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Hastaire's Monograph

photo: cafe un zebre a montmartre

A new, old café in the Rue Lepic.

Edith Piaf's Days

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 29. September 2003:- The coming weather is probably not going to be very interesting after tomorrow. Even tomorrow's weather isn't going to be much to write about, so I won't write much.

Officially it is supposed to be mostly sunny in the morning and gradually becoming only partly sunny in the afternoon, but with a predicted high of 22. This will ooze downwards towards Wednesday, with maybe some rain in the morning or after noon, or all day and night - who cares? - with a high of only 20 degrees.

Le Parisien puts it at 22, but they have it rising from 21 tomorrow to 22 on Thursday, whilephoto: rue tholoze tonight's TV-weather news has it the other way around. For Thursday the paper shows no weather at all for Paris. TV was just as bad, showing everything 'partly' - partly this, partly that, party nothing, but nothing partly good.

A good view from Montmartre last week.

Well. This leads me to believe I can finally say with conviction that the weather is 100 percent 'normal' for this time of year. We have had our share of abnormal weather and now we are going to get a taste of reality, that will probably last for months if not years.

Should I assume you know what it means? In case not, it means you should pack a sweater, bring a hat or umbrella or both, and if you have sensitive fingers, bring gloves too. You never know when there might be a cold snap.

Café Life

Hastaire's Monograph

Last December I chanced to be with Dimitri and his friend Martin Vaughn James, on a drizzly Sunday visit to see some big-time artists in a ritzy atelier near the Gare du Nord. Besides Martin himself, and Alain Kleinmann, the third was Hastaire, who I think Dimitri has known for some time.

Not too long ago I was invited to a vernissage for monograph about Hastaire. Dimitri and I were unable to figure outphoto: monograph hastaire the difference between a 'monograph' and an 'autobiography,' so last Tuesday I took myself to the Didier Parakian shop in the Place des Victoires. The first surprise was meeting Dimitri on the street at the exit of the Etienne-Marcel Métro station.

The second surprise was learning that he was lost. He had been at Palais-Royal and could have simply walked north, but occasionally places we know well aren't where we think they are.

The third surprise was finding out that the Didier Parakian shop was not a gallery, but a fancy threads boutique. The first coincidence was finding Martin Vaughn James there. We immediately left the shop and circled the block to find a regular sort of café, where Martin told us about his troubles with parking tickets.

Back at the vernissage, the ice still hadn't arrived for the absinthe fountain. Hastaire remembered me from last December and I told him the photo for this was 'now or never,' so we got it over with out on the sidewalk, amid passing scooters and schoolkids.

Inside I leafed through a copy of the 'monograph.' It is not an 'autobiography' because it has been written by everybody else, including a preface and interviews by the psychoanalyst, Edith Charlton. 'Hastaire' more or less includes his whole life, with many reproductions and photos, putting into one package what 30-odd other books have not.

It was a quick flip-through of 250 pages, representing 30 or 40 years of work and life. My 'monograph' wouldphoto: hastaire not be more than 43 pages, and many of them would be blank. What stood out was the sheer volume of everything - different ateliers, different styles, different places, many people. Hastaire wondered if it wasn't too soon to have this all bundled together.

Hastaire waves the waiting kids past, while the camera goes off a bit too soon.

When I saw a bleary-eyed Dimitri the following day, he said the vernissage got pretty 'interesting' after I left. Hastaire's people turned up 'live' to complement the book. If there are copies left - only 1100 have been printed - the softcover version costs 50€ and may be ordered from Editions Dukan, 31. Rue Sylvabelle, 13006 Marseille, or from FVW Editions, 91-bis, Rue Truffaut, 75017 Paris.

Metropole's 'Partners'

Metropole's .COM area is handily gathered on the relatively new 'Partner' page. Check out this page every week, if for no other reason than the 'Photo of the Week,' which it will only be on view for one week.

Metropole's long-time affiliates are on this page too. The Café Metropole sparkling wine is also on it, with a link to its own permanent About Wine page. Both pages can be accessed from the blurbs on the left, and sometimes right-hand columns, on many pages.

Metropole's 'mailto:' Change

The formerly new email address for 'Ric,' 'Ed,' and the Café Metropole Club's secretary remains ericksonr@wanadoo.fr. But if you still have the old 'Worldnet.fr' address in your email address book, it is time to replace it with the new one.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Use this link to have a look at last week's "Magic Still Happens Here" clubphoto: moulin rouge 'report.' There was a modest turnout of 11 members, partly because the club never changes its time or location.

Not the club's café, but in the same town.

An absolute minimum of details concerning the club can be found cozily grouped on the 'About the Club' page, because there are no more than a few. The virtual club membership card on this page is still available for free, so long as you print your own.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 2. October. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint-Léger. He was the Bishop of Autun in the Saône-et-Loire department in the seventh century, and was no relation to the cubist painter Fernand Léger, who was born in 1881 in Argentan.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.40/41 - 30. Sept - 7. Oct 2002 - In this double issue there were two Café Metropole columns, titled 'The Big Cheese Thing' and 'The Move and the 'White Night.' The 'Au Bistro' column had 'Dwarf-Tossing Nixed by UN.' The feature of the week's's title was 'The Silly Car Show - World's Biggest, Etc Etc.' The Café Metropole Club update on 3. October had the "Numbers of Ducks?" report. The 2nd meeting for10. October resulted in the '"Paris Is Almost Normal" report. There were four only-averagephoto: sign, rue de l'armee d'orient new 'Posters of the Week,' but two times as many, and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, "It don't look like much, but it's home."

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.40 - 1. Oct 2001 - This thin issue started with the Café Metropole column's 'Poor Excuse for 'Café Life.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined, 'Euro News of the Week.' It was another lousy week for headlines. The update for the Café Metropole Club's meeting on 4. Octobber was titled a 'Really New 'First!' report. The 'Scene' column was headlined, 'Fall Events Nearly Complete.' There were four new autumnal 'Posters of the Week' because it was autumn. Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned, 'Rare, Antique Camera.'

The Fête des Countdowns Corner

Part of this section is thanks to Jim Auman, who has declined to promote any new countdowns this week.

His most recent new entry was Hector Berlioz, formerly known as the face and baton on France's last 50-franc note. Jim wrote, 'Thursday, 11. December is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the composer Hector Berlioz. After not having found fame in France for his music, he died 69 years later.

'Hector remains an outstanding figure in French romantic music. He was typical of the period, particularly in his literary interests. Beginning as a medical student, he eventually entered the Paris Conservatoire. During musical slumps he earned his living as a critic and writer, which won him few friends.' The anniversary is 74 days from now.

Also, Jim's other 'countdown' for Saturday, 11. October continues, marking the 40th anniversary of the death of Edith Piaf. The date to remember is 13 days from today.

Reader John McCulloch writes, "Edith Piaf's last concert was a few weeks before I arrived in Paris, and she died a few weeks after I'd left. She was one of the few French performersphoto: sign, vincent and theo van gogh lived here that I'd heard of in the US before coming. I later met Charles Aznavour when he appeared at the Hollywood Palace."

John provided two URLs for readers wanting to know more. They are Piaf and Little Sparrow. He added that there is a small Musée Edith Piaf, at 5. Rue Crespin-du-Gast, Paris 11. Métro: Ménilmontant. It is open Monday through Thursday afternoons, from 13:00 to 18:00, but only by appointment at least 24 hours in advance. InfoTél.: 01 43 55 52 72.

Edith Piaf was born outside 72. Rue de Belleville in 1915. She was christened Edith Giovanna Gassion. If you care to visit her grave in the Père-Lachaise cemetery, it is located at Transversal 3, in the 97th Division, somewhat opposite Modigliani, but hard to find. Look for 'Famille Gassion-Piaf' - and the flowers.

The number of days left this year is 93 - now less than 100. In only three months we'll be standing elbow to elbow in front of cheery department store windows gaily illuminated for Christmas, if we survive the upcoming 'Nuit Blanche' next weekend.
signature, regards, ric

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