In Ivry dream home a heartache

My dear friend David dragged me out of my bobo-land bubble this evening, and before I knew it I was heading out of the periph and into the wilds of Ivry-sur-Seine, which on the face of it seems like a conurbation of overgrown geometric dream homes fallen into disrepair, squat parties and perpendicular haircuts as far as the eye can see. Or the place we went to certainly was, full of peacock mohawks and studded leather and people who live in an alternative universe where they all dress the same. The festival we found ourselves at was as much anachronistic as it was anarchistic.

There was a time when rock ‘n’ roll was a young man’s game. Not any more. I remember a time when Mick, Macca and Freddie were being mocked for daring to consider rocking into their 40’s, and social commentators wondered at how preposterous it might be if they were still performing into their 50’s, god forbid. Now rock seems to be the hobby of a lot of people over 30 who are mostly white and whose records were predominantly made in the 70’s. And actually there’s no shame in that. I’m not sure if I have any desire to go through the hassle of performing on stage as a musician ever again, but I’ve started picking up the guitar and scribbling words in a vaguely poetic fashion in stolen moments. I’m pleasing myself really, and that’s not something to be ashamed of, although it sounds like it is the way I’ve described it.
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My friend David retired from music a few years ago when he was 40. It was such a momentous occasion that he dragged his mum all the way down from Scotland for the gig. Since then he’s been on tour shit loads. Bands keep snapping up his services, and off he goes, and from what I can gather he’s enjoying it far more than he ever did before he brought the curtain down on his musical career.

Right now he and Chris Low are reunited again (David managed Portuguese punks The Parkinsons and Chris drummed for them) playing in Part 1, an anarcho-punk outfit who have been described as “perhaps the ultimate cult deathrock” punk band by people who know about these things. They were first a going concern in the early 1980’s, and have revived themselves recently much to the joy of rabidly committed fans who used to clandestinely hang on every thrashed cymbal or lyric about dying slowly from behind the iron curtain. Fans turn up now with tattoos of the band that they decorated themselves in with broken Stolichnaya bottles and some heavy duty Soviet bitumen.

It’s all quite romantic, and on stage the band bring a former era to life again with a welcome intensity. The singer comes on and reads a long lament to the fact he’s still alive or something, while the guitarist looks like he’s going to jump straight back into a sarcophagus as soon as the gig has ended. All the while there’s a raging, angular noise they’re creating, and the kids are going batshit for it, and quite right too.

Part 1 return for two encores, and afterwards Claire and I head off past the intriguing edifices of this slept on part of Paris and look to spend the rest of the evening relaxing while David gets worshipped by apparatchiks from the former Eastern Block. It’s a monstrous noise they deliver tonight, and I should know as they’re still ringing in my ears as I type. Tomorrow we shall sit down together properly in the 11eme. For part two in fact.

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