To have some joy in life
Vratislav Brabenec is a well-known Czech musician, poet, and a representative of the underground movement. He was born in Prague on April 28, 1943 and he grew up in Horní Počernice. After completing the Secondary Technical School of Agriculture in Mělník, he studied theology at the Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty in Prague, but he did not complete his studies and he began earning his living as a garden designer instead. From 1972 he was a member of the music band The Plastic People of the Universe and he wrote many lyrics for them, e.g. the Passion Play. In 1976 he was sentenced in the trial against independent artists and culture activists to eight months of imprisonment. He served his sentence as part of his detention pending trial. Shortly after his release from prison he signed Charter 77 and since that time he was living constantly under the surveillance by the StB Security Police. In 1982 he was subjected to a number of interrogations which were accompanied by blackmailing and physical violence. Based on these incidents, he eventually decided to emigrate together with his wife Marie Benetková, with whom he was raising their daughter Nikola. He returned to his homeland only in 1997. He now lives in Prague and his activities include concert performances, poetry and other literary pursuits.