The Baron – The Parisian Exploits (1734 – 1738)

Fig 14. The Baron in the role of “le Blocquer” during a game of “Les Lemmings”, a popular 18th century French pastime, which many years later would inspire a cult computer game.

Paris in the 18th century was a maelstrom of creative talent and development. The first we hear of the Baron after his murky travels is of him working as a waiter whilst trying to form a musical band.

Always the entrepreneur, it seems that in this instance his avant-garde nature worked against him, as there were no recording media available with which to capture or distribute the sounds they created, and so every performance had to be live and unplugged.

Success proved elusive. The Baron was writing songs that detailed the bodily functions of his favourite mistress in greater detail than could possibly have been required by any audience, contemporary or otherwise.

Eventually he collaborated with a friend of his, who turned around the career of the group by selecting song motifs such as love and hope, as opposed to some alcoholic Parisian strumpet who was too lazy to get out of bed to take a leak.

But the group was destined for disaster. There were creative disagreements, especially as the group gained in popularity. The first to quit was Gaston Depardieu, their harpsichord player, who left after a major bust-up in hotel room immediately after the group’s high-profile Versailles concert.

Fig 15. A concert in the park. The Baron is on lead balliset, whilst Hubert, the group’s roadie, provides the lighting.

The group finally disbanded in May of 1738. The Baron attempted a solo career, but his erstwhile writing partner had gone on to create a range of light operas, and without his  sobering influence the Baron’s writing focus gradually drifted away from the socially acceptable and into the morally questionable, and ended up in the realms of the positively unhygienic.

With the flop of the Baron’s solo career, he once again faded from view, and the next account of him is some years later, when he re-surfaced as a member of the Austrian army.

 

 

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