Our 'Datelines' Are True Stories

At the bar

All Except for the Exceptions

by Ric Erickson

Metropole Paris:- Monday, 24. March 1997:- In this issue there is sort of an account of a pedestrian 'rallye' which took place a week ago Sunday. I was invited to go, but circumstances prevented me from taking part.

Metropole's server driver, Linda Thalman, participated in the rallye, so I asked her to write a feature about it. She was willing enough, but has no time - having to watch the disks spin around all day long, or whatever it is that server drivers do - so she wrote an 'eMail.'

'eMails' are reserved for readers. Technically I can say Linda is a reader - she looks at Metropole every week to see how many typos and spelling mistakes are in it and then she adds them to my bill.

I didn't know last Wednesday when I visited the Gare de Lyon whether Linda would actually write anything, so I looked at the 'Train Bleu' restaurant for the first time, and then took a walk over to Saint Antoine and the Bastille. In this way I got a set of photos for my piece about the restaurant and got 'covered' in case Linda sent anything.

This explains why the 'rallye' photos look like they have rain Entry Le Train Bleu in them instead of last Sunday's sunshine. All of this is to point out that two of Metropole's 'rules' have been... bent a little. The photos are not from the actual day of the event, and Linda's account of the events was 'forced' a bit by myself. Does anybody care besides me?

Probably not. If nothing else, it is still a - backwards - reminder that nearly everything in Metropole each week is a report from the day in the dateline - and this is what makes Metropole a little different from other online magazines, some newspapers, and even some television news.

TV-news uses 'stock' video when they have nothing fresh on hand and they are often sloppy about saying so. Newspaper reports can often be extremely vague about their datelines because they don't want readers to know, in these days of nearly instant worldwide communications, that they print 'news' which is 48 hours or more, old.

In publishing on the Internet, if one is determined to present 'fresh' reports, it is not only possible to do, but not all that difficult either.

Given the small size of Metropole's operation, the decision to carry on-time datelined reports was made by one person, not a committee. The determination to get it done is also the result of a commitment to nobody other than the readers, to do it.

Under these 'rules,' if I have to break them - nah! bend them a little - I think I should point it out. This once. In case you wondered.

Putting a 'dateline' on the published 'eMails' from readers poses several problems. Letters 'to the editor' are private correspondence. If a reader writes something that I think may interest all of Metropole's readers, I ask the reader for permission to publish the letter. Sometimes I ask for some elaboration to be added, and all of this may require some back-and-forth as well as the passage of a bit of time.

What I usually do, I set the dateline to the reception date of the final version from the reader - rather than to the date of the eMail that launched the affair. Then I add my own comments and a photo. As you can imagine, I often have to do the photo in advance, before knowing exactly when the 'final' version will arrive. Then the whole thing runs under the one dateline, which is determined by chance.

Why go through all the rigmarole? It's because of the Internet. One of my first 'street' pieces - about a spring day on the Champs-Elysées - I did on the spur of the moment, put that day's date on it and it was put online the same day.

Many months later, a reader wrote to say she had been on the Champs-Elysées on that very day, and it was exactly like that.

TV can't do it; neither can newspapers. Radio can, but doesn't. Only the Internet. It's the Internet's 'ace' feature and I intend to play it for its unique worth.

When the Bourse Is Not the Bourse

A hint has just come in that there might be some confusion about the subject of last week's 'black photo' feature about the Bourse de Commerce. This building, just off the rue du Louvre, is not the 'Paris Bourse' - the French stock exchange. The subject of last week's feature is the commodities exchange, and its activity in this area is now limited to sugar trading.

Metropole has had a long-time hotlink to La Bourse - rue Vivienne, métro Bourse - and it is included here.

Not that Metropole's 'Links' page is overloaded, but I am inclined to drop this link because I believe Metropole readers have scant interest in it. Its Web site can be easily reached through the International Herald Tribune's Web site, to which Metropole does maintain a link.

The Michelin Guide Is Now Online

Wouldn't you know, but the one bit of really hard news that I stumbled into by chance at the Salon du Livre last week, I forgot to include in the report.

Michelin, world-famous for its tires and its maps and guides, now has an online presence. I was given a quick demonstration at the salon, First spring flowers and if you are planning any sort of visit to France, having a look at this site will be worth your while.

Say you are planning to drive from Paris to Toulouse. The site presents a form, giving you plenty of options such as autoroutes or the older 'routes nationals' and you make your selections and hit 'send.'

The server's software takes into account everything you've chosen, and presents your itinerary - with all the hotel, restaurant, and 'sights' you want - and it will tell you the amount of autoroute tolls, the distance, and even the estimated time it will take to drive it.

There is a lot more to the site than just this. There is also an area for professional drivers and here the information can cost some money. Michelin has a whole raft of subscription options as well - but the free part should be adequate for most casual travellers. If not, the site can accept a mini-payment of about 16 francs, for a full individual report.

Michelin Online Travel Guide

Coming Exposition and Event

'Pascin - Gravé la Nuit'

In my wanderings around Montparnasse, the name of Jules Pascin has popped up more than occasionally. Besides all the Americans enjoying Montparnasse in the 1920's with their hard dollars, there were a very considerable contingent of French artists, writers, actors, dancers, painters, models and other people who took part in the decade-long party.

Starting on Thursday, 27. March, the Bibliothèque Nationale will be presenting over a hundred examples of Pascin's works - mostly engravings, but also including other items such as illustrations for books and magazines. This is part of an important donation made to the BN by Hermine David and Lucy Krohg, which was supplemented by a further donation of 188 pieces by Guy Krohg.

This is the largest single collection of Pascin's works and includes proofs he pulled himself, of which there are very few copies.

Galerie Colbert, 2. Rue Vivienne or 6. Rue des Petits-Champs? Paris 2. Métro: Bourse or Palais-Royal. From Thursday, 27. March until Saturday, 14. June. Open daily except Sundays from 12:00 to 18:30. Entry is free. Catalogue with 39 illustrations, 25 francs.

The International Scale Model and Game Salon

The 18th Salon Mondial de la Maquette, Modèle Réduit et Jeux opens its door at Paris-Expo, Porte de Versailles, on Saturday, 5. April and runs through to Sunday, 13. April. This big show is mostly about things people make as hobbies, and quite often these include working models such as ships and Salon Maquette Poster space rockets - and in Paris-Expo's big Hall 1 there is plenty of airspace for aerial displays.

Open daily from 10:00 to 19:00; until 22:00 on Friday, 11. April. Entry for adults costs 63 francs, for kids six to 12, 43 francs, and under six, free. Métro: Porte de Versailles or Balard - lines eight and 12. Bus: lines 39, 49, 80 and PC.

You can expect a report about this salon to appear in Metropole in issue 2.14 or more likely, in issue 2.15, which will appear on a screen near you Monday, 14. April.

Jobs in France, In Paris, Maybe

The non-profit service organization, WICE, is holding a 'Careers Fair' in Paris on Saturday, 19. April, and it's free. There will be lectures every 30 minutes to tell you how to write a French-type résumé, some guerrilla tactics and other tips - including info about who's hiring now.

Recruitment agencies will be on hand to look at your brand-new French CV, and there should be some personnel people from a few companies as well. I found out this is a come-as-you-are affair, so it is strictly an in-person scene - you have to be in Paris to take advantage of it, although you can register by e-mail; write to 103120.2031@compuserve.com to register or for info.

WICE, 20 boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris 15. Métro: Duroc or Falguière. Tel.: 01 45 66 75 50 or fax.: 01 40 65 96 53. Hours of the one-day Fair: 10:00 to 18:00.

Happy Easter to all Metropole readers and especially any readers who are bunnies!

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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