jeudi, mai 10, 2007

Paris, I'm Disappointed in You...

...really, can do better than this. I'm trying really hard to forgive you, but missing the semi-finals of the Eurovision 2007 Song Contest in Helsinki was just too much to bear.

DJ and I set out at around 20h00 toward the Marais, planning to get some falafels at L'As du Falafel, and then walk over to one of the bars in the area to find some place that would be airing the glorious, campy, ersatz-nationalistic awfulness that is Eurovision. As we cheerfully munched on our Falafels, we wandered our way around the gay neighborhood, along rue Ste. Croix de la Bretonnerie, down rue des Archives, and back along rue Rivoli. Despite the fact that this was clearly the queerest and camp-est thing on TV that night, none of the bars were showing it. We wandered past St. Stolly's, but their TV wasn't on.

We headed over to Klein Holland, which happened to have Fashion TV on. If they were airing Fashion TV in a bar that usually plays football games, clearly they were planning to show Eurovision, we thought. I went and asked the bartender if they were going to play Eurovision, and she looked a bit confused and said, "When's that on?" "It's starting right now." "One moment."

We took a seat and waited, and eventually the owner--a youngish man with a ponytail and a cheap suit--came over to ask us what channel the show was on. While we were trying to remember the channel, the owner said, "Well, what kind of match is it? Football? Rugby?" I laughed and said, "No, it's Eurovision. You know, the song competition?" I'm not entirely sure he understood what Eurovision was, but he immediately got nervous: "Oh, I don't know. Music? I mean, if we put on a game, it's OK, but I don't know about music." Clearly, he was not comfortable with putting on something as queer and kitschy as Eurovision, but he was also eager to shunt the decision onto his "public"--although he certainly made no effort to poll them; "Ultimately, I can't put on something that will displease my public."

Now, I've been in Paris long enough to know how to do the passive-agressive shrug-n-shunt, so I shrugged, made the characteristic face, and said, "Well, as you like it. [C'est comme vous voulez.] The decision is yours; we'll stay if you put it on, and we'll move on if you don't. This is your decision." He tried the "my public" gesture a few more times, and I just kept on tossing it back into his lap until he finally gave up and said, "Sorry, I'm not going to play it." At that point, I gave one final "Je m'en fous" shrug, and we headed out the door.

From there, the night spiralled outwards and downwards. We canvassed the rest of the Marais with a fine-toothed comb. DJ had heard of a group of people getting together to watch the Eurovision semi-finals at a bar in a florist's shop (yes) in Bastille, so we headed over there. We walked all the many, many sidestreets of Bastille until we finally found the bar...which was devoid of any television or Eurovision. From there, we stalked around the rue Mouffetard and Contrescarpe area, eventually making our way all the way over to Jussieu. From there, we took the subway to Odéon and wandered around the St. Germain area. Nothing.

Having mostly given up the ghost, we headed over to the Moose (the Canadian bar). We thought there might be an outside chance of Eurovision on one of the screens, but more importantly, we could drown our sorrows in poutine and beer. We got in at around 23h00 and headed to the back for a seat. After grabbing a table (surprisingly easily), we waited for the girl working the tables to come over to us and take our order. She never came.

At one point, we managed to corner the bartender and ask if the kitchen was still open, and despite the fact that both of us were very certain that there was a late-night menu, the woman shrugged and said no. We waited almost 30 more minutes to at least order a beer, but the girl never even made eye contact with us. When she started to clean cutlery at the table next to us, we decided she was deliberately avoiding us.

Without having ever ordered a drink during the 45-60 minutes we were in there, we got up and headed out. DJ led me to one of his favourite döner kebab joints (more of a Gyros sandwich this time) and we drowned our sorrows in street meat. The hot sauce at this place was excellent and ass-kicking (which is rare here), so I'll have to go back there sometime soon and get a better look at the name of the place. Either way, fantastic grub.

We finally wandered our way up to the Seine and over to the other Canadian bar, The Great Canadian Bar (really, that's the name of the bar). The bar itself was nothing special (although neither is the Moose--it just serves poutine), but they were selling beer and showing the Sabres-Senators game, so we were OK with that. We also spent a fair bit of time providing snarky commentary to a hilarious mating-dance between a group of over-the-hill anglo guys trying to pick up a bunch of barely-legal American girls. DJ pointed out that nearly every one of our bar/pub outings turns into "DJ and Luis make snarky remarks about other people's quests for casual sex." Nothing wrong with that, really...

On the other hand, DJ found out later in the evening that the pile of drunken frat boys and their sloppy slutty gal-pals sitting next to us were from his alma mater. DJ was torn between running over and bonding with them, and crawling under the table in embarrassment. It was funny.

Oh, and there was also this rather large girl who decided that the appropriate dress for a woman her size was a set of low slung jeans and camisole top that were both so tight that she looked like an overstuffed sausage. Nothing like backfat and underarm-boobs to get me all hot and bothered.

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