vendredi, janvier 26, 2007

Minimal Dancin' # 53


After getting home rather late on Thursday, I slept in on Friday. Well, the exterminators came knocking on my door at 8am to put some anti-bug gel under my sink, but I fell asleep as soon as they left. Mercifully, I was too tired to feel embarassed about answering the door in nothing but a silk robe that barely reached my thighs. I spent the rest of the day blogging the previous night, responding to emails, fiddling with Ableton Live, and making dinner (a sort of chana masala but with lentils and quinoa and a hot pepper).

Minimal Dancin' @ Nouveau Casino

Apparently, the folks at Minimal Dancin' were going to also feature 3 Channels (a minimal act from Poland), but there were "administrative difficulties," so it was just Duplex 100 and Raumagent Alpha.

0h00-2h00: Duplex 100

I remember seeing Duplex 100 the first time I was at Nouveau Casino (that was also a Minimal Dancin' night), and quite liking their sound. Their set this time wasn't bad, but it wasn't the punchy minimal house that I had been expecting. As Anatoly (see next paragraph) pointed out, it was actually pretty straight-up oldskool techno. There were moments that would also qualify as tech-house, but I wouldn't have thought of any of it as particularly minimal. Again, this lends weight to my belief that "minimale" in Europe (or at least France) is a much broader category than it is in the United States.

I got to the club near 1h00 to a relatively short line outside and a pretty empty dancefloor inside. Of course, the coat-check line was still insanely long (they really need to employ another coat-check person), so I delayed getting in line and looked for Anatoly. Anatoly tripped across this blog about a week ago, while doing a websearch for minimal techno in Paris (Google is omniscient). Being the personable chap that he is, he dropped me an email and we started chatting. The plan tonight was to finally meet in the flesh and hang out a bit before he takes off to do some work in Geneva. Anatoly is a freelance photographer, web-content designer [Anatoly says: Just "web-designer," thank you] and essayist, with the appropriately slick personal websites (v1.0 and v2.0, v3.0 coming soon); I'm particularly impressed with his eye for colour and texture in photographs (see v2.0).

Here's Anatoly, who, thanks to my crappy photography, appears to have no eyes. I assure you that in real life he has eyes and better lighting.

Anyway, being the personable chap that he is, Anatoly accompanied me as I waited in line to finally check my jacket. We spent the rest of Duplex 100's set chatting, puzzling over how their set was "minimal," and hanging out with his two Russian ex-pat friends (one living in Paris, the other in Berlin). [Another correction from Anatoly: One is Russian, but living in Germany since his teens, the other German.] At one point during the set, I pulled forward in the crowd in an attempt to get a decent shot of the stage, and a guy came up to me (as I held my camera), asking me if I could find him any pills. When I said no, he didn't do the usual shrug and walk-away; instead he struck up conversation with me, asking me where I was from, telling me about his home province (Brittany) and his current career (culinary industry). When he heard that I was from Canada, he said "Really? I have some folks with me here tonight who are from Toronto, as well. Come on by and say hi when you have a moment. We're over there." I didn't really expect to find them in this crowd (the club had pretty much filled in at this point), so I headed back to the bar to join Anatoly & Friends. A little while later, the same guy passed me and reiterated the invitation, although he was a bit distracted by the fact that some drunk guy had pissed on his friend's jacket. I left him to run off and find a bouncer and made a mental note to check in on him later.

2h00-3h30: Raumagent Alpha

Anatoly and his folks hung out long enough to realize that Raumagent Alpha's set wasn't going to be particularly minimal, and then made their move. Apparently, Carsten Klemann (of MyMy, as seen last night at L'Ile Enchantée) was spinning at Paris Paris, so off they went. I stayed at Nouveau Casino to follow-up on the guy with the Torontonian friends and to see how the evening played out. I had heard that Paris Paris was insufferably snobby and impossible to get in, so I'm looking forward to hearing Anatoly's report!

I headed off towards the side of the room where that guy had said he would be, and hung around until he reappeared. He promptly introduced me to a guy (well, actually, we never exchanged names so maybe "introduce" is the wrong verb) who was from Toronto, although I didn't meet any of the other Toronto folks. Anyway, this fellow Torontonian had been living in Paris for two years, enrolled at the Sorbonne and following a program in philosophy. Although we originally started with a conversation about nightlife in Toronto vs. nightlife in Paris, we soon were discussing the differences between French and North American academia (especially in the humanities). At one point, this guy's (French) girlfriend came over and said in English, "Stop talking about books! This is a club." We smiled and laughed and kept on chatting. A few minutes later, she reappeared, with a slightly less genuine smile, switched to French, and said "Enough! Come on and dance, babe," and pulled him away and on to the dance floor.

I wasn't too torn up over the loss, because I was immediately distracted by a girl dancing nearby who kept making eye contact and smiling. She had put her bag on the ground between me and the wall, so when she apologized for checking on the bag obsessively, I told her my story involving the Rex, my bag, and someone else's puke. A little while later, she tapped my shoulder and, when I turned around, just smiled. Not entirely sure what she was expecting, I smiled and said "Tu t'amuses?" (having fun?) After a smile and a nod, I was back to dancing. A few minutes later, as I was shifting across the dancefloor toward the centre of the room, I feel another tap on my shoulder. I look over and I see the same girl smiling and waving happily at me. I approach her to say hi again and she puts her arm around me, gives me a peck on the cheek, and says "Je t'aime bien. T'es trop mignon!" (I like you. You're too cute!) Uh-oh. Time to clear things up: "Thanks! You're really pretty. Unfortunately, I prefer guys." Rather than look disappointed and/or offended, she smiled and told me about a gay friend of hers who always rebuffs her (joking?) advances. Concerned that I might seem to be rejecting her maliciously, I added "Now now, just 'cause I'm not attracted to women doesn't mean I can't appreciate that you're beautiful." Thankfully, I didn't have to lie: she was indeed very beautiful. This seemed to have the right effect, since she smiled, kissed me again, and then went off dancing.

A little while later, she reappeared, dancing with a tall guy that I had seen flirting with her earlier. As he went to the bar to get drinks, she asked me "What do you think of him?" He was more handsome and less cute, I said. She gave me a look that said "In other words, no?"; but then she said "Well, I'm screw it." And she promptly started grinding on him. For the next half an hour, she would flirt with him, rebuff his more forward advances (she would duck away when he tried to kiss her on the lips), then she would come over to me and kiss me and grind on me like I was taking her home. While the other guy smiled and took this in good humour, he nonetheless seemed a bit uncomfortable, so I chose a moment when the girl was distracted to lean forwards and say "Don't worry. I'm gay." This seemed to cheer him up.

For a while, she was convinced that a guy dancing near me was gay, and she kept going over to him, asking him rather bluntly if he was gay (his answer: none of your business), and then trying to convince him to hook up with me. I just kept on dancing and pretending I couldn't hear the conversation. After a few minutes, she came back to me with a look of dissatisfaction (the only time I saw her without a smile) and said to me, "He's weird. Forget him."

"This is fun! We should totally party like this more often!" At this point, considering that she was this excited and effusive and affectionate--but without slurred speech or poor balance--I was pretty certain that she was riding on a fair bit of MDMA. Either that, or this was the single most outgoing female in all of France. A few moments later, she wrapped her arms around me, kissed me several times on the cheek, and said "You're so cute!" and then kept on dancing. As I've said before, hugging is a much more intensely intimate gesture here--almost taboo among anybody but sexual partners and close family--so her spontaneous hugs were a gesture of intense something...friendship? attraction? desire? camaraderie?

I pulled myself away from her, leaving her to the guy with whom she had been flirting, and headed to the back to hit the coat check. Raumagent Alpha had finished, Duplex 100 was picking up to finish the night, and I was dead-tired. After waiting for ages to finally claim my jacket, I saw that same girl with her companion as I headed for the door. I shook hands with the guy, while she launched herself at me. With a shriek of glee, she planted a kiss on my lips and showered me with kisses on my cheeks. As I kissed her back (a bit more chastely) and gave her a big hug, I said "Have a great night and get home safe!" She nodded, saying nothing, and then disappeared into the crowd, followed closely by her companion.

The ride home was uneventful and unexciting. I had left before the subway had started, so I waited for the night bus (which thankfully ran right past the club) and headed home. I gave some thought to waiting around until a boulangerie opened, but it was too !@#$ing cold to wait for bread. Even for really good bread.

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