Eric Satie, the pianist of the cabaret “Le Chat Noir” (The Black Cat), would eventually become one of the most exquisite composers of the French “Fin de Siècle”. But at the beginning, his piano technique was so scanty, and his shyness so great, that he restricted himself to pressing the same key for an entire evening. This exasperated the bourgeois clients, but delighted the artists because, combined with the ingestion of absinthe, it made them enter a kind of hypnotic trance.
During an evening at Le Chat Noir, the painter and artists’ model Suzanne Valadon fell into a deep hypnotic trance triggered by Satie’s music. When at dawn Satie returned home, he received the unexpected visit of Suzanne who, to his amazement, fell into his arms. It’s thought that this was the first and last love affair of Satie, who maintained his whole life an almost supernatural love for Suzanne. This was the most pleasing incident that his minimalist music caused to the shy pianist and composer. But previously he had already gone through similar experiences. On one occasion, for example, when leaving the cabaret, he noticed that he was being followed by a man whose behavior was extremely weird: he walked on the tips of his feet hopping and gesturing like a ballerina. Every time Satie turned to look at him in the dim light of a gas lamp, the weird man would clasp his hands, bow his head and blink and smile at him suggestively. Satie start walking faster and, when approaching his house located in the very Montmartre where “Le Chat Noir” was, he had to run to get home early enough to close the door before the weird guy caught up with him. The next morning, when Satie left the modest room where he lived, he found the individual who had followed him the night before sleeping in the hallway. Then the man woke up and, to his relief, Satie found that his behavior had normalized completely. He introduced himself as Josephin Peladan, symbolist poet and founder of the “Order of the Temple of the Rose + Cross”. On the way to the cabaret, they both fraternised and discovered that they shared a great fondness for Occult Sciences, and over time both ended up being good friends.
The Green Fairy couldn’t have found a more fertile ground for her pranks than this pair of idealistic bohemians.