Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Plein des choses a faire

Well Paris is packed. Not a huge spread out city, but small streets and lots of people/cars/apartments = packed. And so was today. Kicked off with class as per usual. I gave them a little contact class. In keeping with the them of today i packed in a lot of methods and tricks so much so that we over ran by 30 mins. Although no complaints mind you. I will miss teaching these guys. They have given as much as i have so it's been great to work here for the week. The technicians arrived safe and sound with all the kit in tact and an unexpected toll fee of €32...nice. I will remember to put that in the budget should i make any more future forays into Europe. Anyhow, it is good to have the gang reassembled once more. We'll do a tech run tomoz and the first show is up on friday at 1430 for a school group. I have no idea how they are going to take it. I hope they are teaching them english.

This is the is that blue chewing gum or an apostrophe...or both?

The insides.
Et encore...Scotsmen and Frenchmen working together for the sake of art. Powerful stuff.
Several handshakes later i was acquainted with the management staff of the theatre and after an illegal moped ride to the place i decided to walk back to my digs via a boulangerie (mais bien sur!). The CND building itself is quite close to the performance venue. I am unsure as to wether or not i find the architecture of the CND aesthetically pleasing, but it certainly is interesting.

Le CND...does what is says on the tin.
Now i've spent the last few days teaching then rehearsing then eating and blogging and finally sleeping. I felt it was high time to go out and interact with the hoi polloi. An apt opportunity came in the form of a fellow breaker by the name of Willski. Apparently he has "bear" time on his hands (a colloquial term he picked up on the mean streets of london) and is having fine time living off the French social system...fair play i say. In other words he's got plenty of time to practice so that's what we did. Paris has had it's fair share of free spots in the city where dancers from all styles get down. When i first travelled here the hot spot was Les Halles. Since then it's moved on to La Defense and Gare du Lyon (du Nord...can't remember which one). but, for various reasons, the spots have continued to be shut down eventually. This time the local Parisien government folk have opened up an old city morgue to bring life (yes...indeed) to a more risque area of the 19th district. The place is called 104 (ou cent quatre) and it is basically a huge building housing artsy shops, concert stage, exhibitions and 2 large paved areas where they allow dancers and performers of all kinds to do their thing. We got down there at about 5pm hoping to squeeze in a couple of hours but the was a band sound checking for a concert so we had to wrap it up not so long after we got there. Determined to get his sweat on, Willski found us another area where we could continue. This time it was a little bit closer to the band...and it rocked man! Check it out these dudes are called Staff Benda Bilili and i think come from the Congo. I tell you there's nothing better than getting down to a live band especially when it's some hot african beats. Free training spot, free live music...pas mal. Here's a short get down....

Training at 104
So after we had both sweated enough, the staff did a final sweep and cleared us out. It was hot inside 104 but even hotter outside. As i mentioned this building had been open up in an area that local government felt would benefit from a bit of cultural rejuvenation...or as Willski put it "The place is pretty ghetto". Once we got outside the ghetto-ness was plain to see as some dudes had taken it upon themselves to create a make shift grenade launcher. Ok they weren't really grenades, just a very loud and more explosive form of a projectile firecracker. At first we couldn't tell where it was coming from. But by the third attempt these guys ran clearly out onto the street and looked to be aiming it up the backside of some poor member of the public. Actually it was at the police. Before you know it there's glowing ball flying towards a cop car which then explodes. It's not causing any real damage but i wouldn't use it to light your gas cooker. Next thing the cops are out of the car chasing these dudes down the street. Pretty ghetto indeed. I wish i had filmed the whole thing.

I wasn't too bothered about seeing the outcome of this event as i figured i could perhaps read about it in tomorrow's paper. It would be good practice anyway. We headed back chez Willski for pizza which i was assured would be excellent and an ice cold coke. Both items were received and dealt with enthusiastically. As i said Paris is packed and therefore you can expect the majority of city apartments to be spatially restricted shall we say. This indeed was the case but then i again i don't have a view of the Montmartre from my place.

Feeling sated we headed out to meet one of Willski's friends at Canal St Denis. En route we spotted some funky street art. So check it out...last night as i was trawling through the internet looking for what's going off in Paris at the moment i came across pictures of street art by this dude, Clet Abraham. This chap is turning street signs into quirky images and if you didn't pay attention then you probably wouldn't notice...much like the people smoking crack in the local metro station. So today i paid attention and lo and behold there was sign that had been allowed to manifest it's real identity just round the corner...

Definitely a sign from above.

Spotted this one on the way to Canal St Denis. Not sure if it's his work but worth a snap.
So we met up with Willski's pal and i had to ply my french tongue. it was a bit of a brain overload at times but i managed. We did pick up a fan in the shape of a rather inebriated fellow who claimed he was former Tunisian Police. At least this is what he continued to shout at us (even though he was about a foot away) while swinging about a plastic bottle of red wine...most of which was on his shirt. He must have taken a liking to us because as we moved on he decided to follow. Eventually, we lost our tail as he either got tired, got lost or just fell over at some point. 

Before we arrived at our final destination, Willski had been giving me the tour. Most places were described as "pretty ghetto", "rough" or "sketchy". I'm beginning to see that Paris is really a mixture of people and places both packed together in tight spaces, which probably makes for the best of times and perhaps the worst also. But we were having a pretty good time and wound up on rue du fauborg saint denis. Some pretty trendy bars and a few dodgy geezers were present and we even bumped into another of Willski's buddys who happens to big a big gun on the french bboy scene. One demi-peche later and it was time to call it a night for me. Thankfully i made it back in one piece through this pretty ghetto city.

just imagine "pont en" becomes "room 2"

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