Sausages and Peppers

photo, parvis chaillot, tour eiffel, you are here You could be here too.

The Good, Free Life

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 9. July:–  This news involves Ed getting up late and walking around in a daze, looking for free orange juice, free meals, free entertainment, sports in the form of the free Friday night Roller Rando – finding all these plus a lot of free rain, free magazines to read in the library, free re–runs to watch on TV, and the general good and free life in Paris' 14th arrondissement,

Lucky Us

Tuesday:– Uncle Den–Den called a meeting at his place and we gathered there after heaving up the five flights. I must have started something with my 2007 twinkle–light glasses because he put on his double–breasted jacket and announced that henceforth we should call him Den–Den–Foo. As if that wasn't enough he dipped back into his closet of tricks and came out wearing a fringed Haight jacket with an appropriate hat. He said he hadn't worn either since 1966. He looked like a cleanshaven Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider.

photo, ice cream tour eiffel Melange of symbols.

Nigel visits fairly often. I think it is because Uncle Den–Den always has a going–away dinner, although sometime he stages them when Nigel is elsewhere. I heard that Uncle Den–Den and Dimitri were plotting the details of this feast, and sure enough when I turned up, Dimitri was slaving over a hot stove in the tiny kitchen.

So we had the floor show, to the rich sound of Evra Evora. Then a frying pan full of little potatoes was placed on the table, flanked by a large pan full of Italian sausage and peppers. Dimitri said it was a Hungarian recipe. It was so good there wasn't quite enough for the five of us, but then there was Greek salad and some kind of jawbreaker. Wine during was chased, eventually, by old Armagnac. I had to burp so I left early.

It's a Wonderful Time

photo, dimitri cooking Dimitri messing about.

Saturday:– You can tell it's a wonderful time to be alive when the Tour de France starts in London and the rain stops for it. Or when a French basketball star is married to a cute American TV star in a civil ceremony by the mayor of Paris, then gets remarried in some old church where the bell once tolled the the beginning of the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre – right next to the club's café – also a happy wedding day.

The rain stopped for it too, but the scene was draped in black to keep the rabid paparazzi from getting their sleazy photos, and then all were bused off to a château so splendid that a jealous Louis XIV tossed its owner into a dungeon for life. And throughout, if the sun was not actually brilliant, at least it wasn't off in Dakar.

While Paris was dazzling itself by having fits of common sense – Bastille Day next weekend is another story – young men were bravely running with the brave bulls in Pamplona early in the morning and hardly any of them were killed outright. The best gore–wound doctors in the world practise there because there's lots to do. The bull at Chaillot reminded me of it, and I wept because I will never do it. I could never get up that early.

photo, uncle den den, our hostUncle Den–Den fooling around.

Other sports can be seen at Chaillot too. On Saturday I saw break–dancing that might be acrobatic and not sport, but who knows. Nearby there were the roller kids and the skate kids and they lept in the air the same this year as they did last year and I guess the only reason they never tire of it is some grow up and run with the amok bulls in Pamplona.

Meanwhile other ethnics, not Basques but Bretons, chose Trocadéro for their games, which required two rubber liferafts, several costumes and their national flag. They did not appear to be totally sozzled – just high on life. Not worth mentioning were the few waders in the pool because even if it is July the weather was actually perfect for April, when we had our July weather instead.

photo, cafe quinze, jean louis Jean–Louis is happy.

In the evening Uncle Den–Den phoned to say he was too ill on account of Nigel's recent visit – correction – Nigel went to a wedding in the Pyrénées this weekend – but he thought I should know that the local café and lounge known as the Quinze was having its first anniversary. Champagne buffet and music, come one and all, they are as happy as Larry. Actually the patron's name is Jean–Louis and he did offer me Champagne – spelled with a capital 'C' because it was the real McCoy – but I asked for an orange juice, which I got. I watched Nigel eat a cheeseburger without cheese there last week. He said it was good but they were better last year.

This has been quite a bit of not–quite news from here without mentioning President Sarkozy once. The only event of note was Madame Sarkozy returning her Elysée Palace bank card because she wasn't elected president. The Canard blew the whistle on that one, so I expect there's more to come. It's what it does.

photo, dimitri, nigel, glasses, bottles Why are these guys laughing?

I got Bob Patterson's note about the new Fiat 500. Although there are lots of original Fiat 500s left I quite welcome the new one because they will ensure that I can keep Metropole stocked regularly with the vital Fiat 500 of the Week photos even if there's none this week.

I heard about the new one some time ago but decided not to help the Italians with this minor automotive breakthrough, reckoning that they would iPod it, GPS it to death. To be properly retro, it will need a AM radio that only gets RTL. You know, a radio that fades in and out and only has one station button.

The Shipping News

Sunday:– Between downpours I was celebrating getting through the week without learning any new songs or being dragged off to debtor's prison when I was hailed from the terrace gloom of Peret's wine café in the rue Daguerre. I found Dimitri in there with Malachy Quinn who I used to see occasionally in the Bouquet café

photo, malachy quinnMalachy Quinn, after lunch. Long after.

They had been having lunch all afternoon, trying to imagine how to promote Malachy's new play, Sheridan, that will be performed at the Andrews Lane Studio in Dublin on Thursday 9. August to Saturday, 11. August, at 20:15. When it played in Paris earlier this year it was on in French, and the French cast will do it in Ireland under the direction of Yves Jégo.

I looked it up. "Let there be blood and guts!" – a tragicomedy in two sublime and witty acts. Malachy is Irish but he lives in Malakoff so it makes sense he wants his countrymen to hear his play in French, I guess. Tickets are 15€ and you can get them by calling 01 67 95 57 20.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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