Prague's Only Guide With Style...

 

Welcome to the Archives of Velvet Magazine! For those of you who might not know, Velvet was Prague's first city magazine and sadly published just a few issues. I, Jeffree from Think Magazine, designed the very last issue of Velvet, which was killed the day it was to go to press... and thus, I turned my attention to making Think. A lot of the contact, adresses and business information here is too old to be useful, but why not take a walk down memory lane and enjoy yourself?


 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Sean Gallup

Like any good storyteller, it's almost impossible to tell when Pieter Fuster is lying. And like any good story, it doesn't really matter.

In a black waistcoat, tails, and top hat, the Creator of the Ghost Tour waits as his group forms at Old Town Square. At 9 p.m. he will lead his followers through the back streets of medieval Prague, stopping at sites of some of the city's creepiest hauntings, where he will tell the stories he has researched and collected. This is not another vaguely educational yawner tour led by a goose-stepping umbrella toter. Fuster's view of the city is actually fun.

At the Tyn Church he gives his version of the 18th-century tale of Ulright the Spirit Raiser: "His skill, such as it was, consisted of raising the spirits of the long dead," Fuster says in his thick Newcastle accent, standing on the very spot where (legend has it) Ulright conjured his spirits. According to Fuster, Ulright (who also wore a waistcoat and tails) performed his popular Saturday-night spirit raisings in front of the church, angering the souls he disturbed. Ulright remained safe from their wrath; the story goes, only as long as he "followed his meticulous procedures."

Safe, that is, until the night he ventured onto the consecrated ground inside the church and accidentally raised not one, but thousands of spirits. "Ulright had gone too far this time," Fuster says. The terrified conjurer dashed out of the church and fled towards the Square, Fuster explains as he leads the tour that very way, continuing:

"Just as Ulright reached the Square, the angry spirits fell upon him, ripping his limbs and tearing his bones from their sockets. Ulright lay dead, in pieces around the Square." Since then, says Fuster, Ulright's damned ghost is condemned to reappear every Saturday night at midnight to reenact the horrors. "He has one leg," Fuster tells the group in a wary tone, "and carries his head under his arm." Oh, that guy.

Just how much of the story Fuster fabricated is as lost in mystery as Ulright's reasons for calling forth the dead. (Anyone who saw Fuster at Molly Mallone's, when he jumped on stage and sang a story he created on the spot, has to wonder.) A bas-relief of a man fleeing a church, directly over the Tyn Church's side entrance might, however, make one believe. And maybe even shudder.

Curling through Retezova Street, Foster's audience is enthralled as he continues his storytelling: "The Barber Of Prague was once a Proud and prosperous man who went mad when his obsession with alchemy drove him to poverty, his wife to suicide, and his daughter to prostitution." Finally, Fuster says, the Barber took to begging people on the street to let him shave them, and then slashed them with his razor if they refused. According to legend, his soul can only be freed from its tortured state if he finds a man who will consent to being shaved, which is unlikely considering his dementia, his reputation, and his rusty razor.

Along the way, Fuster also points out the severed arm hanging in the Church of St. Jacob that was supposedly lopped off of a foiled thief by the ghost of the Vegetarian Butcher. On the corner where he tells the 16th century tale of a priest who killed a prostitute after she bared her breasts to him, he points out her bare-breasted likeness, built into a nearby windowsill "as a tribute."

By the time the tour returns to Old Town Square, its members have picked up more than just a few lines of postcard fodder. Prague is a city full of ghosts, and it helps to know which ones are friendly and which ones will disembowel you. Just in case he's not making it all up.


This month's FIRST contributors are Omri Ben-Amos, Michelle Legge, Michael Wayne Jr., David Freeling, Radha Burgess and Anne Renahan.

 

 

Cover credits

  Pg. 07 Editor's Letter
  Pg. 09 FIRST: Ghost Busker
  Pg. 10 The King is Dead
  Pg. 10 Kik's Kaka
  Pg. 11 Trick of the Trade
  Pg. 11 Telephone Obsessive
  Pg. 12 The H.O.G.s are here
  Pg. 12 Fugazers
  Pg. 13 Windex
  Pg. 14-15 POLAROID: Laurie Anderson
  Pg. 17 Letter From L.A.
  Pg. 18-19 6 Kc and Peace of Mind
  Pg. 20-23 Velvet Devolution
  Pg. 24-27 FASHION: Cafe Couture
  Pg. 31 REVIEW: Jiri David's "Hidden Image"
  Pg. 32 Czech Cubism 1911-1919
  Pg. 33 REVIEW: Klub Lavka
  Pg. 33 REVIEW: Subway Club
  Pg. 34 MUSIC: The Ecstacy of St. Theresa
  Pg. 36 RESTAURANTS: Here's the Boeuf
  Pg. 37 RESTAURANTS: Comedy Cafe Akropolis
  Pg. 42 COFFEE: Meduza Kavarna
  Pg. 43 ALTERNAMALL: Jilska 22
  Pg. 44 SHOPS: Ligne Roset
  Pg. 45 Above & Beyond
  Pg. 47-48 BOOKS: Expat Mixed Bag
  Pg. 50-51 MUSIC REVIEWS
  Pg. 54-55 MOVIES: Karlovy? Very.
  Pg. 52 Scene
  Pg. 53 LAST: Intro to Cool.
   
 

Volume 1, Number 1
August 1995

Editor and Publisher MICHAEL WAYNE JR.

Executive Editor CHRISTOPHER HOLLAND

Senior Editors
WALTER R. DEVINE, JOYCE-ANN GATSOULIS

Associate Editor
SUSANNAH ROSENSTOCK

Editorial Assistants
HELENA SIPKOVA
MAURA GEDID

Contributing Editors NICHOLE ACHS
OMRI BEN-AMOS
MATT WELCH

Contributing Writers RADHA BURGESS, LOU CHARBONNEAU, DAVID FREELING, JOHN HECK, MARKETA JIRASKOVA, ANNE RENAHAN, JENNIFER TORPIE, LAURA ZAM


Creative Director GERMAIN E. DESEVE

Senior Designer
CLARE MANIAS

Production Associates STEVE ROWLAND
D.A. STRUBLE

Staff Photographer ZUZANA OPLATKOVA

Contributing Photographers
SEAN GALLUP,
AHMED RAHIM

Publicity
MICHELLE LEGGE


Advertising Director CHRISTOPHER LOVERING


The Prague Review s.r.o.

CEO: NICOLAS R. PERKlN

CFO: DAN ROSE

COO: MICHAEL WAYNE JR.

Main Offices:
Velvet Towers East
Zitna 30, 120 00 Prague 2

Editorial: 24 22 29 37
Production: 24 22 30 35
Advertising: 24 23 23 04
Voicemail: 430 430 ext. 82

Velvet is a publication of the Prague Review, s.r.o. (c) 1995, The Prague Review, s.r.o. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited by law.

Printed in the Czech Republic.

Produced entirely on Apple Macintosh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2