Nuit Blanche Wins

photo, nuit blanche, art scene, les olympiades, chinatown Whatever is going on here it's in Chinatown on Nuit Blanche.

All Blacks Lose In Cardiff

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 8. October:–  If I didn't have to go out in the weather I wouldn't find it so enthralling, so endlessly exciting, so delightfully thrilling. I wouldn't take it as a personal affront when it is decidedly crummy, terminally boring and plain mucky. If I didn't have to go out in it I could sit at home, warm and dry, and laugh laugh at the sorry weather forecasts on TV.

Welcome Back the Heat

It just goes to show that it does not matter how long the temperature lurks below 20 degrees after the middle of August, when the heating comes on sometime after the 1st of October – it is certainly welcome after six weeks of dire misery. No hard feelings – it's okay with me if the sun comes out to shine and the temperature tiptoes past 20 degrees – I no longer need to go outside to get warm. It's just a bonus.

In fact, according to tonight's TV– news and weather the temperature outside is now normal for the season. It is, as many readers know, October and normal appears to be about 18 degrees. If the sun is mostly shining this is not a bad temperature at all, so long as there's no wind from the northwest or the north. If there was, they would say 14 – gasp! – is normal.

Here's is what we have on our plate. There's a low over Britain, where it belongs, and this is slopping into northwestern France, causing crud along the Channel. Of course this involves some of that wind, more or less, so we will have a residue of clouds here on Tuesday, with a high of 18 degrees, a so–called normal temperature.

photo, illuminated towers, les olympiades, chinatown Les Olympiades in Chinatown.

A number was given to those breezes from the northwest for Wednesday and it is predicted to be 40 kph. Actually this will blow away the clouds and it will only be semi–cloudy or semi–sunny around here. The tradeoff is a high temperature of one degree less than normal, at 17 degrees.

For Thursday Le Parisien says it will be brumeux more than anything else. Tonight's TV–weather put a different face on it, forecasting a sunny day, pretty much all over France except for the usual autumn rain on the Riviera. A daytime temperature of 17 isn't terrifically wonderful but it's a lot better than a glacial 14 isn't it?

Météo Jim in New Jersey across the Atlantic from Portugal mistakenly thought Ed was on holidays when he only went out for cigarettes and has neglected to send a forecast. For this issue only, take it away me, Météo Ed:–

Pommeland has Usual Humidity

For several weeks now I have been slightly aware that it is very warm in New York where it might even be too warm, towards humid, but all the same the sap is draining out of leaves and half of everybody is wearing their post–summer dresses that are waving in Manhattan's gentle breezes, even if Met's fans are feeling dismal.

Tuesday will be cooler than Monday – you can look it up – but it will be humid, as I feared. Out–of–towners might be surprised that it can be as low as 24 and humid but I assure you that it can be as disagreeable as 96 and humid, possibly with thunder in the evening. In Paris it can even be 18 and humid. It's a fact of life. Polar ice melting causes humidity.

photo, quai de la gare, guinguette pirate Almost a regular Saturday night.

But not to worry! Wednesday will be more cooler and I hope everyone likes normal Paris–type temperatures for it will only be 67.444 degrees. And when it isn't raining it might be drizzling. Thursday should be much better when it is mostly cloudy and there are some possible showers, because the temperature might be 68. Friday is likely to be worse, with possible rain instead of possible showers, and only 65 degrees.

As Météo Jim would say, "A la prochaine, Météo Jim"

Café Life

Nuit Blanche Wins All Blacks Lose

We had Nuit Blanche on Saturday night. Actually I wrote this when it was still night so I guess we had it nearly all night long. I should say, we were having a complete nuit blanche all night long. I was that is.

The weather was good for it. Cool, not cold, not much wind. Smells carried on the air. That was good because I started in Chinatown. It is a place that smells good, makes you hungry.

There is this horrible thing called Les Olympiades that folks live in. It is so bad they put the entry on the first floor and dotted it with restaurants with pagoda roofs, and then they turned them all 45 degrees, making a proper maze of it. The good part was that there are a lot of direction signs. None of them pointed to the new métro station. For that you had to ask.

I don't understand Nuit Blanche. It is something artistic, maybe 400 items, events, scattered around Paris, in the dark, because it's night. In Chinatown – this is Les Olympiades – a couple of towers were used for floor–to–ceiling projections. But the photo on top of this page has me completely confused. I do not know what it's about. I guess it is a metaphor for Nuit Blanche. It reminded me of Blade Runner, without the rain.

photo, the seine, nuit blanche Lights, night, Seine and Saturday.

Take it away, nutbush! There was sound to go with the projections. It sounded like somebody discoursing about how awful it is not to have papers, not to have a place to live, how terrible it is to get deported by Sarkozy. I guess it is something that concerns the residents of Les Olympiades.

This was interrupted at 22:45 when everybody in the 750 closest apartments shouted for joy. The French team beat the mighty All Blacks in Cardiff. Folks were pretty glum on Saturday thinking about losing and getting booted out of the World Cup rugby tournament. Now they can enjoy their Nuit Blanche. All the teenagers raced out to buy 24–packs of beer and set off for the Champs–Elysées.

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photo, bridge, port quai de la gare, library towers Part of Paris' regular program.

I finally found the métro. There was a Twingo beside it full of fresh ferns and bright green lights. I wondered what it meant. The métro was the line 14, all stainless and shiny marble. Looks like the Moscowsubway. I rode it to Saint–Emilion and looked around for Nuit Blanche there. I saw nine photos, one pointy–topped tent and about 2000 people eating outside in the dark. Are they crazy – it's October.

I walked back towards Bercy, still in the dark, lit by the street lights on the speedway beside the Seine. There was a big screen opposite the bridge. It seemed to be showing a condensed black and white version of all the spaghetti westerns ever made, with no sound. It was very arty.

Not actually part of Nuit Blanche, the foot bridge had a splendid show of lights – from boats, other bridges, the passing métros, the Batofar, the finance ministry, the world's biggest library, and a three–masted schooner. It's like one of those ships in a bottle, floating, in Paris. Neat trick getting it in here.

photo, nuit blanche, follow the arrows From the métro, follow the arrows.

The quays were all lit up as if this part of Paris is some kind of Roman plaza. I don't know if they put this stuff in brochures for tourists but the local youth knows about it. There they were, standing around watching movies projected on pirate sails, drinking and dancing in the intermissions. It was like Halloween without the costumes and firecrackers. It goes on all the time on the Quai de la Gare.

Yeah, so most things go on all the time. No need to wait for Nuit Blanche to roll around every first Saturday in October. Of course, in Chinatown, I don't think that lady will be there in her open–air office with her fan. I wonder if she had already eaten. There were some wonderful Indochinese garlic smells up there.

photo, illuminated towers, les olympiades, chinatownLes Olympiades in Chinatown.

Update – Parisians were unprepared for the miraculous rugby win over New Zealand in Cardiff, but they caught on fast. There were an estimated 16–19 million lit TV sets – Le Parisien says they represented 29.4% of the French over the age of 4 – and a lot of them were watching on a big screen at the Hôtel de Ville and they joined a lot more on the Champs–Elysées for the traditional victory riot. Episodes from it were shown on TV news but Le Parisien had photos from everywhere else. All in all, a remarkable Nuit Blanche.

The Café Metropole Club

One of the club's totally new members showed up at the last club meeting, with six other members. Wow! The club's secretary, your average fumblefingers, took some so–so photos. The next Thursday when everything at the Café Metropole Club will be all new will be 22. November. All sorts of members of all standings will be welcome, as well as are all future members regardless of the year. Just tell yourself who you are.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 22. November, merely 6 weeks from now. The Saint of the Day will be Sainte–Cécile. From sheer habit I looked up next Thursday's saint. It's Saint–Firmin who was the bishop of Uzés, in case you are interested. Saints are easy to look up online but they don't always match the French calendar, so good luck!

photo, clock, la vie est belle

More déjà vu again, this is completely unrelated to Paris because it happens some other time and date. Loads of compelling lore about the club and its dual factoidii are on a page titled the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read some of it, and some have, will hardly need to be curious about some of the unwritten rest of it. Should I be wrong, check out the club's dismal but free membership card for clues, odors, secret ink or fingerprints and missing commas.

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

photo, sign, rue lobineau

No one should be surprised that last week ten years ago was a half–dozen days ago. Metropole used to have lots of real new stuff in it, such as Warm Days – Cool Nights, possibly in the Café column, Montmartre Kicks Out Jams, Stomps Grape, possibly was the week's feature, along with some posters and a cartoon entitled Pollution Chez Ed. That was enough although there was more in Issue 2.40 – 6. October 1997 because it is about Ten Years Later today.

Café Life Légère 90.5

Between Two Evils

Today's Quote of the Week has no connection to the the wonderful weather or the high price of ristans. For today's gem of philosophy I suggest a quote by Leo Tolstoy, who wrote plenty of good stuff, such as, "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives" Phew! Wordy, isn't he? What about this then – "Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before," attributed to who else but Mae West?

photo, sign, photo 1 heure

Timeless In the Patazone

There are no more than 84 days left of this year, the same number that 1582 had when the Georgian calendar was introduced, causing this day to be lost in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain. The problem was that the mean Julian calendar was a bit too long. In France Thursday, 4. October 1582 was followed by Friday, 15. October. The new version calendar skips three Julian leap days every 400 years or some such nonsense. But wait, there's more.

Wobble–G Nights

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 281 days, the same number that 1999 had when a new era began, according to the Coligny calendar, the oldest Celtic calendar. Thought to have been from the 2nd century, it was written in Gallic and Latin, it showed 16 columns with 62 months spread over five years. As it was lunisolar, Julius Caesar said of it, "All the Gauls assert that they are descended from the god Dis, and say that this tradition has been handed down by the Druids. For that reason they compute the divisions of every season, not by the number of days, but of nights – they keep birthdays and the beginnings of months and years in such an order that the day follows the night." So right, too!

photo, sign, vins a emporter

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is only reasonable to remember that it was in 1895 on this date that Ahmet Zogolli , or later, Ahmet Zogu, was born. When he was 33 he became quite rightly Zog I, King of Albania, somewhat after being prime minister and later still, president. Friends, of which he had a whole country–full, called him Zoggie and he handily survived over 55 assassination attempts. Albanian assassins couldn't shoot right. In self–defense he created a strong police force and instituted the Zogist salute. His mom became Albania's Queen Mom. Alas, Zog eventually retired to the French Riviera where he became a typical exiled monarch–type recluse with an appropriate lifestyle. The rest, as they tend to say, is history.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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