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 materpieces, there are no new big ones in this issue.


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