Doc. Mgr., Ph.D. Vlastislav Matoušek

* 1948  

  • “Feather plucking was done by women. As every girl needed duvets in their bottom drawers. So they would gather goose feathers but also hen feathers and so on a and all the plumage was being processed. They would gather in some kitchen where tables would have been prepared. And maybe twenty women would gather to patiently pluck the plumage and put it into sacks. And they would invite me to entertain them. As my grandfather has been teaching me obscene songs of the Russian legion and also Russian folk songs. Волга, Волга мать родная for example has been among his greatest hits, and many others. And it seems I was quite into music as I was willing to sing dirty songs in Russian for many hours. And the women were having great fun. So they kept me as an amusement. Every time I demanded a cup of a sugary tea or sweet white coffee and that was my first royalty. I kind of remember it being a big fun even though I didn´t quite understand why at the time.”

  • “Of course I participated in the protests. As Trutnov was a unique place where we would just set up a huge barricade on a bridge and we would set it ablaze so the soldiers would have to just stand there. They would stop them, throw spikes under the wheels so the tires would burst and the crowd would surround them explaining that there was no such thing as a counter-revolution. And it went on like this for the whole week before it passed. There was a storehouse full of tires and we burned them all and by cars we tended the fire on the bridge. So these are quite strong memories. Each time people gathered in front of the Stalin movie theatre – later Vesmír movie theatre – and the Polish soldiers were the only ones who were able to manage it quite well. They would come to the bridge, there were cars burning, the flames were thirty meters high, and they would form two columns and the soldiers would advance on the stone railings this wide. They would catch our people and make them to dismantle the barricade, put the flames out and so on. Then they came with tanks and they would disperse the crowds. They drove the tank up and down the street and threw teargas cannisters. The crowd would retreat so they were chasing them up the main avenue. They they would turn back and our people would chase them so they would throw the teargas again.”

  • “I went to see him and I said, 'See Václav, I told you it was futile.' And he said:' That´s not the way to do it. Let´s read it together. He began to read. Firstly, there was – in school his performance was deemed average or worse than average. And he said, 'You told me that you had just A grades before they locked you up.' – 'I did, but who cares how things really were?' And he said “No, no, this can´t be. You have to comment on this and state that just A levels is a excellent performance, not an average one.' And together we went through all the items – there were twelve of them I would say – of that dismissal and we found all of them being fabricated and absurd. So he convinced me that I have to appeal. And – even though I considered it a futile act, thinking that it would be just another farce same as all the things that happened before – he insisted that I have to do this. And I told myself: 'Well, he is older, so he has to be wiser.' So I really did it. And one day my warden showed up devastated, stating that I have to get out in an hour. It was in the morning, at 7´o clock maybe.”

  • “In the end they sentenced me in quite an absurd way. The used statements made by my friends who in their naivete told them that they have read the poems and other materials at my home, even without me knowing. But for them that was enough. As I was inciting them without even knowing. They invented this excellent system so they could do with you what they wanted. So in the 70s before I was arrested I was resisting passively and I have been making fun of them quite openly. Not that we would read the poems during our performances, but now I am doing it. And I can read/recite you some If you want. Let´s do a typical one. It was written by Vladimír Kaláb in 1974 or so: If you want to be a writer you don´t have to do all-nighter you might let you arms lie idle working class will be your Bible get a banner red as Hell or at Bory there´s a cell And as a sage he foresaw our fate. As we ended up in Bory, of course. So it took just few poems like this one and maybe a few more – and that was it.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Praha, 12.02.2018

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May all the beings be happy!

Vlastislav Matoušek / A portrait
Vlastislav Matoušek / A portrait
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Vlastislav Matoušek was born on November 8th of 1948 in Truntov. When he was a pre-school child his parents would often leave him in Šedivec near Žamberk at his grandmother and grandfather who were leading a traditional rural life. After leaving elementary school in Trutnov he graduated from the třední školu elektrotechnickou in Jičín. He played guitar since he was fourteen. Soon he built his own bass and together with Vladimír Kaláb founded his first band the Preachers of Beat. After graduation he had been working in závody průmyslové automatizace and playing music. After the dramatic events of August 1968 in Trutnov Vlastislav developed a clearly anti-communist worldwiev. In 1973 Vlastislav decided to become a vegetarian. In 1974 he began to teach at primary school in Žacléř and for the first time he applied for ff uk obor music theory/hudební věda. In 1977 he was admitted and after his talent being recognised he was advised to study composition at HAMU. In June 1981 he was arrested by the Secret police. During the house search the police found volumes of samizdat publications in his flat and also the Charter 77 text and poems mocking the communist regime. He spent six difficult months in a detention facility and was sentenced to eighteen months in prison for sedition. In Bory prison he befriended Jiří Dienstbier and Václav Havel. In 1982 he had been released. He started working as a watchman and a cleaner at a construction site. He played with bands Relaxace or Máma Bubo. In 1987 he managed to resume his studies at HAMU. Since the anniversary of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact forces on August 21st 1987 he has been attending the anti-government protests in Praha. In 1989 he was elated as the communist regime had fallen; he graduated from school and started his academic career. In 1995 the Japan Foundation supported his six-month study visit to Tokyo where he immersed in playing the shakuhachi flute. Vlastislav Matoušek is a leading Czech expert on ethnic music. He has been teaching, composing, meditating and performing.