An Extra Quiet Meeting

photo: cafe la corona

The by-now world famous Café La Corona.

Follows Last Week's Very Quiet Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 27. January 2000:- It is not raining in Paris today and it is not a bit cloudy. Even though I messed up my métro return last week by taking the bus - which had no 'métro on strike' announcements - I take it again today.

But this week the 'big brain' brings an extra métro ticket. Just in case I have to go around the north side of Montmartre to get to the southside paradise of the 14th arrondissement.

I am early but I waste no time on the winter sales. On account of the high skies, the city is saying its air is more polluted than usual. This offers haze in the distance, which the camera enjoys when it isn't being overwhelmed by the low winter sun.

Some of the bouquinistes along the Quai de la Mégisseriephoto: corona souvenirs have opened for business even though there are not many strollers because it is cold; colder than yesterday regardless of the forecast for a degree or two of plus.

At Pont Neuf, bridge-crossers are gazing at the haze in the distance too. Since these gazers are closer, they have good definition, as if they are the last strokes of a painting.

Besides having club meetings, La Corona has everything else a member needs.

The other thing about winter is the lack of leaves on the trees. This opens up the sky a lot, letting it throw its glints in places that are normally obscure. If the cold doesn't bother you, there is more to see.

At the café La Corona there is the usual reception of handshakes. Sunlight is bouncing off the sidewalk outside, adding to the warmth inside. The 'grande salle' where the club meets is nearly empty.

Patrick, who seems to be the club's permanent waiter these days, says there are few people in the café because of the cold. All the more reason to come inside, I think.

I get the members' and the 'reports' booklets ready by writing in the date. Nothing else happens for a few minutes, so I haul out today's Le Parisien. Patrick brings me a surprise cup of double-express café.

Sunlight lies across the small table in slanting bars. I become warm like a lizard, back from a parachute expedition to Antarctica.

I skim the more serious news and ignore all the stories that speculate about the future. These include possible good news - fewer flight delays next summer - Virgin to open a new Megastore at Barbés - which is 'good' news for Barbés I guess.

José Bové is back, saying what he intends to tell the billionaires, who are meeting at Davos. Its organizers sent him an invitation in the hopes he won't bring all of his peasant pals. But there are no cheapo motels at Davos, so a Seattle situation is not expected. Bové is hoping to talk the billionaires into having a 'symbolic' snow-ball fight between 'dividing-up-the-world' sessions.

A tagger, operating at Nogent and Perreux in Val-de-Marne, has been charged with authoring 3000 'tags.' In court, he admitted three of them signed 'Dazer' were possibly his.

The prosecutor demanded a suspended year's sentence and 240 hours of community work. The prosecutor said the suspected tagger is 'the polluter of Nogent andphoto: bouquiniste on quai Perreux.' The tagger's defense attorney wondered how much time the 3000 tags took. Not caught in the act, the tagger has a chance to be convicted only of the three he admitted doing.

Traffic on the quay is temporarily absent, showing haze across the Seine.

A former Prime Minister's aughter was mugged by three punks who knocked her down and took 200 francs. Le Parisien headlined it 'Racket,' instead of assault and robbery, plus put Rue Vaugiraud in the 14th arrondissement.

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