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photo, cafe parisien

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?"

My arm pointed towards the bunker, but of course it's underground – nothing to see. She nodded and accosted the next civilian she could latch onto, but then she was 30 metres closer, almost there. Probably some painter's model, girlfriend or aunt, late for some warm wine and crackers.

When I came out of the Métro at Edgar Quinet, they were doing the art market there. Nobody noticed that I skipped it entirely, preferring the air and the roiling sky over the Rue de la Gaîté, full of folks going home after a dark Sunday in the cinemas on the boulevard.

One More Time

Glimpsed, on Wednesday, this gleaming Fiat 500 limousine, the personal wheels of a full–time Parisian bobo, on a high intensity shopping trip to the new glitz of the Quartier Latin, formerly known forphoto, fiat 500 of the week its affection for the faux–blues of existential angst while wearing raggedly intellectual threads with pockets full of philosophical books, telephone jetons, stale tobacco grains and spare shoelaces.

Headline of the Week

There were some bold headlines of the week in Le Parisien but one of the best was, "Les Français ne veulent pas travailler," which is hardly news. This appeared on Friday's front page, and was about the government's plan to suppress a holiday so everybody can work and contribute air conditioning to old folks in case there's another heatwave. See more about this on the 'Au Bistro' page.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Last Thursday's club meeting' "Gulf Fish are Dumb" report is not even faintly apt, because no members brought any fish of any kind. Other things were consumed in the liquid line and a good time was had by all without excessive regrets. The report fingers nobody as usual.

The next Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on a Thursday, more or less like last week. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint–Valérie and Saint–Louis–Marie. These 'Saints of the Week' are separated by 15 centuries so they are somewhat unrelated. Valérie was married tophoto, sign, square de l'amerique latine Vital, a Roman magistrate who had an unhappy end, and so did Valérie. Louis–Marie came along later, ending up at Saint–Laurent–sur–Sèvre in 1716.

Other, equally somewhat true facts about the club are on view on the 'About the Club' page. The tatty design of the somewhat ragged club membership card on this page looks as much like a membership card as any other scrap of random trash, but it isn't. Sufficiently free, the club membership itself is virtual, yet real enough too, as you will find when you join on any Thursday.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 8.17 – 21. April 2003 – the Café Metropole column was headlined, 'Summertime Issue – Extra Early Special.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was, 'In 9 Words – Over –crowded Brits Urged to Move to Calais Region.' The 'feature of the week' was titled 'Hawaiian Shirt Days – Capturing the Rapture.' A second, bonus 'feature of the week' was titled 'Hawaiian Shirt Days, Bis – Third Summer Shirt Day in April.' The update for the 24. April meeting of the Café Metropolephoto, sign, rue du caporal peugeot Club featured the 'Trendy 'Food of the Week' report. There were six cool–zen 'Posters of the Week' and the subject for Ric's weekly cartoon was about the heights and depths of 'Hi–Lo Weather.'

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 7.17 – 22. April 2002 – this issue's Café Metropole column blared ' Shocko Horror Election Show.' The Au Bistro feature was equally shrill, with 'Stupefication! Le Pen Beats Jospin.' The lone feature explained it, sort of, with 'Election Springtime – Some of the Players.' The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 25. April was headlined as the "I Just Want Some Red Shoes!" report. There were four highly zen–cool 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was on–the–mark with, 'Non Vote.' As if nothing ever changes, 'Non' votes are still in the news, keeping Metropole 'actual.'

More Irish Rarebit

For the eighth time almost in a row, this is not about some old saint, but instead is a true story. On this day in 1916 Ireland held what history calls the 'Easter Rebellion,' if you are British, and 'Easter Uprising' if you are Irish. Martial law was declared by Britain and the rebellion or uprising was quashed on Saturday, 29. April. It was only 33 later that Ireland became a republic, with the anniversary a week ago today.

The Big Ditch

In 1859 the first shovel of sand was heaved out of the ditch across the desert that was to become the Suez Canal, a maritime shortcut between here and there. The company formed by Ferdinand de Lesseps, the 'Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez,' had a concession for 99 years. It took almost 11 years to dig the canal, and it opened finally on 15. December 1869.

The Big Bop

Playing hard bop tenor, Dexter Gordon was a jazz fixture at Copenhagen's Café Montmartre and in Paris from 1960 to 1975, after starting out in 1940 with greats such as Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine. After a part in 'The Connection' in 1960 he moved to Europe, and returned to acting in the 1986 film ''Round Midnight,' in which he played the role of a musician like Dexter Gordon.

Three French Anniversaries

These are, not in order of importance, the birthday of the guillotine, 'La Marseillaise' andphoto, sign, pelouse au repos the Périfreak! &ndash, respectively 213 years, also 213 years ago, and 30 years ago. Nicolas–Jacques Pelletier, a highway robber, inaugurated the 'bagel biter' which was originally called the 'Louisette' at the time in 1792, and it was in use until the death penalty was abolished in 1981. The 'Marseillaise' is still popular and the Perifreak! has its loyal fans too. As Président Georges Pompidou said at the time, "Les Français aiment la bagnole."

All the same we'll take today's 'Quote of the Week' from William Shakespeare's 'Tempest.' Prospero said, "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep." Bill, possibly writing in ye olde English, but by no means certain, may not be correctly quoted here because this quote looks like it is written in standard English.

Today's Notable 'Bonus Dates of the Week'

There are only 250 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1214 when Saint–Louis – Louis number IX – of France, was born. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 115 days, the same number that 1742 had when scientifico Anders Celsius died two years after presenting his 'Celsius' temperature scheme to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
signature, regards, ric

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