Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Not your average Friday evening

We took in two events on Friday evening. One for the eyes and one for the ears. Actually I was hoping that the first one would be for the stomach too, but that wasn't to be.

I put on my long red, velvet jacket — only ever donned for very special occasions and then only events that take place in suitably dark places lest I should dazzle anyone — and we headed over to the submarine base, la base sous-marine. During the Second World War, when Bordeaux was occupied by the Germans, Hitler decided to build a massive concrete structure to protect his submarines. It's a hideous monster of a thing but difficult to get rid of because it has such massively huge walls and was built to withstand bombing. After many years of not knowing what to do with the site, Bordeaux has turned it into a sort of arts centre - it's filled with water and used to be a museum of pleasure boats but that wasn't much of a crowd-puller.

We'd received an invitation to the vernissage of an exhibition of work by the American photographer Louis Stettner. The rest of Bordeaux, it turned out, had received the same invitation and they were there in their droves, crowding five-deep around the drinks tables, pushing and shoving to get the Franco-American food on offer. We managed to grab a glass of something but gave up on the food when we discovered that the exhibition space itelf was really quiet, and the photographs were wonderfully evocative of Paris and New York when we imagine everything was black & white.

From there we drove to Cenon in the suburbs and had a quick drink before heading off to the Kurt Elling show (I'm never sure what to call these things now - "concert" sounds fuddy duddy, "gig" sounds faux hip). Just in case, like me, you had never actually listened to any Kurt Elling — he's a jazz vocalist. In fact, he's a stupendously talented jazz vocalist with a voice that is like nothing you've ever heard before. And certainly not in Cenon on a rainy February evening.

I was going to say something about him being creative and his voice being "powerful" but I really don't have the vocabulary or the musical knowledge to talk about what I heard, but I know I loved it, so just go listen.

Kurt is in fact a friend of friends (so he's really our friend once removed) and we had drinks afterwards. And I'm happy to report that he's an extremely nice person as well as an awesome performer.

....and if you've been reading closely you'll have realised that on Friday night although I had plenty to drink, I had not a single thing to eat.


BeefKing said...

Glad you liked the show. For reference next time you see Kurt perform: he's very susceptible to after-concert dining suggestions.

Or in fact anytime dining suggestions.

And you better keep any ice cream you may have around under tight lock and key.

Unless you want to make a jazz singer very happy that is.

--of course, I'd hope that next time he comes around, I'm there too :)

Lesley said...

Beefking: That's a date then.

Dick said...

The Tate Modern and now Le Base Sous-Marine. Art thriving in the shell of commerce and warfare. And what a great voice. Thanks for the link, Lesley.

deborah said...

Your friends are in Indonesia, that is nice ...

On video I thought K sounded a bit like a cross between Frank Sinatra (groan) and a modern jazz singer (general). Yes, he does have a fab voice, and I guess he has charisma, but I'll pass ...

Even though submarine base hideous from the outside the inside is really fascinating and such a good idea to have made it into a place for exhibitions.

Never noticed you had nothing to eat ... slurp, slurp ...

Lesley said...

Dick: I'm sure we could find lots of other examples too - art centres in ex abattoirs, prisons etc.

Deborah: Just as I though, you have no soul!

deborah said...

... or maybe just twenty years behind!

This is Tracy Chapman singing Give Me One Reason