The headline says it: the volcano has shut down Europe. I know, I know; it could be worse. Is it really that terrible to be stuck in Paris indefinitely? No, but the indefinitely part definitely makes me uneasy.
Today, in between spending hours on the phone trying to find a flight, I took a walk along the Seine. It is sunny here but cold. In the shadows the wind has a chill that still carries the stiff twist of winter.
The sight-seeing boats on the river have only a few passengers. As I cross the bridge near Notre Dame my brain starts revisiting the events of the past three days.
John Densmore and I did about 50 interviews, sometimes alone, mostly together. I've found myself growing more and more impressed and fascinated by him. He's amazing with the press; always gracious, and always surprisingly informative.
He never says a bad word about anyone--unlike me of course. But, many times during the interviews I find myself turning to him and just listening in awe.
He told a story today of Jim Morrison showing up at the house John and Robby were sharing together in Laurel Canyon in LA before the Doors became famous. Jim was clearly feeling pretty down. Robby and John suggested he go up into the hills and check out the view of LA stretching out far below. An hour later he returned in a better mood. He handed them a crumpled sheet of paper on which he'd scribbled some lyrics:
People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down.
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange
When you're strange
When you're strange.
As John tells this story there is no attempt to idolize or possess the memory of Jim. There is only quiet admiration and respect.
In an interview this morning John told of an incident when the Doors were playing live and Jim took some flowers off John's drum stand and stuck them under his pounding drumsticks. As John kept playing the flowers were shredded into pieces that went flying. John laughed, suggesting this was Jim's way of stating his opinion of "flower power."
The French journalist didn't understand, so I took some flowers out of a small vase on the table and held them in front of John. He started beating on them with his hands and bits and fragments flew into the air. The journalist finally nodded in understanding. A half-hour later as the interview ended, John reached out and took part of a flower stem out of the guy's hair.
I walk for two hours. Back to the hotel there is no news on flights out. I go up to my room and crash for a while. The phone rings. It's John. A friend of his gave him a big bottle of champagne. Do I want to meet him in the lobby and help him and his girlfriend Ildiko dispose of it?
An hour later the three of us are plastered. We head off on foot looking for a restaurant as it is after 9 pm and champagne on an empty stomach with a chaser of jetlag is a wicked combo. The three of us wander down a long narrow street. John and Ildiko are supposed to fly back to LA tomorrow. There is no news on their flight.
The last news I heard was that I will be here until at least Tuesday. We are lost, stranded in Paris, as if wandering through some long, strange dream.
Exactly. It could be worse.
tree bending wind literally ripped though the courtyard – as if on cue… During “quiet/intimate” moments, not a leaf would rustle.
Ms. Anne Onimuss, and Tom too!
Thank you for the compliment and for sharing your experiences as well! This site really has fantastic people! The main reason I did not come forward with my real name is because of the subject matter. Not everyone can “relate” and I respect that so that was why I chose to be “Annonymous”. I’m definitely open to learning more about your writings. A smile to you for the time you made to sit down, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and get your thoughts down as you gave birth to your books! 🙂
We are all human…typos remind us of that! LOL! 🙂
Please have a great day!
((laughing at the various cleaver name variations – Who knew!?))
THANK you for posting the links. I understand now. When I was there many years ago (1995), there were no gates, crowds, or party animals with video cameras. Times change – LOL!
Wow, welcome home!!! What a journey you had. THANK you so much for personally taking a few minutes to blog back. (I gladly accept the “Anne Onimuss” and certainly smiled with your humor and creativity!) Yes, I am in TOTAL agreement with everyone that it is not about being at a particular location, but it’s the “CONNECTION” that matters, which is defined/felt on an individual basis and at personal moments in time. Stuart’s links explain a lot…Noted.
That being said, it was impossible for me to feel this way at Graceland. It was so overdone it took away from that serene awe for me personally.
I finally made it home late last night. An 18 hour journey. I’m reading your comments and want to assure you both that in the instances of deep personal connection people have to The Doors, that all things are acceptable. And they should be.
my best to you both.
Noted. THANK YOU so much for the time you spent researching the reply as I’m new to Tom’s blog. 🙂 Growing up, my family owned a cemetary and currently still owns a pet cemetary, which gives me an opposite perspective about visiting a special person’s/pet’s gravesite. I completely respect Tom’s choice to not go and for the noted reasons.
Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:13 pm
Things do happen for a reason. I know there are “Stranger” things, but maybe the weather is holding you in Paris long enough for you to merely “stop by” Jim’s final resting place. I’m sure having you and John at his resting place would be very powerful.”
A couple of years back, I tracked down the last place where jim was seen alive, spoke to a sixty sth guy in a drycleaners in the street, nicey,, good memories I have,, Anyway my last trip was cancelled two weeks ago because of the french train strike, so June will be my next visit to relive the sixties, so please let me now when the doc will be on , kind regards helena
I saw When You’re Strange this week, in the only theater showing it in Atlanta. It’s called Cinefest and it’s inside the Student Center at Georgia State University. There was an 11 am session which I thought would be empty but actually had a few young students and a couple of other older Doors-fans-looking people like me. I am happy to have found your blog afterward, it’s certainly a privilege of our times that one can so easily reach and thank somebody for the enjoyment they provided us with their work. I find it hard to even write something simple as this message, and can only imagine how difficult it is to make a movie, and all the issues involved, I’m sure you do it because there’s a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction involved as well but as I said, it can’t be easy. So I wanted to thank you for doing it. I enjoyed this movie a lot. I have been in a “Doors phase” for a while and the fact that it coincided with the release of this movie feels a bit like some kind of heavenly gift was bestowed on me, or a lottery ticket win, something like that. It’s a great movie, well done, original, inspired, surprising, magical. I wish I had better words to praise it properly really. But the main point is: thanks. For the time I sat in that theater I was very happy. I’m 43, I saw many movies in my life and it’s not often anymore that I enjoy one so much. Great, great work.
Merci again, and enjoy Paris. By the way, they sold chestnut crepes in the streets the only time I was there, more than 20 years ago, and I never forgot them. If they still do it and you’re into this kind of stuff, it’s worth trying.
Muddy Friday Skies
There you sit
Everybody is dancing
C’mon on girl!
Night of lights
Avenues & cars
Streets are uneven
All night bars
(Show me the way to go home. . .)
Where did she go?
Almost had her
Poetry in the morning
Museum in the afternoon
At the Sat.April 10, 11am Angelika showing. Loved your film. (Buried my immediate reactions in your #52 blog.). My friend’s older brother had the Doors records (as well as Mothers, Fugs and Jim Kweskin discs),
Listening to You’re Lost Little Girl through those “FP” aeronautic headphones a transcendental experience (Robbie’s guitar like rain falling). Devastated when Scott Muni announced his death. Recorded all the memorials and announcements (sent them to Jeff a few years back).
Anyway folks didn’t allow a 16 year old to Madison Sq Garden so he lives as he always has…through his voice.