Another Funeral in Paris

bar le Dimey
A bistro in the rue des Abbesses.

Mondiales and Euros, Fakes and Asterix

Paris:- Saturday, 29. November 1997:- The singer known in France as Barbara died last Tuesday at the age of 67. Ironically, her photograph is all over Paris because her record company just put a re-compilation of her hits songs on the market on Wednesday, 12. November. The new CD is called 'Femme Piano.'

Barbara started her career in Brussels in 1952 and a year later she was appearing in Paris at L'Ecluse. After an eclipse of several years she was back on the scene in 1957 at the Chez Moineau cabaret and in 1962 she recorded, 'Dis, Quand Reviendras-Tu?' The 33 rpm LP followed a year later, entitled, 'Barbara Chant Barbara.'

After that she got a recording contract; and in 1970 sang, 'L'Aigle Noir.' In '71 she played in the movie 'Franz' with Jacques Brel. She often did live shows, appearing at the Olympia in 1969, at the Zenith with Gérard Depardieu in 'Lily Passion' in 1986, at Châtelet, and at the Mogador.

Philips brought out a collection set of CDs in 1992, containing 260 of her songs. In 1993 she was forced to interrupt a series of concerts at Châtelet and she did her last tour, finishing in March of 1994 at Tours. Her last solo album Brasserie Champerret came out in 1996 and was called, 'Barbara,' on the Mercury label.

Barbara moved to the countryside in Seine-et-Marne in 1973 and in the last years of her illnesses communicated with the world by fax.

A pleasanr-looking bar-restaurant at Porte de Champerret.

Nicknamed ' la longue dame brune,' she always dressed in black. According to Le Parisien her early beginnings were not well-known and she remained 50 percent secret all her life, yet she had fans she didn't know existed - until when the curtain fell at Châtelet, and a chorus of teens in the audience spontaneously sang, 'Dis, Quand Reviendras-Tu?'

Barbara was buried Thursday morning at the cemetery at Bagneux, accompanied by the entire world of Parisian entertainment, government ministers and ex-ministers, and about 2,000 nameless fans, under an overcast sky.

The Dismal Report of the Cour des Comptes

This is the equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office in the United States, but its annual report does not usually feature fifty buck toilette seats.

The 522 page report for 1997 focuses on 22 particular cases, but Le Parisien's report does not include a global figure for the waste and fraud of public funds - saying merely that the total is 'tens of billions' of francs.

For the first time, part of the report is dedicated to Chemperret intersection listing various legal measures taken to recover the money, or punish those responsible for its waste or disappearance.

Night at the Champerret instersection.

What is also missing from the report itself, according to Le Parisien, is any account of the other units of fiscal controls, nor is there any mention of gigantic financial scandals such as the sorry case of the state-owned bank, Crédit Lyonnais.

The poor little Poste gets it in the neck - as beginners in the money markets Le Poste managed to lose 765 million francs in 1993 and 1994.

Hold Your Hats - Here Comes the Euro!

While odd-ball dissenters across the channel continue to mumble about having another referendum or two, on the continent the mints are busily turning out Euro coins and the presses are running non-stop churning out Euro notes.

We are to be bombarded by Euros to such an extent that when they arrive we will be sick of them and wish for a return to 'old' francs, the ones we used to take to the boulangerie in wheelbarrows.

Last week the Minister of the Economy, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, showed off the newly minted five cent, the fifty cent and the one euro pieces. Between 1999 and 2002 the franc and the euro will co-exist, and in 2003 it will be 'goodbye francs.'

Actually, it is confusing, because the paper says we will be able pay with 'euros,' cheques in euros and make electronic transfers in euros, and pay with new Euro notes euro banknotes after 1. January 2002. I am going to read one of the 23 million brochures, just printed, which is supposed to explain this.

The brochure says the value of the euro will be 'fixed' on 1. January 1999, and today is valued at about 6.61 francs, or about two DM. The dollar was worth 1.21 euros on Friday.

Another new version of the 'Euro' notes to tempt us.

We can call the new 'cents' centimes if we want. There will be one and two cent pieces, as well as five, ten and twenty. On each coin, one side will be 'euro' and the same throughout the community while the reverse side will be 'national' - in France's case it will have 'RF' on it.

Okay, the brochure says it is going to take three years to print 2.5 billion paper notes and mint 6.6 billion coins.

Latest polls indicate that the French are now 'in favor' of the euro with 57 percent saying they will accept it. Six months ago there were only 49 percent in favor.

A Christmas catalogue came through here the other day and all prices in it were printed in both francs and euros.

Crime Watch: Fake Orange Tickets

The special police charged with protecting the rails swooped down on a little printing plant in the Val-de-Marne Monday and picked up a guy carrying brand-new plates for printing the new Orange Card tickets. The new counterfeitproof ticket had been put into circulation only four days earlier.

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