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.

For example, France has an old set of inheritance laws, made up in long-ago times, which do not suit modern society. Part of the 'Pacs' are meant to take the realities of our society into account - a bit so that the wishes of individuals can be respected, rather than be subjected to outmoded laws - or voids where no law exists.

So the 'Pacs' objective is moral and legal tolerance for everybody who no longer fits into some 19th century notion of society's norms. This is not paradise because a lot of it is experimental in its application; and not everybody is in full agreement with it.

All the same it is a start and it gives optimism to a lot of people in different situations. For this reason Paris annual 'Gay Pride' celebration has gone beyond its name.

This was evident on Saturday at the parade's launch at Denfert-Rochereau. Most present wore no costumes and didn't seem to be showing signs of militancy for one cause or another, or any at all - other than showing a willingness to take part in a Saturday carnival winding its way through the streets of Paris.

Café Metropole Club's 37th Session

The 37th weekly meeting of the 'Café Metropole Club' happened to have two high points last Thursday. New members are always one and there were two of them who found their way to the café La Corona.

Another member, although not yet 'signed-in,' attempted to do so by phoning from the UK during the meeting. This is a new approach but it is not good enough for signing the unofficial members' booklet.

If I let this through, then potential members would demand that I get a portable phone. La Corona'sphoto: le vin des rues management said long ago no phone line would be available, and I'd like to keep it this way - mainly because I have enough to do at meetings without trying to put them online 'live.' They are 'live' in the café.

Nothing 'Special of the Week' here except good food.

Thursday's club meeting was fairly subdued until the new members arrived and one tried to 'gate-crash' by way of a telephone. You can read about it on last Thursday's 'Club 'Report'' page.

Your club's next meeting will be on Thursday, 29. June, when I will be in an airplane, somewhere over Greenland looking down at the weather. If you are in the mood, be sure to see this week's 'Club News' page too.

Next Issue

Your 'Ed' may be gone, but Metropole keeps on going

For the coming issue, on Monday, 3. July, there will be a round-up of all the club's unofficial non-rules on the regular 'Club News' page. There will be Café and Scene columns, possibly a feature about the 'incredible' picnic slated for Bastille Day, and the regular compliment of posters and a cartoon too.

Metropole's next regular issue will be dated Monday, 17. July. I haven't the foggiest notion of what it may contain, if anything. By then, you may be off somewhere on holidays anyway. Good for you if you are.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.26 - 28. June1999 - The week's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'How-To Do Bastille Day.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Music Day in France - Still No Strikes.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Another Wild-Goose Chase.' The 'Scene' column had 'Under the Sky, Under the Stars.' There were the isual teriffic four 'Posters of the Week.' Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Enough for Tweetie.' Enough what?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.26 - 29. June 1998 - The Café Metropole column posed a consumer question with the title of: 'Can It Be Good If It's Free?' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled, 'Bad News Phones, Bad News Fans.' This issue had two features, titled 'Reaching the Sky - Up On Montmartre' and 'Versailles Is Not Lonely - But Not Everything Is Open.' For WM'98-fevered sportsfans there was 'Links For World Cup: Ready, Set - Bootez la Balloon!' There were the usual four 'Posters of the Week' too. Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Oops, Sorry!' so it must of had an English theme.

Metropole Paris' Nearly Solo Countdown to 31. December 2000:

The countdown is resumed with the last issue for no reason in particular. It had become impossible to maintain its suspension, on account of contests that may show up here as soon as the contest fund reaches a high-enough level sufficient for acquiring prizes for all the winners. Although this is assumed to be a smallphoto: sign, square oznam amount on account of few likely contestants, the main reason for not having a contest right here and now is because of the judge's holiday.

There are only about 188 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. This figure is correct for today only. Due to the resumption of this section, there are now, officially, 178 days gone since the last countdown failed on account of an unidentified ristan that ate the Tour Eiffel's count-down mechanism last 31. December, which deprived count-down fans and their groupie's uncles of the thrill of the century if not the Millennium.
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini