paris music – the flamin groovies

The Flamin Groovies Le Petit Bain, Friday April 29

In Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 10.53.15 AM.pngfull transparency, I have to declare there is a predisposition to positive bias – The Flamin Groovies were one of my favorite bands growing up; my first NY band, the Wirebirds, spent many an hour playing flaming groovy songs in the music building 1206; and road trips require a Flamin Groovies sound track (perfect time to brain wash a five year old in to loving them)… so when I heard they were coming to Gay Paree, I had to get tickets (thanks melani for the heads up!)

My other bias… a  Metro, boulot, dodo life also means a night out is a hot ticket item.. I’m already giddy! I had also managed to persuade two of my dearest french girl friends to come with me! I am living the life, right now, so of course, I’ll love the evening! I skip down the stairs at Metro Quai le Gare, I had already spotted our meeting location, Chez Lili et Marcel (highly recommended), their awning blazoned in sans serf retro lettering, and crossing the road I saw my friends through the window, already seated, chatting and laughing. I caught MP’s eye and she turned and gave a huge smile and wave, followed by Edith’s little jump of joy in her seat! Through the window photo op… but no time here… we were on a mission – catchup, eat, and get to the show on time.

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Flamin Groovies at Le Petit Bain.

I had anticipated a 9pm start based on DJ and opening acts being listed on the bill, so at 8:30 I started to get a little anxious… (flash back to hanging out on the beach, assuming Matthew Sweet would be 2nd or 3rd on the bill, I actually missed him), so we headed over to Le Petit Bain…a strange looking floating box bar, on the actual Seine, and next to the Josephine Baker Swimming Pool (in the actual Seine!).

The crowd was a mix of old and young rockers, lots of jeans and leather jackets, black hair, grey hair, pink hair, biker boots, beatle boots, (my friends lovely light suede channel boots). I almost had a wave of…“my people…they exist in Paris as well as NY!”… the unifying force of music! No disrespect to my well dressed rocker friends in NY, but the Parisians do have a certain je ne sais quoi in the way they put it together! So amidst the très chic (and not so chic), we went down the stairs into Le Petit Bain floating Tardis club with 450 others.

Perfect timing! Weaseling our way through the crowds we got fairly close to the front and waited for the show to begin…Teenage Head was what I in and what they started with. We danced, I sang along, Feel a Whole lot better, She Tore Me Down, First Plane Home, Slow Death, Tallahassee Lassie, Between the Lines, Yeah My Baby amongst others before closing with Shake Some Action! Much fun!

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Founded in 1965, this is Cyril Jordon and George Alexander’s 51st year as Groovies! Chris Wilson joined in ’71 (after Roy Loney’s departure) and in ’76 (teaming-up with Dave Edmunds producing) they came out with the fabulous Shake Some Action. FullSizeRender-3.jpgThere are only five Flamin Groovies albums, but stuffed with gems.

The band – Jordon, Wilson and Alexander, joined by Victor Penalosa on drums-was a mix of tight and loose, sometimes fingers didn’t FullSizeRender-5.jpg
seem to work exactly how I imagined they would like them to (George also had pinky and ring fingers taped at their base), vocals were a little gravelly, but why I am even saying that, the energy, the performance, was great. The club was full of joie de vivre –  on and off stage.

All my worries that my friends, with slightly different musical tastes, we not going to enjoy themselves, dissipated as they smiled, laughed and bopped along! Per MP’s message this morning… “Très chouette hier cet anti métro boulot dodo”…  alive again!FullSizeRender-4.jpg

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Spring Reading

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 12.45.38 PM.pngUs David Nicholls, 2014 This delivered on its promise of laugh-out-loud moments—maybe more like cry-out-loud moments! Narrated from Douglas’s wry and often endearingly baffled point of view, Us navigates through a variety of situation, life stages and events, un-peeling the different ways in which each character responds and evolves.  As The Guardian review said, Nicholl’s is “…acute and astute about the dynamics of relationships”. Trying to rescue his marriage and improve his barely existent relationship with his son, these efforts are set within a trip across Europe, down memory lane and looking to the future.
Arranged through 180 chapters with teasing titles, I wonder if he structured it this way to appeal to the bite-sized attention span we are now struggling with! Either way, the titles and their subsequent reveals kept me up late, wanting more. 

The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared Jonas Jonasson, 2009
I really liked this book. The central character, centenarian Allan Karlsson’s adventures cross back and forth between the past – fantastic episodes and crazy encounters from his long 20th Century life,  and the present – crazy encounters from his current day excursion… Unbelievable, but woven together beautifully to make it plausible! From the Manhattan Project to Russian submarines, encounters with Truman, Franco and Stalin, the butterfly effect of Allan’s movements and the crossed paths/ 6 degrees of separation, remind you of the ripples your own life may have, whilst giving you an entertaining ride with the police chase!

The Humans Matt Haig, 2013
I enjoyed this book. An alien arrives on earth to destroy all evidence of the newly found proof of the Reimann Hypothesis by a distinguished Cambridge mathematician. This requires killing and assuming the body of aforementioned (not very nice) mathematician, then attempting to interact with his friends and family to determine who else needs to be killed to keep the theory unknown. Much of the novel is taken up by his puzzled analyses of primitive human ways. The conceit may not be original, but it’s a good read with a couple of laugh out loud moments. The reflections on humans inhumanity as well as our capacity for love culminates in a letter of life advice for his depressed son – a 97-point list six and a half pages long…. this may have been his inspiration for his 2015 book Reasons To Stay Alive (which I have not read, I am basing this off the title). The book has generated a wide array of reviews from lovers and haters… yes, you have to suspend disbelief, there are inconsistencies.. why can the alien do this but not that, but it is a fictional novel after all!
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Rachel Joyce 2012
I enjoyed this book. An unexpected yet inspired walk from the south coast to the north of England, Harold Fry has some lovely countryside to describe and an array of interesting characters to encounter. Though laced with loneliness, and time enough to reflect on the twists and turns of life, the disappointments and sadness is tempered with a sense of quiet celebration, new openness and discovery of life.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Moshin Hamid, 2007
I liked this book. Sitting in a Lahore Cafe, Changez, our narrator/host, tells an American stranger about his time in America, studying at Princeton, working in a top NYC consulting firm, and his unrequited affair with Erika… then his abandonment of America after 9/11. It was a gentle, intricate read. Ambiguous and unresolved… leaving you hanging, or to conclude as you wish. Now a film, it will be interesting to see what they pushed and left out.
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