Troubles with svízel
Hello and welcome to Soundczech, Radio Prague’s signature series in which you can learn some interesting Czech phrases while listening to a song. Today, we’ll hear a modern cover version by the band Lucie of the 1933 song Klobouk ve křoví, or The Hat in the Bushes, originally composed for a theatre play by Jaroslav Ježek, Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich. The phrase to listen for is mít svízel.
Klobouk ve křoví, or The Hat in the Bushes, is one of the most famous songs by the composer Jaroslav Ježek and the duo Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich. These actors, playwrights and writers formed an avant-garde theatre group in the early 1920s called Osvobozené divadlo, or Liberated Theatre. The songs appeared in their 1933 play Osel a stín, The Donkey and the Shadow, in which they warned of the dangers posed by the emerging dictatorships. ´
The phrase is typically used to express sentiments such as mám s tebou svízel– I have trouble with you, or potkala mě svízel– I got into trouble. Czechs also very often use the adjective svízelný, such as svízelná situace, or difficult situation. So wherever you are listening to Radio Prague, I hope you are facing no serious svízel. Good bye.