PARISIANISM FOR BEGINNERS: THE LAURENCE REMILA COLUMN:
A PERFECT NIGHT FOR A VISIT TO THE BORDEL
"It's a stuffy spring-into-summer Wednesday evening and you're making your way to the Hustler Club, one of several "high-class" strip-parlours just off the Champs-Elysées that's recently opened. It's the kind of place you'd never want to be caught dead in save for those ever-useful 'professional reasons.'"
By Laurence Rémila
COPYRIGHT © 2003, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
It's a stuffy spring-into-summer Wednesday evening and you're making your way to the Hustler Club, one of several "high-class" strip-parlours just off the Champs-Elysées that's recently opened. It's the kind of place you'd never want to be caught dead in save for those ever-useful "professional reasons." ("Euhm, I'm Ivlanka's new manager," muttered to the stern-but-jovial doorman.) You're here tonight for the launch-party of lit-revue Bordel, to be published twice-yearly by Flammarion, and from the excited way people have been talking of the party these past few days, chances are it'll be the lit-do of the season. And you're accompanied by Sandrine Rivière a.k.a Cybersiren, who's recently taken photos to accompany a feature you've written for the newly-relaunched Penthouse France.
As you wander in to this lieu of debauch-lite, you spot Bordel-ed Stéphane Million. He's dressed in white and looking fretful but pleased about the whole thing. The review's a project he's been nursing for over a year now, and if it now exists as a paper-object, it's due to new Flammarion head-o-lit Frédéric Beigbeder's backing and Million's own persistence. You leave him as he greets writer (and copy-editor at scandal-rag Voici) Philippe Jaenada, a Bordel Contributor (BC), and wander downstairs (the club's on two floors with an opening in the middle of the upper floor so all can gawp at the strippers), in the hope that the second Open Bar (which started an hour ago) will be less crowded than the upstairs one. It is, and you pull your old trick of ordering two drinks (vodka-orange) just for yourself. On the way back from the bar, you spot lit-pretty-boy Florian Zeller (BC), accompanied by a striking brunette you'll later learn is actress Marine Delterm, and sundry other minor young Parisian writers (oxymoron?). Also present: Catherine Millet (of La Vie sexuelle de… fame) (yawn) and launch-party regulars such as "chroniqueur mondain" Emmanuel de Brantes.
"Right now -- as we speak! -- Lolita Pille is busy XXXXX XXXXXXXX!" booms the voice over the loud-speaker. It's Beigbeder, interrupting the lousy music with his trademark (possibly libellous) shouts. You fail to spot his young protégée, Miss Pille, author of the much-ado-'bout-nothing Hell (Grasset) (a tale of spoilt rich girls snorting coke in expensive night-spots) but are later told she's at out on the pavement making a scene with her beau. You also fail to spot writers Yann Moix (BC) and Paul-Eric Blanrue (BC), who you're told have both lightning-visited and disappeared. (A damn shame, you say to yourself.)
Instead, you settle yourself down in a corner with a gaggle of Syndicat du Hype (SDH) members, surprised to see just how many have managed to crash the do. SDH leader Thierry Théollier is in high spirits, dancing as if he were one of the Club's strippers just as soon as "the girls" quit the stage and it's transformed into a tiny dancing area. And as you wander round the place for the nth time, who's that you bump into? Writer Marc-Edouard Nabe, taking a break from writing his "love story set in Baghdad during the war" (he spent the duration of the recent conflict there) to come and check that nothing had changed in Lit Parisiana during his absence. "And this is Dolly," he says as he introduces you to the tiny blonde by his side. As you say hello, you realise it's porn-starlet Dolly Golden (who keeps a charming diary on the Technikart website). You'll later learn that Nabe was unaware of her trade, just that she was "a friend of Estelle's" (Desanges, fellow pornster and former "reader" on Beigbeder's cable lit-show). As the two of you speak, a drunken friend of yours starts boorishly insulting him and asking him to "explain himself." He rolls his eyes upwards and you stare at your feet, mortified. Thankfully, she disappears fairly quickly.
As the evening progresses, and the Open Bar closes, the regular clientele starts swarming in. Which means men paying sixty euros to have a girl dance "just for them" in a corner in view of all. The experience seems more awkward than sexual. The writers and journos invited start quitting the place, and you decide to do the same, leaving the core of the SDH to dance the night away. Drunkenly. You tell yourself that you'll send a mail to Million the next day to thank him for the swell time you've had, and of course you'll forget to. Buenos Notches.
PS: Andrew, don't you got no GIRLS that read this guff? Because my e-mail's been at the foot of my "column" for two months now, and not a single one has made use of it. Not one! Is there any way you can remedy this without making me look like some completely DESPERATE loser? I mean, I must have SOME female fans out there? No?
Laurence Rémila has been living in Paris for six years. A freelance journalist, he writes for sundry serious titles he won't list here, as well as The Idler and French monthly Technikart.