Lightning Glove, photo by Barbora Linka
In "DIY Worldwide," AdHoc will be exploring underground music scenes in various cities across the globe. First up, Lucia Udvardyova takes us to Prague, Czech Republic.
Prague used to be the “eastern frontier” after the fall of the regime in 1989: the furthest east European city most Westerners dared to go, to get a taste of “the other.” The hazy permissiveness of the early ‘90s saw Prague transform into a bohemian, decadent “left bank of Paris” with numerous Kundera wannabes and salon intellectuals flocking there by the thousands. Stories about endless parties in grand historical buildings in the city center that marked the first half of the ‘90s, with Belgian and Dutch DJs importing early house records-- or the outdoor, free party happenings in Rohanský ostrov frequented by Spiral Tribe DJs-- have developed an almost fantasy-like character. Did they actually happen?
These days, the aforementioned locations have been replaced with shiny shops and opulent offices propelled by profit-hungry developers and multinational corporations. As if we have been hit by post-transient collective amnesia, the heady chaos of the past seems almost a false romantic memory, as if Prague was never anything else, besides the “normalised” Western metropolis it has become over the last fifteen years. The artistic undercurrents, however, pulsate beneath the shiny, golden “city with a hundred spires,” which despite issues largely pertaining politics-- the corruption scandals, for instance-- is still one of the most liberal places in the East. The music scene operates in a rhizomatic rather than homogenous modus, so its manifestations are harder to find: perhaps a survival necessity to escape the endless stream of tourists and exorbitant rents in the city’s centre.