Turnout Hits Double–Digits

photo, group of 11 of the week The largest member group since last Thursday.

Club Members Fill House

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 2. November:–  Yesterday the air changed. It quit coming from down south in Africa or maybe the south seas, and starting coming from north seas, Iceland, or shudder, Greenland, or all of them. Temperatures which had been about 18 fell to 12 lousy degrees.

photo, cafe of the week The café of the week.

As Le Parisien says today, forget the soft degrees around your ears, forget having warm bones. Then it says we have to respect the seasons. The rest is nonsense because the sun peeped out, warmed some surfaces and made some illusions. But we were not fooled.

The line for Friday and the weekend runs 10, 10 and 12 degrees. We've traded our summer high for a winter one and this is supposed to ensure some pretty bright skies for the next few days, perhaps even being mostly sunny on Saturday and Sunday. You see, to begin with, it's going to sucker us in – make us think it will be a slightly chill version of summer. What have those soothsayers predicted?

The 'Big Turnout' Report

Today begins with all quiet on the technical front. The café machine pumps out its half–litre, Nigel White visiting from Washington, DC, shows up in time to escort me to the métro at Raspail and nothing else deviates from the script. You probably know it from memory. If you don't, I do.

photo, beer of the weekThe beer of the week.

It is so sunny on the Pont Neuf that it seems like a shame to leave it. The flagstones are smooth, caressing the feet. There are not many folks around. Does it mean they are on holidays somewhere else? All the kiddies out of schools and sunning themselves on the Riviera?

At the club's café the terrace, oddly, is nearly empty. We hang around outside receiving sunbeams and nothing else happens. But when I go in the café I see where everybody is. They are in the grande salle lunching on frites and downing bumpers of wine. Why today? Why not last Thursday? There are never any answers to these existential questions.

Monsieur Ferrat glides up to the club's tables and hands me an envelope, postmarked San Antonio, Texas. I immediately photograph it. It becomes real by becoming virtual, a true piece of club lore. Right on his heels are Susan and Joe Donohue from Montréal, Quebec.. They are already members, having joined the club last March while Josef Schomburg was hosting the meetings.

They are accompanied by Roy Parkes, also from Montréal, and Roy joins the club, and at the same time he explains that he is going to Uzes on some errand. The significance of this is that I can spell it. Obviously I have been in France longer than is good for me.

photo, wine of the week Red wine of the week.

With three members present from Montréal I think it is a great chance to gather lore about it. Roy says he speaks enough French, "To get by." I wonder if getting by French there is useful for getting by here, but before I can formulate this an unfortunate gesture dumps a near full glass of red wine, the splotch of the week results, and I borrow some to pour on the member's booklet because its pages are too white.

To prove it I leaf back, looking for old café splotches. There are poems, an autoportrait, but no splotches. They must be in an older booklet. I could go on, but Lisa Shenk arrives to become a new member from Austin, Texas. Which reminds me of club member Jerry Stopher in Beaumont being quoted in the news this morning, saying that the voting machines aren't working too well despite all the best intentions.

Anyway, nobody cares about the voting machines in Florida or Texas. Lisa says, "Austin is the live music capital of the world," or is it just Texas? We believe it, whichever, because of other members who call Austin home. Marion and Stephan Nowak pick this moment to arrive from either Köln in Germany or from their apartment near the brico zentrum of Paris.


Marion takes out her knitting and I decide to tease Terrie Blazek, who has also arrived – not carrying any sacks of bags – but then there is a tremendous outbust of laughter – which I attribute to Nigel, Lisa, Marion and Stephan – "Laughing out loud" is how Marion explains it without saying what it was. I suspect Stephan. He is a great hatcher of jokes.

photo, food, nozutsukemono Food of the week?

Meanwhile, if it's possible to slip a meanwhile in here – Joe tells us that he has a photo expo at Harry's New York Bar, and he will be there in person on Tuesday, 7. November, to be toasted. This is downstairs in the Piano Bar, it starts at 22:00, and the address is 5. Rue Daunou, Paris 2. Métro: Opéra.

Now Stephan is talking about driving through Belgium, and the finer details have to be explained to all non–Belgians present. He also says that silver has gone out of fashion as a car color. The next big colors will be blue and red. Trust me – Stephan is a top scientist, doing something with polymers, which in turn are used in some paints to make reds and blues into various shades and depths, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

Into this pandemonium Berta and Scoop Maginniss enter. Other members were asking for this couple from Aldie, Virginia last week, so here they are. Josef Schomburg, Paris photographer and code geek, has also swung in and before howdies are exchanged he's considering buying a TV set from Berta. Scoop,for his part, asks Marion if her knitting is for sale. She says no. Berta says, "Not like us!"

Whenever there get to be 10 members at the club and the time is past 16:15 I start trying to suggest that it might be wise to give a little thought to the group photo of the week. As soon as I say it, several members from both ends of the tables shout that Yoko isn't at the meeting yet.

It makes my heart warm, how clublike the members can be whenthey are in the mood. Nevertheless I relentlessly herd them outside to the café's terrace where they smartly arrange themselves, hug shoulders, and all look at the camera together and keep on doing it for five perfect exposures. The first one is at the top of the page. Truly, the group photo of the week of the year!

photo, group 2 of the weeklBonus group photo of the week.

At some point, somebody, gives me a slip of bar paper, with a note on it. It says, BADOIT "Thurs, 6 pm – Phillippe – Sorry we missed you! George Broadhead invited us to the Corona 5–7. George gave us a tour of the Ile de Cité yesterday. Maybe next time, Larry + MaryJo" evian

Of course I don't have time to read all this at the meeting, so it gets lost in the uproar. Thanks George! Then, slightly behind schedule, at five to five, Yoko sails in, also saying she's not carrying a big lot of bags, and there is a general cheer that so startles the waiter of the week that he disappears just as 11 people who can't remember what they had, want to pay for it.

photo, letter to club Club letter of the week.

The Group Photo of the Week

It might be a long while before the next time the light is right and 11 folks all look at the camera at the same time, not once but for five shots. Let's remember that they were, from left to right, Ray Parkes, Joe Donohue, Susan Donohue, Scoop Maginniss, Terrie Blazek, Nigel White, Berta Maginniss, Josef Schomburg, Lisa Shenk, Marion Nowak and Stephan Nowak. Tiny bonus is the smaller photo, just to prove they did it more than once.

About the Café Metropole Club

Simply believe that this is an ordinary club meeting report because, unless it was unordinary, it contains as as usual a fraction of today's idle chitchat. Toss an eyeball at the totally true and realistic story of what might have been going on here, to be found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage, containing its wispy odeurs of day–old garlic. And forever and ever, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

Is This Stuff?

Real spontaneous club meetings, totally unrehearsed, begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 every Thursday. These times are identical to 3 pm to 5 pm around other places but these meetings are held around here. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always – and if it should by rare chance be recorded here.* Your other, mainly true, stories are welcome too.

Caution – if you have a personal need to remain unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be 404 – not found by Web search engines before becoming found. Not becoming a club member is one sure way to become unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because Paris is the café Metropole club capital of the world. This is at least until the other 467 branches are opened with hoopla, Brad Pitt, searchlights and red carpets.

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.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 9. November.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini