How do you write poetry in the age of the tweet? Tomáš Míka has an answer. His latest collection is called Text Messages: it doesn’t quite go so far as to reduce everything to 140 characters, but the book does have its roots in the disembodied fragments of language that today form so much of our electronic communication. Tomáš talks to David Vaughan.
Czech Radio has just launched Zhasni!, or Turn the Lights Out!, the station’s first dedicated podcast series. The move is aimed at boosting Czech listeners’ usage of podcasts, a delivery system particularly popular in the US via which subscribers automatically receive audio files – including, of course, radio shows – on their smartphones or other devices. To find out more about this drive I spoke to Edita Kudláčová and Robert Candra from Czech Radio’s Creative Hub group. My first question: What is Zhasni! and how did it come about?
Kayos, which came out last year, is the excellent fourth LP by the Olomouc-based outfit Flash the Readies. They started out in the mid-2000s as an indie group but today have a post-rock sound that should appeal greatly to fans of Mogwai or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Though comprising only five tracks, Kayos takes listeners on an atmospheric, psychedelic and frequently epic, journey.
Final preparations are underway for the One World human rights documentary film festival, which starts in Prague on Monday. This year’s edition, the 19th, will turn the spotlight on the lives of migrants who have settled in Europe – and deliver all kinds of captivating stories from around the globe. Ahead of the opening, festival director Hana Kulhánková filled me in on this year’s curtain-raising film.
Taking part in the carnival parade in Rio is an unforgettable experience and all you need to do is don a mask and costume and join in the revelry. But only the very best dancers have the privilege of dancing at the Sambódromo. Among the few foreigners to join this elite group of Brazilian dancers for the 2017 parade competition was Czech actor and dancer Viktor Polášek.
Mardi Gras celebrations have been taking place around the country ahead of Ash Wednesday. The Czech Republic may be one of the most secular countries in Europe but Czechs love to observe traditions and while few people are likely to fast during the 40 day Lent period they celebrate Mardi Gras (or Masopust as it is called in Czech) with a vengeance.
These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere by dné (AKA Ondřej Holý) recently won the Vinyla alternative music prize for Czech LP of the year and is also in the running for the Apollo award. Recorded in large part in Holý’s Prague bedroom, the mesmerising, keyboard-based album came out on German label Majestic Casual and has been making waves internationally in a way most Czech artists can only dream of. When I stopped by at Ondřej Holý’s home, I first asked him about his beginnings in music.