she did collaborate in live performances with some of the artists he played later in the 1970s, like Welfare State, members of the Damned and the Only Ones, and This Heat. Peel played some of her records on his shows in the 1980s, when she released a single on her own label, and after that record companies (notably the Belgian label Crammed Discs) decided to release some of her work on vinyl. There were several plays of her version of Roy Orbison's song "Blue Angel", but although she continued to perform live, her recording career ended in 1984.
- 23 August 1983: Torture (7") Human
- 19 September 1984: Happy Holiday (LP - It's A Crammed, Crammed, Crammed World!) Crammed Discs
- 03 February 1985 (BFBS): 'Blue Angel (LP-The World On My Plates)' (Crammed Discs)
- 06 January 1988: Blue Angel (LP - The World On My Plates) Crammed Discs
- 08 January 1988 (BFBS): 'Blue Angel (LP-The World On My Plates)' (Crammed Discs)
- 08 August 1990: 'Blue Angel (LP-The World On My Plates)' (Crammed Discs)