Prague Dog Eat Blog

Provokator goes to print

Jul 23, 06:32 (Filed under: Prague media )

Ever since its beginnings, I have truly enjoyed Provokator as a web-zine. It’s not the prettiest website in terms of layout, and its navigation scheme can lead the user down paths they hadn’t intended on travelling. However, most of the content is well-written, and I admire the DIY spirit that drives Instigator-in-Chief Marika Ley and her committed staff members.

The Provokator crew are giving something to a predominantly first-to-bitch last-to-act expat community. Having tried to do similar things myself with a self-published poetry zine (it lasted six issues) and various events (mostly poetry gigs), their endurance amazes me.

I simply found trying to organise things for Prague expats too frustrating, and am kind of eating words that I fired from the hip a number of months back (you were right Richard, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to apologise enough for being so rash‚??).

Now that I’ve digested that thick slice of humble pie, back to Provokator‚?? not only does Marika run Provokator, she also (as I understand) heads Bat Country Booking, a booking and promotion agency committed to infesting Prague with all sounds punk, psychobilly, metal, emo,‚?? well, pretty much everything that is seriously underground (though not necessarily serious). It was through her that I was treated to one of the best rock shows of 2004 at 007 Strahov, where I had the privilege of being blown away by L.A. rock demons Frankenstein.

Of course it was with a fair amount of anticipation that I picked up Provokator’s first print issue a couple of days ago. My expectations were not high – I knew I’d be getting a large paper folded into a pamphlet, as Marika is sensibly starting small and without a high-gloss finish.

I wanted to like it, I really did. But I couldn’t help being disappointed.

When you open it up, you get a page of teaser articles that aim to get the reader to go to the website. Opposite that, there’s a fairly well-written bilingual (English and Czech) piece promoting upcoming Provokator/Bat Country punk events.

Unfold it further and you get a decent CD review that’s botched at the end owing to sloppy DTP work, an adequate bar review, the first part of a comic that looks like it could be interesting if the Czech is cut out of it (having just read a few episodes at the artist’s site, I can say that it is actually a very engaging and entertaining strip), a lame piece on Pribram, some strange and often quite funny classifieds, and a lazy, sneering and utterly unnecessary piece on the history of English-language publications in Prague – Alexander Zaitchik handled the subject quite adeptly in this top-shelf article he wrote for the original Think! Magazine.

The zine finally unfolds to reveal a pretty handy map and punk/psychobilly/etc. event calendar. The only problem with having a map in there is that Think Again! has already flooded the city with its own glossy map. In the future it would be nice to see more articles in this space instead.

Though a somewhat of a letdown, Provokator’s entry into Prague’s not-so-big, but pretty bad world of print media is nevertheless welcome and necessary. With time, hopefully this will turn into the ballsy truly provocative city zine (or paper) that is needed here. In the meantime, I suppose Marika & co. will have to deal with the inevitable behind-the-back and anonymous online bitching that will inevitably crop up in Prague’s online forums.

Having said all that, I wonder what the reaction will be to the piece on translating porn that I wrote for their August issue‚??

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