RANT: Bon Voyage! The trips to us, them, others: always back in time?

Hein, qu’est-ce que je dois faire?
C’est vrai je dois bien finir quelque part
Loin de tes terres, de ta mémoire
Je voulais juste te dire au revoir
Juste une dernière fois te revoir
Avant que j’erre, que je ne m’égare
J’aimerais qu’on se serre puis qu’on se sépare

Le Rempart


I remember getting ready to leave London to Paris the morning after arriving to Bloomsbury from Ottawa. I was flying to and from London for a couple of weeks, but just hanging around a day or so at the start.

Had time that afternoon in November 2013 to check in to the Jesmond B&B, grab some food, check out the area some, and nap before dinner plans at 5:30 pm with an old acquaintance who I’d met in Soho back in 2000 at a Hawksley Workman gig. A great trip – planned to see the House of Love reunion tour in London and Motorhead, with a sojourn to Paris to meet up with three friends and see Vanessa Paradis in concert. London was so busy — it was a nice to switch gears to Marais, and coast for a few days in the slower pace of le Paris.

I miss travelling for the concerts — especially to cities like New York and over to London. Excitedly, you’d spot the gig online, cost the tickets, then wait for that fated email from your boss at work that read: “For sure – go. Just submit your leave in the system.” Then it was GO TIME as you reached out to your friends in the cities and countries nearby and scoured the Internet for all the other shows happening!! Let the planning start!

And what memories!! These were the trips that would nurture friendships and bonds, and make stories filled with love and fun times – and great food.

The night I went to see Vanessa Paradis and Benjamin Biolay (below), I had a good dinner with a mate I met in Montreal. He knew Paris, he was French from Brittanny. He didn’t like Parisiens, he was more California. He walked like he owned the place – but with real confidence. Not an arrogance that masked insecurity. He was quiet, self-assured, and brilliant. And had grown quite bored of Montreal for noble reasons. We enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner – our last was sushi before a Miike Snow gig in Montreal! He was years younger but had more character and value than most guys my age who were/are single. On the other side of the world, a great dinner, wine, laughs, and then — off to my show!

I was over the moon to hear this song here, written by Mathieu Boogaerts for Vanessa Paradis. A HUGE fan of the artists on Tot ou Tard record label since back in the day of Record Runner on Rideau Street (Ottawa) that would order me so many imports from Fersen to Breut!, I was excited as hell to see and hear it performed live. I shot some video of the live performance and sent it to Mathieu. The coolest was his response back – that was so like me to want to CONSUME the feeling, the song, the energy and to touch a bit of the stars!!!

After enjoying seeing Vanessa Paradis in concert, I walked off into the amazing Paris city night lights along the big boulevard to try and find my way to the metro to get back home to Rue de Turenne. Of course the day before I had been navigating the Tube, and now another city again. Another key to my flat…

NOT BEING ABLE TO TRAVEL ABROAD DURING THE PANDEMIC is showing me to where I travel in my mind par habitude, and has reinforced my new way of being.

Despite all these wonderful trips and moments with friends — at home and abroad — why such a focus on the flailing or fiery romances, and the fixation on certain persons? To the Writer, this is fertile territory, but like my first Muse said “Let me expand. Do we really need to be the down & out types to express ourselves? Maybe in the past times when thrills were considered cheap, forbidden &/or hidden. When social standing had a modicum of importance. & all the interest of Billiards. It’s all upfront now. Underground’s overground.”

He’s not wrong.

But for CREATIVE TYPES who have sucked the life out of feelings and exquisite experiences — must you continue? CAN you continue? Or does the chaos bleed you dry with only trite to write.

At one point, I would have relished this song in layers of meaning about a personal story I could relate to with some former lover. Who cares, though. Evolved, evolving: now, I see it as a song about the CONCEPT of where we try to look for answers. Is it between the sheets? In the arms of a lover? In the loss of the arms of a lover?

Oui, qu’est-ce que j’espère?
Qu’on me dise la fin de l’histoire
Qu’on me libère, qu’on me repère
Qu’on me dise si je viens, si je pars
Que l’on m’éclaire, que l’on me fasse voir
Ce qu’il y’a derrière, derrière cette histoire
Derrière ce rempart, c’est un mystère

There’s no mystery there. Just confusion. Dashed hopes built from the euphoria of a scent or hormonal bond that, in our age and with experience, we realize does not sustain a reality that shows itself so readily despite masks, tricks, and charades. That’s if you’ve been dating poorly like I have. With real love lost — again: no mystery. Your shit or their shit got in the way: so fix it. Move on.

TRAVEL is a lot like our experiences in life … we go there, we come back: changed, every time.

Maybe we can treat people like this? We go there, we experience, and we leave.

Thinking of it this way – we can better spot the losers.

The ones who have not put any thought into their journey, are following some guide, and will return home boasting they went to Paris and saw all the sights, and went to all the naughty places, but whose souls would have never have been touched cuz they were a superficial tourist, and likely just adding on a few days to the place cuz they were there for some work thing. Sorry.

Then there are those who went *really* to look. To see(k). To feel. Who researched and observed, who were curious and discovered.

I guess people are like places? Places we go to.

So how do you wanna travel to me, or why should I travel to you? And what are the real reasons we’d all want to go back? Or fuck it, and never return again?

Disclaimer: Ludic lovers need not apply here. They’re like the hop on-hop off organized tour bus people while some of us prefer living locally for a while with an investment in the residents.