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 so don't bother.

During the past 103 meetings since club meeting number one, there have been too many other 'firsts' to mention here, which is in itself a 'first' since 'firsts' are always mentioned.

The same goes for the weekly 'Cities of the Week,' the 'Food of the Week' and of course, the 'Drinks of the Week,' not to explicitly mention all of the other 'Things of the Week' including the much beloved 'Quotes of the Week.'

The 'first' of these is worth recalling, because it sums up the club's philosophy. Technically, it was a 'Question of the Week,' but it was within quote-signs, so it is eligible. "Why does Paris have ugly dirt?"

I can remember it like it was yesterday and I still don't know the answer.

The club's secretary not knowing an answer to a simple question is completely normal for the club too. It permits the club to operate without a nominal head-cheese - which Charles De Gaulle said couldn't be done anyhow. At least, not in France.

So, your Café Metropole Club shambles bravely on from glory to glory, week after blinking week. During the past 104 weeks the Internet has risen like a phoenix, burned its wings and floated back to earth - while your club keeps on ticking like an old-fashioned Timex watch, too silly to have a dead battery.

You - members! - keep winding it up. You ought to, not only because its free, but because it is your club in Paris.

I have almost forgotten the club's 'Waiters of the Week.' Although these hardy souls cannot escapephoto: hand carved hound mascot being randomly assigned the club's meeting area in the café, they have carried out members' orders with aplomb and velocity, good humor and courage. The secretary considers all of them to be bona-fide members in good standing.

Jay Barrios hand-carved the club's mascot just in time for the start of the club's 3rd year. How did we manage without one?

The other staff and the management of the club's café, La Corona, are also saluted for working in and running a fine joint in the very middle of Paris. The pleasant lady who oversees the waterworks in the café's cellar deserves a special mention too - if for no other reason than she hasn't seen the light of day in 43 years.

And, I suppose, this constitutes an answer to an oft-asked question - 'Why was La Corona chosen to be the Café Metropole Club's clubhouse?'

It might not be a correct answer or a very good one - but this is only because neither is the club's secretary either.

The Next Meeting Is the Club's Anniversary

The very first club meeting was held on Thursday, 14. October 1999. This year the 14th is on a Sunday, so the club's 2nd anniversary will be celebrated during the meeting next Thursday, on 11. October. It will be the club's 105th meeting and the first in its third year of existence.

Since it is possible that more than two members may show up for this unique anniversary meeting, 'Smarties' will be served instead of a cake, for a change. Members will not be discouraged from bringing personal diet food if unallowed 'Smarties' but should remember that everything unconsumed must be removed.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

You can find out other minor stuff concerning what this is about - if you really feel up to it - by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club' - which will also explain exactly where to find the club in Paris and the day and time of the meetings.

For a total recap of the club's entire history, the 'report' of every meeting remains online and these can be freely consulted without paying any sort of entertainment fee.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The anniversary Café Metropole Club meeting will be held on Thursday, 11. October, which is actually on a Thursday again this year. It is also the annual day known as Saint-Firmin's Day, in Paris and in France.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is on all weeks with club anniversaries. Your club's gala meeting timephoto: club secretary will begin at 15:00 and continue until 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'POPJ' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in zones without metrical 24-hour time.

For all members who flubbed their photos of the secretary, here is a recent shot by one who didn't.

The club's secretary, now known as howling-dog 'Ed,' might be making some 'report' notes during the anniversary meeting. Without these, it would be like it never happened.

Bring a new 'Quote of the Year' or come with your own 'City of the Year' or even fabricate any other 'Things of the Year.' Any dern thing is eligible. Having something on hand may be significant enough to get it mentioned in this special meeting's anniversary club 'report.'

Your comments, thoughtful or not, will be warmly received by the other members present if they hear them - and all readers of this online magazine with the authentic and free Paris club for readers who 'just want to be' members of some dizzy club in the only city in the world known as Paris, France.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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