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Saturday, September 17, 2005

the underground blues

After checking out all the entertainment of the local bars, I end up at Caveau de la Huchette, drawn in by the promise of some swinging blues music. I buy my drink and saunter downstairs, where I get exactly what I'm looking for.

In front of me a woman in her fifties spins and twirls around the dance floor. Her short black skirt lifts with every movement, but is careful to only reveal her black tights, and nothing more. Only her face reveals her age, as she grasps her grey haired partner’s hand and leans way down into the ground.

I clutch my Jack Daniels and Coke, and try not to spill on the people in front of me as I tap my fingers to the contagious beat.

On stage a French man sings American blues, and although most of his band looks ready to retire, their music brings the room to life. The one young man in the group plays his electric guitar in the back, and is the only one to scrunch up his face like an old Blues musician, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

There are many people here, crowded into this underground bar that must have been dancing to the Blues for years.

At one point the older waiter with the crowbar mustache sets down his tray and takes over the dance floor. He grabs a partner, and proceeds to prove he’s the best dancer in the room. His legs have a life of their own, and must be wired up to the music. His partner is a beautiful young black woman, an amazing dancer, but nothing in comparison to him. He has complete control of her as he swings her back and forth, grabs her hand, and then throws her forward. I can’t help but imagine him in his youth, young, handsome, and seducing all the ladies in the bar with his dancing.

I, for one, can’t twirl. I only get dizzy and confused. So I sit tucked into a tiny bench with a ledge for drinks, watching the dance floor with envy. I get talking to an American woman, living in England, who was taken her daughter to Paris as a gift before she goes back to University. Her daughter is vibrant, looks somewhat Egyptian, and begs her mom for her wallet with a heavy British accent so she can get drunk. She looks almost like a young cartoon when she speaks, her expressions alive and exaggerated.

By the end of the night I know a lot about the woman beside me. She speaks to me with ease and enthusiasm, about her son, about journalism, about her job as a flight attendant and her daughter’s education. I might meet them at a traditional French restaurant for dinner tonight.

I take off to catch my last metro soon after I'm asked to dance by an older Frenchman. I tell him my feet hurt, and then realize I have to go anyways. I'll have to wait until next time to try a twirl or two.

caveau de la huchette


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:42 AM  
Blogger Haley said...

Ohh, that sounded really cool. I could see the whole scene in my write well. Next time stay a bit longer and let someone lead you..get confused in a twirl..haha.


6:16 PM  

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