horz line

Bananas! Bananas!

photo: philip, jason, mark, tomoko, barry, stephen, marion, laurel, gwen

Only some of today's members - looking like the 'Hole
in the Wall' gang.

''This BjN Is Very Nice''

Paris:- Thursday, 20. November 2003:- Today's sky is gray in the east, gray in the west, gray to the north, gray to the south and gray straight up. This must mean it is winter a whole month early. But it is not cold, not if you don't think 13 degrees is cold. There is a wind from no direction blowing at zero kilometres per hour.

Tonight's TV-weather news starts off positively with the weather-lady saying that France is laboring under a heavy weight of high-pressure. Then, when she shows the weatherphoto: beaujolais on cola tray animation, it shows the skies to come as gray in the east, gray in the west, gray to the north, gray to the south and gray straight up.

Today's theme - café and Beaujolais, and the bill of course.

The only variation is, there might be some rain too tomorrow. She doesn't explain how this can be possible with all the high pressure we're supposed to have. Whatever you are prepared to believe, be prepared for rain tomorrow. The temperature should be 12 degrees sometime during the day.

You can add this to Friday and Saturday too, with an uptick in temperature for Friday and one down-tick for Saturday. This morning's Le Parisien is not quite so positive, with lower predictions for Saturday and Sunday. Everybody agrees about the gray in the east, gray in the west, gray to the north, gray to the south and gray straight up though.

This Year's Only Beaujolais Nouveau Day Club Meeting 'Report'

On account of the condition of the sky nothing unusual happens on the way to catch the Métro at Raspail and nothing unusual happens during the speedy ride to Châtelet, and more nothing unusual happens on the walk to the club - except that I'm too early and burn off some time by circling some blocks before fetching up at the club's café, La Corona.

All of the café's worker-waiters are wearing the traditional straw boater, meant to signal that it is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Monsieur Ferrat must be some sort of 'boss' waiter because his head is bare. The café is not overfull of Beaujolais Nouveau consumers, in their cups, or out of them.

There are some civilians in the club's area of the 'grande salle,' which is also signalling that it is Beaujolais Nouveau Day with a variety of posters and strings of flags hanging from the extravagant lighting equipment. One reads, 'Merry Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2000.'

Despite arriving early, Gwen Zierdt from Waco, Texas, arrives right on time. There are a lot of members who live in Texas, but Gwen is the first from Waco, so it becomes the 'City of the Week' by 15:05, regardless of who shows up from wherever else later.

I verify that Gwen is the first member from Waco. All the search turns up is another member, named Jan Waco, but this person does not seem to be in a club 'report.' No matter. Forphoto: 3 glasses of beaujolais nouveau geography fans, Waco is 'just a town' somewhat smaller than San Antonio, and is not pretty near Austin.

Gwen tells me that she has been reading these club 'reports' since 1999. Not even I have been doing this. Gwen also lived in Paris for a time, some time ago, in a former life.

Trick photo of really little, illogically regimented, BjN glasses.

For this reason, she is well beyond craving chocolate or café-flavored 'religieuses,' and is on the lookout for the somewhat rare pistachio variety. Oh, how narrowly we miss having a 'Food of the Week!'

Before I can delve into this subject for the details it deserves, member Barry Wright arrives, with Marion and Stephen Nowak from Cologne on his heels. It is thus that the first round of Beaujolais Nouveau of the meeting is ordered. For the purposes of keeping this 'report' to less than 2358 words, Beaujolais Nouveau will henceforth be referred to as 'BjN.'

Note here what sort of classy club this is, with words like 'delve' and 'henceforth.' And there's more - for you can read all 212 'reports' and not find the word 'agenda' once. It is not the only thing the club lacks, but it's a darn good start.

To resume - Stephen says, "I have prepared a 'Ric List' of questions."

Without showing visible fear, I suggest he proceed. I always have to be ready to answer questions, but 'lists' of them is daunting. Stephen's first question is about 'Tati.' "Ric, say it's true that Tati isn't going to disappear!"

Before I can say that Tati is not only not disappeared, but has decorated itself for Christmas at its Barbés headquarters - Barry says Tati is bankrupt but still open for business. Then the club's secretary and four other members explain the 'Life of Tati' to Gwen, who overlooked this emporium during her earlier residence.

Interrupting himself, Stephen says, "No bananas?" to the drinkers of BjN, who have been augmented by the arrival of Laurel Avery. Question number two involves the delicate issue of being charged for tap water in restaurants.

Several of us, who survived August's 'canicule,' explain that one may only be charged a fee for tap water if this is the only thing ordered in a restaurant. Marion says it is only legal if tap water is written on the menu with a price, like any other drinkable food item.

Laurel says, "It's like any other BjN I've ever tasted." Barry says BjN is a 'kind of wimp wine.' Gwen wants to know if there are any cafés that don't serve it. Although I don't think of it at the time, I'm pretty sure you can't get any BjN at any of 'Les Restaurants du Cúur,' founded by Coluche, that are now open for the 19th year.

Philip Bentley arrives and orders a double espresso. It reminds Stephen of his third question. "Whatphoto: club cameras aimed at you happened to 'Le Petit Gavrouche?'" he asks, explaining that it was closed in August - normal - but is still closed. Maybe it is only open in the evenings. Stephen says he misses its menu for 9€.

Some club members do 'cheezit!' to readers like you.

There is a discussion about 9€ menus and whether they still exist, until Gwen decides to ask a fourth question. It is about the restaurant 'Thanksgiving' - also in the 4th arrondissement - and she wants to know if it will serve a Thanksgiving meal next Thursday.

As I understand it, 'Thanksgiving' is next to a Cajun place - which may have turkey Louisiana-style. In fact, on checking, I learn that 'Thanksgiving' itself has Cajun dishes, but is unlikely to have any 9€ menu of turkey and stuff.

And here, a final 'Thanksgiving' note - Gwen says it is fully booked for next Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So Stephen is out of luck.

Jason Hraynyk, the club's hockey expert, has arrived. He wants his BjN to sit for a few minutes before he decdes what it tastes like. Meanwhile, club members who smoke move to the café's smoking area, but fail to overpower the café's overall scent of BjN.

Continued on page 2...
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