Posts Tagged ‘music’

Dancing Badly at Weddings is OK.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

I spent the weekend in sunny Devon where the sun really did shine and there really were Devonshire teas. Slight warmth and scones make Jess a very happy girl. The purpose of my trip was to provide emotional support and additional hands to my friends, Pooja and Jonathan, who were having Round 2 of their three part wedding. Already hitched in Harrogate a few months ago, they were now bringing together their friends and family from all over the world to eat cornish pasties and samosas in a Westward Ho! golf club.

As most wedding receptions seem to go, there were drinks followed by food followed by the establishment of a fairly ordinary dance floor. We are talking portable disco lights and a music playlist Pooja and I had thrown together that morning being controlled from an iPad. It was quality stuff, and so was the dancing.

On the dance floors of weddings anything goes. Arms flail, feet step and bodies bounce somewhat in time to all your favourite dance hits from the 80s, 90s and today. You are free to express yourself and let yourself go without being judged because everyone else looks just as ridiculous as you. You can’t get away with this sort of shoddy dancing at a night club or concert because there people really are watching. At a wedding, the positive vibes of love and marriage bring an over riding power that allows you to do no wrong. If you feel a sudden urge to body pump, go right ahead and do it. Half of the dance floor will mostly likely join in and body pump with you.

As you would most likely expect, the dance floor on the weekend was 90 per cent female. The occasional male was dragged out to dance, kicking and screaming, giving in for one song before running back to the other blokes who stood around smirking. There were, however, token men who took hold of the opportunity to be surrounded by twelve dancing ladies and who ruled the dance floor with charm and smooth moves. A tip for all of the men of the world – if you want to have well dressed females throwing themselves at you, learn to dance.

After two hours of toe-tapping, spirit-fingering and hip-shaking, my fellow dancers and I were now all the best of friends and have added each other on Facebook in the hope we will meet on a dance floor in the near future. There is an unexplainable bond that forms on a dance floor that cannot be achieved anywhere else. When you have communally sung loudly and tunelessly and made up ridiculous dance steps to classic 80s tunes, nothing can break that.

So to my new friends that I met on Saturday night in Westward Ho!, thank you for the good times. May one of our mutual friends get married soon so that we can meet and get our groove on once again.

Sarah Blasko in Manchester

Friday, December 6th, 2013

It appears that I am quite the Sarah Blasko fan. A few years ago, I saw her perform at the Quarry Amphitheatre in City Beach and was eaten alive by small, black worms that emerged from the ground as the sun went down. The second time was at the Astor Theatre in Mt Lawley – no worms there, just uncomfortable seating that didn’t allow for much dancing. This time I saw her on the other side of the world – a dedicated supporter of Miss Blasko. On Friday night she performed at the Deaf Institute (Matt, who was accompanying me, pointed out the contradictory choice in name for a music venue.) The tickets for the show were around half of what I had paid for her previous concerts in Perth. Matt and I were running slightly late and I was concerned we wouldn’t be able to get a decent spot. I shouldn’t have worried. The small venue was almost empty – I would guess the audience was no bigger than 50 people. You could see that Sarah wasn’t pleased with this fact and despite the audience members trying their best to show their support, she didn’t seem enthused to be performing to an almost empty room.

From my perspective it was fantastic – I had one of my favourite musicians almost to myself. Her voice was as brilliant as always and she was supported by two musicians who played a largely acoustic set. It lacked the jazz and sparkle of her other concerts but the calmer show suited the venue. And the red cockatoo-like-birds on the wallpaper in the room fit with the Australian vibe.

Sarah at the Deaf Institute

Sarah at the Deaf Institute

Sarah signed merchandise after the show and I now have her signature on a tea-towel as well as a photograph of the two of us together. I became ridiculously tongue-tied when it was my turn to say hello to her – oh, Sarah. You so cool.  

Women Go Wild for Nick Cave

Monday, November 11th, 2013

I have been slow to write about finally seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds live in concert. I had wanted to see them when they toured through Paris but tickets had sold out instantly. My friend, Andrew, managed to find tickets to Nick’s concert at the Apollo in Manchester and I was jumping up and down with excitement when Andrew asked if I would go with him. Hell yes.

The walk to the Apollo was slightly longer than I anticipated, potentially due to the persistent rain, strong winds and large puddles we had to avoid. Everyone in the venue was saturated and there was a general musty smell wafting through the room. I received a strong whiff of damp every time the guy in front of me swished his dreadlocks. Lovely.

Nick, on the other hand, was on fire, dripping sweat and exchanging all sorts of bodily fluids with the screaming women in the front rows. In his open shirt, gold chain and tight jeans, you wouldn’t think that Nick was 56. He bounced all over the stage, clutching the hands of his adoring fans and singing powerful rock tunes that verged on heavy metal. It was loud but beautifully loud, with fantastic lighting and some amazing sounds coming from the Bad Seeds band. Warren Ellis was brilliant on flute and particularly violin, strings from his bow flying off as he thrashed at the instrument. It was hard, sexy and dark – one of the best live performances I have seen.

Up close with Nick Cave

Up close with Nick Cave

Nick certainly has fans and his gyrating and physical interaction with the crowd had many hearts beating. A woman standing next to me cried when he first came on stage and then again periodically throughout the show as he sang her favourite tunes. The final song for the evening was a relatively chirpy version of Deanna, which, after a show dominated by the darker and more depressing songs of their collection, was quite a nice note to end on.

A Weekend in Paris

Monday, September 17th, 2012

This past weekend it seemed as if Paris was having one final attempt at making the most of summer and sunshine and there were lots of events and activities happening around the city. My weekend was full of action which is always enjoyable particularly if it means I get to wander through Paris in the sunshine. Here was my weekend:

Saturday Morning
I have decided I should train for my 16km Paris to Versailles run that Becky and I will be undertaking at the end of the month. So Saturday morning I put on my Garmin GPS watch and headed out into the Parisian madness. I left early as there is no point in running through Paris when there are people around. Both tourists and Parisians are incapable of not being in the way and you may as well walk slowly behind them because you’re not going to get anywhere. I wanted to do at least 16km but wasn’t sure how I would go as I was running on my own and I usually get bored or just give up. I managed to surprise myself, running across the city and reaching the Eiffel Tower in under 7km. I then ran back home along the river, took a slight detour towards the canal and arrived back home having completed 17km.

Running through Paris

That red line is me!

It was fantastic! The key to running long distances is having something to look at. My run took me past the Opera House, the Ritz Hotel, through the Tuileries (twice), along the Seine, to the Eiffel Tower and then back past the Louvre, Notre Dame and finally the canal. I couldn’t get bored, I was too distracted thinking, “Ooh look I’m running past where Louis XIV lived!” That and “Move out of the way you slow tourists/Parisians who are taking up the entire footpath.”

I managed to do the 16km in around one hour and 30 minutes which was very pleasing considering I though I’d stop half way. GO ME.

Saturday Afternoon
I had read about a music event called TechnoParade last year but never went, so this year I roped my friend Marcello into coming with me. It is a electronic music festival that is open to the public and that had DJs standing on top of large semi-trailers and driving through the streets of Paris. These large trucks are then surrounded by hundreds of drunk, half-naked teenagers. I hadn’t thought about that aspect. When we arrived, I instantly felt OLD and as if I had been transported back to Perth and was at an electronic music festival. At least this time I hadn’t paid $150 for a ticket and there was lots of space to stand back from the crowd.

Technoparade

Technoparade

It was an interesting thing to see and there were approximately seven trucks playing different styles of music. They were driving very slowly so you could easily walk up and down the street, listening to the various sets. But I don’t think I will go again – it was very messy, the music wasn’t that great and it is hard to dance while walking! I did spend the entire time thinking, “This would NEVER happen in Perth.” Free music, driving down the streets of Paris, alcohol everywhere, drunk teenagers and people climbing on cars/bus stops/fences/walls/trees/lamp posts. Crazy.

Saturday Night
I thought I would be having a quiet night as all of my friends were either away or busy. I went and sat in the garden of the Récollets and was soon joined by various other residents and the night turned into a late one. The Récollets had been taken over by the Mairie de 10eme (the local council) and there had been activities, art shows, and music performances all weekend. The garden was full of people eating and drinking and at about 11pm a band started playing. It was fantastic music, I have no idea what it was though. There was a group of men playing brass instruments in a very upbeat “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” kind of way and then 10 or so girls with fantastic voices and gorgeous smiles singing along. It was exciting, vibrant and made you want to dance – so that’s what we did. You could certainly pick the foreigners from the Parisians – the dancing Australian/American/Italian weirdos and the straight-faced, sullen French refusing to even tap their feet (although the more alcohol-influenced Parisians were dancing too.) It was a great night.

Sunday Morning
My Saturday night did stretch into Sunday morning but I still managed to get up early enough to ride down to the Hôtel de Ville and be one of the first in line to go inside. This weekend was Les Journées du Patrimoine – two days where all of the old, beautiful buildings that are usually closed to the public are open. There are hundreds of buildings across the city that are used as government departments, hospitals, museums, or are privately owned, and on these two days you can enter and see what they are like on the inside. It is a fantastic idea and last year my brother, Ben, and I managed to be at the right place at the right time and went into the Senate. This year I had decided I would go to the Hôtel de Ville – one of the most prominent and most beautiful buildings in Paris that is now the main town hall.

Hotel de ville

Hôtel de Ville de Paris

While you followed a set route to go through the building, you are allowed to explore quite extensively and there are lots of people around to provide you with information about the building. The Hôtel de Ville was even bigger than I imagined and was beautifully decorated with plenty of gold and wonderful floorboards. The floor is always my favourite part of these old buildings – I love the way it creaks.

Hotel de Ville

Fancy.

You could enter the Mayor’s office – a lovely room with a great view but a really UGLY desk that looked like it was from IKEA. If I were the Mayor, I’d ask for a new one. The Mayor wasn’t there which was a shame. I would have liked to ask him if I could stay in France for longer.

Paris Mayor's office

Salute the Mayor!

Morning Tea Time
It was time for coffee so thankfully around the corner was one of my favourite coffee shops – Caféotheque. Unfortunately I decided I needed cake and made the mistake of ordering a chocolate cupcake. It was described as ‘chocolate’ but it was in fact chocolate and orange, a combination that I dislike profusely. Plus it was dry… but the coffee was delicious.

Caféotheque coffee

Mmm… coffee.

Next…
I then wandered along the river as I had heard there would be a market near Notre Dame. On the way, I had to wait for a group of very slow cyclists to pass – there was apparently a bike ‘event’ (I want to say race but they definitely weren’t racing) and I had been watching these cyclists ride past the window of the café for at least 30 minutes. Most of them were plump and over the age of 55, wearing lycra and taking the whole thing very seriously. There were designated people in yellow vests stopping the traffic, which is problematic in Paris as any hold up in the movement of traffic results in a fusillade of car horns. As I tried to cross the road I had to wait for a hundred or so cyclists to pass. At one point a taxi attempted to drive through the pack and a man on a bike with a yellow jacket started blowing a whistle, yelling at the driver and placing himself and his bike in front of a moving car. He was NOT happy. Neither was the taxi driver. Neither was the person who had hailed the taxi. Neither were the people in the traffic jam. Neither were the bike riders. I was THRILLED to be watching this incredulous action – it was absolutely hilarious!

Eventually the bike riders disappeared and things returned to normal and I went to the market, sampled some foie gras but didn’t buy anything. The same market had been there the year before, selling exactly the same products. Clearly nothing changes in Paris either.

Before Lunch
I decided to see if any of the buildings on Ile de la Cité were open and discovered a small queue of people outside the Conciergerie. This was where people were held before being trialled and/or executed and it is now open to the public as a historical monument and an exhibition space. It was open for free and the queue didn’t seem very long so I went inside. I managed to get into the first main space – a large medieval dungeon-like space with an impressive arched ceiling – before I realised that there wasn’t a queue outside because the REAL queue was inside the building. People had clearly been waiting for hours to go and explore the rest of the building and while it would have been nice to see, outside the sun was shining and it was a glorious day. Why spend it inside a dungeon? So off I went.

Conciergerie

Nice arches.

Crêpes
I met up with my friends, Sonia and Guibril, near Montparnasse at 4pm for goûter – the French version of afternoon tea. I love any country that has afternoon tea and really don’t understand those that don’t. Anyway, Montparnasse is known for having Breton-style crêperies and we sat and had delicious sweet crêpes (mine had chocolate and banana) and cider. We sat chatting for a few hours and before we knew it time had passed and our stomaches were grumbling thanks to the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. So it was round two – this time savoury galettes for dinner. Yum.

Home Time
One of my favourite things to do in Paris is to hire a Velib (the city bikes) and ride from the Montparnasse area, straight through the middle of Paris to my house. It is essentially one long, straight road and the first half of it is on a slight downwards slope. This means you can zoom through Paris with wind in your hair and not a care in the world (except, of course, the traffic on the road but at 9pm on a Sunday night there were hardly any cars.) It is such a thrill, particularly as you reach the Seine and ride over the river and see all of the lights reflecting and dancing on the water. Such a beautiful city.

So that was my weekend. Full of adventure, I learnt lots, I spoke plenty of French and I made new friends. Sometimes my life is awesome.

Cutting Up the Mix Tape

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Recent events have resulted in it becoming particularly difficult for me to listen to certain songs without turning into a blubbering, sobbing, wimpy-girl mess. So what better way to deal with this than to pick up a very sharp knife and cut things.

Knives

Call that a knife? These are knives – on loan from my professional mouse-brain slicing friend, Becky

Tape stencil

That took a while.

Tape Stencil

Wet paint.

Tape Stencil

Ta da!

Now if I manage to sell this on my Etsy store I will have not only cured my emotional attachment to certain chansons but also made some moolah! Now THAT’S thinking.

Hand cut, hand printed original image on acid free paper. Measures 16 x 24cm.

Fanfarlo are Fab and Deserve More Fans

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Seriously, Paris has a problem. It appears that the technology that we call ‘air conditioning’ or ‘fans’ in Australia has never quite reached this cosmopolitan, fashionable, fast-paced, ‘we’re the best at everything’ city and as a result every time I go to a pub, a concert venue, a shopping centre, a supermarket, a hairdresser, a clothing store, an ANYWHERE I die from heat overload. Yes, I know it doesn’t get as hot in France as it does in Australia but that’s not a good reason to then turn on the HEATING when it is 18 degrees outside and there are going to be hundreds of bodies squished into an unventilated space.

Ready for my example? Here it is. Monday night, Tom and I went to a small concert venue called La Fléche D’Or to see the super awesome band, Fanfarlo perform. We had been to see the Jezebels at the same venue in September of last year and has discovered two interesting facts that allowed us to be better prepared for our second visit.

  1. You cannot leave the venue so it is best to eat beforehand.
  2. It is sooooooooooooooooo hot in this place that you will sweat like a pig, lose 10 kilograms and feel faint for most of the concert.

With our stomachs full, we arrived an hour after the doors opened, therefore reducing the amount of time we would have to stand around sweating/fainting. The support band had only just started, so I was pleased with my timing. I still managed to wear too many clothes though. At one point during their set, Fanfarlo suggested everyone remove all of their clothing in order to keep cool. It was almost a logical idea.

Despite the heat, Fanfarlo were terrific – they played lots of songs from their newly released album plus some of their more well known hits. They were very chatty with the crowd despite the occasional “Parlez en Française!”. Unfortunately, as per usual, the mysterious “No matter where you stand at a concert, half way through some idiot is going to come and annoy you” phenomenon happened. It is amazing – at all gigs that I go to, at some point, a drunken, tall, jumping idiot comes and knocks people over or stands right in front of me, and therefore distracts me from enjoying the music. This happened again, except there were four of them. At least they were having fun and enjoying the music, but one of them was an old guy in a horrible leather jacket who kept telling the crowd that we had to dance like we were at a disco. Ahhh… the French and their discos.

Anyway, we left hot, sweaty but with lovely songs floating through our heads. And it is moments like being at a concert, standing in a busy metro train or walking through large crowds in Paris that I am glad I am an unusual tall blonde and that I stand at least a head taller than most French people. It makes for an excellent view of the stage.

Fanfarlo in concert in Paris

My view.

Au Revoir, Sarkozy

Monday, May 7th, 2012

I love those moments when planets align, miracles happen and water gets turn into wine, and you manage to find yourself in the right place at the right time. Yesterday was Round Two of the French election and I was eager to find out the results.

French election sign

Votez!

Unfortunately, I currently have no television, my internet is too slow to stream the results and I was out at dinner with some visiting friends when the results were announced. While in the restaurant, I could hear sounds the suggested the results had been announced – mostly horn tooting and “OOoouuaaaiiii!!!”s. Thankfully, the lovely waitress who was serving us asked if we knew the election results and happily announced that Hollande had won. Ouaiiii, indeed!

This was fantastic news – no more sleazeball as President. After we discussed politics with the waitress for awhile and she gave us free L’Eau de Vie to celebrate Hollande’s win, we headed outside and home. In order for me to walk home, I was heading towards the Bastille and mentioned to my friends that there may be something happening there as when there is something to celebrate or protest about, Parisians tend to head there. It appears I was correct.

Bastille election

That's a lot of people.

The Bastille was a swarm of people and the monument in the middle of the giant roundabout had been taken over by young celebrating Parisians. I have never seen so many happy French people – everyone was smiling! Seriously. I’m not joking. People were happy, dancing, drinking, and generally congratulating each other on having ousted the bad guy.

Apparently on the other side of Paris the rich folk were crying, but here in the Eastern half of Paris where people barely earn enough to pay their monthly rent, the people were ecstatic.

My friends headed away from the crowd and back to their hotel – I, however, had to somehow cross the Bastille to get home. Sure, I could, and maybe should, have gone around, but where’s the fun in that? And so I headed in, joining the throng of happy Frenchies.

Bastille election

Vivre la France.

It was fine until I reached the other side and tried to get out and joined a flow of people trying to exit next to a flow of people trying to get in. It wasn’t fun. I can understand why people would panic in situations like that as humans start pushing each other, trying to get through and yet can’t get anywhere. I took many deep breaths when I finally got out of it.

The walk home was entertaining – so many people out celebrating the political victory. It was like post AFL Grand Final celebrations except with less punch ups. I can’t imagine Australians ever getting that excited (or on the other side of Paris, that upset) by the results of an election. Young and old were out, shouting, cheering and tooting their car horns. It appears Parisians can get noisy.

It was wonderful to witness the celebrations, although I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like if Sarkozy had won. Best not to imagine, I think.

Fun Times Count Down #3

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Yesterday was one of those days in Paris where the beauty of every street corner, every tree, every canal, every cloud, every everything is multiplied by a thousand plus one. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and there were little fluffy white clouds everywhere. Birds were singing and I’m fairly certain I saw Bambi prancing down the street. Mary Poppins would have been pleased.

Riding a bike through this general scene of gloriousness put me in the perfect mood to tackle French crowds at the Paul Klee exhibition. I knew it was going to be busy and I knew there would be too many people trying to look at a picture and then read the little text stuck on the wall next to it. As Ben and I had already attempted to get into the exhibition last Friday with no success, I booked a ticket in advance to avoid waiting in line. It was a great idea and I don’t know why I don’t always do it. I could get in straight away and give looks of pity to those waiting to buy tickets. Les pauvres.

Cité de la Musique

Paul Klee exhibition

Of course no matter how many tickets you buy in advance, there will always be far too many people inside the actual exhibition space and those people you cannot avoid. The exhibition was about Paul Klee (a Swiss artist who worked in the late 19th/early 20th centuries) who I had previously only know (and admired) for his paintings. It turns out both he and his family were highly musical and a large amount of his paintings are inspired or even derive from musical theory and practise.  The exhibition was located within the music museum of Paris and hence the focus was more on how music affected his work than what I have previously seen in other exhibitions. The exhibition wasn’t particularly well laid out and the information provided jumped all over the place and didn’t seem to fit with the images associated in that section. However, Klee’s work was as interesting to see as usual and I was very interested to learn about how music and Klee’s studies into colour theory influenced his choice of colours, patterns and layouts in his paintings. Some of my favourite Klee paintings are made up of series of squares of varying colours, which I had previously taken for granted as just being pretty things. In this exhibition I learnt that Klee developed a mathematical system connected to his favourite classical music to work out what colours would be used next to other colours within the painting. Very interesting indeed.

There was a video which showed some of Klee’s work and then the music that influenced the work was played over the top. Instantly the image changed in meaning and became a significantly more powerful piece.

Generally the exhibition was interesting but I’m not certain why it has become the hit exhibition to see in Paris this month. It seems to be the thing to do for those over the age of 60, plus, as it is school holidays, the gallery was full of children. Yes, yes, I think it is good that kids go and see art and that they’re not stuck in front of their Nintendo Wiis, however I do think they need to be told NOT to run around like maniacs through the gallery. I also think old people need to be told not to talk so loudly, not to stand in the middle of thoroughfares and to watch where they are going so that they don’t walk into you all the time.

So that was my fun activity for the day. I enjoy walking through galleries although I prefer it when I am the only person there. The real highlight was riding to and from the Cité de la Musique along Canal Saint Martin. It was good to be in Paris.

More Mud

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

It is currently 12.15am on Sunday 28 August and I have two woes.

Woe #1 – Underworld Concert

The main reason why Tom and I came to London was to go to the South West Four festival to see one of my favourite electronic groups, Underworld, play. I love seeing them live and have on previous occasions flown to other cities within Australia to see their concerts. So it wasn’t a completely out of the ordinary decision to buy a ticket to a concert in London seeing as it is just a 2.5 hour train ride away. I now wish I had saved my money.

The concert was out in Clapham, an area of London recently targeted during the riots. I wish they had locked up a few more people because I’m fairly certain half of the people at the concert would have been on the streets throwing bottles through windows last week. It was an interesting bunch of people – I always feel out of place at electronic music festivals as I stand in my fully-dressed attire waiting patiently for a certain dj/band to get on stage as drunken 18 year olds flirt, dance and throw themselves around provocatively nearby. I hate Australian crowds, but this was worse. EVERYONE was drunk. Usually it is only about 80% of the crowd – this was 99.9999999% with Tom and I being that last remaining percentage. Not only that, but at least six times during the four-hour period that we were at the concert I had guys with large wads of cash walk past asking the crowd if they’d like ecstasy, cocaine or marijuana. And there were a few ‘Yes, please’s.

Normally I would have just stood to the side and tried my best to ignore the idiots around me but it was a little difficult to move as every step you took resulted in you sinking into more mud. It had been raining for the past week or so in London and if there is one thing that rain, land and lots of people equal, it is mud. It was as if Tom and I had returned to the North Sea and were attempting to mudwalk with a bunch of intoxicated losers. It was awful. I had had prior thoughts of “Maybe I should buy some cheap shoes to wear in case it is muddy” but decided against it. When I arrived and saw what was in store I bid farewell to my Campers and plunged straight in. At least I am now a seasoned mud-walker and I didn’t fall flat on my arse. I did get a bit girly about the fact that my perfectly wonderful shoes were getting covered in mud. So when we were finally in front of the main stage, we picked a standing spot and stood there. The less we moved, the harder the mud beneath our feet.

When we arrived John Digweed, one of my brother’s favourite DJs was mixing it up on the stage and it was good. It was very good. But unfortunately he finished and was replaced with a guy by the name of Laidback Luke. Lazy Luke would be more appropriate – all he did was slop together a bunch of random songs with popular tunes/lyrics/choruses in order to make the audience say “YAY! I like this song!” and therefore make him look good. I felt like an old-woman-mother-figure standing with a frown on my face, not understanding the music of the youth of today. But finally he finished and Underworld came on stage.

Their set was short. And quiet. And there was no encore. And the crowd weren’t supportive and hardly cheered at all and were too busy smoking (there was a stall selling cigarettes); drinking; taking drugs; looking hideous with their ridiculously short shorts, bad hair cuts and general poor dress sense; and being obnoxious. Basically, it was no where near as good as when I saw them in Perth – now that is saying something. I would even rate seeing them at Bondi Beach on New Years Eve with evil drunk Australians as a more enjoyable experience than tonight. Such a shame because I had such high expectations. I don’t blame Underworld at all because they did their best and their music was awesome. But I just couldn’t hear it and was too busy trying to stop a stupid girl next to me from standing on my feet.

We did have delicious indian food for dinner though so I guess that’s a positive.

Woe # 2 – More Rain

We are supposed to be catching a flight to New York on Tuesday afternoon and there appears to be a bit of weather about on that side of the world (aka. a hurricane.) That’s a tad worrying as I don’t really want my flight to be cancelled or delayed as I had planned on being there for my birthday. At the same time, I also don’t want it to rain there because it has rained enough here in London. So hopefully that will all blow over (get it? Ha.)

Bed time.

Bastille Celebrations

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Thursday was 14 July or Bastille Day to all English speakers. The previous evening (the 13th) I organised for a group of interested people from Les Récollets to head down to one of the local fire stations. At fire stations throughout Paris (and France, I believe) on the evenings of the 13th and 14th of July they hold balls that are open to the public. Being Australian and not fashionably late like the French, I organised for our group to get there right on the starting time – 9pm. It was practically empty when we arrived. But things soon heated up and by midnight the place was packed and there was a huge queue of people outside wanting to come in.

Fireman ball

There were half-naked firemen for a ladies and scantily clad ladies dancing on the stage for the men! Everyone was a winner.

The firestation had been turned into a dance hall with bars selling drinks and food and a stage set up for the AWESOME COVER BAND!!! to play on. I don’t know why the French have such terrible taste in music, but they do. Most of the songs were 70s/80s American pop tunes, there was a whole three-song segment of Michael Jackson impersonations, and then they started singing English songs in French. It was so bad it was great; the only option we had was to laugh and dance. The ball was run by the firemen and every now and then one of them would stand up on the bar and do the obligatory strip tease. I’m not really sure why firemen have to be strippers as well, but the girls in the room enjoyed it. But with only five toilets for a ball of 300-odd people, it was easier and faster for us to walk home and use our own facilities rather than wait in line. So that was the end of the night.

The following morning Tom and I attempted to get to the Champs Elysee to see the military parade but the metro wasn’t stopping on the Champs Elysee that day and they had then blocked off a lot of streets so it took forever for us to get anywhere close to the parade. This was a bit disappointing as I had hoped to be in the midst of the action but we managed to see a bit of it. I was amazed at the lack of French-flag paraphernalia. Australians can’t get enough of sticking plastic flags to their cars and fake tattoos on their bodies. There was none of that junk in Paris. I even went down to the Bastille in the afternoon and there were no flags flying! Where was the patriotism? Terrible.

Place de la Bastille

Place de la Bastille

To end the Bastille festivities, I also organised a party at Les Récollets for the evening of the 14th. There was a good turn out of about 20 people and at 10.30pm when the fireworks were due to start at the Eiffel Tower we headed to the highest point in the building (the roof) and discovered an amazing view over Paris. It was potentially dangerous (wine + ladders + standing on the roof = probably stupid) but WOW! I spent the evening of Bastille Day standing on the roof of a 13th century convent looking over Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower and the golden arches of McDonalds. Once in a life time, folks.

Roof top

This was one of the best moments of my life. Absolutely amazing.

Over the past few weeks I have really gotten to know people at Les Récollets and it is becoming increasingly more obvious about how extremely sad I am going to be to leave. I have been having discussions about Christmas with my family and today I realised that I just don’t want to think about it at the moment because once Christmas is over then I will be close to having to leave. I don’t want this AT ALL. I need to find a way to stay.