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Patricia, is it true that you're thinking of starting a bag line? It's as true as my metro line project. Even if the one you're talking about is more likely to come to fruition than a possible Line 15 of my own devising.

Patricia Blanchet

But you must have plans!

Of course I do. First of all, I'm going to go to Nuit Debout like I do every night. It's in République, a few hundred metres from my office. It's a great project, collective yes, but with a unique value, a fantastic human project. It gives me goosebumps just talking about it. These people have a real desire to change things, there's an essential and considerable substance to it, something that's never been seen before. I love what's going on here, it's very moving.

Don't you get the impression that this is a sanitised version of Spain's Podemos?

Did you go there to get that impression, dear Robert?

No, but I ask around, I read the press.

Instead of reading articles that are often poorly written, I'd advise you to go and see for yourself the sublime fervour that exists on this square, it's marvellous. And you can also drink a good beer there with charming people.
Patricia Blanchet

Every time I visit your showroom, I can see that you're working very hard. There's never a dull moment in your day. Do you take holidays?

Yes, I work a lot, but I'm not going to complain about it, far from it. That's the case for almost everyone. A lot of people would like to work a lot. And those who don't work by choice, good for them, that's fine too. I don't take holidays, but I could do with a break. A real, long, life-saving break. I did that in 1990. I literally cut all ties with my country, my family, my work, my everyday life. I moved to California, to Santa Monica. I hadn't planned anything, no place to stay, nothing at all. A total adventure. Just a little money to see me through, feed me and go out a few times. It was wonderful.

Rumour has it that you were very close to Michael Balzary at the time. Myth or reality?

Talk about a myth... no, it's absolutely true. I played a lot of bass at the time. I learnt everything on my own, by watching concerts. And when I went into a music shop on Sunset Boulevard looking for a good instrument, I was approached by a skinny, bare-chested guy who looked a bit bewildered and was jabbering all sorts of things at me. I thought he was hitting on me, so I told him to piss off. But on the way out of the shop he missed a step and broke his tooth on the floor. He hadn't just been drinking beer, if you get my meaning. As I know a thing or two about first aid, I rushed over to give him a hand. After that, we became friends. It was relatively cool because I didn't know many people at the time. He showed me around Los Angeles and the surrounding area, and the mansion where they were recording their new album. He introduced me to a whole bunch of great, crazy people like Rick Rubin, who will always remain THE main encounter. Well, you know, I didn't know much about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so the fact that he was their bassist or Louise Attaque's bassist didn't mean much to me. He was just a funny guy with whom it was nice to discover new plants and alternative ways of having fun. Above all, he taught me some incredible playing techniques that I still use today. In fact, just yesterday I joined Nuit Debout with my bass. I played a bit to warm up, and other musicians joined in. Music is great, it goes everywhere with you. It's a bit like a pair of shoes in the end. Interview by Robert Denis for Transparence©
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