Just got back to my hotel room after the NC&TBS Paris show.
The day began at the train station, where I went to get a train ticket to Brussels, which I did. The very dapper looking gent behind the counter told me I spoke really nice French. This was after he asked me where I was from. So it was semi-unsolicited (I didn't solicit it, at least). This is the second time this has happened since I've been in Paris. Admittedly, both people worked in the service industry where you're supposed to be friendly (the first 'you-speak-french-good' person was a woman working a counter at FNAC) but even so, this is France and they hate having their language run up the flagpole in an unsaluteable manner (or, shall I say, un-Salut!-eable?).
The truth is, my French isn't all that formidable. But what little I do speak, I speak the hell out of. And it's always a pleasure to be complimented. Especially by a dapper gent. And a charitable Parisian is the best of all kinds.
Went to the venue--Casino de Paris-- around noon today to make sure I knew where it was. There was no sign of a queue so I left and had a coffee and did some window shopping. I got flirted with by some men doing some construction near the cafe where I took my coffee, but there was too much noise for me to properly flirt back (I find that aggressive background noise disturbs the flow of a good flirt). When I got back to the venue this time, there was only me and a guy from Quebec who I noticed but didn't talk to at the Marseilles show. We chatted for a good 2 hours. It rained and was very, very cold. I teeth-chattered. We were waiting at the band entrance. I saw the whole band arrive (Warren in a taxi, Nick in a hire car, and Martyn, Conway, Jim and Mick in a kinda crappy van). Nick gave autographs and took pictures with a few people, but I stood away from that and didn't join in. I didn't want to be an asshole. Being an asshole is one of my greatest worries. And I don't want to be the obnoxious chick who bothers the band.
The show, I must say, was phenomenal. I was up front and a little off to the right side. Nick tends to favor this side of the stage, so I was in a good line of sight to see Nick be his wild self.
That is a photo of Nick not being particularly wild, but I didn't manage to capture a wild pose because I don't like taking too many pictures at the shows (it's annoying-- just watch the show, folks!). And I only use the flash at the start, when he lets the professional photogs take their pictures (the flash is distracting to the band).
In any case, here's another decent photo, for those of you who care to see...
Now tell me true: has a mustache ever been rocked so hard as his? That's not facial hair, it's fucking art.
I still haven't explicated to any real justification the impulse that drives me towards Nick's work. I'm ass-dragging tired at the moment, so that will need to wait. But I can tell you this much right now: every time I see him live, I'm instructed as an artist in my own right. Tonight's lesson had to do with performance, delivery, and how one might go about filling her work with just a little bit more of herself. It was a lesson against schtick, in favor of sincerity. Or, if you prefer, unfeigned exuberance. An entirely open performance.
The highlights of tonight's show include the opening song, "The Night of the Lotus Eaters," an unrehearsed but impeccable version of "Far From Me," the throbbingly good "Papa Won't Leave You, Henry," "Hard On For Love," and as ever, "Stagger Lee."
I might be away from a proper internet connection tomorrow, so I don't know when I'll post the Brussels update.
But, to tide you over until we meet again, I give you a final photo, a self-portrait taken with the built-in camera in my MacBook. Lookie me with the set list I scored at the end of the show!
(ps... I really do have spare tickets to a couple of the London shows. Is there a poet out there who lives in London who might want to accompany me?)