The Czechmate Diary…


Film Festival in Karlovy Vary is on/ Zacal filmovy Festival v Karlovych Varech June 30, 2007

Filed under: Czech news — Tanja @ 2:05 am

kristalovy-globus-karlovy-vary.jpg The 42nd Film Festival in Karlovy Vary has just begun. It will be showing the total of 220 movies, where the best fiction movie wins the Crystal Globe prize (see the photo attached) as well as $20,000. The documentary movies are this year competing for a prize of $5,000 (quite the difference there…). The opening event on Friday was hosted by the world famous movie stars such as Renee Zellweger and Dany de Vito. Pour Renee started her trip to the Czech Republic quite adventurously: she was informed at the London airport that ALL of her luggage had gotten lost somewhere on the way, including her fancy evening dress! Well, let’s hope that Dany de Vito will be generous enough to lend her his toothbrush and she will be able to find something to wear from the Wenceslav Square boutique selection.. (more…)


Is Singer Neckar a traitor??!! / Je zpevak Neckar zradce??!! June 27, 2007

Filed under: Czech news — Tanja @ 3:31 am

neckar-before.jpg neckar-after.jpg The Czech newspaper “Lidove noviny” released on Monday a disturbing information about a singing legend Vaclav Neckar. The information claims that in 1978 Neckar started working for the communist secret police (called StB). Just to paint you a quick picture about this StB, anyone in those times could be a part of the StB, so you never knew for sure if one of your friends was “with them”. Anytime and anywhere you were you couldn’t stop wondering if you had said anything “inappropriate” out loud and if any one of “them” heard it; this low level anxiety always traveled with you. Once a person did agree to step over to the Dark Side and became part of this secret police network, he immediately received great privileges such as being able to travel behind the Iron Curtain, sending his kids to a university, getting a fine job……So anyway, what was Neckar’s cover name? The Germ (which is also a current name of his band)! His job was to spy on his manager, mr. Bunzel at first. Yet when Bunzel joined the secret police as well, Neckar started collecting information on other musicians, including his co-worker as well as his former wife, Marta Kubisova. When asked, Kubisova did not believe this shocking news and said that “the information source didn’t sound trustworthy enough”. According to Lidove noviny Neckar is unwilling to discuss this surprising news since it could worsen his state of health (he had a brain accident in 2002). Nice little excuse…..!!! Neckar’s new “situation” also threatens his singing career, especially his upcoming concert in Trutnov where he may not be allowed to perform. What do you think, do you believe that Neckar is a traitor??

Here is an interesting YouTube video that I found. (more…)


Czechs like to splurge / Cesi radi utraceji June 25, 2007

Filed under: Czech news — Tanja @ 5:41 am

money_pile.jpg A European study made by Barometer Cetelem came out with their recent results about Europeans and their attitude toward saving their money. The poll showed that in 2006 60% of Czechs were planing to save up, where as in 2007 this percentage decreased to only 22%. The biggest “tightwads” this year turned out to be the British, where 41% of them want to put their money away; the British are followed by the French and the Germans. Who turned out to be the biggest spenders? It’s the Hungarians! Only 6% of them are thinking about their savings. The Czech Republic placed third in the “hitparade of spenders”. This increased need of buying supposedly increased for two major reasons:

  1. the wages have increased
  2. the Czech Republic has the cheapest loans in the European Union.

What do the Czech want to buy the most? The winners in this category are:

  1. traveling
  2. free time
  3. household electronics
  4. cell phones. (more…)

Prizes for promoting the Czech culture abroad / Ceny za sireni ceske kultury v zahranici June 23, 2007

Filed under: Czech news — Tanja @ 4:12 am

reward.jpg The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Swarzenberg held this Tuesday in Prague an award-giving ceremony. Who was worthy of this s0-called Gratias Agit prize? Anyone who has been promoting the Czech Republic’s good name abroad. This year’s winners became 2 organizations and 14 persons. Compared to the last year results, however, this year’s champions were mostly foreigners:


  1. Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center – currently building a Czech museum
  2. “Stonozka” organization in Norway – founded by Czech fellow-countryman Bela Gran Jensen; humanitarian organization where the Czech and the Norwegian children help other children from around the world by selling their hand-drawn pictures, where the money raised is used for a purchase of first aid necessities.


  • Jiri Hlinka from Norway – Czech piano player and a music teacher
  • Milos Forman – Czech American film-maker (see my previous post on him)
  • Cahan Rozen from Israel – born and raised in Ostrava, founder of the League for Israel-Czechoslovakian Friendship, also a member of Israeli organization called the Friends of the Czech Republic
  • Irena Kirkland from the USA – Czech-born; activist for human rights, rights of the workers and immigrants (more…)

New Charles Bridge museum / Nove Museum Karlova mostu June 20, 2007

Filed under: Czech news — Tanja @ 4:23 am

Charles Bridge Are you planning on going to Prague sometime soon? The city has a new sightseeing place for you to see. The new Museum of Charles Bridge is located on Krizovnicke square and will be opening this Sunday. Besides the “Prague exposition” which shows the way Prague looked in the 10th century, visitors will also be able to check out one of the “mlynsky” rocks, which was the authentic corner stone of Charles Bridge. Exhibition will also show the historical wooden machines as well as the tools that carpenters and masons used while building the bridge. Although its construction began in 1357 the whole structure was completed no earlier than at the end of the 15th century. What is interesting is that the bridge was called the Prague Bridge until the second half of the 19th century when it was finally renamed to Charles Bridge. Do you know why is it that the bridge has been standing so steady throughout all these centuries? That’s because the builders would put eggs into the plaster so that the whole structure would stick together better…And that’s for real!

Chystate se do Prahy?? Nove zrizene museum Karlova mostu je situovane na Krizovnickem namesti a jeho bezny provoz zacina jiz tuto nedeli. Krome expozice modelu Prahy – jak vypadala v 10. stoleti – budou mit navstevnici take moznost shlednout jeden z mlynskych kamenu, na nichz byl Karluv most roku 1357 postaven. Vystaveny budou take modely tehdejsich stavebnich drevenych stroju a dobove pracovni nastroje tehdejsich tesaru a kameniku. Samotny most byl ale celkove dokoncen az koncem 15. stoleti. Jmeno “Karluv most” mu bylo prisouzeno az v druhe polovine 19.stoleti; pred tim se jmenoval most Prazsky. A uz jste slyseli, proc je jiz po staleti tak neodolny? Protoze do malty tehdy pridavali vajicka a to aby byla malta extra lepkava!


Which 2 Czech songs have been rulling the world? / Jake 2 ceske pisnicky otrasaji svetem?? June 16, 2007

Filed under: Czech news — Tanja @ 6:05 am

Recent poll showed that the two Czech songs which have become the greatest hits also abroad are polka dance “Skoda Lasky” by Jaromir Vejvoda and “Lady Carneval” written by Karel Svoboda. These two hits are followed by other folk songs such as Jetelicek, Cikanka and Slavnic polka, as well as Svoboda’s other hits such as “Kdepak ty ptacku hnizdo mas”, “Stin Katedral”, “Hej baby hey” and “Cau lasko”. Vejvoda’s polka Skoda lasky had become so famous – especially among sailors – that it received its own name: the Beer Barrel Polka. Can you guess how much did its creator get payed back in 1930’s?? He received only 150Kc!! That is not very much for the fact that it later became the everyday wake-up song to the Discovery cosmonaut crew!!!

To listen to the Beer Barrel Polka melody, go to

For Czech lyrics go to

CZ: Nejcasteji slysene pisnicky v zahranici jsou pry polka Skoda Lasky od Jaromira Vejvody a Svobodova Lady Carneval. Hned pod nimi se radi dalsi hity ceske dechovky (Jetelicek, Cikanka a Slavovnicka polka) a Svobodovy hitovky jako je Kdepak ty ptacku hnizdo mas, Stin katedral, Hej baby hey a Cau lasko. V Americe se modranska polka Skoda lasky stala tak slavnou a to zejmena mezi namorniky, ze je znama pod jmenem Beer Barrel Polka (Pivni hymna). Hadejte, kolik za ni Vejvoda ve 30. letech dostal zaplaceno?? pouchych 150 Kc!! A to se stala tak slavnou, ze se pry jeji nahravkou budili kosmonauti v raketoplanu Discovery!!!



Bolek Polivka is onto something again../ Bolek Polivka zase neco kuti.. June 15, 2007

Filed under: Czech news,Famous Czech people — Tanja @ 1:13 am

uninted-we-stand.jpg Famous Czech actor, screenwriter and comedian Bolek Polivka, which is known from the movies “Divided we fall” (Musime si pomahat;2000), “Something like happiness” (Stesti; 2005), Pelisky (1999), Balada pro banditu (Ballad for a bandit;1983) and others, is getting ready to create the world’s biggest Raznici (grilled meat-and-vegetable skewers). The competition is going to be held at his farm in Olsany and is supposed to be connected also with the race of historical bicycles. Since the raznici recipes vary from a country to a country (Balkans for instance add tomatoes to raznici), each international piece of raznici will be divided by a little flag particular to the specific country. The event is scheduled for the end of July.The goal is to beat the current 10m-long raznici record and to be included into the Guinness Book of world records. Thanks to Polivka’s peculiar competitive events, the farm has become a very known place. In the past it was hosting contests such as “catching the flies”, “catching the shadows” or literally “throwing the gun into the hay” ( “hazeni flinty do zita” is a Czech expression and it means “to give up”. (more…)