Led by singer and keyboardist Pavel Kabelík, Prodavač ("shop assistant") are an ‘80s influenced alternative group whose intimate synthpop is complemented by thoughtful lyrics. After releasing an EP in 2011, the band returned in February with a very well-received debut album, Malý ráje (Little Paradises).
Anyone interested in the history of athletics will have heard of Emil Zátopek, the greatest Czech long-distance runner of all time. His life story is the subject of a short novel by the Prix Goncourt winning French writer, Jean Echenoz, called simply “Running” – “Courir” in the original French. The book is an account of the life of an athlete whose quiet, determined attitude towards his sport contrasted with the complex political dramas going on around him in mid-20th century Europe. David Vaughan looks at the book and at the life of Emil
The casemates of Brno’s castle Špilberk, once the most feared prison in the Habsburg Empire, will be open to sleep in for one night this Saturday. The offer is part of weekend celebrations of the 369th anniversary of the defence of Brno against the Swedes during the thirty years war. The project is in its pilot stage but, if successful, organisers plan to make it a permanent part of the castle experience.
A travelling exhibition “Kdo postavil Libušín” (Who built Libušín) has just opened in the town of Valašské Meziříčí. One of its aims is to support the restoration of historical chalet in the Beskydy Mountains in the east of the country, which was seriously damaged by fire this March. The reconstruction of the national heritage site is expected to cost some 80 million crowns.
Last year, fourteen countries of the central and eastern belt of the European Union joined the project Identity.Move!. Artists from Croatia, Germany, Greece and Lithuania took part in The Lab, a sub-part of the project designed for research on identity. In Prague, they spent a month working on their contributions for the grand finale scheduled to take place in the Czech capital in March 2015.
Prague’s FAMU has been ranked fourth best international film school in the Hollywood Reporter’s annual Top Film Schools list. The publication praises the film and TV academy as an institution with a great tradition that has produced such names as the Oscar-winning directors Miloš Forman and Jiří Menzel. It also highlights FAMU’s international programme, which is attended by around 100 aspiring filmmakers from around the world. FAMU dean Pavel Jech welcomes the news.
An expert on the history of Prague, architect Petr Kučera regularly posts fascinating galleries on Facebook documenting the city’s development. He draws on an extensive archive of photos and plans to show how districts have changed, as well as highlighting unrealised projects that would have transformed Prague even further. In addition, the 29-year-old works for Cigler Marani, the architecture firm charged with rejuvenating Wenceslas Square. When we met at his office, I asked Petr Kučera what had led him to start creating his online galleries.
Over the last nearly five decades, Ivan Mládek and his Banjo Band has been amusing fans with his original music style, combining elements of Dixieland and country with humour and comedy. Perhaps the best-known of his tunes, Jožin z Bažin, has earned him cult following in the Czech Republic and, more recently, Poland and other countries.
One of the curious things about Central Europe is how little people from the various countries of the region know about each other. A recent sociological study suggested that Czechs and Poles have very similar views of the world and similar sets of values. They share a border five hundred miles long, speak languages that are close enough for them to be able to understand each other without too much difficulty, and yet the two nations have a habit of acting as if the other didn’t exist. Even in these days of open borders, assumptions and prejudices