Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Stalled Out Between Paris and Belgium

August 26, 2011

Suddenly three days appear to have disappeared on the Weblog. No, I have not become a slacker. I did actually attend the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic on Tuesday night, but I had much work to do to prepare for my trip to Belgium – where I write these words – and a slow internet connection here and there. And then there was drive from Paris to Belgium. The result is not a weblog but a backlog. But great stuff at the Ptit Bonheur, and a little letdown and a bit of bonheur in Belgium.

I was particularly happy on Tuesday evening to see my favorite Paris poetess, the wonderful Lisa Marie Guilbot, who writes clever and piercing short poems mostly about love – of one kind or another – and who has a very enticing reading delivery of the poems. She goes to Ollie’s open mic occasionally and it’s always a nice break from the music.

This time Ollie was on holiday and it was Rachel Crocker (it should be “Rocker”) who did the MCing, and who opened with her cool songs accompanying herself on the ukelele. I uploaded a video of her too, but somehow the lousy internet connection meant it did not make it….

The other amazing and wonderful meeting at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance was with Fabien Fabre. I had seen this guy at another open mic several times, and he stands out enormously as he is virtually the only performer who specializes in a weird and wacky humorous singing and songwriting. We spoke for a while and I learned that he is not only an open mic addict, but he is an artist of the bicycle. Fabre makes extraordinary bicycles out of pure materials. Check out his stuff at Fabien Fabre Bicyclettes.

The Musical Story in Liege

Upon arriving in Liege, Belgium yesterday, however, I learned that the jam session I intended to attend at the famous Bouldou bar was not taking place in the summer, and I’m not even sure it will continue. I also learned the terrible news that the Art Cafe closed down. This Art Cafe jam was the open session I had hoped to take part in on Sunday evening, as it was a high point of my musical adventure in Liege last year and the year before.

The Art Cafe ran into the same problem facing such musical venues and bars in so many parts of the world – what is really hurting Paris too – that residents wants cities to be quiet now so bylaws are being written and enforced to cut out live music. And close down the bars and venues if they don’t obey – or the places close down because they cannot afford to do the work needed to make the bars soundproof.

The good part of the whole story was that I did meet up with Raph Charron again. He is the one I speak of in the post on the link above, describing my experience at the Art Cafe last year. Raph and I talked music at Bouldou and then managed to shoot a video interview for my open mic film, with Raph reminiscing on the Art Cafe and talking about the music scene in Liege.

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