Miloš Čuřík

* 1947  

  • “When it comes to the Charter, as you’ve asked, about my signature and so on, maybe it’s cowardly, but I really, I don’t want to… Yes, of course I could have, or should have, signed it, but I was always thinking that as long as I was able to publicly work with people, because, really… Actually, I can’t remember someone in any of those shows… Yes, of course, before every show there had to be a so-called “verification,” and that meant the inspector for culture of the given district, if it wasn’t an all-Prague event… Basically, there was a custom that… Like when I played music, 80% of the production had to be from Czechoslovakia or from eastern Europe. But what was this really like in practice? I played 80% western music and 20% was Czech, but things like Šlitr and Suchý, Voskovec with Werich, or some jazz men like Stivín and so on, yeah? Thus, it really never happened… It wouldn’t have been at all possible… I remember not being able to imagine in any way that during my one of my shows I would play something like Abba. I know by now that they were actually excellent vocalists, that those harmonies were complex… It never interested me.”

  • “I got ahold of vinyl, first of all… One advantage was that by the 1960s I already had some friends, so – it wasn’t so often, but still – who sometimes would bring me something. Then I would make a lot of calls abroad, but that was already later on, but, still, long before 1989. I called companies like ECM or individual musicians to get them to send me packages. Getting ahold of jazz records was a piece of cake. And then there were the markets. Understandably, those records got here in the most various of ways. You can’t say… Even during the worst times of all, that it impossible to find some interesting… Thus, yes, it wasn’t easy.”

  • “Once it really ended up with me, it was in Lucerna, busting into tears because I had come under so much pressure and he asked me directly if I was willing to collaborate with them and so on. And I said that I wouldn’t be able to handle it mentally. I think that… He was yelling at me in a menacing way, because something in him… something had gone off inside him, so it quickly came to a head. Then they called me to Bartolomějský. By the way, the investigation went on for several months. Then they called me to Bartolomějský where I just had to sign that I wouldn’t speak to anyone about our meeting. I then immediately called, I have a feeling it was Mr. Srp, about what had just happened to me. Of course, right away I set off to let it be known to multiple parties and since then I’ve had peace of mind. Of course, there was the fact that I was supposed to go a big European tour with the band Elektrický cirkus (Electric Circus), it was an international collective of musicians, yeah, naturally they wouldn’t let me go after all that.”

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    V Praze, 05.02.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 01:28:35
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Death is the last sense of everything

Miloš, Prague 1964
Miloš, Prague 1964
photo: archiv pamětníka

Miloš Čuřík was born on 18 February 1974 in Prague. While still a student going to secondary school focused on chemistry, he started to get interested in contemporary underground rock music, especially bands from the English-speaking world of the 1960s. A two-month stay in Great Britain in 1966 was to have a major influence his personal and professional interests. He would later visit Great Britain several more times. Under the influence of his travels, starting in 1969 he led Club Labyrint (Labyrinth) connected to the district House of Culture (OKD) in Prague 10. His free-thinking stance on things and curating of the cultural program brought him into constant conflict with his superiors. At his listening discos, he acquainted listeners not only with music both local and international, but also independent films, as well as invited mimes or local music groups to perform. A year passed before he had to leave the dramaturg position for the ODK in Prague 10 and found a new base for his activities in the OKD in Prague 8. He relocated Club Labyrinth there and founded the new Jazz and Rock Center in Rokoska and Film Club in Invalidovna. In 1976, he left the center and ever since has been working for himself. Among the ways he made a living was leading listening discos, collaborating with top local jazz and rock bands as a master of ceremonies and manager, and organizing music events. During 1976–1979, he contributed to the Prague Jazz Days organization, organized by the Jazz Section of the Union of Musicians. Later, in 1985, he put together a concert in the House of Culture in Opatov for the legendary Nico and a festival of minimalism in that same year. His cultural activities teetering on the edge of legality, he sparked the interest of the then State Security. After 1989, he started a travel agency catering to international tourists in the English language.