"You must never give the guy time to think. Because if you do he starts moving his head around, and that's when you have the mess-ups. The blade comes through his jaw, and you have to use a butcher's knife to finish it off. So I would say 'Go, father!' and - crack! - the head is in my hands, and I put it in the bucket."
The story of Fernand Meyssonnier, ex-executioner in French Algeria, is macabre.
BBC News: The executioner's tale