Turns out, there are some public clay courts the 19th, which is great for a variety of reasons: 1) The ball bounces higher, 2) It’s easier on the knees, 3) You can easily defend line calls because the ball leaves a mark in the clay, and 4) Our French Open fantasies have come to life.
The first time I went, I said “bonjour” to a 6'7" middle-aged man playing on the adjacent court, and he startled me with his response: “What’s up, dude?” Turns out, he’s an American writer (living in France for 28 years) who has co-written with Roman Polanski and used to play professional soccer in Europe. When I asked him if he left the U.S. for the same reason Polanski did, he replied, “no, nothing that fun.” I’m still not sure what he meant by that, but the very next week Polanski was arrested in Zurich on 32-year-old statutory rape charges. No matter, the end of The Tenant is still my favorite film finale of all time (“No one does it to you like Roman Polanski”), and I am now one degree of separation from the man who directed Chinatown.
Speaking of Chinatown, after four months of living out of our backpacks, we finally moved into a nice apartment in the 3rd (159 Rue du Temple, caddy-corner to the Square du Temple, just down the street from Marché des Enfants Rouges). The flat has a loft and is situated in a centuries-old building. And this is our landlord. Oh, and it’s related to Chinatown because there is a mini-Chinatown two blocks away on Rue Maire which features the oldest remaining building in Paris (1300 A.D. [subject to some debate]), which now has a Vietnamese phô restaurant in the ground floor and there is an amazing new banh mi shop next door. ¡Viva colonialism!
The Fiery Furnaces blasted through town again a few weeks ago and I had the brief pleasure of hanging out with their bass player Jason Lowenstein, which was really cool as I always quite liked his Sebadoh material. We talked at length about the timeless value of The Minutemen and SST Records and generally hit it off.
I went to one of my favorite Paris thrift shops the other day, and the Men’s button-up section had been replaced by a rack of disgusting, used-blanket-quality flannel shirts – which are unfortunately back in style. Then, when I Googled “style, flannel” to find a link for this – the final paragraph of another spell-binding edition of “L’Observateur” – the first hit was a blog post featuring a photograph of none other than Jason Lowenstein and Sebadoh. Wow, what are the chances?!