Approximately one hundred million years ago, I was in what humans generally refer to as “high school”. This is essentially a large building where old people tell young people what to think. They talk to you all day about stuff, then they tell you to read some parchments made from dead trees. Worse yet; you are forced to eat your meals in a room that smells like an abandoned McDonalds inside a de-militarized but still faintly radioactive zone. They call those rooms….. cafeterias.
To be honest, I really wasn’t very into the whole thing. I soon discovered the greatest part about high school is often the same high point of any low end job; it’s not the situation itself, it’s the people you meet along the journey that make it worthwhile. I met some cool people in high school. The real edumucation for me lay not inside classrooms, but with time spent meeting new and interesting people.
One of my favourite games to play with such friends on certain weekends was the time travel game. The premise is simple. If you had the ability to travel at any point on this Earth’s history, where and when would your first destination be? Aside from the standard, go back in time to world war 2 and punching Hitler in the face, there are always some interesting answers.
Miles Davis (on piano), September, 1947. Courtesy Wikipedia.
I think my favourite reply was to go back in time to Paris around the late 40s, early 1950s. That time and space was a huge draw for me because it represented an exciting time in terms of youth culture rebelling against the norm. After two world wars Paris certainly had it’s hardships and challenges, but there was certainly alot of incredible art and culture thriving in it’s underbelly of bars and cafes; perhaps a direct result of the resilience of the human spirit. Let’s face it; after two wars, it really was time to party.
Paris is a city steeped in history that encompasses the worst of things (occupation by the Nazis), with some of the best we have to offer as a species including music, art and literature. There was a cross pollination of stuff going on, with American writers like Hemingway hanging with like minded French and Brits; although that was a bit earlier in the 20s. That was a good time in Paris, too. Through those thick plumes of cigarette smoke, there were painters, bohemians, dancers like Josephine Baker and run of the mill bon-vivants, all across a backdrop of some of the greatest jazz the world has ever seen. Miles Davis popped in for a tour after he dropped his seminal Birth of Cool.
Paris also happens to be the city where Genius holds a regular residency at Castor Club; a small, cozy cocktail joint, just off Boulevard Saint Germain in the city’s legendary 6th Arrondissemont. It’s a fitting venue for a depraved group of vinyl junkies with a penchant for sick re-edits. Genius is known for tweaking groovy old school classics and serving them up hot. If you find yourself in the city of lights, check them out. Just remember to bring your oven mitts. With tunes this hot, homie… you need to come prepared.