So There We Were ~ A Good Accordion Player Is Hard To Find
Did you ever fall in love with a song? With every aspect of a song? Have you heard La Vie En Rose? It is romance incarnate. I got it into my head that someday when I visited Paris, the city of romance, I'd find an accordion player who would be waiting for me somewhere in the pink light, and I'd toss some coins into his cap on the street, and he would play La Vie En Rose for me. Simple, romantic, perfect. No? These things work so well in theory. So there we were in Paris for the first time about a week before Palm Sunday. My dear friend Jesse insisted that I come to Paris to see Paris Opera Ballet dance La Bayadere; a ridiculous notion that turned into a fantastic trip and a gateway to a new life for me, but I digress. I searched high and low for an accordion player, but perhaps they were on strike because by some impossible twist of fate or fault-line in the universe, I did not see one for an entire week, until the last day, Palm Sunday, when we were near the bridge by Notre Dame. Jesse pointed him out to me and I ran to him, so desperate was I to bring this brainchild-turned-need to fruition. I threw all of my coins into his hat (which, considering the conversion rate and the fact that most of them were 1 or 2 euro coins, was a substantial contribution). I clasped my hands under a million dollar grin and huge shining eyes and asked him to play "La Vie En Rose". He blinked. "I'm sorry, I don't know that one, I'm from Czechoslovakia, but I will play you a song." He played something nice. It wasn't what I was looking for; what I needed to have happen in the City of Lights. I smiled a little, disappointed, and left; quest unfulfilled. I went back a few years later, brought a friend along and made it clear that I had to find an accordion player to play LVER for me. Imperative. We saw accordion players everywhere, which is standard protocol for that city. In the Metro. On the Trains. On the bridges. In the streets. Near the tourist attractions. Everywhere. I was wiser this time, and I asked before I touched my coin purse; "Do you know LVER?" and by some unthinkable irony, not a single one of them did. I was astounded. We searched for my accordion player the entire trip, but to no avail. Sitting on the train, heading to CDG airport to leave Paris, I mused sadly at the odds and looked at my friend and asked, "Where is my accordion player to walk through the train and play La Vie En Rose for me?" Thirty seconds later, the door slid open and a fellow with an old yellowed accordion strapped to his chest stepped into the car. I sat up in my seat and waved him over. "Do you know La Vie En Rose?" I asked with desperate hope. He smiled. "Yes!" I grabbed my wallet. "Give him all the money. He gets all the money!!" I have doubts that he's ever been paid so much for a single song. Ever. I left Paris with the song in my heart, amidst a glow of pink light. May it bring a smile to you, as well: this is Andrea Bocelli singing La Vie En Rose with Edith Piaf, who started the whole thing. Save your coins, this one is on me.
Andrea Bocelli & Edith Piaf ~ La Vie En Rose