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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two very different nights in Paris.

Before I start, here's a lovely big cat from the menagerie at Jardin des Plantes, my favourite place:

Last Friday and Saturday nights in Paris couldn't have been more different.

One was rushed, involved rum in a plastic bottle, and when that was done, some very expensive drinks. We'd spent 20 euro on tickets, and were very excited to go see 2 Many DJs at Social Club. We wanted to have a proper dance to songs we know, we knew people who were going, and looking forward to out Friday night out had basically got us through the previous 2 weeks of evil children (and  in some cases their relatives).

Unfortunately, we'd forgotten a basic truth: Paris does not do "going out" very well.

It was still fun, don't get me wrong, but at points I was having to try pretty hard to enjoy myself, which was not exactly what I went for. It felt like everything was against us- judgemental looks while we sat drinking our sneaky bevvies in the loos, the 'fumoir' being unbearable (cancer in a room, pretty much), and the American man next to us insulting us by association: there was one girl who was, let's say, a bit tipsy, who was slinging herself around a pole in the bar area while everyone else was (bien sur) sitting quietly and nonchalantly sipping their classy drinks. This charming man nods at her and says to his French friend, "she's definitely English".

Thus far, despite all that, we weren't disheartened as we were pleased at our sneaky cheap boozing, and still excited about that dance. It was only later, when we'd joined the crowd building in front of the stage and got near the front for the start of their set, that it went badly wrong.
It doesn't help for me personally that when my head's at just the right level for mens' elbows to come crashing down on, hard, when they're "dancing". And I certainly didn't appreciate that the majority of the crowd acted like they were at a Slipknot gig. 2 Many DJs is for having a happy wee dance to; not for being crushed and trampled to death under the shoes of horrible sweaty Parisiens. I was glad they managed to find a little more energy than the crowd we were stuck in at Uffie, but there really should be a happy middle ground between bored mooching and a mosh pit. I thought it was obvious, but apparently someone needs to tell people this.

Particular low point- the arse of a barman charging us 10 euros for a cup with ice and a shot of green stuff in it, instead of a much more reasonable (?) 5 because, allegedly, we asked for it 'as a drink'. No, Mr Social Club Barman, you are just a nasty thief.


When we asked for free tap water he served that as a shot, which proves he was also trying to kills us by dehydration. It was s w e a t y in there. Add this to the lack of taxis which means a long walk home; the inevitable argument over hidden charges in a taxi that finally picked us up; and the growing bruise on my cheekbone; I think it's fair to say we had a rant on the way home.

By contrast, Saturday night was a pleasure.

I had worked all day with the children and was about to drop my plans to go for a drink and crawl into bed, but it was museums night, and I am not one to turn down a free exhibition; especially if someone's already decided which one to pick. So I stuck a bit of makeup on and met friends at the Grand Palais for the Anish Kapoor exhibition. It was amazing.

Various good things about this night: skipping the hour-and-a-half long queue and being let in the side door by security, like a real V.I.P; a calm coffee with chocolate and home-made (by Kayt) cake; the gorgeous building to admire; and the mind-melting sculpture (if that's what you'd call it). I can't describe it, the two years since art school having wiped any hope of intelligent art analysis from my brain, but I really liked it. You go inside through a revolving door and feel all alone, in this huge, dark, space, and it's like being in a huge womb, or in underground burrows, and you lose all concept of distance and size... Yeah it's better if you just go for yourself!

We also went to the Odilon Redon expo, which was equally fabulous and the only downside was that we totally underestimated the size of the place and the time of night, and spent way too long translating the titles of the prints in the first three rooms and had to practically run through the rest, flying past beautiful pastels and paintings that I'll just have to go back to see again. It was a lovely was to spend a Saturday night, and to give Paris due credit; it does do culture very well.


(I was secretly gutted to be missing Eurovision, but seeing as I'm trying to present myself as a credible arty cultural type I tried to keep quiet about it; a good idea I think, judging by the first few horrified responses.)

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