If You Knew Suze

razac bar
We're still rushing to get all the parts together for this album - I'm kind of embarrassed to say this is the first time I've ever actually put out a record without the help of a record company and it's a huge amount of work. There've been a few for-fans things I've copied and sold at shows and from my site, the 45 we pressed up a few months back too, but to try to coordinate the manufacturing, the downloadable album, the finances, the publicity, the licensing etc and cap it all off with a tour - have to keep calm and putting one foot in front of the other.

Took a break from it the other day for our anniversary and headed to the Dordogne to eat and spend the night at Rouge in Tocane Saint-Apre. I'd heard about this place from Kim and it was lovely - run by a NZ couple Paul and Janice who've resurrected an ancient building with their bare hands and have good food, a chambres d'hotes w/charming decor and a swimming pool.

Monday we went with Emmanuel to just outside Perigueux to see Graham Day & The Gaolers. The posters, calling them "The Goalers", had the concert starting at 7:30 PM - we rushed down there, arriving before the band themselves. In a search for something to eat, impossible in a small French town on a Monday evening, we ended up in a classic old bar. So often these days you walk into a bar or cafe and wonder what mid-century glories the proprietors trashed to achieve a decor of beige tile, smoked mirrors and taupe plastic, but this place was perfect.

Ever since I saw the art nouveau Salers bottle in a cafe and Emmanuel explained to me about gentiane and all its varieties, I've wanted to try it. Apparently it's very good for the digestion. What better place than a bar where the owners were so involved in a card game when we walked in, I wondered if maybe they didn't want to serve us. To the contrary - once the game had ended they plied us with drinks, helping me hit on the right combination of Suze, ice and pastis so that I am finally able to say I have tried gentiane.

Loved Graham Day and his group but can't say it was fun. Typical of concerts in France, everyone stands outside the antiseptic "salle" until the moment the group starts playing so there's no chance for any ambience to build. The second the music ends, the room empties. The DJ, Alain Feydri, played some very cool records but it felt disjointed, with the turntables set up in the room with the bar, the smokers standing out on the steps. Wished it could have all been combined, and I'd have thrown in the bar owners, their 50's moderne wallpaper and ancient telephone, and the Suze too.

I'm back to playing the computer keyboard now. Eric's making a new radio show downstairs - hooray! We will get this stuff done and be on that plane to the US in exactly...twenty days. Maybe I'll be toting a bottle of Suze or Salers - in lieu of a t-shirt, "I spent the last year in SW France and all I got was a new album, and this lousy bottle of digestif."