A quickie today: peep Joey Bishop’s extensive look at Canadian poet supreme Leonard Cohen’s Death of a Ladies’ Man. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only got a cassette of his early hits and The Future. I listen to the former often enough; the last time I listened to the latter was probably about a year before I moved to the Czech Republic. I am very glad to have seen Leonard Cohen perform at the Ottawa Congress Centre on The Future tour. Dude was cool as you would expect him to be, every word that rolled off his tongue seemed like a wine-dipped pearl.
And after reading Joey’s review, I’ve got to get me that CD. Beaucoup props for writing such a crackling review, JB.
Spot-on comments 
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Fresh from the Prague Monitor Czechs have more sex than Italians. The article makes no mention of Canada’s screwing stats, while the only thing that’s said about the States is that most Americans have had their cherries popped in the back seats of cars.
And, as the old saying goes, now that I’ve got your attention… if you’re looking for some new desktop wallpaper, Prague Spot now gives you the opportunity to spruce up your desktop background with some top-shelf pictures of Prague. Photos of such attractions as Charles’ Bridge, Old Town Square, and, of course, Prague Castle are all available for downloading in several resolutions. Check out www.prague-spot.com/wallpapers for more details.
Ever frozen your drunken ass off while trying to find a decent park bench to sleep on in the wee hours of an Antarcticly cold January morning in Prague? Neither have I, but if you’re planning on coming to Prague for New Year’s Eve 2005/6 and haven’t booked your accommodation yet, you could find yourself in such a situation—unless you keep reading and act now. Several of Prague’s hotels, hostels and pensions still have vacancies for you last-minute types. You can make your reservations quickly and easily at www.prague-spot.com/new-year. This is rather exceptional, as most places in the Czech capital are usually fully booked for New Year’s Eve by this time. And good bench space can be mighty hard to find.
And finally, we here at Prague Spot are now compiling the cream of the Prague blog crop, along with a few news feeds, at www.prague-blogs.com. Sources include a little something called hot pornstars, which doesn’t exactly deliver what its title promises, but is good for a laugh (and probably very good for traffic). Here’s a sample:
??We adopted Briana Banks last year, not even an entire year after adopting our yellow lab. It was a real labor of love, adopting this dog that we found on petfinder.com, because we had to do a lot of paperwork and agree to drive down to Ft Lauderdale to ‘meet’ Aria Giovanni, with no guarantee that we would be allowed to adopt her at that time.
If you find that confusing, just mosey on over to hot pornstars to get a better idea of what’s going on there (safe for work, though the links at hot pornstars definitely aren’t).
I believe that’s enough copywriting for one day. Now back to translating.
Spot-on comments 
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Thanks for leading me to this, Joey. Not only do we share an aversion to Chris Martin’s lyrical stylings, we also share this:
Virginia Woolf: Orlando. You are a challenge, for
outer events, the outside world, the time etc.
play no importance to you. Your focus is in
writing, in gender issues, and inside your own
head. Self-analysis and exploration of yourself
as well as the outer world hold great
importance to you.
Damn, I wanted to be The Flowers of Evil...
Spot-on comments 
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Having just finished Alex Garland’s The Beach, I wanted to devote some time to skewering Danny Boyle & Leo DiCaprio’s godawful rendition of it. If I were Garland, I think I’d have beaten the crap out of everyone involved with that flick, as it’s an insult to an extremely well-written, beautifully paced (though not flawless) book.
However, as I’m running short of time today (spent most of last night and this morning building a new website for my and Jitka’s translating business), I’m just going to post a few quickies that I snagged from the Prague Monitor.
While I dig what the organisers of the In Our Faces: Visual Assault on the Streets of Prague exhibit are trying to say, I’m kinda skeptical that it will do anything more than make a vague blip on the local radar. Czechs have a very healthy attitude towards sex and don’t piss themselves over public displays of T&A. Hell, at the local Globus they’re selling titty calendars out in plain view one row over from the toy section. Personally, I quite like seeing billboards with attractive women with bedroom eyes trying to seduce me into buying a particular brand of caulking, booze, socks, cosmetics, laundry detergent, whatever, whether I use them or not. Ridiculous little infatuations with models in various ads (Avon and Soudal in particular, along with all the billboard and citylight hype for men’s magazines) inject a little sunshine into the grayest of days, take a man’s mind off of whatever’s got him down, or make a good day a bit better.
And finally, a little something to make you smile. HEEERE’S JOHNNY!
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Sep 21, 11:29 (Filed under: Web watch )
I’ve really got to start ignoring the cool stuff that the Prague Monitor links to in its multimedia section. I just killed about half an hour playing an addictive little Flash game called Billy Bob Abduction. It’s a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it chances are you’ll play it through to the end.
Here’s a handy walkthrough if you get stuck.
Spot-on comments 
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This came as a bit of a surprise – I was just scanning the Prague Monitor and came across the title of a piece I wrote for Provokator.org’s second print issue. Entitled Hardcore Translating, the piece offers a glimpse of my experience translating pornography.
While I’m posting links to news stories, here’s another one worth checking out – it’s a Prague Post article on free WiFi in Prague.
That’s all for today – I got brain cells to recover…
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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.
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Aug 22, 22:44 (Filed under: , Web watch )
I haven’t really been doing all that much since Jitka’s departure, mostly watching DVDs and playing computer games, though Mr. Brindle and I did some all-night bar-hopping on Saturday. We started at midnight at U Zpevacku and then hit Marquis (good crowd but the whole place smelled like puke), Chateau (that bar is like a homosexual who steadfastly refuses to come out of the closet; not being into hanging out at sausage factories, we didn’t even stay for one beer), NoD (lively yet dull crowd), Confessions (good for a joint, a beer and a few games of foosball), Blue Light (lively and annoying crowd – worth it for the walk over a horde-free Charles’ Bridge), U Zpevacku (for the novelty of having gone full-circle, sort of), to Batalion (weird mix of music – Chicago’s “Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry” was playing as we walked into the basement, this was followed by something that sounded a lot like Ministry), and finally to the Muzeum McDonalds where we settled our munchies with double cheeseburgers, cafe lattes, and smoked one last spliff to make the metro ride home a little more interesting.
Sunday was spent watching Scary Movie (for the first time, not bad) and White Chicks (for the fourth time, still hilarious), and playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (after having finished Half-Life). Today I managed to get a little work done before calling it quits and watching Arlington Road (good but depressing).
Spoke with Jitka for a good couple of hours. She’s doing alright in Oakland, though she tells me it isn’t safe for her to walk alone in the neighbourhood alone, even during the day, and she is unable to drive her brother’s pick-up or SUV or whatever it is that he drives to San Francisco. I also learned that I’ve probably been a bad influence as far as spitting the odd hip-hop lyric, or using black slang in the flat. On her way to her brother’s from the airport, she casually remarked, “There sure are a lot of niggaz around here.”
Everyone else in the car was pretty quick to tell her not to say that word even in Czech. On a side note, here’s an interesting article entitled Won’t You Please Be My Nigga on a linguistic double-standard that’s so widely accepted even Slim Shady apparently won’t touch the word when conjuring up his rhymes. I’m looking at it in this entry and wondering whether or not I should censor it somehow.
I was kind of afraid that something like this would happen to Jitka. Maybe I should stop saying, “Yo, Mikesh, wassup my li’l fo’-legged nigga?” when greeting our black cat on arriving home. Ah well, I’m sure that common sense will prevail.
Before signing off to watch The Godfather: Part III, I’d like to send a virtual shout-out to my ni… my boy Richard James, who has just launched his first weblog. Richard’s a very talented musician and producer, and he also happens to be married, with child, here in Prague. Well, actually, a bit outside of Prague, but he works in town. Check RJ’s blog here.
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This is for anyone in (or passing through) Prague who doesn’t eat meat and feels very misunderstood, perhaps even neglected, when dining out. Despite the fact that the author uses that abhorrent abbreviation for the district South of Narodni trida*, prague.tv has an extensive guide to the Czech capital’s vegetarian restaurants.
*Reading that back, I already think I’m fighting a losing battle (see below)
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Last night I caught a glimpse of the trailer for Last Days, Gus Van Sant’s portrayal of Kurt Cobain’s… well, last days. Though I’m not as much of a Nirvana fan as I used to be, their music brings back pleasant memories of my first (and last) flatmate in Prague – Marek Srazil.
Marek and I shared a flat in Vrsovice (a neighbourhood that literally has the shittiest streets in Prague, IMO), near the KD Eden, just down the street from a skinhead bar called “Septic Tank” according to Marek’s translation.
Marek was the leader of a power-trio called The Ignu, which was primarily a Nirvana revival band, but also did some original material as well (including the classic “Mergy’s Death” and “I Feel a Fucker”, both of which were edited by yours truly). He rehearsed in our two-room flat, playing and singing at full-blast along with a stereo that had a karaoke function. I spent many a weekend typing poems, stories, and of course the Great Prague Expat novel (which is actually finished) to Marek’s Cobain-like roars, howls and shrieks. And having sung Nirvana songs at karaoke myself, I’ve got to say that the boy had one hell of a talent – I can barely manage to get through “Smells Like Teen Spirit” without losing my voice. Marek could go full throttle for a 90-minute gig.
Ah, those were the days: dealing with three cats (one neutered male and two still-intact females – ever seen a couple of female cats go getting it on at the foot of your bed? If not, that’s definitely for the best), chain smoking, power-drinking and power-toking, overflowing bins, rholik and turek breakfasts, spam soup for lunch, sardine-and-ketchup pasta for dinner, crawling carpet stains, cold showers, crazy friends, crazier girlfriends… a couple of middle-class guys in their late twenties playing skank, yeah.
Feeling sentimental, this morning I devoted some surfing time to finding out more about Last Days. According to the web site (which is in French), the movie was released in France last Friday. I have no idea how long we’ll have to wait for it to hit Prague.
Judging by the trailer, the film looks interesting. While Last Days is a work of fiction, the source is obvious in the same way that Velvet Goldmine drew strongly from various phases that both David Bowie and Iggy Pop (and, I believe, Lou Reed) went through.
Speaking of VG, after seeing the film I thought that any major movie about Kurt Cobain would see Ewan McGregor playing the lead. Michael Pitt looks convincing as a tortured grunge idol, but he also looks a little too Leo DiCaprio; i.e. a prettyboy playing skank. Which isn’t so bad, I guess – everybody should play skank, at least until the clothes get too itchy.
Here’s a comparison (McGregor on top, Pitt on the bottom, Cobain in the middle – I would do left-to-right, but I have no idea how to work with the code). In fairness to Pitt, check the Last Days website for better shots.
P.S. No that’s not an unreleased Nirvana track playing at the Last Days site, it’s Michael Pitt.
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Apr 9, 19:07 (Filed under: Web watch )
Remember the Wu-name generator? Mine’s Violent Samurai when I use my middle name, Vulgar Desperado when I don’t, both of which are kinda lame – I was hoping for something with “Kwon” in it.
Taking things to the next level, after renaming yourself you can recreate yourself as a South Park character with this sweeeet Flash application. The following two are, I suppose, Then and Now depictions of me as an English teacher in Brno and as a freelance city gadabout (well, until a couple of weeks ago):
(By way of Mace Warrenton’s blog, The Diary of an A**hole).
Added bonus: another Internet radio tip – stop by The Delicious Lo-Fi Lounge and languish in lush laid-back lovey-groovy downtempo chill.
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This isn’t really Prague, let alone Czech, related, but I feel compelled to lead folks to the official Steak & BJ Day page. The alarmingly warm weather and a few beers have got smartass remarks about this concept careering around my head, but I’ll keep ‘em to myself for the time being.
Now for a little bit of local flavour: Drift & E.C. Sonic (me & Jeff Stroud) will be dishing out sizzling helpings of spoken word and ambience sprinkled with distortion at Tulip (Opatovicka 3, Prague 1) this Friday March 18. Poets Chris Crawford and Bethany Shaffer are also on the bill. Start: 8pm. Cover: a paltry CZK 50,-.
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Anybody who’s been stopping by on a regular basis may have noticed that I’ve been pumping up DEB’s right-hand column over the last few days.
I’ve added a handy Bravenet calendar to the blog. The public can post to this calendar, so I invite and encourage anyone who has an upcoming concert, performance, party, speech, demonstration, meeting, etc. in Prague to make use of it.
Under this, fellow bookworms can see what I’ve been taking out of the Prague City Library (for those interested, you need a visa to get a card). It’s fairly well-stocked with English-language books (almost entirely fiction and poetry) so I’m pretty happy with it. However, I really miss all the variety of big city libraries, like the ones in Ottawa, especially the University of Ottawa. To me, buying books in Prague is a luxury, in spite of the good selection and prices offered at the Globe, Shakespeare & Son’s, Big Ben, and Anagram. But I digressÔ??
If you check the buttons below my list of links, you’ll see that I’ve joined a few blog rings. So far, the most interesting of these has been Expat Express. When I clicked the arrows beside the EE button, I was pleased to discover that I’ve got a cool neighbour to the right at Bob’s yer uncle. Definitely worth a read, and be sure to check BYU’s links as well – Glitter for Brains is a riot!
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Some of my work has been added to Vocalized Ink’s playlist. While I’m not on heavy rotation, it’s worth giving the station a listen for spoken word tracks by supasistaz Queen Sheba and Ursula Rucker alone.
Click here to listen to Vocalized Ink. You’ll probably have to register with Live 365 to access the station. After doing so, you might also want to check out The Bassment and The Hip Hop Lounge – two excellent hip hop stations.
And, while I’m at it, I should also mention Resonance 104.4 FM, especially the Saltpetre Radio show (23:30 in the UK, 00:30 in Prague), an eclectic mix of top-shelf spoken word hosted by the exquisite Selena Saliva Godden (not many links to her – if you know of any, I’d be grateful if you stuck ‘em in your comments).
And, of course, I can’t leave out the best radio station in the Czech Republic – the mighty Radio 1.
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