Friday 28 August – Paris

Much excitement today as our trip coincides with a decree from Emperor Napoleon III that a great/grande Exposition Universelle is to be held in Paris come 1867 (should the world still be in one piece b’then!) Exhibits will include a giant Iced Bun on which schoolchildren are to recreate famous battles from the Russian front, a violin concerto performed by a child prodigy inside a special crystal in which he is to be incubated and raised from next Thursday, not to mention – for the nature lovers amongst you – a man dressed as a bear fighting a bear dressed as a man, to the death! It is sure to be spectacular but in the meanwhile it is exciting to hear that a band once local to our beloved Manchester – Pastis (pronounced ‘Past it’) – will play in celebration of this massive indulgence on the festival site tonight.


After a day of sightseeing, buying miniature Eifel Towers in anticipation of forthcoming erections, we arrive at the riverside venue. Excitement ripples through the crowd like flatulence at a bean factory. The facilities are impeccable, the queues for beer significantly less, and less violent than their English equivalent. What Licky and I cannot find anywhere are the tobacco tubes that would allow us at least a frisson of bad behavior. We decide to split up and pursue the most attractive smokers, of the appropriate sex, available within our immediate circumference. Needless to say, while I charm several young lady models into submission, Licky makes a right exposition of herself. Speaking French – or even English – is so ‘last season’ the lady models have already told me (with their eyes), something Licky doesn’t seem to appreciate. However unfashionable, and having missed the Afro-chirrup of Vladimir’s Weekday, we reunite in anticipation of Pastis – their famous ‘dirge’ nothing if not momentous in its attitude. Alas, the emotions have already spilled over, and a trembling announcer comes on stage to tell us that the famously blue brothers have argued backstage and split. Such is the size of the ensuing Gallic shrug that I fear the lads will have seen it from their private hot air balloon home. We disperse to paint the town (a very united) red, and over several ‘giraffes’ of wine talk about the old days, of which the music was only ever a background to the irreplaceable friendship and love.

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