Django Spirit

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Gary Carruthers

Samois-sur-Seine, France, 10th June 2014

My brother-in-law visited me in Paris.  He's a jazz guitarist and wanted us to go out to a tiny little village called Samois-sur-Seine to see Django Reinhardt's grave.  We had to walk miles from Fontainbleau station across fields and woods to the churchyard, so it felt like quite a pilgrimage.  Especially as we had no idea where he was.

We found him!  I particularly liked the litter - you can't make it out in the photo - of plectrums, left by other pilgrims, in homage.  And as if blessed with good luck, my brother-in-law found one in his jeans pocket and tucked it in Django's dust.  A magical moment, only ever to be achieved when a ludicrous quest fills your head, you follow your heart and you simply do it.

Lunch, we decided, by the river. And as luck would have it, by Django's old house.  Watching swans and geese.  Cheese, red wine, sunshine.

I found time to duck out to the château at Fontainebleau.  To revisit my favourite of Napoleon's clocks.  An almost desperately complicated one for its time.  What I love most is the inner-top subdial, that shows the days of the week using planet symbols.  Lundi, mardi, mercredi, jeudi, vendredi... Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus...  c'est la même chose.

I raise a cup of Django Spirit to you, Bonaparte.


Posted in