The Lizard Lounge bar near the Hotel de Ville in Paris is the place where it all started for me three years and three months ago, when I decided to try an open mic in Paris for the first time playing in public in nearly 30 years (with the exception of a night in Shanghai the previous month). And there I was greeted by Earle Holmes, who then ran the Lizard Lounge open mic on Monday nights. My slot went over really well and Earle showered me with compliments and it was the beginning of playing at open mics from three to five nights a week ever since – well, with the occasional reduction of attendance during periods of personal contentedness in my love life when I had far more inspiring things to do….
So, then Earle’s open mic moved on to the Truskel, which I revisited last Friday, by coincidence, and the Lizard Lounge ceased hosting open mics. It then eventually picked up again, but only on the first Sunday of every month. I never managed to get there – usually because I would forget about what day it was on, or what day it was – until last night I screwed in my courage and decided to brave the cold of the Paris winter the way I had said in my previous post I had decided to do on Friday and Saturday. IE, I had learned my lesson. And boy did I ever! For the evening at the Lizard Lounge was a fabulously fun one, complete with individual musicians playing behind the mic and then a jam at the end to which I was invited, with a drummer, a bongo player, a lead guitarist and vocalist and me on acoustic and vocals too.
There was quite a good crowd, the basement “cave” room of the Lizard Lounge was as cool as ever, and Ujji the barman – who was there in Earle’s day too – was as friendly as ever, and also a wonderful addition to several little jams on his bongo.
An evening to remember, and to go to again…. Above all, personally, it made me realize that in the three years since I so nervously and uncertainly took to the mic – and played for the first time with Félix, whom I mention in my previous post – all those open mics and intervening years have made me a different musician since then. Or at least one who has grown, thank goodness.