THEY have a long and occasionally amusing history of throwing people out of windows around these parts – in fact, you should really differentiate between the first and second defenestrations of Prague, although there have actually at least another two or three worthy of mention in the history books.
The term was coined after an incident in 1618, when the local Czech nobility chucked a couple of Hapsburg councillors and their scribe out of the castle windows. Hapsburg supporters attributed their survival to divine intervention, while locals attributed their survival to the big pile of horse shit they landed in.
Mrs Undeleted and me avoid much of the set-piece tourist trap stuff, including being thrown out of any windows. Similarly, we do not stagger to the top of any towers or visit a single museum, and we leave the castle un-assailed.
We do go and watch the astronomical clock in Wenceslas Square strike the hour but in the end we spend most of the time watching other tourists watch the astronomical clock strike the hour.
We spend a bit of time on the famously picturesque but hideously packed Charles Bridge, but that’s mostly getting from A to B, from one side of the river to the other.
Mostly, we just wander around. It seems as good a way as any to approach an all-too-brief trip to Prague.
HANDS in the pockets of his grey slacks, James Last cuts a figure of studied nonchalance strolling around the vast stage of the MEN Arena as his band wander on, take their seats behind him and begin to tune up.
He exchanges a few words with the hundred or so fans lucky enough to be allowed to sit in on the soundcheck for tonight’s gig, waving his arms around with big, expansive gestures to make up for the gaps in his English.
He glances around the empty stadium, runs his hand through that famously lustrous mane of silver hair, and takes off his tan leather jacket to reveal a crisp powder-blue shirt.
The band seem to take this as their cue and they power through an ass-kicking interpretation of U2’s Vertigo like a finely tuned machine.
The maestro seems satisfied and nods assent that all is well. Easy listening has never seemed more of a misnomer. Continue reading
IT’S Saturday, so we’re in Manchester, mid-way through the NME rave tour, and everyone is a little subdued. Despite looking like a bad-ass girl-gang from the barrio in their skinny jeans and dirty trainers, CSS are friendly enough, but they’re tired – and they’re desperate to get sushi before Selfridges closes.
In the three years since they bounced out of São Paulo like some globetrotting gang of cartoon crime-fighters, CSS have amazed and befuddled audiences all over the world with their energetic, exuberant, slightly crazy live shows. They somehow manage to play up to Brazilian stereotypes without actually sounding remotely Brazilian.
“People think we’re this band who parties so hard,” smiles guitarist Ana Rezende. “In France, this guy said to me, where are you gonna party tonight? And I’m like, I’m gonna party on the bus, I’ve been on tour for like six months, I really need to have a good night’s sleep. He didn’t understand.”
THIS interview was based around a phoner interview with Guy-Manuel de Honem-Christo about Daft Punk’s Electroma film. It ran in Flux Magazine in October, 2007.
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IT’S time for my big question.
What’s your view on the future relationship of technology and humanity? On one hand we’re moving towards artificial intelligence, where machines are able to learn things and on the other, humanity seems to be losing the ability to think for itself. What do you think about all that, Guy-Manuel? Guy-Manuel?
The line goes dead.