Tatooing and tea houses

Welcome to Magazine - spring is in the air -and we'll soon be baring a lot more skin . An increasing number of young people are not willing to settle for the latest trends in wear and make up. They decorate their own bodies with tattoos, piercing, scarification and even branding. If you are considering this - read on and find out what you'd be getting into - and what's available in Prague this spring.

But before that - let's look at a fad that you could pay a high price for...

Tea rooms have become increasingly popular with Czech teenagers. Enter one, at any time of day, and you'll find an oasis of esoteric music, soft voices arguing about the meaning of life and strong brews of green and black teas that would keep most of us awake for three days in a row. The air is sweet with the smell of smoke from hand rolled joints -some of them spiced by forbidden marihuana leaves - others made from packaged tobacco. Rolling their own cigarettes is the very latest fad among Czech teenagers. But it's a fashion that's more dangerous than most, according to doctor Eva Kralikova. According to some specialists a hand rolled cigarette contains up to four times as much nicotine, tar and cyanide as regular cigarettes. Which does not mean to say that smoking a pack of light cigarettes is just fine: here's what Dr Kralikova has to say about that. Now let's move on to a fad that's somewhat less harmful - but definitely more painful. In a narrow Prague street, where time appears to have stopped, you'll find the Alien Salon. There too a sweet smell hangs on the air, there are racks of military clothing, shelves of house, heavy metal and hard rock CDs, various macho accessories and "flower-power" summer dresses reminiscent of the 1960s. Twenty-three-year old Vladimir proudly shows off a photo gallery of the salons' work. Well, I was seriously tempted to get "Radio Prague" tattooed on the back of my neck - but in the end I overpowered the urge and bought a truly bizarre looking alien on a chain instead. However, I did find out what the local prices are, just in case you are dying to get Mr Proper immortalized on your chest. The minimum price here is 1,000 crowns. A butterfly or dolphin in colour will cost you 1,500. For real connoisseurs of the art - who want their whole backs - or legs covered - the price can range between 10 and 30,000 crowns. Of course tattoos are not all you can get... Well - I think that scarification is one thing I can really do without. But as they say - there's no accounting for taste... Now, as you may have heard on RP, for the first time this year Czech Romanies will mark International Roma Day, and in fact the whole week has been chock full of Romany events open to the public - open air concerts, art shows, football tournaments and various happenings. So Bill Bathurst, has made an exception this week and instead of reading something by a Czech author - he will now treat you to a Gypsy folk tale. That was Bill Bathurst and I'm Daniela Lazarova ending this week's edition of Magazine. Thanks for being with us and take care.