Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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La Javanaise at the Ptit Bonheur – oh La Chance!

December 8, 2010
bradspurgeon

Last night was Ollie’s open mic at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance bar near the Pantheon, and I had good evening. But it was really punctuated by the song sung by Thomas Stock, an up-and-coming Paris musician with a killer voice at age only something like 22 (not sure exactly).

I mention the age because what was so cool last night was Thomas’s choice of opening song in his moment behind the mic in the cave of this nice little bar on the rue Laplace: It was one of the rare times I have heard anyone in the open mic scene in Paris do a song by Serge Gainsbourg. Why don’t they do it more often? Instead of yet another Anglo-Saxon pop hit from the same period. In any case, Thomas chose “La Javanaise,” and did a great job.

At the end of the evening a Spanish woman asked if she could play, and it turned out to be her first ever appearance in front of an open mic audience playing guitar and singing. But when she got behind the mic she realized that she had to read her lyrics and chords and that she could not see in the dark. This is a very cosy open mic, but the darkness means that with my Zoom Q3 we never see anything. I wanted to hear the woman, so I proposed that I stand over her shoulder and beam down my iPhone in its flashlight mode, an application which turns the iPhone into a flashlight, and which I had downloaded in Sao Paulo so I could read Mojo in the darkness in the traffic jams.

I did not realize until today when I went to upload the Thomas Stock video that Ollie Fury, the organizer and MC of the open mic, had grabbed my Zoom recorder and videoed a bit of me holding the light, and the woman singing. I have included it here primarily because for the first time – why did I not think of it – you can catch a larger glimpse of the room in which this open mic takes place. By the way, it was quite full earlier on, but by the end there were just a few of us left, as you will see in the video.

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