Metropole Pauses

photo, new years day, metro vavin, boulevard montparnasse

New Years Day in Montparnasse.

For a Refreshment

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 2. January 2006:– I am fully aware that all are anxious to learn what the weather holds in store, but I must first insert a public service announcement here where there's a good chance it'll be read unless you've already turned off and tuned out because this isn't about filthy murk up on the Channel or a sniveling whine about those poor folks wintering in their fur coats on the Riviera.

Metropole Paris – this magazine you have in front of your eyeballs – is approaching its 11th birthday, coming to the end of its 10th year of publication. On account ofphoto, fiat 500 of the new years day its slipshod management it urgently requires some spring cleaning. After 454 weekly issues since 1996 things are in a kind of hideous mess. Well, this isn't exactly true, but if I leave things slide for another 10 years... I shudder at the very notion.

Back for acclaim, the Fiat 500 of the Week.

Here's the plan. Paris will stay right where it is in January and February and I will fix up this magazine about it, and we'll meet back here again around the end of February. Let's say that I am going to declare that the next seven or eight weeks are going to be a total zero here – Nothing to see! Circulate! – and pretend issues 1102 through 1108 have been vaporized, struck with a magic disappearing wand, stick, or baguette.

Now the plan's exceptions. I have not been keeping track of anything, so there may be some items coming that I must cover and do reports for, such as this year's Rétromobile. Whenever it is, it'll get its Metropole treatment

The other exceptions are the Café Metropole Club meetings. These will continue on Thursdays, except if there's not a single soul around from mid–January until mid–February. You would not want me to be sitting around by myself in the Corona on Thursdays, would you? Let's say there'll be no meetings on 19. January, 26. January, 2. February, 9. February and 16. February, all Thursdays every one of them.

Thursday, 23. February, is not only a Thursday but it is also the exact date of Metropole's anniversary, when the magazine will become 11 years old. We can have a party at the club's café, wear funny hats, and cut each other's ties to shreds with scissors, because it will almost be Mardi Gras!

I am certain that once we get through this patch you will find that Metropole has become more useful, kind of like a superior kind of oyster knife that you find at the inventor's salon, every year. But this will be possible only after a lot of work, which I really wish someone else would do. I feel terrible just thinking about it.

Which reminds me, here is

What Passes for Weather

When we last spoke Météo France had announced an 'Alert Orange for Friday and on Friday morning radio France–Info was saying that it was going tophoto, snow, friday, 30 dec be really real. The sky got dark at noon, the Tour Montparnasse across the way disappeared, and there were snowflakes all over the place. After about 20 minutes the sky lightened and I thought it was safe enough to venture out.

Snow, but only briefly.

But the freezing rain that had been forecast to arrive in the later afternoon was already here, and it was bitter, nasty, icy, with a wind like daggers blowing out of the Rue Fermat, and I vowed to never believe a forecast again.

However the big deal was really a modest deal, advanced in time, and of short duration, so today I will pass along what the colorful weather lady had to say on tonight's TV–weather news.

First off, you should know that there is a lot of snow in the Alps and other high places. They've gotten tons of it. The problem is with yoyo temperatures, which causes underlying snow to turn into bread crumbs. I was surprised to hear this, but it was a mountain geek's opinion.

Then fresh snow falls on top, but bread crumbs aren't stable, and the top can slide off. This is called an avalanche. Unwary folks can get buried in them and although the rescue Joes have sniffer dogs, and long sticks for poking in hopes of somebody saying 'ouch,' it is much better for your health not to get buried in an avalanche. It is far better to stay in the lodge, or bar, or pizzeria, or in bed in Paris.

Tomorrow in and around Paris we are supposed to have an anti–cyclone. It is typical of French television to use big words without saying what they mean. I think it is safe enough to ignore the cyclonephoto, shellfish, new years eve part and just concentrate on the idea that the sky will be cloudy tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, and there may be some rain in both halves. Ah, probably very cloudy. Maybe no sunshine at all. Like in winter.

At the oyster dealers on New Years Eve.

In the temperature department there isn't expected at be anything remarkable. She said it will be 'normal.' To be precise she said it will be 5 degrees. It's not a surprising number for January.

Whoever is the weather person on Sunday, they give a forecast for the whole week including the coming weekend. These are a big joke and I seldom pay much attention, with Météo France giving odds like 3 for 5 or 2 for 5. They might as well give the weather for Panama.

But tonight, with my professional Bic pen at the ready, tonight's weather lady got to the temperature and then she called out the name of the Saint of the Day for tomorrow, and that was that. No forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.

All I remember from Sunday night's forecast is that it is expected to be a lot colder than Panama in Paris on Wednesday and Thursday. Regardless of the odds, if they said the high is going to be 3 each day, then I will tend to believe it will be about 3 degrees. But if it gets to 10 I am not going to eat my hat. I should get a medal.

Meanwhile here's Météo Jim with the downtown Pommeville prediction, flashes of the southwest, far west and exciting New Years in and around Pommeland:–

Full of Things that Never have Been

Hurricane Zeta is thrashing around in the Atlantic Ocean. The mild temperatures predicted for New Year's Eve were in the low to mid 30's and Pommeland received an inch of snow to decorate the festivities. Temperatures are predicted to be in the mid 40s for Monday and Tuesday accompanied by rain. Then the warmth will slowly retreat and the Twelfth Night will creep down to the upper 30s, withphoto, sign, rue madame snow showers. The Pacific coast will be battered by storms and Texas and Oklahoma will keep on burning with grass fires, caused by lack of rain and abnormally high temperatures.

*Disclaimer – As usual, the usual disclaimer will disclaim any discrepancies.

Café Life

Friday morning I planned to go to Etoile to shoot the traditional, if rare, view of the Arc de Triomphe blotted out by a Parisian blizzard. As part of the preparation I turned on radio France–Info to get the weather forecast. It said snow in Brittany was coming here, to be followed later in the afternoon by freezing rain. Hotcha, hotcha, get the photo!

I looked out the window and the Tour Montparnasse was gone, lost in the murk. The street below was rapidly covered and the four black lines left by car tires turned gray as the snow thickened. Well and fine, but not quite a blizzard. Need to wait a bit more to see if it's going to be a true blitz.

So I went out for supplies – cigarettes and money. The snow seemed to have stopped, but my head was immediately wet. Hours in advance, despite France–Info, the freezing rain was here. It felt like icy needles, especially when pushed by the breezephoto, snack kiosk, new years eve from the south. Ghastly is the best word for it. If this keeps up the whole city will be glassed, slicker than the ice rink at the Hôtel be Ville. It's not weather for sending enemies out for a bit of fun.

Catering for New Years Eve hunger.

Not only this but freezing rain doesn't show well in photos. I could go out there and end up in the emergency ward with a broken leg, cohabiting with the bent scooter drivers and other hapless victims too foolhardy to stay in.

If the freezing rain is earlier than expected, maybe we'll have the predicted thaw by nightfall. And before you know it Paris Plage will be beckoning with its wavering palms, grass skirts and Hawaiian guitars. It's a sure thing, eventually.

After Friday's excitement the climate turned normal so everybody could go out shopping for oysters, caviar and Champagne on Saturday. Some people were confident enough to leave this to the last minute, almost to the last oyster.

I went to Uncle Den–Den's as invited, and was the first to arrive so I got the best stuff. Everybody else who came later left earlier and just the two of us were sitting there at midnight, which we forgot. Dennis said he was going to California next time. Then some Californians arrived and the party picked up again.

On New Years Day the radio news said more cars were burned in celebration than usual, but spread all over the country. Arrests were more than usual too, but it might of been because of the 25,000 flics on watch, with orders to be severe. The opinion was that it had been a quiet New Years.

It was certainly quiet on the street on New Years Day. The weather was mild but it was damp, so a lot of people went to the Dôme in Montparnasse and had some fish stew to ward off chills.

Soldes d'Hiver

photo, sign, rue jean bartThis season's Soldes d'Hiver begin on Wednesday, 11. January and continue until Tuesday, 21, exactly a nautical month before spring. According to news reports the sales may be over at Harrod's before they start here. These same reports informed me that there are many opportunities for dining inside London's department stores, just so long as you have the equivalent amount of quids necessary.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The 'Club Meeting of the Week' last Thursday tangoed off my fingers as the 'No Fur Hat is Too Expensive' meeting report. Scoop Maginniss didn't buy a new fur hat because he already has a leather motorcycle cap – in a style made famous by John Lennon. Berta glowed.

This coming Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will without doubt be a surprise party, without the club's secretary being the surprise. The 'Saint of the Week' will be Saint–Édouard le Confesseur. This somewhat Anglo saint du jour, was the son of Ethelred II le Malavisé. Eddie was a bungler of a king, but was loved, especially by the poor and possibly by his wife, Edith de Wessex, and he was known for extreme, as always, the seine Eddie died in 1066, leaving affairs to his cousin Guillaume de Normandie, and his brother–in–law Harold, who quarreled.

The Seine, gray, and sky of fog, color of lead.

A somewhat true story about the club is on the 'About the Club' page. Should curiosity strike help yourself to an examination of the club's original and hand–crafted membership card, good for absolutely nothing. No less Hors d'âge, the club membership is guaranteed to be what it actually is – no less than life–long.

Faits Divers XIV

'Ed,' Ric, the secretary of the Café Metropole Club and radio ric, all wish all readers a very happy and smooth January and February this month. Salut les copains!
signature, regards, ric

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