'Secretary Libre' At the Club

photo: corona terrace

You don't see anybody basking here today because the parasols are not hiding any sunshine.

Without Members, Without Salsa and No Rum

Paris:- Thursday, 23. March 2000:- Spring broke out here on Tuesday and despite all the TV-weather news forecasters could do, spring continued on Wednesday too. This is about the time I do my 'grand tour,' so if it is not quite better than March weather today, it is good enough for the club.

The café La Corona must have had quite a rush for the past two days, because the terrace is practically blanked out by red parasols. Under them, there are not many baskers because over them there isn't much sunshine.

Inside at the bar, the first thing I notice is that the egg-thing has beenphoto: egg thing, sugar despenser promoted to having its own stand. This is sensible because it leaves space on the bar free for drinks. The eggs are also at eye level, which is very persuasive - if you are fond of eggs.

There are more people on the small terrace facing the Louvre opposite, but the little 'salle' is empty and when I get around to it, the 'grande salle' is almost as empty. Several dozens of seats are free for club members.

The 'egg-thing' with its chicken-wire handle.

After doing the usual Café Metropole Club set-up procedure, I look around. Then I look at my watch. It is 15:05.

The club's waiter, Patrick, must be off because there is a new one today. Nobody has told him about the club, so I do it. He is not astonished in any way.

This makes me think there must be other Café Metropole Clubs around town, masquerading as the 'real' thing. Well, I can't go around chasing them down because I have to be where the real one is.

After a while I start to think I am in a café. This leads to thinking that I don't spend much time in cafés; to just be in a café. I look the place over a bit, even if this is the 24th club meeting and I should have really seen it all by now.

But when club members are present, either as registered bona-fide 'charter' members, or as 'virtual' members who are attending in order to become 'real,' that is, 'charter' members; well, on these occasions I don't have much free time to just be in the café.

The 'grande salle' is really grand. It would be more 'grand' if it was full, but when it is not, it is big. It certainly does have a lot of decor too.

Whoever did it must have been helped by two unrelated cousins. They've tossed in tiles, marble, mirrors, hanging lights, spotlights, murals on the mirrors, decorated mirrors, and mirrors that reflect in other mirrors and reflect the outsidephoto: decor, grande salle inside - there are so many mirrors that some of them show their reflections right-side up.

Above the banquets and some fake mahogany, except for the mirrors, the color scheme is cream, peach and some crackled yellow. This was one cousin's work.

Your club's café has enough decor for several different clubs.

Another cousin did everything lower. There is the fake brown of the fake mahogany, then there is the dark fake-olive wood color of the table tops.

Then the third guy came in and decided the floor and the things people sit on should be kind of red. I look at it closely - some sort of indestructible fake-skin material - the nearest I can say is it is sort of a rose-rust with a little white pattern to it. The floor's tiles are a rust color, where they are not divided by white stripes and some darker parts.

It would all look much more as a piece, if the lower half had an all-over blonde effect. Maybe this would give customers' faces a yellow cast - if there were any customers.

Only Joe knows how many times I have worked like a donkey to get rid of the red-casts that turn up in the photos. I have to whack the old blue and green at them. If they get too much I have to do them over again.

The mirrors. La Corona is crazy with mirrors. A lot of Paris cafés have fewer mirrors than they used to have; I suspect that La Corona has taken in some orphaned ones.

Mirrors can make a small place look bigger. La Corona's big 'salle' is big enough, so its mirrors make me think the decorator had a uncle who had a lot of spare, unrelated mirrors he wanted to be rid of.

Two taxi drivers come in and order croque-monsieurs and within a few minutes this is what the big room smells like. The terrace door is open; have I been smelling street-gas all this time?

Traffic is incessant on the Quai du Louvre. City buses are coming past in convoys; and the drivers turning out of the Rue de l'Amiral Coligny are wearing racing gloves. Through a space under the parasols, between posters, I see the road is full of Twingos.

When the traffic clears a bit I see the far bus-lane is being used by yellow vélo-taxis, cyclists, roller-people, taxis. A street-cleaner on the near side hides this, then reveals hordes of scooters,photo: outside, reflection of outside motorcycles, a tour bus named 'Cosmos,' Kangoo mini-vans, Unos, Polos, Clios, a Smart, Fiestas, a Scenic - I watch for a while longer but do not see a Lupo. When is a Lupo not a Polo?

With all the mirrors it is not necessary to go outside to see the sights, unless it is sunny.

Would you buy a used Lupo? Only driven on Sundays, by Harpo Marx. What are they taking when they make up these names?

All of these are heading east and I suppose on the other side of the Seine all of the same kind of names are heading west. The Seine in the centre is clean, but its speedway flanks are three sorts of pollution. Hot rubber, hotter brakes, advertising on the taxis and puffs of diesel.

It is 16:55 and time to report that no members have appeared. Again. The 'Drink of the Week' is café again, too. There is no 'Food of the Week,' no 'City of the Week' unless it is Paris, and no 'Quote of the Week, because as the club's secretary, I am not about to accept 'Harpo drives like a Lupo.'

Next Monday's 'Club News' in Metropole

Again I can't re-run today's 'report.' Made up 'Quotes of the Week' are not for repeating.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Thursday, 30. March 2000 is the date for the club's next actual 'real' meeting. Come to the meeting if it is Thursday and you are in Paris. If you don't happen to be in Paris, wherever you are you can say "It must be Café Metropole Club day!" and I'll be darn sorry you are not at it.

The café La Corona meeting place will be as open as usual next Thursday, so the time for yourphoto: cafe club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm in certain livre-and-pieces-of-eight time zones.

Come as you are, especially if you can. If you cannot be present - like today - you can read the regular - this week's - Monday page for your club's non-news as a substitute.

The not-drink of the week.

Instead of PR, instead an account of last week's meeting, it now features a string of words unrelated to club affairs - luckily - plus whatever scheme-of-the-week I've run up to see if anybody salutes. For next week, café's location 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.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini