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."


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