Czech TV says no offense intended after featuring a pig-snorting competition during a break in a Parliament session broadcast live. A Czech town paints-over a mosaic ahead of the president’s visit, and why is the new clock on Brno’s main square getting so many insulting nicknames? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.
Czech public television has officially apologized to the government and parliament for running an unsuitable report during a break in a closely-watched Parliament session ahead of a confidence vote in the new centre-right cabinet at the beginning of August. As the deputies dispersed for break, viewers were treated to the sight of a group of people in the Netherlands competing who could produce the best pig-snorting noises. The head of Czech TVs news desk Roman Bradáč said the choice had been a regrettable mistake and that no offense had been intended. He said a stack of short, lighthearted documentaries was always on hand for unexpected breaks in live programming and this one had been labeled simply Holland-competition. The incident did not pass unnoticed and many people were cracking jokes about it the next day.
A president’s steps are usually carefully planned by an advance team not just because of security requirements, but because of the need to find an appropriate backdrop for press conferences and speeches. Towns also prepare for such an occasion days in advance. The town of Ustí nad Orlicí is now in feverish anticipation of an upcoming visit by President Vaclav Klaus. A serious problem arose when members of the town council viewed the spot where the president was due to stop for a photo session. The backdrop would be the local cultural centre decorated with a stone mosaic from the communist years – picturing a young man and woman looking to a bright future with a red flag prominently displayed. The councilors agreed that it would not do to have the president posing for photographers in front of a communist red flag. They conferred and came up with an answer –the red flag was re-painted blue. Ribbed about turning it into a Civic Democrat flag – the mayor countered that it was not the blue of the Civic Democrats – the party which President Klaus founded – but a much paler shade. The hasty change of colour has left the author of the mosaic Václav Zeman shaking his head. He says the whole affair smacks of a Potemkin village – referring to an 18th century practice in Russia when the local authorities used stage sets to improve the appearance of villages.
Ahead of local elections Brno City Hall is preparing to unveil a new attraction –a a clock on the city’s main square, that some local patriots say will outshine Prague’s famous astronomical clock. Six metres tall and made of granite the Brno clock is an interesting piece of modern art that resembles nothing more than –a phallus. As Brno City Hall hoped it has become the talk of the town but in a slightly different way than expected. The locals are cracking jokes about it and have already given it a dozen different names – all slang for the same thing.
Accidents involving lorries are usually considered a drag – they often spill their content all over the road and traffic is held up for hours while fire crews clean up the site. Last week however an accident involving a lorry in Karlovy Vary made a dozen holiday makers very happy. The lorry which was carrying cans of beer crashed on a bridge and sent dozens of beer cans flying into the river for rafters and canoeists to fish out. They happily toasted the driver who escaped unscathed – though some commented that the beer had not been cooled properly.
Many towns in the Czech Republic have their own calendars made as souvenirs for visitors. Most focus on romantic landscapes and historic architecture but the one just out to promote the picturesque town of Černošice southwest of Prague highlights something entirely different. Originally it was to promote 12 of the most beautiful dwellings in town but, in the fashion of advertisers draping half-naked women over fast cars, city hall decided that a few female attractions wouldn’t hurt sales. The result is a calendar that appears to advertise a fancy nightclub rather than town architecture. It shows all the right homes in the background, but prominently placed at the forefront are sexy young girls posing in luxury underwear –one dressed as a French maid another posing as a bride with a floor length veil and garters.
The costly endeavor has caused an uproar. When it appeared in the shops and on newsstands some salespeople had to place it high up because outraged elderly ladies would spit on it. Others are vastly amused and teenagers are buying it up. The town mayor says he is not to blame – that while he did ask for a woman in each picture the understanding was she would be in period dress. Although what he got was period underwear, there is no doubt that this calendar will not lie around on newsstands for long. If nobody wants it, I am sure truck drivers will pick it up on their way through the town.