It’s Disquaire Day today here in Paris, which is what everyone else calls Record Store Day, but because it’s France it has to have its own semantic spin. It’s like l’Académie française – the organisation that spent ages trying to decide what to call email and came up with “courriel” three years after the universal word had already passed into everyday vernacular here – well, if you believe The Daily Telegraph that is. It’s not just the French; I’ve heard people jokingly refer to Record Store Day as Record Shop Day in England, which is quite right too; a store is something for hoarding rather than vending. Disquaire Day is a bit of a misnomer too as it’s on all week, and yesterday I went in search of the Rough Trade pop-up store ordinarily at Rue du Jour only to discover it had moved to Point Éphémère in the 10eme. Not to worry, it gave us a chance to flâner.
Good Friday is just another day in Paris with all shops open and people going about their regular business, something I did find surprising. Obviously it stands to reason if you remember the country’s fine tradition of laïcité (it dissolved any church involvement with state as far back as 1905), but you’d think some lazy bureaucrat somewhere would have wangled off the day Jesus was supposedly crucified on when they’ll usually find any old obscure patron hallow of cream cheese sandwiches or Tonka trucks to strike yet another business day off the working calendar. That said, it’s the mark of a mature society that they can move forward in secularism without denouncing all of the traditions or tearing down (too many) of the churches. There’s so much beauty to behold, even if it’s tainted, so there’s no need to throw the bébé out with the bathwater.
We had a wander around Rue Saint Denis and Bd de Sébastopol yesterday afternoon, and it became evident that Good Friday is a fine day if you want to pay for a fuck. Here we were après-midi with girls brazenly lining Rue Blondel in leather skirts like Kanye West, shirts open like Engelbert Humperdink and all with faces like Nadine Dorries. One chap came steaming out of a brothel and said goodbye to two ladies (who also looked like Nadine Dorries) and he appeared especially pleased with himself, like he’d just won an easter egg hunt. That street is going to give me nightmares like some distopian Chris Cunningham video, only instead of Aphex Twin’s face, Nadine Dorries’ face is everywhere and I fear closing my eyes in case she’s lurking behind my own lids. We swiftly headed for home.
Claire and I did get down to Point Éphémère to mooch around the ephemeral Rough Trade shop earlier on, and we may return to watch John Grant play there later. I saw a bit of Liz Green who it transpires makes me feel as murderous performing live as she does on record, though it’s my problem, not hers. There were few records I actually wanted to shell out for (€15 for one Grace Jones track seems excessive even if it’s limited) but I did get a buzz from being in the hub of people excitedly (okay, nonchalantly) flicking through racks of vinyl, and it made me feel comforted because that’s what I did every weekend when I was a teenager. I thought – like I’m sure a lot of people think on Record Store Day – why don’t we do this every week? There’s enough of us! Let’s congregate in stores across the world every seven days and hold hands and thrill ourselves with hunks of grooved plastic! But then I’m probably just indulging the fantasies of someone of a certain age longing for halcyon days that were actually a bit shit were it not for the escapism of a new record to disappear in once in a while.
Getting a weekly record wouldn’t be a highlight any more like it was when I was 13. I live in a city I love with the girl I love, I get to write about music for money and I’ve just been on a break to Córdoba to check out the mesmeric Mezquita–catedral, something I’ve wanted to do for like 4EVA!!!, and we went on a day trip to Tangiers too (which was certainly interesting once you got past all the snake oil salesmen… and I’d tell you all about it here but this is Paris Natch not Tangier Natch, – soz). Life in many ways is better than it’s ever been, which naturally (or naturally to me at least) makes me wonder what might be lurking around the corner.Follow @jeres