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Fred Frith on Vaclav Havel’s Death

January 9, 2012

Fred Frith wrote this – I am sharing (via Shelley Hirsch)
RIP Vaclav Havel. One of a kind. A dissident playwright become president of a country. Slipped his minders (while in NY to speak to the UN General Assembly) and sneaked downtown to check out what was happening at CBGB. How many world leaders could you say that about? I met him in Prague in 1979. He’d just been released from jail, and came to see Art Bears perform at a festival sponsored by the “Jazz section” of the musicians union, which was promptly disbanded by the communist authorities. We all went drinking afterwards, and, of course, I remember nothing about it! Later when the world was upside down my friend Iva Bittová traveled the world as an official cultural ambassador and all of our rock and roll connections seemed to be directly connected with the those now in power; a (short-lived) surreal, astonishing adventure in a world of grim, pragmatism. If anyone could have persuaded Henry Cow to reform it was Havel. If Lindsay hadn’t been sick, we might even have done it…

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