Something Is Burning, Darling

photo, group, martine, marie, jan, dana The total Group of the Week, Martine, Marie Jan and Dana.

Only Cheese of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 11. September:–  The Event of the Century – so far – was seven years ago today, and was remembered by club members who were here then and who were here today. We didn't talk about it but the date was acknowledged. We knew what the date meant. Remembrance was brief and slight – there is an awful lot that is not forgotten and probably will never be forgotten.

It was like a little blip and the meeting filled in the spaces around it and expanded, and with one member hauling up late in the game, we tacked overtime on but I doubt if this report will reflect it – as in, longer meetings mean bigger, better reports. Uh–huh, less goes into a longer meeting, the silences are filled with sillier material, and since there are no silences, well, although I am the secretary and therefore responsible, I have no control over anything and that's the way it should be because there is no Big Brother here. No governor either.

TV–news tonight had the story about the fire in the Chunnel. Apparently nobody was killed when a fire occurred and all the Eurostar trains between London and Paris were stopped and returned to home bases. There was the usual uproar at Gare du Nord with thousands of passengers trying to reprogram their voyages – "Do they still have boat–trains?" France's minister of the interior scooted up there – to the tunnel mouth – to signify that president Nicolas Sarkozy is on the job. I am not aware that he showed up at the Gare de Montparnasse last weekend when some electrical thing fell off a TGV, stranding thousands of weekend travellers. Tonight, SNCF and Eurostar seemed to think that Chunnel rail service will resume tomorrow.

photo, beer of the week It smells like the
Beer of the Week.

That'll be a good move because we are expecting the Pope on Friday. Apparently he will not be staying around long. There'll be some big show at Invalides and then he's going off to Lourdes, where he really has a lot of big fans. Also according to tonight's TV–news, there are a lot of Catholics in France but not many of them go to church regularly, not even to get married. However the serious ones are getting more serious, and sometimes you even see them around the marché, – like the Cocos or Friends of the Birds – explaining their philosophy.

We got a large blast of warm air from the southwest and it served us some ambiance last night, great for dining outside. It wasn't the type of evening to squander in watching TV re–runs. It meant that today started fine and blue but by 14:00 it clouded over and felt somewhat humid. The temperature was about 24 degrees. Tedious and slightly true weather details follow the club report.

The Something Is Burning, Darling of the Week Club Report

I had high hopes for another grand scoop of new posters on the way to the club but the score was only average. There are still too many old posters re–running. Hey! We want new posters! We deserve new posters! While whoever is responsible is at it, we also want good posters. You can put all those crappy posters for the telephone rip–offs out... why not put them out at La Défense? That's the kind of place where folks buy a new phone every week.

I gave my bridge, the Pont Neuf, a thorough inspection. Its granite paving stones are holding up nicely. It was great to see it in such good shape. It was also great that the sun was shining brightly enough to see it clearly. I skipped across, whistling Singing In the Rain. Oops, no, that's what is playing at the moment on radio TSF–Jazz. By Gene Kelly.

photo, wine of the week Red–type Wine of the Week.

In the café's Grande Salle, in the club's corner in the back, when I arrived, members Jan and Dana Shaw were there, encornered, looking like it belonged to them. Jan claimed she had just arrived too. Dana might have been there for weeks. We discussed how Paris had changed since 2001 when they were last here.

Three items – prices are not the same, not just because they are not in francs any longer. Dana remembered old francs too. Back in the days when there was 500 francs in a dollar. We remembered that the dollar isn't the same any more, like when coffee was a dime, instead of four bucks.

Second – the Shaws remembered there being more Chinese tourists back then. More Italians parade now, they thought. I explained what the Parisians did to the Olympic flame and how the Chinese reacted, by telling Chinese tourists to go any place except France. Maybe they noticed the Chinese department at Galeries Lafayette, the one with no Chinese in it?

photo, psg shirts, jan and dana The PSG Shirts of the Week.

The third difference they noted is the bicycles. There are more bikes in Paris now and more people ride them. On the way to the club I noticed that a Vel'Lib parking in the rue Mazet had doubled in size during the summer. There must be about 40 bikes there.

Lesser novelties include the Smart cars. Jan said, "I think of them as the dot of an exclamation mark." Then she told us about going to Notre Dame and lighting a candle for Jeanne d'Arc. And that reminds me, from tonight's news, that Jean–Marie Le Pen of National Front fame said he was retiring, without saying he's retiring. He's going to quit, he said, but he's going to hang around to make sure nobody screws up. Anybody other than Marine Le Pen might say so what?

Then we discussed the aesthetics of steel. This led to Richard Serra's slabs in the Tuileries. Dana said little fences had been added to the Don't Touch! signs. Dana is very much against huge ferris wheels at Concorde or in the Tuileries. He thinks they make Paris look trashy.

I haven't mentioned member Marie Mazurchuk from Vancouver because she just arrived. She must have run all the way because she immediately organized a beer from Patrick, the Waiter of the Week. Meanwhile Dana told us about the member's apartment where they are staying, about the two air conditioners – "That work!" And something else about complicated heating and cooling in their Florida home.

He was in the midst of his excursion to his old school near where Roland Garros is, when member Martine Asscher–Baudoix – who lives near there – came in, in time for her portable phone to hoot. Jan started explaining about the football club shirts she got – out of the bag, try 'em on – only have PSG, stands for Paris–Saint–Germain, which is not Quartier Latin, but Saint–Germain–en–Laye. Dana said, "We should try and get Red Star shirts."

photo, wash stuff of the week, martine and marie The Magic Wash Stuff of the Week.

Red Star is the Saint Denis club, probably in the second or third league. Last season that's where PSG almost landed. Dana said he used to go out and watch Red Star games when he went to school here. Martine's phone gave a big hoot and she moved away so she could yell at it. Marie began to tell us about the thrill of the view of the Tour Eiffel from the top of the Tour Montparasse. I stopped myself from mentioning the movie, Tour Montparnasse Inferno.

Martine got off the phone and back into the game with all sorts of good tips. She knows where to get cosmetics and I don't. She knows Printemps is better than Galeries Lafayette, and why. On restaurants she said, "You should go to a very snobbish place..." to Marie, who is leaving next week. Martine also gave us the barebones about the Marriage of the Week. She said, "Jean Sarkozy got married. He's 21 and the bride is 22. There were no photographers."

Printemps is better because it has a secret terrace above the top floor restaurant, one that has a better rooftop view, especially considering that Samaritaine closed. We all look at what's left of our warm drinks. It is long past 5 pm and Martine has more secrets to impart. Like where Parisians buy dresses cheap. It's close. What's its name?

I have actually been listening. Suddenly there is a big smell of exceedingly overfried cheese. I say, "Rue Saint–Placide?" Martine calls out to a passing Patrick, "Something is burning, darling." Then she turns back to Marie and Jan. "Yes, rue Saint–Placide, that's it." Dana doesn't remember but it the street he would have probably taken from where he lived, to get to Bon Marché. I leave a little tower of coins on the table and get outside to some warm breezes fanning the quay.

photo, lemon drops of the week Les Anis de Flavigny, lemon drops.

Down In the Dump Weather

The weather on tonight's TV–news should have been wished with wipers. Tomorrow might be horrible. As always mucky stuff is sweeping in from the Atlantic. It's the same old wave after wave of rot and dirt swirling over Ireland and twisting around here. Here are the latest gloomy tidings:

Friday is scheduled to have a morning and an afternoon and you should be able to tell the difference. At noon on Friday it's possible that the rain and clouds might have moved east, becoming nice. On Saturday the forecast is different with demi–sunny and occasional clouds, which on Sunday will thicken up without actual snow. Warm temperatures will be a state of the recent past. Don't expect more than 18, 17 and 18 degrees, easily 6 degrees less than today. If you can't bear with it run outside and shout at the sky. Wave your fist. Go to Invalides and see the Pope about it.

About the Café Metropole Club

Cuddle your fingers, squeeze your thumb and tickle your rubber mouse to click up some jammed sessions of club meeting reports stashed somewhere deep in these pages. No audio waves other than hearing actual members' frequencies during club meetings. No video at all. Real lame with words, just verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Real blurry photos. A clue about what we might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Jungle Stomp In the Patazone

As unrehearsed as any day of the week and unusually, like today, a Thursday. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The metric times are equivalent to 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 18. September in the afternoon. If you feel like saying something, it can be heard by the other members present if there are any and if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are totally welcome too even if they are true.

Caution – should you have a personal desire to remain unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be 404 – not found by Web search engines before becoming found. All you folks staying lost, all is forgiven.

*The above classified report you may have just read was relatively unchanged since the secret report last week because of today's true firsts, amazing quotes, Stuff of the Week, and other items typical of average club gatherings but forgotten like usual.

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 18. September.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini