This is one of my favourite tracks from my first album, Small Things Shining Bright.
Melody came first here. I was cycling on the rail path from Barrie to Orillia, humming and thinking through a different melody structure for a song. The rhythm of the pedaling helped a lot with the groove…
...and then that initial phrase, the minor sixth, da dum, popped into my head. I cycled it around, rolled with it (see what I did there?) and a melody started to form. It’s about 40km wheeling about from Barrie to Orillia so I had time, lots of time and that groove became more and more infectious. A two-step. Something you could dance to.
As so often happens with me in this process, I began to hear the orchestration: an accordion, a violin, an upright bass, a clarinet, maybe. That dotted rhythm moving the story forward. It had to be there.
So upon arriving home, I sat down, thought some more, took out Yolande (my Breedlove guitar), and dove into experimentation. A minor key. Fretted, not open, like E minor or A minor, the typical guitar keys for minor-sounding songs.
F minor, then. Barre chord, first fret, just to make things difficult, but good exercise for the left hand. Subdued. I wanted a continental, European feel to this thing. Something Parisian, Left Bank, at a cafe with wine and cheese and Gauloises and the subtle light stroke of your companion’s foot on your calf.
And the tune grew.
The words were a real challenge. Theme? Story? This took the better part of half a year. Finally, an image: an older couple, reunited by chance or disguised intent after lives lived apart in their own worlds. A rendezvous, an old flame reignited, a French film from the fifties. Un rendezvous des fous. A rendezvous of fools. Love that “oo” sound shared by both languages. A cinematographic feel to the words, images, music, and storyline.
And the rest is history.
I remember one time I performed this in the small bistro under my apartment. There wasn’t much room between the stage and the dining room, but somehow a couple managed to find enough room to dance as I played this. They became lost in their own world the music painted for them. It was a lovely, touching moment, and we all applauded them as the song wound down to its conclusion.
“Is this the way old lovers recall / the suns of passion long since cooled?/
Who knows how wintered flesh remembers the touch / of a rendezvous of fools?
...they’d rather be beside each other than beside themselves...”