Bare students, bear tracks, bureaucratic howlers, and gum free public places. Plus the not so promising precedents for sealing the knot at an historic Prague theatre. Find out about all that and more in this week’s magazine by Chris Johnstone.
One Czech story this week that got a lot of worldwide coverage was about hard-up Czech students that are, let’s say, removing their coverage. Yes, nude or semi-nude cleaning is being offered by a company created by students who saw other temp jobs dry up in the economic crisis. One of the students from Prague’s prestigious Charles University said that no-one likes cleaning and everyone likes looking at a good body. Charges for the service risk cleaning out your wallet with the hourly rate at around 1,500 crowns, or around 85 US dollars. For the non-sexists, scantily-clad or naked cleaners from both sexes are offered. Grass cutting is also offered as an optional service.
Staying with the bear facts, environmentalists in the south-eastern Beskydy nature reserve are triumphant after they found bear tracks underneath a newly constructed rail underpass for animals. The underpass was a condition for improvement to the rail line linking local towns and the Czech-Slovak frontier. The ecologists say the tracks are proof the investment was worthwhile. They are also pressing for an underpass to be built on a busy road where traffic has surged due to a new car plant, but it look like ministry coffers are now pretty bare for such spending.
Nature lovers have however already called up heavy machinery to improve the environment at a site for 107 endangered plants and wildlife in the east of the country. In fact, they ordered in the tanks. Surprising as it seems, the apparent devastation caused by tanks charging around the countryside at what used to be a former military exercise area is reckoned to have a beneficial effect on nature although it might at first sight look like devastation. Once the military quit the site it started to become overgrown with larger species threatening those on the endangered list.
When it comes to idiotic red tape there appears to be no let up despite what the authorities promise. For the fourth year running the absurdity of the year competition to find pearls of bureaucracy that beggar belief has brought in a rich catch. The winner this time round was the demand that companies provide a fresh paper copy of their registration from the commercial register during check ups by the social security administration when that is available online from the Ministry of Finance. Runner up was a similar doubling up of paper and electronic information called for by the state’s insistence that companies send information to its data box system but still insist that paper versions have to be certified by other administrations. The competition, jointly run by business newspaper Hospodářské noviny and consultants Bison & Rose, claims to have removed some of the past absurdities after putting the spotlight on them.
Zdeněk Bradáč, photo: www.magiczbspace.com
Maybe the state should employ Czech illusionist and juggler Zdeněk Bradáč. He has just made a bigger space for himself in the prestigious Guinness Book of Records. From this week he holds 13 records after taking the endurance record for juggling upside down with three balls. His time of six minutes and 46 seconds was more than a minute longer than the previous record holder. The 23-year-old also improved on two records he had already held. The record man is seeking to break four records during the remainder of this month and another three by the end of the year. He has set a target of holding 25 records at the same time.
A Czech company is launching production of chewing gum free concrete blocks for public spaces. The blocks will be made in such a way that chewing gum which lands up on them will not stick but will be taken away on the shoes of the next person who passes by. Truly, there’s nothing like moving a problem on elsewhere. Production should start in spring and the company has great expectations.
And finally, the decision by managers of Prague’s National Theatre to open up the main theatre and Old Town Stavovské theatre or Estates Theatre to marriages might have some couples with a bit of knowledge of theatrical history thinking twice. The Stavovské theatre was where Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, featuring no end of marital and pre-marital problems, became a hit. And the curtain also came up there on Mozart’s Don Giovanni or Don Juan, with the libertine womanizer maybe not such a good model for newly weds.