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Concert of Czech band Priessnitz on HAFF in Utrecht

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Topic: Travelling  |  Series: The Lowlands
The movie Alois Nebel, based on the graphic novel by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír 99, became the Winner of the Grand Prix HAFF feature films in 2012 on the Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht. A year later, the authors returned to the festival: Jaroslav Rudiš was about to read a short story about Alois Nebel and Jaromir 99 came with his band Priessnitz to perform a live concert show.

I read about the occasion on the website of the Czech Centrum in the Netherlands (Tsjechisch Centrum Nederland). I bought the ticket without any hesitation even though I neither am a crazy fan of Jaroslav Rudiš literature nor did I know the band Priessnitz very well. It was mainly the promising Czech experience that attracted by attention.

However, with the Saturday night getting closer, my resolution to leave the warm flat was quickly decreasing. Spring got obviously lost on its way to Europe and Holland is no exception when talking about the chilly March wheater. When a colleague of mine, who like making sarcastic jokes about basically anything, mentioned during the week that at the weekend it should get as cold as minus fifteen degrees, I did not take his note seriously. Until Saturday morning came and I felt the super-cold and super-strong wind during my bike ride downtown on my own. The news on the internet just confirmed Gert’s theory. Nevertheless, in the end I was very happy that I went to Utrecht despite the inconvenient freezing cold.

Without any exaggeration it was one of the best cultural experiences in a long time! The beginning was a bit slower regarding the atmosphere, but the rest of the evening would be worth coming even if it was snowstorm outside. When Jaroslav Rudiš was answering the questions of the organizer, the Czech part of the audience (which was, as I guess, at least a half of all the folks coming) could feel a little conspiracy as some of the hints could be understandable only for us. For instance when Jaroslav mentioned the Czech railway system being coherent for more than a century. Or Jaromír 99 remembering with a portion of nostalgia the small railway-station-pubs, which have now disappeared from majority of the stations.

After the small interview, which was an interesting mixture of English, Czech, German and Dutch, Jaroslav read a short story about Alois Nebel. I felt a tiny disappointment when he announced the language of the interpretation being German as I was quite looking forward to hearing a Czech contribution. However, it was after all not the main thing which we came for that night. The primary occasion was the concert. And the one was magnificent!

The meditative lyrics, the Czech wordplays and the fantastic rock music, these were the delicate components of the fascinating event. The graphics screen behind the stage was better than any light-show I have ever seen. I was absorbed by the music and the words. I could have stayed and listened to the band the whole night through. Unfortunately at ten we had to make free space for the following projection in the hall. After two extra songs the light in the hall went on again sending me back to the reality. Especially cold reality it was!

By the way, do you know why Jaromír 99 has chosen exactly that number to be part of his pseudonym?  His answer was: “Because I am not hundred per cent.” Well, for me he and Priessnitz were that night!

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