Le chat n’where

It’s May in France right now, as it is in lots of places, and as I type this I’m suddenly reminded that nobody has had a day off here for maybe days. Apart from the weekend of course. La France, you see, is a forward-thinking and fiercely secular society which doffs its cap to no fictitious deity in particular, though – contrary county that it is – it observes plenty of religious holidays in May to keep all the Catholics happy. One presumes this keeps everyone else happy as well, and Christian or no Christian, you’re going to be chanting “Go Jesus! Go Jesus!” on Ascension Day come what may.

May Day falls on the first (so if it happens over a weekend you’re fucked) and the end of WWII is a holiday too (which seems quite right too). In fact a couple of these holidays fall next to each other so most employers gave everyone the day off on the Friday a few weeks ago as well. Then there’s Pentecost, which, while I can’t argue with more free time off, I haven’t got the coat of either. Wasn’t Pentecost the day the Apostles ran into somewhere or other at 8am fired up in the Holy Spirit spouting in tongues and making general nuisances of themselves? People thought they were drunk, but they were drunk in the Lord. Tell it to the judge.

That’s hardly the criteria for a day off now is it, men babbling and shouting? Just to be sure, if someone sees me first thing in the morning talking frantically in another language, it won’t be in French.


14 Iced Bears played here the other night, and great they were too. They were my favourite band for literally weeks when I was 13 and so it was joyous to see them smash it 27 years later. I first heard 14 Iced Bears listening to John Peel in my bedroom when I was… hold up, I explained this story somewhere else.

So 14 Iced Bears finally made it to Paris, though one thing I’ve noticed is how few cats have (what do you mean that was tenuous?). The other day I was walking along by the canal and it just suddenly occurred to me that something was missing. Cats?! Where are they all? That dreadful Le Chat Noir poster is ubiquitous, but the penny dropped that actual cats are scarce, and while you might catch one now and again in the window somewhere they’re nowhere to be seen on the street. I wish I could tell you why this is, but I can’t. I went looking for evidence on the internet earlier, and while I couldn’t find anything conclusive, Pete Doherty confirmed my suspicions in an old interview he did. When asked the differences between London and Paris he said: “To be honest, once I’ve got my head down and I’m scribbling away or strumming away, there’s not a great deal of difference, except there’s no cats in Paris where I am…”  That just isn’t true any more now that Macaulay Culkin has moved into his house.

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