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Home again, home again
So, I'm back from holiday, having hardly logged on and having not checked my e-mail at all. It appears I'm not as addicted as I thought I was.

I appear to have dropped into a parallel universe; the house is tidier than when I left, and Tobes appears to have put together a perfectly competent itinerary, complete with website. Weird.

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Wondered where you had gone. have you noticed that Coflu 2004 is apparently going to be in Las Vegas??

Apparently so; at least this way we don't have to run it.

So should I take your absence, and our brief conversation-ette between Seven Sisters and Finsbury Park this monring, to mean that you went to Prague for your holiday?

We first went there in 1991, when "reconstruction" (as it might be called) was limbering up: cranes had begun to punctuate the skyline, western-style billboards were appearing on the streets, there were candles burning at the makeshift shrine to Jan Palach at the top of Wenceslas Square. (I daresay that's not there now, although there are probably lots more cranes and billboards.) Cyril Simsa, who moved there permanently the following year, said that Prague reminded him of Paris in the 1920s: overrun with American would-be writers with portable typewriters, all pretending to be the next Ernest Hemingway.

Steven mentioned that Amadeus had been filmed in Prague, in part because Vienna is full of television aerials. (Another reason for not using Vienna is that the centre was rebuilt in Imperial style in the mid-nineteenth century, so can't really be used for anything set earlier than 1870 -- the only structures which definitely predate that now are St Stephen's Cathedral and the Plague Memorial.) Since the end of the Communist era, the city seems to have become something of a mecca for western film-makers, doubtless because it's the only European city in which so much eighteenth-century architecture still remains -- it's done duty as revolutionary Paris for the BBC's Scarlet Pimperel and as Vienna (again) for Bernard Rose's Beethoven biopic Immortal Beloved (which can only prompt laughter from those who know Prague: at one point in the film, there's a shot of Hradcany from the opposite bank of the Vltava, which we're supposed to believe is the Imperial Palace!).

Ah well. Good to see you again, although I don't know whether you'll ever read this, so long after your original "I'm back" post....


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