Guest Article: GET TO NOMI by Violens
This is a fictitious account of a visit to Prague as we'd like to experience it with the long dead audio/visual/visionary artist Klaus Nomi. We hardly leave our studio so we offer you a daydream in which actual locales are used.
There aren't many places in Eastern Europe that Klaus Nomi hadn't visited before his move to NYC in the early 70s. Since he died in the early 1980s (just before he was 40), it would be our reciprocal duty to introduce someone as inspirational as Mr. Nomi to a new world of vision and sound as he had done unknowingly/posthumously for us. As nearly 30 years have passed, we believe KN would need a basic crash course in Prague... at night. By the way, this Klaus Nomi is not a zombie so no threat of cannibalism tonight… He hardly ate when he was alive and besides, Iddo has a pack of "surprise flavor" jolly ranchers in his jacket if blood sugars run low.
We are preparing to explore the city while we're enjoying our day off on tour. Iddo's finished sleeping (that's how he likes to spend most of his time) and he's given up on trying to find the translation tab on the new GRINDR App. Zlaty Strom (Karlova 6, Praha 1) is an incredible euro dance club with a Saturday Night Fever-style dance floor, filled with nothing but really beautiful and severe looking locals (mainly children of the rich and gold-diggers with a middle-school level education.) We figure since KN immersed himself in the deep arty party culture of NYC, he'll need a familiar setting, a few light pharmaceuticals and a dry martini to shift from daytime and ease him into our evening… which begins at 10.
After dinner at the hotel, we walk across the Charles Bridge and happen upon a confused Klaus, still scrawny and covered in kabuki make-up, pulling his pockets inside out because he's got no money (he's been dead for 30 years.) Its time to visit the ATM--convenient thing there's one across the street from the bar. As he has yet to even begin to comprehend the advanced state of modern-day synthesis we're going to have to do some explaining. KN will have to understand that, unlike the ATM, the majority of synthesizers used in today's music are not physical machines but instead bits of code controlled by midi notes drawn into a digital piano roll using a mouse. This will take about 30 minutes. We'll need to draw out about 100 euros if we're going to have an unforgettably fun evening together. We let him know that if he starts whining about shit we're taking him back to the bridge--and he's going over this time.
We make it into Zlaty Strom and he takes immediately to the dance floor. On his way in, though, he grabs a sequin skirt off a waitress (she doesn't seem to mind parting with it), pushes a bunch of dinguses out of the way and starts spinning like dervish (whilst moaning in 4 octaves.) Normally we'd find this to be a great thing but since they're playing Owl City, maybe not. Time for another spot--he's only had one drink and was too uncomfortable there. We need this man to live and breathe modern life if only for one night--before it's too late and he's reclaimed by celestial unicorns.
From the club we head over via metro to Potrva (Prauge 6), which is a nice café just off the Hradčanska stop. Here, our new/old friend can see a rich cross-section of westernized cultural diffusion affecting fashion and general populous overview. He can even see how prostitutes (both gay and straight) dress these days--not much has changed. We guess he's gonna need an herbal tea. We won't ask if he wants a sausage roll, Iddo is getting a beer.
While he's easing into the surroundings of a bustling theater center he's intensely studying the effervescence of skateboarders, the stoicism of unhappily married businessmen heading home, etc. He's, you know, going to "that place", so we feel the need to suggest something when all of a sudden HE comes up with a new spot to hit. He starts saying "Bohumil Hrabal! Bohumil Hrabal!" over and over again. After looking around to see if anyone else thinks he's gone nuts we quickly look up the words to find out it's no euro-dance club--it's a dude! When alive Bohumil Hrabal was a national treasure to Czech Republic citizens as he was a brilliant writer of his day. Nomi admits to his 1964 work Dancing Lessons in the Advanced Age shaped his mind and he wanted to trace Hrabal's last steps before he died in 1997 and joined him in the hereafter. So off to Bulovka Hospital (prague 8), we go. But since that shit is across that river we're taking a damn cab--another €15 out the window--thanks, Klaus.
We get to the hospital and it's a total dump. Ole Klaus is getting deep now saying that they hung out up in the sky's great white canteen and was told by Hrabal to feed the pigeons at Bulovka on the window looking out to the River. We're thinking “WTF is this dude on about?” and then look up Hrabal's wiki page once again.HE MET HIS DEMISE FALLING OUT THE DAMN WINDOW... FEEDING THE FUCKIN PIGEONS...in 1997. We leave him there and exit the hospital. On our way to the first cab Iddo gets knocked over by a unicorn and there's ole KN flipping us off telling us he's hitting up La Fabrika (Prague 7) because Diamanda Galas is playing a show there and he needs to make the last part of the set. La Fabrika is Prague's answer to NYC's New Museum and London's Tate Modern. So after all we did for this guy, we're gonna go to this show to spite him. We ask him for a ride on his unicorn and he tells us “See you there.. you could use a good walk!” and then flys off... 9 blocks away. Asshole.
Violens are playing The Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on August 14th, and will release their new album, True, on Sept 10th via Slumberland Records.
Purchase and listen
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