Big Fish Story

photo: bistro, bar de l'entracte

A quiet, village-like corner, very near the

The 'Right' To Party

Paris:- Monday, 4. June 2001:- I have been neglecting the 'news' a bit lately. There hasn't been any less news than usual and it hasn't been any less exciting than usual - 'news' is still happening in Paris and in France, somewhat like the weather.

This is what is wrong with it. It keeps going on and never stops. Personally, before I started doing Metropole and even a long time after it began, I didn't give two hoots about the weather. It is what you get and there isn't anything you can do about it.

If you ignore it you either get rained on or the sun shines on you. The news is just about the same. If you ignore it, it goes on happening but you don't know anything about it.

In my 'Café Life' I have noticed that the other characters in it seldom talk about current 'news.' Claudio, the guy whophoto: sculpt, strebelle, sur un grand pied V snips off my excess hair, talks about actors who have retired, Dennis talks about plays I've never heard of and Dimitri talks about his Deux-Chevaux.

This probably sounds pretty boring compared to botched escape attempts from Fresnes, with shoot-outs between a hijacked get-away helicopter and the guard towers, and I guess it is.

In this issue, 'free' art in the Place Vendôme, by Olivier Strebelle.

After it, the guards at Fresnes held a protest strike outside the prison - possibly to try and convince the Minister of the Interior to forbid escape attempts with helicopters. Residents living in the neighborhood of the prison were pretty upset too - with all the movie-type special effects stuff being live and with real bullets.

But is this 'news?' Where you are sitting reading this, you probably don't even know where Fresnes prison is.

Actually Dimitri should have mentioned it because the prison is about a stone's throw from where his monthly Friday night Deux-Chevaux club meetings are held. But I don't think Dimitri reads the papers often and I know he has no TV. For him, the botched escape never happened.

TGV Méditerreanée

Just over a week ago TGV train number 531 left Calais and began a 1069 kilometre non-stop run to Marseille, where it arrived three hours and 29 minutes after leaving Calais.

This dash from one end of France to another, was done to test the endurance of a TGV train, because this is the longest stretch of rails there is in France. The train averaged slightly over 300 kph for the distance.

The test was set up to determine whether TGV trains are sturdy enough to assure daily schedules between Paris and Marseille, which will take about three hours. Regular service is scheduled to begin on Sunday, 10. June.

The SNCF's top management and the train's driver were pretty happy with the perfect performance, which quietly set several railroading records at the same time.

From a practical point of view, real estate agents in Marseille are beside themselves with joy. Apparently all sorts of Parisians have decided that Marseille is now a Paris suburb, and they are buying residences in the city on the Mediterranean like cookies.

This isn't making everybody in Marseille happy, because it is pushing up local housing values, which were somewhat under-valued for all the years when there was no fast connection to Paris.

Big Fish Story of the Week

This 'fish' story is a couple of week's old, but is backed up with a photo showing the Seine in flood. It shows one fellow holding a fishing rod and a big fish-net,photo: cafe terrace, r st roche standing in the river's water with his pant-legs rolled up.

Another fellow is holding up a fish - a type of catfish to be exact - estimated to weigh about 25 kilos, and well over a metre long.

Is it a terrace or a slum? Only 50 metres from the Rue Saint-Honoré.

The fisherman, an American named James Prosek, never goes anywhere without his fishing gear and tries every likely spot he can, according to Le Parisien. He hooked the monster from the upstream tip of the Ile Saint-Louis.

After the photo was taken, the fish was tossed back into the water. Knowledgeable Parisians estimate there are more animals like it in the river, some of them bigger.

Should 'Raves' Be Banned?

A 'Rave-party' is an affair that used to be called a 'Be-In' in the '60s. The wide-spread introduction of mobile phones has given 'Rave-parties' the possibility to be very spontaneous.

So much so that back in April a right-wing deputy named Thierry Mariani proposed a law that called for the confiscation of equipment essential for successful 'Rave-parties.' What is meant is the electronic hardware necessary for making loud noises.

Then Socialist deputies got behind the government's Minister of the Interior, Daniel Vaillant, and passed a stronger amendment - making it a crime not to get a correct permit to hold a 'Rave-party.' As it stands, there is a possible fine of 20,000 francs and six months in jail for the organizers, plus the confiscation of audio equipment.

However other Socialist big hats are not at all happy with this - because 'Techno' is officially tolerated, and this year's Lesbian & Gaypride Parade is liable to be a bigger affair than in the past, supported as it is by both the government and the city administration.

I haven't been able to find the newspaper report about it, but last week's TV-news reported a fairly-well attended sit-in on Thursday, 24. May by 'Ravers' at the Hôtel de Ville. This annoyed police officials because these citizens had not bothered to get a permit to do this.

Other peaceful sit-ins wre staged in Marseille, Nantes, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse. In Toulouse, the CRS got nervous and used a bit of muscle.

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