Coming Soon - Another Birthday!

photo: cafe metro sevres babylone

Where a café is supposed to be, at a métro entrance.

Get Ready To Get Booked to the Eyeballs

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 8. March 1999:- Although the start is more than a week off, I want you to know that the 19th Salon du Livre is almost upon us. In addition to showing off all of France's new books and other intellectual production, this Salon is another anniversary for me.

In 1995, while on the way to buy the digital camera that is still in constant use for this magazine, I saw a poster announcing that year's Salon du Livre. After testing the camera, I proposed doing a 'report' about the Salon by email - and Norman Barth of 'The Paris Pages' took the bait.

In fact, he still takes a monthly slice from Metropole and every year we have a rendez-vous in Paris when each of us goes and waits for the other in adjacent cafés until the allotted timephoto: espace electra edf is nearly up. Norman Barth's 'The Paris Pages' is one of the oldest sites on the Web, and it is still going strong in this very 'here today - gone tomorrow' business.

This year's edition of the Salon du Livre will mark the beginning of my fifth year of online reporting from Paris. I am worn a bit around the edges, quite gray, but still able to stand up and march to the next new thing to see and report about it.

The EDF's Espace Electra is featuring South American artists living in Paris. See 'Scene' for details.

Covering the Salon du Livre single-handedly will produce whatever I can find and memory holes will fill the rest. For the official guff, there is an official site, run by exhibition organizers, Reed-Oip.

This year's country of honor is Québec, which will have 60 of its authors on hand in VO. Surrounded as it is by a really big lot of Anglos, Québec has to produce to maintain its identity and this it does to an extent widely out of proportion to its population.

Books, magazines and multimedia, all at the Salon du Livre, from Friday, 19. March to Saturday, 24. March. At Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles. In the big Hall 1. Open daily from 10:00 to 19:00; on Tuesday, 23. March until 22:00. Entry: 30 francs; kids under 12, free.

Beyond the Walls - Lille

See the first issue of a new city and regional magazine from an area of France that may be unfamiliar to you because you are not sure if it isn't in Belgium. Titled 'Hors Les Murs-Lille,' it is pretty slick, and you are directed to the section called, 'La Beauté est dans la Rue.'

The French Headcount

France's census starts today. If you want to know more about why we are being counted, by whom and how, the INSEE statistics unit has the answers.

UNESCO Web Prize

Artists, designers and programmers are invited to sign up - until 31. May - to enter their Web sites, especially if they involve themes of UNESCO interest. There are two categories for entries; 'anything goes' and anything that could qualify a site for an '.Org' registration. There's two prizes of US$5,000 each at stake.

Democracy On the Internet?

This will be the subject of a debate at the Web Bar in Paris on Wednesday, 10. March at 20:30 CET. I think this will involve a 'live retransmission.' Get details of this and the program from Psycho-Net or from another Web site. If you are in Paris, the address is 32. Rue de Picardie, Paris 3. Near métro République or Temple.

Impressionistic Fluffhead

My head was so full of impressionistic stuff and nonsense last week that I forgot to mention the wonderful response from readers who took the time to send Metropole 'Happy Birthday' messages.

I hadn't anticipated these and they kept coming in all week long. At one time I thought I'd put them all into onephoto: metro 3rd birthday cake big reader's 'e-mail' feature - John McCulloch sent a virtual birthday cake for an illustration too - but while 'dreaming' of the Impressionists, I completely forgot all about it.

John McCulloch's Metropole cake.

Then I forgot that last week was the first issue of Metropole's fourth year too. Even if I'm getting too forgetful to do this job properly, here is the cake from John - as my thanks to him for sending it and to all of you who wrote, and to all who intended to but forgot.

Keep those cards and letters coming folks. I don't throw them away. If I remember to, I eat them.

The Big Freebie

Otherwise known as 'Le Printemps des Musées' - merely means free entry next Sunday to all - most - of the museums in France. Well, not quiteposter: free entry, printemps des musees merely, because each establishment is supposed to show three items relating in some way to spring. There is also an associated contest, and the Musées de France will publish the 26 winners. Oh, and by the way, this is the premier of this event. If you can't make it personally, give the Web site a hit.

Tocqueville This Week

This week's 'The Tocqueville Connection's' Patricia Ochs writes about the detective work done on Dr. Gachet's collection, to determine what was painted by whom. The results of this investigation are hinted at and the paintings given the spyglass job are on display at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. See this week's 'Scene' page for details.

Books In French, German and English - Give Europe a Tryout

Some readers write to me to ask general questions such as 'Do the French really eat frogs?' Or 'Are Germans speed crazy?.' These questions require, of course, at least an essay-length answer; if not a whole book. In fact, writing about 'what the French or thephoto: metro staint jacques Germans do' is a major European industry, and if you are really interested you could be reading it in French or German, which might not be available in book form where you are.

This métro station has no café - thankfully rare in Paris.

Several weeks ago, European media giant, Bertelsmann, launched 'Books-On-Line' - or BOL for short - in France and Germany, followed more recently by Britain. If you have one of these short questions and you really want the long answer, then give BOL's online bookshops a try. I've been told their French Web site will be featuring this year's Salon du Livre too.

Paris' 'LiveCam' Shows Typical Weather

Some Metropole readers are giving this site a hit because it gives current views of the sky over Paris. This comes from TF1-TV's 'LiveCam.' If you want to see what typical winter weather looks like, now you will see it - for what it's worth to see leaden, gray skies one minute or bright, blinding sunlight the next.

The weather right now, at 11:20 CET in Paris, is crummy.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 3.10 - 9. March 1998 - This count down Eiffel Tower issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Frankfurt Sends Its 'Bong' By Radio' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Fake Cow Annoys Farmers.' The issue had two features; entitled 'Here Comes, There Goes, the Salon de l'Agriculture' and 'Rain and Shopping and More Rain on Rivoli.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Take Your Picture?'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 299 days of crummy gloom left to go. Also note: now less than 300 shopping days left in this millennium.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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