Johnny Gets Rained Out On Friday

photo: 'table d'italie'
This is a rare shot, because I thought this rue de Seine landmark had disappeared.

France's 22 Other Heros Get Honors

Paris:- Saturday, 5. September 1998:- Last night Johnny Hallyday, France's very own antique rock star, apparently did not arrive by helicopter at the Stade de France, where he intended to perform 'Allume le Feu.'

But Johnny did arrive by other means. From all over France 80,000 fans arrived, hundreds of other performers, singers, dancers and musicians arrived, and everybody was set for the show to go on.

Then the rain arrived too. While most fans were under cover, the 3500 square-metre stage and the fans in the infield were not.

The concert was called off at 21:10, after starting early at 18:50. The electronics and the stage's special effects could not stand the rain. The fans grumbled and went home, with promises of a free ticket for a hastily-arranged substitute show next Friday.

Big groans from the journalists whophoto: champs-elysees, 31 august wanted to know how the Rolling Stones had played in the rain a few weeks earlier in the same stadium. The answer given was that Johnny's show was technically more complex, more elaborate.

No rain on the Champs-Elysées last Monday.

It is not an easy life being France's official rock star. Johnny has been so long at it that some or his fans are grandparents.

On Friday, Le Parisien gave Johnny its front-page photo - in color! - and all of pages two and three. After the rain, Johnny was buried on page 29 in Saturday's edition. This is Johnny's life: either way up or down in a deep pit.

Johnny Update Sunday:- Tonight's TV-news showed Johnny in full, rain-free form before 80,000 delirious fans, assisted by 100 musicians and 400 singers, and his favorite motorcycle.

It looks like a huge and very loud success. For tonight's concert, I haven't looked out the window to see if it's rainfree - but I hope it is. I'll find out from Monday's paper. Even if it has already been a long time, after this it'll probably be 'Johnny Forever!'

The Anniversary of Princess Diana's Death

Driving through France last Sunday, I was not looking forward to this event. As it turned out, I went to the place de l'Alma last Monday - in weather similar to a year earlier - to find a fairly modest crowd behaving modestly.

The television station TF1 showed a British production of aphoto: pont d'alma, 31 august dramatized version of the last bit of the story in the evening. It was written by morons, but the actors played their poor lines well.

They came, placed their momentos, and left - last Monday.

Apparently, after a year of some incredibly bad-taste, the memory of the event is now marked by discretion - although the 'Diana Business' seems to be flourishing.

The investigating judge's report is expected next month, but what may be 'leaks' seem to suggest it will contain no surprises. The paparazzi did not kill Diana and Dodi and there was no 'plot.' They were tragically killed in an ordinary automobile accident - just like thousands of other people.

France's 22 Heros

Last Tuesday, in the Grand Salon d'Honneur at the Elysée Palace, the Président of the République Jacques Chirac, awarded the decoration of the Légion d'Honneur to each of the 22 winners of the World Cup '98 and their manager, Aimé Jacquet. Four other officials associated with the team also received medals.

The President was quoted as saying, "When France likes itself it is liked and admired by the world." After the ceremony, 14 of these football players, returned to camp to train for the match against Iceland today.

He Wants To Keep the Money

A very good insurance agent, who may be accused of stealing 20 million francs, does not seem to want to give it back. The investigation is at an early stage, so I will use no names here.

The insurance business is changing with the times from pure insurance, to insurance plus long-term investments. A well-thought-of and mild mannered agent in Orléans was recently denounced by a suspicious client, and the directors of the company he represented think he stole as much as 20 million francs.

So far the accused has admitted to lifting six million, but he says he can't pay it back. He won't say where the rest is and the insurance company can't find it. In fact, the insurance company still hasn't figured out how he took it all.

Although neighbors knew the agent had three houses and drove a sports car, they said he wasn't flamboyant. The agent's wife ran a sub-agency for him, but he fired her before the balloon went up.

The victims, some 20 in all, have 'vague receipts' with illegible signatures, and they are wondering if the insurance company is going to reimburse them. The insurance company wonders where the money went.

The Weather - Atypical

After the endless grey skies of July, the month recorded the fewest hours of sunshine since 1934: only 140 hours.

According the weather boffins, the Azores High was too far south in July and when it moved north, itphoto: rue visconti caused the freak temperature of 39 degrees in Metz, a record. The short heat-wave lasted from the 5th to the 15th of August.

In the Latin Quarter, rain-glossed streets.

September has started with an exceptional amount of rain in places, although the weather people say it is all very normal. Last September gave us sun and temperatures in the high 20's for its last two weeks - but that was atypical and we are not supposed to hope for more of it.

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