The Event that Wasn't

photo: bar ptt cafe aux ptt

All of the Rue Cler's charm is in this café.

Bloomsday In the 14th

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 16. June 2003:- Looking back, it now seems clear that we have been having summer here for some weeks without having noticed spring slipping off to wherever seasons go when they aren't 'in' season.

About every third day seems set to get cool and wet, but none of them quite make it to either. 'Cooler' means a drop to a comfortable level of 25 degrees and 'wet' means 20 minutes of heavy rain, sometimes not in the middle of the night.

Luckily, summer is only a few days off. Once it is officially here, I suppose we can get the winter coats back out, get our umbrellas patched, and find out scarves.

But while I write this, there are the various scents of green growing things drifting in the open windows, as well as a lot of little jittery flying things. I think they are bugs.

Today was exceptionally nice. At least it looked pretty good from inside all day. Le Parisien says tomorrow is going to be 'the shower.' Their little weather map for France looks threatening, although not too much for Paris.

Tonight's TV-weather news said tomorrow will be partly cloudy in the morning and partly sunny in the afternoon, with a high of 23, two degrees less than Le Parisien. I think the TV-weather has been consistently under-forecasting the temperatures. Both TV and thephoto: smart roadster of the week newspaper agree that Wednesday will be a dilly of a fine day. They even agree on a temperature of 23 for the high, but I think it will be between 26 and 28.

With its poster on display, this must be the 'Smart Roadster of the Week.'

The TV-weather lady was somewhat pessimistic about Thursday's weather, with a dark cloud shown sitting on top of a brave sunball. Le Parisien merely says, "C'est tout bon!" Temperatures are forecasted to be what I predict for Wednesday.

Le Parisien expects more good things for Friday. The TV-weather news wouldn't go this far. In fact they have been giving out a lot of one-day forecasts lately, but maybe it's so the strikes and demonstrations are harder to plan.

If they watched their own news-news they would know that these go ahead rain or shine.

Café Life

The Event of the Week

It appears as if the strikes and demonstrations are having some effect on events. For example, posters popped up in their usual places last week advertising the 'Fête des Marchés' last week.

While shopping last Tuesday, I wondered why my main supplier of good ham had his stall festooned with balloons, with 'Fête des Marchés' printed on them. It wasn't until a day later that I saw the first posters.

Elsewhere in this issue I mention that a considerable number of young farmers managed to stage a three-day 'World' congress of young farmers in Paris, and finish it off with a big parade and a two-day - or longer ? - fête on the Champ de Mars.

Their press lady told me it had been widely promoted in newspapers, on radio and TV - yet I found outphoto: fete de la marche, grenelle about it by accidently picking up an advertising postcard while leaving a café last Wednesday. Maybe she meant that you can find out everything in cafés.

But with the postcard in hand I paid more attention to Le Parisien, radio France-Info, and France-2 TV news. None, as far as I could tell, mentioned anything about the 'World' food congress or the young farmers.

Shopping lady celebrates the 'Fête de la Marché' with a long reach.

So what? you may wonder. While a quarter-million angry teachers, doctors, pensioners and métro drivers marching through the city can rate at least 28 seconds of video time on the national news, nobody noticed a gang of jolly farmers and 36 of their colorful truck-long low-rider floats moving through the city's centre on Saturday.

But at the same time, TV-news does tell us that Johnny Hallyday's 60th birthday was on Sunday at the Parc des Princes, and had been telling us this non-stop for several months.

To drive the nail home, today's Le Parisien also needed to run a photo of Johnny on its front page, saying that he and 55,000 close friends filled up the Parc des Princes last night. At the rate this is going, he is going to start the promo for his 70th birthday when he's 65.

Aside from a brief comment about the statement made by Président Chirac at the end of the World Congress of Young Farmers in Saturday's Le Parisien, their parade and two-day presence on the Champ de Mars wasn't worth a 'Fait Divers.'

While the 'Fête des Marchés' - supplied by the young farmers' foodstuffs - got several half-pages.

Bloomsday Today

As long as I am being cranky, I may as well also mention that Bloomsday in Paris has been given equal media treatment. James Joyce not only wrote most of Ulysses here, but the book was also published for the first time in France.

This was, of course, not news to Dennis Moyer. He has been observing 'Bloomsday' since before Joyce wrote the book. This has nothing to do with him looking like William Shakespeare, because he doesn't. He looks like Julius Caesar.

Once upon a time, he told me, Ulysses was broadcast on radio to America on each Bloomsday. But somephoto: bloomsday folks people with blue stockings who never read anything longer than Reader's Digest condensed 'Faits Divers,' said the book was too wild and crazy for children to listen to - even after their bedtimes - so no adults should be allowed to listen to it once a year either.

Ringleaders of 'Bloomsday In the 14th' while still on the sausages.

I think Dennis makes some of these things up. Everybody knows that US television is full of evil monsters that eat little kids while everybody else is shooting everybody else in sight, if they're not into serial hanky-panky, or confessing all their sins in public because no priest could stomach listening to them.

So, anyhow, today is Bloomsday and I was invited to share it with some depraved friends of Dennis, who are mostly poets or philosophers, musicians or American culture teachers at the Sorbonne - and Dimitri of course, who cooked the sausages in some cunning Russian way he knows.

I took a break from writing this and went over there. Instead of finding them uttering Joyce's very words, they were all drooling in anticipation of the sausages.

My idea was to crouch near a window and get them to cram themselves into its frame, so I could photograph all of their heads together in the fading light - and then caption it, 'None of these people are afraid to speak Joyce out loud in the privacy of Dennis' living room.'

Before I could cajole them into doing this, the sausages waltzed in, and out waltzed my dream of giving this modest but basically dull magazine a literary shot of cocaine.

But I got Dennis' attention and he gave me the script. We did this in a hurry because he was on his way to place another open bottle on the table, so all I have is what Elizabeth was supposed to say. It goes like this, from page 423 - are the kids in bed asleep?

'I gave it to Molly
Because she was jolly
The leg of the duck
The leg of the duck.'

I see my part now. It is on page 428. I am the 'motorman.' I almost run Bloom over with my trolley. Dimitri was supposed to be the narrator. I can't make head nor tail out of this. Just as well - I am having the shortest Bloomsday since Shakespeare wrote 'Gone With the Wind.' Next year, my chance, Bloomsday is on a Wednesday.

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

The Web site is ready at last. Allan Pangborn, the maker of the Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine has written to say that it can now be ordered online through the Moonlight Web site. It is really real.

Now that online ordering is possible, you will also be able to read the latest news about the wine on the Moonlight site. On this end I've added an 'About Metropole's Wine' page that will tell a short version of the story, plus have a link like the URL above so that you can place orders easily - which I hope you will do. Every bottle sold will clear out space Allan needs for the next batch.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Click this link slightly lightly to get last week's 'Secretary in Coma, Loses Marbles'photo: closing time, cafe le bouquet club meeting report, the one with six new members plus at least four or five already-members..

At the Bouquet when they want us to go home, they take away the chairs.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 19. June. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint-Romauld. This is another one on the calendar but with nothing in my saints-book. But, ah-ha! He is listed under his non-saint's name, which is Romauld. He founded the Camuldules, probably in the 10th century.

Only a couple of the minor details concerning the club can be found handily grouped on the all-purpose 'About the Club' page, because there aren't more than a couple. The virtual membership card on this page is free though.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.25 - 17. June 2002 - This issue's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'Grilling Like Sardines.' Oh ho! The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'No Show' - 'In Paris, Pinks Beat Blues.' The feature of the week was titled 'Anything for a Photo - The Non-Feature of the Week.' There was one email page, with 'The Hotel VW,' from Jim Auman. The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 20. June had a kind of 'Forgotten Tab' report. Thephoto: sign, control panel, auto toilet Scene column's title was 'Huge Hugo Marathon.' There were the four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, 'Chute de Météorites.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.25 - 18. June 2001 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's 'Proust, Joyce & Co.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined , 'Nearly No News, Hardly.' The single feature was titled Marcel Proust's 'Pleasures and Days' - a Review' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 21. June came out as the 'Feet of the Week' report. The Scene column's title was 'Music, Parades and Fireworks.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned "'Temps Perdu' - Enough!"

'Jeudi Noir' Part 7.0

A great many people in France have given up marching in demonstrations, or holding massive strikes. The kids got to write their precious BAC examsphoto: sign, auto toilet on the exact day they were supposed to do them. All the media worry on their behalf was for nothing.

However we are not out of the woods yet and the trees may become visible at any moment. To be precise, there are rumors of a transport strike on Thursday instead of the traditional Tuesday. This will call for repainting all 'Mardi Noir' signs with 'Jeudi Noir.'

Nobody seems to be particularly excited about this. For myself, a nice day is forecast so I may walk to Thursday's Café Metropole Club meeting anyway.

For Diehard Hardcore Countdown Fans

For openers, no 'count-down' is planned in this corner for Johnny Hallyday's upcoming 70th birthday, as much as I would like to become famous for conducting the longest count-down in the history of the world - by beating Metropole's record-breaking 'count-down' to the year 2000.

With a bare minimum of minor fanfare, the number of days left this year is 205. This may not make it seem like an overly long time until 2008, but who can tell?. Otherwise it is nearly no time at all until summer, which is 'officially' only five short days from today.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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