PRAGUE HAS NEVER BEEN THE PARIS OF ANY ERA, GODDAMNIT! Oh, and wireless connections.

Yesterday I ventured into town primarily for a meeting with a new client, but also with the intention of getting connected at Villa Inkognito (Slavikova 27, Prague 2) following a tip from poetess extraordinaire Bethany Shaffer, who told me that Inkognito’s got free ADSL connections.

First, however, I went on a hunt for DVD burning software (so I can back up data, of course‚??;-). While debating whether or not to lay down a rather sizeable chunk of change for the latest version of Nero, Jitka rang me and insisted that I join her at the Mustek Bat’a – she needed my approval on a pair of sandals.

The discounts on clothes and shoes (and, it seems, pretty much everything else – except for DVD burning software) in Prague have been amazing so far; these particular sandals, she told me, had been marked down from CZK 2400 to CZK 840.

I left Apro (a computer and home electronics shop at Jindrisska 10 in Prague 1 that is well worth checking out – I got my Logitech notebook mouse there for CZK 590; not even alzasoft is offering it that cheap) and negotiated the midday throngs down to Bat’a. The sandals got a thumbs-up and I got treated to a slice of Little Ceasar’s pizza at Tesco.

Feeling extremely yuppified for some reason after having my slice and checking out Jitka’s new Adidas trouser-shorts (I don’t know what you call those trousers that can be converted to shorts), I headed over to KavaKavaKava on Narodni.

One of the staff gave me the network access password, and within minutes I was off and surfing. The connection is free‚?? well, not exactly, when you consider KavaKavaKava charges CZK 40 for a small (albeit very good) espresso, while a medium (i.e. a normal cup of very tasty coffee) costs CZK 65.

Feeling cramped (I could barely fit my coffee and ashtray on the table with my lappy) and sweaty (even with the front door wide open and the sky threatening rain, the cafe was quite stuffy) I was sitting among a group of four or five young women, all of whom were clickity-clacking and touchpadding away on their notebooks. I set up my email and thought about getting some work done as I downloaded a couple of patches for Unreal Tournament 2004.

While I was downloading, it dawned on me that I was sitting in the middle of some kind of journalism workshop or editorial meeting. I got the impression that the girls were all budding writers and newb expats and that the guy mentoring them has been writing and living here for a while.

Though I didn’t really pay much attention (my journalistic aspirations fell by the wayside long ago, though I still like to dabble on occasion), it seemed quite interesting and informative and serious – as such projects and activities tend to be in their initial stages in Prague.

And then one of the girls piped up: “I, um, like, hear that Prague, is, like, supposed to be like Paris in the twenties?”

I couldn’t help myself – with an inadvertently blatant lack of subtlety I winced, cringed, shivered, gasped, rolled my eyes and muttered “Oh my fucking god” all at once. If any of the group noticed, they didn’t show it.

The guy leading the group had much better self control. However, his voice betrayed traces of a reaction similar to mine as he gave the group a concise background on a phrase infamously coined by the late Alan Levy.

So much has been said about this that it’s become trite to discuss – here’s some googlage for those who want to read more about it.

Wired on coffee and with my UT2004 all patched up, I still had some time to kill before my meeting, so I strolled on over to the much cooler (in both senses of the word) NOD.

Wireless access is also free at NOD, and no password is required. No laptop? No problem because NOD also has five or six PC terminals (one or two of which always seem to be down) where you can surf for free. The bar staff will get you logged on.

NOD’s a great place to hang out, especially now with happy hours from 9-10 pm – beer is just CZK 15 per half-litre and Smirnoff vodka is just CZK 30 per shot. Just don’t try to organise poetry events there‚?? ah, but that’s Bethany’s story‚??

Jul 26, 11:34 (Filed under: , Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes )

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  1. Hi,

    I am the guy who was leading the journalism workshop at Kava Kava Kava. My name is Kevin Livingston and I have been a journalist and editor here for a few years and a journalist in the States for some time before that. The young women I was working with are part of a class from the University of Miami. They are in Prague for just a month to do several journalism projects. Put into the proper context and given her limited knowledge of Prague, the question asked by one of my students was not so outrageous, although I can understand your reaction ( I did not hear it). She has actually been looking into the links between the cities, which there have been many, especially during the First Republic (1918-1939). What she was asking, simply, was whether people actually made that comparison between Prague in the 90s and Paris in the 20s. I told her it was basically Alan Levy PR.
    Kevin    Aug 1, 13:20    #
  2. Hi Kevin,

    thanks for your comment, and for sympathising with my reaction. I remember your reply and, as I mention in my blog entry, there was a bit of “hoo boy” in your initial reaction (at least that’s what it sounded like to me). But I thought you summed up Levy’s PR very nicely.

    Who do you write and edit for? Do you give these workshops on a regular basis? If so, and if you’re interested, feel free to send me information on upcoming workshops and I’d be happy to post it here.

    Cheers,

    Patrick
    Patrick    Aug 1, 13:53    #
  3. Patrick,

    Thanks for the offer. This is a one-time summer teaching gig that I was hired to do by the professor from Miami. I don’t think teaching journalism locally would be a lucrative business plan so I don’t forsee myself holding workshops unless I am specifically asked, and paid, to do so. I won’t get into my personal bio here. Too boring.

    Funny story: I came across this post because the student who asked the question was freaking out about it. Sam Beckwith from Prague TV found it and sent it to his girlfriend Caroline asking, “Is this Kevin’s class?” It got to my student, she was bummed, and here we are. News travels fast in this town.

    Cheers,

    Kevin
    Kevin    Aug 1, 22:43    #
  4. That is a funny story – I hope your student wasn’t too bummed.

    Cheers,

    Patrick
    Patrick    Aug 2, 06:21    #

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