The Life and Times

photo, lady drummer, cafe metro, fete de la musique Rocking the night during the Fête de la Musique.

Of Shy Music Fans

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 23. June:–  The Strike of the Year on Tuesday was more like the Stroll Along the Grands Boulevards of the Week. Dancing girls in clean overalls strewed posies on the pavement while burly bus drivers waved gaily colored signs urging all to urge the government to reconsider its plans to make us all work more, enjoy working more and especially, spending more of what we make from working even if it is the minimum wage – except of course for pensioners, who everyone knows can thrive on imported canned water. The weather was so fine it was hard to be bitter and angry, the music so inspiring that we all felt like baritones and the route itself was novel, leading as it did towards the grands magazins and their walls bursting at the very seams with stuff none of us can afford.

Out That Way

It just goes to show that pre–mature summery weather can have a positive effect on head–room when there is an upside expansion potential. Without warning – I had become unglued from my observer position in front of the weather on TV – the temperature ripped itself away from iron grip of 21 degrees and jumped up the stairs, from 26 to 30 and more. Wait, don't go, there's more:

photo, night lights, vavin metro stop Night lights in Montparnasse.

The TV–news weather guy was somewhat apologetic about the outlook for Tuesday. He showed the big picture and said it meant that it might be stormy around here. There will be bits of blue sky, meaning sunshine – there will be cloudy bits too, meaning clouds – and there were lightening bolts, meaning the graphics folks wanted to add action. I believed none of it. The temperature prevision was 27, and maybe that means humid. It is to be 32 in Madrid tomorrow, and there is apparently ice on Mars. If you happen to be out that way don't forget your snow chains. Wednesday might be mostly sunny and 25. Thursday, always tricky, may be semi cloudy and semi sunny, with 25 as the high and it is supposed to continue like that into Friday.

Never missing a week, Météo Jim seldom makes spelling errors, like mine last week with tropedos. I am sure you make occasional mistakes too, especially when reading this. Here is Jim's New Orleans version of how it will be in and around greater Pommeland:–

Damn the Tropedo In the Sky

The first week of June brought broiling record high temperatures to Pommeland and the rest of the East Coast. The third week saw near–record low temperatures chill the morning dew. Since those weeks were odd – figuratively and literally – and the second week was even, what will the fourth – an even – week of June bring?

photo, sign, proteger les refugies

Something similar to the second week? Sunday will see a chance of rain in the morning but the showers will go on steroids this afternoon and become thunderblitzendonner–undgeboomen storms. The same pattern will prevail Monday through Wednesday with temperatures in the mid 80s a–grad. The cloudies and partly cloudies will take over for the rest of the week. There is a forecast for next weekend, but since the forecast for this week has changed from hour to hour, we won't forecast it until a hour from now.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Intro: the Week That Was

What a crazy week that was! Nigel flew in from New York, possibly by way of Chicago. Ever since Barack Obama got elected to be elected next November all flights from the USA are required to transit Chicago because it is the windy city and therefore aerodynamical. About two days later Max my number two son – now the biggest one – arrived on Europe's cheapest airline. No need to embarrass them by name, eh?

We pulled off a tref at the Bouquet. Some big football match was on their TV so we had a terrace to enjoy, until we got hungry and rolled up to the Quinze where we were given a large table because everybody was elsewhere watching that silly game. Saved us from having to dine at MacDo's. I thought we were going to be thrown out when Uncle asked for his cheeseburger without cheese and Nigel asked for bacon – pork in English – and garlic and something else I forgot. Then they neglected to bring the katchup but we were cool enough not to mention it.

photo, fleur of the yearThe one, the only, Fleur of the Year.

Then Max and I went to the pizza guy on Maine. Max asked for the extra hot Sicilian sausage and he got it. I am going to try and get some next time. In short, it was a week when we ate and ate, and guzzled and guzzled, and walked around belching softly, and Max admired the grass. Where he comes from the grass is so green it would hurt the eyes if the sun ever shone, but it doesn't. He remarked on our own sunshine and of course I pretended that it is an everyday thing we have.

The high point of the week was on the weekend, on Saturday to be precise. Hardly ever in the history – 27 years of it – does the sun shine during the Fête de la Musique but this year was different. There was the football on TV again too. It was like this:

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photo, cafe le consulat, montmartre On Montmartre with a few friends.

Shy Music Fans

After a lot of hesitation the clouds went away and the temperature hiked up to 30 and it did this for the one day a year that is the longest, which is the host for the Fête de la Musique. Around here when it is like it was Saturday night the setting sun lines up perfectly with the rue Daguerre and blasts down it until the sun drops somewhere into the Atlantic. Just add a shot of low and yellow sunbeam to the music.

In the afternoon we were up the hill, as my number two son Max put it. He kept saying it was warm and he kept looking for a pharmacy sign for proof. The one he finally saw said 30.5. Then he wilted. But first to the Monoprix where he found his beloved Monster Crunch and then all was well with life.

He had the ribs at the Penguins. I had the brick of salmon that wasn't but it was good enough. The last of the clouds were playing cache–cache with the sun's projected show – its once a year projection – but as we ate on the sidewalk the dim street was getting brighter and brighter, more golden, until we finished and it was set up, giving strollers half block–long shadows. Down it went and so did we.

It looked good at the Naguère. The set up in front of the post office included a serious–looking Roland piano, guitars, full–kit drums and other mysterious equipment and the musicians were pinging the strings and sipping beers. Around the corner the band at the Quinze was in full decibels. Zango was rocking, so was the Enfer, and there was more rock in a tent outside the Monoprix. Max is sixteen so we had to see all there was at Denfert, which was taking up the whole place with its Ricard bandstand. One of those colossal stages meant to make the fans feel like little folks. Was pro sound though.

photo, uncle and max Uncle and Max washing in light.

Back up Daguerre the group in front of the post office must have been resting so we kept on going, crossed Maine and wandered down Didot to the small place with the cafés. They had beer pumps outside and some more hard rockers under a tent. The kids loved it. Technical chores seemed to be under the control of Radio France.

We took the lane but there was nothing happening in Thermopyles – next weekend it's their turn – and at Losserrand the Métro café had another rock band in front. Lady drummer, African on the congas, three guitars and a tiny girl singer with brass lungs. A good singer. Red light all over from the neon, lots of folks, half were watching the football match on TV. They played a long set, started before we arrived and were still going when we left. The congas guy took over the drums while the drummer had a refreshing drink.

Back to L'Imprevu and they were still rocking, the kids still twirling, the moms still tapping and sipping and the lights still flashing. They don't test musicians for steroids, do they?

Went back to Daguerre and the café with the disco was still rattling nearby apartment windows. But the crew at the post office were on another break. We had a drink – we earned it – and there was an African with a guitar in the street with a crowd helping him out. One guy, with a participating audience of thirty. Over at the Quinze it sounded like Brazilian.

photo, fiat 500 of the week, red  and white Popular request brings it back.

A little girl was tapping the drums of the post office outfit. We urged her on. At the next corner jazz was tinkling out of the club there. There was a kitchen chair in the middle of Daguerre, meant I guess, to warn drivers that the street was full of folks waiting to find out if the post office crew could play that Roland piano.

Cool that chair. In New York there would have been 50 cops making sure we weren't misbehaving, and we were doing the traffic control with a chair. A little boy sat down on it as if to show that it was meant to deter the meanie drivers but a taxi came along so he moved it. The car before had just driven around it.

What with the spectacular sunset, with the quality of what we heard, with the immense crowds out in the warm air, I think it'll be remembered as a Fête de la Musique that really was a fête. Max said the Métro crew even played some songs he knew. One of those rare accident events that makes Paris magical.

Whispers, Rumors, Untrue Fibs

This regular feature which began recently and was dumped two weeks ago and got another dump last week, is back... not, waitaminute! I've had a busy week, dealing with hundreds of photos, making breakfasts, touring all over the place – I can't read the paper too. Trust me – nothing is happening. Read the comics. Surf the 'net. We can catch up with Sarkozy next week.

photo, sign, rue de la lune

Plug Matt's Hit On uTube

Ten years in the making, according to Matt Rose. Cruising on his art triumph in Berlin his contribution to the world's music scene I Have a Car is available for immediate viewing, and hearing! He wrote, "Think $6 gas." I suggested a sequel, I Have a Jolly Scooter but he declined. "It'll have to wait 10 years."

Soldes d'Eté Start Wednesday At Last

Skip it if you've already read this three or four times. Like the annual winter sales, the summer sales happen like taxes. This is scheduled even without any summer. In fact, the less summer there is, the more great stuff there will be on sale. However since the terrific goods on sale are priced in euros your possible savings might be slight. The sales will begin on Wednesday, 25. June, and the crazy shopping times roll on until 2. August.

The Original Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with a miniscule passel of members are fine with me. Like last week when we were enough for a whole quorum. Regular members and new candidates are welcome, so come already. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 109% new, will be on 26. June, a few days after this week's fabulous Fête de la Musique. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome even if you feel like waiting for your refund.

photo, sign, cabrio ashtray, red

The rumor that repetition here will end someday is baseless. Four dubious facts and three true 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 already be club members without personal risk or other fees.

photo, sign, tabac, red

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is appropriate to remember that it was today in 1565 that Turgut Reis, admiral of the Ottoman navy, Bey of Algiers, grand Beylerbey of the Mediterranean, etc., etc., died, hit from debris tossed up by a Maltese cannonball, during the siege of Fort Saint Elmo, which was captured, but overall for the Turks the Siege of Malta was a flop. No less so than during the Seven–Year War battle near Krefeld for the dominent French troops under the management of Baron de Clermont in 1758 or the equally silly battle of Landseshut in the same war in 1760 when Austria whomped Prussia, just like in the Euro soccer. On this date in 1948 the Soviets claimed that the trains to Berlin were broken and the day after they said they had no food for the Berliners, who promptly named themselves Islanders. General Curtis LeMay said that his guys could haul anything, and so they hauled 5000 tons of food, coal and gasoline per day into Berlin by air until the blockade was lifted on 12. May, 1949, a Thursday. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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