"If You Like Modern Art"

photo: l->susan, berta, scoop, doug, marnie, mark

For once, all present club members look at the official camera at the same time and hold still.

The Very First Club Meeting of the
21st Century

Paris:- Thursday, 6. January 2000:- Since getting the regular issue out of here on Monday I've caught up on some Z's and I feel pretty peppy riding the bus down Saint-Michel and across the bridges to the Cité and to Châtelet.

The sun is finishing off being visible, but it is still bright. Wind is rippling the awnings on the east side of the place. I don't know where it is coming from because I only see it in a window reflection.

As I go along the Quai de Mégisserie, I am hoping the chickens are out because it feels like a good photo day for chickens. But all there are, are empty bird cages. The plantsphoto: view quai du louvre, 1500 are out though and even the cactuses are holding up fine.

At Pont Neuf there is a particular light - one that no camera is going to get and if it does - so what? It is one of the Paris 'here and now' things for the eye, not limited capture capacity.

The Quai du Louvre, just before 15:00 today.

The Seine is down to about normal and the traffic people are getting the right bank speedway ready for the speeders. As it is not yet ready, the traffic is still sullenly bulging along the Quai du Louvre.

A couple of minutes after three, Berta and Scoop Maginniss arrive for the club's first meeting of - whatever it is. Century, millennium, whatever.

Mark Kritz wheels in and installs. The members have all been trying out Paris' sights and attractions. It is good to listen to this, because they make little criticisms.

In general, all members do this. Paris isn't perfect and it has its little blemishes. But when the subject of Londonphoto: backs to camera group foto comes up, everybody joins ranks and Paris is number one again. The ease and comfort of Paris-London round-trips with the Eurostar are agreed upon by everybody, so this gets a half-point.

This shows how club members usually treat the camera.

The Maginniss' were at the Pompidou Centre - Beaubourg. Scoop says, "Beaubourg is okay - if you like modern art."

Susan and Doug Fuss arrive and join in trading impressions of Paris' holiday season.

Everybody has been on Paris' 'big wheel.' The consensus is, the ride is short. "Did you get one round or two?" Mr. Kritz wants to know.

What everybody really liked was the double-decker carrousel in front of the Hôtel de Ville. This is a free ride for kids, but Mark finagled his way on it for a couple of good old turns.

Those who saw the parade on New Years Day thought it was so-so. They missed elaborate floats. It's good they missed the Techno-Parade floats. Highlights: the marching band from Waterloo, Iowa and the confetti-blowing machine.

Others missed the parade entirely by waiting for it up on Montmartre - where it didn't go this year.

Marni Kamzan arrives and thereby makes Los Gatos, California the club's 'City of the Week.' I forget to ask if it is a city or a town.

Some caught the rehearsals for the ferris wheelsphoto: cafe is club food on the Champs-Elysées - and then were disappointed when the actual show only ran for three hours, until 03:00 on Saturday, 1. January.

Today's 'Food of the Week' turns out to be café crème.

Members have been to lots of shows. Scoop and Doug grumble about small seats with Scoop showing what he looks like with his knees drawn up to his chin. "Guys our size," Doug agrees.

Even the buskers and panhandlers are discussed and rated. Most have seen and enjoyed the 10-piece mini-symphony act during afternoon rush hours in the Châtelet métro station. One panhandler was seen to dramatically rip off his shirt to show his scars, and this was considered vulgar.

Others like the travelling one-man puppet shows in métro wagons. I have seen these too many times. Besides this, I am glumly wondering if I can make café the 'Food of the Week,' because everybody has had soup bowls full of it but nothing solid.

All of a sudden, just about everybody - except Marni who has already left - jumps up and starts putting on their coats and throwing money on the table. It is ten minutes to five.

Today's club meeting is over before it is over. But nobody leaves a Paris café just like that. Conversation keeps up, keeps not being ended, so nobody gets out the door before five.

I hang up Scoop by asking how the horses are doing. " Won 68 francs on Tuesday," he says.

By the time I've done my round of goodbye handshakes in La Corona, the members have disappearedphoto: quai du louvre, 1700 into the afternoon blue on the Quai du Louvre.

The light isn't better; it is just different - with the lights on in the buses and the red brake lights of all the cars. I pull out the camera and lift off the shutter, to have one go at it.

If you find my key somewhere around here, keep it. The window is already broken.

After, I reach into my pocket for the lens cap and my glove. This is when my door key falls out on to the Quai du Louvre.

But I don't know this until I am standing in front of my door in my building in the 14th arrondissement. After a discussion with the building's gardienne and my landlord about the cost of glass compared to a locksmith, I punch in a windowpane with the gardienne's handy, taped hammer.

Membership is still climbing steadily - by one this week - and the variety of 'Cities of the Week' is still increasing, if Los Gatos is a 'city.' If it isn't, it doesn't matter.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Next Thursday, 13. January 2000, is the first perfectly ordinary Thursday in this year of 2000, because it is neither Orthodox New Year nor Year of the Dragon.

The café La Corona meeting place will be as open as usual, so the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00.

Come any time you feel like as long as it is no later than 15:00 and you are in Paris. If you are not present and do not know the ritual for becoming a 'virtual' member instead, you should read the regular Monday PR page for your club. The place is:

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

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

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