Sumptuous Sundown

photo, sundown picnic, pont des arts, art expo Art, wine, sky, purple, smooth and long sundown.

Tango Here, Alberto There

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 12. June 2006:–  We have been dealt a winning hand. Yesterday the pharmacy thermometres were showing 31 degrees, for a forecast of 28. Today they are showing 32 degrees and we would be tangoing in the streets if some of these café waiters would only offer a free drink.

Hades in a teakettle! With weather like this we can treat ourselves to the outside life with drinks on the terraces, bridges, tiny oasis in hidden gardens, here, there, short sleeves, shirts made out of silk flags, with a breeze like a warm caress. Air that tickles the soul. The spring that wasn't is over! Goodriddence.

photo, sign, pharmacy, green cross, thermometer

I fully realize this might be an extravagant start to another small issue, but let's see what we have. Tuesday's forecast calls for more of the same – the one big sunball, with local storms – tiny ones – not near here, with an overnight low higher than the average for June, day and night, of 19 degrees. Leading up to tomorrow's predicted high of 31 freaking degrees. Add on the pharmacy bonus to get 34 Celsius.

The sunball keeps on radiating the good life on Wednesday but the top half of France will be smazed with cloud, with a change coming reflected in the temperature which is only expected to be a respectable 26 degrees.

Thursday dawns with Wednesday's cloud smaze moving east and north, perhaps even having some dark clouds but up there and not here. All the rest is to be dominated by the big sunball again but the temperature is to take a real dump down to a high of 23 degrees. That's okay. It may be fresher than the air we have now, which has been cooking here since the weekend. We'll see. Do I believe any of this? Why not?

Alberto Is No Longer Depressed

This week writing from downtown Pommeland, Météo Jim speaks, writes, in his own voice:–

Said Mrs. Météo Jim to Mr. Météo Jim last Wednesday, "Here it is, the first week of June and temperatures are no higher than 60 degrees." Said Mr. Météo Jim to Mrs. Météo Jim, "In the fourth week of June the temperatures will be around 100 degrees, 99‰ humidity, ozone instead of air, we'll have to wear oxygen masks and we'll be in the fourth month of a drought that began three weeks ago. Be grateful for small favors."

photo, pont neuf, ile de la cite Henri's bridge and his golden city.

Then, about the week that was, Météo Jim writes that, "It felt more like September in the lands north of the Saint Lawrence River where the inhabitants are reported to say, "Nous avons le fun." or October–in–the–Country–of–the–Tall–Pointed–Firs."

In the meantime, the first tropical depression of the season has formed just south of Cuba. If the winds increase to 39 mph, it will become a tropical storm and acquire the name Alberto. But either as a depression or a storm, it is going to Florida.

Here there is a pause in the narrative as the weather station gets knocked off the air, or knocked through the air. Also known as 'more than a breeze.'

More from Météo Jim:– "This just in... Alberto is no longer depressed! He has overcome his problems to evolve into a full fledged tropical storm with winds blasting at 46 mph, the first of the season. His itinerary includes Florida on Tuesday and he's looking at brochures concerning Paris Plage."

As for Pommeland, expect partly cloudy skies for the upcoming week with temperatures rising into the upper 70s. But also be ready to expect something completely different, especially since the Belmont Stakes took place and none of the winners from either the Kentucky Derby or Pimlico finished.

Thank you Météo Jim! If you ever get time off from trimming the grass give our regards to Mrs. Météo Jim.

Café Life

The Sunset Show

On Friday night the World Cup started in Munich so a good many of Europe's hundreds of millions of football fans settled in for a cozy month of intensive ball sports on TV with its attending drama, both sportive and domestic. Good weather was here too and while mumbling grumbles echoed from TVs by open windows the streets were abandoned, as undomestic stand–up fans gathered in bars and cafés and paid for drinks by the glass and wide–screen reception.

photo, purple seine, sundownThe day sighs into purple.

But on a day when the sky had been solid blue for a rare change and the temperature had finally crawled up to 'fit for June, over 25 degrees – say, 28 d'accord! – there is a certain type of person more interested in another kind of giant freebie. By any name this is the sunset show, being played by an original cast in a one–night stand called sundown.

There were some people, hardly a bottle or a sandwich in sight, who were camped on the quay between Saint–Michel and Pont Neuf. They were in shadow because Pont Neuf blocked the setting orange rays while streaming a few through its arches across the Seine to the quay on the Ile de la Cité. A restaurant barge passed, folks dressed for dinner on its roof. It was Maxim's Bateau Ivre with a load of ties and summer dresses.

A couple were perched on the downstream parapet of the bridge, which was all orange and yellow, thanks in part to its recent scrubbing. They had what was left of the sun full in the face. Below, on the quays, it looked like there was sitting room only for not many more, many with the fixings for whatever a picnic is called going on for 10 pm.

It was mainly the left bank quays where the sundown fans had lodged. The sky was going more orange as the sun dipped behind the Louvre's Flore Pavillon, turning it and its chimneys into a black silhouette and the surface of the river into a glazed sheet of mauve. The barges and peniches, and bateaux mouches, slid through the water, carrying more fans of spectacular sunsets.

It got too late for low rays to be pasting the interior courtyard of the Louvre but there was a crowd hanging out there, maybe waiting for sunrise. Out on the quay tops of buildings high enough on the island and on the left bank were still glowing, especially the diamonds of their windows. It was the best angle for seeing all of the Pont des Arts, lined with photos on display – each with a light, spanning the river from right to left banks.

The footbridge was one big picnic, in the center, along the sides. You had to step over elbows and bottles to get through. A bateaux mouche passed underneath and the slots between the boards sparkled, and then it blasted its big lights on the quay and the trees with fresh leaves become electric green. The colors looked like a bad movie where they lost control of them. Orange, purple, and too green.

photo, louvre pool, sundownNight closes the Louvre's day.

So far the bridge lights weren't on, just the lights for the photos on display. It was darker than it seemed under the big sky, which just wouldn't quit. The street lights were still off too. Away from the river, through the arch into the rue de Seine, it was almost pitch dark. Here on Friday night it was closed, except at the Palette where the usual hubbub was out on the terrace, lit only by the feeble yellow lights of the café. Far overhead the sky had shifted from marine blue to ink and the near–full moon was sailing out of sight over Montparnasse like a silver peso.

Dream Gig – Playing Pétanque

If you are hanging out in the area of Avignon – the Lubéron area, enjoy a little pétanque, and speak English fluently, Philippe Boets has a small proposition. Philippe runs Pétanque America but he has to return to Miami, and he wants someone to organize informal boules sessions in southern France.

photo, bar des ferrailleurs, rue lappe The iron worker's bar opens in the rue Lappe.

Notice I said this is a 'gig.' This means it is not a job. Philippe writes, "Comment ça marche?" – or the other from proposing, "You want to try it?" Thousands of Americans have returned home wondering why thousands of Frenchmen are constantly tossing metal balls around. I suggested to several hotels that I teach their guests. Better yet was proposing the idea directly to several US tour operators. "Of course, let's try it," was the unanimous reply.

"Since then I have organized numerous little tournaments at apéro time in all the hotels around Saint–Rémy de Provence. Folks who had never met at 6 pm started high–fiving at 6:15 and bantering by 6:30, with or without pastis influence. It's been wonderful and I have met a tremendous amount of charming, interesting people." Philippe is not looking for champion players. He will give you all the necessary details about this gig if you write to him at

Matt Rose Shows 'Affordable Art' in New York

I was admiring the elevated temperature on a pharmacy sign this afternoon when I was hailed by Matt Rose, who was acting very morose because he'd just sold an artwork, or because he had to get on a jet plane and fly to New York tomorrow. He mentioned the administrative hassle of travel, so he came with me to Monoprix to get some drink – six different kinds of cola if I counted right.

Although he hasn't told me this, he is showing some stuff at Miami Beach's Art Vitam booth at the Affordable Art Fair. This will be in the Metropolitan Pavilion, at 125 West 18th Street, on the ground floor, in New York City. The dates are next weekend, from Friday, 16. June until Sunday, 18. June, usually from about noon to 20:00 or 18:00 on Sunday. If you happen by, be sure to drop in and say hello to Matt. He is a real Paris artist, and shops at Monoprix like me.

The 'Cute Pompiers' Café Metropole Club 'Report'

photo, paradise for cats, green courHidden courtyard for sleepy cats.

The most recent Club Meeting of the Week way back last Thursday took place with two members present, which was twice as many as the club's secretary expects sometimes. Throw a blink at the 'report' of this jolly meeting, which, without a smidgen of invention, was headlined, 'Send Us Your Cute Pompiers!' Heather and Kate were not being naughty, exactly.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be real or true, with live or dynamic 'firsts' such as a new 'Thursday of the Week.' The next 'Saint of the Week' will be Sainte–Monique, because I looked her up and liked her story best. Born in 331 or 332 in North Africa, she married a pagan named Patrice qu'Augustin who was mean and violent. But Monique is best known as the mother of Augustin d'Hippon. She just managed to convert both of them before dying, and then Augustin died in 387. The other saints had far less interesting lives.

photo, fiat 500, blurryThe blurriest Fiat 500.

The more and vastly exciting story of the club is on a page oddly named the 'About the Club' page. Should your curiosity be piqued, send an eyeball towards the club's original and hand–made membership card, before its eventual replacement, now threatened for many months.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 9.25 – 14. June 2004 – this issue's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'Let There Be Light – Unknown Time Slot.' The Au Bistro column's title was, 'Euro Unmuddle – Polling Station 14–55.' There was no 'Feature of the Week' again so readers could hop straight to the repeat Scène column with the title, 'Ready for Summer with Any of 220 Events.' The update for the 17. June meeting of the Café Metropole Club was called the 'Past Kodachrome' report. There were four rather simple 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's weekly cartoon was direct from nowhere else with a boring caption like, 'Any One of These?'.

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 8.24 – 9. June 2003 – this week's Café Metropole column was extra topical with, 'A See–Art Week.' A 'Feature of the Week' was titled 'The Real Daguerréotypes – Henri Cartier–Bresson's First Show.' There were two Scène columns, a 'Classic' Version and a 'Summer' Version. The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 12. June was trumpeted as the 'Secretary in Coma, Loses Marbles' report. There were four hardly wonderful 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was extra 'social' again with, 'Plate of French Fries.'

photo, sign, pharmacy, green cross, thermometer

Café Life Lite 1O1

Ugly, Dirty, Pataphysical Wind

There are a heap of 202 days left of this year, which means there are hardly any whole days until the begin of the Soldes d'Eté at the end of this month. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1964 when Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment forever. Exactly 30 years later he became president of South Africa. This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 163 days, the same number that 1969 had when a rabble of funny mecs and some filles took up the comedy life at the Café de la Gare in Montparnasse. These included Coluche, Miou–Miou, Patrick Dewaere and Gérard Depardieu. The café's slogan was C'est moche, c'est sale, c'est dans le vent! and it was a huge success, as well as a spawning platform for two presidential candidates. "It's ugly, it's dirty, it's in the wind" needs reviving.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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