samedi, juin 02, 2007

Carla&Friends and Moving and Birthdays and Le Rex

Today doesn't entirely count as a Carla&Friends day, as they were already at the airport in a hotel last night. I got a text message from Carla saying that they were on the plane that morning, and off they went.

On the other hand, I had volunteered to help a friend, S., move into his new apartment, so I got up around noon (I had been out last night), and texted S. By the time we got in contact, it was 13h00 or 14h00, and S. was arriving at his new place with a truck full of stuff. I hopped on the subway and headed over, and saw that he had enlisted the help of a big group of people. There was maybe 15 friends helping to lift things and get things into the apartment. This is a good thing, considering that he was on the 6ème étage (7th floor by American standards), and there were no elevators. We distributed ourselves along the stairwell and created a chain, passing items up the stairs. For most of the items in their apartment, this worked really well and saved everyone a lot of strain.

However, there were two exceptions: the fridge and the washing machine. The fridge took three of us maneouvering carefully up a stairway that had been designed before the advent of large appliances, walking all the way up the six flights of stairs (there was no point in "passing" this thing off along a chain). A friend of S. and I spent a good while wedging the fridge between the kitchen sink and the wall, only to discover later that they wanted it somewhere else. The washing machine was even less fun; although it was smaller in dimensions, it was quite heavy. Three of us tried to carry it up on a handtruck, which worked for a couple of flights. At one point, the machine slipped off the hand truck, banged against the wall, and started spilling water from one of the hoses. At that point, we cleaned up the water and continued with two people carrying it by hand. It was tiresome, but eventually they got it up there.

After that, we set up their couches and then sat down for a moment. Everybody suddenly realized that nobody had been charged with the task of bringing beer, so we quickly started planning what to do next. A few people were going home to shower and change and then come back for an apéro that afternoon. There was Loco Dice spinning at the Rex that night, so the plan was to continue to Le Rex later. I decided to head home and clean up and rejoin them for the apéro a bit later that evening.

However, on the way home, I was reminded by a text message that in fact my friends from Nantes were in town tonight for a birthday party, along with an old friend from my high-school exchange days, so went home and prepared to go out and meet them. After a couple of hours of work at home and trying to catch up on blogging (still several days behind), I headed off to La Flèche d'Or to meet the birthday party. La Flèche d'Or was apparently an old station of some sort, which has been converted into a rock concert hall / bar and hipster nightclub. Apparently, the way it works is that they have a lineup of live acts during the first part of the night, and then by midnight they transition to a couple of DJs, who seem to be doing less of the beatmatched rave-style set, and more of the pop-rock song-after-song set (although mostly nostalgic electro tracks).

Anyway, after taking the long way around to get there (I got a bit lost), I finally showed up and started looking for my friends. The place was packed and there were multiple rooms, so I was having trouble finding them. I poked my head into one room and a young woman came up to me and shoved me back out, saying "The restaurant is full, sir." I tried to explain that I was looking for someone, but she was having none of it. I called one of my friends on her cell phone, and--go figure--they were in the restaurant. Thankfully, my friend came to find me at the door to the restaurant section, so I was allowed to enter.

It was really great to see some familiar faces from the Le Mans days, although I think we were all a bit freaked out when we realized that that was nearly 11 years ago. I am so fucking old. Anyway, we hung out, guzzled drinks, talked politics, and giggled at a television screen mounted on the restaurant wall that gave us a view of the stage and night vision. During one conversation on politics, I got the following question: "What's your solution for Canada's aboriginal issues?" Well, that's sort of like asking a French person what they're going to do with all the undocumented immigrants in France. That's probably what I should've asked him in return, but instead I just went with, "Um, there's no clear solution, but I suppose a lot of it will involve a dialectic of heritage conservation and cultural integration." (This is a more articulate paraphrase of what was actually 5 minutes of "Umm...err...well...maybe..."

Anyway, I head a great time and at around 1h00 we all started making our move. My friends were heading home to crash, and I headed out to catch the subway toward Le Rex, to meet S. and the rest of the moving party.

By the time I got to Le Rex, it was probably 1h30 and the lineup was of moderate length. It was moving fast, though, so I got in a few minutes later, checked my coat, and then headed off to find the rest of the crew. I hadn't brought my camera this time (since I had heard last night from a bouncer that cameras were banned in the club), so I don't have any audio or video evidence of my night out, nor am I structuring this post in my usual hour-by-hour format. That being said, I saw plenty of people using their cameras throughout the night, so I think next time I'll bring my camera anyway. What I really need is a high-quality camera phone....

So I found S. and D. and the moving party hanging out in a corner on the right hand side of the room. It appears that they had pooled their money for bottle service, as a bunch of the group were seated around a table, with a bottle of vodka and some mixers. I greeted everyone from this afternoon's move, gave S. a little housewarming present, and grabbed a drink. A little while later, Fantômette and Nathan showed up, and I chatted with them for a while. Apparently, they had been spinning at another party earlier that night, and they had run into someone I knew.

As the resident DJ, D'Julz, concluded his set and the headliner Loco Dice came on (seen previously on this blog here), Fantômette was eager to get to the front of the room to watch him spin. Loco Dice's set started off rather unexciting, but got better after a few minutes. His set had less of a housey feel as the last time I saw him, and he also tended to stick more to a big-room-techno or progressive sound rather than a minimal one. So not my usual cup of tea, but I had a good time. Also, Loco dice has this adorable tattoo of a treble clef on his right forearm. So music-geeky; I love it.

The fan-boys REALLY loved Loco Dice, and would crowd around the DJ booth in a buzzing mass of homoerotic desire and scream his name in the hopes that he would look up from his turntables and grace them with a smile. Among the fan boys, one young woman came up to the booth and tried to get his attention, similarly with little luck. I think she had noticed that some of the guys were typing messages on their cell phones and then holding them up for Loco Dice's approval, so she stood in front of the booth, with her back to him, held up her camera, and tried to take a picture of both her and Loco Dice in the same frame. Then, she would try to show the picture to him while pouting (presumably because the picture didn't come out). Whatever the reason, he paid her absolutely no attention. She tried this one or two more times, then walked off rather miffed. Girls aren't as used to rejection as guys, methinks.

Tonight was also THE night for homoerotic displays between presumably straight guys. As you might recall if you've been reading this blog much, I've noted this phenomenon several times already in Paris. Tonight, at least three separate groups of guys were going at this at one point or another. They would fondle each other, dance against each other (front-to-front or front-to-back), simulate sex, and generally perform same-sex desire while making sure that the girls around them get a good luck. As I've said before, it's like Girls Gone Wild in reverse.

I saw one particularly intense performance between two guys (I presume good friends), where one was seated at a table with the rest of the group, and the other was standing next to him. The standing one was gyrating his hips, and his seated friend had one arm wrapped around his leg, with his hand planted very far up between his thighs. He essentially gave his friend a nut-rub from behind, and at the same time leaned in and mimed performing oral sex on him. His friend grabbed his head and ground it into his crotch, all the while smiling and looking at the rest of the group. I pointed this out to my friend S., who chuckled and said, "Yeah, I think that phenomenon is pretty particular to Paris." Hmmm, interesting.

Anyway, the moving crew dispersed during Loco Dice's set, and I was only really able to keep tabs on Fantômette and one of her friends, S. and D. and later Nathan. By about 5h30 I began to get tired and started heading home. The subway ride back was delightfully uneventful, and I wandered into my boulangerie, bought a pain au chocolat and a baguette, and headed home. I was REALLY looking forward to sleeping in.

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