Your shirt is open on your chest, one button more than usual and a quiff of hair falls onto your eyebrows, the use of hair pomade defeated, by now too dry to do its job. If it were the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s you’d most likely have a half-smoked cigarette placed between your lips. Lucky Strike, Gitane or JPS. One arm caresses the bar as if it was wrapped round the back of a woman, the other holding a glass of whiskey. It was supposed to be the last drink an hour ago, but you’re still here. Another song, the white-suited performer on the side of the small circular stage looks exhausted, like you.
It could be Scott Walker reflecting on life; Julio Iglesias covering Charles Trenet; Nino Ferrer or Patty Pravo singing about the pains of love; Serge Gainsbourg crooning about sex or his Italian counterpart Daniele Pace. Artists as different as Leonard Cohen and Brazilian singer Erasmo Carlos, as David Bowie and Roman vernacular troubadour Franco Califano, but all sharing the same bittersweet songs, with touches of brass and strings. Sophisticated retro (with the exception of The Last Shadow Puppets) yet timeless pop songs that provide the soundtrack to the everyday casuals drawing their conclusions on life and love in front of a drink. The variety of language captures the late 1960s to mid-1970s worldwide taste for elegant, slightly decadent pop numbers that blend melancholic soundtrack elements to soulful ones, just like Shirley Bassey and Mina mastered.
The day has gone, your lover too. A furtive glance to the girls on the dancefloor, maybe someone will invite you for the last dance. Amongst the melancholia of a tired man, music lets fantasies run wild, letting in a glimpse of hope for the future. Like Peppino di Capri sings, one glass of champagne to toast to the end of a love story. One more sip, it’s time to go, “Paris s’éveille.”