Great gushing cloudbursts are few and far between in my neck of the woods. I’m not talking about simple drenchings, which happen every so often — I’m talking cats and dogs, the wild Parasite rainstorm, monsoon-level, The Rains of Ranchipur and how this never happens in WeHo.
When you get right down to it I’ve experienced only five or six gully washers over the last 20 or 30 years, and almost all of them overseas. There was one serious soaking in Manhattan in the spring of ’81, when I was living on Bank Street. And a major cloudburst in Las Vegas back in the ’90s. But I wouldn’t describe either as super-exceptional.
The greatest urban rainstorm happened in Paris in the summer of ’03. Dylan I were living on a hilly street in southwest Montmartre — 23 rue Tourlaque. It was coming down so hard that the gutters were swamped with charging rapids. And the cacophony (trillions of water bullets clattering on hundreds of clay-tile rooftops) was magnificent. And the crackling thunder before it started. The wrath of an angry Old Testament God from a Cecil B. DeMille film.
The most exciting deluge in a forest primeval setting happened about 10 years later, in Vietnam. In a jungle-like area not far from the Mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang, just south of Hue. We took shelter inside a kind of makeshift cafe — open air, plastic tables and chairs, a slanted wood-frame roof covered with palm fronds and banana leaves. The sheer energy of the downpour plus the overwhelming symphony of sound (half raging waterfall, half Noah’s Ark flood waters)…must have lasted a good 15 or 20 minutes.
23 rue Tourlaque, Paris.