Friday, 10 October 2008


After half a bottle of decent Argentinian wine and a glass of just palatable modrý portugal, I'm in Prosek. Until now I've only known it from the metro map. I shouldn't be here though. I intended to start this blog a year ago, when there were only 52 stations, one for each week, and so give the blog a temporal as well as spacial completeness. Procrastination interceded, so now there are three new stations. Prosek is one of them.

The train glides to a stop. I think it's the bold primary coloured freshness that has made me choose that word. I doubt the trains operate any differently here as any other station, though it is easy to imagine that, like the rare occasions when I enter an upmarket bar, this machine is affecting some grace.

Before I look around I head to the newsagent to buy a copy of Reflex and some gum. I noticed on the ride here, that the latest Hana and Hana is in English. For the uninitiated Hana and Hana are two ever youthful high school students who ruminate on the world from an apparently Czech, teenage, female perspective. Sometimes they come across as Socratic fools, expressing great wisdom in their senseless remarks. Sometimes it's just deliciously cruel. I'm curious to see how it works in English. The gum is for my post-wine breath.

The afternoon's drinking has also made finding a loo a necessity. I flick through the magazine to find the comic while heading toward the WC sign. The comic seems to work. Some of the language seems a little unnatural, but the final comment raises a smile. At times I like a cheap laugh. And I see I've over shot the bathroom entrance.

From this little stop I head to the nearest exit. It opens out into what seems to be a business park. Around the corner I see it is called Prosek Point. I assume they mean point as in 'position' and not 'promontory'. Around me there are only paneláks. Some of the longest I've ever seen. They stretch about 100m and in a line appear to be sawing up through the ground. The three buildings in the park resemble, if you'll excuse the analogy, those big vehicles the jawas drive in “Star Wars”. Only these buildings have many more windows.

Beside the second exit is a poster of Octobriana, a Soviet comic book heroine, drawn by the Czech Bohumil Konečný. There's an exhibition of his work at the moment. I only know this because I read an article somewhere about Soviet comics a few months back. This entry does have a sort of geek feel...comics, jawas. That was all part of my history as much as an earnest pursuit of expression.

Above ground there's a shopping centre. I walk past it and head a little further on to a park. A huge park. It stretches for a couple of city blocks. This was not what I imagined when G. closed her eyes, spun around and pointed to Prosek on the metro map. The business park was more what I expected. Instead there 's this expanse of autumn colours, kids running and cycling, smaller ones waddling beside prams. Some older boys are trying to rap in one of the parks many nooks. There's a park with a flying fox (zip-line for Americans, aerial runway for the British). I'm going to try that if no-one's around later. Two younger children are damming an artificial stream with small stones. They seriously give each other instructions about where to place the rocks. The artificial stream leads to an artificial pond. There are benches around. I join a young couple laughing and wrestling and a policewoman stealing wistful glances at them.

Magpies skip around us under the trees. They're smaller than the Australian ones, and not at all vicious. Their tails stick out rigid and elegant like a clasped fan. For a long time I had no idea they were the namesake of our hairstealing, eye-gouging counterparts. I knew them only as straka, and the foreign word suited what I took to be a completely foreign bird.

The police officer gets up. There mustn't be much for her to do here. Ward stray children and dogs away from the water? Or perhaps this serenity is just an outsider's illusion. I'm going to enjoy it for today though. It's not just Friday and the wine. It feels like a while since it's just been me in a park with my thoughts, not matter how inaccurate. The young couple move off too. Perhaps they've had enough of me writing all of this down.

A trio of teens soon replace them. Two of them are clearly a couple, and unlike the first two, they seem more accustomed to each other. Arms just hang over shoulders. They're including their friend in the conversation. They're also sharing a joint. They must've waited for the police officer to leave, though it would be nice to think that she displayed some largesse and left to let them have this time. A little gift she could enjoy vicariously. But it's just too much to believe.

Mid-conversation they start saying, “I'm a stupid blond girl.” It's clearly directed toward the girl. For all the textbooks, course and efforts of their teachers, it dismaying to think that is the sentence they use. They repeat it so uniformly it sounds as if they're imitating it from a movie or TV show, which is even more dismaying. The language will one day be rendered down into these thick rubbery chunks, harmlessly hurled about a park for a laugh but meaning nothing.

The three of them get bored with this and go back to talking. Their natural conversation is much quieter than those practiced lines. Eventually they finish the joint and go, glancing at me as they do. I suppose this is one of the perils of doing this so publicly. People start to become a little suspicious. I could do this more surreptitiously and try to mentally capture everything, but I enjoy writing in the open like this. It frees me up. I'm likely to invent less – a little less. And since this is a blog, it only makes sense to take the exhibitionism a little further.


There are dog prints at the bottom of the artificial pond. The leaves are the colour of the evening's sunset. In the air is the chill I love. I can smell dirt. The playground is still full. The flying fox will have to wait for some other time.

The last block from the train station appears massive. Behind the blocks of flats, there is a long wall running unbroken over the small hill. There should be enough to make this a double entry. But the access roads to the flats run across the path and after last week's minor infraction I feel compelled to adhere to my rules a little more today. I could wander along some of the footpaths among the blocks, but they seem modern and uninspiring.

Being so far from the centre, there are hardly any people on the train. An empty carriage is a rare pleasure and the ideal place to finish these last few lines. It will only be like this for the next two stops.

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