Sunday, March 1, 2015


Le Point Ephémère was a trendy venue in an unlikely locale. It was situated in a lofty bunker on the edge of a darkened canal in North-East Paris. We couldn't find it initially, I breathlessly stopped to ask a local for directions in broken French. His hand gestures indicated that it was à la gauche and I rushed on ahead, scraping out a merci! as I skipped towards what looked like an abandoned canteen in the middle distance. We stumbled down the slope and the muffled music became more convincing. Hurry, hurry! I shouted behind me. Andrew and Louise staggered on like zombies, exhausted from the first day of our continental adventure. We had walked what seemed like the entire breadth of the city, imbibing le musée de la vie romantique, Colette and Shakespeare & Co. We were all dead by 8pm, but that was the exact time we were meant to be at Le Point Ephémère, waiting for Eugene McGuinness to come on stage.

It was entirely my idea and Louise completely understood how much it meant to me. She knew how I cultivate these types of daydreams and she knew how invested I got in this idea of us in that crowd, dancing to Fonz and Lion, carrying on to songs that for me, have only ever existed in my room. However, as we all lay supine over our maroon-coloured beds, it was clear Louise was very ill, indeed. She ached but continued to convince me wearily: We will go, Elle. We will go soon... The idea of it became increasingly implausible when at 8.30pm, Andrew went across the road to the local supermarché to buy supplies for dinner. He'd seemed to have gone for something like 45 minutes and by the time we had actually left the hotel, it was getting closer to 10pm.

We waded past the punters and approached the door of the bandroom. It was heavy, locked and glazed with a dried honey-like substance. I pushed repeatedly and peered through the glass which had been obscured with internalised chicken wire. The room was filled with misshapen silhouettes and magneta-coloured stage lights. I pressed my ear to the door and heard Eugene announce his last song, the crowd wildly cheered and whistled. I couldn't determine whether it was the exhaustion, the disappointment or perhaps a deft combination of the two, but I cried. I cried hard. I retreated to the sticky, bathroom stalls which were defaced accented profanities and curled up into a seated fetal position for several minutes. When I emerged, I found Andrew in the emptying bandroom. He was talking to a guy on stage who was winding up a heavy lead around his arm. He admitted to me, I was trying to get you a setlist...

It was an excessive reaction on my part, one that certainly felt excessive as we ambled back towards the underground in silence. I walked slowly behind them this time, tears streamed down my face. As we approached our hotel, Louise asked to stop at a nearby bar to sit alone and write. I didn't need any retrospect to understand what had just happened. I knew that my tantrum had ruined what had been a completely euphoric day. However, when I would come to reflect on the incident later, the moral of the story became abundantly clear: I should have gone alone. I knew that my desire to have them with me was not so much to do with this fantasy I've cultivated of musical friendship, it has to do with a fear of true independence. I understand the limitations of my own independence and those limitations seem to be ingrained in me. I don't do certain things alone because I fear that something will happen to me.

Months later, I sifted through the tickets, receipts and other debris from our adventure together. Among the misshapen artefacts, I found that two light purple tickets that were unfamiliar to the eye. They were tickets, someone else's tickets to Eugene McGuinness at Le Point Ephémère that Andrew had picked up from the bandroom, without my knowledge. I let out a large wail in love and in guilt, knowing how my tantrum must have affected Andrew in particular. I stuck the tickets in a hardcover O-CHECK scrapbook, among hundreds of other photographs, ribbons and postcards. It's a beautiful document, one that would stand as the ideal propaganda piece as it glorifies every aspect of that adventure together. I love it, but when I flick through it, I sense the ongoing sense of grief and loneliness. I didn't wish to endure any of it alone, but I suppose due the nature of it, there was no other way to convey what it was like.