"Something Must Be Wrong!"

photo: group, don, linda, shirley, walter, stephan, marion

You see - Beaujolais Nouveau is good stuff even if it
tastes like strawberries.

On Beaujolais Nouveau Day?

Paris:- Thursday, 21. November 2002:- The problem with tomorrow's weather is that France-2 TV is on strike today, again. Actually it is 'still' because it has been eight days now. For several of them, it was completely grey and nothing changed at all, as if the weather is run by its TV-news.

The strikers are brave and there is a minimum service, so there is a sketchy minimum forecast, which is about this same as I put here anyway. The club's secretary is not a 'scab' weatherman too.

My notes read, 'Friday, chaotic, partly sunny, 13 degrees. Then Saturday, ditto, ditto, 10 degrees. Sunday, ditto, ditto with 'less sunny' in brackets, and 12 degrees.' There were the usual warnings about areas outside the Ile-de-France, but these weren't serious because I didn't pay them any attention.

Now for the 'strikes of the day.' Mainstream farmers are acting up because they are only getting 20 percent of the retail hypermarché prices. In areas outside of the Ile-de-Francephoto: marion, leo malet, les rats de montsouris watch out for farmers sacking supermarkets. This can be entertaining if you've ever felt like doing it yourself.

Long-haul truckers will be voting about striking tomorrow. If there's a majority for this and nobody offers them anything good, they will begin barricading routes with very big trucks at 22:00 on Sunday evening.

Marion has brought her personal copy of Leo Malet's 'Les Rats de Montsouris.'

Now for a bit of 'sports news.' Ellen MacArthur is in the lead of the Route du Rhum sailboat race, which is from somewhere in France to someplace in the Americas. She is driving a single-hull sailboat named 'Kingfisher' single-handed - but may be using two hands for this - and she pointed out by radio that she got a 24-hour headstart over the multi-hulled sailboats.

Most of these very speedy boats, if you have been following this race, have fallen apart because the Atlantic is full of lumpy winter conditions for which they were under-designed.

I understand that 'rule' changes are contemplated - so that the trimaran guys will race for the 'rum' from Marseille to Cairo over the softer Mediterranean next year, leaving the rough stuff to Ellen MacArthur.

Some freak of nature caused me to sleep through half of Beaujolais Nouveau Day today. In Lyon, the taps were opened at midnight and 300 litres were poured by one café there before I even turned over.

TV-reports said the usual about it, except for a lack of audio from Tokyo. Jolly people in Lyon said this years' Beaujolais Nouveau tasted like bananas and prunes, somewhat disguised as 'strawberries.' One forthright lady said it was right smack in the middle of 'moyen,' where it usually is.

These bonus 'reports' allow me to skip the usual boring filler words I usually put here about riding downtown to the club meeting in the métro, although I do do this today.

In the club's café, in La Corona's 'grande salle,' the server-lady Linda Thalman is waitingphoto: beaujolais nouveau for me. Although she has a mobile phone in her hand she says she is not telephoning anybody. She says whatever she wants to do with it, she has forgotten how. I cannot help her.

Ah - the essence of the day. In France, 'essence' also refers to gasoline.

Within a minute or two, we are joined by Claire Guillaume of Paris and Glenn Cooper, who claims Oyster Bay on Long Island as a hometown. Glenn runs 'Cooper Paris Flats' in case you are looking for a place to stay bigger than a tiny hotel room while you are here.

Marion Nowak comes in while I'm explaining about the club and Claire is telling me she has, "Une paire de garçons et une paire de filles," and Marion interprets this as a 'sympathy attack!' I don't know what this means - but it is here in my notes and it looks like my handwriting.

Oh, I see. She is saying that when she is standing on a street corner in front of the Opéra looking for the Opéra on her map, all sorts of helpful Parisians immediately stop what they are doing and help her read the map.

She says when she lived here for two years nobody ever did this. "Something must be wrong!" she says.

Before I have time to guess that a lot of Parisians have been taking Paris map-reading courses at night school, Claire and Glenn leave - which means that Stephan Nowak arrives, closely followed by Shirley and Walter Pappas.

For some reason Linda says she taught school for a few years in Germany - ah - I don't really know how this starts, but suddenly we are all talking in German - including Walter - but not Shirley.

"Das erste Deutschsprachige club treffen!" Linda says. Marion corrects my spelling of this. The café is full of a smell of lasagna and one of the club's sparrows flies in from the front of thephoto: group 2 café to look for baguette crumbs in the club's area - and suddenly the sun breaks through the thick clouds and lights up the interior of the 'grande salle' like a Hollywood opening night.

Just to show you that the sun shines on Beaujolais Nouveau Day in Paris - sometimes.

About here, before Shirley gets too bored - Marion has brought me a copy of Der Spiegel that is all about Rudolf Augstein's recent death - on Thursday, 7. November. The German weekly newsmagazine of reference was begun by Augstein in January of 1947 - I have a facsimile copy of it - this issue Marion has brought has 242 pages.

About here, before Shirley gets too bored, Don Smith arrives and we abandon speaking five different kinds of German. Walter says "I like Beaujolais Nouveau even when it's not new!" I must be doing something else, because this note isn't in my handwriting.

Marion and Stephan tell me about all the weddings and birthdays and funerals they've been too, in order to make it clear that this visit to Paris is their only 'holiday' this year.

At one of these, a wedding at some spa full of real kitsch in eastern Europe, they had free entries to a casino that included a couple of 'fun' chips, and Stephan won enough at blackjack to pay for their hotel room full of kitsch before Marion told him to take the money while they were ahead.

Talk of weddings reminds Shirley that she wants to go to see the phone booth in San Francisco that Walter called her from on one Valentine's Day.

Walter seems to think some phonebooth anyplace will do - 'maybe in southwest France.' Somebody else suggests 'India.' "Whatever," he says.

Walter pans one of Paris big clubs, which isn't worth mentioning here, but he says 'La Vie Parisienne' show at the Opéra Comique is really worth seeing. "It's a good show," he says.

Meanwhile, we have been out on the café's Quai du Louvre terrace and inspired by 'La Vie Parisienne,'photo: dancing first, linda, walter the members of the 'Group of the Week' put on a good show themselves.

Back inside, the members gaily throw money on the tables. Linda says she has to go early because it is her weekly rock-and-roll dance class night. The next thing I see, Walter has his hat and coat on and is twirling around with Linda, dancing to some music only they can hear in their heads.

Anything goes at the club on Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Anything!

Finally my notes say, 'Marion - puts on 'all-idiots' prog. instead of usual 'half-idiots' prog.' I can't figure this out - except I did say to her that if she wore a cheap baseball cap with a hole on the back, her hair could stick out through it.

She says she never wears baseball caps. I do remember her saying this.

This is about what this meeting has been about. I mean, approximately 'about.' Before this, Walter has said to me in confidence, "Pen can be pushed, pencil has to be lead." I puzzle over whether to spell lead 'led' or 'lead.'

Being the club's secretary can be 'cruel shoes' sometimes. I wonder if I can read 242 pages of Der Spiegel before or after I get towel racks. I am not a slow reader either. It's just that this newsmagazine has more pages than its first edition.

A More Usual Club Meeting than the Usually Usual One On Beaujolais Nouveau Day

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 28. November. Some of today's club members have assured me that this will be Thanksgiving.photo: hochzeit Don Smith says this URL is not wonderful, but it is the only one he has.

Marion and Stephan's free-chip casino ticket.

Otherwise, the Saint's Day next Thursday is Jacques de la Marché. I know nothing, not a single bean, about this saint. If it's any help, Gérald is the saint on Thursday, 5. December.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

By taking a brief glance at the page called the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page, you can learn how to become a member forever or for life, whichever is longer. However, if you are reading this 'report' about today's club meeting, you might want to become a Beaujolais Nouveau Day-only member. There is no 'rule' against this.

If you feel ignoring this 'About' page - even though it has been lightly updated within the last two years - do so. All you really need know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at a meeting. If you think this to too easy to be true, it is still fairly easy, and sometimes there's dancing too.

Repeat Christmas Season Note

Major Paris department stores turned on their lights a couple of weeks ago and lifted their display window curtains on their decorated windows. Many displays will continue until the first weekend in January, after which the Soldes d'Hiver start.

When, Who, How, What, Where, 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 andphoto: empty beaujolais nouveau not 'TIZZ' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in other worldwide areas. This is regardless of prevailing 'winter time' which is prevailing.

Considering the members who drank only café, this is considerable wreckage.

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. 'No-names' is an option you can also opt for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet. 'No rules' has ceased to be an 'exception' and is now an exceptional 'rule.'

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

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

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini