NIGHTTIMING IN EUROPE WITH NATHAN TRUONG

The Speakeasy – Somewhere in the South of France with summer facades and the wind-down of a house party, my friends and I were invited to a speakeasy. After we passed the Moroccan decor and a family dinner, we squeezed ourselves with sweat into a small salle wrought in red and rum. We crashed a wedding party and danced to bongo drums and corny keyboard notes until the bride’s white dress turned black. For two hours or so, I felt wedded into their matrimony. In that room, marriage was not a social construct.

The Speakeasy – Somewhere in the South of France with summer facades and the wind-down of a house party, my friends and I were invited to a speakeasy. After we passed the Moroccan decor and a family dinner, we squeezed ourselves with sweat into a small salle wrought in red and rum. We crashed a wedding party and danced to bongo drums and corny keyboard notes until the bride’s white dress turned black. For two hours or so, I felt wedded into their matrimony. In that room, marriage was not a social construct.

Pitchfork Paris – While I waited at the barricades for James Blake’s holy voice, a petite Filipina asked if she could stand next to me. One minute she tells me she’s a Manila fashion designer trying to make it big in London as a chanteuse, and a moment after she invited me to tomorrow’s after party where Lunice brought me back to Oakland house parties and SOPHIE bounced me into the London clubs. There, I met some Yung Lean looking Germans with a friend named Mandy whom I knew as Molly. The party ended at 8 in the morning, and I ended the night after.

Pitchfork Paris – While I waited at the barricades for James Blake’s holy voice, a petite Filipina asked if she could stand next to me. One minute she tells me she’s a Manila fashion designer trying to make it big in London as a chanteuse, and a moment after she invited me to tomorrow’s after party where Lunice brought me back to Oakland house parties and SOPHIE bounced me into the London clubs. There, I met some Yung Lean looking Germans with a friend named Mandy whom I knew as Molly. The party ended at 8 in the morning, and I ended the night after.

New Year’s – When the French talk about American parties, they think of Santa Barbara. You could say I was tired of the American dream, that my real reves were in Paris, but the American culture is something you can’t avoid. The radio is the same. The clothes are the same. The people are different, and were welcomed when I dj’ed The Strokes, played King’s Cup with them, and washed the floors with vin and vomit. This is a picture of my French friend Val whose clothes disappeared within a double take.

New Year’s – When the French talk about American parties, they think of Santa Barbara. You could say I was tired of the American dream, that my real reves were in Paris, but the American culture is something you can’t avoid. The radio is the same. The clothes are the same. The people are different, and were welcomed when I dj’ed The Strokes, played King’s Cup with them, and washed the floors with vin and vomit. This is a picture of my French friend Val whose clothes disappeared within a double take.

Anti-Valentine’s Day – Let me tell you, London kids are the coolest. Exposed to the underground music scene in a fabulous club with Vegas lights, I danced with drag queens, hung out with a band of outsiders, and was surprised by how much I didn’t care to be anywhere else. Perhaps because it was “harder to exist” here, as Alexa Chung admitted (Nosiey Blog). My time there was a moment trapped in a golden amber frozen still in London’s bleak blues. 

Anti-Valentine’s Day – Let me tell you, London kids are the coolest. Exposed to the underground music scene in a fabulous club with Vegas lights, I danced with drag queens, hung out with a band of outsiders, and was surprised by how much I didn’t care to be anywhere else. Perhaps because it was “harder to exist” here, as Alexa Chung admitted (Nosiey Blog). My time there was a moment trapped in a golden amber frozen still in London’s bleak blues. 

Marseille – A city with a Long Beach grime. A social war exists between Marseille (the poor) and Aix (the rich), and for the kids who dream too much of liberty and retreat to Marseille with its growing thrift stores, chic ethnic restaurants, and high vibe cafes, much like San Francisco’s Mission district. I reside in Aix for school, and escape to Marseille when I’m feeling too much like an alien. Prejudice is a live tumor in Aix where I feel more Vietnamese, less American, and not aware that I am simply a human being. To become a human being, you leave to Marseille.

Marseille – A city with a Long Beach grime. A social war exists between Marseille (the poor) and Aix (the rich), and for the kids who dream too much of liberty and retreat to Marseille with its growing thrift stores, chic ethnic restaurants, and high vibe cafes, much like San Francisco’s Mission district. I reside in Aix for school, and escape to Marseille when I’m feeling too much like an alien. Prejudice is a live tumor in Aix where I feel more Vietnamese, less American, and not aware that I am simply a human being. To become a human being, you leave to Marseille.

Studio 54 – Every so often my roommates and I throw these extravagant parties chez nous themed Studio 54. The lavish late 70’s discotheque where Grace Jones, Blondie, Andy Warhol (me), and many more frequented. We had it all. Around thirty people stuffed in a kitchen the size of a San Franciscan studio in Chinatown. A dance floor, strobe lights, balloons with LED’s, a hookah set, sex in the bathroom, an environment where all variables played a part. Anything could happen. Everything did.  

Studio 54 – Every so often my roommates and I throw these extravagant parties chez nous themed Studio 54. The lavish late 70’s discotheque where Grace Jones, Blondie, Andy Warhol (me), and many more frequented. We had it all. Around thirty people stuffed in a kitchen the size of a San Franciscan studio in Chinatown. A dance floor, strobe lights, balloons with LED’s, a hookah set, sex in the bathroom, an environment where all variables played a part. Anything could happen. Everything did.  

Fete des Lumieres – Set in Lyon, the mini Paris, the whole city turns into an exhibition of holiday lights set two weekends before Christmas. You wander through the biting cold, warm your veins with hot wine, and feed off the street food. It’s one of those “once in a lifetime” chance of events. If you get the opportunity, there’s a light show that happens on the face of a church where it shakes, crumbles, melts, and is basically an acid trip sans the acid. 

Fete des Lumieres – Set in Lyon, the mini Paris, the whole city turns into an exhibition of holiday lights set two weekends before Christmas. You wander through the biting cold, warm your veins with hot wine, and feed off the street food. It’s one of those “once in a lifetime” chance of events. If you get the opportunity, there’s a light show that happens on the face of a church where it shakes, crumbles, melts, and is basically an acid trip sans the acid. 

Not That Kind of Girl – Women are something I thought I could try and understand by picking up Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl”. Not only will I never be close enough, but there was something gentle I found about the female mind. I’ve been touching into Petra Collin’s Instagram, indulging in FKA Twigs, accounting my days like Virginia Woolf, and seeing through Sofia Coppola’s camera lens. All of these exercises meditated my body into a mellow space flushed with pastels. This place allowed me to love my mom as a person versus a mother with the ocean between us. I’m glad that I’m surrounded by women all independent, brave, and, most importantly, tango dancer emoji. This is a picture of my friend Analiese performing a dare from a Jenga game where you scrawl obscenic actions on the blocks.

Not That Kind of Girl – Women are something I thought I could try and understand by picking up Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl”. Not only will I never be close enough, but there was something gentle I found about the female mind. I’ve been touching into Petra Collin’s Instagram, indulging in FKA Twigs, accounting my days like Virginia Woolf, and seeing through Sofia Coppola’s camera lens. All of these exercises meditated my body into a mellow space flushed with pastels. This place allowed me to love my mom as a person versus a mother with the ocean between us. I’m glad that I’m surrounded by women all independent, brave, and, most importantly, tango dancer emoji. This is a picture of my friend Analiese performing a dare from a Jenga game where you scrawl obscenic actions on the blocks.

In Transition - Traveling from place to place, I realized what I enjoy the most is the time in between one place and another because it pushes you into this mode of reflection. And when I think of reflection, I see it as this pond behind a shrine where the past, present, and future lose their linearity. This allows you to rip the threads of les temps and weave it into something different from or for the place you came from or for where you’re off to next. I spill out my brains in airports, and watch my ideas stick to the shoe bottoms of people going and coming, waiting and sleeping, dreaming and kissing. This is from the CDG airport in Paris while waiting for a flight to Oslo, watching the sky turn from orange chicken to eggplant and tofu.

In Transition - Traveling from place to place, I realized what I enjoy the most is the time in between one place and another because it pushes you into this mode of reflection. And when I think of reflection, I see it as this pond behind a shrine where the past, present, and future lose their linearity. This allows you to rip the threads of les temps and weave it into something different from or for the place you came from or for where you’re off to next. I spill out my brains in airports, and watch my ideas stick to the shoe bottoms of people going and coming, waiting and sleeping, dreaming and kissing. This is from the CDG airport in Paris while waiting for a flight to Oslo, watching the sky turn from orange chicken to eggplant and tofu.

Rebecca - A magical creature and a dear friend. I didn’t believe in auras until I met Becca. There’s an earthly quality about her. She’s filled with stories, emotions, and thoughts that constantly grow. She doesn’t trim them. Becca is too busy talking to one face and another. I remember the two of us spent a Sunday in Nimes after a Future Islands concert, waiting for a train. With naked emotions and restless bodies, we fell into another world, a Dali painting dripping dry in the sun. I guess you could say she’s my muse. This is a picture of her at a playground near the waters of Marseille while waiting for a Takoyaki place that’s only open 4 hours a day.

Rebecca - A magical creature and a dear friend. I didn’t believe in auras until I met Becca. There’s an earthly quality about her. She’s filled with stories, emotions, and thoughts that constantly grow. She doesn’t trim them. Becca is too busy talking to one face and another. I remember the two of us spent a Sunday in Nimes after a Future Islands concert, waiting for a train. With naked emotions and restless bodies, we fell into another world, a Dali painting dripping dry in the sun. I guess you could say she’s my muse. This is a picture of her at a playground near the waters of Marseille while waiting for a Takoyaki place that’s only open 4 hours a day.

Nathan Truong Nathan Truong is a writer and student currently traveling the lands of Europe with a pen and notebook as his main companions.