Not Full of Smoke!

photo: levine, stimmler, ed, kritz

From left to right: Dan Levine, Heather Stimmler,
Ed and Mark Kritz.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club

Paris:- Thursday, 21. October 1999:- The skies over the city are grey tending towards gloomy as I and Nigel White ride the bus 38 down through the Quartier Latin to today's second Café Metropole Club meeting at the café La Corona.

Nigel has come from Sydney - where it is beginning to be spring - and has agreed to be the club's photographer today, as well as a new charter member. He has read the user's manual for the camera and made four blurry photos, but I don't know this yet.

The very first charter member of last week, Heather Stimmler, manages to be today's first charter member to arrive. Lastphoto: m. ferrat, club waiter week's charter waiter, whose name is Patrick, tells me he will be on service again next week, and hands over today's chores to Monsieur Ferrat, who acts as if he won a coin toss.

Monsieur Ferrat is the waiter for this week's club meeting.

Nigel takes pictures of La Corona's decor as well as the club area 'no smoking' signs. This week the club area also has three ashtrays instead of one. But since we are in the 'no smoking' section of the café, nobody lights up. Heather does say that she likes cigarettes made of cloves.

Nigel says he has smoked cloves too, but has had a completely different experience from Heather who describes herself as a zero nicotine-tolerance smoker.

Every time I come to this club, I hear strange stuff like this.

Dan Levine is a new charter member who arrives a little later. He has an odd accent so I ask him what it is. He says it is pure Manhattan, which is the local accent of about a million residents.

"Not Brooklyn," he says, adding, "There are five million people who speak 'Brooklyn,' and everybody thinks this is what New York sounds like."

Dan is the chief editor for the Avant Guide series, which is aimed at alert adults. To date, the series includes guides for San Francisco, New York and Prague. Guides for Paris and other European cities are in the works.

The next new charter member to arrive is somebody I already know I know, but I haven't a clue who he is. It turns out to be Mark Kritz from Santa Cruz, California, who has a 'new look.'

He also has a huge bag full of books and I am afraid one of them may be a three-kilo job he's brought forphoto: non fumeurs mirror me, entitled 'The Rise and Fall of Practically Everything,' but it is a much slimmer volume called 'The Man Who Was Late' by Louis Begley. This brings my total of new books to read to one and 3/4; this is my day!

Your Ed, not smoking with Heather, in the mirrors.

Now that the 'Christmas' portion of the club's time is over with, and since the Café Metropole Club has now done away with 'rules' - no head-count for the quorum, no reading of the minutes, no new business - we take up the only club business left to conduct, which is to talk to each other.

With Dan in the guide-book business, Mark tells a story about what happened to a cozy little restaurant that got good marks from a well-known reviewer. The next time Mark went there it was jammed to the rafters with 'anglophiles.' "Guys like me!" he said.

This isn't what Mark comes to Paris for. He isn't going to tell anybody about his favorite places anymore. However he notes that the Café Metropole Club is, "Not full of smoke!"

Heather wonders whether she isn't wasting her time trying to get jobs writing about Paris. Maybe, she thinks, she would do better getting a job as a cashierphoto: decor, la corona at a Franprix for pay, and use her free time to wander around Paris doing anything she wants to do, without having to worry about editors.

A detail of La Corona's florid decor.

For a second I wonder if I couldn't get a job at a Franprix too. But no, they'd never give me time off to come to the Café Metropole Club.

At settle-up time, Monsieur Ferrat is very good about making change for five different bills. Mine is less than last week's because I forgot to have a second café.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Next Thursday, 28. October; from 15:00 to 17:00, which is also known as 3 PM to 5 PM in some of the world's time zones. Place:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

Café Metropole Club Rules Suspended

There were only two tiny little 'rules' for the 'Café Metropole Club' but in the course of the past week they were suppressed, which allows me to clip the rest of this paragraph.

The second 'rule' - which has not been totally suspended - is that everything you consume at the club is your responsibility. In the interests of maintainingphoto: nigel white, photographer the café La Corona as a meeting place, I urge all members - both 'real' and 'virtual' to consume something, preferably several of them - remember: 'Not full of smoke!'

Some readers have suggested that the club issue memberships to 'virtual' members. Herewith, I gladly extend membership to all of you who wish to be 'virtual' members. Your membership cards are not in the mail because they too, are 'virtual' - but no less valid for all that.

Today's club photographer, Nigel White, mirrored.

For unvirtual 'charter' members, I am negotiating with a printer for the creation and manufacture of 'real' membership cards. If the bid proves too high, I will find some sort of digital substitute to print out.

The 'No Café Metropole Club Services' Note Is Suspended

Nobody has made any suggestions for 'services' and I haven't thought of any either, so I think this part of the club's weekly report should be suspended, to conserve vital Internet bandwidth, if legally allowed.

All photos here, excepting the photo of Nigel White, are by Nigel White©1999

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

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