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Good Morning Paris

photo: cafe petite rotonde

Unknown Heros

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 31. May 2004:– There isn't a great deal to say about the weather these days. It has quit being summer without really slipping all the way back to being winter. The forecasts have been calling for some pretty dark skies, but the sun must be muscular because it keeps poking through the clouds so they can't get the full cover necessary to drive the temperatures into the cellar.

It started to rain a while ago and a gust of cool, damp air blew through the apartment. Something or other caused the absence of a weather forecast last night so I don't know if the rain was predicted, or if it is a retarded bit of weather left over from this morning's forecast in Le Parisien.

For tomorrow we are supposed to expect some serious rain – it's the 1st of June after all – Le Parisien says it will be sinister. However even the paper has a bulge of finer weather poking into France from the Atlantic. This may allow the skies to get almost sunny on Wednesday, with temperatures climbing to 20 degrees.

By Thursday it should even be finer, with very blue skies all over France, up to a diagonal line from the Alps to the Channel. Beyond the line it will be somewhat crummy, but it should be no concern of ours. Thursday may also have a high of 22 degrees. This is the level we had for most of last week's so–so weather.

The TV–weather news wouldn't go out on a limb for Friday. The paper thinks the weather will be better, except along the Alps where it says there will be some 'muttons' carrying on in their dirty and humid manner.

Café Life

Good Morning Paris

A young fellow named David created 'World Radio Paris' last October and about six weeks ago I was invited to an informal meeting to pitch in my two–bits worth. The first problem was thatphoto: wrp logo the meeting took place too close to the noisy bar in the café Raspail Vert so I barely heard anything, and since I know nothing about radio, I had little to contribute.

The other problem was the presence of the decidedly commercial 'Paris Live Radio' which was then not, but is now broadcasting somewhere in the Paris region, perhaps out at La Défense.

The big problem for both of the English–language radio stations is that they do not have broadcast frequencies. Paris Live Radio – 'PLR' – solves this by being carried over satellite and cable. All that is required to listen to it, in certain areas, is having a subscription to cable or a satellite receiver.

David's World Radio Paris – 'WRP' – knows all about the satellite and cable possibilities. The operators of these other systems do not necessarily see any need for English–language radio in Paris, so they aren't too interested in a radio station like 'WRP' that has started off as a non–profit association.

On the other hand both the United States' National Public Radio – 'NPR' – and Britain's BBC World Service are interested in having a Paris outlet for their programming. France is about the only place in the world where they don't have some sort of relay.

David has talked to them both and they are both approved for broadcasting in France. A next step is to get 'WRP' approved by the French authorities. Initially, approval would only allow broadcasting over cable. But with NPR and the BBC as programming partners, all David has to come up with is eight hours of local content a day.

This is still some way off. David doesn't think he can get a FM frequency before late in 2006. But there is a new technical player on the block and it is called Digital Audio Broadcast, or 'DAB.'

In Geneva on Friday the International Telecommunications Union wrapped up a three week conference which laid out the basic principles for DAB broadcasts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It was the first IUT conference in 15 years to deal with a new terrestrial broadcasting standard.

In essence, by going digital, broadcasting will be able to pack more information into frequencies – allowing mobile reception of video, Internet and multimedia data. The technical hurdle that will permit the creation of new digital services without interfering with existing analog ones, has been overcome, on paper.

What it means for broadcast radio is CD–quality sound, which is the main thing. In fact, DAB is alreadyphoto: rue roger, paving here – in Britain and in Germany. David has an info sheet with photos of several DAB radios, including car radios. A small, transistor–like model costs about 100€. In Britain, the BBC now broadcasts via DAB in several areas.

New paving will provide a terrace for the café.

David thinks that WRP can be broadcasting to Paris via DAB early next year. He is planning local programming that will include music and cultural information on concerts and movies in Paris, gradually extending to traffic, public transport updates, weather, and up–to–the minute news bulletins.

The big question in Paris will be, will there be any listeners? As long as nobody knows for sure, being set–up as a non–profit association limits pressure for immediate commercial success. While waiting, I will keep listening to the nearly wordless FIP.

Unknown Heros

There are between 800 and a thousand memorial plaques placed on walls of buildings around the city and the 60th anniversary of the World War Two liberation of Paris is here as a reminder of them. For the first time an attempt is being made to find all the plaques.

With this comes an effort to find out who the plaques commemorate. To this end there is a Commemorative Plaque Web site where it is hoped that photos and histories of those concerned can be placed. Eventually the operators of the Web site hope to expand it so that all of France is represented on it.

Headline of the Week

"Mais pourquoi ça marche?" was the Le Parisien's big headline last Friday. It referred to aphoto: cafe louis philippe reality–TV show that it claims is very popular now. I don't have the time to watch one of these because the late spring of 1944 is the only other show on TV these days, and I prefer history to nonsense.

Tonight, for example, has a news show named 'Eté 1944' which seemed quite interesting for the few minutes I watched. It showed Parisians standing in line for bread while German tourists were taking in girlie shows at the Moulin Rouge. Parisians still stand in line for bread, and the Moulin Rouge is going strong.

Last Week's Café Metropole Club 'Report'

If you are still between periods of doing useful stuff you may have enough spare time to take a look at the updated version of the 'Province of the Week?' report. The meeting's highlight was getting the latest news from New Brunswick even if it was six years old.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 3. June. Meetings in May are over forphoto: edf manif, thursday this year. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Kévin. This is terrible. Maybe it is supposed to be Saint–Calvin. Nope. Jean Calvin wasn't a saint. He was, indirectly, the cause of the Puritans, even though he was French.

EDF workers on the march last Thursday.

A few very minor and unimportant details about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual club membership card on this page is still free as air and continues to be worth as much, no matter where you are.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.23 – 2. June 2003 – the Café Metropole's headline was, 'On the Terraces.' 'Au Bistro' was replaced with Café Life's 'Giving One Out.' The issue's Email feature was titled, 'Calamity Ends at Sundance,' and was from Grace and Colin Lim. The repeat Scène column was still titled, 'Choo–Choo Champs–Elysées.' The Café Metropole Club update for 5. June was titled the first ever 'Eulipian Vision' report. Therephoto: sign, passage tenaille were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned, 'Not Delayed by Strikes.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.23/24 – 3/10. June 2002 – this double issue's 2nd Café Metropole column was about lodging, with 'Flat Hunting, Part 44.' The 2nd 'Au Bistro' column's headline was, 'All Together Now, Turn Right!' The 1st Café Metropole column's title was 'Home Sweet Home' and the 1st 'Au Bistro' column had 'No News In a Very Tiny Nutshell.' The Scène column's title was 'Roller Days Are Back.' The Café Metropole Club update on 6. June was headlined as the "Something Pulled Us Here" report and the report for the 13. June meeting was titled as the 'Nothing of the Week' report. There were six new 'Posters of the Week,' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was two, with the captions, "Great Flyer!" and 'Let's Wake Her Up.'

'Countdowns' – Suspension Continues

If you really miss them, you can find the 'countdowns' in a recent issue by clicking here. Do not, I remind you yet again, forget to subtract about 21 days from all count–down dates except the one lone one below.


The date of the Normandy landings in WWII was on Tuesday, 6. June 1944. The 60th anniversary of this fateful day for 2,846,439 allied liberators is six days from now, on next Sunday. By then, D–Day on TV will have lasted for months.

Another WWII event 60 years ago to note is the Liberation of Paris. Its official date is Friday, 25. August 1944, which will be celebrated 77 days from today. The 'Liberation' started on Tuesday, 15. August, with a strike – by the Métro and the police. Some sporadic strikes still continue, but seldom in August.

For the Forgetful

I keep thinking there is something I've forgotten to include in this issue but I can't remember anything. I go and look at a scrap of note paper in myphoto: sign, fed nat anciens combattants algerie, maroc, tunisie coat pocket but it has nothing that is not here. In fact, it is nearly blank. Another scrap of paper says that the first round of the Euro elections is on Sunday, 13. June. I'd better keep this scrap of paper glued to my forehead.

Oops; here's two other items. But since I can't write anymore, these must wait in line for the next chance because it's time–time.

This Year Is Hardly Worth Mentioning Again

As of today there are 214 days left this year. This is more or less the same number of 'days left' as at this time last year but 21 less than were in this spot the last time the 'countdowns' were here. It is neither warmer nor colder than average for any time of year.

Since the year is hardly worth mentioning again I will merely bid all readers 'good night' in order to get this amputated issue wrapped up and out of sight.
signature, regards, ric

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