PLU Open Mic featuring Louis Armand
You never know what is going to happen at a Paris Lit Up open mic, and last Thursday was a case in point. From babies to beat-boxing barmen, the evening was full of surprises…
The War of the Words
David Sirois and his army of pigeons cooed into “some bird’s ear” but succumbed to a melancholia flecked with twilight. Jason teamed up with Gherasim Luca, opened the dungeons and took us, sweating, suffocating (and spitting) to The Milky Way.
PLU recruitment is getting younger and younger. Alexandra’s literature-loving baby boy didn’t make a squeak all evening, clearly too in rapture of his mother and the-the-poetry she brought with her: reading from her chapbook “Projection” she left us on a balcony of shadows.
“Curiosity is an industry / and we follow”
Moe and a 100,000 Poets for Change put on their dancing shoes and opened the door into the telling light. Revolutionary Remi was equipped with his trusty steed, p.9 of the Belleville Park Pages and
“little waves of honeysuckle”
Food for Thought
Rufo, the Lehman brothers and nobody’s army made nothing happen with figs. Two beautiful Italian signoras (Bea and friend whose name the terrible host forgot to ask) then brought a sweet chocolate-flavoured anecdote and seduced us with their accents. C’était très beau.
In true Paris Lit Up style, we welcomed Kitra, the new barman at Culture Rapide, and invited him to read. Little did we know that Kitra is also a regular at the French Slam night on Tuesdays, although his performance quickly made us realise that it wasn’t his first time onstage…
Bill, the fake nobility and this and that (and this and that) were followed by David V-not-for-Vlak, who read a translation of Philippe Sollers, and set the stage for our VIP reader of the night: Louis Arrrrrrrmand! Louis treated us to excerpts from his novel Canicule, published earlier this year, following the character Wolf and the long summer of 83. Even in the short time we were able to listen, we could feel the sense of limbo and fragmentation that makes Louis’ writing so distinctive:
The dog days of 1983. The bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut. Ronald Reagan and Yuri Andropov dancing into the sunset. Hess, Ascher and Wolf are orphans chance has brought together in a small Baltic seaside town. Twenty years on, the long hot summer of the Israel-Lebanon War. Hess, a down-on-his-luck screenwriter, finds himself in the Mediterranean, drinking to forget a wasted marriage. Wolf, haunted by his father’s murder, is drawn into the nebulous world of international terrorism. When Ascher, a failed artist, commits suicide, all the stakes are changed. Or are they? With the Cold War, sex and punk rock throbbing in the background, Hess must confront his past, seeking to salvage dignity from defeat.
…And the night owls had arrived, clamouring to read. Louis continued with the weight at the end of a bedsheet, and “Something fathomless and dark”. He was followed by our resident published poet and Madame Chair, Kate Noakes, who was standing up against rape.
“You’ll know me by the broken wing in my brain” (Hirundine)
Bill was up for more little gadgets from God
“An old world is ending…AGAIN”
Alexandra passed her baby to a friend, bending to the body’s geography, not touching us but co-existing nevertheless. Caroline came straight from Shakespeare and Co. to read for the first time on the nature of happiness: a country night falling away behind the tracks. Jason was jumpin to read some poo-poo poems
“I fucked a friend in your bed”
So damn Parisian
Troy saw himself as a monogram, but may have been hallucinating because suddenly his head was upside down. There just wasn’t time to die that day. But tiny Dutch children really are terrifying (yeah, he got off at the last stop on the cuckoo cart.) Michael thrusted his arse at Paris, and Nea took on the Polis. David Sirois larked around a bit before heading off into the twlight with Yeats. Kitra poured us another glass of French slam, and Fun King Nero plucked our glasses empty.
Then the clock chimed midnight and the poets, musicians and drunks scattered into the night like fireworks.
is a Sydney-born writer & visual artist who has lived in Prague since 1994. He has worked as an editor, publisher, art consultant, curator; as a subtitles technician at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival; currently he lectures in the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University & is an editor of VLAK
magazine. He has published five novels, Breakfast at Midnight
(Equus, 2012), Clair Obscur
(Antigen, 2005), The Garden
(Salt, 2001) and most recently Canicule
(Equus, 2013). In addition, he is the author of seven collections of poetry–most recently, Letters from Ausland
(Vagabond, 2011) &Synopticon
(with John Kinsella; Litteraria, 2012)–& of a number of volumes of criticism, includingSolicitations: Essays on Criticism & Culture
(Litteraria, 2008). His poetry has appeared in the anthologies Thirty Australian Poets
, The Best Australian Poems
, Calyx: 30 Contemporary Australian Poets
& The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry
. In 1997 he received the Max Harris Prize (Adelaide) and in 2000 the Nassau Review Prize (New York). Louis Armand’s paintings have been exhibited at Art Prague
, with solo shows at Galery ArtNatur, Gallerie Gambit, Hunger Gallery & Indigo Space. His screenplay for Clair Obscur
won honourable mention at the 2009 Alpe Adria Trieste International Film Festival. He is the founder of the Prague Micro-Festival