Ivo Hucl

* 1961  

  • “I moved from Štěnovice to Pilsen in 1982. We lived with Ivan Šebek, Petr Novák´s sound engineer. Those were the first contacts with art world and of course, one went to many cultural events in Pilsen. After some time, me and my girlfriend moved to Koterovská street where a lot of our friends also lived - Vladimír Líbal, Ladislav Vyskočil, Jan Rampich, Jarda Dobřička, Vláďa Kasal, Honza Tydlitát, an evangelic priest. And the distribution was thought-out there, someone would always go to Prague and brought information about Charter, Revolver Revue, Vokno magazine, publications, translations of various works of literature and Listy and Svědectví magazines. And the package circulated and everyone had a day or two days to read it and that is how it went in Pilsen. Many of my friends signed Charter 77 and they of course talked about all the topics and circumstances caused by their signature, about house searches, bullying, getting fired from work, problems of their children and family members. So, it was our trending topic from 1985. A number of petitions asking for release of our various friends in prison or of Václav Havel, Heřman Chromý, Pavel Wonka, those were documents that I personally signed.”

  • “It was the necessary outcome of the abnormal normalization situation when whatever that was authentic could not be published, whoever who had something to say publicly could not perform. So various translated texts started to be shared as typewritten copies. Me personally, because I tried to publish a book in West Bohemian publishing house before the military service and simply could not because of actions of State Security because I came there to meet editor Procházková once and major Diviš and others who were in charge of us were leaving and she told me that they had just seen Mr. Slonek and asked him about me. And I started to publish my own texts as typewritten copies in 1981 and I met a friend, JUDr. Jiří Tláskal from Rakovník during my military service and he was a lawyer in mines in Kladno where they had a printing machine and he published for me an editorially imperfect book that I am ashamed of a little bit because there are around thirty spelling mistakes in it. At that time, the printer's staff rewrote my manuscripts at night and there was no other proofreading of the text so that it could be printed in the rotary press the very same night. So, that was the first contact with samizdat. Basically, all the people we were in touch with at that time, all of them published their own copied texts because there was no point sending it to Rudé právo newspapers. I published around fifteen booklets that were variously thick via samizdat. Later on, we acquired some basic bookbinding skills, so we published them in artificial leather, cloth...”

  • “As far as The Plastic People of the Universe are concerned, we had contact via Karel Havelka aka Kocour (Tomcat) who worked as a building site manager in the road in Štěnovice where they constructed a military shortcut so that Czech and Soviet tanks could set off directly to the West. And I had a summer part time job every year since the ninth grade and I did different construction works there to earn money to buy a record player or some records. And we and Karel, we became, I do not want to say friends, because he perceived us as schoolchildren but we admired him because he had contacts and he understood music, wrote articles to jazz bulletin about American blues, he liked Frank Zappa and avant-garde rock music. So that is how I was introduced to the group of people around the band The Plastic People. Another group of people were friends of my then girlfriend Irena Pojarová whose brother met people from the underground movement. When I recorded with colleagues from Post Bellum, they brought me a pile of different reports on me that originated from the time I was just around nineteen or twenty years old and a friend of mine was authorized by State Security to watch me and he basically reported every step I took. And I think that it was just because of being in touch with Karel Havelka because he was made to leave in 1982 or 1983 during the operation ASANACE (“renewal”), so we had an agreement that he would send me various records and I would give the money to his dad and mum who were living in his apartment in Pilsen-Lobzy. And that is probably why their interest in me started.”

  • “Police came for me in the afternoon the day after the concert of the band Psí vojáci, but it wasn´t State Security but Public Security form Starý Plzenec and they interrogated me for four or five hours asking how we could have dared it. The truth is that we did not have any information or instructions on how to behave during interrogation. We were naive because we tried to explain them that we did not try to act illegally or against regime, that it was just a rock concert and nothing more. So, we were in touch with State Security constantly. They appeared sometimes, it was OK for some time, but I do not think that they would stop monitoring us. The situation concerning the Czech music industry was extremely dismal at the beginning of 1980s; only some bands that were for some reason tolerated by regime could perform - e.g. Vladimír Mišík´s Etc... , Vladimír Merta or some singer-songwriters could perform every now and then. The musicians started to play boring jazz-rock so that they could earn a living, so we went also to those concerts. And at some point, in the middle of 1980s there was a surge in Czech punk, so it was a bit more adventurous because we would go to secret concerts in Sokolov, Ostrov and Teplice. We would go to concerts in Budapest, in Poland, we even went to Budapest to the cinema.

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    Plzeň, 20.08.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:09:21
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
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I wanted to do things my way

Ivo Hucl in 1976 when he was fifteen years old
Ivo Hucl in 1976 when he was fifteen years old
photo: Archiv Ivo Hucla

Ivo Hucl was born on the 26th of January 1961 in Pilsen. He discovered rock music in his teens, when he studied at secondary school, he organized evenings where people listened to music and organized concerts (for instance of a music band Psí vojáci). State Security started to take interest in him, he got in touch with the underground movement and the group of people around The Plastic People of the Universe. He distributed forbidden literature and magazines; he published a collection of poems via samizdat. He signed several petitions, took part in organization of actions in Pilsen in 1989. He travelled, focused on spiritual growth and took an interest in Eastern philosophy after the Velvet Revolution. He runs Bezejmenná Tea Room in Šťáhlavice in the area of Pilsen where he organizes cultural events. He has written several books.