Noise, Shame and Rats in The City of Lights.

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Paris, July 2011.
Cast of characters.
- Baaron Von Cuddles III : Shredmaster. Face-puller. Overlord.
- Benjamin James Gross : Bass guitarist. Fool. Overweight.
- Thee Box: Drummer. Square thing. Loud.
- Andyinglis: Ruthless manager. Nihilist. Well mannered.
- George Bush: Sound Engineer. Complete soak. Pulls da mix.
- Almond The God: Booking agent. French chick. Arse-kicker.
- Buke and Gass: Bespoke prog/folk duo. Nice. Don't drink much.

Baaron Von Cuddles lays down the law at a pre-gig strategy meeting. George Bush is offended and even Andyinglis is dubious, but Almond The God gives it a big thumbs-up.

After confronting the nightmare of peak-hour Parisian traffic we were all nervous and snappy. The Baaron had retreated into his "battle-mind" and was unresponsive while I was sweating heavily and singing the Judas Priest hit "Turbo Lover" at top volume. George Bush and Almond were just plain ornery. Annoyed.

We pulled up outside the venue just in the nick of time to avoid some sort of hyper-aggressive scene inside the moving car.

Shifty Parsisans loitering around the stage during soundcheck. 

Said venue, "Glazart", is a slick, mid-sized nightclub with a fenced off area adjacent, featuring a small concert stage set on an artificial beach, complete with tiki huts for the bar and mixing desk. It seemed hideously out of place, situated as it is in a sleazy, garbage strewn neighbourhood full of tough-looking arabs, winos, pickpockets and tough-looking arab wino pickpockets.

The wierdness got into full swing as The Baaron and myself were hustled out after soundcheck to pose for pictures. A photo-shoot had been arranged with Remy Grandroques, a slick Parisian fashion photographer, who expressed loud dismay at our filthy appearance, homo-erotic toilet humor and our reluctance to put our beers down during the shoot. But the Baaron twisted his arm, I screamed the lyrics of Born To Be Wild at him in a comedy German accent and after that he became pretty docile. The shoot went smoothly, as you can see from the documentary evidence.

We took dinner in a cheesy grotto/smokers-garden at the rear of the venue, which was swarming with giant rats, the size of young rabbits. They had dug themselves a complex warren around the water feature and were darting from hole to hole, obviously crazed by the smell of fried chicken, but unwilling to make a frontal assault on the picnic tables where we were dining. 

The Baaron almost lost a finger when he dangled a piece of chook-flesh near one of the tunnel mouths and a truly monstrous black fucker darted out and lunged for it. The Baaron screeched in terror and recoiled, but Andyinglis, fast as a weasel, threw a steak knife with near deadly precision which buried itself in the dirt next to the rats head in the instant before it disappeared back into it's dwelling.

We all drank a toast to his skill, even though the rat lived. Sometimes near-enough IS good-enough.

But Andys mind was elsewhere. He was smitten to the core of his tortured being by Buke & Gass singer Marnie, and was running his sickening Scottish country gentleman routine on her. She seemed vaguely uncomfortable with his attention, and made several attempts to strike up conversation with George Bush, but our hired sound-gun was already so hopelessly drunk that he could only stare at her and moan softly for help.

Good old George Bush. He loves a drink.

Fortunately for us he crawled under the pizza van parked next to the outdoor stage and at least partially slept it off during B&K's set. When he emerged and hour later he was covered in dirt and axle grease, but seemed to have settled into some sort of reliable form. Our front of house sound was good, I'm told.

Buke and Gass folk-prog your ass.

Von Cuddles checking The Box for lice.

A great example of my "Game Face".

After the show we joined our old freind John Zorns Illegitimate Daughter (JZID) for drinks and loose talk. She had brought a motley collection of French fuck-ups and petty-criminals along to the show, all spastically drunk and obnoxious, for which we were thankfull. Spirits were high, and this is where it gets a bit spotty, for me.

JZID appears unconvinced by my story about fucking Kylie Minogue behind the Bondi Pavilion back in '92.

Andyinglis chums up, mafia style, with Pierre le booker.

At some point I became so drunk that I switched to "Squirrel Mode", a defence mechanism I learned during my time embedded with Russian Special Forces in Chechnya. Chicks love that shit.

Almond tries to hide from the horror, the horror, while George Bush sends pornographic text messages to his 8th grade maths teacher.

All I know for sure is that I contributed to the worlds lamest human pyramid and at some later point made it to our nearby roach hotel to hit the greasy mattress like a big, dead fish. Rumor has it that Andyinglis left the venue with a clutch of notorious local whores, but saw the sunrise with his slacks un-creased and his virginity intact, along with various other miracles, signs and portents. 

The Baaron says I snored heavily and kept asking for another beer in my sleep. I refuse to dignify that kind of slander until he produces video evidence, and probably not even then.

Never trust a Baaron. They think differently to us.


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