The Weekend of the Week

photo, susan, joe donohue, group of the week Joe and Susan Donohue, the partial Group of the Week.

Easter of the Century

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 5. April:–  After all my years on this gig I am trying to remember a situation remotely similar to the situation we now face. Without looking them up in Metropole I remember the past 11 Easters, mostly because they were so alike. After periods of sunshine in February and temperatures flirting with 20 degrees in March, a normal Easter in Paris usually treats us to clouds, cold, damp, rain, sleet, the freezing shudders and terminal morosity.

But not this year. Mark 2007 on your calendars. It will be rare! Oh, how can I put it? How can I possibly spin this out to fill the regulation three paragraphs? What will I do with my residue of permanent skepticism, my near–total disbelief in the TV–weather news? How can it be that Riviera weather that is never anywhere around here, turns its tables this year to place itself right over our heads, right over downtown Boggleville, right near here?

For yes, dear readers, friends, countrymen, countrywomen, you folks, it is Easter and we have a complete change from our regular program. Easter Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and, not least, Easter Monday – each and every one, sunny. Sunny. Read my lips, SUNNY ! Ain't life great?

photo, orange juice of the weekThe juice of the week.

One big sunball, über alles. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the entire Easter weekend – sunny. No breezes, no winds, no clouds... No clouds? Yeah, well no clouds were shown and if they were shown they weren't around here. All the same the forecast isn't for a steely–blue sky. There may just be some extra tiny little wooly puffs of white in the sky. Merely something decorative to look at.

If you think I'm saving the worst for last, wrong again! Here are the forecast temperatures in their order – 19, 17, 17 and 18. The first, for Friday, is for right here. The following three are averages for France north of the Loire. It is possible that the actual temperatures will be higher here. Put your overcoat, scarf and gloves in the winter chest, and get out your bikini. The Easter of the Century is coming up.

The Weekend of the Week Report

Did I say "Thanks to local global warming?" Because today definitely matched the coming Easter set. Not too breezy, warm, mostly sunny, tops down, sleeveless arms and cute twinkly knees. And many radios blaring out of car windows, with smiling drivers blithely pounding their horns. When it's nice who doesn't want to drive fast? Take Jean–Marie Le Pen for example. Running for president on the right–wingnut socket, he has proposed raising the speed limit to 150 kph. Free folks should drive fast, he seems to say.

photo, beer of the weekThe **** of the Week.

I should be careful of that. Under French election rules, if I mention one presidential candidate I am supposed to give equal time to the other 11 aspirants. Okay. None of the others have proposed raising the speed limits. Their names are Nicolas Sarkozy, Ségolène Royal, François Bayrou, Marie–George Buffet, Olivier Besancenot, Arlette Laguiller, José Bové, Philippe de Villiers, Dominique Voynet, Frédéric Nihous and Gérard Schivardi.

Instead of playing my radio and dreaming of speeding, I take the métro. It pots along at 35 kph underground and in no time at all it brought me to the station at Odéon where I regretfully left its cozy confines, to scoot across the short span of the Quartier Latin to the bridge of dreams... history, more like it. The Pont Neuf, nearly new again, just like old Henri IV ordered it.

It is so cool. If you have kind of flat–soled shoes you can shuffle across the huge stones that form the sidewalks. They are so smooth. You could do it wearing slippers. Yes, and maybe an old, fuzzy, bathrobe. Think of gliding along with your hands in your pockets, maybe smoking a pipe. A living room of a bridge, the Pont Neuf.

Obviously the weather was affecting my head. I was even a bit ahead of time, so I didn't mind that the newspaper kiosque wasn't featuring any exciting posters this week. So many re–runs! Along the quai it was just like summer with folks sunning on the terraces and troops of schoolkids, possibly German, wandering about. The terrace of La Corona was nearly full.

Inside, the club's space was waiting for me. I quickly turned to today's paper. Les Faits Divers formed the bulk of the news. For example, Le Parisien says Paris wants to clean up the publicity signs, and then illustrates this with a photo showing a bunch of signs. Five of them are traffic warnings, five are city direction signs, there's one clock and a cultural ad, a French flag and one small sign for Go Sport. Maybe it's a trick photo and I missed something.

photo, terrace outside cafe, josef The outside lights and action.

Although you probably doubt it by now, two club members did show up. They were Susan and Joe Donohue, from Montréal. They were dizzy from wandering around in the sunshine. Before coming the ten–day forecast they saw said, rain, rain, rain. Did they say they were disappointed?

The Donohues visit Paris twice a year, usually for a week each time – rather than coming once for a two–week visit. They come with a list of museums and galleries to visit, and actually go around to them all. I guess lots of folks do this. If I made lists I would probably avoid the places on it. The only way I get to see things is by not making lists. I don't even have magnets for my refrigerator door.

They told me they went to the Lapin Agile in the rue des Saules up on Montmartre. I must say that it looked pretty on Sunday when I went by it, but I didn't. The Donohues said they had a fine time there. The place hasn't changed much since the 19th century. Small, dim, smokey, a start–off club for unknowns to become big names. The show lasts four hours, each better than the last.

In comparison, Montréal's Mont Royal only takes 15 minutes to climb. It was the first I had ever heard of it. This came up while we were discussing the relative merits of the Swiss Alps and the Rocky Mountains – and wasn't so much about how high you have to climb on Montmartre. Looking at it another way, when you leave the Lapin Agile, the route is downhill.

But time was passing. Just before leaving, we clambered out to the terrace to shoot the Group Photo of the Week. It almost got away from me, and it would have been terrible because there was no City of the Week, no Food of the Week, no particular Drink of the Week and no memorable Quote of the Week.

Then as soon as the Donohues exited and I turned around there was member Josef Schomburg, who the Donohues had seen once during their visit, and who they were half expecting today. "But they were right here only 30 seconds ago!" Joe looked puzzled when I asked if he hadn't seen them leave.

photo, josef schomburg Josef misses connection.

Well, typical Paris café. Three entries and exits, a perfect place to meet two girlfriends who aren't supposed to know about the other. He said they had dined at La Coupole after trying to get into an over–full Procope.

Despite the sunny day Josef was somewhat morose because his cat died. I tried to buck him up even though his cat wasn't a club member. Besides, he still has another cat. We briefly discussed the illegality of dumping the cat's ashes – it was cremated – in famous park or off a Seine bridge.

Then the Waiter of the Week dropped a full tray of empty glasses and ice cream jars. Crash! "Merde, alors!" And then the patron monsieur Naudan came by for a handshake, totally indifferent to the broken glass, representing as it did, so many more litres of ice cream to be sold over the four–day Easter weekend.

Joe threw down his beer and we picked up and moved across the Seine to the Quartier Latin, and went up the alleys to the Boulevard Saint–Germain where we found a sandwich shop with a free table on the sidewalk, to sit down and have a café and exercise our eyes on the kind of cool folks wandering around there. Nothing better than that.

photo, beatles story, wednesday nightWednesday night, Yoko appeared here.

Tomoko Yoko Did Yoko Again

Our very own Yoko appeared in the stage show Beatles Story Wednesday and tonight. This was with some French guys who play Beatles tunes – really well – and sing, and act just like Beatles who happen to be French. With intermission the show runs over two hours, and it is a musical show. This was onstage at the Petit Journal Montparnasse. Like Yoko, Tomoko doesn't sing, but she talks like she does at club meetings. Applause, please.

About the Café Metropole Club

Fingers off the dial and stay tuned to your club via the meeting reports on this station. Simpler than being here but only a sixteenth of the fun. Think of the club secretary's writing finger. Think of his photo–shooting finger. The official version of what we might have been doing here, can be found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage. Add some mustard for those more better frites.

graphic, club location map

What? What? What?

As ever spontaneous, unplanned, unrehearsed, out of control, anarchistic, insane and poetic. The club meetings are actually from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 12. April. These times are identical to 3 pm to 5 pm around a very few other places, while meetings are mostly 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 sheer freak dumb luck fluke chance be recorded here.* Your other, totally true, stories are all welcome too. We can use a good laugh.

Caution – should you have a personal desire 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 being a club member gets you found last if ever.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the clatter of drinking and scraping of spoons, the sipping of wines and beers and the languid honking of passing drivers.

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, 12. April.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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– unless stated otherwise.
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