Thursday, November 15, 2007


I've arrived at Inge between Toulouse and Monléon-Magnoac, in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. We had a little modal saz/mandolin jam last night (I was tired and had had a bit more wine than intended, so nothing hugely memorable, but fun). Marie, from her new band Youshka, is living in a yurt nearby, plays, fiddle, trombone, flutes, etc. While Inge was off teaching music, she and I attempted some three-time bourrées from Auvergne, where she's from - it took me a while to tune in to the rhythms (they sound elaborate, but are deceptively simple)...some worked better than others, but I'm here for a while, so there's time to work on these.

Shakespeare & Company bookshop
Shakespeare & Company bookshop

I had a memorable day in Paris with Banana Tom en route - Oscar Wilde's grave, psychogeographic drifting, Tibetan food and the Notre Dame. We ended up in the upstairs study of the now-legendary Shakespeare & Company bookshop on the Left Bank, me playing my saz for quite a while, as one of the young writers-in-residence was curious to hear what it sounded like. Didn't hear a single accordion all day - while sitting in what appeared to be a typical Parisian café, they put on a George Michael album!

The previous night, waiting for the coach out of Canterbury I ended up down at the Orange Street Music Club having a drink with my Buddhist poet friend Tim. We witnessed a very imaginative singer-songwriter (on guitar and then piano) with a great voice, sometimes lifting into a Thom Yorke-like falsetto. There were about four people in the audience on average (much coming and going), which seemed criminal - at one point Tim and I were the audience, and felt a bit guilty about talking - but it was a Monday night, and the gig was apparently unannounced. I made my apologies to one of his friends as I slipped off ot the bus station (I think the singer's name was Richard something - good stuff, anyway).


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