Perpignan 1982

In the summer of 1982 my college friend Nick Napoli came to Paris. Walter D was DJ for the Rex Club’s final 24-hour marathon of new wave and ethnic bands featuring Toure Kunda and Virgin Prunes. We weren’t straight for any of those hours. The club’s manager Olivier had a family beach home on the Cote Vermillion i.e. Perpignan on the Spanish border. Nick rented a car. We greeted the next morning on the Autoroute Du Sud.

Here are fotos of my friends.

We are still good friends.

England was taking back the Falklands, Israeli was aiding massacres in Lebanon, and Roland Garros was featuring championship tennis.

It was on the TV.

Olivier told his father that I was the 17th ranked tennis player in the USA.

He believed his son.

Dodo told the entire town about his guest

To this day I am # 17 in Perpignan.

Perpignan was an old city.

Old people lived within its walls.

For fun Olivier suggested Collioure. The old port was down the coast to Collioure. Nick didn’t trust Olivier behind the wheel.

“Me neither.” The French tended to drive like every trip was a qualification for Formula 1.

At a bar Walter spun records. Nick and I danced with two girls. They were cute and in their 20s.

We brought two girls back to Carnet-Plage

They were good fun.

But only in a non-Biblical sense.

For some reason William Buckley, Jr. was in town. He followed us around the city. I don’t think he was after me.

Oliver agreed.

When he asked about wearing espadrilles, I said, “They look good on you.”

It was the South of France.

Espadrilles sucked for climbing around the Templar ruins of the Langue d’Oc.

I thought it was funny.

Olivier was less amused.

But he didn’t stay angry. Olivier, Walter, Nick, and I returned to Collioure. The two girls were at a harborside cafe. The six of us drank pastis till sunset and switched to wine. I don’t remember those girls names or the ride home to Carnet-Plage, but I woke in bed alone.

A lucky man.

Walter, Nick, and I said ‘au revoir’ to the Brials.

Olivier was staying home.

Les Americains auto-routed north to Paris.

It was a different France than Perpignan, especially for the 17th ranked tennis player in America.

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