Vital Membership Issue Raised

photo: monsoon, quai du louvre, corona

The Quai du Louvre, before the downpour changed into a monsoon last Thursday.

News About the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 13. May 2000:- During last Thursday's regular meeting at your club, while your secretary and assorted 'real' Charter Members were lolling around - glad not to be outside in the monsoon! - 'virtual' club member Bill Hunter was busily setting his thoughts about 'virtual' club membership to paper - er, to email.

Bill wrote:

"Although I have yet to attend a meeting of the Café Metropole Club, my years of reading your pages - and I probably speak here for hundreds if not thousands of loyal readers - should be recognized in some category of heretofore unarticulated membership - such as counsel, eminence gris, founding member, category 1 member, etc etc. - you get the idea.

"I mean it is probable that at least some of the attending members are possible 'Johnny-Come-Latelies.' I bet the vast majority of long-time loyal readers have not been to Paris in thephoto: monsoon terrace corona last two-to-three years. Anyway. I only mention this because 'real' members have club benefits not afforded to 'virtual' members notwithstanding that many 'virtual' members are the backbone of the whole concept."

When the monsoon came to Paris, it looked like this. Underwater!

Of course Bill is on to something here. Some recent new Charter Members didn't even know about the club 10 minutes before they arrived at it, and had never even read the club's weekly online magazine 'Metropole Paris' - not even once in a supermarket checkout or in a dentist's waiting room.

For long-time loyal 'virtual' members stuck in some backwoods swamp or sandy desert far from any near likelihood of coming to Paris, this kind of 'instant' membership must be particularly galling.

Putting aside for a moment the totally abstract notion that the club has any 'benefits' for either 'virtual' or 'real' members, I feel that Bill has made a good point.

More Than One - Less Than Thousands

Alert members - and all members are alert in this club - and casual readers may have noted that I have recently been attributing 'member numbers' to 'real' members who have attended club meetings in Paris.

After a half-year of weekly club meetings I wondered how many 'real' members there are, so I counted up the names in the unofficial 'members' booklet.'Actual numbers were added because I only have ten fingers; with 'one' being assigned haphazardly to the first name written in the booklet.

During 'real' club meetings, if a 'virtual' member is present for the first time, I ask her or him to add their name, email address and great-grandfather's name to the list in the 'members' booklet.' Being a club without many 'official' rules, members tend to write whatever they think is suitable - including possible aliases.

The point is, I do not assign numbers - I merely add a consecutive number beside each 'new' name. This is pretty easy to do. Also there are no blank spaces in the 'members' booklet,' so a new 'real' member cannot 'jump the queue.'

Beginning a long before there was any Café Metropole Club, I have been keeping a recordphoto: corona after monsoon of all first-time writers to Metropole Paris. This is not a very well-kept list. It is currently 17 months out-of-date - so anybody who has written recently can expect no spam from here.

Readers on the list going back to February 1996 can expect no spam either, because I bet you've changed addresses at least seven times since then.

Now, I line up the 'ifs' and see they can't be eliminated one by one.

By the meeting's end, Paris had returned to normal - drying out.

'If' I can get the readers' list up-to-date, then I can assign relative numbers to 'virtual' members of the club - by comparing the date of the 'request' for 'numbered virtual' status to the approximate date of your first email to 'Ed.'

But doing this will disfavor some long-time readers who, for any one of 63 reasons, have never written. Why should you have? You didn't know, I didn't know, that sending 'Ed' a message would affect your 'number' as a 'virtual' club member some years later.

Which Is Fairest?

While I'm figuring out something exceedingly complicated - and time consuming - might it not be better for 'virtual' members to send in their requests for the 'virtual-plus' membership - and be assigned 'virtual numbers' on a first-come, first-served basis? This is how 'real' Charter members get their numbers anyway.

Darn it! This would reward the rabbits and leave the turtles in the dust - which is not what Bill has in mind. Unless someone has a better idea, doing it the hard way is the only 'fair' way. I have to bring the magazine's reader-list up-to-date. This way rabbits and turtles get treated equally - which is a fundamental philosophy of your club.

What's the Title Going To Be?

Bill has already suggested "counsel, eminence gris, founding member, category 1 member, etc etc." For myself, I don't care for 'etc etc.' How about 'virtually real?'

This will result in three classifications: a. 'Virtual,' b. 'Virtually Real' and c. 'Real Charter' members. 'Virtual' is not defamatory because it applies to just about everything on the Web; which you will remember is the reason the 'real' Café Metropole Club was created in the first place.

It's your club, so put on your 'thinking-caps' and send in your ideas.

Three Coming Dates To Note

1.: The Movie - Affects Next Week's Meeting

The café La Corona's management has now confirmed that the club's café will be taken over by a crew to film some movie scenes for two days.

This will happen on Wednesday and Thursday, 17 and 18. May; because the Louvre is always closed on Tuesdays. For this particular week only, the Café Metropole Club's meeting will be held on Friday, 19. May. Repeat: Friday, 19. May.

I am sorry to announce that the club and its members have not been asked to appear in this film. I have been told that it is a costume feature; possibly some sort of re-enactment of the cruel murder of our collective hero, the Amiral Coligny.

2.: The 100-Gallery Vernissage

Exactly six days later, on Thursday, 25. May - following the club's 'official' meeting, club members who are present in person will be invited to the wine-and-cheese part of 'Art Saint-Germain des Prés,' which begins at 18:00.

This event will take place in the Quartier Latin, right across the Seine from the club's café. For this occasion we will be allowed to use the Pont des Arts for crossing the river and will not have to swim it.

I have a limited number of invitations for this event - which features the open doors of 100 art galleries in Saint-Germain - so if more members than usual wish to participate, you should let the secretary know so that more invitations can be begged, borrowed or stolen.

3.: The Secretary's 'Holiday'

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. Like many of you are all the time, I will be temporarily hors-continent until Thursday, 13. July.

On return, if the plane lands on schedule and if I can transfer from its landing place to Eurostar's Parisphoto: virtual membership card departure station, and if métro line four is operating correctly, then I will arrive for the club's meeting on Thursday, 13. July, but late.

I need to print one of these out for myself - to amaze natives in foreign lands.

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 entire history of the whole world on Friday, 14. July. See the rest of this issue for info about the picnic.

Next - Friday'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 recommend reading this more than usual - not for its unexpected new apparel 'first' - but because there are no details about it above. See the unofficial original report of last Thursday's weekly Club meeting, here.

The Boilerplate Is Suspended This Week

Due to thorny membership issues - see above - the club's usual 'boilerplate cop-out' can still be found on last week's 'Club News' page.

The Café Metropole Club Membership Card

The Café Metropole Club's membership card is above. This rest of the blah-blah explaining this can still be found on last week's 'Club News' page.

Charter Club Member List

Now that I've taken about 15 weeks to think about this, my conclusion is that distributing 'real' Charter club members names and email addresses should conform to the same method as the exchange of regular Metropole Paris readers' email addresses.

This is how it works: Write to me with the name of the reader or club member you wish to contact. I then write to this reader or club member and ask her or him if they are in agreement or not. On reply, I pass the response back to you.

This makes it your decisions; and it will keep the members' list from going astray. To all 'real' Charter members who have already agreed to have their names and email addresses distributed to other members in agreement, thank you for supporting the idea.

Vital 'Update' Information

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Friday, 19. May, in Paris. This is Saint-Yves' Day - narrowly missing Saint-Eric's Day on Thursday, which could have caused endless confusion between what is not 'Ed's' name and what is.

The club's 'report' about the next meeting will not be put online as usual at its regular time, but a day later. This may still be Friday in your time zone. If your timezone to the east ofphoto: location map, la corona Paris, the report may not be online before Saturday.

What, 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 - or - 30. Quai du Louvre. Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf. Exceptionally, next Friday at 15:00, until 17:00.
In non-continental terms, even in Paris, the times are from 3 pm to 5 pm.

The usual blah-blah about the café La Corona usually found here can still be found on last week's 'Club News' page.

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

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