Do you realize, that that little weekly compendium has been guiding us through Paris from our back pockets for 44 years now! It is not only as if it seems that it was always there, but for most of us, it pretty much was. From lying on your parents coffee table, to half squashed in your backpack, the Pariscope has been around town as much as you have. But when was the last time you bought one, or worse still, actually read it?
The Pariscope lists everything that’s on around Paris, in one very long series of names, addresses and details spanning over 200 pages per edition. And it is not the only printed source, you could have seen the same list on the pages of their famous competitor the Officiel des Spectacles or to different degrees in the rest of the printed press (most notably in the Figaroscope). So is there still a point to buying a Pariscope?
Flipping through the pages anno 2009, the limitations just slap you in the face. There are descriptions of plays, but where is the commentary from the specialists and the ranting from the general public? How far is rue de Trévise actually from the Opèra, can I walk? Where is Google Maps and the GPS? Ah, Chekhov’s Uncle Vania is playing at the Bastille, but what was that other play of his called which we saw in spring? Francois Ozon’s new movie Ricky is playing all over town, but the neighbours says it is very disappointing, can I not see a preview?
It just seems that all your nightlife -and daytime- queries are no longer being answered by the Pariscope. The grouping together of the information is as timelessly important as ever, but it just is no longer good enough. The Pariscope needs to be an application on an iPhone, or a website in the least. And those are popping out of the ground all around us, websites offering more and more reviews, interaction and gimmicks. Similarly, the iPhone has been offering more and more nifty little tools to help you on your way to solving the dilemma of tonight’s programme. So what is left for the old Pariscope?
Not much, I’m afraid, they have become the over-the-hill bachelor it has become uncomfortable to invite. If they do not find themselves a partner and launch themselves into the interactive world very quickly, it will all be over for them, out of pure futility of their magazine. Please, Pariscope, reinvent your format to save yourself so that a next generation can also proudly carry you around in their backpacks as we have done, even if for them it will be on their iPhone.