My Holiday Postcard

photo: cafe la chope, guy moquet

Dim day makes a dim café - at métro Guy Moquet
in Epinettes.

Innocent Islands Not Guilty

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 3. September 2001:- The weather is not worth mentioning again. It has turned disgusting. It is fraudulent. When you go out the air is full of cheesy particles trying to pass as 'weather.' With everything else regulated in Europe, you'd think this weather would need to be fit for consumption.

Take last night's TV-news forecast. Monsieur Grin showed a whole week's worth, right up to next Sunday - and from Tuesday it was good and shown as getting better all week long. Even temperatures were forecast to go above 20.

Does he come on the little screen tonight to apologize? Maybe do a little on-screen hari-kari? Even a tiny 'excusons-nous?' Not a bit of it! He blames these innocent islands way way out in the Atlantic someplace.

He says the Azores have let 'us' down. By not keeping up their 'high.' I say fiddlesticks! Bushwah! Fraud!

Everybody knows it is the 'rentrée' and this means the weather has to get normal, so that everybody who has actually experienced the past summer's three brief and widely-spaced moments of nearly-good weather, can wonder if they ever even happened.

Last week I broke with a long-standingphoto: resto fabrique de bouchons tradition of a week's length, of not commenting about the weather, and commented about the weather again. Do you remember? There was a superlative high temperature of 33.7º C to set on the record.

Ex-shop now makes lunch and evening menus instead of corks.

Its like is not likely to be seen again this year. Maybe not next year either. All we have in front of us is endless 'Euro'-weather - neither black nor white, just a porridge-like mid-grey mass of soapy flakes, like re-used dishwater.

If, for various reasons some readers consult past issues of Metropole and this 'Café' column and you are reading this five years from now to find out about Paris' weather in August, just remember that there no longer is any.

'Café Life'

My Holiday Postcard

Once in a while I glance in my post-box to see if there are any bills in it. Last Tuesday there were no bills but there was a postcard, showing low tide at the small island of Saint Cado.

This was a very fine vision of some place, with a couple of rowboats anchored to mud flats near a puddle of water, with a completely fake-looking stone-walled, thatched-roofed seaside house in the background along with light grey and white clouds against a light blue sky.

On the other side part of the message said, "Beautiful country out here!!" The card was signed by Dimitri.

This astonished me. It seemed like it was only minutes before that he was dithering about getting 'on the road' in his oiled-and-ready-to-go Deux-Chevaux, with his brand-new tent.

What was astonishing was to get a postcard from somebody on holiday in France in the same year as it was posted.

My astonishment turned to amazement a day later in the café when I ran into Dimitri. With the postcard on a top level of my memory, I could hardly believe he could have returned from a 'beautiful country' so quickly.

He said, "It was expensive. All there was to eat were crêpes and cidre to drink."

On the positive side he said the new tent has survived a mild night of rain, but was 'now full of mold.' "The top tent-cover isn't as thick as the old one either," he added.

Because the original postcard looks really phoney and it has 'Repro. Interdite' printed on it, I have taken the liberty of doing a mildly positive version of Dimitri's postcard, and sticking it on the cartoon page because it is the only place with free space, and because I don't feel like doing a new cartoon this week.

Rock'n Roll In Batignolles

Permanent marché streets in Paris may seem more or less the same after you've seen a few of them, but you should look carefully at every one because they can have hidden surprises.

On Friday I was two-thirds of the way along the Rue de Lévis - its real name! - in Batignolles, and other than the constant assaults of varieties of roasting chicken smells, I wasn't expecting much out of the ordinary, when I looked into the Impasse de Lévis - and saw what I thought was a sign saying 'Rock'n Roll Center.'

Except for Gilbert Shelton's rock-and-roll audio memorial centre and cartoon atelier way out east inphoto: rock n roll dance center the 11th arrondissement, I thought rock-and-roll had rolled over and died in 1958, although Shelton says its funeral was in 1956.

Alive and well in Batignolles - rock-and-roll.

Anyway, at the end of the short impasse, a sort of hanger and beyond a modest entry, and training dance-floor inside - with another big sign to remind students that rock-and-roll is actually alive and being worshipped in a very bourgeois area quite a way west of République.

At the time, words failed me and I nearly had to blow my nose. I did find out that the Rock'n Roll 'Dancenter' in the Impasse de Lévis has been staging its personal comeback for 17 years - plus hosts 'Rock' on Friday nights, at the Gymnase Club 'Italie' near the Place de l'Italie.

For these there is a one hour lesson, followed by a training session lasting until 01:30, with one drink included - all for 70 francs. The lesson rates for beginners, intermediates and the 'advanced' are considerably more, and there are all sorts of different options - such as the 'Tutti Frutti' for 790 francs.

In case you associate rock-and-roll with greasy jeans, the 'Dancenter' also offers courses in salsa 'Portoricaine' and 'danses de société,' which includes tango.

If you don't believe me, check out the Rock'n Roll Dancenter Web site. I didn't, because I ran out of kleenex. InfoTel.: 01 43 80 90 23.

No New Metropole Photos

The offer of new Metropole's large-size photos resumed two week's ago, with this link to the photos on the photo / image page. Since the most recent photos were not even close to masterpieces, there are no new big ones in this issue.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

According to an email I got from Cobia, who was at a Café Metropole Club meeting two weeks ago, he is upset that he was not recognized as a club member. An excerpt from his message:-

"...the only requirement - and this may not even be a requirement - for joining the club is to show up at a meeting, which I did. There is nothing in the rules governing the members' species, or any other attributes. This attitude smacks of anti-caninism - a form of bigotry..."

My first thought was to point out that Cobia didn't sign the members' booklet, but then I remembered that some other members have not done so - through oversight or writer's cramp or some other silly excuse.

Being a fairly large white Dalmatian dog with black spots is no reason for not becoming aphoto: cafe bar le saint louis member, and neither is being a smaller Jack-Russel Terrier named Scrumpy, who is formally called 'Louis XIV.' This raises the number of active members to 273.

If club meetings are ever held in Epinettes, this will be a good place.

Last Thursday's meeting had its usual unusual 'firsts,' including the member's livingroom with 28 chairs in it and the wonderful second-hand quote of "Long life the wilderness yet," and the 'Popcorn Tip of the Week.'

To bring yourself up-to-date on the important subject of ever more subtle and intellectual 'firsts,' you can still read this meeting's medium-length 'report' in about three minutes or less.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 6. September. This day will be rather routine even though it will be a club day on which Saint-Bertrand Day will be celebrated in Paris this year.

Metropole readers and intentional club members can find out more about this free club by reading 'About the Club,' which is handy for finding out the reason for the club's existence, its meeting time and location and so on, and other true facts such as being free.

Metropole's Affiliates

The following product or service providers have chosen Metropole because their offers may be of value to you and I agree with them.

'Bookings' has a reservation service for a wide selection of Paris hotels. Check out their offers and make your choice long before your arrival in France. Or, if all the other hotel booking services are 'sold out,' try this one. Other Metropole readers have.

'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' as well as travel insurance for potential Paris visitors. If you've signed up for these services before you need them suddenly you will benefit from them. I hope won't be the case, but 'Things Happen.'

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 5.36 - 4. Sept 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Time to Oil My Skates' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Gas-Pump Blockade.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Chez Omar Décor Is Everything.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club's meeting on 7. September became the 'FlashNews:- Fuelphoto: sign, batignolles hotel Crises Hits Paris & 'Short' Club Report. The week's 'Scene' column was titled '1st Open de Pétanque.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Back to School Strikes Again.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.36 - 6. Sept. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'The Millennium Horizon.' The 'Au Bistro' column's title was 'Free José Bové!' This issue had two features, titled, 'Nearly Naked In Paris' by Kathleen Bouvier and 'Diary of a Fête - The Seine.' There were two email columns, 'More Mouffetard' from Mark Kritz, and 'Paris, Nevada Revisited.' The 'Scene' column was titled 'The Beginning of Fall 1999' and was complemented by the '2000 In Paris Program.' There were also the usual four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the damp caption of 'Welcome To Paris Surf.'

The 'Count-Up/Down' - Version 36

Sooner or later one of you is going to be hit with the 'Aha-Effect' and there will be another new count-up or down goal or subject appearing here, for the enjoyment and enrichment of us all.

While waiting patiently for this to happen, in this 36th week of the year 2001, it looks like Metropole's incredibly popular and long-standing feature of 'count-ups' or count-downs' to various dates in the past, present or future, will continue to defy gravity after all and keep on flying.

For this reason, the 'Count-Down's Funeral' announced here last week has been canceled and the flowers have been sent back, with an 'address unknown' note attached to them.

The Euro's Ever-Shorter Count-Down

The number of days remaining this year is 119. How quickly time flies! This is the number ofphoto: sign, rue la jonquiere days until the 'euro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01. On this day, you can say 'goodbye' to francs, DMs, pesetas, et al.

Warning - 'Euro-hysteria' is building in pitch, gaining in volume, cranking itself well and truly up. If you plan a visit before the end of the year, do not be surprised to witness Europeans acting silly about it.

For those curious about the new European-style money, you can take a look at the French government's 'Euro' Web site for whatever it has to say about the looming arrival of the euro.

Since last week, this site probably has images of the actual currency, for the first time in the history of the world.
signature, regards, ric

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