...Continued from page 1

'Ding-a-ling, Allo Cheri!' is what 87 percent of the French do not want to hear in theatres. Not during the performances and not during the intermissions. Another, or part of the same, 81 percent do not want to hear the peep-peep-peep in restaurants either.

The Brasserie Lipp, where all sorts of Important People hang out, has banned portable phone use entirely. SportsFans do not want to hear the wretched things at sporting events, no matter how loud the crowd may be.

Two-thirds of the French are bothered by them on public transport, and for some reason nearly the on the ile de france same amount don't like them in cars. Oddly, half the French will tolerate them while walking in the woods and nearly 60 percent think it's okay to use them on public sidewalks.

The only place you can stand right in the Ile-de-France, is in the Louvre.

This is why you see people get up from café terraces and walk halfway down the block to stand beside a handy tree, while taking a call. What most people seem to have forgotten is that most cafés have telephones in them - which do not have to be carried about - and they are not all that expensive to use - not as expensive as the monthly bill for a portable in any case.

Johnny Gets Lifted

France's number one and oldest rock star, Johnny Hallyday, has had himself lifted, or recast, or remodeled, or maybe even undyed. The week before last's TV-guide showed him on the cover with dark blond hair and a bit of stubble on the face. Anyhow, I scribbled on the TV-guide cover a bit to indicate his new 'look.'

Posters all over town during the week showed him with on the ile de france short dark hair and a fair amount of dark stubble. With black jacket and black V-neck shirt, there was no sign of jeans, belt-buckles or Harley fringes. A new Johnny?

I found it hard to believe that it was in November of 1996 that Johnny gave his famous 'breathless' concert in Las Vegas, but I checked the archive and it's true.

A week-old Télé-Loisirs didn't have Johnny's latest 'look,' so I fixed it a bit.

Since then, he's taken a year off to think things over, and the present drum-roll is for a whirlwind concert tour in Marseille, Bordeaux and Paris - all tomorrow - and the release of a new album, entitled 'Ce Que Je Sais.'

Le Parisien says it is not the 'old' Johnny. The paper says other things too, like, "Johnny ne chante plus, il pleure," and it is not 'lui' on the albums cover either.

I don't think I've heard any of it yet, but I can't say for sure because I've been letting radio RTL wake me up with howling noise, instead of the rata-tat-tat of the all-news radio France-Info.

New This Week: SportsNews!

Prix d'Amerique

Le Parisien is a great paper for sports and it should be because it is owned by the sports daily, L'Equipe. So every day Le Parisien has lots of SportsNews and a good deal of every day's coverage is about horse racing.

I do not read SportsNews as a rule and I only read the racing news once a year. So it should come as no surprise to me that a Big Event can suddenly be seen on the TV-news without warning.

This happening tonight with the surprise announcement of tomorrow's running the prestige trotting race; called here the 'Prix d'Amerique,' which is having its 77th trial.

Now, SportsFans, we go fast forward to Sunday night's TV-news for the results. Before the results, let me say that it looked like there was a huge turnout for the race - which, if you look at the dateline above - was run - did run - on Sunday, 25. January, and there is no mistake that winter is here.

The horse, Defi d'Aunou won it in record time, driven by Jean-Pierre Dubois, who is also the trainer. The second horse picked as favorite, Echo, was also trained by Mr. Dubois.

The pot for the race, is the second largest, after the Hambletonian in the USA. Something on the order of 220 million francs had been bet on the race, when Le Parisien wrote its report Friday night.

Football Stade de France Schmozzel

The brand-new World Cup stadium, the Stade de France, is to be test-played next Wednesday with a real match between France and Spain. Yesterday, the Minister of Transport japanese barbeque inaugurated the two SNCF stations that will serve the new stadium.

Last week I wrote about the inadequate road access to the stadium and since then transport unions have called for strike, specifically on the lines serving the stadium, for Wednesday's match.

Judging from the number of different oriental restaurants in Paris, there is something universal about them.

The word was circulating that somebody was going to hire 700 buses to truck in fans and one union pulled its strike alert off the RATP's line 13; while the union's HQ put a new strike alert on the whole system.

SNCF managers believe they can pull in enough non-striking personal to roll the trains, but are worried about too many fans being on the quais if the trains are irregular.

The game is supposed to start at 20:30, and the Minister of Transport has suggested everybody start heading for the stadium around 17:00. Real SportsFans are making sure their bike tires are pumped up.

The World Cup SportsBar May Go to Sleep at Times, But Never Closes

Real SportsFans should hang out the SportsBar where the fans have all the eggnog they can make themselves, at the Football Café, and have relaxing bowls of popcorn while discussing the finer points of the world of football, without getting too 'psychorigide' about it. Cool.

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represenred by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't what the initials stand for, just like SNCF does not sound like RR to me.


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