Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Paris - the City of Snooze

Paris is where all hipster kids in London want to run away to, so they can live in an attic studio and only come out at night to smoke thin cigarettes and drink straight brandy on a bar terrace. It's where all the northern electro leftovers want to skip town to so they can throw angles in a tiny cellar club to filthy Korg beats. Paris hasn't always just been cool, it has been integral to cool ever since smoking was seen as damn sexy and looking aloof on a dancefloor attracted positive attention akin to having a rich and famous daddy.

Unfortunately for the partying masses (yes, I did just use the word "party" as a verb, get over yourselves) rising house prices in the centre of Gay Paree and the denseness of properties in the area mean that people known as "drags" have moved in. People with kids and coffee tables and clean bathrooms. People who chose the colour of their own front door, and who spent a lot of money on a kitchen ensemble. These families are currently describing their hellish existences to eager news reporters, as their six-figure flat perches precariously on top of a bar so trendy it has to re-model it's decor every week so that nobody ever sees it the same way twice, lest they become bored with the tired old party scene. Apparently, it's too noisy to live above Paris' equivalent of the Electric Ballroom, and as a result, bars and clubs all over the city are being closed down due to repeated complaints about vibrating floorboards and general noise pollution.

Thee BBC sent out a nice enough news reporter to go out and film exactly what was happening. Unfortunately, filming closed down hooch houses isn't very visually stimulating, so instead they stuck him in a dingy Music Box-type venue surrounded by Blondie and flailing skeletal limbs, and then balanced the argument by talking to a woman with possibly the world's most boring forehead. See for yourself - it is possible. Why live in an area crowded with noisy Parisian youth-types loudly chatting in the post-smoking ban streets? It's a good question. Living in the centre of the city is highly regarded, and being that Paris is a sprawling huge mass if you work anywhere in there you want to live close. It's not like London, you can't just live in the countryside. It's too far to commute. So instead you raise a family in the middle of a busy, smoggy, overpopulated, tourist-ridden city, in a 19th century apartment right above a late night fashionista hangout. Obv.

[Mmm, strobey light. Pic credits]

But what about those people who come from all over the Paris suburbs to drink and dance and awkwardly chat to objects of their affection? What are they supposed to do when their favourite niche bar closes down? Well, they do what we do, but in a more extreme sense. Instead of going down the street to a different, possibly less interesting club, they're travelling to Berlin, Barcelona and London. Imagine that. They'd rather go to London than Paris. Think about that next time you moan that there's nothing to do. Admittedly this is possibly because french night-dwellers are approximately 300% cooler than any late night drinker in Britain, and travelling to Berlin just to dance to Talking Heads shows just the type of nonchalant reading-on-the-train commitment to strobe lights we'd tend to think was just plain mental. That's the French for you.

So, what do the locals who've lived in central Paris since disco times began think about the pubs closing their doors? According to Le Monde, it's fast becoming the "European capital of boredom" and the people who should be represented as "long suffering" in an article such as this, actually resent the fact that all the nightlife's being sucked out of the area by non-vampire residents. In fact, they hate it so much that they've sent the mayor a petition to stop the bars being closed - 14, 000 of them have written to him, to be precise. So with hardcore locals hating on the newbies, and the newbies hating on the party-goers, what the hell is the mayor supposed to do?

In a sane world, what would happen is that those complaining about the noise would be told to calmly and quietly fuck off. What else has Paris got apart from it's nightlife? If you're buying a house, don't you go and look around it before you buy it? And if there's a well-established nightspot wedged right between you and your foundations, don't you think seriously about whether the sleepless nights and vomming students will seriously cut short the benefits of living closer to work? Putting local businesses out of work because you're rich and used to getting what you want is simply not the way the world should work. When you're a kid, you're told that I want never gets. Stomping along to the council, lying down on your back and screaming that the 15 year old club next door to your maisonette is pumping out solid tunes until 6am and that it simply can't continue shouldn't work. They should say "Did you know it was there when you slammed down your eager deposit? OK, then tough titties. Deal. With. It." I know I would. But then I don't live in my ideal world. If I did, I'd be doling out abuse every day to uppity new money wankers and getting money and respect for it.

What do you think? Should the new residents get peace and quiet due to the extortionate cost of their Paris abode? Or should they shut up and stop killing off a whole city's nightlife and main source of night-time income?
Tell me. I might not care, but it'll be a good way to rant about rich people.


Anonymous said...


proswet654 said...


Michael Slevin said...

they should be told to fuck off. i live in leeds city centre, and before i moved here i knew damn well theres bars under my flat, drunk people etc. the best phrase i think i can use is, 'it comes with the territory'. if they dont like it, they shouldnt have moved there, and in doing so are only showing how down- right sniffy, stuck- up and stupid they are.

Mike said...

I think ideally the government/council/whatever they have in France would protect the rights of pubs and clubs to exist in the city, the same way that, say, old historical buildings would be protected from nasty neon redevelopment. Like you say, the nightlife is a big part of what makes Paris.... well, Paris.
I stayed in a friend's apartment in le city during the summer, and was struck by how quiet the place was, not that i was expecting parades of elephants and Lady Marmalade blaring from every street corner or anything, but Paris does have a certain reputation. But sadly people with clean bathrooms have more influence that vomiting students do.. It's tedious and unscrupulous, but not suprising. How do these people sleep at night? Oh yeah...
Having said all that though, i don't really have much sympathy for anywhere that charges 10euro for a bottle of Heineken either

Katie said...

hahaha parades or elephants :p

I think there should be a way of maintaining the rights of the bar owners in place, which is what the petition is for, I assume. But usually the people with money win out, so let's hope in this case the city decides what's actually best for itself, rather than it's short-term money boom fixation.

Michael Slevin said...

"Having said all that though, i don't really have much sympathy for anywhere that charges 10euro for a bottle of Heineken either"

Ditto that.

1. 4.
Related Posts with Thumbnails