Prague Dog Eat Blog

Czech songster Marketa Irglova is going to sing at Oscar ceremony

Feb 23, 15:41 (Filed under: People )

irglova and hansard One of the most successful Czech singers of these days is young and modest Marketa Irglova. This year she was nominated, together with her boyfriend Glen Hansard, for the prestigious American Academy Award – the famous Oscar prize with her song Falling Slowly. This song appears in the fabulous Irish movie Once, which was the biggest film surprise last year. The Low budget film achieved a great success for its romantic story and wonderful music.

Once tells a non-ordinary but still quite simple love-story of young Czech emigrant and an Irish street musician, who meet each other on the Dublin’s most popular Grafton Street, where the guy is trying to make his money by singing and playing his guitar. Those two start a strange romantic relationship and the whole story is framed by amazing music. The movie is great and if you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend it to you.

The film became a great hit after its appearance at Sundance – American Independent Film Festival and was praised by such important film industry personas as Steven Spielberg, who even met Irglova and Hansard. Those two also started to appear at popular American talk shows as well as having a lot of highly visited life shows both in Europe and the U.S.

But the leading song of the movie is much older. It was created already in 2002 when Glen Hansard was visiting the Czech Republic with his band The Frames, he composed it together with Marketa Irglova, who was playing the piano. And before it appeared in Once, it was already used as film music in Czech director Jan Hrebejk’s film Kraska v nesnazich (The beauty in troubles). But it became widely popular only after appearing in the internationally successful musical Once.

But because of the fact that song was for the first time used in the Czech film, there were some problems with the Oscar nomination. The rule says that the song that is nominated for the Oscar should be created especially for the concrete film – which this time was the musical Once. After some discussions it fortunately ended well, because Glen Hansard claimed that he has already the concept of the film Once in his mind while composing the song.

When composing the song with Hansard, Marketa Irglova, the girl from a small Moravian town – Valaske Mezirici was only 14, but she already had quite good musical education, playing the piano pretty well. Now she is 20, during making of the Once movie, she started dating Glen Hansard and they are still together. Although the fact she is going to walk on the red carpet this Sunday, sing on the Oscar ceremony and maybe even hold the golden statue, she stays modest. She does not have any star manners, prefers to wear modest clothing and according to her own words has no intentions to continuing her career as a movie star, she is even planning to record the last disc with Hansard and then to do “something normal, as working with kids at nursery school” as she says. Maybe her modesty is one of the reasons why she is so successful, so lets see if the Falling Slowly song is going to get the Oscar. What do you think, do they deserve it?

Spot-on comments

* * *

Saint Johannes of Nepomuk – one of Czech patrons

Aug 16, 21:33 (Filed under: People, Prague sightseeing )

Johannes of Nepomuk Probably the most popular of sculptures of Charles Bridge is the sculpture of Johannes of Nepomuk (Jan Nepomucký). It is that one you can touch and make a wish, if you have already heard of it. This sculpture is the oldest and the only one made of bronze among all those at Charles Bridge. It was made in the early 1680s.

Under the bronze sculpture of the saint are two relieves, also made of bronze, depicting two important scenes of his life. And folk-tale says, that if you touch special parts of those relieves, it brinks you good luck and you can wish something. Those parts to be touched are easy to recognise – they are much brighter and polished due to often touching then other parts of relieves. And sometimes people even stay in line to wait to touch them.

Johannes of Nepomuk lived in 14th century and due to legend he refused to tell king Wenceslas IV. what his wife told him during the holy confession, so king ordered his soldiers to throw Johannes into Moldau (Vltava) River, where the saint drowned. The confession of queen Zofia (Sophia) is depicted on the first relieve, the scene of soldiers throwing Johannes into the river on the other one.

Cult of Johannes of Nepomuk was very strong in the Czech land in the 18th century in baroque period, when a lot of his sculptures and churches dedicated to him were made. He was canonised in 1729.

Read about other Czech patrons

Spot-on comments

* * *

The holiday of the Czech patron Wenceslas

Sep 27, 20:42 (Filed under: Prague events, People )

St. Wenceslas statue in Prague Wenceslas Square It is coming the day of 28th of September. In the most of the countries all around the world it is just ordinary day without anything special. Here in the Czech Republic it is a legal holiday, the trams and buses will have a small Czech flag, people won’t work and the streets of the city will have a calm holiday atmosphere, but what did happen that this day is a holiday?

As written above it is a holiday of the patron of the Czech Republic, the saint Wenceslas and the 28th September is the day of his death (maybe more likely jubilee). There aren’t many historical sources about his person. It is said that he was very smart and praying (this is why he is saint). He began to hold rule in his 17 and had a big broils with his brother about a way of governance. They divided mainly in the question about religion and about its expansion in the Czech principality or about paying regular ransom to the Saxony realm.

Those clashes were the reasons of his death, but there aren’t exact evidences about that. Some say that it was willful murder by his brother, but some say that it was for more the accident when both of them began to fight.

The fact about his death is that it has happened in year 935, in the 28th September in the church in Stara Boleslav. He was one of the most popular Czech prince and after his death, there began to appear a legends about him.

There are many reminders of him in Prague. For example the Wenceslas square is named after him and there is his big statue on the Vysehrad, where is the original statue from the square moved there after making a newer one. He is also often demonstrated on the paintings and in different artworks, for example even in England is known the song called Good king Wenceslas

Spot-on comments

* * *

The Czech Republic is not a police state, but...

Apr 24, 09:10 (Filed under: Culture, People )

Had a pleasant, peaceful, do-nothing, WoW -free weekend (though I admit that I spent a fair amount of time getting reacquainted with F.E.A.R. great stuff, especially if your rig can handle all its eye candy). I also got back into tune-tinkering with Fruity Loops in order to reactivate my mind with some purposeless play, simply to wake to my life, natch.

Ok, enough roundabout Hip referencing, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good and chill. Had a great run and a tasty, well-balanced breakfast. Prague is turning green and I’ve got plenty of Zodac to keep my allergies at bay.

So why am I in a bad mood?

Because of this. Now, I didn’t exactly side with the CzechTekkies last year, and I’m not all that surprised that the cops are getting away with their actions at CzechTek 2005. But who in their right mind could dispute the objective character of this recording ?

While the Czech Republic is not the police state many a Tekkie claims it is, it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs when its cops are given the green light to stomp and pigstick the bejeezus out of unarmed ravers when they’re down.

p.s. It’s not Czech, but I believe the dullard who posted at the bottom of this thread at Free4EuroAlternatives kinda missed the point of all the flyers that preceded it.

Spot-on comments [1]

* * *

Floodsurfing in the Czech Republic

Apr 7, 10:06 (Filed under: People, Out and About in Prague )

Overdid it with the suds and buds at Tulip last night, so can’t really bring myself to write about how much it blows that U Zpevacku has shut its doors for good. I could mention something about the ridiculous conversation I overheard at Villa Incognito yesterday while working there (a group of people discussing a movie they are making ; best quote from the discussion: “Like, every love story is, like, tragic”, which was blurted out just as Neil Young’s Heart of Gold started playing on the stereo. This kid has evidently never seen a Nora Ephron flick. Lucky kid), but I’m too knackered to give you my misinterpretation of it. Of course I could write volumes about my latest WoW adventures (got my druid up to level 40. Yay), or about how the history essays I’m slugging my way through are killing me with boredom but I’m 99.9% certain that 99.9999% of the people who are reading this entry don’t want to hear about any of that.

So, here are some photos. Don’t know where they were taken or who to credit because Jitka just sent them to me this morning. With any luck this moron was one of the seven that the floods have killed so far. If not, then hopefully his number will be up soon – one less moron on the road, one less idiot with the right to vote, one less dimwit with the ability to procreate.

Floodsurfing

Idiot

Moron

Spot-on comments [2]

* * *

Prague hucksters

Apr 3, 09:39 (Filed under: People, Out and About in Prague )

Spammers suck. If you’re a blog spammer who happened to come across this while taking time off from sucking, please do the rest of us good people a favour and hang yourself. Better yet have yourself hung, drawn and quartered ??? I’m sure you can find some people in Slovakia who will be more than willing to do it for you*. Really. Piss off.

Ah, nothing like a Monday morning hangover to get the ol’ vitriol flowing. Went out with fellow Tragically Hipster Tom last night. It had been ages since we last met, so we ended up chatting a lot later than either of us had originally planned. Had a good time reminiscing about some of the hucksters we’ve encountered here. Prague hucksters are always good for a laugh and usually a few ‘free’ drinks, sometimes even a meal, thanks to the Barter Deal. They tend to be pretty easy to pick out of a crowd as they’re the ones talking the loudest and drinking the most, networking manically. A brutally carved smile, wild jittery gesticulations, and always a vague to obvious flame of guilt, pain, or fear flickering in their eyes. In general they’re pretty good at selecting cheap suits, ties and shoes (which they wear like a uniform, like monks or soldiers), but there are also those who somehow get by in t-shirts and jeans.

Prague huckster bullshit is fairly consistent ??? they’re either organising “charities” or they’re interested in building bridges between (insert huckster’s country of origin here) and the Czech Republic. They organise mixers and soirees and smooth-talk gullible, kind hearted folk into doing a ton of donkey work in order to pull the things off. There’s usually a discount on a few types of drinks, there’s a cover charge, and if there’s live entertainment, it’s usually somebody the organiser knows ??? somebody unknown and willing to do the gig for ‘exposure’.

Ah, then there’s the Barter Deal. More bullshit. You mean in exchange for the use of my (advertising, DJing, catering, promoting, etc.) services I can put a banner up in the men’s crapper? I’m all ears! If I donate that many thousand to your cause you’ll put a shit-quality jpeg of my company’s logo in the back pages of that magazine of yours that nobody reads? Hold the phone, where do I sign!? You’ll buy me a cocktail for that press release I spent hours revising because of your nitpicking? Better make it a Long Island Ice Tea, mate ??? double, hold the cola.

The last time I did work for one of these personal fundraisers I actually had to pester the huckster to get my drink ??? a beer and a shot of tequila in exchange for a press release. The only reason I did the work in the first place was because a very good friend of mine who was involved with the organisation asked me to (this friend works for an ad agency ??? guess what he was being used for). My mate was starting to get up with the organiser’s bullshit as well, so he ended up badgering the huckster into buying both of us LITs ? not doubles, mind you?

The huckster tried pitching his nonsense to me, but could tell I wasn’t buying into it and never asked me for another favour again. I’m not sure if my mate is still involved in the organisation ??? I kind of doubt it because he never mentions it these days.

Sorry about being non-specific about names and organisations, but I’d just rather keep things anonymous. Anyway, this was supposed to be about me and Tom hanging out last night, but I suppose that’s all for today. I could also mention how much the Chodov shopping mall blows for men’s clothes (like the rest of Prague, though I did find some nice overpriced stuff at the Mexx on Na Prikope on my way to the bar yesterday), as I discovered yesterday afternoon while shopping with Jitka, but I’ve already griped about that subject. And this entry has gone on long enough ??? now I’ve got to get back to my damn history essays, a job that has really started sucking, bigger than big time.

Though nothing sucks as bad as blog spammers, who should do all of humanity the courtesy of ending their miserable intrusive lives, now.

*Of course I’m not being serious. Of course there isn’t a town in Slovakia where horny young backpackers get kidnapped and tortured by degenerate millionaires. From what I heard at U Zpevacku yesterday that all goes down in Cesky Krumlov.

Spot-on comments [5]

* * *

Photos of Prague and Cesky Krumlov, courtesy of Richard Body

Mar 21, 06:00 (Filed under: People, Personal )

Just over a week ago Jitka and I had the pleasure of having Richard Body as our guest. You can read about his stay in the Czech Republic here. He has also posted plenty of great snaps from his trip.

I miss the thrill and the loneliness that one experiences when travelling solo. I’ve been feeling this way for a long time now, and reading Richard’s entries have set a few wheels in motion – at least as far as planning goes. Berlin’s looking good, but I’m also considering Budapest. Jitka reckons I should go back to Canada for a few weeks, but I’d rather stay in Europe for now, mainly for financial reasons. This trip has got to happen soon, as these Czech winter blues have got me in one of the deepest funks I’ve ever had.

Spot-on comments [6]

* * *

Fatty Lumpkin Interview

Feb 3, 08:40 (Filed under: Prague events, People )

Well, I’m a bit late with this (the Lumpkins’ most recent gig was last week), but prague.tv is giving Prague’s hardest-working rock band Fatty Lumpkin some much overdue exposure.

I’m not sure about what’s happening with their line-up – I know that Fatty’s bass player Joe Cooper is back in Prague, but I’ve heard nothing from sax player/singer Lord Nelson and drummer Uria Kormerchero. If the original quartet is back in action, pay attention: the last time I bumped into guitarist Ladi Kolsky, he told me that Fatty Lumpkin will not be doing the insane amount of shows they did last year in order to concentrate on recording.

In 2005, Fatty Lumpkin was practically a staple of Prague’s live music scene. I’m sure there were times when you could catch them in town (or at least on Prague’s outskirts) seven days a week. Two of the best shows they played were at Rock Cafe and Akropolis – at the latter show the folks in the front row (including myself) were pounding their hands on the stage for an encore after 10 pm (shows at Akropolis have to stop at that time owing to Prague’s noise bylaw). My hands were aching for days after that, but it was worth it as we coaxed one more jam out of them.

One thing that draws Fatty Lumpkin the odd diss is the fact that their jams go on forever. Well, no shit, they’re a jam band! And a damn good one at that. Here’s hoping that 2006 brings them much deserved success – not only because they deserve it, but also because I’ll get even better bragging rights (I’ve performed with Nelson, Ladi and Joe, and rehearsed in a few of Uria’s rehearsal studios).

Supposedly their January 26 gig at Rock Cafe was to be their only one in Prague, but I kind of doubt that. Check the Fatty Lumpkin website (currently under construction) for updates.

Spot-on comments [2]

* * *

20 Czech babes

Jan 31, 09:09 (Filed under: People )

I’m coming down with a cold and have been bombarded with rush jobs. So today’s entry will be slim – just a link to the India Times’ list of 20 Czech babes (by way of the Prague Monitor). Not sure if I agree fully with some of the choices – Ivana Trump has lost her babe-ness IMO, though it’s nice to see that Aneta Langerova made the list.

Spot-on comments [1]

* * *

Fine poetry at expats.cz

Jan 12, 09:06 (Filed under: People, Poetry )

Chris Crawford, one of the hosts of Prague’s Poezie a Provokace open mic series, has posted one damn fine poem over at the expats.cz lit forum – so fine that I felt compelled to send him sms kudos for it just now.

Actually, Chris has posted quite a number of damn fine poems and prose pieces in the forum since its humble beginnings two or three (or more?) years ago, back when I was moderating it. I don’t think it’s up to me to give away all the aliases he’s had over the years – Chris, if you’re reading this, use the comments section below to post the names folks should look for, you’ve got a body of work in the expats.cz lit forum that deserves attention.

Spot-on comments

* * *

Writing and poetry at Villa Incognito

Dec 7, 23:54 (Filed under: People, Personal )

This dog’s been getting hungry over the last week. Every day starts and ends with so much translating and proofreading that I’ve been kinda neglecting my wee corner of the web.

Not much has been going on lately, though I did have the pleasure of running into a couple of Alchemy (RIP) regulars, Karl and Chris, while at Villa Incognito on Sunday. Karl told me about his latest book, a historical novel set in Prague around the time of the Battle of White Mountain (Bila Hora). Unfortunately I was pretty into what I was working on (translating a rather lengthy essay on the conflict between history and modernity in Hungary) so couldn’t absorb a lot of what he was telling me about his research.

As I was getting ready to call it a day, Chris came by with a petite cutie whose name I can’t remember. I stuck around a while longer than I should have (I had promised Jitka I would return to Blackbridge early in the evening to watch the last couple of episodes from season 2 of Arrested Development), smoked a nice little pinner (oh how I wish I had some of that sticky-icky-icky right now), drank a couple of beers, smoked too many cigarettes and chatted a while.

Seeing Karl and Chris got me to thinking about my own literary endeavours. It seems like Karl’s always researching and writing and Chris keeps pumping out some incredible poetry (check out expats.cz’s literature & writing group for a sample – I’ll let you figure out his username on your own). For the last couple of nights I’ve been going through some of my latest scrawlings, all of which are at least three months old, and some of them aren’t half bad if I do say so myself. In dire need of polishing, but there’s some good raw material to work with.

It must be some kind of work-related burnout – I just don’t feel as compelled to write as I used to. I’m hoping that after these essays are done I’ll get that drive back. Ideas go strolling through my mind every now and again, and sometimes they’re even worth jotting down, but things haven’t really gone any further than that. I used to wig out when I didn’t get at least a couple of hours of writing in every day. At the moment that doesn’t seem all that important any more. And to me it probably isn’t right now. So, you get what you’re getting here.

Having said that, I may check out the Poezie a Provokace open mic that’s happening this Sunday, December 11 at 7 pm at Villa Incognito. Maybe that’ll get the juices flowing again.

Spot-on comments

* * *

Malcom Tuffin vs. The City of Prague and Folk Art

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

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 hot?? 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 thought?? 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 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 Pepsis?? 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…

Spot-on comments

* * *

A little Blackbridge meandering

Oct 24, 04:53 (Filed under: Personal, People )

I’ve been working until the wee hours again, so this may go astray.

Last week I put in a couple of ten-hour days at Villa Incognito (which has a site that’s in serious need of updating considering all the cool events they’ve got going on – cool events that work keeps me from attending – movie nights, poetry open mics, music gigs, and so on). I drank whiskey and beer at Blind Eye to dull all the caffeine. Still smoking – a little less these days, still telling myself I gotta quit.

Been thinking about death a lot. I recently found out that one of my best childhood friends in Ottawa may be on the verge of being a widower. I’m not sure what to do. I haven’t spoken with him in over five years. What do I say?

How’s it going?

Guess what, Jitka, you remember her, well, Jitka and I are getting married. How’s your wife?

How are the kids?

Listen, I heard about?? I just want to say??

What do I say?

On Saturday Jitka went to see her cousin, who she calls her Sister, in Mnichov Hradiste. She’s married, has two kids. I had to work, so I stayed in. Work due Sunday, work due Monday, work due at the end of every goddamn day. But I love it because I can actually get a sense of what I’m working for. I never really got that when I did the nine-to-five. There was something about working office jobs that always made me feel nervous, like I didn’t belong there. And I could not have made that any more obvious.

But there were a few people who I felt were in the same frame of mind. Peter over at prague.tv is a prime example. When I was working at Cesky Telecom as the company’s Online Media Relations Specialist (how fuckin swank and made up is that title? I had to come up with something for the printers to print on my business cards and Specialist or Manager were rather flaccid), as I was saying, when I was Telecom’s Online Media Relations Specialist, it was up to me to deal with the company’s Internet publisher, Capitol.

I got driven. At the time, Cesky’s website is nothing but a long list of press releases. Not divided by categories, months, anything. I sorted all that out and added all kinds of journalist friendly features. I had a blast and got a bit too into it. I felt proud of what I was putting together, but took myself too seriously. I think Peter sussed that right away.

I don’t see him or any of the other Prague.tv dudes around all that often these days, but whenever I do it’s a good experience. I find it kind of funny, sort of sad and immensely ridiculous that a couple of writers whose work I’ve admired since I’ve been here are having a very personal, yet oddly civil, pissing match in one of the ptv forums. Makes me wonder if I’ve ever really been that bitter, pissed off or angry at anybody enough to argue with them in public. That kind of shit talk never resolves anything. I may bitch a lot here, but I get it off my chest and let it go. People can comment if they want, and if they get personal they get deleted, and that’s that.

Ptv is very cool that way. They don’t delete disses that cross lines, just move them into a dump for all to read separately. Try reading the dump on its own sometime. The end result is about as engaging and asinine as a flame war gets to be.

Now, I just finished searching for the web’s longest flame war and ended up killing an hour here – check it, it rocks. They should definitely have a “What Flame Warrior Are You?” quiz. I’d like to think I’m a Kung Fu Master, but I haven’t read all the warrior classes yet.

But this was about work and drinking and smoking and death and Jitka, and I’m running out of steam at 5:42 on a Monday morning. We’ll have a brand spankin new bed in less than five hours. I’ve got to get away from the Inspiron, rinse the caffeine out of my bones and teeth with a little sticky-icky-icky, and get a little shut-eye.

All things considered, not a bad weekend at all.

Spot-on comments [1]

* * *

Czech racism (or "Can Czech cops suck any harder?")

Sep 20, 09:58 (Filed under: Prague media, People )

While I still think that the CzechTek organizers are being drama queens when they rant about a return to totalitarianism and a police state, police inactivity during neo-Nazi rallies and concerts is disgusting and disgraceful. In the latest case, the cops attending monitoring an extremist gig in Krtetice last weekend “did not find that the law was being violated”.

Oh, so it’s legal to dance the Sieg Heil en masse and promote racism here in the Czech Republic? What the fuzz is saying is that they were either in favour of the gathering, indifferent to it, or straight up chickenshit. Yeah, it’s much easier to beat up a bunch of crusties in a field. Just imagine for a moment that those weren’t Czechtekkies, but skins getting gassed, blasted, booted, belted and beaten.

Pretty tough to picture, isn’t it? And now Prime Minister Paroubek is asking Interior Minister Bublan to provide a report on the non-incident in Krtetice. As if Frank’s report is going to make a lick of difference. As if George is going to bother reading the damn thing.

In many ways the Czechs have got the politicians they deserve, especially in cases like this.

Unfortunately, when it comes to racism, your average white Czech is not much better than your average skinhead – any foreigner who has spent more than a day hanging with Czechs knows this. The only thing that separates the attitudes of the skins and those of the average white Czechs is the fact that the skins are more vocal.

It still upsets me when I hear Czechs who are close to me rag on gypsies (as well as Jews and Arabs and Asians, though they’re cool with the brothers). Of course, every Czech knows one token “good” gypsy family – a family in which the parents have jobs, a family that is polite to the neighbours, a family that is quiet and, most importantly, a family that keeps to itself.

Ah, yes, fine, good. But what if an average white Czech boy falls in love with the daughter of token “good” gypsy parents? Will the boy’s average white Czech parents approve?

Damn straight they won’t. Whenever a Czech starts up that nonsense about the token “good” gypsies they know I feel like slapping him/her. Maybe I should start doing just that.

For a very well-written look at Czech racism vs. Western racism, check this article by Christopher Lord in the Think magazine archives. Peace out.

Spot-on comments

* * *

Older articles |