Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"I thought you were supposed to be in Paris."

"I am in Paris."

August 1982. I am in the City of Lights. This is my first time here. The purpose of my visit is twofold. I am in Europe putting together the television pilot for Space Pirate Radio brilliantly titled "Space Pirate Video." Zounds! This is progress. My first purpose is to secure videos of French electronic and progressive artists that have never been seen before by western eyes. I am hoping to discover gems from such performers as Ange, Mona Lisa, Richard Pinhas and Magma. It is also my intention to have a meeting with Jean Michel Jarre and secure either concert footage or promotional videos for American release.

The other goal of my trip here (as it had been previously in England, before arriving in France via Munich) is to visit locations connected with Peter Sellers for my documentary on his life. In this case, it is to visit the infamous Crazy Horse Saloon. Located on the Champs-Elysees, this notorious burlesque hall was used in the filming of "What's New, Pussycat?" The interior of the building has remained relatively the same since the 1965 film. Ah! I love research. Watching the stage show with the beautiful tableau of female flesh, slightly vodka-fueled, I can see Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers in the room with Paula Prentiss on stage and Woody Allen in the wardrobe.

Between these two objectives is also the role of tourist with a purpose. My play Casanova's Lips, set in Paris, concludes with its Hitchcock meets the Goon Show ending atop the Eiffel Tower. Armed with a copy of the book published from the play, I decided to document its return to the scene of the crime. The proof is in the pictures.

Paris is a city of love. But like throughout the rest of Europe, I was on my own. In a sort of pre-Banksy way, I took one of my Space Pirate Radio t-shirts with me, and photographed that instead of the normal family holiday snaps.

I stayed at the Hotel de l'Observatoire in the Latin Quarter. Tiniest elevator in the world and it felt like a firetrap. Ah, Paris. Near the Sorbonne, my room faced a clocktower that rang every 15 minutes. Despite that, the neighbourhood was colourful. Very bohemian. In one store I saw a beautiful poster of Klaus Kinski in period garb. Long hair, lace cuffs and eyeshadow. I wanted to buy it, but I didn't think I could afford it. Why? Because I got robbed after walking out of the Crazy Horse Saloon. "Look, ze druken touriste walks from ze club. Ou est le wallet?" A thoroughly delightful way to end one's European adventure.