BJ Nouveau, BJ Nouveau!

photo, group of the week, tonia, mark, mara Tonia, Mark and Mara salute Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

Annual Red Plonk Day Again

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 16. November:–  My excursion last night to find a local drinking hole with this year's Beaujolais Nouveau failed to turn up any red plonk because midnight is past my bedtime. At 23:00 it was warm, a bit breezy and feeling more like an evening during spring in Norway than November in Paris.

Tonight is like November here. It is raining. It was drizzling before but nobody paid any attention to it so it switched to the real deal and down it pelted. It will likely accelerate the golden leaf knockdown – just how long do those lousy leaves think they're going to hang on? – but the temperature is still up there.

photo, beaujolais nouveau evening weatherBJ Nouveau rain of the year.

Today it was probably 16 degrees while I was sitting around at the Café Metropole Club meeting. The forecast low for tonight is 9 degrees, about what highs normally are at this time of year around here. Tonight's TV–weather news predicted a high of 14 degrees for tomorrow, 11 for Saturday and 14 again for Sunday.

That was the good news. For Friday there is going to be some big, cloudy swipes coming this way, some winds of maybe 70 kph blowing from the south – the source of warmer air – and as these thick clouds pass over they will be followed by more thick clouds setting up over Brittany.

The whole balled up mess keeps on through Saturday, but around here we might have most of day day between waves, in a sort of trough with sunbeams. This isn't working a good night–day changeup, for on Sunday we will be stuck under the glooms, winds, possible rains, and dancing because it's so warm. Okay, not warm – say mild or soft like the Irish.

The 'Beaujolais Nouveau Again' Report

It wasn't raining when I went to the club this afternoon. It was waiting to drizzle, the heavy gray sky was waiting to let go, so I scuttled like a water–bug through the Quartier Latin, one eye on the gutter – not totally dry – and the other eye on the sky. I paid no attention to the startled remarks this sight occasioned.

During the course of my scuttle I did not notice that the streets were full of drunks. By now you know that the third Thursday in November is BJ Day wherever in the world that Air France freighters fly, including right here in Boggleville, served as we are by truck, barge, rail and La Holy Poste. The streets weren't full of drunks because those that began their celebration of the red plonk last night at midnight, are in other time zones or are zoned out altogether.

photo, beaujolais nouveau pot BJ Nouveau pot of the week.

Or maybe it's a European thing. Maybe everybody here with a tendency toward red plonk will do it later today, like tonight, among friends, in green and pleasant surroundings. Like hah! Do you believe it? Last night Uncle Den–Den said that it's just for amateurs. Only the unsophisticated, only the unhip, only the clueless, drink red plonk. He didn't even finish his bottle of Italian red plonk.

After this rant I arrived at the club's café. It sported a really modest set of fake vine leaves, fake wine barrels, and the only thing really mucho were the straw hats and aprons the MGT insists the waiters wear every darn year on BJ Day. Monsieur Ferrat is exempt, being a friendly, no–nonsense guy in a checked shirt.

There were a few customers in the grande salle sucking pensively on their glasses of BJ nouveau. Nouveau means new and this is a state that is not favorable to wine unless you like alcoholic grape juice. Yet, in return for this misery served by the glass, cafés ask a pretty price for it. I guess if they gave it away they would be liable for fines from the food and drink inspectors.

Anyway, there I was sitting in the club's area intending to read today's Le Parisien, when member Mara Beck from Brooklyn, New York, USA sat down and began correcting how I was writing her name wrong. I couldn't concentrate. I crossed out the four–letter mistake I made and started over. Mara told me how to pronounce Mara. If you are Canadian it is harder than it looks.

photo, beaujolais nouveau glassBJ Nouveau glass of the week.

Then member Tonia arrived and began telling me I could use her whole name in the club report. This is a name that was not supposed to be in Metropole and I tried to find it last week, without success, for about 30 minutes. So, anybody who read last week's club report should now note that Tonia's full name is Antonia, and she doesn't care who knows it, but hopes that this magazine does not have too many readers in Toronto.

Tonia also says that nobody can pronounce Antonia correctly. Try it right now. See? You flubbed it, didn't you? Rather than try it Mara pulled out a can of spray and took a hit. With a cold like she had I don't know how she could say Mara like that.

Tonia said, "I got here from Craigslist."

Mara said, "I won't breathe on you."

Tonia said, "It's lovely, it's quaint."

Mara said, "It's exactly like the pictures on the Web."


And this is where member Mark Kritz stepped into the scene, pulled out his battered and scratched Olympus digital camera, and started showing us the latest photos of his brand–new bathroom, with its new sink, new blue tiles, new window, new bathtub and shower gizmo. And you know, the photos weren't bad. Just a bit small, but nice colors. "I had to delay my departure for a week," he said.

Tonia said, "That's not a hardship." A pause, then, "If only I had done it five years ago."

photo, beaujolais nouveau foodBJ Nouveau food of the week.

"It's always five years ago," Mark said. "Five years ago I had this dream of Arthur Rubinstein's apartment in Paris with its big glassed doors opening out on to the terrace with plants and a view over the Parc Monceau and I saw myself in it. It was in a magazine I saw."

Then Mark told us about a funny thing that happened last Friday while he was fooling around in the shop of his real estate agent, looking at apartments he would like to dream about and finding one, but the agent wasn't the uncle–in–law. He wasn't even related. Mark thought he could get out of that one.

Mara had a question. "Why do they," she wanted to know, "shout crême! as the order for café au lait?"

"Because nobody calls it café au lait here," Mark said.

Mark said, "As a card–carrying coffee fiend..." and this devolved into one of those long discussions about how to make coffee, how to drink it, where to buy it, where it's good and where it's not. You know how it goes. At the end the three members decided to try a pot of BJ Nouveau.

The waiter of the week, wearing his straw hat and red apron, almost freaked out. They are going to order something? And all three competed in getting their lines down – for a pot, for cafés, for food to go with the BJ and and – in a jiffy the waiter was back with cafés of various sizes and colors, a pot of red wine and a plate of salami. It took him another round trip to lay down enough glasses, but nothing got cold because the cafés were in cups already.

photo, beaujolais nouveau waiter and mark BJ Nouveau waiter of the week.

I have to cut this short. After 2380 words my typing finger wears out. They drank the pot, ate the salami, sucked down the cafés – including me – and were only mildly uncomfortable while I took the group photo of the week only after setting the white balance correctly. Mara told us about ITAsoftware for comparison checking of air fares. "Pennsylvania is pretty weird," Mark said. Mara then told us about some special sneeze paper I never heard of. But you can get in at Monoprix. Finally, as we were spreading cash around the tables and putting on our coats, Mark gave us the update on his search for a small sink for his little room. He got one out at Pantin and told us how it's pronounced. Isn't that neat?

Club Fan of the Week

Putting in a link can pay off. About a decade ago I put in a link to the French lit mag Pagina and then updated it when Philippe Di Folco took it over. In return he noticed one of Metropole's recent birthdays, and wrote in October, "Quand on cherche des anecdotes un peu originales, généreuses, amusantes et décalées sur Paris, on ne pense pas assez au site de Richard Erickson, Métropole Paris, en ligne depuis 1996 – avec toutes ses archives! – Happy Birthday! Américain vivant Paris, Ric est un dessinateur de cartoons de talent et possède un regard et une plume sur la ville lumière à nul autre pareil. Long life à lui et à sa petite équipe! Adhérez au Club Café!

Pagina is no more but you can catch up with Philippe at his Website and check out his books, including his 1st Dictionary of Pornography, published by no less than the Presses Universitaires de France. Even if it has no pictures the entire équipe here eager to read it.

Yoko Does Yoko Again, Don't Forget

Our very own Yoko, who wasn't at the club today, appears in the stage show Beatles Story real soon. This involves some French guys who play Beatles tunes – really well – and sing, and act just like Beatles who are French. With intermission the show lasts over two hours, and it is a show. This will be on stage at the Petit Journal Montparnasse on Thursday, 23. November at 21:30. Like Yoko, Tomoko doesn't sing, but so what? At 13. Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte, Paris 14. Métro: Gaîté. InfoTel.: 01 43 21 56 70. Entry of 55€ includes dinner.

About the Café Metropole Club

Hardly difficult to believebut this was an ordinary club meeting's report because it is just so cool, on account of the BJ stuff. Spin an eyeball past the fantabulous story of what probably was been going on here, to be found as always on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage, containing its meaty words, heavy photos and splendid other stuff smelling of week–old garlic. And forever and ever, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

This Stuff Is It? It Is!

These spontaneous club meetings, totally unrehearsed, begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 most Thursdays. The next meeting will be on Thursday – what else? – 11. January 2007. These times are similar to 3 pm to 5 pm around other places but these meetings are held around here. Whatever you say might be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always – and if it should by fluke chance be recorded here.* Your other, mostly 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 life as it is, is just one long frolic! This is exactly what the club's secretary is going to be doing until next year. Frolic to the max!

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, 11. January 2007.

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