Mixing pleasure with business

Normally, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend an entire day traveling somewhere and an entire day traveling home only to be spend less than five days at the destination, especially when you visited the same destination only four weeks earlier. However, this trip to Montpellier, like the last three I took with Kathryn, has mostly been about taking care of some personal business. Still, I tried to make the trip as enjoyable as possible and mix some pleasant diversions with the business.

To enter the Rockstore, just pass under the Cadillac.

On the day I arrived, I decided to check out a couple of acts playing at the Rockstore, a legendary music venue and place of historical interest in the center of Montpellier. I’d known about the venue for twenty years, but I’d never been inside. In fact, until recently, I was unclear where it was exactly, although I had no trouble finding it this past weekend.

For some numbers, The Doug wore a shirt. Not for this one, though.

The opening act was a solo performer and songwriter who calls himself The Doug. For some numbers, he sang with an electronic accompaniment; for others, it was just his voice and an acoustic guitar. I thought he was pretty talented, but I don’t really know anything. I’m not sure how to describe the music, but the lyrics conveyed a lot of pain.

The brothers of Terrenoire at the Rockstore.

The main act was a pair of brothers who fronted a band called Terrenoire. This was a high energy pop act, and I enjoyed it a lot. The older brother seemed like the primary singer, but the two played off each other well. For some numbers, the older brother would lead; for others, the younger brother; for still others, they would do a duet. They performed for roughly 70 minutes, which for me was just about the limit of my musical attention span.

Patinoire Vegapolis, home of the Montpellier Vipers, shortly before the teams took the ice.

Later in the week, I decided to catch an ice hockey match. Kathryn and I watched the Montpellier Vipers play several years ago when they were in a lower division, and it was a fun time, especially since the home team won. Eventually, the team was promoted to the next division, and frankly they haven’t played well since then. They probably should have been relegated back to their previous division years ago. However, the league canceled relegation twice due to a global pandemic you may have read about. When they finally had a relegation series last season, one of the four teams was disqualified, so the Vipers only needed not to be the worst of the three remaining teams for a few weeks in order to avoid being relegated.

The match I witnessed shouldn’t even have been called a match, since the two teams were so clearly mismatched. It was an ugly rout, especially the first six minutes when the opponent scored three goals. They scored again in the second period and apparently again in the third, but mercifully I had left by then.

A catafalque with a crown for this Requiem Mass.

Before I left home, I had considered that I might get to a weekday Mass or two if my schedule permitted. I had not considered that the anniversary of the death of Queen Marie Antoinette would be during my stay, nor that anyone would care. However, I learned at Sunday Mass that there’s an annual tradition of saying a Requiem Mass for her on the anniversary of her death. This year the anniversary was Sunday, so the Mass was transferred to Monday. What struck me about this particular Requiem Mass was the presence of a stylized crown on the catafalque. That was something I’d never seen before. My photo, taken after Mass had ended, shows a bunch of empty pews, but in fact it was well attended.

Pink for breast cancer awareness. I hope.

Last night, despite some unfavorable weather, I took a long walk around the historic center of Montpellier to say goodbye for a while. It should be ten to twelve weeks before I need to go back. At that point, it should be a longer stay, and Kathryn should be by my side.