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Johnny's Amnésia

photo: cafe le balto, rue montmartre

'Nuit rouge' at the café Balto in the Rue Montmartre.

Tomoko Stays Single

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 6. October 2003:- It's the big chill. What was left of my overnight water was as cold this morning as when I took it out of the fridge when I called it off earlier today. I couldn't face it. I let the clock-radio babble by itself for a hour because I figured I wouldn't be as warm again until the same time, same place, under the covers on Tuesday.

In fact, it isn't even all that cold. The low tonight might be six degrees - about 43 F - but there's no heat, and while the high may go all the way up to 14 degrees on Tuesday, it won't get this warm inside the apartment unless I open all the windows and set up a fan to blow outside air in.

To go out in the world today, I dressed for a cold January day in New York. I was not over-dressed. In the caféphoto: matt rose, mail art everybody except the snake-blooded was dressed the same way. Somebody mentioned that the café wasn't too warm, and the patron said that 'the city hadn't turned on the heat yet.' A lot of Paris in centrally heated when the heat is on, or when there's a rare heatwave.

Matt Rose, flanked by 'Mail-Art.'

Tomorrow's forecast is not brilliant. Winds from the horrible northwest will be puffing waves of clouds, rain, lightning, thunder, and maybe partly sunny periods, towards Paris, accompanied with a high predicted to be 14 degrees. The weather map looks like a diagram of a war zone.

Wednesday should be a vast improvement by merely being all cloudy all day. The temperature has been forecast to take a great leap upward to 17. Thursday might even be partly sunny when it isn't partly cloudy, and the temperature will stay up there, about 'average for the time of year' - in the Falkland Islands.

For Friday, Le Parisien timidly says, 'less rain.' Its high number says 'cooler' though. I'm going to see if I can't hang around inside some boulangerie all week.

Café Life

Johnny's Amnésia

Last Wednesday night was the occasion for 'le Tout-Paris du Show-business' to see Johnny Hallyday's new nightclub in Montparnasse for the first time, and I am unable to tell if they were impressed, because my invitation did not arrive on time.

We are, in fact, lucky to have any report about it at all because there was a 'social movement' that prevented anyphoto: merry go round, halles newspapers from being on the stands on Thursday. According the report that appeared in Friday's editions, Amnésia is supposed to be a 'select' club - no relation to the Boulevard Montparnasse café Le Select in other words - where 'stars' can see and be seen, with a background of 'house' music.

Non-conformist merry-go-round joins the 'Nuit Blanche.'

The opening on Wednesday was in 'American style.' This means with a literal red carpet lined with photographers and videopeople outside, and a 'vast' VIP square inside the club. The usual Paris crowd of a thousand were invited and turned up for the photographers and videopeople.

They mingled with each other, inside the decor of white walls, palms, and armchairs spread around a terrace surrounding a dance floor. All this is supposedly done in an 'Ibiza' style, whatever this might be. Johnny's father-in-law owns several other discos with the same name, so this is not an experimental venture for Johnny, who officially owns five percent of it.

When the Champagne finally ran dry around 23:00, many left because they work in showbiz and have to get up early, and drinks were rumored to cost 15€ a pop. This is a far cry from the 1927 opening of the nearby La Coupole that started out with six thousand bottles of bubbles for its opening, and sent out for more when they ran out.

Being a 'showbiz' joint, thousands of the uninvited - but willing to pay - guests cooled their heelsphoto: rex cinema outside in the Rue d'Arrivée, in front of the 1930's style café L'Enclos du Temps, which was featured opening this column two weeks ago.

The bulk of Le Parisien's Friday report concerned the financial montage behind the new nightclub. Apparently two offshore companies control 93.9 percent of the shares, but this couldn't interest anybody except the friendly tax folks with the sharp calculators at Bercy.

This is how the Rex looks every night.

The good news is that there are new faces in Montparnasse. I mean, in addition to the ten thousand sporty roller folks who gather at 22:00 each Friday night right across the street from the Amnésia. Even La Coupole welcomed the new arrival, and I suppose Le Select would too - since it is always open and ready to feed latenighters 24 hours a day, if they ever tire of 'house' music.

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'

Hit this link to have a look at last week's "One Month Has Gone By... So Fast" club 'report.' There was a modest turnout of a few members, mostly because the club never changes its time or location, and Patrick was the 'Waiter of the Week' again.

Last Thursday was also the occasion for the Galeries Lafayette to have its first 'single' shoppers night, and club members were there after the meeting. Tomoko Yokomitsu was interviewed by radio France-Info - which I heard on Friday morning - and by France-3 TV-news, whichphoto: tomoko I saw just before 20:00, also on Friday. Asked if she thought she might meet a new boyfriend there, Tomoko said, "Pas vraiment, pas vraiment."

While the Galeries Lafayette's 'singles' shopping night might not be the best place to meet new friends, let's not forget that the club does far better in this sort of thing. Meeting media news crews is not likely at club meetings, but meeting new friends is.

Tomoko stays single so she can keep coming to the club.

An few 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 card is valid worldwide.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 9. October. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint-Denis. Everybody knows the story of this saint, but the saint's book mentions the town and its cathedral, which was merely a basilica until 1966. This means a Roman design having two rows of columns dividing the interior into a nave and two side aisles, but also means kingly or royal - as in, the place where French kings are buried. It is a really old place going back to the seventh century, but the Saint-Denis himself is not mentioned.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.41 - 8. Oct 2001 - The Café Metropole column was titled 'Euroflation Hits Europe.' The feature of the week's's title was 'On Tour With the 'Shopping Lady.' The secretary patted the Café Metropole Club on the back with 'Your Club Turns Two - Yet Another New 'First!' The club's update on 11. October had the '2nd Birthday Begins 3rd Year' report. The Scène column'sphoto: sign, place du louvre title was 'Paris - Barcelona' Starts.' There were six new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon qwas captioned, "Café 7 francs? Euroflation!"

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 5.41 - 9. Oct 2000 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's lame 'Autumn Is Here.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined, 'Rotten Summer Blues.' The update for the Café Metropole Club's meeting on 12. October was titled the "Sunburned in Seattle" report. 'Club News' reported that 'Your Club Is Now Two.' The 'Scene' column was headlined, 'A Couple More 'Big' Shows.' There were four really new 'Posters of the Week,' because there always are. Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned, 'You Took Him To the Auto Salon!'

The Fête des Countdowns Corner

Part of this section is thanks to Jim Auman, who has not promoted any new countdowns this week. Instead, he has written a 'correction' to 'Ed,' concerning telegraphs.

Hector Berlioz, formerly known as the face and baton on France's last 50-franc note, is having the 200th anniversary of his birth on Thursday, 11. December. After not having found fame in France for his music, he died 69 years later, 131 years ago.

Jim wrote, '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 67 days from now.

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

Reader John McCulloch wrote too. "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 Frenchphoto: sign, rue des pretes dt germain l'auxerrois performers 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. InfoTel.: 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 86 - now fewer than three months. In less than 90 days we'll be standing elbow to elbow in front of cheery department store windows gaily illuminated for Christmas, handily having survived Paris' 'Nuit Blanche' over the weekend.
signature, regards, ric

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