Proust, Joyce & Co.

photo: terrace cafe bar

Morning sun on a terrace in Paris has been rare lately.

Lost and Found In Paris

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 18. June 2001:- The weather here hasn't gotten any less disgusting so I'm going to skip what is past. Although terrific lightening, thunder and downpours can be exciting, you've probably seen these before and if you have seen them in Paris, you will have noticed they aren't particularly 'Parisian.'

Not unless you've found an extraordinary awning to stand beneath, or sheltered café terrace with comfortable seats well out of spray's way.

Sit down at one of these, and after the first hot wine you may not notice that the sky has cleared and by the time you do, the weather is having another round of lashing Paris' pavements.

That is how it has been. Last night's TV-weather news has predicted clearing skies and rising temperatures, beginning on Thursday - for the Fête de la Musique! - and for the week's Café Metropole Club day.

Today's Le Parisien is forecasting this for Wednesday, with temperatures expected to rise from today's high of 18 - to match today's date in June I suppose - to 26 or 27 degrees by next Sunday. However, Le Parisian was off the stands for five days last week, so they might be trying to cheer themselves up.

Café Life

Speedy Lost and Found

Acting on a second-hand rumor from a third-hand party that there may be some doubt about one of my citizenships, I was at a passport office last Wednesday to find out what I could do to straighten things out.

This was a bit tricky, because this particular office was not involved - not having heard the rumor - andphoto: fiat 500 of the week the discussion I had with the passport lady was a bit like two blind people trying to describe a single-tusked elephant to each other.

Here we are again - all cheer for this 'Fiat 500 of the Week.'

Meanwhile there was another lady there with a real problem. She had lost her passport at the airport at Roissy. My debating partner decided to retire to a back room somewhere, to think over our discussion, so I moved aside to let the lost-passport lady have her, somewhat more urgent, turn.

After a couple of minutes she was invited into the back room, and my lady returned to the debating window - after doing whatever she had been doing, out of sight somewhere.

She said, "I don't know how Country 'X' would see this because we only deal with France here, but as far as France is concerned the information you need - the 'proof' - is the fact of your residence card."

'Aha!' I thought. If I apply 'French logic' to Country 'X,' then the same thing applies - provided I can find a 15 year-old document. About being able to do this, I wasn't at all sure - but at least I had a clue to the sort of 'proof' I would need to uncover.

As I was putting away my papers, the 'lost-passport' lady came out of the inner sanctum, delirious with joy. Her passport had not been stolen at Roissy. Somebody had found it and turned it into the lost and found office at the airport. 'Douce France!'

When I got home, I made a half-hearted stab at finding the 15 year-old document - everything still being in a shambles from the move to Paris in '99 - and it turned up within three minutes. Even more extraordinary, it does have the 'proof' rubber-stamped right in it.

Proust, Joyce & Co.

I am a newcomer to the Marcel Proust and James Joyce industries. Like most people I have tried to read 'Ulysses' a couple of times. I've never attempted 'A la Recherche du Temps Perdu' and never thought I would get near it, but as chance would have it, I was given two books about Marcel Proust in March.

I seem to be leading a sort of 'chancy' life. Sometime after March, I also chanced to interview author Harriet Welty Rochefort and do sort of an review of her book, 'French Fried.'

This was noticed - how? - by some people in the book promotion business, and I have received two otherphoto: shakespeare & co, bloomsday books that I've agreed to 'review.' One of them is 'The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust' which is in this issue.

'Bloomsday' reading on Saturday at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris.

As far as I can figure it out, there is no relationship between 'French Fried' and Marcel Proust, but there is a big relationship between Proust and James Joyce - with the two of them being big stars, if not the biggest, in Paris' literary heaven.

So far I been enjoying my 'spring with Marcel,' probably because it has required no more than a light skim. However, on Saturday I received a warning, in the form of a visit to the Librarie Mouvements, at 46. Rue Saint-André-des-Arts, to see a little exhibition called, 'James Joyce à Paris, des Photographies de Gisèle Freund.'

Not only were the photographs present, and for sale, but there was also a very large display case containing at least 50 items - books, pamphlets, odds, ends - all relating to Joyce, friends of Joyce, his translators, and so on. The tip of an iceberg of Joyce. This exhibition continues until Tuesday, 3. July.

I have taken this as a warning. If any book people are reading this, I want it known that I have no intention of working full time for the Proust, Joyce & Co.

Bloomsday - the Short Version

This is called the 'short version' because it lasted less than 24 hours, and shouldn't take more than five minutes to read.

Last week in the café Le Bouquet, I ran into Dennis, who is not a friend of Marcel Proust as far as I know, but is a Joyce fan. If I mention Samuel Beckett too, this will become Proustian, so I won't.

Without warning he told me that Saturday was 'Bloomsday.' This day can last 24 hours, like the time period in the book 'Ulysses,' but more sensible people usually cut it down to a few hours.

In Paris, after a brief stop between showers in the Librarie Mouvements bookshop to look at the photos of Joyce, we slogged our way through the crowds in the Quartier Latin, to take a look at the 'Bloomsday' readings being done in front of Shakespeare & Co. in the Rue de la Bucherie.

This was not too successful because it was outside, and the 'readers' had to compete with the noise of the afternoon traffic on the quay, and rain was threatening again.

Hoping to beat it, we crossed to the Ile de la Cité and got as far as the Place Dauphine before stopping to use a café awning as an umbrella. This pause was worth at least 500 words but I'll skip them.

We got to Flann O'Brien's pub in the Rue Bailleu, which is like an alley between Rivoli and the Rue Saint-Honoré, just before the scheduled 'readings' were to begin. Dennis got himself a proper pint of Guinness and I got an improper jar of orange juice, with ice in it.

Jonathan, another regular from the Bouquet, made it just in time and he got himself a pint of - I've forgotten the name - a pint of what I used to drink before I learned that Guinness does not taste like peat, or turf.

The introductory speaker read the text of the British judgement banning the import of 'Ulysses' to Britain - and Ireland! - and the text of the US judgement, lifting the ban on 'Ulysses' in 1933.

Three speakers followed, readin bits from the book - each followed by applause. Dennis and Jonathan criticized all threephoto: interior, flann o'brien, bloomsday speakers, and agreed that the second one came out best. My guess was that both of them have taken part in many 'Bloomsdays,' and had some standards to go by, if they can remember what they are.

Joyous 'Bloomies' at Flann O'Brien's pub on Saturday.
Continued on page 2...
Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
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