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Cool Fête

photo: cafe bonaparte

Café Bonaparte in Quartier Latin.

Summer Begin Bungled

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 21. June 2004:– It is not particularly significative that it is the first day of summer and we're having a good old day of March or April. Sometimes we do have summer on 21. June, but seldom as often as we deserve.

This is also the day that was picked by a great savant for the Fête de la Musique, probably in the hope that sweet strings would flatter the rude currents. For the 23rd edition, France's yéyé girls will be getting cold tailfeathers tonight. Let's see if there isn't somephoto: louvre, fountain summer weather to be salvaged here.

Caramba! I think this morning's radio said the high was to be 24 degrees today. This morning's Le Parisien says 18, which feels more like it was. Tonight's TV–news weather has forecast an incredible mess of clouds, rain, winds and higher temperatures for Tuesday. Hold onto your hats because it may be breezy. The TV–weather lady said it was to be 'uncertain.' This means the weather will be confused, not her.

As it was, on brighter days.

It may still be breezy on Wednesday too, and the high is expected to be lower, at 20 degrees. Finally on Thursday the sky may be a bit brighter, the winds less, and the temperature too. There might not be any rain, and there might be less of this on Friday. Altogether the outlook is less than rosy.

Café Life

Fête de la Musique

All newspapers worth a euro here carried a program for today's extensive musical events. During the day these aren't on every street corner, but in the evening outdoor bandstands are occupied all over town.

I haven't gotten a lot of material ready in advance for this issue, and I hesitated to even go down to Denfert – where I pick up loose demonstrations and Fêtes de la Musique without hardly lifting a finger.

So much better then to go only a third of the distance to find some rock'n'rollers outside the closestphoto: fete de la musique, cafe naguere café, which was in the spirit of the fête by being open. Drums, two guitars, two harmonicas, but no kazoo, were being appreciated by a small crowd, informally standing around in the street.

Tonight, at a Fête de la Musique event.

France–2 TV put up a huge stage at Trocadéro – and with a big cast of pop stars you never heard of, it expected to complete its evening of broadcasting. When I got back from going nowhere, FIP was broadcasting the Olympia's first fête ever.

Public transport is swinging along with this by offering unlimited travel from 17:00 today until 7:00 tomorrow morning for a single 2.50€ ticket. And the RATP and the SNCF go a step further by running Métros, buses and trains all night long.

All that really remains to make this fête a bigger success is holding it on a holiday or weekend, and having real summer weather for it. As it is, folks take what they can get.

For You – Les Ammbassadeurs

Last week the city announced its plans for your summer in Paris. This did not involve anything about the weather, so city spokesmen concentrated on the 'reception ambassadors,' who were successfully introduced two years ago.

These will again number 170, composed of young Parisians, some of whom are employees of the RATP. This makesphoto: starbuck's, av opera sense, because some of their info kiosks are within the public transport system, while others are located at sites handy for visitors. Together, the ambassadors speak 13 languages. Individually, they are bilingual or trilingual.

American coffee on the Avenue de l'Opéra.

This years' ambassadors took up their posts on Saturday and will continue to dispense their aid and services until Sunday, 1. September. Basically, instead of asking hapless residents, policemen or roller–flics questions, you are supposed to ask the ambassadors, who have been given enough training to know the right answers.

You can easily spot the ambassadors because they will be wearing plum–colored polo shirts and orange caps. They did not chose these colors. The info kiosks have the same color schemes. Also, you can request the free brochure entitled 'J'aime l'été à Paris, et en Ile–de–France' which has been published in French and English. It's a handy, info–packed booklet, so get yours soon because only 400,000 copies have been printed.

Bloomsday 2004

photo: kazoo playerLast Wednesday was Bloomsday throughout the world but it passed my consciousness without making a ripple because the Daguerréotypistas that would notice it, were off in Capri at a three–week wedding party. Maybe they held a mini–Bloomsday down there.

'Ed' swings with dual kazoos.

This was a shame because it was the 100th anniversary of Bloom's odyssey around Dublin, even though 'Ulysses' was published in February of 1922. 'Bloomsday' itself was invented in 1954, or 50 years ago. The first daylong pilgrimage around Dublin, 'structured and humorless,' began with a brawl and went downhill from there, being abandoned halfway through, at the Bailey pub.

The Pigeon Situation

To hold Paris' pigeons in check, the city has hired some falcons to keep them in abject fear. Falcons don't like building their own nests, and are perfectly happy moving into pre–fab concrete blockhouses on top of the Mitterrand BNP, where they'll have a good view. I don't know about the 14th though. The city built an apartment building on a pole for pigeons down in the southwest corner. The sneaky idea there is to lace their birdseed with dope so that no eggs are the result.

Soldes d'Eté

The official dates of the summer sales are not decided by merchants but by local police prefectures, and these do not fix the dates all together. About half the departments in France know their dates already, but Paris doesn't. It is possible that the starting date will be earlier again this year – on Wednesday, 23. June. The 'soldes' continue for at least a month, until Saturday, 24. July.

The Olympic Flame

Makes its way from Le Bourget through Paris, from 11:30 to 20:00, to finish at the Tour Eiffel. Free and one day only – on Friday, 25. June.

Headline of the Week

"Inquiétant..." was the Le Parisien's big headline in Friday morning's edition. The French team at the 'Euro' only managed a tie with Croatia. In French, a tie is called a 'match nul,' even though credit is often given for them. All the same I can't explain it because soccer or tennis scoring is beyond me. The photo shows the French team looking like basketball players, with very small heads.

There's no 'Inquiétant...' for us having the continent–wide football results faster than the names of the Eurovision Song Contest winners – actually before the football game was over. In fact we had to wait until the match was over to get the real score. So, right, 'Inquiétant...' If we could send football players to Strasbourg we might know the score, before next season.

Last Week's Café Metropole Club 'Report'

In one of your spare moments take a peek at the latest version of the 'Hard Rock 'Shirt of the Week' report. Two members were present for most of the meeting that was one without 'Much of the Week' other than t–shirts and Don's hat.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 24. June. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Jean–Baptiste. This is a major saint and probably one of the first, because this Jean became beheaded in anno 28 or 29. Calendars weren't too accurate back then.

Some minor and unimportant details about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual club membership card on this page remains as free as fresh air and continues to be worth as much, no matter how little it may cost.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.26 – 23. June 2003 – this week's Café Metropole column began with, 'Server–Lady Meets Horse.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was, 'José Bové Goes to Jail Suddenly.' The issue's feature was titled 'The Fête de la Musique was Full of Sparkles.' There were hotlinks to both Scène columns. The Café Metropole Club update for 26. June was titled, the 'Spacy Ice Cream is Warm 'Food of the Week' report. Therephoto: sign, place andre malraux were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned as, "Don't Smile!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.26 – 24. June 2002 – the Café Metropole column was headlined, 'Summer Is Officially Here.' The 'Au Bistro' column's entire story was in the headline, 'José Bové Goes To Jail, Slowly.' The issue's lone feature was titled 'The Reds' Last Stand – On the Butte–aux–Cailles?' The Café Metropole Club update on 27. June was headlined as the "It's a Virtual–Reality Club," report. The Scène Eté column's title was 'More, Better, Summer.' There were four brandnew 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Adventures In the Jardin des Plantes.'

'Countdowns' – Suspension Resumes

If you really miss them, you can find the 'countdowns' in a recent issue by clicking here. Do not, I remind you for the thousanth time, forget to subtract seven days from all count–down dates.photo: sign, tabac

Were You Invited?

Every year for the past 16 years, some mysterious person has organized a spontaneous dinner for selected guests and close friends, at a mystery location in Paris. Last Tuesday evening 2000 people dressed in white aged between 25 and 40 showed up at the Palais–Royal and sat down without warning to eat raspberries and drink Champagne for three hours until midnight. The police didn't interfere with them for holding an illegal 'white dinner.' As described in Le Parisien, all were west–Paris bobos – many perhaps from Sarkoland – aka Neuilly.

This Year Becomes Better, Shorter

As of today there are still 193 days left of this year. This is more or less the same number of 'days left' as at this time in 1949, and the year before. These might be the best 193 days left of any year in our lives. Or last year's may have been, or next year's will be. Whichever year you pick, make sure its 21. June has nice weather.
signature, regards, ric

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