Prague Dog Eat Blog

Prague Hip-Hop folk and spots: Inside Kru, Soft Bellies, Cross Club

Jan 23, 18:51 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Out and About in Prague )

Holy crap, has it already been 6 days? Last week was fairly action-packed, though my mind was working in bullet-time for most of it.

Things started off great last Monday with a kickass performance at Roxy by Prague‚??s Inside Kru, a fresh hip-hop outfit that has instilled my faith in Czech hip-hop. Finally, CZ hip-hop with hooks that take the listener by surprise! More importantly, CZ hip-hop that doesn‚??t simply loop the same bloody hook for five minutes while an MC (or MCs) spits without pause. Inside Kru throws down feelgood chronic sonic science straight out of the school of DJ Shadow with flows almost as rich, lush and smooth as those stamped with MC Solaar’s majestic talents. Check them out the next time you get the chance ‚?? find out when and where those chances are here.

Staying on a hip-hop tip, another two places worth mentioning in this entry are Soft Bellies and Cross Club. Soft Bellies is a newcomer to Prague‚??s bar scene. Located on the corner of Biskupska and Biskupsky Dvur, this restaurant/pub tends to get packed pretty quickly with a young, lively mostly expat crowd. The atmosphere is friendly, owing in part to the regulars but mostly to the owner and the staff. The food is great, especially the chicken toasts ‚?? not your standard slim square fare, but a big honkin double-decker with cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato and, gasp, bacon. And not those strips of fat that the supermarkets try to pass off as ‚?úEnglish bacon‚?Ě, but real strips of juicy meat, fried to perfection.

Soft Bellies was where Jitka, myself and a group of friends kicked off Friday night. We then moved on to Cross Club, which is stunning in terms of size, interior design and music (more Dub, Jungle and Raggae flavoured). Although we managed to find a table big enough to accommodate our crew, a walkabout amongst the throngs downstairs nixed any thoughts of dancing. If squirming and pinballing your way through a crowd of wasted kids all night is your idea of a good time, then Cross Club is a great place to be. That‚??s not really as bad as it sounds ‚?? the place looks phenomenal and it takes less time to get served at one of the clubs bars than one would expect in such a crowd. How good does it look? Words fail me. It’s better if you see for yourself, without checking the gallery at the club’s website. For Cross Club’s location look here

Spot-on comments

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A few top "Prague Spots"

Jan 4, 09:02 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Out and About in Prague )

I don’t think I’ve ever done a list in this blog, and it’s a bit late to be doing a “Top x Whatevers of 2005”. But seeing as I’m still waking up and I can’t really keep nicking entries from the Prague Monitor (which is, incidentally, Prague’s Top Online News Source of 2005 IMO), here goes (until Jitka wakes up and we get back to translating history essays):

Top Cafe for Laptop Internet Usage and Private English Lessons: Villa Incognito Cafe

This cool little Vinohrady cafe is heaven for lappy owners and ESL teachers and their students, as well as those who just want to chill over tea, or engage in coffee-fueled conversation. The cafe’s owners and staff are among the nicest people you’re going to meet in Prague. Villa Incognito is currently home to the Poezie a Provokace poetry open mic (second and fourth Sunday of every month, next one takes place January 8, start: 7 pm) and is open to hosting readings, small concerts, movie nights and a variety of other events.

Top Cheers Substitute: U Zpevacku

Every drinker in every city has one – yes, a bar “where everybody knows your name”. Well, maybe not everybody, but the staff and the regulars will certainly make you feel welcome. Veteran expats and a many a local will tell you that this cozy little watering hole used to be more Trainspotting (the book, not the movie) than Cheers, but don’t worry – the joint is Begbie-free, and actually has its own Cliff Claven of sorts (sorry, no names, you’ll just have to find out who I’m talking about for yourself).

Top Bar to Kill Time in While Waiting for the Metro to Start Up: Batalion

Batalion is not the kind of place that you actually plan to go to, you just kind of end up there (and often spend part of the day after wondering how you ended up there, and, plausibly, how you got home). I spent a lot of time in Prague’s “Hard Rock Cafe” when Jitka was in America. It’s everything a rock bar should be: loud, dirty, stupid and a whole lot of drunken fun. This is part of why it makes the list. ‘nuff said.

Top Blackbridge Eatery: Pizzerie Violete

Forget about the pizzas. The lasagna and the tomato soup are the only things on the menu that I find worth ordering, and Jitka is never all that thrilled about her meals at this Prague 9 pizzeria. The service is friendly but, with the exception of one waitress, rather slow. The Stella Artois is always a crisp cold delight, but the coffee is dull face-screwing sludge. So why do we keep going back? Because in Blackbridge, it’s the only place other than McDonald’s, KFC and That Arabic Joint in the Mall that’s worth our hard-earned korunas.

Well, Jitka’s up now, so that brings this little list to an end for now. I am open to requests and suggestions for other top places. For a couple more “Best of Prague” lists, check’s series.

Spot-on comments [1]

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No Smoking in Prague? Yeah, right.

Jan 3, 09:34 (Filed under: Prague media, Out and About in Prague )

So, Prague’s powers that be have apparently started cracking down on smoking in public places. A new law banning smokers from lighting up their cancer sticks at “bus, train and tram stops, schools, cinemas and theatres, sports halls and administrative buildings.”

So, in order to grab a little PR, some cops busted some poor bloke on the outskirts of Prague for lighting up at a bus stop. Wow, that’s pretty Clint Eastwood, innit? Who’s defining exactly where the bus and tram stops begin and end? And does that mean that train stations will no longer have designated smoking areas out on the platforms like they do at the Main Train Station in Prague? I kind of doubt that.

At the same time, the anti-smoking laws are supposedly looser in restaurants as “it allows smoking during main meal times although this was banned under the former no-smoking rules.”

As someone trying to quit, I was really hoping that these laws would be as tight as they are in, say, Ottawa or California, or that they would at least ban smoking in restaurants. I’ve always felt a strong urge to deck people smoking at a table beside mine while I’m eating.

At the same time, I’m enough of a realist to accept the fact that strict anti-smoking laws in Prague, and throughout the Czech Republic, are a pipe dream for at least the next few years.

Added on 04.01.2006
Here’s more on this story. Way to build public awareness! The cops will inevitably get fed up with bothering people at bus and tram stops with warnings and start shaking them down for “fines” of less than the requisite 1000 koruna. Actually, now that I think about it, what am I wasting my time translating for? Jitka and I should just invest in police uniforms and cash in at public transit stops all over town. Or better yet, we’ll just claim to be undercover, so all we’ll need is badges. I can say I’m an expert from Ottawa overseeing the whole non-smoking operation… yeah, that’s the ticket.

Oh, and apparently this, ahem, “law”, chuckle, also “permits the sale of 10 degree bear during sports events”. Are we talking grizzly, kodiak, polar, or just your average brown? (Sorry Prague Monitor and CTK – I couldn’t resist)

Spot-on comments

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Prague's New Years 2006 fireworks starting early this year

Dec 29, 09:48 (Filed under: Prague events, Out and About in Prague )

In order to accommodate the wishes of families with children, the City of Prague’s New Years fireworks will take place on January 1, 2006 and begin earlier than usual. The first rocket to kick off the “Country of Smiles” show will be lit at 6 pm this year.

Sounds pretty sweet – it’s always nice to watch a good fireworks display without having to duck for cover as locals and tourists alike get retarded with their bottle rockets and roman candles, as they tend to do all over Prague – hell, all over the Czech Republic – at midnight on December 31.

In my opinion (and in the opinion of far too many other people), the best place to view Prague’s official New Years’ fireworks is Charles’ Bridge. If you want to see the display from closer to the source, head up to Letna Park.

Spot-on comments

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Reality shows bite. Recycled Rock sucks. Aquattro is so-so

Oct 7, 09:14 (Filed under: Prague media, Out and About in Prague )

Reality shows fined. Yay!

Oh boy oh boy, does this story ever make me happy. I hope this becomes such a big blow to Prima and Nova that they pull their lowest common denominator reality shows off the air.

I watched a bit of Big Brother while I was in Newcastle last year. It made my stomach turn. I caught a glimpse of the Slovak version and was treated to a beer-chugging contest between girls. I find the sight of girls puking incredibly revolting, terribly sad and slightly disturbing. Women are simply supposed to be classier than guys when it comes to drinking.

I don’t know who’s worse: the producers, the prats that “star” in the show, or the idiots that watch it. The whole lot of them should not be allowed to vote, drive cars, work in any position higher than middle management, and, most importantly, procreate

From the sounds of it, a “babyshambles” is a soiled diaper

I consider myself fairly well-versed and very open-minded when it comes to music. But I feel like I need a little guidance right now. Out of all the new stuff I’ve been listening to, I haven’t been all that impressed. It’s a sad state of affairs in the music industry when the most interesting stuff to hit the market over the last few months has come from rock and pop’s most formulaic band and its most derivative band.

With the exception of the White Stripes’ latest album (which I heard for the first time yesterday while playing Scrabble at Villa Incognito), none of the new rock I’ve listened to has lived up to fan and critical hype. I find Babyshambles very boring and can’t for the life of me understand why people are creaming themselves over human chem lab Pete Doherty. The Kaiser Chiefs are hella fun, but their songs all sound the same: like Pulp with a lot of screaming around the bridge. The Zutons are cool, but strike me as White Stripes Lite plus sax. I could go on, but I won’t. Any suggestions for new rock and pop acts to check out will be much appreciated.


Jitka got a bunch of free passes to the Aquattro Fitness Centre from a client. Aquattro is a sizeable complex on Politickych veznu, featuring a fitness and wellness centre, a beauty salon, and a cafe. The fact that it’s free is the only reason either of us would go there. The machines are state-of-the-art and fun to use, and the staff is fairly friendly, but the place is way too tiny for a proper workout. Don’t be fooled by the impressive photo gallery.

The little cardiovascular equipment they have (one cross-trainer, two stairmasters, one treadmill, and two or three exercise bikes) is crammed up beside the gym’s bar. Speaking of the bar, it’s very easy to trip as you’re walking past it owing to the slightly raised surface it is set on.

Then there’s the dry sauna. It’s very nice, new and relaxing, but it’s also a co-ed sauna. The last time I sat in a mixed-gender sauna was at the Factory Pro swimming pool here in Blackbridge. I didn’t take the big towel that I was offered at the cash desk and sat in the sauna on my own little towel buck naked. Two babes walked in. They both had their goodies covered in big cashdesk towels. Then two dudes walked in. Both covered from the waist down in big cashdesk towels. All four were kinda flirting, and looking over at me every now and again – I think I made a good icebreaker.

Now, I certainly have nothing to be ashamed of in the length and girth departments, but I had just been swimming, and everybody knows how that affects length and girth. To make a long story short (no pun intended) I got the hell out of that sauna pretty damn quick.

Nothing like that happened at Aquattro, but I’ll definitely be taking my bathing suit with me when I go there today.

If you’re not the kind of person who goes ballistic when your fitness routine is disrupted by others using the equipment you need, and if you don’t mind cold showers after your workout, then Aquattro may be worth paying for. However, I think I’ll stick with my local mom & pop gym once the freebies run out.

Spot-on comments [4]

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Notes from a fellow pub-crawler; play Puki

Aug 30, 11:09 (Filed under: Web watch, Out and About in Prague )

I’ve got a heavier workload than I expected so today I’m just going to post a couple of fun links that I snagged from the Prague Monitor.

First up is an amusing piece entitled Pub-crawling like a pro that Max Farr wrote for the Prague Post. It’s the kind of thing that I would expect to see in Think Again, only better. Makes me think of the days I used to run tabs in Brno; I can’t remember the last time I drank on credit in Prague, though I’m sure I could do so at U Zpevacku.

Second is a highly addictive little first-person shooter game called Puki. It’s no Half-Life 2 but it’s still fairly intense.

Spot-on comments

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King Vitamin, Anti-SoNa, Clown and Bard

Aug 19, 11:19 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Out and About in Prague )

A couple of things before I post a little something that I wrote a couple of days ago:

First, Jeremiah Palecek (aka King Vitamin) has a fresh blog called 1 painting every day. He’s also making and selling T-shirts that sport cool designs like the one posted above (lifted from KV’s blog).

Second, newbies and fledgling journalists please, for the love of pistol-wielding Christ, stop referring to the quarter south of Narodni as “SoNa”, or, even worse, “Sonar”. Neither Prague’s natives nor its expats use the expression. It’s neither hip nor convenient, it’s just plain retarded.

Whew… now that I got that out of my system, here’s a little bit of scribbling from a couple of days ago:


I’m about as familiar with the life and works of Ken Lee as you probably are – that is to say that I don’t know the guy, but his words live on one of the walls in the bar of the Clown and Bard Hostel.

Although the C&B is not in Prague Spot’s most excellent list of hostels, I can say that its bar is definitely worth a visit. I used to be a semi-regular at the place back when it was owned by a couple of Dutchies and the bar was open to the public.

I usually pop into C&B for a bit of a nostaligia trip once every few months. I’ve never had a problem getting in since admittance to the bar was restricted to hostel guests.

It’s been so long
since I’ve had sex
I don’t remember
who gets tied up.

The atmosphere is pretty much the same: young, hip and friendly, with what seems like a better sound system (and better music: they’ve got Jay-Z rocking the house as I write this at 6:30 pm on a Wednesday in the middle of August) and a whole lotta visitor graffiti gracing the walls.

Here is to Fire
Not the kind that ignites
And burns down chanties [sic]
But the kind that excites
And Pulls down Panties!

Places like this make me really miss living in Zizkov. I love kicking it old school when I’m in the one-three-oh (Snoop Dogg is tick-tocking the joint now), and the C&B is a good place to do that, especially in the summer, when the bar is lively. The drinks cost a little more than at your average Zizkov dive, but this place ain’t a dive, so the CZK 22 they charge for a half-litre of Budvar is justified – and reasonable.



Ah, you’re a wise man, Ken Lee, whoever you are. I hope you enjoyed your stay in the Mother of Cities.

Spot-on comments [2]

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G8, stoned in the centre, and crusty dogs

Aug 4, 15:22 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Out and About in Prague )


I’m typing this in a space that isn’t ideal for work but the WiFi’s free, the couch is comfy, and the aesthetics and atmosphere are not bad.

PC Herna G8 is situated at Narodni trida 25 (across the street from Tesco), down in the belly of the Laser Game complex. It boasts 15 PC stations that offer Internet for CZK 1 per minute, as well as 1 hour of gaming for CZK 69, with discounts for club members. They also have printing services.

G8 loses points on beer (CZK 30 for a can of Pilsner), and the kid working the bar has a terrible habit of saying “What!?” when spoken to in English. He’s friendly enough, and his English is quite good, but that “What?!” really gets my back up…

But hey, the connection’s free and it doesn’t stink of KFC down here. It’s more like being in the basement of a buddy who is way too into gaming, graffiti and survival. Blacklights pump up the dayglo tags and designs on the walls, with camouflage netting overhead.

If you don’t mind the shitty aerobics technopap thumping out of the speakers (at a thankfully reasonable level), and the constant rapidfire chatter, whoops and curses of young Czech gamers (all guys, though a few babes were gracing the space when I got here), and if you can get a space on the couch or one of the armchairs, it’s not a bad place to get some work done undisturbed – chances are you’re not going to run into anybody you know here, which always helps productivity.

Smokers take note – G8 is a smoke-free zone (though I swear I can smell somebody puffing away right now).

This city loves you

Had a good night on the town yesterday, starting at U Zpevacku, where I chatted with Mike and watched butch surfer-femmes and insane BMX trick riders on the tube. I then headed over to Tulip. Local Tom Waits’ cover band The Blue Valentines were playing the Tulip Lounge last night, so I reckoned I’d pop in to say hi to a few people I hadn’t seen in a while.

I said my hellos, had a nice chat with Bethany, then headed off – the show hadn’t started owing to technical difficulties (it was something like quarter to ten by this point), and the joint was just too goddamn packed. I wasn’t in the mood to wait in a Christ knows how long getting pinballed around the room, so, after watching a frantic Gez (the guitarist) try to sort out amp problems with a mobile in each hand (through no fault of his own, there always tended to be technical issues when he was part of Drift) I walked over to Marquis de Sade.

One of my favourite things to do in this city is stroll through the centre stoned and alone at night. Of course, the buildings look better, the lights are brighter and more starlike, the people are more interesting, and good ideas (well, they always seem good at the time, don’t they?) and inspiration come rushing in. Or it’s easier to keep your mind blank and just dig that “Goddamn, I live in PRAGUE, man!”

Marquis was also pretty stuffed, but I managed to grab a seat so I could sit back and watch the crowd. As an added bonus Prague’s Most Adorable Barmaid was working. One beer later and it was time to get back to the suburbs, my mind all fired up and telling me, “Dude, you have got to get out more often.”


This is my favourite CzechTek related item to date.

My sympathy for this summer’s biggest cause celebre is starting to wane – Prime Minister Paroubek and Interior Minister Bublan are willing to sit down and talk with the organisers. Former President Vaclav Havel is willing to mediate. So why aren’t the organisers behaving like adults and sitting down to work this out? What, is that not hip or underground enough? Would that be selling out?

The answers to those questions are: who gives a rat’s ass, and not necessarily.

The way they’re going about things now I can’t help but shake my head and say, “What a bunch of fucking babies.”

Spot-on comments

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PEN Club success

Jun 13, 10:46 (Filed under: Culture, Out and About in Prague )

At the moment I’m writing thoughts on the finals of Cesko Hleda Superstar and have gotten a bit carried away. So, a short little something for today, then my lowdown – which is actually more of a well-deserved smackdown – tomorrow.

Last week’s PEN Club reading went quite well. I read sections of Jarda Cervenka’s The Adventures of Missi One, a reflection on childhood rafting adventures. The text was charming, and I had the pleasure of providing English accompaniment to Rudolf Pelar, a much-respected translator, chansonnier and reader. Mr. Pelar has a deep velvety voice that can make a lunch menu sound like a tale from Neverneverland.

Aside from Jitka and an American woman in Prague on a fellowship, the people we read to were pretty much all seniors. They were a good crowd, though one guy asked to hear me deliver in Czech. I obliged him by unintentionally choosing one of the more difficult sections of the story. It went over quite well and I hope to get invited to read at the PEN Club (28. rijna 9, Prague 1)again. They don’t have bilingual readings very often, but they sometimes host performances by songwriters; the next such performance will take place on Thursday June 23 (unfortunately I don’t have the program on hand – just take my, and the PEN Club’s, word for it that it will be good). I believe there’s a cover of 40 or 50 korunas as well.

Read Jarda Cervenka’s How I Came to the Feast

Read Jarda Cervenka’s Drinking in Iranduba

Spot-on comments

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Poezie and Provocation at NOD; Think (Again) Magazine

Apr 21, 16:06 (Filed under: Culture, Out and About in Prague )

NOD poetry open mic

As much as I can’t stand Think Again’s trite opinion pieces and party photos of fucked-up trust-fund babies way-vin’ their hands in the ay-r like they just don’t cay-re, I have to give credit where credit is due: it’s a pretty decent city guide, and it’s got Diesel Sweeties . (Oh yeah, double thumbs-up on the website too!)

Anyway, the following is verbatim from its URBANITE section:

A growl, a scoff, a lilting turn of phrase; the poise, the stare, the forcing of image on the crowd-pleasures a reader misses when reading a poet’s words on a page. While distance can serve the written word, purity is often found in the link of voice and language. Come share your words and/or support at the ProvokatorNOD open mic.
Sunday April 24, 7:30 pm – Roxy NOD Cafe (Dlouha 33 , Prague 1).

Damn, that’s some fine copy. I believe I know who wrote it – hopefully she’ll take a bow with a “Spot-on comment”.

I’ve heard that Ellyn Maybe is to be performing at this open mic, which makes me doubly sorry that I’m going to miss it (friends who were at the XX night at Alchemy tell me she kicked ass).

Note: I stand corrected (see “Spot-on comments” below) – Vera Chase is going to be at NOD this Sunday… Perhaps Ellyn Maybe as well.

Think links

As you may have seen (if not, let me save you a little surfing time), the TA website is nothing but a full-screen business card with links to CZ and EN pdf’s of their media kit. However, Keith and Jeffree (the dudes who created and published Think V. 1.0) have a Think website that is worth checking out. Their archive of Prague issues gets me all nostalgic, especially the works of my first-ever alter-ego, Miles (talk about trite opinion pieces… Christ, I he was a cynical bastard back then).

Oh how I wish this city had an English-language magazine with balls! If anybody reading this has got back copies that they would like to give me (after all, it was “Always Zdarma Free”) , I’d appreciate it – Jitka threw out recycled all but one of my copies during our last move. Whether or not she did so intentionally remains unclear (the original Think was a Love it or Hate it magazine; now it’s more Take it or Leave it).

Spot-on comments [3]

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Tour the city with Prague Spot

Mar 30, 08:14 (Filed under: Prague sightseeing, Out and About in Prague )

After a weekend spent doing legal proofreading and my first day working on an exciting new project (translation of a book on the Russia-Chechnya conflict – more on that when the job is finished), I’m feeling a little wrecked, somewhat distracted, and not up to writing anything big today. So I reckoned why not indulge in a bit of incestuous plugging of the site that hosts this blog: Prague Spot.

The main things I’d like to highlight are the excellent articles that PhDr. Vladimir Czumalo, CSc., has written for the site. Start with his article Prague – a city beyond compare for a solid, prettily-written introduction to the city. Follow this up with A brief history of Prague, a concise, yet comprehensive, look at Prague from its birth, through its youth, right up to its present-day station as a grand old dame – the mother, in fact – of cities. Dr. Czumalo has also prepared a fascinating trip along the Royal Road.

If this all sounds like second-rate ad copy, well, it is. Blame it on one of my former employers* – I’m still trying to ditch all the bad writing habits that whoring my talents advertising drilled into my head.

Anyway, the point is, do check out these articles. They really are good reads (I should know – I translated them) and they’ve certainly made meandering through the centre of Prague a lot more enjoyable as its become far more personal.

*From one old fraud to another – sorry Graham!

Spot-on comments

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A Fashion Disaster at NOD; KB robbers caught

Mar 3, 16:09 (Filed under: Prague events, Out and About in Prague )

Last night I and several other amateur models hit the catwalk at Universal NOD for’s “Beg, Borrow, or Steal: A Fashion Disaster.”

Along with a fashion show, there were a number of videos and some poetry, courtesy of Chris Crawford (appearing in the Bear Improv Theatre, which will be performing every Saturday as of March 19 at KavaKavaKava’s Lidicka Street location – Lidicka 42), Bonita Rhoades (who is putting together a womyn-only Alchemy that will take place on Monday March 21), King Vitamin (opening for Selfbrush at Roxy on Monday March 21), and myself (performing with Jeff Stroud as Drift featuring E.C. Sound at Tulip Cafe on Friday March 18).

It was a trip having so much space to move around on while belting out Progress Report. I couldn’t really feel what the band backing me was playing – hopefully it gelled. Well, the audience seemed to dig it, as well as all the other poetry, so we definitely accomplished something.

As far as the modelling went, I didn’t get anything all that interesting to wear – just a second-hand shirt with a slightly worn and rather dirty collar, black safety-pin cufflinks and a couple of Provokator patches. But to make up for that, I got a free cut and style courtesy of Marketa from Tribo. I got something like a mohawk with white-tipped peaks. I’m sure I’ll have photos soon, but I’m not sure I want to display them – when photos of the hair models were being taken, I had a kinda lousy eye make-up job that I got fixed up after the fact.

Anyway, the energy back stage was friendly and chaotic. I probably should have just gone out and enjoyed the show after doing my piece, but ended up chain-smoking and chatting with KV.

One comment about the NOD Cafe (where there will be a bilingual – Czech & English – open mic happening on March 13, start 5 pm): as cool as the place is, the management should give one of their bartenders a serious attitude adjustment, preferably by firing his ass. He’s about 6’1” (190 cm) tall, slim, and has spiked brown hair. He’s also a rude, arrogant SOB who does nothing to earn tips, let alone his wage. Fortunately, the rest of the staff there is cool.

Damn, this is probably my cattiest entry to date‚?? gotta get the glamour outta my system‚??

Here’s an update on the Komercni Banka robbery I mentioned in my last entry: police have apprehended two suspects, both of them Slovak. Yes, you read that correctly – Czech police actually managed to catch something other than a cold!


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Secure banking in Prague

Feb 28, 00:38 (Filed under: Personal, Out and About in Prague )

With all the organising, translating, writing, rehearsing, and tax filing I’ve been handling, I haven’t really had the chance to relax for the last week. Finally, at 1 a.m. this Monday morning, I’ve got a bit of time to feed this dog‚??

Last Thursday, Jitka and I went to the Komercni Banka on Spalena. I’ve got a business account, so I had the pleasure of going to see the clerks upstairs, where the service is faster and friendlier. Jitka is going to upgrade in a few weeks, but for the time being has to deal with the somewhat surlier and far slower service that personal account customers get on the ground floor.

On this particular day, service was even slower than usual. One clerk was chatting with an elderly couple that we reckoned were his parents, another was gabbing on the phone. After a good twenty minutes of waiting and loud comments, Jitka got the bank manager’s attention and told her that all she wanted was to pick up her cash card. The manager was very friendly, smiled a lot, but seemed really nervous as she got a clerk to serve Jitka (this was not done without a bit of griping from the clerk).

Then I saw about eight uniformed police officers walk out of a room under the stairwell that leads up to the business account area. Turns out the bank had been robbed while Jitka and I were sitting in the personal account section and bitching about being ignored. Supposedly the robber simply pointed a gun at a teller, got her to fill a bag and walked out of the bank with no fuss and no muss.

It made Friday’s news on TV Praha, a local cable-access station. At the time of the report, no arrests had been made, and I won’t be surprised if none are ever made. When I tried to find something about the robbery on the web, I came across this article in the Prague Post, written in September of last year.

While I consider Jitka and myself lucky, I wasn’t as alarmed or upset as I probably should have been. Also, I’m not surprised that “Czech bank robbers tend to be less violent than in other European countries.”


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