It’s getting a bit chilly here tonight, sitting and reflecting on our first week in Paris. The weather app tells us that it’s 5 below zero and that there’s a Severe Weather alert with a ‘Moderate Snow or Ice Warning.’ We’re enjoying the location of our apartment and the ease of access to the Metro; with a station about 50 metres away. This means that we can layer up our clothing and then walk to the station: disappearing into the labyrinth of the Metro with its accumulated network of lines with trains running at frequency levels that we can only dream of.
As well as getting out and about during the day it has also been fun to get involved in a number of Open Mic nights here in Paris. For the uninitiated, an Open Mic night involves a host setting up a PA system in a bar or pub and ‘opening’ the microphone to other performers. There’s usually a protocol where prospective performers let the host know that they’d like to perform and there is usually a limit of 2-3 songs. Having heard of the concept on a worldwide newsgroup for solo and duo performers back at the end of the 1990’s I started one of the first Open Mic nights in Newcastle NSW in 2001 at the Criterion Hotel in Carrington.
There’s quite a long list of Open Mic nights in Paris and so far I’ve sung a few songs at The Galway Irish Pub on the left bank just across the Seine from Notre Dame, at l’Oasis 244 on the north side and, last night in an incredibly atmospheric 12th Century Gothic cellar, la Pommy d’Eve; just near the Pantheon.
It has been a good way to get a feel for some of the bars and night life and, despite the cold, it’s been quite easy to get around via bus, metro or simply walking. As well as singing, there’s also been quite a bit of excitement with the World Cup games being televised with an 8.00pm kick off time. We found ourselves squeezed into Teddy’s Bar last Saturday night as traditional rivals France and England faced off against each other. The resultant French victory saw large crowds of exuberant young French people singing and dancing in the square at Place de la Contrescarpe