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Author(s): Cliff Simon, Loren Stephens

Location(s): Paris, South Africa, Sweden

Genre(s): Autobiography/Memoirs

Era(s): 1989-1990



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“[Cliff Simon] holds a loving regard for both Africa and Paris, expounding on the various riches of both lands… the Paris lights and what they bestowed upon the author will mesmerize the reader.” —Manhattan Book Review

Little did Cliff Simon know that a single phone call and a one-way ticket to Paris would ultimately change his life forever. Now the acclaimed television and film actor shares his journey from Jo-hannesburg to Moulin Rouge to Hollywood in his debut memoir, Paris Nights: My Year at the Moulin Rouge.

From a young age Cliff Simon knew he was headed towards big places. Having grown up as both a skilled gymnast and a competitive swimmer, performance was in his blood. But with the onset of Apartheid and the looming threat of war, he and his Jewish family soon retreated from Johannesburg, South Africa to the London countryside. Before he knew it, he joined the British swim team and was near Olympics-bound with a full-ride offer to a United States university. But something wasn’t quite right. Instead, Cliff returned home and enlisted in the South African Air Force. Cliff’s habit of impulsive risk-taking would continue but ultimately pave the foundation for an experience most of us would only dream of.

After he was honorably discharged after serving two years, twenty-six-year-old Cliff worked a series of odd jobs at a resort near the Indian Ocean until he received a phone call from an old friend inviting him to join him at the iconic Moulin Rouge. Here begins the story of Cliff’s meteoric rise at the Moulin from swing dancer to principal in the famous show, Formidable; his offstage encounters with street thugs and diamond smugglers; and the long nights filled with after parties and his pick of gorgeous women. Encounter the magic, the mayhem, and the glory that was and still is the Moulin Rouge.

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Book Reviews

San Francisco Book Review

Author: cliff

Cliff Simon, a South African native, got the chance of a lifetime when his friend Gavin informed him that there was a position as a dancer available at the famed Moulin Rouge in Paris....

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Portland Book Review

Author: cliff

Through Simon’s crisp, clear prose, the 1980s Parisian nightlife is cast in brilliant relief before the reader’s eyes.

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Enter the inaugural TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

750 - 3000 words with strong 'sense of place' theme

Short story, travelogue, or memoir

Top judges to decide the winners

Cash prizes totalling £500 / $600 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 15th November 2020