Pozadí astronaut Brázda
Pozadí astronaut Brázda

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Respekt in English

A diligent student of melody

Václav Havel, to whom this year's Trutnov Open-Air Festival is dedicated, was born seven years before Mick Jagger. Havel represents the generation preceding the age of rock 'n' roll. He caught the rock 'n' roll wave when he turned 20, as a boy no longer in puberty but still wondering about life.

Fotografie: Havel in Trutnov. - Autor: Tomki Němec • Autor: Respekt
Fotografie: Havel in Trutnov. - Autor: Tomki Němec • Autor: Respekt

Václav Havel, to whom this year's Trutnov Open-Air Festival is dedicated, was born seven years before Mick Jagger. Havel represents the generation preceding the age of rock ‚n‘ roll. He caught the rock ‚n‘ roll wave when he turned 20, as a boy no longer in puberty but still wondering about life. Later on, rock became Havel's companion for particular, non-music-related reasons: The socialist era in former Czechoslovakia treated any well-known European playwright the same way it treated underground rockers.

Howling flowers

Photographs of Havel accompanying saxophonist Bill Clinton with a tambourine are well known. In another photo, he is drumming on barrels and pots with the Plastic People of the Universe, but he looks more like he is pulling funny poses for the camera. Both pictures show a man who knows a better way to contribute to a band then through playing an instrument.

Experts know Havel wrote lyrics for one rock ‚n‘ roll song. Vladimír Veit's album wasn't meant to be rock, but Havel's „Hooting Owl“ required an electric guitar. Havel didn't provide rhymes. His brief, absurd proclamation contained aspects of rock ‚n‘ roll: „A wood mooed / Rotting wisely / A flower howled / Stinking is beautiful!“

Combing through Havel's writings to discover his taste in music reveals notes of satisfaction. „The Bee Gees' album came out,“ the playwright informs…

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