Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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From the NUJ to the Usual Monday Night Haunts

May 17, 2011

I recently joined the British journalists’ union, called the National Union of Journalists. Last night the Paris chapter of the NUJ held a recruitment evening at a bar near Oberkampf. I would have gone anyway, to meet my fellow NUJ people. But when I saw there would be music provided by NUJ members, I thought, YES! I will take my guitar and ask if I can play, and then I will go off and play at my usual Monday open mics.

The NUJ meeting turned out to be a great pleasure, lots of people, loud, a nice bar, and a very open mic. In fact, there was a stream of people asking to go up and play who had not been booked in advance, apparently. And they played, and I played.

But among the best and most interesting musicians were Monkey Anna and a couple who played jazz guitar and sang. I had met Anna Brooke, who calls her band Monkey Anna, at a concert by the French band called Neimo. Anna is a journalist and musician, and she is currently working on an album and preparing her next concert, in Luxembourg, on the 2 July, at MUDAM (Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean). She writes original, interesting songs, sings and does a nice presentation. Of course, it was all recorded music last night. She also writes city guide books and other journalistic things.

After I played a couple of songs at the NUJ evening, I then moved on to the Galway and played five songs, and listened to Stephen Prescott and his fiddle player, Pierre, play a few songs. There were another couple of performers as well, while I was there.

I then went off, late, to the Tennessee Bar, and was too late to play. But I did see and hear a number of interesting acts, and there was a wonderful jam session at the end, in which James Iansiti also got up and sang. His rendition of “Little Wing” reminded me more of Sting’s than of Hendrix’s, but I loved it.

There was even an interesting moment when James opened up the stage for an unusual and different sort of barfly performer than what we usually see.

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