Up 100 Steps

photo, group of the week at uncle's 100 steps swing club At Uncle's 100 Steps Swing Club – the other Group of the Week.

Uncle's Club for Climbers

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 26. June:–  There was no Strike of the Week but the president was on the TV–news congratulating one of his dudes for a proposal to destabilize public television and radio. Actually it was the president's plan and the commission's report was merely – what exactly? First to ban commercials from the public broadcaster, then to levy a tax on the Internet and telephone operators to pay for it. Cut off from the advertising revenue that bothered nobody other than the private television moguls, public TV and radio is supposed to become bigger and better than ever, just like it has where the broadcast media are controlled by private interests. The days of my favorite news babe on France–3 are numbered!

Meanwhile, here at the club I had a very tranquil meeting by myself, reading all of Le Parisien. It told me everything I wanted to know about the TV and radio plan, such as "Hold–up sur l'Audiovisuel public." Another comment was, "Kiss of death." One question nobody has an answer for is why? There are, of course, suspicions, but these come from malicious mouths. Why should Nicolas Sarkozy give a monster cadeau to the private operators? Is it because he is on TV so often?

photo, orange juice of the weekIce and orange, cool yum.

On the weather front the skies have been preparing for the grand get–away. There are clouds up there but the underlying temperature has been in the comfort zone around our heads and we have been putting in serious terrace time. And between clouds, there is some pretty fine sunshine.

Today the sky was semi–cloudy, the temperature was about 24 degrees and that's what we wanted. More hordes of tourists were near the Pont Neuf, deposited by too–visible buses, and saloon keepers along the quai du Louvre were welcoming them with fresh Croques Monsieurs. More, semi wonderful, weather details follow the club report.

The 100 Steps of the Week Club Report

Before you read further full disclosure requires that I confess that there were no members at the club today. The club's secretary did not heckle those absent, but you have to take my word for it. The greatest loss was that of the Group Photo of the Week without which no week is complete.

As it happened I was called upon to attend at dinner at Uncle's. He was leaving town to go to a wedding in a good–drinking area of France – aren't they all? – so it was the only opportunity for all of us to gather, including four, five or six, club members. I could look it up but what the hell.

photo, chorizo of the week Chorizo of the Week.

The number one feature of a dinner at Uncle's are the 100 steps that one must heave up to get to his door. Everybody who manages to arrive does so breathless. But as soon as you do, staggering around with the black spots, Uncle is there with a cool drink ready for your trembling hand. In less than a half hour you can actually drink it and so many other drinks quickly follow that the ordeal is soon a fond memory – "I climbed the 100 steps and I'm ready to party!"

There was food too. If you get up the 100 steps you are rewarded. Uncle is a good cook and he only uses good stuff. Chorizo from the land of spicy pork, nuts from the centre of nut heaven, olives from Sicily, spuds from Brittany and beef from the number two beef guy who we saw last week hosting a fête at the Quinze where he supplies the beef. Adding to the zone of comfort, there were no picky eaters or veggie–heads.

I don't know how he does it. His kitchen is the size of a phone booth. Maybe it is a phone booth, in case you have been wondering where they went. Anyway, the service was good and the plates were clean. The booze was varied and because of the festive nature of the evening, some of it was pretty high class. The contents of many bottles were vaporized.

These events are mainly the setting for lively conversation. The rule is anybody can talk about anything. There is no politically correct and no taboos, and no minus points for saying a foreign word or two. On hand last night were one novelist, a professor, one artisan, one poet, a theatre guy, a political dude and your very own club secretary.

photo, nuts of the weekNuts of the Week.

Almost needless to say, when I returned to the grande salle after not helping Uncle wash a dish, there was some sort of fight in progress. This is okay. This is what real people do – disagree with each other. Slash and burn, thrust and parry. Sides were taken, gang–ups happened. The wine continued to evaporate, the turntable played Stormy Weather.

Uncle returned, listened to this mash–up and said, "This is not right! We are hear to listen to Nigel's stories. He has hundreds, he can talk for hours!"

Nigel looked surprised. He forgot the real reason he sailed from Sydney to Vancouver all those years ago. He didn't forget, he didn't want to bore anyone with the long version. The other argument, the interrupted one, resumed. Uncle flipped out. "It's time for you all to go! I gotta get up early and go to a wedding. Scram!"

Me, I thought, I gotta write a club report about no members. I should've been gone a hour ago. What's that argument about anyhow? And it kept going – to hell with Uncle! – blah! and blah! – until it finally dribbled to an end.

photo, corona terrace of the week, with patrick Corona Terrace of the Week.

All the same it took another 45 minutes to get out the door – don't you hate long goodbyes? – and then we had to take our time going down the 100 steps because they are wood shined like glass. All those wine legs and one false step, and Uncle will be had up for tappage nocturne.

So just remember, if you are ever invited to Uncle's, the 200 steps up and down, the booze at the top, the smoke, the lefty music, the lit. discussions with geopolitics without pc, and usually, the Surprise of the Week. If you can handle all that you are ready for an invitation to Uncle's, but don't let your hope get in an uproar. He's gone to a wedding.

Dancing Weather

I missed seeing the weather on the TV–news last night. What follows came from yesterday's Le Parisien, which can be accurate, but who knows? Here are the good tidings:

Friday is scheduled to have a morning and an afternoon like last week. At noon on Friday it appears to be high overcast and warm. The paper says it is 25 degrees. The sun may peep out at any time on Saturday and the high may be 27, probably feeling a bit humid. Same thing on Sunday but with a high of only 24 degrees, with a degrade for Monday. Like me, you should hope for better.

About the Café Metropole Club

Fondle, tickle and grasp your mouse and click–click to see a club meeting report buried somewhere deep in these pages. Less thrilling than hearing actual members' voices during club meetings but everything is seldom perfect. A clue about what the club's secretary might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Flirting In the Patazone

As unrehearsed as any Thursday , semi out of control and unusually, like today, members flirting with anarchy. 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, 3. July in the afternoon. If you feel like saying anything that 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. Stay lost if you must.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since the last report a week ago because of my great condition after going up and down Uncle's stairs twice last night, breaking my all–time record.

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, 3. July.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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