vrijdag, september 16, 2005

Jonny Haywire Arrives in France *Week 1*

Rue de Rennes / Paris
September 1st – September 9th

Heading backwards through the countryside on the TGV, France’s high-speed train, the sun rises through the clouds, the person next to me speaks an unintelligible language, and I have just finished working on a website on my trusty laptop, my new source of income and connection to the outside world via Wi-Fi hotspots you can poach from many locations. I am on my way to Biarritz, more specifically Anglet, a small town north of Biarrtiz, France’s surfing capital. A new swell is on the way and I am heading to stay in a hostel for 14 euros a night. I know nothing about Biarritz except for the fact that there are waves there, sometimes very good waves. But that story is for my next posting, for now, as I pass over a river, my skateboard overhead, and my brand new Xanadu surfboard safely (?) in the train car behind me, I will tell of how I made it thus far.

Escaping Santa Cruz was gnarly. I lived in Santa Cruz for 15 years straight, except for a short sojourn around 1996 in New Zealand. In this decade and a half, I had accumulated a lot of commodities, and responsibilities, so storing and re-allocating and quitting jobs and giving away animals became the greater part of my last 3-4 weeks in Santa Cruz. I made it out just in the nick of time, with the last morning consuming an hour (and $176) in the Post Office, sending out some boxes of Concussion Magazines, and other items I figured I just couldn’t do with out, but I can’t remember what those are at this point.

We drove to LA and the following morning hopped on the plane at LAX, and luckily I was only taxed $80 for my horrendously overweight, awkward, bulky surfboard bag which held my new never ridden surfboard (which my Friend Jason Miller so generously traded me for some web work on Gromz.com), 2 skateboard decks, and 2 snowboards (mine and Christine’s) as well as a wetsuit, booties, hood, and other clothes that wouldn’t fit in my small suitcase. LAX to Houston to Paris and the toiling of the board continued. I was dropped off in Jardin de Luxembourg as Christine went to meet the landlord, since I was not legitimaly allowed to be staying in the apartment. In 2 hours she returned to the park, and we walked, or more like dragged my belongings about 1 mile through Paris, in lots of pain and struggle, with Parisian’s looking at me with the strangest look (Qu’est-ce que ce?) as I sweated my way through the side streets ultimately collapsing next to a metro stop on Rue de Rennes, where our apartment would soon be found. It was a struggle, but it could have been much worse, and at least the board arrived in one piece, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, they say.

Ye ol' Tour D'Eiffel

After climbing 143 stairs, an activity I perform at least three times a day, we cleaned the apartment and marveled at where we were now living, 7 floors up, above the fashion district, with a view of the Eiffel Tower and a few other magnificent landmarks like Sacre Couer on the horizon. As I just mentioned, we live on Rue de Rennes which is one of the biggest fashion streets in Paris filled with all your favorite euro and global shops: Zara, United Colors or Beneton, H&M, lingerie shops, and smaller boutique type shops that have very expensive clothing. I don’t go in the shops, (except the wine store, the cheese store and the bread store), and of course the café’s to get zooped out on a cup or two of the espresso coffee they serve for 1 Euro if you drink it at the bar, and up to 2 to 3 euros if you want to be hip and ‘people watch’ on the sidewalk

And then there is Luidgi and Camilio and Alexis who I met as the Nozebone skateshop. Luidgi was introduced via email by photographer Patrick Trefz, who met him in New York at an art/film show. Luidgi had an art opening at his shop and Christine and I barged out last minute, via the metro, across the Seine to the other side of Paris. It was there that we met Luidgi, a super chillin’ cool guy, who thankfully speaks good English, who we saw spinning at a bar/club the following night. We also met Camilio, who is a well-known old school skater from the 80s in France, and also a famous DJ in Paris who gets flowed all kinds of good records. We listened to him play records until the early morning in his pad, like OG versions of songs by French guys in the 40s or 50s that are sped up from 33-45 and are used by Dr. Dre. We also met Alexis who is the Vans Skate Team Manager for France, another super cool French dude, and we met a bunch of other skaters who I am planning on hanging out with and shooting photos of in the near future. The night ended at a club at 3:30am, and then walking home for 1 1/2 hours until the metro opened and then another 1/2 after that. The sun rose as we clambered up the 143 stairs to sleep.

Luidgi and Jonny - Paris Metro

The next day was similar to the last, and we went to a Vans/Cliché Magazine party (across the Seine) and there was an open bar until about 1:30. The beers were flowing but it was an absolute madhouse sweat fest. I’m not sure if you all know this, but Paris in the summer is HOT and sweaty, and without air conditioning, and very smoky. And of course, my new saying, “When In Paris”… so the spliffs were rolling and the bifters were smoking and Luidgi was spinning for some time, but not techno style, more like Sugar Hill Gang on one turn table and Franz Ferdinand/Modest Mouse/White Stripes on the other, bringing the crowd to a veritable chaotic spurt of ecstasy. That night, we returned home in rush hour traffic as everyone was going to work, and since then have taken a break from going big.

Typical street cafe/flower shop - Paris

What else? We walked to the Eiffel tower and drank some wine and had some cheese and a baguette; we met this guy Josef from Czech under the Eiffel tower who plays the Violin and lives on a low budget (hitch hiking/playing his Violin for money/etc.) and has gone to London to live for a while to make some Pounds, the most valuable currency in the world; I spoke some French and people don’t understand me very well but I’m trying, I’ve even managed a few jokes in French which gave me some hope that I can be understood; I walked up and down 143 steps about 32 times already (4576) stairs; I’ve been working on Concussion business via the internet and keeping contact with people and doing freelance work at a café, or the Laundromat (Laverie), or McDonalds (where they have free internet if you pretend to eat) or even on my balcony, where I can hack into other peoples’ wireless networks while gazing on the Eiffel tower at sunset and the hustle and bustle of Rue de Rennes below me. Until next time, when you get to hear about how I managed to surf with a broken thumb…. a bientot et salut;. Mon prochaine poste serrait a Biarritz.

- Jonny Haywire

Palais De Luxembourg

Oliver from Nozebone - bank ollie at night

Paris Headquarters