The Story So Far (May 28, 2015)

…as for me I’ve been more into the Geography of Central Europe over the past couple of days on account of my Personal Advisor at Working Links offering me a place on a Czech course this coming September, since that’s where the Languages jobs are, apparently.


….which has got me thinking, inevitably, thoughts of that Czech singer who did that alternate version of ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’, Hana Zagorová and I’ve been delving into her back catalogue and press cuttings from youth Pop Culture magazines (sort of the Czech ‘answers’ to «Salut les Copains») through the ages on her official site (she started recording as far back as 1964 and she’s still touring, putting her up there with the Sheilas of this world, which would be fitting, since Sheila’s ‘Les Rois Mages’ was, of course another alternate version of ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’)  and what a journey of discovery it’s been. I have also found out that, since she was born in a suburb of Ostrava, by the upper Oder, having personally been to Frankfurt-an-der-Oder I’ve sort of stood beside her river, only quite a stretch downstream. (It’s sort of in the same neck of the woods as Petra Kvitová comes from).


Here’s Hana going very Karen Cheryl in the early 1980s, in an alternate version of Dave Edmunds’ ‘Queen Of Hearts’, with her own pair of Dancers (AND Singers, in this instance!) Stanislav and Petr, just like Patrick and Georges. Check out the dance moves!



…and here’s a couple of things, from 1977 and 1975 respectively, from Hana Zagorová and Petr Rezek, when they’d have been the Sheila et Ringo/Stone et Charden/Patrick Juvet et Nicoletta of Czechoslovakia. The first one being a really fat sound. (In fact they both show that great Pop tunes didn’t only come from this side of the Iron Curtain) and the second being totally irresistible to me with those Tatra trams in the street scene, just like the ones I first saw on that baking afternoon in Magdeburg. I sort of imagine Ostrava to be a very hilly place being very high up a river’s course. Is this filmed in Hana’s hometown, then? (It is, admittedly more likely to be Prague itself).



There are all manner of brilliant H.Z. YouTubes out there, showing that it very much wasn’t all grimness east of the Iron Curtain, but these’ll do for the time being.



…I see that when one highlights in the box for copying and pasting it does individually identify the page to be linked.

Check this out for Hana’s mentions in various Pop Culture publications throughout the 1970s, coinciding with the Sheila/Carene/(Early) Karen era.


We were often, during the Cold War, given a caricature of life behind the Iron Curtain of wall-to-wall greyness. How wrong we were! There’s a dazzling array of high-production-value titles here, with some I can translate already, such as ‘Hello on Saturday’ (the 14.05.1976 edition of which features Hana with her singing partner, you will notice) and ‘Young World’ (that’s ‘Mlady Svet’)  (one clicks on the individual page ‘thumbnails’ for an enlargement, BTW). There is a clue as to the fact that we are in a Communist country with one of the titles obviously making reference to ‘Pioneers’. Would that have been the Pioneers’ in-house mag, then?  (There are numerous other titles with fairly ‘international’ names).


Oh, I’ve just spotted Hana at home in 1970 (right at the bottom on the right-hand side) …as what would then have been a 24-year-old…with her record collection and a Communist-era radiogram…what a picture! I want one!


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