This sort of music may not make for the easiest of listening, and the title of the song ‘pal vodsud’ hajzle’ (something like ‘piss off, jerk’), might not sound the most welcoming upon first read. But, it is a good example of Czech new wave rock of the 1980s. The band? Jasná Páka – one of the best known proponents of the new wave in this country, and one of the communist regime’s biggest thorns in the side. Jasná Páka reunited this week for a one-off concert to open a new exhibition at Prague’s Pop Museum called ‘Nová vlna se starým obsahem’ (‘New Wave
At the end of September 1941, Hitler appointed Reinhard Heydrich as acting Reichsprotektor of occupied Bohemia and Moravia. The radio reported on his inauguration at Prague Castle, and the sound of the SS military band hammering out the German national anthem followed by the Horst Wessel song still sends a shiver down the spine.
In this month's Music Profile, we go back in time to the 1930s and the Liberated Theatre, where political satire and dadaist cabaret collided head on to a soundtrack of the latest scorching hot American jazz and blues. The music: near-blind piano virtuoso & composer Jaroslav Ježek. The words: avant garde merry pranksters Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec. Tune in to Music Profile to find out more.
In last week’s From the Archives, we heard how German troops marched into Prague on March 15 1939. The next day, Edvard Benes, who had resigned as Czechoslovakia’s president in the wake of the Munich Agreement, and was in exile in London, told Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain that from now on, he would be leading the resistance against the German occupation. Five months later, war broke out and at the end of 1939 the BBC began its broadcasts in Czech.
A rumbling engine drowns out the sounds of fellow passengers on the bus –somehow fitting on a visit to Mladá Boleslav, a town synonymous with cars and car engines. A little over a century ago, the first Czech bicycle, the first motorcycle, and eventually the first motorised buggy rolled out of what was then a modest factory in the town owned by mechanic Václav Laurin and former bookseller Václav Klement. Mladá Boleslav has been known for its car production ever since.
Many capital cities are famed for their café culture, and Prague is no exception. At the turn of the twentieth century, writers like Karel Čapek and Franz Kafka would meet with artists, academics and politicians in the Czech capital’s cafes to expound their ideas over a cup of coffee - and maybe the smallest snifter of absinthe. Now a new exhibition called ‘Prague’s Coffeehouses and their World’ takes a look at the golden age of the city’s cafes, and attempts to recreate some of the magic such coffeehouses were said to have had at the turn of the
In this edition of One on One, my guest is Freemason Marc Verdier, the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Czech Republic. French by origin, Mr Verdier settled in Prague fifteen years ago where he now runs his own company. I asked him about the history and the present state of the Masonic movement in the Czech Republic which has recently seen a most unusual development: the Grand Lodge of the Czech Republic has merged with the Grand Czech Orient.
The Lane Motor Museum in the US city of Nashville made the news here in the Czech Republic recently when it commissioned a copy of a 1940s Tatra aero sledge or aero luge, a remarkable car on skis. It is just the latest addition to what the museum’s operators say is the largest collection of Czechoslovak cars outside Europe. I discussed its vintage vehicles with owner and auto enthusiast Jeff Lane on the phone from Nashville.