Yet Another New 'First'

photo: la corona, rue amiral coligny

La Corona's Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny terrace
faces the Louvre.

Your Club Turns Two!

Paris:- Saturday, 6. October 2001:- On the occasion of your private and exclusive club in Paris having its 2nd birthday and beginning its third year of existence, it is worth recalling a bit of recent history.

Although club 'firsts' are now pretty routine except for the fact that they are true 'firsts,' the first of these to remember is that this weekly online - and therefore 'virtual' - magazine about Paris was the first to have a real club for its real readers in Paris.

Hardly any other online magazines called 'Metropole Paris' can make this claim, plus go to the extreme and also claim to have the 'only' real club for 'Metropole Paris' readers.

When it started with its first 'free' meeting in the fall of 1999, the Internet was in the starting blocks of an investment frenzy, that resulted in an explosion of commercial Web sites, built to sell everything from trips to the moon to cemetery plots on Tahiti.

Huge corporations poured cement-mixer trucks full of money into brains and rented hundreds of hectares of office space, while pressing venture capital in amounts never before seen - not even in Cristoforo Colombo's time! - into the sweaty hands of barely literate newly-minted 'suits' with evenphoto: rue amiral coligny, 1880, tom yanul fresher biz-school diplomas, whose sole goal in life was to retire on the proceeds of extravagant IPOs before they were 23.

A photo of the Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny, sent by member Tom Yanul - estimated to be circa 1880.

The stock markets spiraled up, like manic roulette wheels, on the dubious basis of 35 of the wheel's numbers being both black and 'one' - and even staid and stodgy Europe caught the fever. It seemed like the Internet was a good as gold - maybe even better! Whoee! An electronic Klondike! Everybody a winner.

This was so good that even companies that made nothing more high-tech than patches for repairing inner-tubes, got dragged up to dizzy heights by Dot-Coms that had no product, no history, only the fuzziest plans and futures based 102 percent on total fantasy.

Ooh, it was soo goood!

Meanwhile, back in 1999, on the Quai du Louvre in aphoto: patrick, tureen of cafe simple Paris café with its name spelled wrong, the Café Metropole Club started off bravely into the unknown - is the world really round? - with one dumbbell of a secretary and four pioneering online magazine readers who inexplicably turned up to become 'charter' members of the magazine's free club.

From these humble beginnings and without five-cents of venture-capital, advertising, spam, greed or any sort of an IPO in the offing, your club has continued to this day, surviving the shipwreck of the late 'Internet-boom' and 'bust.' If there are readers who have been 'sunk' by this comedy, you are welcome at the club.

Popular 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick and a typical La Corona 'tureen' of café.

That's right. Your free club in Paris continues without any visible means of support, just as it started. Although this state of affairs is virtually unreal, we are not worrying about it much.

As of this date 291 real people from various parts of the world have come to Paris to join the Café Metropole Club.

This figure does not include several dozen other people who unwittingly attended club meetings - although while sober! - and two dogs recentlyphoto: wine glass accepted as bona-fide members, as well as the club's hand-carved wooden howling hound mascot - who only 'joined' last week when presented to the club's secretary by Jay Barrios.

The above figure does not include club members who have returned - some, many times - from overseas and overland to Paris to attend club meetings - because, once a member becomes a member, it is for life.

Wine is a popular 'Drink of the Week' some weeks, too.

Even though no one has ever bothered to ask, the reason for lifetime memberships is simple. When the club was in its early stages the secretary foolishly began to assemble a collection of 'rules.'

Eagle-eyed club members noticed this when the number of them had reached four or five, and loudly - via emails - called for their suppression, their total abolishment. One of these 'rules' was the method for 'unsubscribing.' The club, although based on the 'virtual' Internet, has no 'newsletter' and is therefore unsubscribable.

Lifetime members can cease to be members at any time without notice, even if the club considers them to be members forever. This is not a formal 'rule,' because there aren't any, so it is impossible to get out of.

Obviously this is another major 'first' in the annals of clublife. If Jake Marx wouldn't care to be a member of any club that would accept him as a member, then being a member for lifephoto: new sub sockphoto: york way sock is a club Jake can't quit. Tearing up the virtual membership card will make no difference s don't bother.

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