The Club's New 'Class' of Members

photo: corona, rue de l'amiral coligny

Despite lack of outright sunshine, the temperatures are warm enough for the terraces.

News About the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 22. April 2000:- It's a good thing your Café Metropole Club has members. If it didn't, it would be pretty dull even if its headquarters - its clubhouse - is in Paris.

Take last Thursday for example. I was sitting in the club's café La Corona by myself, looking around at all the non-club members who were in Paris for Easter, and wondering if I should just recruit some willy-nilly.

But I did not consider this for long when I realized I would have to explain the difference between 'virtual' and 'real' to people who might not even know about the Internet or Metropole or such things such as the 'Food of the Week.'

One thing the club meeting did have without members was a 'Smell of the Week,' due to all the civilians withphoto: bunny of the week their croque-monsieurs and hot dogs. This is not a great smell but it is better than any you get from fast-food places.

Finally, the expected unexpectedly happened, and club members were present. R.C. Cofer from Tampa, Florida was asking the waiter of the day if I was the 'club' and being satisfied I was, introduced Anne and Will Towler to me. He has met them 10 minutes before, and had done the very thing I had not done.

The 'Bunny of the Week' is the bunny 'on time.'

The Towlers, on a stopover in Paris between Shanghai and Seattle had been minding their own business, when they were 'shanghaied' by R. C. Cofer, and I picked up the relay by signing them up as bona-fide 'real' club members.

This has obviously broken new ground and possibly old club rules at the same time. If 'virtual' members become 'real' by signing the members' booklet at a weekly club meeting in Paris - what is the status of non-virtual 'members?' Et voilà! Your club now has a new, but always unofficial, rule.

Reading about this spur-of-the-moment 'member-friendly' club policy, caused 'Charter' member number seven, Dana Shaw, to write an emotional comment to the club's ad-hoc secretary, who is also Metropole's 'Ed,' me.

"Melbourne, Florida is the next major town north of where we live. I thought you would be thrilled to have this piece of information."

At the meeting, R. C. Cofer seemed to be unsure of the whereabouts of Tampa, and the meeting went along at such a furious pace that I did not get a chance to pin him down. If I recall correctly, Tampa is somewhere near Brownsville, Texas. Wherever it is, it is nowhere near the club's 'City of the Week,' Shanghai.

Dana Shaw continues, "In spite of my 45-year love affair with Paris and the wonderful opportunity Jan and I had to spend two months there, I miss the club meetings at La Corona morephoto: fiat500 of the week than anything else I remember of our most recent trip. I guess when all is said and done, people truly are more important than places. We have some wonderful memories of the folk we met through your good auspices."

Well, I am thrilled to be the secretary of a club in Paris that has such wonderful members, both 'virtual' and 'real,' and now 'unsuspecting' as well.

The 'Fiat 500 of the Week' is every week, not just at Easter.

This has added an unique dimension to what was basically a purely 'virtual' Internet operation. Dana is quite correct to note that a handful of 'real' members count for far more than the millions of 'virtual' hit-and-runners that some Web sites claim as their faithful.

As for the Café Metropole Club's 'virtual' members, more and more of you are writing to announce your impending arrival to sign the 'real' members' booklet.

Some of you are also taking the trouble to write to say that you are unable to be present in Paris in order to become 'real,' and this makes all of us wistful; although I remain optimistic that some fine day, you'll make it come true.

This is quite enough kleenex-drenched sentimentality for one week, so let's get on with the standard boilerplate argle-bargle that ends this 'club news' column every week.

But before doing this I should mention that Carmel McKenzie and Alan Savage made a return visit to the club on Thursday. Marion Nowak wrote in advance to say she was not coming again, nor for the coming meeting, and did not actually come after all - unlike the previous week.

If any of the club's other German-speaking 'virtual' members are reading this and intending to become 'real' members, the term 'argle-bargle' above is spelled 'argel-bargel' in German.

Some Coming Dates To Note

La Corona's patron told me he had the dates for the movie shoot in the café in May. But because of the Easter crush, he said he would give them to me later. Later, we both forgot. The café will be occupied by a movie crew for a couple of days one week in May, so the club's meeting will probably be put forward to a Wednesday.

I will be absent from two meetings - the last one in June and the first one in July, which are Thursday, 29. June and Thursday, 6. July. Now that I've lookedphoto: cafes of the week closely at my flight tickets, it looks like whoever booked them was unaware that the airport I will return from is in a timezone in the minus area.

As I requested, I am scheduled to leave from it on 12. July - but near midnight GMT. Even flying counter-clockwise, my flight will not gain enough time to land at a reasonable hour in European time.

These 'cafés of the Week' are not supposed to be addictive.

If the plane is on schedule and if I can transfer from its landing place to Eurostar's Paris departure station, and métro line four is operating correctly, then I will arrive for the club's meeting on Thursday, 13. July, late.

This date coincides with the eve of Bastille Day, and is usually reserved for a lot of party-like activities in Paris - which will be more this year on account of its '2000' character.

I do not want to miss this club meeting nor this evening in Paris, nor do I wish to miss the biggest picnic in the history of the world on Friday, the 14th of July.

Next Thursday's club meeting will be held as usual in the same place at the same time, rain or shine.

The Original 'Report' of the Last Meeting

I will recommend this - for its entirely unforseen new 'first' - if you want to read last Thursday's original report, then you can see the unofficial account of the weekly Club meeting - which has other details than above.

The Boilerplate: The Café Metropole Club Is Free

The one purpose of the Café Metropole Club is to provide a chance for readers - and non-readers! - of the online magazine 'Metropole Paris' who are visiting Paris to meet its 'Ed,' and each other at its weekly meetings in the club's Paris café.

You will find that your 'Club' may be more value than it costs - which is nothing - even though it has no actual real, pretended or 'virtual' benefits, except for being absolutely free. Club meetings are seldom boring, unless there are no members present.

Since you don't want to be members of a boring club, you should try to be at its meetings.

The Café Metropole Club Membership Card

The Café Metropole Club has this membership card. Unlike other clubs, this card is completely 'virtual' as you can see here. If you feel the urge, it is possiblephoto: virtual membership card to print it but it is not absolutely necessary unless you want to carry it around to show to me when you are in Paris.

'Virtual' members who have not had a chance to attend a club meeting in Paris in person can upgrade from their simple reader status to 'virtual'-status by using any method you want to use, including slight-of-hand.

All 'virtual' members, plain readers and now, non-readers, who actually show up for meetings in Paris, automatically become exclusive* and 'real' Charter Club Members, unless they refuse this distinction.

*'Exclusive' means that it is the only Café Metropole Club in Paris that accepts any sort of living human being from any part of our planet as members. Any other virtual Café Metropole Clubs in Paris that claim to be real are actually virtual or bogus and should not be confused with the sole 'virtual' and unofficial 'real' one, which is this one.

Charter Club Member List

As 'virtual' members induct themselves at the weekly club meetings in Paris, they become 'real' members of the club by writing anything the semi-official members' booklet.

After becoming 'real,' members will be asked - someday - via email - if they wish to have their email addresses passed on to other 'real' members. If in agreement, this will be done. If not, the member's name will be on the distributed list, but without their email address.

This reminds me for the nth time that I should send out this list for those who have signed on for it. The nearly eternal deadline for doing this in the past was well-intentioned. The deadline has been moved to the near future.

The Whole History of the Café Metropole Club

The first meeting of your club took place on Thursday, 7. October 1999. The meeting next Thursday will be the club's 29th - clearly over six months' worth. Your club in Paris now has 63 'real' members.

Vital 'Update' Information

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 27. April, in Paris. This is a particular day - it is Sainte-Zita's Day actually - so attending the club meeting may interfere with any festive rites you may be planning.

Be sure to check this week's 'Scene' column for possible festivities you may miss by attending the club's meeting.

The club's 'report' about the next meeting will be put online as usual at its regular time, which may still be Thursday in your time zone, if it is in the GMT +0100 or +0200 Summer-Time scheme of things and far, far to the west of Paris. If anyplace to the east of Paris, It may be Friday already.

photo: location map, la coronaWhat, Where, When, How?

Here are the day, time and location details for you to note:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf
Every Thursday at 15:00, until 17:00, GMT +01:00
In non-metric terms, even in Paris, the times are from 3 pm to 5 pm.

The club has a changing roster of regular waiters. You can order anything you want from them because the café has nearly everything, including some French stuff like crêpes sans-flambée. The 'Waiter of the Week' will keep a tab on this, for you to pay before you leave.

The club's meetings are held at the far end of the La Corona's big 'salle.' The café has several other areas, including its bar, a small 'salle,' another terrace, and a downstairs waterworks part, but none of these are where the club's meetings are held - so pay no attention to them - except, maybe, the vital downstairs part.

If you are still uncertain about where club meetings are held within the café, simply ask any tolerant person standing behind the bar - in any language that suits you - "Où est le club, s'il vous plaît?&qout;

Do not do this if you are carrying a bag full of golf clubs. You may be directed to the links at Saint-Nom-la-Bretêche.

See you soon - A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

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