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Let There Be Light

photo: bistro 48

Some lumière on Daguerre.

Unknown Time Slot

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 14. June 2004:– My weather forecasting will not be of its usual high caliber this week on account of football madness. There is some sort of tournament going on in Portugal called 'Euro Foot' and it has bumped the weather into an unknown time slot.

No chance of TV ever announcing something like, 'tonight's weather forecast will be shown 60 minutes in advance, right in the middle of 32 commercials for hamburgers, cut–rate credit, life insurance, peas in cans, cheapo holiday cars, extreme lipsticks,' and a ton of other junk and nonsense. No! It's better to have weather where nobody will find it, will never think to look for it.

To really tangle the affair, there are ads for the football long before there's any football, then there are plain ads because of the football, and I have to change channels in the hope of finding the faintest rumors for weather.

So what I find on another channel, comesphoto: rain with more 'ifs,' 'ands' and 'but's than usual. 'They' claim it will be sunny tomorrow, and it will be warm with a high of 27 degrees. This is about what this morning's Le Parisien says, but in shades of grey – the paper having used all of its color – for football!

Wednesday's Le Parisien weather map is also short on color and short on other information. The clouds that hover over Paris were not on TV's forecast. I drew a sunball in the correct place instead. Then I wrote in a temperature of 26 instead of 23.

Both the colorless paper and the alternative TV seem to have the same outlook for Thursday and it's not good. The newspaper's gray is probably appropriate for a day expected to between cloudy and very cloudy. There might be rain all over northern France too, and the temperature is supposed to be a chilly 20 degrees.

Café Life

Something Fishy

How can people take so much excitement? Last week we had, along with other events, the 60th anniversary of D–Day. This was a big show in Normandy, but Paris had its own share of it. With this important date out of the way, the 'Liberation' of Paris is taking its place – with about two months of run–up to go.

Perfect then, before the big rotation starts, to drop in a weekend of deep–sea fishing boats. This is to remind everybody that somebody goes out on the high seas and brings back the goods. Or maybe it is to remind a handful of fishing boat crews that they are doing it, risking their necks, for a reason – so Parisians can have fresh fish whenever they feel like it without the inconvenience of getting cold and wet.

Sure, one or the other. It's called 'Paris, Port de Pêche,' and there are a half–dozen deepphoto: fishing boat, quai bernard sea fishing boats from various coasts along with some stands for selling fish – by auction – or by the piece, from food stands. There isn't any fish–and–chips because this is unknown in France.

There are folkloric entertainers from far off Finistère as well as sardines, oysters and crab soup. Parisians will go to any and every event where there's the slightest possibility of food. It also seemed like the fishing boats take Parisians out for cruises on the Seine, when they make their simulated trip downstream to bring more fish back to the stone quay of Saint–Bernard.

The size of the crowd by the Seine on overcast Saturday was more than I expected, but less than I would expect for Sunday. This was the third year for this particular event, but still rare enough to be 'something fishy but different.'

Out in Port–Marly folks were lining up on Saturday for an evening of entertainment at Alexendre Dumas' Château de Monte–Cristo or planning to look over some red fruit at Louis' royal truck garden in Versailles. This is if they decided against seeing the roses at the royal abbey at Chaalis or the street entertainers in the Jardin de Reuilly.

Maybe they took to the small wheels on the 'Rando Paris–Val–d'Oise that began at Argenteuil, or went shopping for pre–sales 'soldes' out at Vallée Outlet Shopping. The Emmaüs people had their annual sale of used everything at Paris Expo, and there was a 'Nuit de Guinée Conkary' with African Divas at the Guinguette–Pirate. Whatever it was, it was mostly outside this past weekend.

Let There Be Light

Somewhere I saw a little wildcat poster saying that movies would be shown in the Rue Daguerre opposite the Café Daguerre on Saturday night. There are a lot of neighborhood activities at this time of year – block picnics, bicycle exchanges, artists' open doors, and there's the Fête de la Musique coming next week on Monday, 21. June.

On Saturday the weather was good enough to be outside after ten at night. In the Rue Daguerre the sunset was practicing for its great show on 21. June when, if all goes well, it will slot itself into line with the street, and blaze down it as it sets.

The entire terrace of the Café Daguerre was full of movie fans waiting for entertainment for the price of a terrace drink. Some who were forgoing the drink part were just standing around. Two kids, one on rollers and the other with a skateboard, were ramping onto the metal terrace of the boucherie next door, making a decent racket.

A screen was set up opposite the terrace, with the red Monoprix neon glowing through it. Matt the postcard artist called me over to the crowd on the terrace but had no free seat where he was. The café's awning was too low to see the top of the screen anyway.

Just after ten when it was near dark but before the streetlights came on, the show started. For the two minutes I watched, itphoto: parvis, tour eiffel looked like an out–take from an unsuccessful home movie. The audio part seemed to be recorded from a sick turntable, with needle screeches. For the price of a drink, worth it I guess. Before I left a fair crowd willing to be puzzled had gathered.

The sky was still dark blue rather than black and all the other cafés had full terraces too, open to the air. It reminded me of evenings in Spain, and floods of white or rosé.

The fastfood and suschi places were open but quiet. The same for the Zango and the viper–green 'happy hours' bar with the portholes. By the Penguins there was a small white van with some young guys on the roof, running three projectors throwing images on the opposite buildings.

A couple of young ladies were putting something together by the windows on the Rue Fermat side of the Bistro 48. I went over to look and saw Pierre Labrot come out of the bar and run his video camera over them.

He explained that the activity in the street was called 'Faites de la Lumière,' or 'Make Some Light.' He said it wasn't advertised too well. We went inside the Bistro 48 where his film, 'L'Homme Qui Vivait dans les Bois ou Promenade au Mont Gargan' was showing itself to the bar's 'petite salle.'

We were talking about not much when some Joe out in the street started hollering. I went out and looked but couldn't see any reason for a riot, and went back in to my orange juice.


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