David Coveney

Rocking in Paris

I spend… oooh, lots of time in Paris. Yet I’ve never actually quite got round to writing about it on this site.

Why not? Good question. Perhaps because it’s a little personal. I’ve lived there, loved there, and so on. To talk about it in depth may reveal me more to the world at large. Although I present an open face on this site, I keep my personal and social life as private as possible. However, after a bit of thought I’ve realised that I can still write about the city without actually blowing the gaff, as it were.

Festival des Inrocks

The Kooks Playing Live in Paris 2006

For those that don’t know – this is a festival held annually in France, primarily Paris, by the rock magazine Les Inrockuptibles. I wangled my way in to the various shows this year thanks to carefully blagged passes and was treated to a wide range of music. A lot of it British, curiously enough. Seems a long way to go to listen to Brit-rock, but heck, it’s a nice environment to do it in!

This year’s line-up included Lily Allen, Jarvis Cocker, Guillemots, The Kooks and many more – some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. A lot of the groups headlining were British, so in effect I’d travelled all that way to watch UK acts. Ah well… there were some good French acts too. In particular Rock & Roll, a punk-rock group (watch out, my music terminology is generally off-kilter) who put in a huge amount of energy and effort. Not my kind of music, but I could enjoy the act. And one of the lead singer’s plectrums flew off, hit Romana on the head, and was promptly bagged by me as a memento!

We also accidentally stumbled into a show by Etienne Daho. We hadn’t heard of him, but reckoning that he was one of the biggest names on the list he must be good. So we were a bit shocked when he came out on stage and acted like it was still the eighties. The music, the clothes, the dancing…. I mean, I know the French music scene is a bit mixed up and not as leading edge as in the UK, but this didn’t seem right.

Eventualy we discovered it was something like Rick Astley getting a gig at Glastonbury. Those that were of a certain age when he was about would love it and enjoy it, but anyone who didn’t realise it was a one-off comeback would be left baffled.

The City of Paris Itself

Goldfish in Parc de Bercy, Paris

What is so hard about Paris is that it’s been written about by most of the finest writers in the world. How can I expect to add something new to the mix?

And here’s the answer… I can’t.

There is little left to write about, yet so much too. I’d rather create an entire new site for Paris, than try to sum it up in one article. After all, it’s home to millions of people, with a tightly packed centre full of museums, secrets catacombs, alleys, shops, dreams, nightmares and passion. One page here does the city no justice whatsoever.

But I’m not one to give up quite so easily. So in fact I will sum up Paris in one sentence:

It’s a better city to live, love and work in than it is to visit as a tourist.

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