A Subtle Game of Cool Strategy

photo, rugby rooster, cedric soulette, trocadero gardens, tour eiffel For fans expecting rugby, a rooster and the Tour Eiffel.

It Looks Like Brawling

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 10. September:–  Here we are 10 days into the first month of fall, the wee kiddies are back in school learning to be geniuses and the leaves and the grass are vivid green. If only the météo would behave and act like Indian Summer, we could be at peace with the world instead of mooching around and cuddling up to warm TV sets.

It's On the Scoreboard

It just goes to show that the jam is always on the downside when the slab of fresh bread evades your clutch and lands in your clean lap, clad in your last pair of neat jeans. It's the perfect beginning to a month of sports on TV, a month of TV dinners, frozen food delights from Picard and ordering cases of beer, crates of wine and a lot of substandard pizzas, all called up on the portable phone. If you aren't already busted, buy phone company stock!

And now, as every week at this time, I turned to my elderly TV and examined its purple–green depiction of the climate. Monsieur Météo began by placing a deep low over the British Islands as if to excuse all that would follow. There is a big wheel of cloud whirling around it like a circular saw, with the teeth biting the northeast top of France. Add a 40 kph wind from the north and we have...

photo, rugby town tvs, rugby fans In the depths of Rugby Town.

Tuesday, when the morning's bad clouds move northeast leaving semi–friendly clouds behind, perhaps with some semi–sunshine peeking through. A temperature forecast of 21 degrees is supposed to be normal for this time of year no matter how much I think it's underachieving nonsense.

Followed by Wednesday when that circular business moves further to the northeast, letting us enjoy more semi–sunshine here, but with a negative tradeoff of temperature, of no more than 20 degrees. Then there's Thursday to come with perhaps more of the same, but brighter. Maybe even advancing to semi–good and the old calories heaving up to 22 degrees again. It looks good. Better seems to be out of question – take it out and score something.

Metropole's météo from Pommeland across the Atlantic is back in all its pristine glory, from our expert part–time predictor, Météo Jim. Woofies plucked, petards hoisted, decks swabbed with batten, let's go:–

Youthful Soixante–huitards

An anniversary of sorts took place on September 1. On that date, many years ago, Météo Jim, though not known by that name, left the country that used to be West Germany to go to Paris to study and be a student. The Summer of Love was fading, only to be replaced by the Years of Rage. Except for France, which was bored, and one thing the French fear above all is boredom. So, they held a party and called it les Journées de Mai in honor of les Grandes Journées of the French Revolution, or, less forcefully, les Evénements de Mai.

Thirty years later, Ed, Ric, Radioric and his cousin Radial Ric, who works for Michelin, started the –zine Metropole Paris, even though there was no Summer of Love. But a year later, events conspired to produce the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Mai 68. Now, more events have come to pass and next year we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Mai 68 and its ever youthful Soixante–huitards.

photo, my tv, crazy colors, green, magenta, ochre My betrayal of a TV.

As for the weather in Pommeland, far away from soixante–huitard land, tropical storm Gabrielle is threatening the eastern most section of North Carolina in the area known as Cape Hatteras. After making suitable threats, the storm will turn northeast and miss Pommeland and La Grosse Pomme. Even though no rain is predicted, Gabrielle's winds will cause strong rip currents making swimming dangerous.

Yesterday saw the last gasp of summer with temperatures about 90 a–grad. Cool fronts will bring the chance of showers and much cooler weather with temperatures in the low 70s by next weekend. These fronts will push Gabrielle further and further east and the storm hopes to be able to bring her winds and rain and visit Rugbyville in the next few days.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

photo, sign, cimetiere de montparnasse

Café Life

A Subtle Game of Cool Strategy

Friday finally arrived last Friday and 20 teams from both likely and less likely countries began playing rugby in France. True rugby fans knew this particular Friday was coming months or years in advance. In contrast I was confused. Somewhere they are playing football too, both in France and internationally. So Italy playing here is not the same as France playing Italy there, and the trainer that was banned from the game is not the same as the trainer here who was looking worried on Friday night when Argentina beat France at the Stade de France in Saint–Denis Luckily rugby is a subtle game of cool strategy that doesn't feature big kids kicking each other.

photo, trocadero, rugby fans, palais chaillot Lots of fans for next–to–no rugby.

Not that anyone would care a fig, but I like to watch rugby. I mean, it's only once every four years, and less often in France. Except for the rugby played here – see, folks in these towns close to the Pyrenées play rugby. It's like a religion and occasionally they bring a match to Paris to play, and everybody here goes nuts – they go out to bars and cafés and drink lots and sing songs and act like real good buddies. And the men act even stranger.

Rugby is not professional in France. Schools don't do sports so nobody learns rugby at them. Somehow guys – and some gals too – get together in places like Pau, Toulouse and Biarritz and they play rugby, whole seasons of it. In some way that is not clear it might be mixed up with bullfighting, which they do down there too. Maybe it's a Basque sport – except that it's named after some place in Britain. Maybe Basques are called Welsh there.

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photo, ruby, britain vs usa, big screen, hotel de ville Headroom at the Hôtel de Ville on Saturday.

In order to feel homey to the visiting fans and for Parisian thrill seekers, there's a Rugby Town – I'm not kidding – below the Palais Chaillot at Trocadéro, facing the Tour Eiffel. I thought there would be a big outdoor screen there – like the one at the Hôtel de Ville – because it's a good spot for watching stuff.

Instead they have a tent city full of LCD screens, a couple of bars and a restaurant – with a beautiful view – and a trinket stall. Action is outside where the kids are doing their skateboard and roller acrobatics. Inside it is noisy, warm, humid and faintly tacky, like the infield at Le Mans, a bit like the betting areas at Longchamp. It didn't seem like rugby to me.

The big screen setup at the Hôtel de Ville is more rugby–like, but without the bars, trinket shop, resto, or anything to lean on, like a bar. You can sit on the fake grass or stand on the hard stone. When I was there on Saturday the Brit team was overcoming some initial reluctance from a willing but inexpert American squad to lose, but they prevailed long before the end. Meanwhile the sun was going down softly and in color.

photo, rugby rooster, cedric soulette, tour eiffel More rooster, more Tour Eiffel.

The tournament continues until 20. October. Hundreds of millions will watch it on television. My set is having a prolonged death rattle, now with limited colors and a short in the audio. TV–news showed a Panasonic lady in a nearly empty warehouse the size of an A380 hanger, saying that everyone would get a large screen LCD in time. So I went around the corner to Darty and they said it would take them 10 days to deliver one to Metropole world headquarters.

But, hey, that's cool! At first the Joe said they had none, then that it was an old model, and then the delay. I didn't go for the three–year guarantee, the HDMI cable or the 40€ cleaning sponge. I guess they are letting it go at a loss. A lady calling last week from the phone company said I could turn this Powerbook into a TV set. Jeez, I could be watching rugby instead of writing all these typos into Metropole. What a twitwit!

Next year, not next week of course, there will be much more of everything. There always is, more bigger LCDs, more iTubes, more touchy iPods, more downloaded movies, more low–grade music, next year.

The Café Metropole Club

Some of the club's veteran members showed up at last week's club meeting and the club's secretary took beautiful photos of every one. All the same next Thursday there will be another try at getting more wonderful photos at the Café Metropole Club meeting. Any sort of members regardless of standing are welcome, as are as yet future members. You know who you are I think.

photo, rugby non fans, notre dame Meanwhile over at Notre Dame...

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 13. September, the kind of day a week after the last meeting. The Saint of the Day will be Saint–Aimé and Saint–Aimé of Remiremont. The second born in 560 and the first died in 690, both started at the Agaune Monastery. The legend also says the first became the Bishop of Sion in 669, while the second died about 628. When there are two saints with the same name on the same day confusions are bound to result but it's none of my doing.

Once more, this is completely unrelated to Paris because it happened in a distant time far away. There is some compelling stuff about the club and its lone factoid on a page mis–catalogued as the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read some of it, and many of you haven't, will hardly fail to be curious about the unmentioned other part of it. Should queries arise, check out the club's dismal but free membership card for clues, smells or ticks.

photo, sign, quai de corse

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

No one should be surprised that last week ten years ago was 520 weeks ago. Metropole used to have some new stuff in it, such as Who Demands 'Tabloid' Garbage?, possibly in the Café column and Surviving Back–to–School Chaos by 95 Percent, possibly was the week's feature, along with some posters and a cartoon entitled Our Respects. That was just enough in Issue 2.36 – 8.September 1997 because it was the rentrée, Diana was dead a week, and it was heavy going.

Café Life Légère 89.9

Beyond Gloom, Beyond Depression

Today's Quote of the Week has no connection to today's date, but does anyone care? For today's tidbit of philosophy I offer a quote by Luciano Pavarotti, who recently left Italy to join a higher choir. He once wrote, "Nothing that has happened has made me feel gloomy or remain depressed. I love my life." I am getting to this story late. What caused Luciano's depression, causing him to be gloomy? What's the real story here?

photo, banner, ouvert aux assoiffes de rugby

Wobble–Rugby Zone

There are no more than 112 days left of this year, the same number that 1419 had when Jean Sans Peur was assassinated by pals of the Dauphin, somehow connected to Louis of Orléans, younger brother of the increasingly loony Charles VI. In a plot involving hundreds if not thousands, everybody had at least six names. The good news is that Jean's place in Paris can be visited and the whole sorry tale has been sketched in Metropole already. See Fearless John Slept Here.

Monkeys In the Patazone

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 246 days, the same number that 1967 had when the folks living on Gibraltar voted to remain dependent on Britain because they had no wish to become fun–loving and Spanish. Britain won control of the Rock by winning and then they had their lawyers make it perpetual, back in 1713. It is thought that the first to arrive were the Phoenicians and since then everybody and his brother has lived there, including about 230 Barbary Macaques, or apes. In 1887 Jules Verne wrote a little satire about the monkeys near successful attack on the fortress. Who remembers the movie with Alec Guinness as the ferry captain with a wife in Gibraltar and another in Tangier? Imagine, all this stimulation in an area a lot less than 6.5 square kilometres!

photo, poster, 1927-2007, 80 annees folles, 80 crazy years, la couploe

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is fair to remember that it was in 1858 on this date that George Mary Searle discovered asteroid 55 Pandora. That reminds me that today is the birthday, in 1898 of inventor Waldo Semon who gave us the gift of vinyl. He did not invent bubble gum. But what was that compared to pop–singer Paulus who swam from Bercy to Auteuil today in 1905? Keeping him company was Australian swimmer Anette Kellermann, who was also credited with inventing the single–piece bathing suit, which got her busted in Boston. For an encore she appeared nude in 1916 in the movie Daughter of the Gods. In 1911 Annette was also the first swimming mermaid in a movie. Too bad it's not Annette's birthday today. Finally, on this date,, the first British submarine sunk in WWII was torpedoed by a Royal Navy submarine.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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