My Hard Life

photo, fete des tuileries, shoot the flume Shoot the Flume in the Tuileries.

Only Lacks Tropics

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 4. August:–  I was mistaken by the silence of absent Parisians last week. They stopped their banging, crashing, shredding and ripping because they were packing for their holidays. Over the weekend they clogged, they mobbed, they jammed train stations, autoroutes and airports to the rafters in a community effort to all leave town at the same time, causing traffic authorities to classify Saturday as noir. As much as the country could, it got on wheels and wings and flew south. All the clochards would have left too but reports from La Rochelle said it was full. And if they watched the TV–news they would have heard that this summer's tourists are broke.

As these events go, it was the last call to abandon ship. The government left town too. They only people left here are the 42% of Parisians who never go on holidays and some second–string caretakers, some six–packs of police and a couple of million tourists. Even the cats are sitting around sidewalks wondering where everyone went. As for me, now that nobody is here, I am going to search for a new apartment in peace. I must look back in these pages for my experiences of six years ago – maybe I better not. The situation is completely different now. We've been sub–primed.

photo, fete des tuileries, shoot the flume Next stop – splish–splash.

Kind of Sunny, Kind of Summer

It just goes to show that August is worth waiting for so long as you don't mind three out of five of your closest boulangeries being shut for holidays, and the fourth blowing up its oven was pure malchance and not directed at me in particular. Places that are still open are shutting on Saturdays, as well as the usual Sunday and Monday. But trust the TV–news tonight to tell us the department stores will be staying open longer. Then there's that new type of Monoprix called Monop that stays open until midnight. What will happen to the little grocery stores now? There's no poetry in it.

Tonight's TV–weather was pretty soft, because the dire warning about last night's tornado was omitted on account of extreme localization. Northern France was slammed but not one puff of wind crossed the border into Belgium. Today showed up with 24 mild degrees on the pharmacy sign. It was kinda sunny I think. Tuesday was forecast to be mostly sunny with a high of 26 degrees. On Wednesday it should be partly sunny, with a higher high of 29, especially if you stay in east Paris. West Paris will be mostly cloudy. Thursday was predicted to have lots of clouds, but with a minor high of 26. This will not be the heatwave that has been forecast for the past five years. It is just August kind of like usual except when it's really cold.

photo, sign, fermature annuelle, compagne

Last week Météo Jim did a file Anglais which is about what the Brits say about the French. Therefore there is no Jim's latest. Enlighten yourselves by going outside and looking up at the sky.

Hoochikoochistan Postcard

The first weekend of August came to lesser Pommeland along with the hurricanes. Next weekend will kick off the rest of the final month of summer, and the unveiling of September is another story that will be forecasted when Météo Jim returns.

Until then here in the world central of Metropole we anxiously await the first postcard from Upper Lesser Hoochikoochistan, from the first annual meeting of virtual weather reporters. Now I think of it, I should have given Jim a raise if I really want a postcard.

Meanwhile Pommeland's weather for the coming week is a repeat of most of August so far. Temperatures in the upper 80s a–grad along with thunderdonnergeboomers–ohrengesplitters on Tuesday afternoon and humid on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be perfect for evening dining in Flushing, to get into a perfect mood for the Olympics.

photo, sign, fermature annuelle, deckchairs

A la prochaine, Météo Jim, signed this week by radioric

Café Life

My Hard Life

I bet if I said I don't really care all that much about the weather nobody would believe me. I used to live in a town where they used to say that it was going to rain half the time. They were always wrong though because it was really going to rain three–quarters of the time. Some months it rained every day and night. They were trying to prevent mass suicide caused by universal depression. Compared to that place Paris is like paradise. Weather forecasts here are routinely mostly correct and rainfall is really very slight. Well, compared to the duckfeet I grew up with.

photo, fete des tuileries, churros Mighty fine eats!

To put out Metropole even if I don't put up as much these days, I have to stay in. Even when I stay in I'm supposed to go out and look for a new apartment. After a day of either putting up Metropole or procrastination, if the climate is having a good turn, I need to go outside. I have to go out. Sure, sure, it may be for cigarettes but I always take a camera. If I see that there's going to be a colorful sunset I can barely stop myself even if I don't need cigarettes.

Last Tuesday, when I was totally wasted from doing the last issue, I had to go out. I went to Concorde in the off–chance that the fountains would be spouting water, and the sundown sky was better than I expected, and yes, the water was flying through the heavens. There's just a little time–window of opportunity and I was a bit late. Two weeks before and after 21. June is best, if I want to catch a sunset, and see the evening's TV–news and weather first.

Otherwise I have to wait until winter when sunset is much earlier. Other than the fact that winter sunsets are less spectacular, I prefer them so I can wrap them up early and then watch the TV–news and afterwards maybe see a movie on TV or a DVD. Tonight for example, as part of Arte's pre–Olympic programming, they showed some "Summer of the 70s" stuff, followed by a Chinese film, "A Touch of Zen," supposedly an early Kung–Fu epic from 1972. I missed it first time around because I was in Germany having fun.

photo, concorde fountain The point of the whole thing.

That was in Hamburg where only one cinema had movies in VO and that was only on Sunday mornings. The same place programmed The Sound of Music every Sunday for two years. I gave it a pass. Besides, the first show was too early. After I came to Paris I was still too busy, even though a lot of cinemas here have movies in VO all the time. I couldn't have have seen more than five movies in 20 years. I might be up to eight now, but that counts a film I saw in New York. It was horrible too. I shouldn't have believed all the advertising.

Luckily the TV–news here plugs movies, both French and foreign. I get to see clips of hundreds of new movies a year, plus hear interviews with the actors and directors. I'm not sure how long I've had a TV set here – I might have seen thousands of these promo clips. I guess they aren't very motivating.

photo, fete des tuileries, carrousel Not just for kids.

What is kind of fun is going through the bins of DVDs at Disc–King over on Daguerre. It's not a really big place but they have hundreds of movies I have never heard of. They even have some of the movies my parents used to see in double–bills in the early 50s. If you are willing to get your fingers dirty the odds of turning up something interesting are pretty good. What an aid for procrastination!

At the moment I have movie futures. There have been so many great sunsets lately, that I just have to catch, that future movies are piling up. I go out and take the shots, go where I am taken – the initial destination usually gets prolonged simply by walking. Then it's back home and unravel them, and by the time that's finished there's only time enough to sleep until noon.

photo, rue de rivoli, sunset The night's ahead on Rivoli.

Yes, yes, I know, it's a hard life. Anytime there's a brilliant sunset, being called out to shoot it – no time to watch those movies from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and now the 00s. Plus there's hardly any time to meet Uncle on a café terrace and listen to him talk about all the Russian and Italian movies he sees at the Cinémathèque. Sunsets have priority.

photo, sign, fermature annuelle, boucher

Rollover Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with new members are fine with me. I can read Le Parisien some other time but usually don't. I would rather hear your stories so there's something to report even if it's silly. Regular members and new candidates are therefore warned. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 104% new, will be on 7. August, a few weeks before the begin of the fabulous rentrée. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome even if you feel like sitting at a table beside an open window.

A filthy rumor that repetition here will end someday is not untrue. One terrific fact and two crummy 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 for life without personal risk or any exorbitant fees.

photo, sign, fermature annuelle, zango

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is especially appropriate to remember that it was today in 1881 that the highest temperature in Europe was recorded in Seville. However the 50 C claimed was actually 46.6, good only for 5th highest. Nice try! It is also a reasonable to recall that today is the anniversary of the 1902 opening of the Greenwich pedestrian tunnel linking Greenwich to Newham – never heard of it – on the north bank of the Thames. It is possible that cyclists must walk their bikes through, even through the tunnel is on a trans–UK bike route. Let's also remember that Upper Volta in Africa became Burkina Faso today in 1984. This explains what became of Upper Volta. Saved the best for last, which is the birthday of Louis Satchmo Armstrong today in 1901. Just before the end he said, "I think I had a beautiful life. I didn't wish for anything that I couldn't get and I got pretty near everything I wanted because I worked for it." You can visit Satchmo where he lived in Corona, Queens, like I did a couple of years ago. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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