It is for that reason that I will keep the wordage on this post to a minimum and rather sum it all up as best and quickly as I can. I left for Nice, in the south of France, in order to meet three people for three completely different reasons, and ran into a fourth on the same trip. The first night I arrived, I headed directly over to the Snug and Cellar pub in the old town of Nice where on Monday nights my friend Peter Cogavin holds an open mic. I had contacted Peter that very day – I think – as I took the train from Paris to Nice and asked him if he had any idea where there was any interesting music going on.
Peter knows I like to play wherever I go, and so although I had not explicitly asked for that, he told me that if I went to the Snug there was a cool band playing and they would probably let me play a song or two. So that is precisely where I went upon arrival in Nice. And no sooner did I step into the door of this tiny little Snug pub than the singer of the three musicians of the band The Substitutes saw my guitar case on my back and asked if I wanted to play a song! He had not been in touch Peter, he knew nothing about me or my abilities as a musician. But this was a true Irish-style pub – run by an Englishman – with a great atmosphere and a wonderful band with an open attitude to music and the musical spirit.
So after ordering a pint of beer I played a couple of songs, along with the bass player and percussionist. The band took a break and I was asked to play a song in the second set too. In the meantime, I had a little tour of the Snug, and found that the open mic usually takes place in the cellar room, and it is one of those classic, vaulted French “caves” with exactly the right dimensions and size for an open mic. And I know Peter is a great host, having seen him in action at the Shapko bar across the street and elsewhere in Monaco. So I highly recommend the Snug, either for the Monday night open mic, or for the music on Thursday – or just a drink.
My trip to Nice took in other experiences, in Vence – where I discussed a musical documentary film idea with an amazing Finnish documentary film director – and in Valbonne, where I met an amazing photographer (whom I will talk about at some future date in a bigger way) and then in Cap d’Ail where I dined with an amazing woman I met in Abu Dhabi this year. I then dine on Sunday night in an amazing apartment overlooking all of Nice and the ocean with an F1 colleague. Amazing was the operative word for the whole three days in Nice….
I returned yesterday in time to go to the once-per-month open mic of the Lizard Lounge, near the Hotel de Ville in Paris, and I had a great time there too, staying quite late in the end, and playing a couple of Irish songs – Only Our Rivers and Peter’s Song – for an Irishman who showed up late, after I did my own set during the open mic. More amazingness!
And hey, I guess I got through this difficult task after all, despite several days away from the computer keyboard…. (Oh, I continued working on my book in the 5 hour and 30 minute train ride to and from the coast, but with a pen and paper.)