• Jan Frederik

The Daily Dialogue #3

Opdateret: 5. dec. 2019

Paris intermezzo with Dubai implications


From jazz in the Caveau de la Huchette, Paris

to Rock & Roll in the Marine's Club, Dubai.


I spent the summer of 2019 in Paris. The weather was very hot, but absolutely wonderful.

It had been a while since I had last visited Paris, so I was looking forward to supplement my body of Paris street photos, and renew the acquaintance of Paris' many music venues – and of course enjoying contact with the locals and life at all.


Jazz in the cave


In particular, this time I had set out to explore the city's jazz clubs a little more.

I therefore asked my new neighbor, Alain, in Rue de Montmorency, if he could recommend some good jazz clubs. Alain plays saxophone and acts as a stand-in in many club contexts.


As I especially seek both good music and a distinctive decor and atmosphere, Alain suggested me as the first place to visit, "Caveau de la Huchette" in Rue de la Huchette.

Oddly enough, it was a place where I'd never been. Funny because it turned out to be relatively well-known on the web and in tourist newspapers.


As Alain said: Music, atmosphere and the rustic decor of the place always makes a visit to the "Caveau de la Huchette" a success.


No sooner said than done. On the first vacant evening I was off to "Caveau de la Huchette".

And Alain was quite right. The music was excellent, the atmosphere at the top and the place, which is kind of “carved into and down into the underground” is worth a visit in itself.

A really good experience!


"Caveau de la Huchette" - an experience out of the ordinary


Englishman Jeffrey points to Dubai

At one point, consuming the excellent draft beer led to a natural visit to the men's room. During the wash, I caught up with an Englishman, Jeffrey, who told me he was spending his summer vacation traveling around France and visiting, photographing and writing about different music environments.

I told him that I thought the "Caveau de la Huchette" premises played wonderfully well with the music and the audience, and helped to give the place a special atmosphere, which was one of the things I was looking for.


The 'downtrance' to the men's room


That, in turn, led Jeffrey to suggest that I bought him a draft beer, and that we continued our talk upstairs.

So enjoying a cold draft beer, we continued our music talk, and along the way Jeffrey told me, that a year ago he had visited Dubai and heard some rock and roll music played by a Philippine Band. This place he said in many ways reminded him of "Caveau de la Huchette".

Maybe not so much about decor, but rather in the fine interplay between music, the great variety of people and nationalities, but at least also to some extent the rustic decor of the place.

It was obvious to me, that Jeffrey had fallen for the music venue's atmosphere and the intensity of being together.

Jeffrey didn't exactly remember the name of the place, but by a little common search on the net we found it: "Marine's Club" at Hotel Seaview in Dubai.

I had little idea at the time that I would soon be in Dubai - life or fate sometimes play the strangest tricks on us.

Street photography


To my opinion Paris (and Copenhagen) are some of the best cities in the world to practise street photography.


So it did not take long, before I was totally wrapped up in making new street photos, extending my Paris catalogue, seeking new perspectives and following new ideas.


Photos from my previous book, which is now being supplemented

What I wrote in my book,

“Paris – The Dream of Any Street Photographer” many years ago, is still true:

  • In spite of an increasing Disneyfication of admirable sights

  • a banalization beyond recognition of distinctive localities

  • a growing McDonaldization

- Paris still possesses inexhaustible inspiration. As to that, the many people, inhabitants, tourists - play a conspicuous role


A few daily life incidents – typically French


It is just so wonderful ...


Exactly so French are the French.

You just tend to forget it until the next time.


The fridge in our small Paris apartment had to be filled up.

Milk, butter, bananas, gorgonzola, flutes, ham, raisins, coffee ...

I meant to remember from our last visit to the local Supermarche 24, that we never succeeded finding the raisins in the store.


My French being a little more rusty than my English made me want to be thorough.

So I prepared using Google translate, raisins = raisins sec, and the pronunciation rehearsed a couple of times on the 10 minutes stroll to the grocery.


Local French housewife on her way to our local Supermarche 24

And quite right: I couldn't find any raisins anywhere. Loaded with my new ammunition, raisins in French with rehearsed pronunciation, I attacked a shop assistant with the words:


"Excuse me, but where do I find the raisins" in best school French with google help,

" Excusez-moi, mais où puis-je trouver les raisins secs? "


The shop assistant looked distant and told me with gestures to follow him - to another slightly older shop assistant. Here he said a whole lot in French and made me repeat the key words in the query "les raisins sec".


Now I was facing two shop assistants with distant eyes, but since French people never miss the chance for a good discussion, we were quickly surrounded by the grocer himself and two more customers.

I repeated with my best practiced google pronunciation: “les raisins sec”.


No reaction directed at me, but a lot of quick talking in French between the now 6 people around me. As a last resort I grabbed my phone, looked up raisins on google and showed them the written result, "les raisins sec".


The grocer gave a small laugh and repeated using exactly my pronunciation “les raisins sec”, and then all the French nodded and smiled, casting hidden glances at each other: Yes, foreigners, speak French, they never learn!


And then the all 6 of us walked together to the shelf in the back of the store where the raisins hung on a board.

The grocer proudly handed me a bag of "raisins sec" and I politely repaid with: "Merci, monsieur" - and once again the French exchanged glances and looked at me uncomprehendingly with a vacant stare.


This scene was the highlight of my day!


The only one not involved in our "Raisins sec"-search was the check-out assistant

Nothing is so wonderful as to get ones prejudices confirmed – and then I really owe it to you to say that this wonderful Frenchness is undergoing great changes. More and more French are giving tourists’ French and English a chance without staring lost into space.


It is me! – Paris Hairdresser


After my recent visit this summer to a hairdresser in Paris, I felt compelled to write to a few friends, coming to see me a few days later:

"If you don’t recognise me when you see me, then it is me, alright, I've just had a haircut ...

... by the cutest black girl with a big luminous red mouth, long curved eyelashes, and a mini mini skirt.


First she washed my hair and massaged my scalp, so that the angels sang (and I haven't believed in angels for two generations), then she gently took my hand and led me to the hairdresser chair, very thoughtfully, as I had put my glasses on a small shelf.

She pushed the chair under me and dressed me in a gown.


Then she smiled, leaning over me, blinking with her brown eyes and her big, slightly curved eyelashes, asking me if I was comfortable, and I was.


Then I don't remember anything until she asked, " Est-ce que ça va?”

With great effort I pulled myself out of her eyes and returned to the real world and a look on my own face. The nose and ears were as I remembered them.


But ohh my God, my hair, it was almost gone.

What could I do but mutter: "Merci beaucoup, tres bien" and pay and wander to the nearest cafe.

It took a café crème et deux croissants du beurre to become my old self

Actually, I first completely recovered myself after having consumed a café crème and two croissants.


And now, here comes the moral:

Always get your haircut back home under controlled and especially well-known circumstances!

But as I said, when you see me and you do not recognise me, it is me!"


Once again, my son had a hand in it


While I was strolling the streets of Paris, I got a phonecall from my son in Qatar.

He told me, that he had been offered a job in Dubai, and that he was prepared to say yes,

if the conditions turned out to his satisfaction.

They did, and he said yes – and is now working in Dubai.


As I mentioned above, it felt a bit like the case was interfering with my plans.

To make a long story short, I decided to go to Dubai as my business plans (cf. the thoughts mentioned under the menu item "LifeInjections") could be developed in Dubai as well as elsewhere - and then it provided a unique opportunity to spend time with my son and to follow up on Jeffrey's inspiration for the Philippine Rock & Roll Band at the venue, "The Marine's Club".


When I came to Dubai later in the year, it was a matter of course to visit the Marine's Club.


Danny, Martin, Cherie - three of the band's competent members

And Jeffrey was right to an extent, which led me - along with Frederik (my son), Ernesto Bautista Jr. (Jing), leader of the Philippine Rock & Roll Band, and Glenn Mangampo, manager of "Marine's Club" - to photograph and write about "The Golden Star Band".

And just now in the middle of November 2019 we are finishing up a book on the band

Traveling with the music as a companion and a guiding star is always an exciting experience.

The next music adventure is therefore planned to be visiting the Filipino musicians' home ground in the Philippines early 2020.


© 2020 Copyright Jan Frederik Bisbjerg