Gnome Snatch At Bagatelle

photo: cafe daguerre

This is the Café Dageurre's 'new look' which is pretty much the same as its 'old look.'

Graffiti That Lasts

Paris:- Sunday, 9. April 2000:- During the somber depths of the night of Saturday-Sunday, unknown thieves entered the Bagatelle park and lifted 20 gnomes from it. Park workers discovered the theft this morning.

A note was left behind, demanding "The immediate and unconditional liberation of all the dwarfs 'still detained' in the park." The gnome-napping action was attributed in the note to the little-known Paris branch of the 'Dwarf Liberation Front.'

Park guardians who keep a close watch out for gnome-nappers during the daytime, relax theirphoto: bagatelle park vigilance during the hours of darkness. This morning they could not detect exactly where the gnome-nappers entered the park.

Can you imagine ths setting as the site of a unspeakable crime?

This evening, Paris police are perplexed because no theft charges have been laid. The city is apparently not impressed by the threat to the 1980-odd other gnomes left who are still in the park, and plan to continue the current exhibition until Sunday, 23. July.

Some gnomes are highly valuable, and it is possible the exhibition's authorities do not want to put the idea of high ransoms into the gnome-nappers evil heads.

Full-House Party

As a top-up to last week's report about the RPR candidates for next year's municipal elections for mayor, I mentioned that ex-Prime Minister Edouard Balladur would probably jump into the fray.

He has now done so, and met with President Jacques Chirac today. With so many candidates from his own party trying out for the Paris office, the President gives everybody a hearing then probably says, "Bon chance!"

As far as I know the President is only meeting candidates from his own party, so I do not expect the lone Socialist candidate to be invited for any such good cheer.

Nor do I expect that candidates from the French Communist Party, Les Verts, radicals of the right or left, diverse Trotskyists or any ultra-right-wing Nationalists to be invited for these cheery Sunday gatherings.

Unremovable Graffiti

On account of a crew of graffiti-removers I ran into on my street corner Friday evening, I intended to cheer everybody up with the news that the city of Paris is offering free wall cleanups to all residents who ask for it.

The specially-equipped guys I came across, said they were working late because of the shop's walls they were cleaning. They had to wait until the shop closed.

They said that they would keep working until 22:00 and if they got further along to work on mine, they'd tap on the window to get me to close my shutters.

The was no tap. I closed my shutters to try and cut down the noise their machinery was making. On Saturday morning, my wall's graffiti was still there.

Now the bad news. The taggers with the paint-spray bombs have switched to scoring window glass instead. While the crew with the high-pressure hoses takes graffiti off buildingphoto: degraffiti, rue e cresson walls, taggers are wrecking shop windows, mirrors, bus and métro windows, telephone cabins and any handy glass surfaces they can find.

This fellow in the spacy suit was wiping out graffiti on my street last Friday evening - using a lot of noisy high pressure.

Le Parisien wants to know why these people want to bug everybody; while admitting that certain tags do have some aesthetic value. In contrast, glass scratching is pure vandalism and costs a fortune to repair.

Last year the RATP paid out 180 million francs to remove painted and engraved tags from its premises and rolling stock.

Sports News: the Paris Marathon

Tonight's TV-news gives today's 24th Paris Marathon something like between 45 and 75 seconds. This is not much, considering that a record number of runners got up very early this morning to be on time for the starting gun at 9:00.

When it went off, 31,904 runners at Etoile started down the Champs-Elysées, and continued running out to the Bois de Vincennes before turning around to run back to the Bois de Boulogne, to finish up at the Avenue Foch.

This year's route of 42.195 kilometres took French Foreign Legionnaire Fran&ccedl;ais Mohamed Quaadi exactly two hours, eight minutes and ten seconds. This was a fast time, but did not beat the record held by Julius Ruto from Kenya, who clocked 2h 8' 10" last year.

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