'Eulipian Vision' is a Meeting 'First'

photo: group; farris, katherine, doug

From left, the 'Whole Group Photo of the Week'
with Farris, Katherine and Doug.

So Is Shicoutimi

Paris:- Thursday, 5. June 2003:- For the past several days we have been warned about storms. These may have happened very quickly because I didn't notice them. Instead it has been cloudy in the mornings and partly sunny in the afternoons, and agreeable in the evenings.

Temperatures, as forecast on Monday, have been said to be 23 degrees, but it has felt warmer. It has also been humid, but not terribly so.

Tonight's TV-weather news was something I didn't grasp. It was only for tomorrow anyway, so I have to consult this morning's Le Parisien to get beyond Friday - because, ha ha - we have another long weekend. It is called 'lundi de Pentecôte' here, and follows plain Pentecôte on Sunday.

Lemmesee. Friday is 'Ouf!' with 24 degrees. A 'high' is supposed to install itself, giving us blue skies. This is to continue on Saturday with cool drinks because the temperature will hop up two degrees.

But on Sunday the humidity returns with a heat drop of two degrees, to 24, and then Monday is supposed to be 'feverish' with another rise in temperature, of one degree. On all of these days it should be mostly sunny except when it is mostly cloudy.

All in all it sounds plausible. But the weather is acting weird and if last Saturday is anything to go by, it might just spin off its top and dump another couple of kilos of hail on Montmartre.

Whatever it is, today is not a 'Hawaiian Shirt Day' so I don't wear any of mine. It is agreeable outside and even the semi-on-strike métro is okay because it is a free ride and the train comes as soon as I reach my habitual position on the platform.

However there must be fewer trains than usual because passengers are packed in like oily sardines byphoto: farris smith jr the time the train reaches Châtelet. The amateurs panic as usual, worried they won't be able to get off, and the pros hang back waiting for the mess to clear so they can stroll off into the face of hordes of other amateurs afraid they won't get on.

Farris plans to introduce smokeless jazz to Paris.

The worst never happens. 'Pro' riders always give way to let the amateurs escape, even if they have to step off the train for a moment. This is done in such a way as to block anxious amateurs from getting on, so the temporary off-boarders can get back on first.

For various reasons I have arrived early on the Rue de Rivoli. The ex-Samaritaine building is almost complete for its new tenants and some of them have moved in while finishing touches are still being finished.

The whole world will be pleased to hear that there is now a brand spanking new sushi department store within a riceball throw of the Pont Neuf. This must be the only type of clothes shop the Rue de Rivoli lacks, even if it is a block off it.

I am tolerant about this. Let the people have cheap clothes! Twenty-five euro shirts are a bargain even if you can see through their thin cotton. Why not sushi next to Pont Neuf? There aren't even any other cafés around within a block. People crossing the shadeless bridge might be hungry after their trek.

But I am still too early so I walk up the west side of Samaritaine back to the Rue de Rivoli and go past the Loto wagering boutique and around the corner past the métro exit where I am hailed by name from behind.

Club member Farris Smith Jr catches up and we walk together to the café La Corona, and occupy the club's area in the empty 'grande salle.'

Farris joined the club last December, after coming over to Paris from San Francisco. This time, Farris tells me, he's come with his contrabass, his electric contrabass and an electric bass guitar.

I am so busy trying to figure out how to spell 'contrabass' that I forget to ask him how he got all of these instruments on one airplane. I am sure many readers would like to know too, so I'll try to remember to ask Farris next time I see him.

But in the meantime consider this - Farris Smith is in Paris with the intention of opening a smoke-free jazz club. Club members who live in Paris may want leap to their keyboards to write emails warning about the implausibility of this notion.

But wait! Hold your itchy fingers! Don't movie fans sit through endless episodes of 'Star Wars' withoutphoto: farris cd presentation smoking? Don't millions of visitors spend zillions of hours walking around museums without smoking? Don't opera fans sit though long - sometimes very long - music sessions without smoking?

The neat introductory booklet put together by Farris.

Farris is a jazzman with a mission. The immediate reaction to this idea by another musician was, 'the musicians would like it.' Jazzfans could take their kids too - which is usually impossible because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says kids aren't supposed to be exposed to cruel and unusual treatment, like smoke.

Farris gives me an introductory booklet he has put together. Its title is 'Eulipian Vision.' This has been borrowed from Roland Kirk's 'Journey agent's duty-free gift to the traveller,' which radio FIP plays occasionally but regularly.

The booklet also contains a jazz-CD, produced and performed by Farris, with Damu Sudi Alii, Michael James and Achyutan - with six pieces on it, by Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery and Miles Davis.

Doug Fuss drops in suddenly. Savannah has, he says, "Vinyl shirt weather." I take Doug's word for it. Coming to Paris is Doug's form of air conditioning.

On a social note, both Farris and Doug arrived on June's first 'Mardi Noir' on Tuesday. They were on different flights, but it just proves that no matter how strike-stricken Paris may be, you can always land here. Which is a good thing, because Doug says, "I came on a flight from hell," and he's not referring to Savannah this time.

Talking about banking in France for Farris' benefit, Doug says, "I found a bargain in Paris!" Dougphoto: doug fuss went straight from Roissy to Roland Garros, where he found scalpers demanding 150euro 3 sign for tickets.

But, he says, he found regular ticket only cost 9euro 3 sign, to see the 'Legends of Tennis' playing, and not on strike.

Less than vinyl-shirt weather and tennis attract Doug to Paris.

Doug has also been up to the Boulevard Haussmann to see what Galeries Lafayette is doing to its Marks & Spencer store which it took over when it closed in 2001. Doug can't survive in Paris without Marks & Spencer's prepared Indian dishes, even though he's an old hand here.

At this point, Katherine Norenius joins the club and today's meeting. She originally comes from Shicoutimi, Québec so it becomes the 'City of the Week,' even if she lives in Montréal now.

This is Katherine's first trip to Europe and Paris. She intends to stay for four weeks in order to see and photograph everything, including lots of the rest of France. Doug tells her about seeing 88 museums in Paris in the '90s, but says he didn't do it in four weeks.

Katherine has already noticed that Paris drivers aren't allowed to turn right at red lights unlike in Québec, but like in Montréal. She has also seen a rescue drama unfold on the Seine - in slow motion, possibly because the rescuers arrived on the scene a bit too late.

Meanwhile, Farris is concerned about getting an apartment that isn't up four flights of stairs. He thinks nobody would ever walk up that many flights to visit, plus the effort involved with getting a six-pack of water up there.

Doug's story in this line is looking for an apartment with two bathrooms, and having to settle for two bathrooms without any toilets, but with one separate toilet. This turned out to be more practical than many would think.

Katherine, who is visiting everything, wants to know our favorite places in Paris. One by one, we each suggest that the Luxembourg garden is it. We agree it isn't perfect, but it's the nearest thing to it.

Katherine also bought a three-day museum pass, but found that some museums that are on strikephoto: katherine norenius these days are partially open - for free. I ran into this situation at the Musée d'Orsay yesterday. I got in to see the 'Daguerréotype' exhibition gratis.

Reaction of Katherine to being sandwiched between photo paragraphs.

This was so good that I later forked out four euros to see the new Henri Cartier-Bresson Fondation exhibition, that opened recently at 2. Impasse Lebouis in the 14th arrondissement.

We have taken the 'Group Photo of the Week' early so that Doug can go and see some more of yesterday's stars playing tennis. The meeting still goes on past five without more new members turning up.

Katherine goes off to see more sights that I haven't yet seen in 25 years, and Farris and I walk over to the métro on Rivoli. The line one is on strike so we keep our unused tickets, but have to squeeze ourselves into wagons full of oily sardines when the train comes.

I ride one stop to Châtelet, and get another chance to squeeze myself into a line four wagon, also full of oily sardines. Surfacing at Denfert, the air is almost sweet, and is definitely cooler.

The 'Hat Story of the Week'

There isn't any kind of a 'Hat Story of the Week' this week, so this club meeting 'report' doesn't have it.

About the 'Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is pretty stressless, despite all the talk about high floors. If you care tophoto: club table stuff read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page it will tell you a bit about the club and how informal it pretends to be. Being free and having jazzmen as cool members are its other plus-points. If you require more information, I suggest that you read and memorize the 'About the Club' page at least once.

One of the frequent 'report' filler-photo photos.

But you can give this 'About' page a pass if its needless details are bothersome. Knowing more than the one fact that you can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by being at any one or more of its meetings in Paris, in person, is next-to-useless.

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

Club meetings begin - contrary to Paris usual 'exceptions' - about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's only Zone of Cool Jazz Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZCJT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in politically uncool areas of the planet, even though club meetings are nearly exclusively only held in the Paris part of it.

Bringing a 'Quote of the Week' or concocting any other 'Things of the Week' are not 'rules' to be obeyed. True 'firsts' are more than welcome too, with 'first' scoring far higher than 'true' if they are untrue. This is a general rule rather than a club ex-'rule' or informal 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'opted-out-opted,' please tell the club's secretary before hegraphic: club location map makes you mildly famous. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule' a long time ago. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, hardly any worth mentioning.

Talking at meetings is okay. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, which they really do sometimes - even when eating or drinking - and by all readers of this online magazine, if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraph is unchanged since last week on account of some of the mindless filler words being hacked out of this 'report' rather than being left in week after freaking week as they usually are.

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.
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Waldo Bini