Saturday, November 16, 2013

Phantom of the Apero - Pastis

          My last post dealt with the results of drunkenness, so it seemed appropriate to segue into a good way to get blotto in France. I probably should have done this one a couple of months ago since it's about pastis, a drink traditionally served cold and popular in summer. Come to think of it, though, the first time I ever saw anyone drinking it was in the fall ten years ago when Cynthia and I spent a week near St. Tropez. She had a subscription to a magazine called "Fluent French" and every couple of months she got a CD of conversations with native French speakers along with a booklet with the  translation. Coincidentally, the one she got right before our trip had conversations with some kahuna from Ricard, one of the most well known brands, along with some pastis enthusiasts who provided ringing endorsements. So the whole time she bugged me to try this stuff, which I resisted because I knew there was some kind of process involved and didn't want to look any more like a foreign rube than I already did.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

O Llama, Where Art Thou.

            Well, things are finally getting back to normal here in Bordeaux.  You might be aware that last week 5 fĂȘtards ivre (drunk party animals), as Le Parisien called them, made off with a llama from a travelling circus and took it for a ride on the tram. English language accounts passed on just the basic story, plus a few of the photos and videos. They generally maintained the French media's lighthearted attitude with only the CBC using the word "hooligans" and mentioning calls for punishment. So Canadians have little tolerance for drunken debauchery and boorish behavior, unless, of course, you're the mayor of Toronto. The past week here it's been all Serge, all the time and yesterday was the first day he was missing from the local newspaper, Sud-Ouest, website. He will, however, be making a personal appearance at Le Girondins soccer match on Sunday so Sergermania might not have abated.

Monday, November 4, 2013


            While writing the post about "Tricky Sam" a few weeks ago, I was looking something up in "Duke's Bones", Kurt Dietrich's book about Ellington's trombonists, and got sidetracked rereading the section on Lawrence Brown. That made for a further sidetrack to listen to some recordings that reminded me of what an amazing player Lawrence Brown was.  
            One of the first CD's I remember buying was a trombone compilation that I'm too lazy to go and find the title of right now. Anyway, one of my favorite cuts was Lawrence Brown's "Blues for Duke" from his album, "Slide Trombone", which was out of print at the time. I played whatever it is you can play instead of grooves off that CD. Sometime later, I read an article about Steve TurrĂ© in which he talked about the importance of some of the swing era masters like Lawrence Brown and Vic Dickenson. When I discovered the album "Everybody Knows Johnny Hodges" had the entire contents of "Inspired Abandon", Lawrence Brown's only other album as a leader, I picked up a copy and played the shit out of that one, too.