A Little Bit About Paris, Texas

Folies Bar in Belleville

Sort-of-Texas Cat Now Speaks French

by Ric Erickson

Metropole Paris:- Monday, 7. April 1997:- Chance plays a large part with the contents of this magazine. Last Wednesday I knew where I was going, but I didn't know I was going to go past the street where I had some meetings with Gilbert Shelton some years ago.

When I didn't find the 'Thé-Troc' shop, it was chance that tickled my brain and made me turn around and go back to a place I'd passed without really seeing, to find 'Thé-Troc' in its new location. Chance made Gilbert Shelton answer the phone when I called, and off-chance had him make a casual invitation to come around on Friday.

Some weeks ago, at the Salon du Livre, I lucked upon a poster for the film 'Paris, Texas' and I couldn't pass up a shot of it, even though it wasn't a current poster. Somebody gave me an URL to take a look at, and the link from there took me to the Web site of - Paris, Texas.

I wrote to their eMail address a few days ago to ask for some more recent info - and here 'chance' runs out, for I have no reply. Here is what I learned about Paris, Texas, from their Web site:

Paris, Texas is located in Lamar County, about 170 km northeast of Dallas, on the heights between the Red and the Sulphur Rivers. The elevation at the Lamar County courthouse in Paris is about 220 metres.

US Route 82 runs east and west through town and heading west through Honey Grove to Sherman, might be the fastest way to Dallas, but it is not the shortest. Other than highways, Paris has two railroads. One of them connects to nine others.

Regardless of what it was supposed to look like in the movie, Paris gets about 110 cm of rain a year, which is a fair amount. It doesn't go too much below freezing, but it can get hot, with an August average of 30 C. Freezing rain and hail are supposed to be infrequent, but do happen.

According to the 1990 census which is a bit dated now, about 25,000 people live in Paris, and Lamar County has a population of 44,000. The average age of residents is 35.7 years. Average household income is a reported US$25,000.

Paris is a commercial centre for residents within a 65 km radius. Besides six shopping centres, state and federal offices are located in the city and it is a local medical centre.

Lamar County has a lot of schools. Ten elementary schools, four middle schools and five high schools had 9,270 students and around 650 of them graduate annually. There is also a junior college in Paris, which offers the first two years towards Bachelor's Degrees in most areas of study.

There is no mention of the number of cinemas in Paris, but there are six radio stations, one cable-TV supplier, and there is a daily newspaper.

Another reason for mentioning Paris, Texas in this issue is because I believe it is Gilbert Shelton's home state. I too, have had a certain affection for Texas ever since reading Gilbert's 'Wonder Warthog' comic strip.

Greetings from Paris, Paris.

Fat Freddie's Cat in French

Just as you may have started to think that maybe French as a language has a dim future, Gilbert Shelton has talked one of comicdom's favorite characters into using speech balloons filled with the language of Molière.

That's right, Gilbert, shown here in the doorway of the Paris headquarters of Rip Off Press, in a monster mega-deal with the Paris publisher Paris HQ of the Freak Bros. Teddour Ferid, of Tête-Rock Underground, has arranged for productions of French editions of 'Les Fabuleux Freak Brothers.'

If you have been putting off a Paris trip because you think your rusty, old high-school French may be a bit archaic, you can brush-up your street smarts by studying, and having fun! reading in-print volumes one through six, with four more coming shortly. You will be able to learn the correct usage of words like 'zonard,' 'trappaz,' and all of it in 'toubon,' as spoken in balloons by Fat Freddy's cat, Fat Freddy himself, and the ever-morose Free-Wheelin' Frank.

Nothing succeeds like excess, and this has produced a new set of characters, in the - relatively - new 'Not Quite Dead' comics; a collaboration between Shelton and French designer, Pic. For some background about Gilbert Shelton, see "Alive in Paris! Not Quite Dead, the Freak Brothers" in this issue

Poster: Salon Jeux

The 18th Salon Mondial de la Maquette, Modèle Réduit et Jeux is at Paris-Expo, Porte de Versailles, and runs through to Sunday, 13. April. This big show is mostly about things people make as hobbies, and quite often these include working models such as ships and space rockets - and in Paris-Expo's big Hall 1 there is plenty of airspace for aerial displays.

Open daily from 10:00 to 19:00; until 22:00 on Friday, 11. April. Entry for adults costs 63 francs, for kids six to 12, 43 francs, and under six, free. Métro: Porte de Versailles or Balard - lines eight and 12. Bus: lines 39, 49, 80 and PC.

Regards, Ric
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