Winter Before Autumn

photo: cafe rue de rivoli

Not the first day of autumn, but the last day of summer
on Saturday.

It's Okay to be Furry Again

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 23. September 2002:- I thought autumn began two days ago but tonight's TV-weather news set me straight by saying that its exact date can be any time within a 48-hour period, and this year it is at the tail end of it. TV-news said it was 'two days late.'

This heaves a big load off my mind. I was wondering on Saturday why it was bright and sunny but a bit cool for summer - or a bit warm for autumn. I should have waited for today because the wind is chilly and it is more than just cool.

But for people who like their seasons to be seasons, I have good news. Tomorrow brings a wind from the northeast and the temperature is going to fall off a steep cliff.

That's exactly right for all you fresh-air fans! Tomorrow's blazing high will be 16 at best - Le Parisien says 15 - but both the paper and the TV-weather people agree that there will be snow above the 1000 metre level in the Vosges and maybe some more a bit higher in the Alps.

For Wednesday, the paper says we can expect a high of 17, but TV-weather predicted 15 tonight, and maybe fairly sunny. For Thursday, a slight temperature rise, but more cloudy.

TV's forecast didn't go beyond Thursday, but I can tell you what is going to happen. We are going to have some winter first, to substitute for fall.

Fall's Winter Fashions

For people who are already cold, the fashion shows are coming to your rescue by showing furs for the first time in years. This reverses the trend of 'better naked that furry' that captured the funky western world's attention about 15 years ago.

While the videos of the runway parades showed the usual starving models, on tonight'sphoto: fiat 500 of the week TV they were 'dressed' in what looked like old rags and tatters of what the announcer said were furs.

This fine 'Fiat 500 of the Week' was seen exiting from the garage under the Hôtel de Ville on Saturday.

Even though there were more holes than fur and what could be seen through the holes wasn't in any way suggestive, it was still easy to ignore the absolutely necessary audio part of the report - which said that a fur coat formerly weighing a couple of kilos, now weighs a thrifty 700 grams.

Ha! How remarkable! Take a perfectly good fur coat made from the finest sable in the world, dye it green and red, shrinkwrap it, and cut whacking great holes out of it - and then show it off on a walking stick-person - and what you have then is virtual 'fashion' that is of the essence - of total TV-foolishness.

But after all my sneering, they got me to watch it, didn't they?

But behind the hype - fashion on TV in Paris is only hype - the message to all those who have had their furs in storage for 15 years is - out with it! It may need remodeling, it may need some holes cut in it, it may need to be dyed to look like cheap plastic, but it is no longer a lost cause. The best news of all is that it may be possible to save a bundle on fur storage fees.

But before you get out your scissors, remember that this is an addendum to today's weather report. There may be a very good reason why furs are being allowed to come back into fashion - and it might be called - 'General Winter.'

Café Life

Facelift More than Skin-deep

The city's magazine for residents - formerly 'Paris - Le Journal,' is now named 'àParis.' It has made a late reappearance after its summer pause, and it has shown up with a new layout and changed editorial emphasis.

In its former version it was allowed to be a bit snazzy, but some taxpayers might have confusedphoto: broken green man this with expense - and it now looks a bit like the Dentist's Gazette that you see lying around desolate waiting rooms, while being unable to read because you are sweating in total fear.

Never mind that a cartoon page by Cabu has been added - in this issue, 'The Stress of Wednesday' - and it still has the familiar weird Paris photo of the month.

An injured 'green-man' signal, held together with tape, wire and a bit of hope.

The events for the month, arrondissement by arrondissement, once a source of rare nuggets, has been suppressed in favor of all sorts of ernest public information - like the advice to avoid getting killed on your motor scooter.

The article says that if you get into a traffic accident with one you have a five percent chance of not surviving it. This is alarming when you learn that motorized two-wheelers are involved in half of Paris' traffic accidents.

But nowhere does it say anything about pedestrians on sidewalks who are harassed by 'motards' taking urgent shortcuts, nor are there any fatality figures for this type of accident. Maybe there are none, and 'motards' politely shift all of their accidents to the roadways in the nick of time.

All-night Culture, aka 'Nuit Blanche'

At sundown on Saturday, 5. October, Paris is going to open its cultural doors and keep them open all night. Christophe Girard, Paris' cultural czar, says he has travelled a lot and noticed that a lot of other cities - and particularly Paris - positively modify their natural daytime impulses in a socially acceptable manner at night.

The actual verb he is quoted as using is the reflexive 'se sublimer.' I can't figure out exactly what this means, but it seems to be positive, because everything that's kept open will be free - as well as the shuttle buses that are to be available to truck the night people around town.

The RATP seems to be cool to the idea of running métro trains all night long, but may come up with a couple. The main idea is for the public to have access to sites that aren't usually open at night, as well as all the places like bars, cafés and clubs that are.

Since this will be the first time this is going to happen, exactly what one may experience isn't a known factor. Given the normal state of Saturday night TV, it is just possible that Parisians will turn out in mass, for a bit of collective sublimation, or to sublimate together.

Maybe a better way to put it would be to think of it as an all-night pub-crawl through the city's churches, art galleries, museums, libraries, with occasional stops for refreshments, all of it subliminal or not.

This Week's 'Au Bistro' Column

If you read this magazine in order, page by page, you might not yet know that this issue contains no 'Au Bistro' news column, for historical reasons.

This 'historical reason' is that it is late on Monday again. I have terrific photos to go with the column, but I have something 'historically' necessary to do early tomorrow.

All you really need to know anyway is that Daniel Cohn-Bendit said on tonight's TV-newsphoto: cafe les philosophes, marais that Germany is now being run by a 'social-ecologic' party, which is neither conservative nor liberal, but sort of red-green.

Saturday afternoon in a nearly carless Marais.

Plus - Sunday was carless day in Paris and Europe. I tried it out in the Marais on Saturday instead, and it was pretty good with all the crowds of folks around walking pretty much where they pleased. It is also possible that there were a lot of strollers because all of the café terraces were full.

Le Parisien mentioned today that motorists were not all pleased yesterday. For those who do not know Paris well, Sunday is the traditional day for suburbanites to drive around Paris in hordes - sort of to get revenge for using public transport during the week.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

As a service to 'Ed' or the club's secretary, if nothing else, you can catch up - even if it is a second time - with your club's 'news' right now by hitting this link to the ''Flat Stanley' Major 'First' report, even though 'Flat Stanley' has been in the magazine before.

Readers who want to become certifiable club members can skim the meager details concerning this freephoto: apartment buildings club in forty-four seconds or less by reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page, and maybe picking the virtual membership card right off the screen.

Joining the club - your own club after all! - is almost as easy. All you need to do is be here. Many people - including some dogs and babies - have managed to do this, so you can probably do it too. Paris isn't hard to find.

Look at all the windows. Will one of them be 'Ed's?'

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 26. September. The club's 'Saints' Day of the Week' next Thursday is the dual saints Côme and Damien. I was about to give you Saint- Florentin instead, but he is in October.

Save 'Metropole Paris' as one of your all-time favorite bookmarks to avoid mistyping its overly-long name every time you feel like reading a club report, or a regular edition like this one.

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.

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'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' for Paris as well as travel insurance. If you have 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.'

'Petanque America' exports quality Obut boules from France and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas - which will save you the effort of carrying them all the way from Paris. Be the first on your block to introduce the game of pétanque - or boules. Everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere - such as on any vacant lot covered with suitable dirt.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.39 - 24. Sept 2001 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column, 'The First Day of Fall That Was.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'A Lot Less Than All the News.' This issue had one email feature titled 'Reader's Reactions,' about something I forget. The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 27. September was called the 'Meeting of the Week' report for want of any better thing to call it. The week's 'Scene' column was headlined 'Morephoto: sign, quai de l'hotel de ville Than the Stuff that Wasn't.' The four 'Posters of the Week' were featured once again and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' had the caption, "Change for 50 Francs?"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.39 - 25. Sept 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'A 'No Siesta' Week' for a change. The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Ho-Hum Vote Wins.' There was one feature, titled 'On a Day In the Rue Campagne Première.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 28. September, was called the 'Crowd of the Week' report. The 'Scene' column's headline was 'Méditerranée' at the Grand Palais.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were on view too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Heads or Tails?'

Count-Down Imbroglio

Last week was 'desperate' because one of the magazine's more astute readers suggested that a count-down be staged, until the date that I find a new apartment.

According to my magic past-present-future calendar and taking my last return from New York as a starting date, the search has now been going on in a semi-serious way for 170 days.

Reader John Motta checked with the US Navy to find out if they have any free apartment spacephoto: window, prevot de paris for me on one of their aircraft carriers, but wrote to say they told him there is none available at the moment, for various reasons.

So, off the top of his head, he guessed that I have 69 more days of search left to go. This is based on a total search time of 232 days, which is based on I don't know what. From today, this would mean I will have new lodgings about Monday, 2. December. Thank you, John Motta!

Send me your best - sooner is better - guesses today! A truly suitable prize awaits the lucky winner who can most accurately state the number of days - the total - and/or the number of days left to go.

From my point of view, the lowest numbers in either case will be the most welcome. The thoughtful reader who suggested this - this flipping 'contest!' - also proposed re-using Metropole's old 'count-down-to-2000' Tour Eiffel image. That one started with a couple of years on its clock. No thanks.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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