Monday, May 05, 2003

Once upon a time, Prague Castle (the seat of the mostly powerless Czech presidency) was a fun-loving place. According to a friend who worked there as a proofreader, even some of Havel's top advisers joked that they were living in "Kafka's Castle." Yet somehow they managed to facilitate great cultural events like the Respect World Music Festival, which saw Manu Chao playing on the Castle grounds last year.

Now, read this Prague Pill article about the mood of the Castle under Vaclav Klaus (via PragueBlog):

Unsurprisingly, Richard Vidlièka, the new director of programs at the Castle, was unable to comment on anything more substantive than the beautiful weather when contacted by the Pill. “The press department is quite new and they like to check all the comments before they are released,” says the new director, whose timidity Holeèek ascribes to typical Czech lack of courage. “I have the feeling that if you were in his office and you asked, ‘Can I move this chair two meters to the right?’ he would answer that he doesn’t know, that he has to check.” Despite Vidlièka’s assurance that our questions would be addressed, no response was received by press time. “Everyone there is afraid of making a decision,” says Holeèek. “They send everything up to the president’s office for approval.”


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