A few months back, I spammed my coterie soliciting possible people connections for my future life in Paris. I got a handful responses, all of which panned out. One led me to underground hippie comix legend and former Texan Gilbert Shelton of Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers fame. Since then, I’ve hung out with Gilbert a few times at his studio, attended an art opening of his in Montreuil, and gone with him to his weekly jam session at Le Jackomo (See also: http://taylorholland.blogspot.com/2007/10/la-photo-du-jour-17.html). He’s an accommodating dude, and I find him and his drawing partner Pic not only talented, but intriguing. Turns out, Shelton and I have mutual friends not only in Austin, but in Real de Catorce, Mexico. I mean, what are the chances?! Hold that thought.
Also a few months back, I was browsing Craigslist: Paris, and found a post by an Australian guy named Matt Davis who was looking for people to play in a Mogwai/Slint-inspired band. Sympathetic, I responded. Turns out, he and I have a mutual friend in Oklahoma (what are the chances?!), and we hit it off. These days, we get together about twice a week to play tennis or ping pong. In the first week we were here, Matt invited us to meet him at a bar called Chez Jeannette for beers. There was an interesting looking man sitting at a table nearby, and someone said he was once married to Michelle Shocked. Then someone else told us he was in the movie Amélie, as the guy who receives international postcards from the stolen lawn gnome. I had just seen the movie a few weeks prior – while wasting time in Mexico – and I was reasonably convinced that it was the same actor. We are in Paris, after all. Later in the evening, I saw him and Matt sitting at the same table but thought little of it, as it is often customary in Europe to share tables. Hold that thought as well.
Fast forward to yesterday. After getting home from getting blasted at tennis yet again by Matt (4-6, 0-6), I received a very complimentary email concerning Plus Tard from an as-yet-unkown-to-me American in Paris named Bart Bull: bartbull.blogspot.com. I checked out his blog, and it turns out he’s an old journalismo like myself, who also happens to know a hell of a lot about my old friends at The Austin Chronicle (what are the chances?!). Duty called, so we decided to meet for a beer this afternoon. He suggested Chez Jeannette, and I of course thought, “What are the chances?!”, since it’s one of three bars I know by name in the entire city.
Fast forward to today. After about an hour of whirlwind conversation with Bart and his girlfriend, he starts talking about living on a houseboat with his “ex-wife who happens to be a rock star.” A little light went on inside my head, and I thought “this is the Michelle Shocked/Amélie dude!” I mean, what are the chances?! Turns out, true on the former, false on the latter. It turns out he helped Matt mix his solo album just prior to my arrival. Again, what are the chances?! (There are more delicate aspects to this particular edition of “Wow, What Are the Chances?!,” but the Art Director in me wants to keep it relatively brief so these photos have some black space in which to “breathe.”)
Still, the question remained: How did Bart Bull find me? He did a Google search for Gilbert Shelton, found the aforementioned photo on my blog, and emailed me because he liked what he saw and read. Say it with me now, game-show style: What... are... the chances?!