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 daughter 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.

Another young guy, running a snack kiosk, fought off a masked and armed robber. In the scuffle, he was only slightly wounded in a leg by the robber's Beretta .38. The robber, totally unnerved, dropped the still-loaded gun plus a sack containing another 4000 francs in loot, and fled. The snack guy walked out of a nearby hospital a few hours later.

Other crooks tried to break into an ATM by using a Renault Clio as a battering ram. This was a failure, and these wise guys fled the scene in their unknown-brand back-up car. If they had been métro riders, they would have seen the new poster for a Clio with 172 hp.

Finally, the zoo at Vincennes has reopened and all of its monkeys, elephants, wild cats, and snakes are waiting for your visit. While fixing things up, a crane fell on the monkey mountain, but this has been fixed up too. Nearest métro: Porte Dorée.

Not in the paper, but worth noting, is the comics festival at Angoulême, which is having its 27th annual run-off this week. Robert 'Mr Natural' Crumb was last year's designated hero, so he got to do thisphoto: cafe paper booklets year's festival poster and was supposed to be the honorary 'president' of the fête. I write 'supposed' because I haven't seen the poster or read anything about Mr. Crumb's presidency.

Today's club secretary's typical gear, and dregs of 'Drink of the Week.'

This has brought the time around to 16:45 and I still don't see any actual or potential 'charter' club members within the club's café area. Outside, the sun is still shining and inside the café it is still warm.

Because there is nothing else to nominate, I put up my double-express as 'Drink of the Week' and nominate Ulan Bator in Mongolia as 'City of the Week.' I won't go so far as to nominate anything for 'Food of the Week,' but second the first two nominations. As club secretary, I accept the votes of all present and record these two weekly awards for all members to see.

This brings your club's 16th meeting to a quiet end. Since there are no clouds in the sky I can't say they have silver linings. But I do need to contact a plumber urgently, so I whisk out the cafe's door at 17:03 in order to find one. The métro is running fine this week and by 17:45 I've got a plumber lined up for tomorrow.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Thursday, 4. February 2000, rain or shine, cold or hot, is the date for the club's very next meeting. If you cannot make it, please take the time to induct yourselves as 'virtual' members in your exclusive Paris club.

If you are already a member of either sort - 'virtual' orphoto: interior grande salle 'real' - do not hesitate to re-member yourself. You can do this as many times as you want, even if it doesn't actually increase overall membership much.

Untypically empty clubroom at La Corona.

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, regardless of whether anybody besides its staff and your club's secretary are present.

Come any time you feel like as long as it is not much 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, you should read the regular Monday PR page for your club instead. 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

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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