Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Three Nights, Three Constrasting Mics

December 15, 2011

William Wordsworth came up with a wonderful line and sonnet called, “The world is too much with us.” It may be entirely irrelevant to this post, but that’s sort of how I feel right now as I try to catch up on my blog posts after three days which were a little overflowing with life from nature and otherwise…. Don’t bother trying to piece that together. I just got so swamped in the last three days doing all the things I have been trying to do on my vacation – fixing all three household computers, fixing the kitchen blind, fixing the toilet, fixing the dinner, fixing bodies, fixing meetings, fixing bill payments, fixing bank accounts, fixing video backups, and a few other fixings I cannot even remember – that I only managed to GO to the open mics and not write about them. So now it is time to fix this blog – at least temporarily and in a pithy manner.

Monday night I went to both the Tennessee Bar open mic and the Galway. Once again I went first to the Tennessee and found too many people, so went to the Galway, then returned to the Tennessee. I played some songs at the Galway, but was a little too late and a little too involved in conversation at the Tennessee to get up and play there too. On the other hand, I did managed to take in all of the musicians with interest, and to record some of the more interesting ones as usual.

The Tennessee has a certain downstairs vibe to it that differs greatly from the downstairs vibe of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic on Tuesdays. Both are places with tiny caves where the open mics take place, both having intimate brick walls – although part of the ones in the Ptit Bonheur are fake plastic bricks – but while the first tends to have people going in little groups that like to talk, and occaisionally listen to the music, while the second almost always has a crowd there to listen reverently to the music. And there is more of a feeling of everyone together at the second, rather than a splitting up into little groups of the first.

Anyway, the crowd was exceptionally not so big at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance, but that gave me personally the courage to try some songs I do not usually do. After Thomas Arlo started with a song Elvis did not write but sang, I decided to do the same, even though I had still not memorized the words. So I read very unsuccessfully from my iPhone my “new” song, “Only You.” The Platters.

I then did a song I wrote when I was 22, which has no title; and I did Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” Later I played again, and did Mad World and if memory now serves me correctly, “What’s Up,” going back to the surefire “hits.” But I can’t even remember for sure – after all, that was two days ago!!!

Last night, instead of going to the Highlander, where I go so often on Wednesday nights, I noticed that the once-a-month open mic at the Chansonniers Hotel in Menilmontant is still happening, so I went there. It is usually the third Wednesday of the month, but they advanced it to avoid hassle with the Christmas holidays that start next week.

The Chansonniers is completely different from the other three above mentioned open mics in being, first, primarily attended by French musicians – I was the only one who sang in English, except one French woman who did “Unchained Melody” – and it tends to be an older public as well, from mid-30s to mid-60s. Completely different vibe. But well worth attending to widen one’s experience and audience.

Wow, there we go! I feel liberated having finally got this off my chest…. I hate missing single days on the blog, let alone three of them.

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