Greenpoint, October, 2015

Monday, December 19, 2011

Farewell to a Plastic Person

That's former Czech president and longtime dissident Vaclav Havel in 1989. Looking pensive but comfortable in front of... a drum set? Havel was a man of the theatre, true, but also a lover of rock and roll, including Frank Zappa's and of course Czechoslovakia's own Plastic People of the Universe.

The PPU formed in 1968 and lasted two more decades, skirmishing with and occasionally being arrested by police and security forces. They gave heart and happiness to dissidents in Czechoslovakia and throughout Central Europe, including Poland's PomaraƄczowa Alternatywa (Orange Alternative), which staged "happenings" throughout Poland during Martial Law in the 1980s.

Of the PPU, Havel said, "We may have our freedom now, but no one would have it without the inspiration of the music of the Plastic People." Can you imagine Obama or Bush (not to mention Romney or Gingrich) saying something this about any artist--and meaning it?

You can see a short history of PPU and hear just a bit of their music on this very short YouTube video:

No comments:

Post a Comment