Friends, Paris Fanas, Members!

photo: la corona, terrace quai du louvre

On an almost-nice day, La Corona's Quai du Louvre terrace has plenty of free seats.

News About the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 27. May 2000:- Comments continue to arrive concerning the designations for the various classes of club members that were proposed here last week.

At the time of writing them I thought I had devised a fairly simple system, made even shorter to write by using initials that I will quickly forget.

Luckily, one not-so-long-term 'virtual' member had the good sense to bring me to my senses.

Jay Barrios wrote:

"This is a serious matter. Your seminar on Club Member Titles made my hair stand on end - well it would have if I had any hair. Didn't the French Revolution eliminate titles and the heads of those who had one? I hope we can keep our club members with only one title - 'Member.' First thing you know someone will want a Louisiana membership and/or a Texas membership, etc. I vote to table the motion."

For the benefit of 'virtual' and 'real' members who may have been out of the room last week, this column featured a wide variety of suggestions from all classes of members concerningphoto: m ferrat, hot dogs Café Metropole Club member designations.

The most extreme came from Jerry Stopher who wrote:

"Well, annnnnnywayyy - I don't think I've been a 'virtual' member of the Café Metropole Club for long enough to request one of the new, prestigious, 'Virtual Chief Justice' memberships. But I can suggest that as a name, or perhaps even a name like 'Virtual Commodore.'

The club's waiter Monsieur Ferrat, ready to distribute hot dogs to small-sized non-club members (not shown).

"But lo! and behold! I do indeed qualify for a whole 'nother level of virtual membership, that of 'Virtual Contributing Editor!' I think this should be the membership category for those of us who have contributed our wisdom to the magazine - which, by the way - is still not available in my doctor's waiting room.

"So this is my request for the new category of membership that I have now proposed - please list me on the rolls as a 'VCE.'"

Historical Background

The Café Metropole Club, is a club for the weekly online Metropole Paris magazine's readers who happen to be in Paris on a Thursday and are in the vicinity of the club's café meeting place at the right time of day.

Readers of the online magazine who have not yet attended a club meeting have been informally and unofficially referred to as 'virtual' members of the club, if they have taken the trouble to induct themselves into it in the privacy of their own homes.

After readers have managed to arrive in Paris and arrive at the club at the right time of day on the right day of the week, they can sign the unofficial members' booklet. Generally, this changes their 'virtual' status as a club member to 'real.'

Just because the club has a long and illustrious history and a great number of 'real' members after 33 whole meetings, it does not mean that it has to follow the lead of all other institutions, both official, unofficial and ad hoc, and overburden itself with complicated procedures and overly-bombastic titles.

The sad truth of Paris these days is its tendency to take a perfectly ordinary and simple place-name - for example - one in use for centuries, and add to it - such as changingphoto: member uniform the métro station name Clemenceau to Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau - as if it had moved closer to the famous avenue when in fact it has not budged a millimetre in about a hundred years.

Simplification, I feel, should be the club's goal. The word 'members' to describe members is perfectly okay. It is simple, it is short and it applies to everybody except people who are not.

Now to be scrapped - the club's 'Commodore' regalia with merit decorations and other things.

The sub-designations of 'virtual' and 'real' are mere adjectives or some other subsidiary class of grammar and should be given no more importance than they deserve.

I realize that some 'members' have been making tremendous sacrifices - waiting for days in line in order to fly for 26 hours - walking across the Gobi desert - and simply dreaming in front of a monitor in Newark, New Jersey, for years - in order to become 'real' and may be annoyed that the effort has been reduced to a mere adjective.

As much as we might like to be, we are not the Knights of Malta - nor do we want to be; look at what happened to them!

In the name of the Révolution, in the spirit of republicanism, I now propose to dispense with all notions of excessive grandeur. Welcome to the club, members!

Annoying Sub-Clauses

With the abolition of all highfalutin titles, medals, decorations and all the other baggage of whatnots, I humbly suggest we also ban semi-official forms of address such as 'sir,' 'madame,' 'comrade' and 'groupie.'

Without even having an unofficial 'rule' on the subject, members who have already been at club meetings have without exception left their real-life titles, peerages and other encumbrances outside the doors of the club's café.

iven that the club's secretary is often occupied with bullying and cajoling new members into putting their inscriptions into the members' booklet or making notes of a meeting in progress, members have often simply introduced themselves to each other. Doing this is perfectly okay.


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