...Continued from page 1

Patrick comes over shaking his head. He says it is all the fault of Toussaint. Kids in Europe get school holidays at Toussaint. I don't understand the connection - Toussaint is eight days off.

Dinny prefers being in the 'Group Photo of the Week' but today's terrace is too soggy.

He also says La Corona is buying the club a round. This is a fantastical surprise - a 'first' of 'firsts.' Dinny agrees to accept a petite pot of rosé, adding, "I don't want to get trashed." Don has been leaving for a half hour so he doesn't want anything.

Beth - who 'loves to drink' - reluctantly agrees to accept another pastis, but without the watery side-orders. I go for a simple café. It is the most modest 'round on the house' I have ever witnessed.

About the birthday arithmetic, Beth says, "It is a complex philosophical question," adding, "With cultural issues."

This is Beth's last meeting because she has used up her four Alliance Française coupons. About Dinny's worry about getting trashed, she says, "It wouldn't be good, so it's not happening." She also says Foucault has had quite a bit to say on this subject.

Dinny doesn't care just so long as she can bat out 3000 words before midnight. Beth has made her pastis evaporate so she gets up and decides to 'baptize' us with her soggy umbrella as a parting gesture. To make sure it works okay, she does it twice.

It is about 17:00. It has been a pretty sober little birthday party for your own club in Paris. By my count, 415 members have been unable to attend this historic meeting, that will only happen once.

Five minutes later Amélie Baubeau carefully approaches what remains of us. High on baptism waters, I greet her like a lost and forlorn refugee finding the promised land - which also almost scares her back out of the café.

But Amélie is on a mission. She is a student at the journalism school up the Rue du Louvre beyond the old Bourse, andphoto: amelie baubeau she's looking for a 'club of Americans' to write about. She says something about having heard about the Café Metropole Club in the Nouvelle Obs, but Dinny and the club's secretary don't know anything about this.

Amélie 'finds' a club slightly different from other 'slightly different' clubs in Paris.

While Dinny and the secretary take turns telling Amélie about the 'whole history of the club' - she takes some notes as best she can. I mean, nobody has heard anything like this club's history before. Luckily Dinny speaks much better French than I do - but it doesn't look like it makes much difference.

So I ask Amélie to sign the members' booklet, tell her she's become a member 'for life' of a free club for readers of Metropole Paris and so on, as she looks more and more perplexed - partly because of the members from Oz which we mention.

And, since Amélie is today's sole new member, I ask her for her hometown's name. She says she was born in the 13th, grew up in the 5th, goes to school in the 1st arrondissement, and lives near Alésia in the 14th.

And this, folks, is how Alésia gets to become this week's 'City of the Week.' It has been a stretch, but we've got it nailed down. And Amélie has a sort of a story which she has a deadline for, tomorrow - unlike mine.

Every Club Meeting Is Special

The next meeting of the Café Metropolephoto: happy birthday steam Club will be on Thursday, 31. October. This will not be a perfectly normal 44th Thursday in the year 2002 only seven days from now - because it will be the fifth Thursday in October. It'll be a 'bonus' Thursday.

Now that the club has steamy windows, maybe Tina Turner will join it.

Otherwise, the Saint's Day is Saint-Quentin. Besides being a saint, about whom nothing is mentioned in my saint's book, it is also a town in the Aisne on the Somme river. It was assaulted in 1557 and was the scene of a valiant defense in 1871, by Faidherbe. There are other Saint-Quentins around, both in France and in the United States, plus it is also a canal 92 kilometres long. Make it your fête if it's your saint's or canal's birthday too.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

By taking a look at the page called 'About the Café Metropole Club' you can learn how to become a member. However, if you are reading this 'report' of today's club meeting, becoming a member should be perfectly clear.

'Club rules' are so nearly nothing that they don't even have 'exceptions.' If you feel ignoring this 'About' page - exceptionally, do so. All you need to know is that you can be a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at a meeting. While you may think this to too easy, it is still fairly easy to join.

Special Dubious Request

Whether you count 'Chinese-style' or not, please let your opinion be known about the official age of this club as it is today, after its 157th meeting. Is we are four, or only three?

What, Where, When, Who, How, Why Not?

Club meetings begin in Paris not before 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00, in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'TICK' - andphoto: drinks on the house known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide areas with a couple of daily sets of 12-hour-time.

Please note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members-only members' booklet number three. The club's secretary often forgets to remember to ask new members to do this legibly.

A true 'first' - La Corona's entire first 'Round of the Week' on the house.

Come prepared with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your hometown as 'City of the Week' or invent any other 'Things of the Week.' True 'firsts' are welcome too even if they are rare 'drinks on the house.' 'No-names' is an option you can also opt for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

What you say may honestly be appreciated by the other members present, if there are any, and if they are awake and listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read it - if it should happen to be written here.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli, Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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