A Handful of Ados

photo, lucky, group of one of the week One of six shots catches Lucky, caught in Paris by luck.

About Next To Nothing

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 2. August:–  If I've said it once, I've said it before. Uncle Den–Den phoned to say it too. I picked it up and he shouted "MOYER!" down the wire and through the airwaves into my brain. "It's flippin' cold out!" Like it's my fault. Like I sit in front of the TV and shout at the guy on France–2. "Give us good weather or we'll pick up our marbles and go home." And he apologises for the next wave of miserableness to blow in from the Atlantic.

What it means is, if there's a smidgen of sunshine I have to rush out with the camera in hand and race down to Paris–Plage with an empty memory card, and scoot along going click, click, click. And there's the folks down there, expecting to be living a summer in Paris in total calm – everybody's gone, Sarkozy's gang in the Assembly Nat passed all those rash promises he made – he said, "Nobody leaves town until all my reforms are in the bag!" He alone has guaranteed a wonderful and exciting rentrée.

photo, bottle of pelforth, empty Bottle of the Week.

But that is ahead of us. The here and now is tonight's TV–news weather forecast. They sprung it as a surprise, before they finished the commercials, so I had to sprint into place as he was showing the spew from the ocean. Whirl, twirl, looks bad allright. Dreck in the... east. Hey? What's he say? Looks like, clouds, maybe a little sunshine, temperature almost a respectable 24 degrees.

Wait! Don't give up. He beams a grin to the viewers, and tosses out his ace – lookit Saturday! The whole dang shebang is covered in yellow sunballs. It is Jerry Lee Lewis' weather, there's a whole lotta sunballs goin' on. North, south, east and west, sunballs partout. Oh, it will be sweet! No need to fit in with the sardines grilling at Cannes. And here's the cherry on top of the cake – high temperature for Saturday afternoon, from 12:01 untill 17:30, is forecast to be 28 degrees. We finally get out of the sub–zero hole of temperatures below 25.

Then, folks, there's Sunday. Don't pay any attention to those thin clouds drifting in from the west, to discourage all the semi–discouraged lining the Atlantic coast, because around here it will be sunny like Saturday. More sunballs all over. Over Montmartre. Over Etoile. Over Montparnasse and Bastille and all three sides of Paris–Plages. And on those city beaches the temperature will get up to 31 degrees, a bonafide August level. Secret Tip of the Week – 26 degrees is the temperature of the water in the sea around Corsica.

The Ados About Nada Report

A misstatement I made last week needs a correction. Folks do not often ask me about my moods on Thursday. At best they see me in the club's café and note to themselves that I still seem to be breathing, man it's okay, and get on with the meeting. That's why I have my spectacular breakfast, a ton of fruits and yogi, heavy–duty French bread with jam and a litre of strong café. The last thing I need to be at a club meeting is moody.

photo, french national sandwichThe French National Sandwich.

It was a little hard today. Yesterday evening the sky was blue, Tuesday too, but today looked like it was tired. Two good days in a row and it can't take any more. Feeble weather. I suppose it was 22 when I left for the club and I bet it was 22 when I came back. Doesn't it know it's August?

Then, I got down there and across my bridge – the Pont Neuf – to the paper kiosque in front of Samaritaine, and all it had for new posters was stupid posters or old posters. From that tremendous poster bonanza of a couple of weeks ago it's fallen to the bottom of the August poster pit. Same thing for the Morris columns. The best I've seen so far is a poster for a film hitting the cinemas in October.

At the club's spot in the Corona I took out Le Parisien and started to read about the score – out of 20 – that it's given to Sarkozy's government since it took over. Overall score was 11.1 and the prime minister was awarded 10. My eye flicked to the juicy details at the same time as a shadow fell across the club's fake wood table. I looked up.

photo, glass of pelforthSoup of the Week.

To see member A–Lucky Checkley from New York City, exactly the Astoria part of it in the fabulous borough of Queens. Lucky shows up every year about this time, after seeing his friends around the country, and after photographing the final stage of the Tour de France from a position within the frenzied mob on the Champs–Elysées.

Except, Lucky skipped last year, or skipped the cub meeting. Maybe it wasn't a Thursday. Besides being a photographer and living in Astoria, Lucky is also an administrator at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and he graciously gave me a tour there a couple of years ago.

"You know, I forget," he said, "What's that thing you get when you're older?" It's on the tip of my tongue – "Starts with A and has a Z in it?" I prompted. "That's it," he replied. Apropos of what was lost because we immediately began a tour of the horizon, with visits to China with a side trip to Bollywood and the call centres of India, all decidedly inappropriate.

photo, sunset on tuesday Sunset of the Week, on Tuesday.

Oh, there was London too, because Ghandi arrived there once and some hacks of Fleet asked him what he thought of funky western civilization. He said he thought it was a very good idea. Ghandi was quite a funny guy, as I'm sure everyone will agree. He wasn't a Red for one thing, even if the Brits considered him to be a subversive.

There's the Chinese too. You see all that stuff they are building in Shanghai. Is it still called Shanghai? What is its real name nowadays? Anyway, all the stuff being built there, and the western hippies living in old neighborhoods being torn down while they are sleeping in them. What always strikes me is that they – the TV – never shows Chinese cemeteries.

Listen, there's 1,329,349,000 folks in China – including Hong Kong, and about 9,305,000 of them die every year. There must be huge cemeteries. Or, if folks are cremated, like in India, that probably takes a lot of wood. Where do they get the wood? Doesn't it cause some pollution, burning all those logs? I mean, the whole world is up in arms about all the SUVs being driven in California and nobody says anything about all those cremations in China, or India.

Lucky and I grapple with questions like these until we get tired of not having any answers, and then Lucky orders a sandwich, which turns out to be the French National Sandwich. You know, a hunk of baguette with a slice of rubber cheese and two thin slices of tired ham inside. No pickle, no nothing on the side, no little greenery and no toothpick. The basic item.

photo, the club's secretary At work, the club's secretary.
Photo by Lucky.

Somehow when I show Lucky the club's official camera – to be frank, it probably wasn't Lucky at all – the focus thing goes for a hike, and when we are outside on the pavement getting the Group Photo of the Week, it can't find Lucky. I suspected this while I was looking in that little window but I shot him up anyway. Passing truck drivers waved and shouted remarks. Ohh, if Lucky only knew! He uses a 4x5 and sheet film.

But in the end there were no complaints. Lucky paid the note and we walked out the door together, and we left the question of all that wood burned in India behind, one of those little mysteries. Next year of course, the Tour de France will be all new, with new dope rules, and it will be an exciting race that wipes out the participants but they are happy to do it for the sheer joy of all those jovial folks that line the roads of France and other countries, under the sunny skies of July.

Reminder – News You Can Use

WiFi For Email Addicts

Cyber cafés may be a bit thin on the ground in Paris but the city has begun offering free access to the Net via the magic of WiFi. Operational now are 400 points of access spread around 260 city locations – libraries, museums, city halls, parks and open spaces. In general, you should be able to obtain access from 07:00 to 23:00, but it will depend on the open hours of the location. Note:– the Tuileries and the Luxembourg are not parks operated by the city. No WiFi alors. Additionally, there may be not 400 access points until September, therefore if you don't connect it's your fault.

Soldes d'Eté To End

The annual summer sales in Paris continue until 4. August, next Saturday. Try and remember this.

About the Café Metropole Club

Tickle your mouse towards the club meeting report buried deep in the fathomless archive of the Internet. Speed–scrolling long semi–tiresome reports is faster than being at boring club meetings but only provides a scoot of the real dialogue. An explanation for what we are doing here may be unconvincing but can be found on the outlandishly named About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Speed Written Fine Print Here

Nearly spontaneous as always, half unrehearsed, partly out of control and again less than two members. Club meetings are actually from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 9. August. These times are virtually the same as from 3 pm to 5 pm around some other places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you truly feel like saying will be fully appreciated by the other members present if they are present and listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are all welcome too. Members like funny jokes.

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. To stay unfound decline membership.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the wood missing from China and India, except for making baguettes. Is that it? They use used baguettes?

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. August..

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