It’s about as cold as it should be, for a December, the air is type of crisp that invites you to snap off a wafer of afternoon to keep and savour later. Exposed chimneys scar the sides of buildings and ascend past mansard roofs and fired clay flues which casually puff smoke like a man who doesn’t really want a cigarette but lights one anyway. I take a left onto Dunkerque, an angular street marching towards the heart of Montmartre. Gare du Nord is probably the filthiest part of the city. Men with confused hair do laps of the blocks asking people for cigarettes and coins. Mobile phone shops stay open suspiciously late. The streets are flooded and swept every morning so the accumulated sin and shit ends up kilometers away. But even here it’s intimidatingly beautiful — even a sad looking dog shit sandwiched and smushed in two by a pram reflects a rainbow.
Walrus is a big rectangle house of grog, music and laughter. A tall journalist interviews two bright eyed American cubs hiding behind their hair. A man in a piebald coat and a woman with a foreign hairstyle wax lyrical in Spanish. The way they speak, the way their sentences caper into each other and how they laugh (there’s always a laugh), the whole scene serves as a shining example to friends around the world. A youth flicks through a wall of records wanting everything but looking for nothing. I take a seat at one of my regular positions, a table with a short leg which needs a folded coaster to stay level. It’s funny how if you go to a place regularly enough, being creatures of habit and all, you’ll only end up sitting in like maximum two places. These spots are usually decided on the first and second visit.