The Pubs May Be Fake But It Doesn't Rain Pigs

A Metropole café in Les Halles

Introducing a Great Writer, But Not For Metropole.

by Ric Erickson

Metropole Paris:- St. Patrick's Day:- Monday, 17. March 1997:- The International Herald Tribune is perceived as a businessperson's newspaper, and its Saturday edition used to be considered a poor relation.

Regardless of how much its owners - the Washington Post and the New York Times - whine about what it costs to keep the 'Trib' going in its Paris headquarters, the IHT, as it likes to be known as these days, puts out a very respectable Saturday edition that is often more interesting than any of its daily weekday editions.

Despite its name - 'International' - and despite its owners, on Saturday the 'Trib' can be what it has always been for more than a hundred years, a Paris paper. Reading the editorial pages will tell you better than any other publication what America thinks; and if you think all its contributors are pinko lefties, then you can read Bill Safire, Dick Nixon's one-time flack.

During the week, the paper has good columns and good features - and it always has the comic-strips - even if I don't care for them since they dropped 'Pogo.'

But its Saturday edition has my favorite columns: Dave Barry from the Miami Herald, the IHT's own Souren Melikian writing about the skullduggery in the art biz, the week's wrap up of the highly regarded business news - "Can Africa Attain 'Tiger' Status?" - hey! Headline writers please note: no tigers in Africa! - and a column by Mary Blume.

First spring flowers

Mary Blume is a jewel and whatever the IHT pays her, it cannot be enough.

Mary Blume has been writing for the IHT longer than I've been reading it - 32 years - and I do not think I am alone in guessing that my indifference to the paper would increase by about 50 percent if she was no longer a contributor.

Last Saturday's column was no different from the hundreds - thousands? - of others that she has done. It was well-written of course, it was informative and it was entertaining. It was not like TV-news, which is usually none of the above.

The headline was: "Green Power: The Irish Pub Invasion." For Metropole, just as I don't write about Pubs in Paris, I don't write about Irish Pubs in Paris either - no matter how friendly and cozy they are.

Besides making it a point to feature Parisian bars and cafés, the other reason I have never written about Irish Pubs in Paris, is that I don't drink. I don't want to even go in one of these places and spoil everybody's fun - what is he? Must be a temperance!

First spring flowers

The last time I was tempted, I was dying for a café and I just happened to be going past an Irish Pub and I thought, why not? But they had turned their expresso machine off and that was that - water wouldn't do. I needed something stronger - and strong bottles to look at while I had it wouldn't have been too bad either.

I have been in elegant pubs in downtown Dublin and Cork and I've been in cement-floored ones hard by the Atlantic. I cannot figure out what all these Irish Pubs are doing in Paris though. They seem to be sprouting like mushrooms.

On Saturday, Mary Blume told me. Guinness, the brewery that makes a beer that looks like really old crankcase oil - you know, with a little brown in it - has a deal that includes five Irish Pubs in kits. Kits!

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