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Trop Tropicale

photo, group, nancy, jennie, lucky

The club's star 'Group of the Week,' Nancy, Jessie and Lucky.

Aha, Wagga Wagga!

Paris:– Thursday, 28. July 2005:– Not only is this town far from the Riviera it is an ocean away from any place tropical. Our palm trees may be grown here in a hothouse, but they are strictly for our summer fantasies and when winter comes back they go to the closet.

But this is hardly a good reason for the TV–weather news being incapable of saying that we are going to have tropical weather. It's not something to be ashamed of. Tropical weather happens. Maybe it's rare but it doesn't need to be swept under a carpet, fudged, denied, treated like a meteorological black uncle.

Yesterday they laid on an 'orange alert' for eastern France today, saying there would be wind, rain, lightning, thunder and maybe hail, with a temperature in Paris of 29 degrees. This is pretty high without sunshine being predicted.

At noon today the temperature on the pharmacy sign said 34 degrees, but it didn't feel like it. By the time I got back to my place I was soaking and then the sky opened up and turned the air to liquid. If you are visiting Paris to escape tropical weather someplace, here it is.

Well, the storm alert continues, for an area east of Paris, from Belgium to the Pyrenees. Tomorrow this chaotic mess moves east and will leave some partly sunny periods in its wake. Thephoto, orange of the week temperature will take a big dump, maybe ending up somewhere around 23 degrees.

The skies will stay unstable on Saturday, but may be mostly sunny, or in a state between cloudy and sunny, and it will be cool at 21 degrees for the high. Expect brighter skies for Sunday and a temperature up one tick, at 22 degrees.

My weak 'Orange of the Week.'

You may think the end of July couldn't get colder, but the past says it can. Except that this is the year of yoyo weather, so it is more likely that the temperature will bounce up again, hot air will arrive from Africa, or mild air from the mid– Atlantic, or very cool air from the North Sea. This is about as precise as it's possible to get without a slide rule.

The 'Cricket' Sport Report of the Week

I have neither shorts nor sandals so I put neither on but I grab an old umbrella going out the door and down on the street I am still surprised that it's raining wetly and big drops are plopping off the trees and window ledges and all of it is bouncing off the sidewalk up to my knees and gurgling away into the gutters.

It is quiet so I cross the road without bothering to use the crosswalk and walk along beside the cemetery wall, sophoto, lucky checkley covered in vines and green that it could be in southern Mexico. Needless to say I am not tripping over other pedestrians, and I make good time down to the Métro at Raspail, and it's like going into a hot kettle. Underground is wilt city.

At Odéon I unpeel myself from the seat and lurch up to the surface, stumble through the cobbled Cour Saint–André, and tramp down the narrow sidewalk – a ledge is all it is – of Dauphine to the Pont Neuf.

Lucky Checkley comes to Paris for every Tour de France.

Traffic is still not used to Paris–Plage and it is angry coming across the bridge, and angrier where it is sitting in the Quai du Louvre. A taxi honks me out of the way, from where I'm standing photographing a poster. Too steamed to use the power steering.

For the first time I can remember the windows are open in the club's area of the café La Corona, so the noise drifts in, but it feels airy. Airy is how we want to feel above all.

The first club 'first' of the week is what I write in the club's booklets – this is meeting number 300. Thinking about it wilts me more, so I take out Le Parisien for a gander. Its headline says, "Partez tranquille." By all means.

Then member Lucky Checkley turns up and sits down. Unknown to me Lucky has not been hanging around Paris since helping Lance Armstrong finish the Tour de France last Sunday. Lucky has been all over France on the train, on the trains more than he's been off, because the star trainsphoto, beer of the week that race to Marseille in mere hours are not the same as the poky trains that chug around the boonies.

All of which he hasn't told me yet because new member Nancy Goldman from Santa Monica, California, arrives and occupies a club spot on the banquette. An archive check shows that the club now has four members who live in Santa Monica, so it is high time that it be a club 'City of the Week.' I thought it was already, but what do I know?

Not a wierd Coke, this is Lucky's beer.

I ask Nancy if she attended the 'Call to the Wall' last weekend. This is a big deal surfboard event I think everybody in southern California knows about, but I am wrong – hey! do I know the difference between Santa Monica and Malibu? They both start with 'm' after all.

Of course Lucky has a friend who plays blues mandolin in and around Los Angeles, and Nancy knows the attorney for the musicians' union so cards are exchanged and then we agree that motorcycles are kind of tricky, Willy the Bird flies in looking for crumbs – look at Willy skip the soggy old frites on the floor.

Then we are searching for a 20 cent coin, and Nancy says she's seen the beach volley ball thing on the Champ de Mars. Never a dull moment here. And while memories still function, we trade faint notions about Harry Bridges, and Eugene Debs, thanks to Lucky.

For readers just tuning in, club meeting are somewhat unstructured. Nobody has a script and there'sphoto, nancy goldman no producer in the wings – there are no wings – trying to give me a high sign for the 13 commercials before the station break.

Lucky saying there are no night trains anymore is not a plug for SNCF. I explain that trains are so fast these days that there's no time to sleep overnight on them. Oh, the great old days when it was possible to hang out in Europe without ever staying in a hotel and sleeping on the trains.

Nancy Goldman says 'no substitutes' for honey.

Saying that on yesterday's slow SNCF train he got a complementary bottle of water, is a plug for the SNCF's slow trains. Nancy points out that, being July, her favorite source for honey on the Butte–aux– Cailles, is closed. Lucky adds that his favorite marionette museum in Lyon is probably closed like last year and the year before, so he has skipped Lyon this year.

Need a cure for hangover? Lucky says that Duke Ellington drank a glass of hot water every morning, first thing. This is the punch line of a discussion we have about the touring musician life on the road, and has nothing to do with the ten minutes that we've spent discussing hot dogs in New York – ha! – and Pink's in Hollywood.

At this moment member Jennie Boin joins the meeting, only to have Lucky ask if there are springs in Alice Springs. Jennie, from Melbourne, who has been to a lot of places around thephoto, jennie boin world lately, does not know about Alice Springs. But she has been thinking hard about giving us a 'City of the Week' and therefore proposes Wagga Wagga.

I can't help it. Santa Monica has to share this singular club distinction this week. It is pronounced 'wogga wogga' and means 'many crows. There it is – Santa Monica and Wagga Wagga are the 'City of the Week.' It's not phoney either. Jenn!e was born there.

Member Jessie Boin was born in Wagga Wagga. She hasn't been back for a long time.

By now it is just before the 'Group Photo of the Week' so we seriously begin to try and get the attention of the 'Waiter of the Week' because, dammit, we're thirsty. It turns out easier than we imagined and soon we have a 'Brown Beer of the Week' and two different weight 'Cokes of the Week' and the secretary's tropical café substitute, an 'Orange of the Week,' drowned in ice cubes.

We also get Lucky to talk about his old–old home town, Trinidad. He explains how they used to play cricket with marbles – he says, 'pitch marbles' – it must be cricket, right? Nancy says her hairdresser is a Trinidadian, and then remembers his name, but I fail to note it. It was something like 'Alice.'

To finish the club period we have a serious discussion about how scary it must have been to do underground cave paintings 40,000 years ago in France. I mean, how? They didn't have safety anything or flashlights. Lucky says they had to make their own colors too. Then Nancy remembers that the musician's local in LA is number 47.

Correction for Marjorie In Queens

Your secretary makes the occasional faux pas with some frequency so it was only natural to call the temporary home of club member Gumby the Museum of the Living Image in this week's Café column. Considering that I have actually been in this museumphoto, cokes of the week there is no adequate excuse except to say that its real name is Museum of the Moving Image, and the Gumby show is said to be more interesting than you might think.

Different weight 'Cokes of the Week' is not a plug.

Members who are Gumby fans should check out the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens for the definitive history of your hero, until 16. January. Lucky will catch this one and it isn't just because he lives next door to Astoria, like Groucho lived in Corona.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' with a unique and original dual 'City of the Week,' probably doesn't exactly clear up what this is all about. If you have a minute extra take a spare one to have a peek at the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its silly collection of blurred photos, cute but boring words and the infamous mess of a membership card. You can join the club too, with or without any of it, on any 'Thursday of the Week.'

Where, How, What, Who, When, Why Not?

Club meetings, as these afternoon playtimes are jokingly called, begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, always on Thursdays and continue for two complete hours until 17:00, always in the western European Time zone, now in its getting shorter daily summer version. Known in other exotic places as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is rarely where meetings are held. Be sure to come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.' The friendly folks in the back, with the bird, are us.

Hang out at a meeting – by being at one. Stay for a hour or two with new friends especially if you have the time for it. Real 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' being equivalent to 'first' even if 'real' is just as likely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'real' with any sort of connection to first, like fact or fiction.

A note of caution – you may have personal reasons for remaining unfindable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these club reports. graphic: club location map Check your name with Google if in doubt.

Former 'rules' continue to be former week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and far beyond the present and the past. Nevertheless these ex–rules may still be looked–up so that you can know that this extremely antique – 300 meetings! – social club makes it rare to repeat them, as we are fond of repeating.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional. There are usually enough empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Standing is okay too. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by other members present if there are any listening, and there usually are some but not always – and if it should chance to be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of today's quite surprising addition of a dual 'City of the Week' and a 'Gumby of the Week,' in Queens, of course.

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
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Waldo Bini