Home Sweet Home

photo: terrace cafe, champs elysees

Thousands were pretending it was summer on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday.

'Complex' Weather In Sight

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 3. June 2002:- The weather this week comes in two sorts of news - bad news and good news. In general, when I go out to take photos around Paris the weather turns into 'good news' and there seems to be lots of sunshine in the images. This is not made up at all.

On other days, no matter what the forecast has predicted, if I'm not going out to take any photos, the weather is still good. This is 'bad news' because I'm not outside basking in it.

To try and overcome this, the TV-weather news keeps on predicting all kinds of horrible weather. Take tonight for example.

The TV-weather news lady looks like she's wearing what someone lends you after you've fallen out of a rowboat, off a bridge, or accidently walked under a chance waterfall in the Rue Bonaparte.

She says the coming week's weather will be 'complex' and beyond Thursday the great unknown looms. Details turn outphoto: apartments to be approaching 'chaos' for Tuesday with a high of 24 degrees - not too shabby for early June - but 'horrible' follows 'chaos' on Wednesday when France will turn from color to black and white, and temperatures will plunge to an Arctic-like 17 degrees.

Is Metropole's new office in this building?

Relief is in sight on Thursday when the grey will begin to color a bit and the thermometre will struggle up to a dizzy high of 18 degrees.

Uncertainly after Thursday is echoed by today's Le Parisien, which has rendered its usual four-color weather maps in shades of grey, with the temperatures shown in frosty blue half ovals. Friday's map gives another point to the temperature, but nothing more.

On behalf of this magazine's readers I intend to go out without a hat or raincoat on Wednesday, Thursday - for the club meeting - and either Friday or Saturday, to take some photos. Pick these days to wear your sunglasses.

Rooms To Let, 50¢

Here it is only three years after the last time and I am searching for new lodgings again. On Friday - in beautiful weather! - I toured 12 of the nearest agencies likely to offer flats for rent, and somewhat to my surprise, none of them had any to offer, of any size, or at any price.

One pleasant lady said they stopped existing last summer. Property owners are not renewing leases and are withdrawing their apartments from the market. If anybody knows why, they didn't tell me.

A quick glance at the situation on the Avenue Leclerc has shown that there is still lots of free room on the sidewalks for squatting, but I'm not considering this, not yet.

In practical terms, my apartment search will be gaining priority over putting out chock-full issues ofphoto: filming movie, le bouquet this magazine. If some of the coming issues seem a bit empty-roomed it will be because I will be anxiously biting my nails - rather than writing about anxiously biting my nails.

Movie crew blocks café entry last week, causing café addicts to cringe.

If, by chance, anybody reading this happens to have an available apartment for rent, I am looking for a cozy place with at least one bedroom and one living room and one of everything else, with wooden floors and high ceilings, plus a darn good view from a low floor with big windows with a sunny exposure, in a building with an elevator, central heating and free parking. I'm not fussy about cable-TV.

Handy would have it located no more than fifty metres from where I live now - which means it should be within 300 metres of the marché, my barber, my number one and number two cafés, métro lines four and six, RER line 'B' - plus all the various hospitals, oyster palaces, La Santé, the Montparnasse cemetery, the library and the cinemas, the shoe-repair shop, and so on.

For this I will be gladly willing to pay 50¢ a month, plus the extra for the electricity and gas, if I have to have it, and of course my phone bill will be my own business.

If you think I should pay something like 1000euro 3 sign instead, let's sit down like reasonable people and work something out. I'm sure we can reach a fair compromise and live with it happily ever after.

On account of this, I hope you will understand that the half-finished 'Au Bistro' column may stay this way this week. I have a date to get up to see an agent about a non-existant flat tomorrow real early. Plus the water-metre reader who I thought came last week, is coming this week.

Café Life


One day last week when I was particularly bleary because I believed the forecast for rotten weather and had stayed up all night playing solitaire - actually I was 'not-fixing' this production centre's computer system - the same as playing solitaire, and losing heavily. I arrived at my café to find its entry blocked by a film scene being shot, just as I desperately needed a strong jolt of café.

All these neighbor shoppers of mine going about their serious business of getting the goods for lunch, and these no-nonsense types yelling in amplified bullhorns, "Don't look at the camera! Be quiet! Get out of the way."

During one of these shoots last summer a crewman told me they did interiors in some studiosphoto: gaspard, the free dog located way out in the countryside where the malls are, and nobody cares what they do. But when they want a little colorful streetlife background, they come to Paris to get it because it's everywhere and its fairly cheap. No sets need to be built.

And here's Gaspard, the 14th arrondissement's only 'free' dog.

The crew were tougher and meaner than the cops they'd hired to control us civilians. The cops were being paid whether they were there or not, but the crew were being paid to get film footage into the can.

While they were reloading film, I slipped into the café. Half the people inside, and it was lunchtime-full, were looking anxious about being able to leave. Right outside, the simple scene was shot and re-shot, with quite long pauses between each 'take.' It was easy to get out again.

Half a day later, in the evening, the whole film crew were inside the café, having their own 'shout night' to celebrate getting a 90-second scene wrapped up. I had my back-up jolt of café quickly and left to watch the TV-news and World Cup hype.

The name of the movie being filmed is 'There's Nothing But Happiness.'

Gaspard, the Free Dog

According to Dimitri, Gaspard is the only dog around who has a license to wander around the neighborhood by himself. Gaspard does this all day long and every day. Wherever you go here, you will see Gaspard making his rounds of the cafés in the quartier, or hanging out in them. If you see him, wave. Gaspard seldom has time to wave back, because he's got a lot of cafés to visit.

More Than Obscura

For three years I have been passing the photo gallery named Camera Obscura in my street. It has exhibitions on a regular basis and the last one showed an interesting black and white photo of an odd bicycle that seems to be placed in rural Siberia. Most of the photos the gallery exhibits are in black and white.

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