Jets Interdits

photo, water jets, parc andre citroen, sunday Only illegal fun can be this crazy.

Jazz Sans Smoke

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 12. May:–  As a bonus for nothing we have had a week of summer weather. We had warm days and warm nights and sometimes it was warmer than the traditionally warm parts of the country, and I changed my mind again about moving to the Riviera. For down there the winds did blow and the clouds were low and heavy with rain, according to the TV–news, which gave us a week's holiday from showing how the happier half lives except for them that are we.

Corrugated Tinfoil Taste

It just goes to show that if summer happens in May that is the time my refrigerator is going to pick to die. While all the windows were open 24 hours a day my orange juice was like soup and my ice cubes were vapor and my fake beer tasted like corrugated tinfoil. Until they brought the new machine on Wednesday I was without a shade of refrescos or any other cool deliciouos. The spell–checker wil burp on turn that one.

photo, water spout, water jets

That may have been our entire summer. Tonight's TV–news weather forecast showed diminishing returns. Although Tuesday might be mostly sunny there will be increasing clouds. The temperature will be like today with 26 c–grads but the rest is downhill. Don't expect more than semi–sunny for Wednesday, with 23 degrees. Cloudy and stormy was predicted for Thursday, and only 21 degrees. Now we'll find out what they mean by normal weather.

Observing observations from Météo Jim leads to gloomy tidings for baseball. The season continues regardless so here is his ultra new ultra brief version of how it will be in and around greater Pommeland:–

Métèo Déjà Vu Again

On May 29, 1913, Igor Stravinsky unveiled his masterpiece Le Sacré du Printemps with Ninjinsky as the star. A near riot took place at the end of the show and Stravinsky and Ninjinsky's undying fame was secure. The immortality of this spring was nowhere as dramatic, but it was just as controversial. Snow, rain, tornados and low temperatures were rioting all over the land.

In Pommeland la Fête des Mères saw sunny skies give way to the partly and then the completely cloudies with temperatures struggling to reach the mid 60s a–grad. As midnight fell so did the rain.

Today, Monday, will see between 1–2 a–inches of rain and a high of 50 a–grad. The weather for the coming week will be a rotten repeat of last week. For more details, see last week's Metropole or turn to page 37 of this week's edition for corrections.

photo, sign, acces aux jets d'eau interdit

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Jazz Sans Smoke

Some of us were overage in '68 so we were not paying much attention to the currant 500th anniversary, although if Sarko wants to say it was a crock of merde we will pretend that it was the greatest thing since snail shells were stuffed with garlic butter.

Uncle Den–Den is always telling everybody that he never listened to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. That's the kind of old duffer he is. He listened to jazz, west coast bebop, and only pretended to like 'Love, Love Me True' because he was hanging in the Haight trying to score with the hippy maidens. As soon as he saw it wasn't working he denounced the music and he's never quit.

photo, serra slabs in the tuileries Serra's steel plates in the Tuileries.

The other night he phoned and said Jonathan was bringing the Romanian lady to dinner, as a surprise for Sonny Simmons, who expressed interest in marriage. Yeah, that's right, Sonny Simmons is in town, hanging out on the café terrace with a brown bottle of Pelforth. His henchmen are here too, and Uncle said they were driving him bats. A houseful of bebop musicians can do that. I declined the invitation to dine.

These guys, Sonny Simmons, Michael Marcus and Jay Rosen, are the Cosmosamatics and they do jazz. This was Saturday night in a celler of a tiny bookshop in the fabulous rue Daguerre. I had to go because every time I passed the café I saw Sonny on the terrace with a Pelforth and it would have been impolite to just go about my business, which was carrying groceries home from Monoprix. Also there is the '68 anniversary, and I have never heard any jazz in a real Paris celler. It was like a triangulation of fate.

photo, jazz fans in the street, rue daguerre Jazz fans between sets.

It was a good thing there was no massive publicity for the gig because the celler was not large. Word–of–mouth filled it up with folks sitting in the aisle, back up the stairs, and down in front on the stage which was just a little place big enough for three musicians and jazz CDs for sale. If you have been listening to iPods for the last three years you might be surprised at how loud a live but unamplified saxophone is in a tiny celler.

These days, days of Sarko and wine, we do not smoke in cellers any more. On Saturday night it was a good thing because I doubt if the celler had any ventilation other that the air that floated down from the book shelves. Around Midnight topped off the first set and everybody climbed the stairs and had their smokes in the street or went along to the Zango on the corner for a brown but cool Pelforth.

photo, celler jazz trio, sonny simmons, michael marcus, jay rosen, cosmosamatics Sonny Simmons, Michael Marcus and Jay Rosen in the celler.

It was a beautiful night, warm, clear, still, with many folk out of town. It is May so it has been like a month of holidays and long weekends with a few strikes to be added for spice. Now that the weather had quit being spring it was like summer so being in the street at night outside a celler jazz club was the right thing to do. Some were even wearing their flipflops. Well, some people wear cargo shorts and flipflops year–round here. You know, pretending Paris is on the Riviera.

Actually it was like that on Thursday. I went to the Tuileries to see the Richard Serra masterpieces of monster rusty steel panels, about two metres high and 60 metres long, two of them curving away from each other. The sun was blazing like it seldom does and puffs of wind from the east were picking up clouds of dust and shooting through these steel plates with a jet engine effect, probably unintended. Folks were playing with them. Tells you how witless TV is.

photo, fountain, water spout, small pond, tuileries

Where was I? Oh yes, being hopelessly romantic in a smoke–free jazz celler in the bohemian sector of Montparnasse, former home of Calder and Sartre, Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Hemingway slept here, at number 58 rue Froidevaux. Sure he did, in the cemetery, which is on the even–numbered side of the street. I don't think Hemingway got any further south than the Dingo in the rue Delambre. Do I sound like I need a cigarette? Should I learn to snap my fingers?

Jets Interdits

You can't count on summer breaking out every year so even if it happens when it isn't, technically, summer, I have to get out there are get the summer photos so everybody sitting at home from Peoria to Melbourne can see the sun shining here and the happy folks wading merrily in the pools and fountains that they are supposed to keep their dirty feet out of.

The truth is simple. Paris is not near the Riviera and is far from the seaside. So when the sun shines in the month of long–weekends, May, and the temperatures climb above 25 degrees, the people tend to go out where water sprouts, sprays, burbles, trickles, tinkles, floats and flows and fool around with it. Kids, who don't read signs, are the worst.

photo, ice cream truck, 1928 ford pickup, parc andre citroen Ice cream truck in the park.

Last week they were playing on the waterfall steps at Bercy. Yesterday there seemed to be 2000 kids leaping and carousing on the water jets in the Parc André Citröen. Admittedly the signs prohibiting this were tiny but there were two of them, right dead–centre in the middle. I have no doubt another 3000 were up to their necks in the pools at Trocadéro, another hah–hah favored watering hole.

I have no idea where the water comes from but I bet it was freezing cold. Did the kids care? They knew where they weren't. They weren't at home and they weren't at school and they weren't at summer camp, surrounded by moms and monitors. They were freaking free, in the jets interdits. Learning to be French I guess.

photo, fiat 500 of the week, original Oh so cute, a Fiat 500.

La Nuit des Musées

For the fourth year France puts on one of its cultural freebies, in this case called La Nuit des Musées which means that about 130 cultural places will be open and free next Saturday, 17. May, at nighttime, rain or shine. In all, about 2000 institutions throughout Europe will have their doors open when they are normally closed. Bring a flashlight.

photo, sign, place balard

Soldes d'Eté Déjà

Like the annual winter sales, the summer sales happen once every year. This is programmed to happen with or without any summer. In fact, the less summer there is, the more stuff there will be on sale. However since the goods on sale are priced in euros your possible savings might be slight. The start date for the sales will be Wednesday, 25. June, and the good times roll on until 2. August.

The Only Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with a lone member are okay with me, and last week there we were again, à deux. Other members and candidates are welcome too, without question. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 99% new, will be on 15. May, another one of our great strike days, for teachers this time. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome even if you intend to demonstrate and wave a banner.

Repetition here is slated to end someday but persists today. Several dubious facts and other false rumors about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have actually read it, and one or two may have, may become club members even despite their wishes.

photo, sign, metro, paris metro

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is merely right and fair to recall that it was today in 1941 that Konrad Zuse showed off his Z3, the world's first programmable working computer, in Berlin. Working in his parent's apartment in 1936, his first Z1 was less successful. His Z4, the world's second commercial computer, was installed in 1950. Meanwhile, in 1930 the pilot Jean Mermoz was the first to push a flying boat non–stop from Sénégal to Natal in Brazil . But he was topped in 1825 by the birth of Antoine de Tounens who adventured to South America where he had himself proclaimed as Orélie–Antoine 1, King of Patagonia on 20. November 1860, a Tuesday. The Chileans objected but they always do. It may be useful to recall the famous words of Niccolo Machiavelli who said, "The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves." That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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