Czech Beatles fans unveil unusual tribute to Fab Four
The Beatles have been hugely popular in this country since the 1960s, even though in those days their records were not so easy to find. To honour the group, the Czech Beatles fanclub on Friday unveiled an unusual tribute - four oak trees bearing their names in the beautiful Pruhonice park near Prague. The chairman of the Beatles fanclub, Jiri Svatek, visited Radio Prague on Thursday; before he told us about the new tribute, Mr Svatek explained why the Fab Four were so popular in 60s Czechoslovakia.
"The Beatles were popular here in the 60s partly because they were banned. They attracted both young and older listeners, because it was the kind of real music they didn't let us listen to much in those days. You could sometimes get Beatles albums here - they were on foreign labels, from Russia or Poland. And later they came out on the Czechoslovak label Supraphon, but at the time the Beatles were conquering the world their records were practically non-existent here.
Young fans of the Beatles and members of our fanclub like to call them the Czech word for beetle 'brouk', because it's such a cute word in Czech. In our fanclub the guys have the word 'brouk' on their membership cards and the women are called 'beruska', which actually means ladybird. Broucek, or little beetle, is used in Czech like you use 'honey' in English, it's a really nice word. If the group were called the Spiders we wouldn't use the Czech word, which is 'pavouk', because it's ugly!
We decided to honour the Beatles in some way which would last for a long, long time, and not end up like the John Lennon wall on Kampa Island in Prague, which has been destroyed by tourists. In Pruhonice park we've planted four oak trees which are already around two and a half metres tall. They're in a really nice part of the park, where many princesses have been kissed in film adaptations of Czech fairytales. All the trees have signs on them bearing the name of one of the Beatles. Ringo, John, George and Paul all have their own trees."
You can find out more about the Czech Beatles fanclub at http://www.beatlemania.cz/