Last week Different World by Englishman Adrian T. Bell picked up the prestigious Apollo critics’ award for best Czech album of 2014. While the record was his solo debut, Bell has been a fixture on the local music scene for over a decade as front man for indie band The Prostitutes. The day after his Apollo success we discussed his unlikely start with the group and what led to his solo outing. But we first discussed an earlier period of Adrian T. Bell’s life, when he left his native Newcastle to become a naval cadet at the age of 16.
Saint Petersburg-born actor Ivan Shvedoff has appeared in dozens of TV shows and films, including the likes of the fourth Mission Impossible movie. Most recently he has had a small part in a new Cold War project helmed by Steven Spielberg. Shvedoff has been living here in the Czech capital since the late 1990s, specifically in Vršovice. And it is there – in a cool, newish bar named Zenit – that our tour of “his Prague” begins.
We pay tribute to one of the leading Czech translators from English, Pavel Medek, who died on Tuesday at the age of 63. Mr Medek was best known for translating all seven books of the Harry Potter series, together with his brother Vladimír. Jan Velinger spoke to the translator back in 2003 and began by asking him if he recalled the first time he was introduced to the Harry Potter world:
“Paper is a tool of the learned, a raw material for bookmaking. Paper is the household furniture of the chancery, the treasure of scholars, a preserver of human friendship. O, my paper! You are indeed a splendid thing.” A quote by Abraham a Santa Clara, a 17th century priest, inscribed on a shop window of a small stationery in Prague’s Vojtěšská street, captures the philosophy of the small Czech design brand, Papelote, which has been around for more than five years. The tiny Papelote store only features a few tables and shelves to set off its products
While the number of moviegoers has been dropping in recent years, some cinemas have enjoyed an increasing number of visitors. One of them is Prague’s Aero, which has just received the Europa Cinemas award for promoting European films. Aero, along with Světozor and Oko, are run by the Aerofilms distribution company and have the highest turnout among the country’s smaller cinemas. I spoke to Aerofilms’ Ivo Andrle and first asked him what the Europa Cinemas award meant to him:
Photographer Eugen Kukla made several visits to Ukraine during the Maidan protests in Kiev in late 2013 and early 2014, documenting events that shook the country and getting close to several key players. Here in Prague he is a kind of man about town whose black-and-white photos from all kinds of arts and social events (and his favourite pub) have won him a large and devoted following on Facebook.
Every language has its own rhythms and melodies, and these influence the way we speak foreign languages too. However hard we try, we nearly always end up imposing the melodies of our native tongue onto the language we’re trying to speak. Would Greta Garbo saying “I want to be alone” or JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” have the same impact without the accent? This question is not just a curiosity. With so much of the world’s communication going on in English, a group of academics at the Institute of Phonetics of Prague’s Charles University is researching