Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Morning After

morning after

Every day this summer feels like I'm recovering from the night before: first it was gigs, then jet lag, then the late nights with the band who were here recording and then the first summer visitors from America. Then it was the night of the bat.

Then it was Paris, where I trekked out to the western suburbs to stand in a broiling courtyard with people of many lands arguing with guards to be humane and let us into the (slightly cooler) building. When I finally entered what I thought would be an outpost of the British embassy, I realized it was just a company hired to take our passports and paperwork, put them in plastic bags, collect biometric information and then eject everyone back into the world without a passport, possibly having given up our identities for them to sell in another country. Maybe we were even now members of a new low-grade espionage ring to be called up at a later date - I'll let you know, or then again I won't.

Next it was the morning after my night in Paris, where I'd wandered the streets purposefully, seeing the YSL exhibit at Petit Palais, the Willy Ronis show at la Monnaie, eating at L'As du Falafel which really was as good as they say, and finally seeing "Taking Off", the Milos Forman film from 1971 which was very funny with some good musical surprises.

Where I used to have dreams of looking suitably chic in Paris, these days I've lowered my expectations to trying to at least not look completely Limousin rube, or like that American lady in the Alexander Payne segment ("14th Arrondissement") of "Paris Je T'Aime". Though in some ways she is my hero.

Today I'm recovering from our gig at the Site Corot last night. Held in an unused auberge in a lovely spot near a river, next to some old glove factories, it took five meetings and three months to organize. Many people showed up, having been told we were either a) a "rhythm & blues" group or b) country music. They stayed for about three songs and the rest of the set we played to our usual ten friends and the few assorted French people too polite to desert us. But the river made a nice sound and we still remembered how to play.

So it's a good tired.


the fly in the web said...

Crumbs...remind me never to lose my passport if this is what they do to you..
Have they exiled U.K. citizens from the consulate on rue d'Anjou, then?

As to looking suitably chic in Paris I looked around me on the metro last time and felt almost superior...but then, Paris chic wouldn't be seen dead in the metro, would it..

thanks for your helpful comment on mine...I think that is the way to go.

Vanda said...

I had my passport stolen in Paris last September two days before my daughter's wedding (so I was frantic by this time) and can report it was dealt with immediately and very the UK immigration authorities. The French border control simply shrugged their shoulders in a very Gallic manner and waved me through into no man's land...

amy said...

It's odd Ms. Fly - it's an outside company (WorldBridge - hmm, sounds ominously vague) that takes visa applications for people wishing to go to the UK. Since I'm just a US citizen resident in France, they have no obligation to allow me into England. European Union? Not really. So for British people the place with a picture of the Queen is still there in Paris - I had expected to be doing my interview in English but all the equipe were French.

Vanda, how stressful! The Paris post must be pretty coveted for immigration officers, whereas working the ports (Calais, Boulogne etc) is a job no one wants. The French handle it by leaving their border control stations empty - so every time I go back through UK immigration I'm immediately under suspicion for having no French entry stamps on my passport. Why can't we all just get along?

the fly in the web said...

How'd think that the consular officials would be looking after visa questions...not some private organisation.

As for entry stamps, I thought the whole shebang was computerised now...even Costa Rica has managed that!

amy said...

I guess there is something delightfully quaint about the stamp thing -

The WorldBridge co. are simply there to do the grunt work of making sure all the documents are there - supposedly they then pass it all on to the real govt. office who then make the decision based on the compiled information. I'm waiting on that Chronopost envelope to find out!

PS Glad that's some help, however you present it, I'm sure it will be a great read.