The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Night In Paris...

4-21-09 One night in Paris is like a year in any other place…

September 28, 1979, I was visiting Paris for the first time, with my friend Cameron. I think we had found a super-cheap hotel, somewhere in the Latin Quarter. 21 years old, we were mostly about drinking beer and chasing the skirt. I remember that we had been in England, and when we got to France, we were unaware that there was a 1 hour time difference. We kept arriving late / early to everything: museums, movies, meetings with people etc.

One night in particular stands out. There was some sort of funniness about having to change hotel rooms, I think. So, that meant we went to a Lene Lovich concert at the Gibus club! Ah, a nightclub with live music! And drinks! I do not remember the concert too much, must’ve really been knocking back the Pelforths. What I do remember: I had a Sony TC-300 cassette recorder (I don’t think it was the TCS-310 just yet), and I recorded the concert (ostensibly for my future brother-in-law), and a whole side of our misadventures that evening in the fall of 1979. And I remember Cameron successfully chatting a nice girl up, then complaining that she was too short for him (Frederique B., he got her number!) I had no suck luck.

Very hazy, 30 years hence, but – we stole a HEAVY ash tray from somewhere, for my sister – so I had that in my pocket. And the not-featherweight cassette recorder. I think we were accosted by a ‘fire eater’ (us no French, him no English). Crepes were being made on the street, and either Cameron or I didn’t know what they were. We decided to drink in a bar that we didn’t know well, with the idea that we could each steal a large (Pelforth?) beer stein. Well, I remember taking them – but we were both too drunk, and I think Cameron dropped his stein right outside of the bar, and mine didn’t even make it all the back to the hotel (that we weren’t even sure would even let us in etc.)

We also had some pretty intense sleep deprivation exercises. We were going to go to an Urban Sax concert with the band, and it meant meeting them at a fountain near our hotel at 5 o’clock in the morning, then driving all day – a great Urban Sax show in Caen – a lengthy dinner with the band afterwards, and barely crashing in the (full) bus back to Paris. We were shamed because we were not carrying a corkscrew – they all had ‘em! “We are three and a dog, can you take us to Noisy-Le-Sec?” is what Cameron said Gilbert said. We were staying with Gilbert Artman (of Urban Sax and Lard Free), at his mysterious home in Noisy-Le-Sec. Slept all day, I think.

Did we misbehave in the Louvre? I don’t remember. Did we engage the ‘fire eaters’ outside of the Centre Georges Pompidou? Yes, but I do not remember if words were actually exchanged. Someone cheated us, when we changed money. “Faux bille!”, we were told. I think we eventually used the “faux bille” to pay for drinks somewhere. Some Metro stations had an indescribable smell (garlic?). Now that I know more about cheese, I wonder what we were given (or ordered) that was so funny-smelling? I don’t remember any cheese tasting bad, even if it was not “Pasteur-ized”. My bags were getting heavy, I was finding lots of 45’s.

My French didn’t get better for a couple more years. Both Roland Bocquet and Gilles Yepremian were very gracious to Cameron and I. In ’79, I had no idea who Serge Gainsbourg was, I just saw the posters everywhere for his newest LP, “Mauvais Nouvelles Des Etoiles”.



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