Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Cool Transition at Coolin

April 3, 2012

Last night was the sort of pins ‘n needles night at the Coolin open mic where the man who had started it as MC, Henry Tipping, was no longer there for good, and his job was taken over by Etienne Belin-Debray. So obviously everyone was kind of wondering, “Hmm… will Coolin be so cool?”

Sorry for all the puns on Coolin. But anyway, the transition was very cool. It did not at first feel quite the same, of course, but that was also no doubt partly in the minds of the regulars who knew that Henry was not there. The great news was that there were about as many musicians as usual – with a few notable absences – and a large crowd of carousers.

I have noticed that the success of an open mic really depends on a number of factors all coming together. Some open mics survive the departure of the original charismatic MC because the locale is made for an open mic, the management loves it, and the location is great. I think even open mics run by great MCs have a hard time if the bar or location stink.

So you really only need to get a few of the elements right, but if you have them all, of course it is the best thing. Last night Etienne and gang continued the same open mic, allowing all musicians to go up once before going up again and then playing jam-style with each other.

Only time will tell if the Coolin will make the most of the potential it has as a fabulous venue and atmosphere to continue and become a mainstay open mic in Paris. But it was so young anyway – at two or so months – that that was the situation anyway….

I can’t believe this post. I intended to do a very neutral post saying something like, “Look at the videos! Coolin goes on!” And I come out with this opinionated thing that 6 billion people minus about 200 at the moment could not care less about! Anyway, I had fun and will return.

Regrets at Henry’s Last Night at Coolin

March 27, 2012

Totally exhausted, I HAD to go to the Coolin open mic last night in Paris; it was Henry Tipping’s last night as MC in this finest of Paris open mics of recent months in Paris. It was a classic Coolin open mic, but I woke up this morning with – aside from a head ache – a huge regret.

I started last week my new series of podcasts speaking to people at the open mics around the world, and although I brought my recording device to Coolin last night, I did not interview Henry, the genial MC of Coolin’s before he heads off to another Coolin bar in another city, where maybe he will do another open mic. It would have been perfect to talk to him about his two months or so setting up and running the Coolin open mic and making such a huge success of it.

Why did I not? Fatigue was one part of it, as I arrived back from Malaysia only a few hours before after a nearly sleepless 30-something hours. A refusal to believe that Henry was really leaving. A refusal to want to send out a message that his departure will mean an end to Coolin – in fact, it should not, as his job will be taken over by Etienne and the open mic will continue. Oh, and the combination of a small amount of sleep and a large amount of alcohol was a deadly mixture that led me to believe that I would sound pretty drunk if I did the podcast…

So say nothing of the fact that there were so many musicians, it was such a great night, that there was practically no time to drag Henry into a quiet corner to ask him about his experiences. Oh, and there was also the idea that as Paris is my home, I will not bore listeners with a repetitive experience of podcasts in this city, but only go for the very special ones…yeah, like the one this would have been….

Wishing Henry luck and hoping to see him again soon, I’m sure there will be another chance for the podcast. In the meantime, I did do a few videos to mark the occasion – which, by the way, included a visit by Henry’s dad, who also plays guitar and sings….

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