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.


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