Sunday 4 May 2008

Invasion of the (new age) body snatchers

I finally saw my dear friend Nicolas again after six good months during which we each travelled the world and settled the foundation of a new life. That was the first time we met outside of Paris. It’s relevant to see your friends out of the usual familiar context. We discover new aspects of the person, strengthen the bonds, sometime have insights of the nature of that friendship…. Habits and routines are dangerous, whatever the case. He’s now going to settle in Japan where apparently, some people are going to sponsor him for his projects. I really do hope that it’s going to work out for him.
After tea at a posh restaurant, I took him to a concert I knew nothing about, except that Tang Shuan, an erhu player friend of mine was performing with a band called Moving Sound. World music, he said. The leader of the pack, Scott Prairie was an obviously failed former rock musician from New York, who found better horizons in Taiwan and also redemption in the spirituality of world music. We had all the clichés: ethnic outfits, a female singer clad in gold and silver jewels, inspiringly chanting the coming of a new age, a flea market mixture of sounds from India, Taiwan, the Middle East, and interminable talks about spirituality that lasted longer than the songs themselves… The three other musicians, including Tang Shuan were really good, but completely put in the shadow of Sir Prairie’s enormous, battered  ego. I suddenly had this vision of him sucking out the energy of his musical partners to create a divine image of himself. Some people even started dancing at both ends of the room. One American man said of them that they were an agency of angels…
Since everyone else around us seemed to be under the spell, Nicolas, ChingYao and I wondered how much longer it would be before the body snatchers caught us! As Bibbe wittingly put it once: 'that's what I call endurance art'.
At least, I got to hear Tang Shuan play live, and I have asked him and the percussion player to play on The Blessing. Oh… Now I suddenly realise about that title…!
The evening didn’t end there for I went to the club. Victor Chen was celebrating his 20th anniversary as a DJ alongside his friend Jimmy. We had so much fun last week dancing the whole night through, that I couldn’t wait to find myself on the dance floor again. If all started rather well - except for the exceedingly loud sound volume, people started getting this joy pills. First sign of it: they take off their top. Second sign: they all hug each other. Another body snatcher experiment. Everybody was moving like affectionate zombies when I left the place.

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