Sunday, June 10, 2012


This past Friday evening proved to be yet another all-nighter for your intrepid correspondent. Marti was still feeling under the weather, so I went alone to the opening of the In The Box exhibition at the Bastille Design Center that our friend Tian Xue had told us about a week earlier. Afterward I stopped at a North African snack bar for a quickie Halal chopped steak platter, then headed up the Canal Saint-Martin to the Bobo Bar From Hell: Le Carillon. Bobos are bourgeois-bohemian types. This neighborhood boasts the densest concentration on the planet of the detestable little bastards. It’s like there’s a constant flow of them disgorging from a fetid hole in the center of the earth. Or perhaps they’re simply barge flotsam crawling up out of the canal.

Somehow my musician friend Rob Armus has become their pied piper. When I arrived at the bar Rob was on setbreak, hanging out on the street with singer Alison Young, our dear pal Katy Jane’s old roommate.

We schmoozed for a while, then Rob kicked off the second set with his two-thirds-woman orchestra Addicted To Jazz. In addition to Rob on vocals, sax and guitar, the group features Moira (bass, vocals) and Elisabeth Keledjien (drums, vocals). They hit a great mix of genres tonight: Johnny Cash and the Gershwins were saluted with a tasty "Get Rhythm"/ "I've Got Rhythm" mash-up. Rob and the ladies covered the musical waterfront with seminal Rock ‘n Roll ("Let The Good Times Roll") and the Chicano pimpmobile classic "Low Rider."

Alison sat in on the second set. She belted out the rarely-heard 12" dance version of "House Of The Rising Sun." Very special.

Another of Rob’s friends (whose name I don’t recall) appeared for a guest shot. Great guitar player.

Third set: Patrick Sedoc from Amsterdam joined for several songs. Another brilliant guitarist.

The gig ended sometime after 1 a.m. and I had every intention of returning home. But noooooo. On the way outside I ran into The Wild Bunch. Chris Kenna (not pictured), Curtis (at left) and Tom.

Now there was no turning back. As we waited for Rob to pack up, we dallied on the street alternately annoying/ being annoyed by les Bobos.

Elisabeth packed her entire drumkit on her scooter and scooted away, Rob had his gear on his back and on a little trolley. Chris, Curtis, Rob and I all rolled down the street to Rob’s place.

As these convocations of unsupervised gentlemen of the night are wont to do, our hang stretched into a forced march towards dawn. The four of us eventually stumbled out into the daylight for coffee and croissants at a nearby tabac. Was this the end of Friday evening? The dawn of a new day? Or the beginning of Saturday night?

A funny moment had occurred during the wee hours when Curtis and Rob described to Chris and me a scene on the Left Bank where a cat named Rodolphe Raffalli plays jazz manouche every Monday evening. Raffalli leads the crowd at the intimate La Piano Vache on a time travel adventure back to the 1930s era of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grapelli. Because a lot of snotty little students from the nearby Sorbonne wander into the bar, the proprietor announces that when guitarist Rafalli plays it is a "No Talking Zone." Violators are shhhhh'd, repeat offenders are invited to leave.

Sounds like my kinda joint.

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