'Nova' - 10 Francs - Cheap

entry passage
There is not only light at the end, there's Nova.

Looking For 'Generation-X' Again

Paris:- Anyday from February to April, 1998:- Regular readers will know that I am searching for the Paris version of 'Generation-X' and have been doing so for a long time now.

According to what some of you've written, none of us are sure what 'Generation-X' is; but I keep plugging away at it with the hope I will get it pinned down before they hit fifty - if they haven't already.

The reason behind all this, is for me to do a 'report' about Paris' 'Generation-X' scene, so that those of you who feel like 'going crazy' in Paris will know where it's done; how, when, who and, I suppose, why. The answer to the last is, 'why not?'

You too may be an old fogy like me. If you are, you just may have had your own party somewhere, sometime, and if you did, you will know how important it is to know about these things, throughout your entire lifetime.

If you didn't make the 'peace and love' scene in the Haight in 1966, well you just haven't lived. If you weren't on Cool-aid Acid Trip magical bus, you haven't travelled. If you managed to miss rock-and-roll hitting the white AM airwaves in '54 or '55, you missed something. If you were not 'On the Road' before that, then you will never be hip. If you don't 'swing,' then Iapril cover: nova hope the rest home for aged bopsters you're in has good Muzzak or you have your own good Walkman and some Benny Goodman tapes.

Fast-forward to the present and then subtract 17 months. These guys I met, who may have been 'Generation-Xers,' told me the Paris brand finds out what's going on by reading 'Nova.' These guys - did not look like they read it themselves; it was something they heard somewhere.

The April issue of 'Nova,' on sale right now.

The first thing you will notice when you start to read 'Nova' is that it only costs 10 francs. The second thing you will notice, is it is printed on paper recycled from old Ikea boxes. It's got color like other magazines; it's just not glossy. Ten francs, re-recycled paper; so what? It's cool.

Before doing the 'first thing,' right when you get off the jumbo at Roissy, the before-first thing you should do is buy 'Nova' right in the airport. If you do this, then you can do the 'first thing' of reading it on the way into the city. By the time you reach the northern city limits around Saint-Denis, you may decide staying at the Hotel Crillon is too uncool - and redirect your taxi elsewhere - or you may decide you are too uncool for Paris - and just tell the taxi to dash straight through to Orly, where you can get a flight out to some sane place.

After you've installed yourself in the Hotel des Bains in the rue Delambre - one star rooms with two-star decor and matching suites - take a careful look at 'Nova.' The current April issue is in three parts - the magazine, its usual 'Hot Guide' supplement, and an extra supplement, called 'Quartiers de Nuit.'

Total: 140 pages of 'hot' Paris information, up-to-date, for a measly ten francs - less than the price of a stand-up demi. Now take the magazine - the big one - and it starts with a photo essay. If this doesn't turn you off, turn the page. The photo essay is followed by a feature, and if you can read French, it is usually worth reading.

About the French; don't bother with a dictionary. Words you don't understand probably aren't in it. About the photos; if they are murky it is probably because they were taken in thehot guide & night spots middle of the night - probably by the driver - because the photographer was driving. Not all the photos are murky, so don't worry about this either.

The two supplements included in the magazine. Ten francs for everything.

The main feature: for April this is titled, 'Mohamed At Home.' Its subhead is, '340 Kilometres To Find a Dancehall?' Normally Mohamed doesn't travel 340 kilometres in a weekend checking out his favorite joints; he did this for 'Nova' - to produce an existential essay on high life in the Parisian suburbs. First stage at 19:00: on the road from Paris to Trappes. 35 kilometres. Last stage: La Défence to Montmartre, 10 kilometres, at 06:45: "Paris s'eveille."

As usual, the addresses of the eight-odd places are included, and the descriptions are more than enough to give an idea whether it is your scene of not.

This opening feature is followed by the magazine's main section, which is alphabetical, starting with 'Aube,' which includes excerpts from Rimbaud's Illuminations.

This occupies three columns and the fourth is reserved for short items, also in alphabetical order. 'Décadence' is one, and it is even noted that the word itself is a 'joli mot.' 'Drague' is good; a double-page table of comparisons by two night dancers, of various Paris pleasure palaces such as the Buddha-Bar and La Coupole. La Coupole? Mais oui! This is followed by a report on the standard nighttime rates charged for mineral water in various joints. It could have been written for me.

There are a cluster at the beginning of the alphabet and then it jumps from 'G' to 'T' for 'Tôt.' This is followed by 'Z' for 'Zarbi,' which is a full-page reproduction of a handwritten page by Authur Rimbaud, 'to celebrate spring.'

The rest of the magazine has fashion, supplied to the models from places like 'Junk' and 'Xuly-Bët.' No 'Tati' mention this month. Culture comes next, starting with books, moving on to exhibitions, movies, theatre, music, more music, more more music, and finally, 'Nova Playlists.'

These last are important, because Nova has a FM station - 101.5 - and Paris has every kind of music known to 'world' people under 35. The 'playlists' say what's playing when, and who does the spiel. For example, Ariel Wizman does 'Musiques Normales' on Saturdays from 11:00 to 12:00. Thanks! He'll be spinning 'My Mind Is Like a Plastic Bag' by the X-Ray Spex sometime during his shift.

If this sounds too much like heavy lit to you, toss away the magazine and keep the 'Hot Guide.' This is the Paris program for the month - it gives a daily run-down on what's happening; so there's never a need to sit in front of the glotze-box for lack of an idea.

This section also has classified ads in the back, and colorful ads for dubious activities. The 'Hot Guide' also begins with a list of old French terms and their new meanings or uses. Example: "Un kissman," which translates as, 'un beau gosse, qui se démerde bien.'

This month's 'Quartiers de Nuit' supplement is normally included inside the magazine, but Paris is on the move, so it got expanded and printed separately - listing the attractions of the main hot points of the capital, by quarters or arrondissements.

After reading, or glancing at Nova for several months, I've found there are a large number of steady references and a certain number of 'in' and 'out' items. Aside from the authorities cracking downnove entry no 33 on loud places, a number have their leases expire, while in another street somebody opens up a new joint with a - possibly - new theme or ambiance.

Past this door you enter the empire of 'Nova.'

When I called Nova to set up a date for a chat - some months ago - somebody there decided I should see the head man of the whole Nova combine. Seeing the editor was all I wanted, and with April issue, I read that it is his last. Going into another circle, I suppose.

I don't expect Nova to change much. It mentions a couple of places in the western eighth and 16th arrondissements, but local night-life in Paris is mostly populo, and that means a bit more easterly. There may not be as many taxis as on the Champs-Elysées, but there's just as many métro stations.

Remember: Nova - 10 francs, cash. Buy it at the airport when you arrive. It may be sold-out downtown, and often is. On second thoughts, Nova may be a bit too fast for the 'Generation-X' crowd - but, heck! - only 10 lousy francs; it's less than a deuce.

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