Words Don’t Come Easy; Paris Soundnotes

After a long travel day yesterday, I’m back from WRAB, from Paris, home in Ypsilanti, unpacked and laundering, family gifts dealt, and more or less re-charged from the first decent night’s sleep in oh at least a week. In retrospect, I should have been more tired and draggy while in France. Probably some small lift is attributable to laying off vegetarianism for a few days and amping up on proteins. Travel warnings were right: it’s tough to avoid meat in Paris.

There’s much, much more to say about the trip than I have time for right now. Indeed, I have committed the classic mistake of pinning to-do list item after to-do list item on the week after WRAB (i.e., now) and have quite a backlog to level through this week (TGIWB…[W]inter [B]reak). For now, I only wanted to catch a few soundnotes, earworming auditory takeaways from the trip.

I’ve tried but could not locate a few things I heard on the Air France flight, though AF makes it a point to publicize their in-flight playlists, so on that basis might look further and listen more closely another day.

F.R. David’s “Words” was playing in the eco-shuttle I rode in from Charles De Gaulle to Ampere. More than any other track, it caught on as the trip’s anthem, harder and harder set on a loop as I fumbled “je ne comprends pas” each of the four times I was asked by locals (er…Fr. speakers) for directions. Je. ne. compren…here, just listen to this.

And since an 8.5-hour flight in coach ranks both as hell of hells and also as the longest flight I’ve ever endured, I didn’t expect it to be bearable. I escaped six hours by watching three entire movies–Gravity, Jobs, and Captain Phillips–before learning I was seated next to Marcellus Pittman, who was gracious enough to talk a bit about mixing, vinyl and new/old techniques, touring, and so on. Fascinating stuff that not only reminded me about intriguing questions about mixing as a productive method and about Detroit’s industrial, techno-feelic scene, but also about Archer Records, about yet underexamined practices and needed work to deepen sonic mix as one of writing’s favorite contemporary metaphors, and about my attraction to these sounds, especially when writing. There’s something in the beat mechanics that underwrites (or somehow nourishes?) an effective writerly attention structure. For me, at least. To sum it up: 8.5-hour flights are a helluva lot better sitting next to Marcellus Pittman (Discogs).

And this last one, “The Mad Underdog” (or, had I to add a subtitle to resonate with “mad” and “underdog,” “Writing Program Apothecary’s Dosi”) is a bootleg, but after the first few minutes, I’m not sure how you’ll resist clicking over to the iTunes store where you can pick it up for less than one euro.