What's Normal Anyway?

photo: the blue cafe

'The Blue Café' in the Place Kossuth.

'Gay Pride' In Paris

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 26. June 2000:- A week ago Paris had a fine weekend and that was the end of its bright outlook. The week and the weekend we've just had have been described by TV-weather news as below normal.

Just before last Thursday's club meeting, I picked up a fair-sized booklet full of statistics about Paris. According to it, the last really good summer in Paris was in 1976, the year I arrived here.

I remember it mainly because one job I had was applying paint to a plastic overlay, and I kept dripping on it. The paint wasn't sticking to it very well anyway and these little puddles on the plastic were driving me crazy.

It was my first summer in the Paris region and I imagined that every summer would be somewhat the same. After 24 years I can say the summerphoto: cafe le cardinal are pretty much the same, but not the same as that one.

'Normal' in Paris is better than Greenland, but nowhere near as hot as Death Valley. 'Below normal' is slightly better than Greenland.

Grandes Boulevards - grandes cafés like Le Cardinal.

They are like this one, which has been going on for five whole days now; every one of them 'below normal.' Booklets full of statistics do say what 'normal' is - statistically - but do not show with any precision when 'normal' will be.

It is mainly for photos that I pay attention to the weather. The forecast can give me a clue about what sort of photos I might be able to make on the following day. And I've been watching the forecasts for so long that even if they are 'grainy,' I can guess pretty well what to expect.

If the TV-weather map shows a line between two types of weather running anywhere near Paris, then a plus-minus 12 hours calculation is in order. Either the good-bad weather will be 12 hours early or 12 hours late.

One morning I got up thinking it would be a great idea to put up-to-date weather reports inphoto: car of the week Metropole. By noon I couldn't figure out what use it would be, because if you have to go out in it anyway - you get whatever its giving no matter what the forecast may have been.

In the Rue de Rennes, a fleet of 'Cars of the Week.'

I think it was this same morning that I had the idea to do something like a 'Paris Snapshot of the Day.' I was pretty excited about this a little longer than about the weather - until I figured out I didn't want to be a Web-Cam because I am not a robot.

Web-cams never sleep and never have holidays, which is the way I feel a lot anyway. So I put these ideas into a back drawer of my brain. Not the weather, but the photos, are safely tucked away to be brought out whenever it seems feasible.

'Gay Pride' Day In Paris

When I chose the location of my apartment in the city I had no idea it was so close to a major street-demonstration launching place. It seems to be about once every three days that one or another group of marchers or protestors are gathering around the lion statue in the centre of the Place Denfert-Rochereau.

Last Wednesday, 21. June, the place was taken over by a big sound-stage for my quartier's Fête de la Musique. On Thursday or Friday, the neighborhood was swarming with protestors looking for lunch, before setting out from the same place for a march to somewhere.

Then on Saturday, I learned that this year's edition of Paris 'Gay Pride' parade was to begin at the place at 14:00. I grew up in a fair-sized town that only had two major events per year, and about once every ten years, a third event.

If your town is going to have a 'Gay Pride' parade with 100 or 200 thousand participants and spectators, you would think there would be a little advance notice.

Saturday's edition of Le Parisien mentions it on page 12 and had the 'Paris - Fishing Port' onphoto: gay pride its front page. Libération did the opposite, with 'Gay Pride' on its front page and a pull-out centre section.

The 'Gay Pride' parade in Paris is a lot more carnival-like than the somewhat industrial grunge of the 'Techno Parade,' plus it has music that is not quite so machine-like.

On Saturday at Denfert-Rochereau, the start of the 'Gay Pride' parade.

A lot of people taking part in the parade are in costumes, which are neither more of less extreme than anything you can see on purpose or by accident on TV. For this reason, there is a general good-humor to it all, and it draws a lot of ordinary spectators who would come out for any carnival parade.

While Berlin's annual 'Love Parade' has been going on longer and draws larger crowds, this year it was on the same day.

I don't know about Germany, but in France the government has put through a piece of legislation called the 'Pacs.' This calls for creating legal categories for all sorts of relationships that were not previously covered by law.Continued on page 2...

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