Extra Photos From Back Then

photo: metro party, porte maillot
This may look like an ordinary scene in the métro...

Extra Words From Right Now

Paris:- Wednesday, 12. August 1998:- With Web publishing there are not any rules; we are all allowed to do anything we want.

Well, not all of us. Not anything; not everything. Since Metropole is a regular publication - a periodical - I have to consider that it has regular readers. I have to consider that there are many other periodicals on the Web that you may be reading regularly; plus a lot of your friends' personal pages.

Rule number one is, don't put too many graphics on a page. A 'quick load' is essential to get and keep a reader's attention. I break rule number two all the time: don't write too much.

Newspaper columns that used to be 700 words are now commonly 500 words. I suppose this is what US newspaper publishers think is the average reader's attention span. I think 700 words is a fast read, and it takes a good writer a lot of effort to stuff punch into it.

When I started out with Metropole, I considered 1200 words to be about right. Since then - especially since nobody has complained - I have occasionally bumped up to 3000 words.

When writing historical pieces, I often have to say to myself, 'This has got to end!' If I put in 'everything' it will leave the reader nothing to find out for themselves, and some of the sources I have, just go on withphoto: metro party, porte maillot '78 endless gossip - often spanning centuries. It occurs to me that if I don't add context to it, it just becomes a meaningless list of names and dates - but if I do add context, then it becomes a chapter, instead of a short article.

...but it is hiding this big party - about 20 years ago.

Not all readers, as some have told me, print out Metropole and read it while stuck in traffic jams. For readers who don't, I suggest scrolling to the end after a page loads - and if it seems too long, then 'save it as text.' This way you can read it in peace.

Also when I started Metropole, I had one digital camera, with an eight-photo capacity. Every shot had to count, and if it didn't work out, it got used anyhow - because I couldn't go back and re-shoot it. Ninety percent of the photos still correspond to the dates heading the features and articles - except for 'Café Metropole' and the 'Au Bistro' column.

In addition to the same digital camera, I now carry a little 35mm snapshot camera. The prints I get from this, I scan. Both cameras have their advantages and disadvantages, and it cannot be said one is 'better' than the other. I can do different things better with one or the other.

The Black and White Photos

While doing this issue and the next one - at the end of July - some photos are from Paris in the last week of July, and the rest of the photos are from photos taken over the years.

After first coming to Paris in 1976, I did cartoons for a biweekly paper called 'The Paris Métro' which was put out mostly by Americans, but had a gaggle of Europeans working for it too.

Since the paper has disappeared it might not be considered a big success, butphoto: shop in normandy it was a success when it existed. It was lively and it was about Paris and it was a lot of fun, and Parisians liked it too. It was a little bit of 'Breathless' come back to life, because it was peddled all over town by street hawkers, long before the current unemployed sheets were on the streets.

For some reason or other, about 20 years ago The Paris Métro' gave a party for itself, in the métro station at Porte Maillot. For a lounge, the RATP left a train in the station, and for drinks, the wine firm Nicolas supplied the liquids. I found the photos by accident, and for no reason at all, here are two of them.

The Holiday in Normandy Photos

Before having the scanner, photo prints resulting from holidays in the past were content to hide in their respective envelopes. In past years, when writing these August issues, I used photosphoto: horse in normandy village taken during short visits; ones that I had transferred to Photo-CDs. They were not, strictly speaking, holiday photos.

Photo-CDs have their pluses and minuses. They give a permanent storage for photos, including very high resolution versions. The downside to them is they are expensive, and the labs are not very quick to pop them out.

I have been told that professional photographers are seriously looking at self-made CD-ROMs as a means of storage of valuable high-resolution photos. This probably means that Kodak's Photo-CD process will never become as popular as the company hoped, because its use will never become widespread enough for the cost of them to come down.

The three color photos here are from the same holiday, featured as 'The Poor Vacation' in this issue. The holidayphoto: traffic mirror, normandy had two main locations; the farm near Honfleur and the beach town of Trouville.

That is Normandy for you. Most of it is a big farm, but along the edge where it touches the sea, it is the one of the closest seaside resorts to Paris.

While most of the summer's visitors are crammed into a tiny coastal strip, the countryside of Normandy drowses along with its little Norman villages and its vast, green countryside. If you are not in a hurry, there is a lot to see, smell, taste and drink; and a lot of peace to go along with it.

Even if I didn't find the photos of the cows in the surrounding fields, here is a bit more of Normandy for you.

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