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This Club Is In VO

photo, group, patrick, sheila, renaud, tomoko, fran, m ferrat

The 'Group of the Week,' with Patrick, Sheila, Renaud,
Tomoko, Fran and Monsieur Ferrat.

Start With Breakfast

Paris:– Thursday, 6. October 2005:– I should have never let my fingers touch this weather business. According to people and club members everything that's wrong with the weather in Paris is my fault. I was just trying to be helpful. It's not fair to dump on the messenger.

What is the problem anyway? This is a place with average weather most of the time, a temperate climate, nothing to get excited about, practically boring. If we have 25 days without rain and I happen to mention it in passing, then it's supposed to never rain. Never no rain, and if a drop falls I'm a crumbum.

It is supposed to rain! It is a part of being temperate. In fall it is supposed to get cool. It's not my fault we had a good September – for a rare change! – it was as much as surprise to me as anybody else. Normal is gray skies and a little rain, and now that it's October it's trying to be normal. I mean, September was a fluke. There's never no two fluke months in a row.

For the first Friday in October expect a foggy Friday. This fog, as predicted by tonight's TV–weather news, might be in the form of mist, or low clouds, or haze near the ground, or something else murky, vague or unclear – because, basically, there just isn'tphoto, teapot of the week going to be any blue sky. Well, maybe not. They, the TV–lady said, there might be timid sun beams, but she didn't pinpoint where or when. Her guess is as good as mine or yours. Expect a high temperature of 19 degrees if you like risks.

This week only – the 'Pot of the Week.'

Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be kind of sunny. On the first day clouds will hang around the northeast, far from Paris. Then on Sunday completely different clouds will hang around the northwest, maybe far from Paris, but I mention them because if anything goes wrong then I'm covered. High temperatures with be 21 and 20 degrees respectively, as well as being respectable if they happen.

The 'VO of the Week' Report

The only preconceived notion I start out with today is breakfast, which is interrupted by a telephone Joe telling me to catch the wife and bring her along to see some genuine plates and pick up a free gift for absolutely nothing. Instead of hanging up on this Joe I muttered affirmative mumbles into the microphone part of the telephone and agreed to everything. I will regret this. They will hound me now.

Look at Nicolas Sarkozy. Yesterday he had a headache and now all of France can talk of nothing else. He skipped a cabinet meeting in the morning and then met Brigitte Bardot at 11:30, to discuss the terrible situation of dogs in France. As minister of the interior he probably wishes be could deport them, but Brigitte is a voter with 50 million 'friends.'

In comparison I have a easy life. Except that I note that I made a mistake buying breakfast jam yesterday, and now have two strawberries and no blackberry. This means I have to divide fivephoto, green drink of the week bread slices by three different jams, something nobody with a Nobel should try on a club day.

Of course it's going better today. Better than yesterday, when I put the coffee in the machine and then forgot a vital step and ended up with a perfect pot of hot water instead of my morning café. Home is where accidents roost, according to Mark Twain.

Practically every week – the 'Green Drink of the Week.'

None of this has anything to do with today's club meeting, but I am hoping you will 'read between the lines' and agree that if I actually get to the meeting it is against all odds and just because I may 'beat the devil' and actually make it doesn't mean I will be in tip–top shape if I do.

In fact I am sitting in the club's area in the café's 'grande salle' just beginning to read about Nicolas Sarkozy's headache – photo of himself pinching his nose and wincing – wow! he's saying that his headache is not news – when member Fran Griffin from Neptune, New Jersey, arrives.

What do you say – how about Neptune for 'City of the Week?' It makes me think of bubbles, salt and vinegar. Fran says she chose an apartment location where street bubbles make too much noise. Ordinarily it wouldn't matter but Fran brought her work with her, and with the time–zone thing the late street bubbles are unwelcome.

An unusual 'first' is the early arrival of Willy the Bird, to try and pick up some nearby frites. Willy is looking a bit thin, but is as perky as ever, unless it's not 'our' Willy. When member Sheila Archer from Brooklyn, New York, arrives there's a bit of touch–and–go for Willy until he hops up into one of the light pots overhead.

Sheila joined the club at its meeting held in New York City on 27. December 2001, and then she attended a meeting in Paris in January 2003. But before I can learn Brooklyn's latest news we are joined by Tomoko Yokomitsu and Renaud Siry, who is a member and spends part of the time being Ringo Star onstage, in his 'Beatles Story.'

Tomoko immediately orders her green drink of the week while everybody else mostly orders less colorful stuff, with Patrick the 'Waiter of the Week' handling the liquids. Fran says she couldn't not workphoto, teacup of the week for an entire month, but she is still having a holiday while juggling presentations and live–phone real–time intercontinental phone hookups. It sounds very complicated.

Small tea leaves – for adroit speed– readers.

Sheila tells us that she took immune training before coming so that she wouldn't be spending all her time here at the American Hospital in Neuilly. Last time a bug on the plane attacked her, before the Paris bugs got a proper chance.

To give an idea of how peaceful Paris is, Sheila managed to arrive for her visit on Tuesday, and was completely unaware that everybody and his brother was on strike that day. Other members noticed that they didn't notice anything too.

Renaud finally forgets that his saucer is sticking to the bottom of his glass and it drops on the floor and shatters, making us all jump at the noise. Patrick arrives like a fireman with a broom and says "No problem!" and whisks the pottery away and gives Renaud a new saucer to drop.

Then Fran and Sheila are trading tips about where to buy food. They are on a level above Monoprix and I can't say I blame them, except that my jam tastes just as good at a Monoprix price as it does for a ritzy price.

Tomoko suddenly remembers that she's had an email from members Lauren and Steve, who returned to California. She says Steve just finished a stint of running a help desk in Bombay or somewhere.

Without warning Fran, as suddenly as Tomoko, remembers that she has found out something vital. She hauls a Pariscope out of her bag and we say, "Right!" but this is not it. Then Fran is flipping through the pages of the movie listings, mumbling, "I learned something..."

We wait and wonder. Fran finally finds it. "VO," she exclaims. She has this apartment and in this apartment there are hundreds of videos of movies copied from television and she just assumed that they were all in French – until she read Pariscope and figured out what 'VO' means.

Back in the flat she found a video titled 'Maltese Falcon' marked 'VO' and lo, and behold, it was in English. Nearly all the VO movies are in English. Some are in German or Chinese, of course. And yes, itphoto, table of the week is true that French television does broadcast movies in VO, and they will have subtitles in French. Not only this but movies in TV are not interrupted by commercials, unless you happen to watch TF1.

Remains of a thanksgiving table unrelated to the club.

So this discovery of Fran's is a hot contender for the 'Tip of the Week.' Living here it is quite easy to forget important details like VO because we take it for granted that movies are in their original versions. This sometimes also means that the version shown here is often the complete original, not the one intended for US audiences.

The import of VO is so great that it seems unimportant to point out that the Cinémathèque Française is back in business. It is the place to watch for the classic films. It may be the only place in the world to see some of them. At the Cinémathèque VO is a rule rather than an exception. If you like movies Paris is heaven.


Leaving the club I swing across the Pont des Arts and amble up the Rue de Seine, which is full of galleries having openings on the first Thursday of the month, which is today. I lurch off to the right with the Rue de l'Echaude and do not get far before stopping at 'New York Underground' outside this small gallery, which often has a dirty green Volvo with German plates parked illegally outside it.

Inside a stevedore is testing the red varnish while waiting for the photographer, Nat Finkelstein, who photographedphoto, galerie gordon pym et fils everybody who was in Warhol's Factory in the '60s. In fact this is the exhibition, photos of Andy and Nico and Lou. They all look like college people, well–pressed and clean. If the stevedore is Gottfried Tollmann, he tells me how he became a chess pro at four and retired at 41, and how these '60s hipsters weren't clean at all. "They were dirty," he says, slugging off half a plastic cupful of rouge. As Matt Rose might say, he talks art like it barks.

See A Tale of One City featuring photos by Nat Finkelstein of the New York underground, 1964–67. On view until Wednesday, 26. October at the Galerie Gordon Pym & Fils, 5. Rue de l'Echaude, Paris 6. Métro: Odéon or Saint–Germain–des–Prés. InfoTel.: 01 46 34 18 64.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This club meeting 'report,' deftly picked out with my own little finger, gives only hint about what this is about. If you can squander part of your vital life give an eyeblink to the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its queasy photos, sappy writing and the ridiculous satire of a membership card. You can join the club too, without ID or plastic, credit or money, on any 'Thursday of the Week.' Fridays, even if you prefer them, are foggy.

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

Club meetings, if truth be told, begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, always in the western Euro Time zone, now in its slog through autumn to winter. Known in faraway locales as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not where meetings happen. Come to the café La Corona and seek out its 'grande salle.' Bring a friend or two. The folks in the rear of the big room, without the frites, are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one. Hang out for a hour or for a whole meeting with new friends. Real 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' being equivalent to 'real' even if 'first' is more than likely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'reality' with any sort of connection to truth, like true lies or fictional facts.

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' ingraphic: club location map one of these club reports. Dump your own name into Metropole's search if you have forgotten it.

The 'ex–rules' that we used to have continue to be former. Nonetheless these discontinued rules may still be accessed so that you can learn that this somewhat hypothetical club of no purpose repeats them seldom as they are already on record, even if skillfully hidden.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional. There are usually several empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Nobody will mind if you stand. Whatever you say will be truly 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 Fran's quite spontaneous 'Tip of the Week' about movies and VO and video in general and cheese in particular.

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.
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– unless stated otherwise.
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Waldo Bini