Countries, Culture, Europe

They think it’s all ova

They think it’s all Ova… it is now for a Czech tradition whose time is up because Czech women have rightly had enough.

Few of us will have bothered a jot when hearing the names of the wave of Czech female tennis players in the Seventies as to their derivation.

We did though smile at umpires stumbling over Martina Navratilova’s name.

Marvellous Martinas

They were soon to got lots of practice.

Fur Elise… in Czech Republic, and a Czech guide

The -ova suffix is given to Czech women to denote that they belong to their husband or father.

In English ova is plural for ovum, a female egg cell.

The good news for Czech women is that the Republic’s Ministry of the Interior is looking to push through a change as early as August.

The Astronomical Clock in Prague

I have been fortunate enough to have been hosted by a number of Czech women in the Republic.

And I would advise anyone who might think that because they have accepted this -ova anachronism that they might be happy to be subservient to men to think again.

Martina soon disavowed an American tourist of the notion.

When his son complained about the queues in the Astronomical Clock.

How they demonised Czech women in the past

Young Buck, or Brad, or whatever his name is, soon learned not to disrespect such an important part of Prague history.

Na Zdravi Czech women

The discarding of the -ova suffix will be long overdue.

And a last vestige of a repression dressed up as tradition.

Czech women run their society

Worth remembering though that here in the UK some still frown upon women who order pints of lager.

Try shooting a Czech woman lager drinker in Prague, Karlovy Vary or Hoptown Zatec and see where that gets you.

So we welcome the change in Czechland. They think it’s all ova…. it is now!

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Student Bangers

Would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our stereos? – Braveheart

As students continue to be consigned to house arrest, they’ll only get through this with the staples of Uni, drugs and rock’n’roll.

No sex please, we’re British!

And so in a nod to our future parliamentarians, pioneers and care providers.

Here are some old bangers which got me through my young days.

And the places it took me too.

Tennessee waltz

With WC Handy in Memphis, Tennessee on my Deep South journey

On highway number 19 the people keep the city clean – Tina Turner, Nutbush City Limits

Nutbush City Limits and Tennessee (Ike and Tina Turner): And Nutbush was one to get everyone on their feet in the students’ union (alas no longer there).

I little thought then that I’d be bombing along highway number 19 on my Deep South American Odyssey 30 odd years later… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings.

Mine’s a 99

Ninety nine dreams I have had, In every one a red balloon, it’s all over and I’m standing pretty, In this dust that was a city – Nena, 99 Ref Balloons

99 Red Balloons and Germany (Nena): You couldn’t qualify as a student when I were a lad if you didn’t march for the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Nuclear Disarmament or to Free Nelson Mandela.

And this anti-Communism clarion call by this German ball of energy played endlessly out of the window of the girls in the next flat.

The wall came down five tears ago and while I have still to make my mark on today’s wall, I have since visited behind the old Curtain.

Ich bin ein Dresdener

To see the revival of Dresden, the Venice of the Elbe, and learn about the Prague Spring and a nuclear bunker.

Mandela days

With my friend Siseko in Port Elizabeth

Are you so blind that you cannot see? Are you so deaf that you cannot hear his plea? Free Nelson Mandela, I’m begging you, Free Nelson Mandela – The Specials

Nelson Mandela and South Africa: And, no, Free Nelson Mandela wouldn’t be one for the dance floor although maybe we pogoed to it.

It really came into its own on protest marches, demonstrations and the Free Nelson Mandela concert at Wembley.

Where me and my old pal from Cardiff student days clung onto our old undergrad days for just one more summer.

And while I never got to meet The Great Man I did get out to his home province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

And stood in his Voting Line.

So, for every student in the land, turn your boom boxes up loud and channel your Labi Siffre

Your light will shine so brightly it will blind them.

Tell me what your University bangers and we’ll share

Countries, Culture, Europe

Give us this Day – the stars of Prague

For a people who boast about their atheism they don’t half have a lot of churches, saints and synagogues.

And their St Vitus Cathedral in the Castle area of Prague does take a lot of getting around.

Thankfully I have the jaunty Jirina to fall back on.

Seat of learning: With Jirina

King Charles IV is the Father of the Czechs and Good King Wenceslaus their patron saint.

But it is St Jan of Nepomuk, or John Nepomucene as he was known in Prague, who I want to flag up here.

Just Jan then, he fell out with King Wenceslas IV.

Add ‘Vengeful’ I’d say. His missus, the queen, shared a secret with the court priest Jan.

And when he refused to share it with him, Wenceslas had him thrown in the River Vltava.

One of Jan’s confessionals

But the most popular statue to him is on the Charles Bridge.

Where there is a local ritual (yeah!).

You touch the diagram of his drowning on his statue.

And then step back a few steps towards the Old Town from the statue and you will come to a cross.


And you will come to a cross with five stars on the left parapet of the bridge.

This is where Jan was thrown into the water in 1383.

Legend has it that this is the spot where he was thrown into the water and where five stars appeared on the water.

Use your left hand to touch the stars and the cross with your left hand and make a wish.

The Castle

Now I must go and get myself ready for my date with Rihanna.