Yes, as you might imagine, tonight doesn't end very well. Nothing catastrophic, mind you, just shitty.
Anyway, I started my day by making a short trip to my neighborhood market to get a few things for me, but also the fixings for chimichurri. A friend of mine is having a birthday party next Monday, and I had offered to make some Peruvian food for the event. There rest of the stuff I was going to prepare on Sunday, but I thought I could at least prepare the chimichurri early, since the stuff actually benefits from sitting and curing for a while.
Also, after more than a week of living on a strict fish-and-vegetables diet, I decided to treat myself to a tasty, tasty roast chicken. I managed to get one that had perfectly-roasted skin; when the skin is browned and just beginning to get crispy, it's like kryptonite to me. Anyway, since I hadn't eaten breakfast and last night's dinner had been pretty light, I fell on the chicken like a madman and pretty much picked its bones clean. Now, even though roasting chickens here in France tend to be smaller than the bionic creatures you find in the US, that was still a lot of poultry-flesh. I spent at least an hour afterwards, just staring at the wall and wondering what I had done to myself. I pretty much didn't eat anything else that day, except for some carrot sticks later that evening.
Anyway, the rest of the afternoon was pretty unexciting. I finished my manuscripts for the two entries I'm contributing to the 2nd edition of the Grove Dictionary of American Music, submitted them, and then did some work back-tagging my blog. That is, I went through some of the first posts I made to my blog and added the tags that I've developed since then. This is somewhat important for my project, because I have a few tags that correspond to particular chapters in my thesis (i.e., Touch, Solidarity, Affect), which I'm using as a marker so that I can come back later and cull some anecdotes to structure my chapters. The task was slowed down considerably by the fact that Blogger doesn't offer a convenient way to label and re-label more than one post at a time, but it was also much slowed by the fact that I couldn't resist reading these posts from almost 2 years ago. Good times, good times.
So, on to this evening's activities
Get On To Get Off: Heartthrob, Butane and Yakine @ Le Rex
Actually, I started my night at On Cherche Encore..., where Fantômette and Franck Valat were spinning for the evening. I spent maybe an hour hanging out with them, but I had to split shortly afterwards. I was on Yakine's guestlist for the event at Le Rex, and since he was spinning first in the evening, I needed to be there well before he finished his set.
I hopped on a vélib and made my way over by approx 1h00, and got through the line pretty quickly. I checked my coat and headed out onto the dancefloor, which was still pretty empty. As a friend of mine had pointed out last weekend, the first couple of hours at most clubs in Paris look markedly similar. Large groups of young guys that would normally have trouble getting into a club show up very early (when the bouncers are less picky) and buy bottle service (which also helps secure your entry). The result is that you have this odd landscape of empty-ish dancefloors, and tables filled with clots of similarly-dressed young men, nursing tiny doses of alcohol mixed with some juice. There's an air of anticipation/desperation that I normally would associate with the end of the night, really.
Anyway, I ran into my friends S. and D., who were also there to see Yakine spin. The three of us hung out near the DJ booth, trying to make our support of Yakine as visible and physically present as possible. By about 2h00, other friends started to show up and the dancefloor was filling in. His set started off rather low-key, but by about 1h30 he had moved into higher-intensity tracks and he started getting into it. He's a relatively quiet guy, and so he can be a bit stone-faced on the decks. However, by the second half of his set, he was cracking a smile more often and looking like he was genuinely having fun. His track selection was solid and his transitions were always smooth; my only quibble with his technique was his tendency to cut the bass during the breakdown of a track, and then bring it back a few beats after the track itself had already kicked back in. You can hear it because the bass kick in the track usually has some upper-frequency element that passes through the low-cut filter and creates a sort of "echo" effect of the bass that would normally be there. So his manipulations of the bass kick was sometimes out of sync with the track itself, but otherwise the set was great.
2h30-4h00: Heartthrob live
Heartthrob's set was good, but I have to admit that I've heard better from him. The set started off pretty weak, but that's sort of to be expected; it's a live set, and in live sets the performer tends to start off with some broad gesture that falls flat 50% of the time. Nonetheless, he was pretty slow in getting off the ground. By about 30 minutes into the set, things picked up and got interesting, with slightly more complex bass patterns and punchier samples. He still has a fondness for sustained, echo-y, granular washes that I don't share, but I've made peace with that aspect of his aesthetics.
So, now to the asshole. I was dancing at the front of the room, in front of the live setup, against the metal stanchions they had installed around Heartthrob. By now, there was a crushing crowd all around, as clearly the entire techno-loving population of Paris had come out to adulate the scion of the Minus label. There was this guy dancing to the left of me, who was occasionally shoving his way into my space. I managed to hold my ground, but then a cute girl sidled up on the other side of him and complained that she didn't have enough room to dance. The prospect of possibly bedding her was clearly all the motivation he needed, and he barreled into me, pushing me into the person on the other side of me. I tried to push back, but the person on the other side was pushing back at the same time, so I ended up being forced behind both of them, and their shoulders closed in front of me. Annoyed and a bit bruised, I went back to dancing, but made a point of dancing right up close behind the asshole and occasionally co-ordinating my dancing so that I would "accidentally" collide with him pretty hard.
A few minutes later, I decided to go find my friends. My bag was hanging on the metal stanchion, right in front of the asshole, so I had to reach between him and the girl and start untying my bag. He seemed to think that I was trying to elbow my way in between him and the girl, and so he started pushing really hard on me, and I was holding onto my bag, which was tied to the stanchion, so the whole thing was threatening to tip over and the strap on my bag was probably going to break. After shoving back for a moment, I put a hand on his shoulder, squeezed as hard as I could, and started yelling in his ear that I was trying to get to my !@#$ing bag. He gave me a bit of space and said, "Well, get your bag, then." as if he hadn't just been doing his best to prevent that. I finally removed my bag, let loose a string of curses at him, and moved on.
However, the interaction had put me in a foul mood, and it wasn't being helped by all the other people colliding with me as I made my way across the dancefloor. I found my friends and spoke briefly with them, choosing not to tell them about the confrontation, since they at least seemed to be having a lot of fun, and I didn't want to bring them down. If I had really been loving the music, I probably would've been able to overcome my own foul mood and get back into the partying spirit, but Heartthrob wasn't inspiring me and the nastyness of the whole situation tainted the rest of the night for me. I guess it's not surprising how much of a difference one asshole can make to a whole night. Much in the same way that a bouncer/doorperson can make or break your night out (especially in Berlin), one sufficiently dickish jerk can suck the fun right out of your evening.
I stayed around until about 4h00, waiting patiently for my mood to improve, and then finally gave up and headed home.
The bike ride home was pleasant, at least.