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June 16, 2006

a-z tv sub i

when i lived in the czech republic 12 years ago
i was curiously incurious and held a new york-style
attitude that the CR started and ended with prague.
even now i tend to forget that a "small" country is
still pretty big when you stop looking at a map and
actually get out into it. so we gladly accepted mirek's
invitation to accompany the band to a show in Policka
which he, a master of understatement, described as a
"kind of nice" town. they happened to have extra room
in the van for the two-hour drive between rolling fields
then up and over winding mountain roads which gave
gorgeous views of the flatlands far below. we passed
through Litomysl, birthplace of Bedrich Smetana, which
everyone agreed is one of the CR's most perfect cities.
the whole bohemian countryside is beautiful, so green
and unmarred by suburban sprawl or industrial ruin.

Policka was "kind of nice" too. It actually looked
like the cover of my edition of Bohumil Hrabal's
The Little Town Where Time Stood Still. There's
the ancient city wall (still in good repair 600+ years
after it was built), a clock tower, some spires, a
riverside arboretum, a plague column in the square,
the old fountain where people used to come to get
their drinking water.... But more than the obvious
tourbook appeal of the way the place looked was
its relaxed vibe, a feeling of serenity that felt like
the wisdom of the ages. Mirek says for some reason
it is a very cultured city with successful theaters of
all sorts and a thriving art book publishing house.
What a lucky place to grow up! The show took place
in a large culture center and was attended mostly by
teens who danced with abandon and thunderously
called for two encores. It reminded me once again
how much more vibrant and exciting Seattle's music
scene would be if most shows weren't 21-and-up only.