Last night, we went to a gothic bar here in downtown Aix called Elfike with a young couple we know from Marseille. Don’t let the decrepit, abandoned website deceive you: it’s a lively place that is friendly to every brand of alternative, as well as muggles. Upstairs is the bar, where they have an incredible menu of cocktails that are considerably less expensive than American cocktails. I had a drink called L’Eclipse. I don’t recall all the ingredients, but it did include mead. Whatever it was, my pilsner glass gleamed full of golden bliss. They spin industrial and electronic music from some unknown corner that you can hear throughout all levels of the bar. Downstairs they have a stage the size of a postage stamp and a little gothic boutique that is open until 2:00am on weekend nights.
The bar is unlike anything I’ve seen in L.A. It opens at 4:00pm most days, some days like Wednesday even earlier. I can’t think of a place anywhere in the U.S. where you can go in the late afternoon and sit with spooky folk to drink fancy concoctions. I will say this: the goth scene is known for its curvy ladies, and this scene is no exception. I saw more gals with broader waists dressed to the nines at Elfike than anywhere in France.
In the boutique, I met and spoke with at length a very nice goth gal who explained to my friend and I the dangers of even being anything “outside of the box” here in France. As for paganism and magick — there are groups, but they’re very secretive. I mean, really, really secretive. She defined pagan as essentially the same as polytheist and felt this was the popular definition. (Sorry, nature lovers.) Hopefully later this week I’ll be meeting a friend of hers who’s pagan and we can all have a chat. It feels good to connect with kindred spirits here. Given the circumstances, I felt lucky that she trusted me.
Once again, I hear the fugue of conformity. Due in large part to the stranglehold of Catholicism and the French cultural definition of equality to safeguard “freedom,” individualism of any kind is driven so far underground that you can’t even get a pulse. The farther south you go in France, the worse it is because Catholicism is stronger in the Mediterranean. People I know talk a lot about emigrating here to escape the U.S., but the exchange is simply not worth it. You still have religious crap to deal with in a bigger way than in the U.S., and you can’t even smile at people without being considered mentally feeble. (I am not making this up.) So, those of you in the U.S. thinking it’s some kind of secular paradise over here, think again.
I jogged this morning. Now it’s time for a shower and nap. Tonight, we’re visiting friends and I get to do some kitten squeezin’. Yay!