Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

A Tour of Three Open Mics in Paris in One Night

May 1, 2012
bradspurgeon

I travelled from one madhouse scene to another until I alighted at the Galway and settled down for some great music, beer and chat. That does not mean I didn’t have fun in the madhouses – but you can live only so long in a madhouse before your feet need a strong, settled earth beneath them. The thing that happened was a combination of a soccer – football, if you want – match between two teams from Manchester and a French public holiday the following day (today). Consequently, the venues were more packed and more crazy than usual.

Still, I was really pleased to arrive first at the Tennessee bar and find myself next on the list. I had not played at this, one of my favorite open mics in Paris, for a very, very long time – always arriving too late, and then leaping off to other realms. So I went up and played four songs, one of which was my new one, which I have not officially named. I had to read the lyrics, and that NEVER seems to work well for me – especially in a place where the chatter is more important than the music. As it seemed last night.

So I watched a couple of other acts and then moved on to Coolin and got there just in time to watch the end of the match on a very, very large screen. I need a screen that big, or even bigger, to make soccer of any interest to me at all, since if I see it on a television I get bored as hell. (Not fair, not really true: I have made the effort most of my adult life to NOT get into soccer. It’s the last thing I need, I think, to break the last strand of sanity I have left keeping me away from being involved full time in professional sports appreciation.)

So I was something like the third person up on the stage at the Coolin bar, but as it turned out, the crowd was there mostly for the match, too, and they were kind of digesting whatever it was that happened in the game and thinking about drinking all night since they were not going to work today, and I felt there was only half a brain present for the music from each listener. No, wait, let me correct that. Football fans only have half a brain to start with, so it must have been a quarter of a brain.

(Sorry, really, just joking.)

Anyway, so I left that mad house – telling Lena, one of the MCs – that it was a bit to mad for me. And I went to the Galway. Now the Galway, naturally, had ALSO had the game airing before the open mic started, not long after I arrived. But at the Galway these screens are pretty much normal sized TV thingys. So the minds had not been quite so consumed by the match, and the crowd – large though it remained – was more open to music. By then, of course, I had already sung seven songs and I was very warmed up.

There was also a peculiar sort of Irish band called the Shamrocks, which is comprised of a couple of French guys from the south of France…. So that set a kind of tone and atmosphere that was different to the previous joints as well. So I played four songs and then settled down and spoke to an interesting Irishwoman for the rest of the evening.

All in all, it was an unexpected and fully refreshing evening with a difference.

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