Le Bresil, tous les Bresils


Is what I am currently listening to.  I get stuck sometimes in a mode of music and can just replay and re-listen for days, it seems.  As I turned on my music this evening I was suddenly thrown back a few years, to my first visit to San Francisco since I had left the Bay Area when I was 5 years old.

My friend Brian, his girlfriend Jenny, and her girlfriend Juliet, were in the Mission.  We went to see a show at The Elbow Room.  The band that was playing was Vivendo de Pao.  I got completely lost in the music.  I remember how I was drenched in sweat from dancing and my hips were sore from gyrating and my knees hurt a bit and I could not care less.  There’s a song on the cd that I’m listening to now that never fails to recall that night.

I was also in a very egoistic place in my life.  Heedless of others feelings or needs or desires, completely, unapologetically concerned with myself and what I wanted.  Just a tiny bit self-centered, hmmm.  But like all good music, if it’s good enough, I lose myself in it and my self goes away, and the room goes away, and the man disappears into the beat and all there is is sound and song and my body in motion and this is bliss.

I got a copy of the cd the band was promoting and listened to it non-stop when I got back to Madison.  I would play it alone in my house after I got home from work, dancing tipsy and brought right back to the second floor of the Elbow Room on Valencia.  I would stare at the strip of photo booth pictures we had taken, Brian, and Jenny, Juliet, and I, all crammed into this little tiny booth.  I still have that strip of photos.

There’s a wedge of Brian’s smile, a hank of Juliet’s hair, a wry set of Jenny’s eyes, and me.  Front and center wearing pig tails.  Looking very serious and tragic. I was “in love” with Brian.  He knew it, I knew it, Jenny, his poor girlfriend knew it, as did her best friend.  I had been for quite some time.  And I remained so for a while after.  I am really good at the whole unrequited love bullshit.

Thank god that chapter of my life is over.  I don’t pine after unavailable men anymore.  Oh, I still think on them once in a while.  There were a few from my teens and early twenties that I held that torch for, but really, they were just safe little diversions, fantasies that I would keep my brain occupied with so that I was distracted from the mess I was making with my life.

Now I have a different connection with that music, oh, I still am reminded now and again of my dreamy young girl self, twirling about the dance floor drinking too much tequila and being reckless with my flirtations.  But now, the music reminds me of Paris.  Ironic, eh?

I bought Le Bresil, tous les Bresils in Paris in May of 2009.  I really wanted to find a hard copy of Moussant T. et Les Jovants, Marseille maritime music, that I had stumbled upon in the close out bin at Street Light Records in Noe Valley before it closed.  But I could not locate it.  And my French, passable ordering food, was not the best when asking to be directed to a certain style of music.  So I just browsed through the stacks.  And there was no rhyme or reason as to how the store was laid out, it was three different levels of crazy.  There were used cds, tapes, dvds, records, new games, and albums, rickety wooden steps to a loft area that was jammed up and I was never even able to get to, and a little basement like room where I found my cd.

It cost EU 6.50.

I listened to it that night in my room at Mama Shelter where I was staying on Rue Des Bagnolet, near Pere LaChaise cemetry.  I put on a sundress and did my make up and danced around my room.  I was in Paris.  I had paid my own way.  I went somewhere not to follow after some one unavailable, but to just be myself and enjoy my own company.  I took myself out to dinner at the cafe across the street from the Metro Ligne Number 2 and ordered a croque madame, splurged on sparkly water, and had two cafe cremes.

I sat and watched the twilight sky purple against the back drop of rustling trees and smiled into the silvered air at no one in particular.

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