Moulin Rouge

Paris 1900

There was a boy. A very strange enchanted boy. They say he wandered very far. Very far. Over land and sea. A little shy, and sad of eye. But very wise… was he. And then one day. A magic day… he passed my way. And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings. This he said to me:

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved… in return.

The Moulin Rouge. A night club, a dance hall and a bordello ruled over by David Fincher. A kingdom of night time pleasures where the rich played with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld. The most beautiful of all of these was, the man I loved. Andrew. A courtesan, he sold his love to men. They called him 'The Sparkling Diamond." And he was the star of the Moulin Rouge.

I paused in my writing and reflected in my memories. Of the bright lights of the Moulin Rouge; the burlesque dancing of the desirable women, the bitter and heart wrenching emotions which now invaded the once happy memories I have of that place.

The man I loved… is … dead.

A fresh wave of emotion hit me once more. It felt as if my heart was breaking over him once more. The joy I felt in his presence ripped away and all that remained of the stinging agony of a lost love.

I wiped away a tear and returned to my typewriter. I way for me to move on is to document the experience. This way the joy, love and pain I felt over him would not be wasted. So if my mind forgets, each rich detail would remain for me to relive again and again.

I first came to Paris one year ago. It was 1899, the summer of love. I knew nothing of the Moulin Rouge, David Fincher or Andrew. The world had been swept up in a Bohemian revolution, and I had travelled from New York to be apart of it. On the hill near Paris was the village of Montmartre. It was not, as my father said – a village of sin – but the centre of the Bohemian world. Musicians, painters, writers. They were known as the Children of the Revolution. Yes I had come to live a penniless existence. I had come to write about truth, beauty, freedom and that which I believed in above all things: love.

I remembered my father's annoyance every time I brought the subject of love up. His dark, almost lost of all compassion, eyes locked with mine, as his mouth, surrounded by a bristly beard, spoke: "always this ridiculous obsession with love!"

There was only one problem. I'd never been in love. Luckily just then, an unconscious Argentinean fell through my roof. He was quickly joined by a dwarf dressed as a nun.

This dwarf slammed the door open. His dark chocolate eyes quickly locked with mine. He had a brown goatee and seemed not a bit phased by the unconscious Argentinean currently hanging from my ceiling in the middle of the room. He simply smiled and introduced himself. His name was Henri Marie Raymond Toulouse – Lautrec – Montfa.

He waddled over to where the unconscious Argentinean has hanging and said apologetically. "I'm terribly sorry. We were upstairs rehearsing a play." My eyebrows at this point must have been up to my hairline. I was in a complete state of shock and was beginning to wonder what I had let myself into moving here.

The play was something very modern called: Spectacular Spectacular.

Toulouse (for short) excitement grew as he spoke of this play, his eyes lit up with each detail. This play was clearly his passion. He said "it's set in Switzerland."

Unfortunately the unconscious Argentinean suffered from a sickness called narcolepsy. Toulouse explained to me that he would be perfectly fine one minute and unconscious the next. At this a something broke upstairs. Looking in that direction I saw three heads. The one on the left wore a decorated top hat, round glasses, unusually clothes (I assumed was a costume) and many rings. The one in the middle had short blue/purple hair, makeup and a white shirt accompanied by a red waist coat. The third one wore what I believed to be a bole hat, glasses which had I think had lenses of the side of them, a thick multicoloured scarf and white shirt.

"How is he?" The one in the middle asked.

All three of them turned their attention to me, back to Toulouse, then back to me.

The one with blue/purple hair said snappily "Oh wonderful now the narcoleptic Argentinean is unconscious so therefore the play won't be ready to present to the financier tomorrow."

Each of them rattled on by things they still had to do for this financier. Toulouse suggested that someone else could read the part.

The one still in the middle of the three head scoffed at this and asked "where in heavens name would we find someone to read the role of a young, sensitive, Swiss poet goat herder?"

Before I knew it I was upstairs standing in for the unconscious Argentinean.

The room had a large mountain painted in the back, with a goat and other objects a goat herder may have. There was a lot arguing over lyrics. One of the suggestions was: the hills animate with the euphonious symphonies of descant, along with many other which just didn't fit. Along with these suggestions light bulbs were flashing, a type of piano was being hit and a lot of screeching. Until I couldn't bear it any longer and loudly sang out 'the hills are alive with the sound of music."

Every noise in the room stopped and all the attention was on me. Then the unconscious Argentinean awoke and repeated what I said smiling. He agreed on what I sang and it was only moments before the others did too.

"It fits perfectly!" One praised.

Then the next line out of nowhere came as I sang 'with songs they have sung for a thousand years.'

All of them gasped in delight and awe at my creativity.

"Incandiferous!" Toulouse squealed. "You two should write the show together."

"I beg your pardon?" Audrey, the girl with that now looked like black hair, asked.

Toulouse's suggestion that Audrey and I write the show together was not what Audrey wanted to hear.

"Goodbye!" She screamed before slamming the door in a very dramatic fashion.

Toulouse held up a glass cup full of this strange green liquid and said in congratulations "here's to your first job in Paris."

The man with the strange glasses said "Toulouse Fincher would never agree. No offence but have you ever written anything like this before?"

"No," I said bluntly.

The Argentinean pushed this aside and said "the boy has talent! I like him!" At this point he placed his palm on my crotch and I whimpered, frightened of this touch. AT hearing this whimper he removed his hand and quickly covered up his actions by saying "nothing funny, I just like his talent."

They formed into a crowd and walked away from me, Toulouse was saying "the hills are alive with the sounds of music. See with Jesse we can write the Bohemian revolutionary show we have always dreamt of."

"How are we going to convince Fincher?" The man with the unusual glasses asked.

But Toulouse had a plan.

"Andrew."

They would dress me in the Argentinean's best suit and pass me off as a famous American writer. Once Andrew had heard my modern poetry he would astounded and insist to Fincher that I would write Spectacular Spectacular. The only problem was I kept hearing my father's voice in my head: you'll end up wasting your life at the Moulin Rouge with a cancan dancer.

With their laughter and my father's voice a panicked and squealed "I can't write for the Moulin Rouge!"

"Why not?" They all asked.

"I don't know if I am a true Bohemian revolutionary."

"Do you believe in beauty?" Toulouse asked.

"Yes." I answered truthfully.

"Freedom?" The Argentinean asked.

"Yes of course."

"Truth?"

"Yes."

"Love?"

My eyes lit up despite my fear. For my love and passion for belief in love. My brain funnelled out these thoughts I had about this most wonderful of all emotions a person could feel. My mouth said "above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen, love is a many – splendours thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!"

Toulouse giggled in delight and practically sang "see you can't fool us! You're the voice of the Children of the Revolution! To the new writer of the world's first Bohemian revolutionary show!"

It was the perfect plan! I was to audition of Andrew and take my first glass of absinthe. Within only a few moments of downing the shot my vision became compromised and I started to hallucinate. The fairy on the bottle became alive and started to dance in the moonlight sky. We laughed, at what I do not know; when under the influence of this liquid your mind can conquer up an infinitive amount of things. At some point we stumbled out on the balcony to dance and sing about our beliefs. The whole sky seemed to a display of green fireworks, each part dancing for our blown eyes to admire. The fairy was in centre stage, it seemed many more fairies joined her in the dance.

We were off to the Moulin Rouge, and I was to perform my poetry for Andrew.

At this everything began to spin. The once friendly fairy's eyes turned red as she screamed. Light flashed and we found ourselves at the Moulin Rouge. David Fincher was dressed as a ring master of a circus. The sight that greeted us one of showing flesh thought provoking costumes and men in suits pressed up against them. Clowns, exotic boys, jugglers and the loud unforgiving beating music.

This was David Fincher and his infamous boys. They call them his "Diamond Dogs."

There was a boy for very type of gentleman. A group of boys was lined up and sexually sang voules-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? As they sang and danced towards us the people erupted into applause and wolf whistles; each one of them desperately trying to get the attention of the desirables. At one point Fincher led of one dances. With each movement and sound any of his 'Diamond Dogs' did or uttered more excitement rippled throughout the room. For me this sight made me smile, for I knew this was the reason I moved here.

Soon a series of dances merged into one, the 'Diamond Dogs' doing one, Fincher another and the crowd one of their own, in which they begged for attention and entertainment. For this one, myself and my recently made friends joined. You did not need to know the words or dance; just being in that placed filled you with the need to do so. For here everyone's mind worked the same, their needs, and their desire just the same as the man next to them. This level of thinking, singing, dancing just came to much for my head to wrap around. I could not see why my father would be against anything this much fun!

Abruptly the music stopped, everyone cleared the stage and I was pulled to a seat. For it was time for him.