The spirit of music has been abounding lately, as I have found myself back in the swing of listening and playing alike. Last week I began guitar lessons once again, after several years of putting it on the back burner and only pulling out my, one of many guitars I've bought and gotten rid of over the years, I finally took the plunge and found a lovely Irishman who teaches in English from his home on the east side of Paris. The good news is that, while always a petulant student at heart, I've learned to be much less stuck in my head during lessons. The bad news? I'm still suffering from lack of callouses as my fingers attempt to play on a cheap guitar I bought in Paris over the spring. Unfortunately, I was unable to bring my nicer guitar from NYC when I first came here because the cost for extra baggage was astronomical compared to what I actually paid for it. I hope to retrieve it when I'm home for the holidays this year, but in the meantime, I have my sturdy and stubborn substitute guiding me to musical magic, Maximus. Yup, that's his name...
Meanwhile, last night I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to a concert at the Olympia, which is a famous music venue in Paris. I went there a few months ago with Hot Blonde Cousin when she visited, and once before when in Paris almost three years ago. This time I was invited by a new friend and language partner who had won some free tickets last minute. As the bands playing were all French, it was to be a learning experience as well as an entertaining one. The only regrettable part of this evening is that I am currently participating in a bit of a 7 Day Detox (more on that in a future post). But as many people may know, I don't do particularly well when deprived of food... Cranky, bratty, irrational, testy, bitchy, childish... all of these adjectives may describe the repercussions when trying my patience sans food. I give my friend some gold stars for not smacking me in the face.
On the other hand, it was a fascinating journey through 4 different French bands, currently playing the Parisian circuit. The first performer was a female singer/pianist, using her husky whisper to create an ambiance of mystery, and let's just say it... pretentiousness. I was told the lyrics were rather poetic, but I tragically couldn't really understand most of them in her style. The second band commenced their act with abnormal amounts of technical difficulties, leading my friend to believe that it was part of their gimmick. They were in fact disarmingly unconcerned by having to begin songs 4 times before getting it right, and since the lead singer had a fetish with throwing his instruments on the ground, I am tempted to believe him. In addition to which, they apparently sang a song all about Steve Jobs, but since I couldn't understand them either because their voices were all muffled and low, this piece was lost on me. After that, a massive band appeared for the 3rd act, not only involving several guitars and drums, but a cello and trumpet to boot! I wasn't overly keen on their musical stylings, I think the lead singer barked like a dog a couple of times, but I was a big fan of the cello. Finally, there was a performer that many people in the audience seemed to be anxiously awaiting. A girl called "Christine and the Queens". I found this performance simultaneously intriguing and annoying. This small, awkward looking white girl with a brassy belt I will say, was flanked on either side by two black men who were really stellar dancers. She sort of reminded me of a mix between Annie Lennox and Beyoncé, quirky and serious but then trying to be hip hop and cool. Apparently she considers her genre "freakpop", inspired by drag queen culture. I felt myself inspired by her moxy while also not having any idea what she was trying to accomplish. She also sang way too many over-emotive Celine Dion-esque ballads... Enough said.
Either way, it was a lovely evening of modern French music culture and a delight to be frolicking in musicdom as I look forward to working on my own opuses soon.