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Increasingly rare – a café that looks like... a simple café.

Hardly News, Sports

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 25. April 2005:– The weather, she ain't bad. She ain't much good either but I refuse to get worked up about it. It is a little after the traditional time of Easter and it didn't snow here, so what harm is a little faint rain? It is not even very cold. In fact the skies are sort of nice now and then. Between white fluffy clouds there is blue sky and the whole thing looks like a postcard, except at night when it looks dark.

Aside from being dark less than half the time – the days are getting longer fast – we'll be having, if everything works out like tonight's TV–weather news forecast, some cloudy periods to start off Tuesday that will ease into being partly sunny, perhaps with some rain. I didn't notice this at first. My TV set must be out of focus. High, of Celsius, for tomorrow is supposed to be 16 degrees. Oh, there may be some winds of 70 kph, but way off along the coast somewhere.

These winds keep on blowing from the southwest on Wednesday while it gets even sunnier here, and the temperature hops up a degree to 17. But then ha ha, there's Thursday and a promise of 21 degrees, a temperature we haven't seen since March. The downside will be high smaze covering the sunbeams over Ile–de–France region.

New York City will have the same thing in reverse, with some sunshine on Tuesday and 19 degrees. Then while Paris gets better Pommeland will get worse, with rain and maybe thunder on Wednesday with 17 degrees, and finally drift down to plain rain and 16 degrees on Thursday.

Those on the left side of the Atlantic will appreciate Jim Auman's timely and concise meteorological report from New Jersey concerning the whole continent west of Far Rockaway, from Tuesday through Thursday, just like here.

Le Temps des Pamplemouses

Thermidor arrived in la Pommeland on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing the leaves and buds to move up their opening dates and the Thermidorians to remove as much clothing as possible. Due to thephoto, weather map, new york, paris hurried opening date, much of la Pommeland turned green from pollen dust. Germinal returned on Thursday and Friday and so did a lot of the Thermidorians' clothing, causing many Thermidorians to complain that they spent a fortune on clothes that consisted of basically nothing and now they will freeze if they wear their new threads. The weekend sees the arrival of Pluviôse either mockingly or impotently threatening to vent his spleen. In Wyoming it was 'le temps des pamplemouses' because pamplemouse–sized hail fell on the state. This is written for readers in La douce France where pamplemouses are fruits and not a weather phenomenon, and therefore untranslatable.

Café Life

Salon des Independants

Once upon a time Laurel Avery toiled every week to write 700 words about what she found new and amazing about life in her new home in Paris but after about a year she abandoned this nobel craft to take up another, even nobler, and the first thing the Daguerréotypistas knew she was having gallery shows in Berlin, and living down south in an artistic town designed by madmen in the Middle Ages.

From her new atelier she has sent out word that her new toil may be seen at the 116th Salon des Artistesphoto, laurel avery, art salon Independants, of which I know not a jot of history, but is having a 'Hommage à Utrillo' – in order, I suppose, to give the paying customer a sense of arty lore, a connection to the illustrious past.

Laurel at the Salon des Independants.

For some reason the streets seemed deserted yesterday, although there were a goodly number of passengers riding the Métro. Pavements were trying to make up their minds to dry out and the new green leaves were sucking in the moisture, but not much else seemed to be happening.

Even less was going on at the Porte de Champerret, but it is never known for sustained highlife. Even pigeons avoid the place. So I hurried past mostly nothing to the Paris Expo place, which is a semi–underground bunker, about as inviting as a parking garage, which part of it is. Just like the last time the entry door was not opposite the bottom of the escalator, but around the corner in another dead end.

There was a line waiting to get in but a lady inside spotted the free ticket Laurel sent me and jumped me in. She gave me the ticket back and said 'come again sometime.' Inside the entry there were rows facing, from 'A' to 'G,' but I knew Laurel was in 'C' somewhere, as it turned out, at cubicle number 36, about half a kilometre deep towards the back.

Actually it was the last cubicle before the end. Not a good location because some potential customers could collapse from lack of oxygen before getting there, or from artistic overdose. What a place! All these little cubicles, many with two artists sharing, all 800 of them. It's like the Sunday art market at Edgar Quinet, but much bigger and with a very low ceiling instead of the Tour Montparnasse lurking overhead.

In Laurel's cubicle, she was there and Dimitri was helping her sit while she waited for picture fans to come and look at her paintings and ask her about – what do they talk about? Laurel had a shopping basket full of 'salon' necessities, like litres of water. It was stifling. Dimitri said the air conditioning went on for 15 minutes every couple of hours.

After greetings I crawled around the salon for 30 minutes, trying every second row of cubicles. Over inphoto, art salon maze the 'G' section I got lost in a maze and went past some stands twice. I couldn't find the exhibition of live painting that was announced by the airport PA system. There were lot of animal paintings, tigers seemed popular. Some artists left off faces while others only do faces.

Part of the maze of paintings.

I found Laurel and Dimitri again, and they acted as if I had been walking around since Friday. Or as if they have been in the place since Friday, which they had. Maybe if there were only 400 artists, I don't know.

Outside, out of the bunker, the open sky of Champerret had headroom. The sidewalks were still trying to dry up. I saw a lady spinning around lost, weaving in the path of cars whipping off the Périfreak! She tried to ask a driver something and he scooted away as if she was a highway bandit, and then she asked me, "Where is the salon?"

Continued on page 2...
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