Bon Jour from Paris! August 2, 2010Posted by onyxashanti in Uncategorized.
Ahhhh, Paris! What is there to say really? Paris is beautiful, but not perfect….not even close. But here us my recollection of this great world city as I believe it to be.
(note; my infamous hat was lost or stolen while in paris. proper obituary forthcoming)
first, it IS Paris, so you have to go to the primary sights. After reassembling my nomadic existence in the bus station, I discovered that although it is obvious that they have invested much effort into creating a viable bicycle infrastructure, not enough was put into making it coherent. Sometimes theres bike paths…and hey, sometimes there’s not! Hey! Let’s put the bike path on the left side, except, when it’s on the right side…or in the median! WTF?!? And DAMN, these fuckers will KILL you at those round about. ITS every man/woman/cyclist for himself!! I hated being the American we get portrayed as, but screw that! If you’re about to hit me at a corner, I’m gonna scream, in english, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING ASSHOLE?!” to bewildered looks of shock and horror…ahhhh, yes…this was in the first 3 hours of arriving in Paris on my way to the Eiffel tower. Bon jour for real!
So i’ve readjusted to bike courier style riding-a marked departure from the biking perfection that is holland-and set my gps on the center of the city. It’s early yet, so the traffic isn’t as horrendous as it becomes later in the day. First stop was the Louvre. Which, to be honest, was a bit underwhelming. The Eiffel tower was cool as an “I was there” thing, but there’s only so many old European buildings you can take pictures of before they all start to look the same. I’m here to PLAY MUSIC! besides, I like the vibe on the people of a place, so I decided to head to the campground, bois de bologne and get settled in.
Hmmm, remind me to never camp at the busiest innercity campground in Paris again. It was nothing even slightly comparable to my time at fort aan de komp in Utrecht, which was perfect. This joint was overcrowded, with many unfriendly campers and, here’s the clencher….NO WIFI!!! In the city but no wifi?!? Hmmm, I wonder why that is? Oh wait, I know…because they charged extortionate amounts from their 1998 computer terminals running, what looked like, AOL or some equivalent bullshit. And while I’m ranting (it wasn’t a bad trip, but I want to get this stuff out of the way)…
Every single thing you buy in Paris is Ex-spen-sive as helll!!! My mind was completely blown!! As was my wallet. I’m a bit cheap,and this place was testing my price guessing skills to death (“hmmm…thats probably [math-in-head] 3.50…WTF!?! 7.25!!!ARRRRGGHHH!!!) Luckily, I purchased a camping stove while biking from Amsterdam to Utrecht and that saved me quite a bit of money by allowing me to cook at least one meal a day and endless cups of espresso. I say one meal a day because the campground was approximately 8-9km from the prime performance locations, which, for this trip ended up being almost exclusively the Paris Plages; a road on the canal that had been converted into a pedestrian/beach type thingy. very cool! and they allowed busking there. very cooler!!
I was down there most days, playing and interacting with fellow performers who, unsurprisingly, viewed the art world the way i do; busking is something that allows one to grow within ones art as well as become a better performer in the commercial world. the cats there were very unique and very french. from 50’s frech bar songs to cirque du soleil juggling, these guys had loads of class and were very friendly and tolerant of my lack of frech language skills (still finding that when someone speaks any foriegn language to me, i answer with german words…wierd).
there were a few interesting cats too. hung out with one young rasta dude who seemed very very personable and friendly until people would come up to ask me about the music or instrumentation, at which point he would stare at them with the intensity of someone who is very close to murdering you with a coffee stirrer. i had to breath really deeply to keep from laughing everytime this would happen. and on my final sunday (wish i had pictures or this) an unassuming cat that look EXACTLY like Bejamin Linus from LOST was peeping my set and i was in particularly good form that day. out of nowhere this cat just starts THROWNIN DOWN! he was dancing his ass off! i wanted to take notes!! if you can imagine benjamin linus throwing down to the heaviest broken groove i could muster, you can imagine why this image sticks in my head. classic!
of my side notes from the trip so far are that my big ass battery is starting to get on my nerves. super heavy and super long to charge. as soon as possible i think i will try a different combination; a smaller battery and a larger charger. something i can run my setup for 3-4 hours,instead of 8-12, BUT, recharge in 1-2 hours instead of 1-2 days! the damn thing is killing my trailer, but i must admit, the excercise is priceless. I’ve never been in such good shape! probably that and the mostly rice diet ive been on for the last few weeks (easy to carry and cook on a campsite).
having everything with me like this is very freeing, but i do feel like i’m going to have to invest in a brompton with more than 2 gears for the next time (foreshadowing). and maybe more of a mix between camping and something like couchsurfing.com because it can get really lonely, although i’m sure i will develope methods of conteracting this.
so, in conclusion, Paris is cool. on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being great, and 1 being a trailer park, located under powerlines in a mosquito infested swamp – I give Paris a 7. beautiful, but not as diverse as London (although very very diverse), not as chilled as Berlin (or, contrversially, as sexy [flame war!]), busking is far to limited and it is waaaaaaay too expensive! that said, I look forward to getting to know the city in the way i know London and berlin. I can see that my opinion is based on not having been there long enough to really feel Paris’ vibe fully. so, please note, before anyone sends me hate mail, my “personal” score of Paris is based on my own ignorance rather than some deep algorithmic analysis of the city!
so I have now scraped together my hard earned change and bussed myself to spain. I arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday, and am currently flat-sitting for friends in a small resort town called Sitges, which just happens to be a very well known gay resort and home of the PACHA megaclub francise. this place is dope! you can walk from end to end in less than an hour, the streets are so clean that they SHINE (I shit you not) and 7 foot drag queens intermingle with small children and balmly warm summer night weather, but that will all be in the next post.
before i go, I want to bring up a few things. starting with this post, every post will have some call for you to be able to be a part of this ongoing narrative thru financial contrbutions. truth is that THIS is my life. the busking, the blog posts, the wierd stuff. I am not working toward fame and fortune, only toward creating art…living art, to hopefully be able to start a family at some point and to leave behind a great of a body of work as i can, a long long time from now. I dont believe in charging for every little thing. paying for every little byte is, i believe, unsustainable in the long term, but it does cost money to live in this society and i will be “passing the hat” from now on, with everything i send out because, point blank, I need money to do these things and “This” IS my Job. you dont “have to” do anything, of course, but you (yes you!) are my sponsor, my patron, my audience…I need you and the story only gets more interesting from here.
truth be told, I’ve already made that life commitment that I will do what i do, even if i have to live in my tent, with my enormous battery and my folding bike, eating rice. but if you would like to be part of the story, feel free to click below, or download one of my pay-what-you-want music collections. the experiences from this trip are going into the book i talked about at the begining of the year “A 21st century musicians guide to Busking”, which will be another way of diversifying said art. If this all sounds a bit too spammy for you, i understand, and there is a very convienient “unsubscribe” button for you to click instead because, as i said before, this is just the beginning and i will find ever more creative ways of asking for your monetary patronage. til next time, Bon Jour!