Not Bubbleware - Metropole's Champagne

photo: corona terrace, quai de seine, left bank

Last Thursday - street empty, terrace empty, café empty.

News About the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 11. March 2000:- Club members who did not rush to cheer the possibility of Metropole having champagne produced for its own label - mentioned here a whole week ago - numbered all of you.

I don't understand this. Any other magazine or club would be bombarding - 'bombarding' is one of my favorite words - its readers and members with offers of overpriced and shoddy key-chains, umbrellas, t-shirts and fake tractor-driver caps.

Not kidding - Allan Pangborn - a longtime Metropole reader and 'real' charter club member really does know how to make champagne.

He is a graduate of California's most respected University of Wine, and he has done under-graduate studies at wineries in Austria and Catalonia. Each year when he comes to Paris, he always sets aside time to visit old pals in Epernay; to discuss the cork situation.

After the tasting done at the recent Salon de l'Agriculture where he tucked into the old Bouzy, I asked him if he could make a tasty sparking wine with character - rather than ordinary fizz.

Allan left me in no doubt that he not only can do this, but intends to do it soon. Apparently real wine-guys have all sorts of secrets that allow them to make really fine plonk out of just about any old handy vegetable stuff.

But Allan has tasted the good, bad and the ugly, so he has a very clear idea of what taste he will put into bottles - and it will not be mere fizz.

Before he left Paris for yet another tour of wine sites in Austria and Italy, we even discussed label designs. This may seem like a small item to you, but a wine's label is a very important thing - and may cost even more than a bottle's contents.

Heh, heh; just kidding here, for real this time. Let me leave it like this - the label will be unusual, the contents will be worth more than we expect to charge for it and you'll get a square drink - one that you won't be able to get anywhere else.

So send in your orders now. With these in hand, Allan and I will launch an 'Initial Public Offering.' We don't actually need to do this, but with the way things are we want to get our cream first, before you get your bubbles.

At the very least, they will be 'real' bubbles, and not like some of these Internet plays that are going around.

Last Thursday's Meeting

'Solo At the Club' was how I headlined the 'report' of last Thursday's club 'meeting.' To all virtual and 'real' members, past, present and future, who wrote to say they were glad they missed this particular meeting, I say thank you for bothering to write

In fact, I was not exactly 'solo' at the club. Patrick the waiter was there, and so was the entire crew of the café La Corona, from the patron right down to the lady downstairs who looks after the running waters there.

They were worse off than I was, because they were using up a lot of energy trying to look busy. Everybody actually in Paris last Thursday, gave La Corona a pass - not just virtual and real club members.

Somehow, I anticipated this. For three hours and 30 minutes I had a very interesting book to read that I had the foresight to bring.

Its title was 'The Visual Quickstart Guide To Do-It-Yourself Eye-Surgery.' It was really aboutphoto: window table in la corona the Web's HTML-coding, but it may as well have been about eye-surgery, because the things that make the Web work are pure voodoo.

Even if you can see them, it doesn't mean you will ever know how they work. It is not entertaining to read this stuff because books about it seldom say why things don't work.

Writing about it is boring too. The only reason I mention it is so you won't think I spent a lot of time at the meeting 'trying to look busy.' Between the lines, you can guess that I am plotting some new feature for Metropole.

And this reminds me - at meetings 'real' club members come up with some good ideas. These are really welcome. If you are annoyed not to see them instantly executed, I can only say that doing anything 'new' does require some extra work to get it started. Time, lack of it, is the hurdle.

One of the Internet's major ideas has been to get software robots to do all the work. Over time this has been found to 'not work.' Robots simply will not handle the person-to-person interactivity tha the Internet allows.

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