Underground Bikini War

photo: cafe la corona

Waiters take the air before all the seats fill up -
within two hours.

Fine Sights For Sore Eyes

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 31. May 1999:- This magazine survived last week's technical melt-down, by simply declaring a week of six days instead of seven; to compensate for going online 24 hours later than usual.

You didn't know about this? Why am I mentioning it then? This is this week, last week is in the dim and distant past.

But last week, chez the server-lady, Linda Thalman, there were many many empty cups of café, some torn hair, broken dishes - but finally as the weather wasn't too bad, a lot of gardening got done. You see, everything down has an upside. Except, of course, toast with jam on it - whichever side has the jam, it is the downside.

In the editorial office, Professor C. Northcote Parkinson's Law took over and I simply took another day to do what should have been finished more than a day earlier. I don't quite know how this happened, butphoto: avenue clichy since it is a 'law' I need not seek an explanation. The end result was, my 'weekend' was reduced from 24 hours to three. Hardly enough time enough to have Sunday brunch on Tuesday.

The weatherman forgot to send rain 'as usual' for the tennis at Roland Garros.

This kind of accounts for my landing on the Paris headquarters of the 'Freak Brothers' comics empire last Wednesday. No, yes, no, this isn't the real reason. It was as I - have written in this week's 'Club' column - a neighborhood drop-in to sniff out an apartment for rent - plus! - to do a make-up call to compensate for not falling by around the time of the Mayday parade.

While riding in from La Défence on the métro I had gotten no further than Neuilly before realizing that there might be a 'Paris Bikini War' going on. Neuilly and the three following stations all had huge posters, showing what well-undressed young ladies should be wearing.

Marks & Spencer, the British textile retailer, started it off a week ago, fairly innocently. Last week the Swedes of H & M swung into heavy rotation with two posters, both in underground métro versions and above ground on bus shelter panels. By Saturday they had upped the ante to three different posters in all.

Meanwhile, Galeries Lafayette has a tamer version of their own, and British-Dutch retailer C & A also has a tame version. If you go through a métro station where all are present, it is a bit sensational.

So far, BHV is sticking to its hammers and tools, Samaritaine photo: tuileries, thurs 27 may is continuing with its 'Pont-Neuf-chic' home decor, Printemps has something forgettable and the Bon Marché is being its left-bank aloof and moody self.

In the Tuileries, a cloudless ahead-of-time, July sky.

The sheer size and numbers of posters underground make an impression, so its a good thing the underwear maker Aubade is relying on surface poster panels that are relatively isolated as well as smaller in size.

I was hoping to get a good and complete set of four for this week's selection of posters. I did get a fourth; another one by Aubade - but it is so far out, that I decided to be civic instead and run the one for the coming European elections.

Being in this crowd may lead to you to think 'Europe' itself is sexy. The Aubade one 'not seen here' - may be unremarkable on a Paris street - but many of you won't want it in your living rooms. The Internet is not a 'plain brown wrapper' either.


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