Malcom Tuffin vs. The City of Prague and Folk Art

So, Christmas has started in Prague. Out here in Blackbridge, the district’s powers-that-be (or was it IKEA?) put on a kickass fireworks display that Jitka and I could watch from the (freezing cold) comfort of our balcony. I haven’t been to Old Town Square yet, but I assume that the market is up and running, with the obligatory massive spruce looming majestically, and menacingly, over it all.

Why menacingly? Well, anyone who was in Prague in 2003, or at least paying attention to goings-on in Prague at that time, will remember that a number of people were injured when Staromak’s Yuletide centerpiece came crashing down onto the square due to strong winds and, as Malcom Tuffin claims, a poorly secured tree.

Mr. Tuffin, who is now confined to a wheelchair because of the incident, wants the City of Prague and the Folk Art Production Company (the Xmas market organizer) to admit their responsibility. Not gonna happen, according to ODS bootlicker Pavel Bem. Folk Art has yet to comment on the issue. If both parties stick with their current attitudes they could get sued for six million koruna in compensation.

Believe me, I enjoy Christmas in the Czech Republic. Ok, I can’t dig on the carp (it tastes like the mud-and-bottlecap eating bottom-feeder it is and I don’t have the patience to deal with the bones), the pre-Christmas rush is infuriating (like anywhere in the world), but other than that I can’t think of anything else to complain about. For me Christmas has become a day of flaking out with Jitka and her mom, watching classic Czech fairy tales (that Libuse Safrankova is such a babe! Oh how I wish that the Cinderalla of my youth had been so hotâ?? not to mention flesh and bone), and gorging on way too much unhealthy food.

See, I dig Czech Christmas so much that I lost my train of thoughtâ?? well, blame that on looking for a good link to show you what I mean about Libuse Safrankova. Unfortunately this is the best I could do – you’ll have to scroll down the page a bit.

Anyway, back to the case of Mr. Tuffin vs. the malevolent Staromak spruce. Stories like this affect me in the same way as news stories about Czech traffic accidents – they piss me off and make me very cynical. Of course this case has yet to be settled two years after the incident, and of course the Czech cops did what I can only assume was a half-arsed investigation – they conclusion of “expert” (spare me) reports lay the blame on the “poor quality of the wood, which was too fragile, and this defect could not have been detected at first sight.”


Sniff sniff.

Do you smell that too? Lurking under the spicy cozy aromas of mulled wine and hot pastries, holiday ponies, human traffic and, yes, even fresh spruce is the rude bitchslap stink of bullshit. The fact that the city is passing blame and the Folk Art Production Company is keeping mum just intensifies the stench.

And before anyone says, “Hm, typical Czech,” I just want to make it clear that I could see this happening anywhere, even (gasp!) Canada. Hell, the story behind the iron ring I got for somehow getting my civil engineering degree is connected with a badly-built bridge near Quebec City that collapsed not once, but twice. Those goddamn Pepsisâ?? Being a Pepsi – or a Frog, or a Jos Louis, or a Quebecker – I can say that. Anyway, I’m not an engineer, so the ring is sitting in a jar full of pennies somewhere in a trunk that’s either in Ottawa or Aylmer, Quebec. Which is really for the best, as engineering’s just too much responsibility for me.

Speaking of responsibilty, I’d be interested in seeing what the contract between the City of Prague and Folk Art Production says with regards to such mishaps. Perhaps the city actually has got a legitimate legal out. But to simply pass blame without making the slightest attempt to do anything to help is disgusting and very un-Christmas. Pavel Bem did a good job of playing Mr. Potatohead to catch a few thieving cabbies and make it at least seem like the City of Prague gives a damn about tourists. He should consider doing the same in this case.

p.s. Jeff, if you’re reading this, I’d be grateful if you could bring some Jos Louis or their American equivalents, Mae Wests, back with you…

Nov 28, 10:10 (Filed under: , People )

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