|EDITORIAL: Springtime in Paris
This newsletter is a couple of days late because we were in paris over the weekend, mainly so that i could play in the Creation Rites: Paris tournament, which was fabulously good fun. Michael was in Scotland for his bi-termly Ordeal by Cousins, so it was only myself and Sarah who caught the boat over to Le Havre. It was a gorgeous day and we had a
lovely meal on the boat - Smoked Haddock Rarebit was my choice, quite delicious [Sarah's duck salad was less successful but perfectly edible].
At Le Havre Francois Alix picked us up and then we had a pleasant drive to Paris where we hooked up with Philippe Lang at his flat. Denis Gerard
[Baron 2nis] and Nicolas were already there and we worried a bit about Dave and the other brits who were late, but happily they all arrived safely shortly thereafter. Philippe's flat is near the Moulin Rouge and it is quite small, but somehow or other they managed to feed us a HUGE meal, to amuse us with a couple of games of VTES, and to put us all up for sleeping purposes - all to the accompaniment of copious quantities of alcohol. i played my Chicago circle blood brothers deck and got roundly kicked in by Nicholas [Ahrimanes] and Dave [Tremere], which pretty much decided me against playing combat for the next day's tourney.
Next morning it was over to the Guilde des Jeux which is in the deuxieme arrondissement, quite close to the Rue de Sevastopol. i finally decided
to play Temptation of Greater Sleaze which is still probably my best deck, and in the first two games i did alright, gaining 2+2 VP despite contesting Lucien in BOTH games. Alas for me, in the third game i looked too strong too early on, and consequently i lost Legendary Greger Anderssen to Cryptic Mission/Society of Leopold [sandwiched between TWO Cryptic missions decks, how unlucky is THAT???]. A little boy called Leo won that game, playing a very sweet massive vampire bloat deck. None of the brits did much better than me, though barney and dave both got table wins and 6 and 4 VP respectively - Barney being amongst the top seven at least qualified for the December final. Poor Pierre did the worst of all - he managed to lose ALL his games, PLUS his wallet, the Queen Mother,
and a whole HOUR [later on he found the wallet, which was good]. But none of us really minded - all the games were good fun and there wasn't much evidence of the sorts of collusive behaviour which some people were worried about [because the prize was a complete set of Jyhad, one could imagine scenarios in which people MIGHT have agreed to do one another favours in exchange for a share of it]. In between games we drank beer and admired the VERY numerous prostitutes who throng that part of Paris
- plucky girls, many of whom look in need of a really decent night's kip. i also picked up some new Zoon packs and a metal vampire for the
confrontation miniatures game, plus a game about werewolves which is sort of like a superior version of Murder in the Dark [crossed with Survivor], with cards. Sarah got back from walking the streets of paris, or rather Versailles, just in time to hear me get a prixe for Fair Play [Dave also got a prize for most creative deck, and deservedly so]. i'm
not sure what i did to deserve my prize, though - i was breaking deals left, right and centre, and table-splitting like a bugger. All i can think of is that i did it all with a smile on my face, AND i alerted the judges to an error in the records which if left untouched would have worked in my favour. While the final was afoot we went out for a meal,
and by the time we got back Kamel Senni had triumphed with his War Ghouls - very well done to him!
Then it was back to Philippe's flat after a democratic vote [the alternative to playing games was to go to a sex-club]. This time i played my Brit-combo deck which i really must post; the first time i got shut down by two suddens and a DI, the second time i got 5/6 VP [Philippe got the other]. i must admit i rather enjoyed ousting Francois
"turbo-maitre" Alix with this deck, having been on the receiving end of his equally-hideous Turbo-Arika deck in Watford. i think Matt Rehlow is
probably right to claim that his concept is more robust than turbo-Arika and i would add that it is MUCH quicker to get going. And so to bed, at
least for me [Sarah having retired a couple of hours earlier], but play continued amongst the others until day-break.
Next day we bade our generous hosts farewell and went off to the Musee Quai d'Orsay which is an amazing place, well worth the massive queue.
There were exhibitions of "Last Portraits" [Death Masks and the like, very harrowing in places], the early years of Piet Mondrian, and an American Realist painter, James E- ..... sorry, i've forgotten his name. This art and culture thing is something the French do extremely well, i've always thought - they write intelligently, creatively and
enthusiastically about these matters, they have a talent for the arresting image/phrase, and they manage not to descend into the mire of sloppy pseudo-intellectualism which besmirches many equivalent enterprises by Anglo-Saxons. We also managed to fit in another meal in the glorious restaurant, and more impressionists than you can shake a paint-brush at. GREAT stuff.
The journey back to Le Havre was a LITTLE tiresome, since we had to change trains and go part of the way by coach, but we arrived in good time and had a SUPERB meal in a little seafood restaurant just by the port. Oysters, whelks, prawns, all perfectly cooked [except, of course, for the oysters which were perfectly raw] and delightful. Once on the
boat Sarah and i played our third duel which she won [2-1 to her over the whole weekend], and so to the perfect sleep which you only seem to get on a boat.
Thank-you to all our friends for this absolutely TERRIFIC holiday! We hope to see at least some of you in England and to repay some of your kindness this spring and summer, perhaps starting with the Portsmouth tournament on the 21st of April, which will be held in the Oasis near to the Pyramid Centre on the seafront - more details shortly.