… where I cross the entirety of Paris to get to La Fleche d’Or. It’s freezing cold, even with my sheepskin gloves and my thickest scarf on. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m in a skirt and normal, non-thermal tights? (Fucking idiot.) But anyway. I procrastinate as long as I can, meeting friends for a drink first before heading over to the club where I’m going to see Jake Bugg, Nottingham teen extraordinaire, Bob Dylan-esque voice and all, but still very much his own man.
Get into the club at 21h30. I’m alone, because Julien couldn’t make it after work and honestly, me missing a concert for the flimsy reason that I’ll be going alone? Not going to happen. I always choose music over looking like a dork, which is why I don’t have a lot of friends but spectacular taste in music… (just kidding about the spectacular taste part. Looking like a dork: true.)
But then I spot two guys in front of me, and between songs they’re speaking Castillan, and one of them looks so much like an ex-colleague of mine from 7 years ago who was based in Spain, who I’d met for a total of 3 times: once in Marseille when he had to train us newbies (didn’t learn a thing), another when we were all together for 3 days in Paris to participate in a company strike (long story, deserves another post but it’ll never be written), and another… no, only twice then. So, he looks like this guy Antonio (names have been changed yet no one gives a fuck), I’m pretty sure of it – ok, maybe 80% sure. As he moves towards the bar in mid-song I jump in front of him and holler in his ear; “ANTONIO???”
He turns to me and we recognise each other and hug and step outside a bit to smoke and catch up. I rave about how it’s unreal to see him after all this time. He complains about me shouting in his ear and most probably impairing his hearing. (“You could’ve just tapped my shoulder, you know…”) They have a great place by the stage, so I join them up front where I don’t have to tiptoe which is fabulous.
After the show we hang around the almost-empty floor as the crew dismantles the stage set-up, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jake Bugg (doesn’t happen). Antonio’s friend, visiting Paris for a week from Bilbao, is lovely and funny and gay, the kind of person you immediately warm up to. “Jake Bugg was fantastic,” he tells me in his adorable yet practically indecipherable accent. “His hair, his eyes, his shirt – did you see his shirt? (It was indeed a lovely shirt) – his jeans, oh god, his voice, his shoes… his voice! And he’s only 18, I could eat him up…”
And then I scare Antonio who’s going to be a father in a few months (“You have to sleep a lot now, I mean while you still can. They cry, like, all the time, endlessly. Invest in an espresso machine because like fuck you’re gonna need coffee…”)
And then they walk me to the nearest metro station which is pretty far, under the rain, talking about living in Paris and flamenco singers and comic books, and then I tell them I’ll take a taxi instead so we wait for several more years for a taxi to show up. I give them both a hug (Parting words to gay friend: Don”t worry, true love is out there, I know it, you shouldn’t stop looking. Parting words to Antonio: Hahaha, good luck with the baby, they get better as they get older though…), and I jump into the taxi.
The taxi driver asks me if I want to take the peripherique or cross Paris. “Paris,” I say, “Cross Paris.” And we drive through the arrondissements decked in Christmas lights and decor; we pass the familiar streets, we pass by those steps Julien and I sat on, eating greasy Chinese food after making up from a fight, and then we’re circling the La Madeleine area where I used to work. It’s raining, and I lean my head against the window and listen to the crazy Indian music playing in the car, realising that I forgot to buy a shirt from the concert’s merch stand and I mentally kick myself for my stupidity until I get home.
So yeah, that kind of night that makes me feel pretty lucky to be living in this city.
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