OK, this will probably be my last substantial post for the next week or so, as I put my head down and focus on writing my first dissertation chapter. I've been thinking about perhaps posting portions of the chapter as I work on it, but I've ultimately decided against it, since the writing style is substantially different from what I do on this blog. Those who are in contact with me can certainly ask for a copy of the chapter once it's completed, though.
Anyway, I spent most of today in the BnF again, clocking in at 10h00 and staying until 20h00. Yes, that's 10 hours in a library. It wasn't very pleasant. On the upside, I wrote about 25 pages worth of my chapter and I'm about halfway through, so that's a good thing. The downside is that the first half of my chapter was mostly a re-work of my proposal section on "intimacy" as a concept, so there wasn't as much new prose to be written. For the upcoming half of the chapter, however, I have to write entirely new stuff on "touch" and so on. I've done a fair bit of reading on it already, so the rest of this coming week is all about writing.
After my endless day in the library, I headed home and got ready for my night out. There was a party going on at Le Rex including Sven VT (from Zander.VT) and Pantha du Prince, and I had a friend in town from Berlin, so plans were made. I managed to get on the "regular" guestlist for the Rex (thanks Molly!), which meant that we didn't have to rush to the club to get in before 1h00 and stand in line for ages. My plan was to arrive around 2h00, after the Com2Daddy guestlist had closed. So I grabbed a bit of food and took a moment to relax and watch some TV.
By the time 1h00 had rolled around, my Berlin friend still hadn't called, so I gave her a quick ring to see what was up. As it turned out, she had fallen asleep and she was exhausted from a week of working and going out back-to-back. With her apologies, she backed out of going out and I got ready to head over to the Rex. The upside of my friend cancelling was that I was able to just take a Vélib bike over to the Rex. However, I made the mistake of not bringing my gloves so that I wouldn't have to try to check them at the coat-check, but that meant that my hands nearly froze off on the way to the club. Lesson learned.
SvenVT, Pantha du Prince and Chloé @ Le RexClub
I took a bit longer than expected and arrived at the club around 2h30. By then, the guestlist line was pretty much non-existent while the cash lineup ran almost to the end of the block. I know that it's totally dirty-elitist to say this, but there's an undeniable pleasure in walking past a huge lineup of people and saying "Hi, I'm on the list" and getting right in. It may be embedded in some communitarian guilt, but there's pleasure there nonetheless.
On the other hand, there's no "guestlist" for the coat check, so I spent nearly 30 minutes waiting to check my coat. By this time of night, they usually have a second coat check open to manage the volume of people, but for some reason they hadn't opened the second one yet (and they didn't for the rest of the night).
Anyway, I only caught maybe the last 15 minutes or so of Chloé set, but what I heard was quite good. I've had rather uneven experiences with Chloé; sometimes her sets have been fantastic, sometimes they've been profoundly disappointing. Notably, though, her vinyl sets are usually consistently good; it's her "live" sets that are unpredictable.
3h30-4h30: Pantha du Prince
I ran into a couple of friends just as Pantha du Prince was starting, and it turned out that there was a big group of them partying tonight, so I suddenly found myself in the company of about 10 people. As much as I'm interested and fascinated by the anonymous and casual aspects of crowd intimacy, I can't deny that it's really nice to have a community of friends to accompany you through a night.
Pantha du Prince's set had a rocky start and then eventually got better. The first half of the set fluctuated in a disorienting way between high-intensity and low-intensity sections; although it was a "live" set, it was clear that he was just linking together his own tracks; the "seams" between the tracks showed in the awkward transitions and in the sharp contrasts of intensity and texture. The second half of his set was much better, though, with smoother transitions, a more congruent and even sequencing of tracks, and a discernable contour to the whole thing.
4h30-6h00: SvenVT from Zander.VT
It seems that I've become so attuned to the sound coming out of Berlin right now that I can identify a Berlin-based DJ from a distance. I knew that Zander.VT was a Berlin-based duo, so this was no major feat of identification, but from the moment he put his first record on, I was thinking of Berlin and all the "local" DJs I had seen there this summer. Anyway, the set was great. His overall sound was that very Berlinesque mix of minimal techno and house, with heavy bass-drum patterns, sometimes melodic basslines, and light, agile high-frequency patterns.
Anyway, around 5h30 I was tired and feeling ready to head home, so I made my goodbyes and started heading out. When I got to the coat check, I found a large group fo people standing around, but none of them seemed to be waiting for the coat check. I pressed past them and got to the short stairway that leads down to the coat check, and found the way blocked by a bouncer, who was speaking intensely into a walkie-talkie. Puzzled, I turned around and looked behind me, up the stairwell the leads to the main entrance of the club. There was a group of men in police uniforms on the first landing, there was a bouncer blocking the way up that stairwell, and there was another bouncer telling the crowd I had just passed to clear the area. I wasn't quite sure what was going on, but it didn't look like fun. Was it a fight? An overdose? A robbery? Why would they close the coat check as well as the exit?
Just as I was pondering that, the bouncer in front of the coat check got a message over the radio and stepped aside, letting me and a few other people claim their coats. When I headed out of the coat check and toward the exit, the bouncer there told us to cross through the entire club, pass the smoker's area, and exit the club by the fire escape. Goodness.
At the fire exit in the smoking room, I saw an employee holding the door that I had briefly gotten to know during the Techno Parade, so I asked him what was going on. All he said was, "A big, big problem," and then waved me through the door.
As I headed out the fire exit and around the block to the subway entrance, I saw an ambulance parked outside the club, as well as a police van that was being filled with clubgoers. They were going quietly and they didn't appear to be handcuffed, so I was guessing that the police van was giving them a ride somewhere. I still haven't figured out exactly what happened, but my guess is that there was a medical emergency of some sort and the police were transporting the companions of the distressed person over to the hospital where s/he had been sent. If I hear anything else, I'll post an update here.
So, on that rather troubling note, I headed home and finally got me some sleep.