Jan Macháček

* 1965  

  • “To an extent we were just an ordinary family on the outside, in the light of how normalisation worked. So how we used to say that normalisation was the escape to privacy in case of my parents it was completely obvious. And they actually did not mind it too much, as they both enjoyed spending time together and did not care for social life a lot, they did not seek big company, nor parties, they were just together a lot, but exactly this kind of escape to cottages and gardens, they fit into that form totally, as they kept working in the garden, or the house, of course those were manual jobs mostly. A man can hardly imagine today that my mother, as we did not have an automatic machine for a long time, she was washing clothes downstairs with a kind of centrifuge and she normally washed our clothes in the washtub, so when she had her study day off once a week, she just kept washing, you know.”

  • “And so you could get into those little groups and gradually become a part of them, later we named it so called Košíře underground, as we mostly gathered in the pubs Na Klamovce in Košíře, where we used to hang out all the time in fact, if you were not devoting your time to art or reading. So we were sitting in the garden pub Na Klamovce, a part of that was for example Jáchym [Topol], who also lived there, as Viktor Karlík and another part was the Malá Strana underground, you know those boys, the Topols and their groups were from Malá Strana, so we would go to Malostranská café, Slávie, to have tea, that cost us one crown eighty or drinking beer in Klamovka, well and so gradually I became a part of this cultural environment.“

  • “That was for the smoke, so in winter there was much work, scratching, pulling out, you take whole large bits out, dust bins are cleared, loading, in summer there was hardly any work. Of course, there were different people in the boiler room, there was one jehovist, he did not bother anyone at all, there was n evangelist, then there was Míra Hájek, who was called Nemira Hájek, who was a chartist, but he was like an alcoholic who actually was half-living there and kept drinking at the hotel, and no one bothered him, so as he was still washing black dishes, he worked as a half-homeless. Yet again, he was good at some things, he might have taught me how to go to court, that he went to court a lot, and when he was in court, he was supposed to promote it, as it was a kind of a hobby.“

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    Institut pro politiku a společnost, Martinská 2, Praha 1, 03.05.2017

    (audio)
    duration: 01:25:13
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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We could do whatever we wanted as soon as we set ourselves free from any ambitions

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photo: archiv pamětníka

Jan Macháček was born on 2th June, 1965 in Prague. His mother came from a serious Prague family, his father from Moravia. Jan was raised in a typical normalisation atmosphere, the parents remained in the privacy of the family. Jan Macháček was mainly influenced by several things; reading old Literary papers from 1960s, a membership in the youth club Slavoj Praha and meeting the children of disidents at the gymnasium in Radotín. Following graduation he did not want to go to military service so he signed up to the High School of Economics in Prague and during the second grade decided to leave. He came back once again, but at the moment he got the „blue book” he could leave the school for good. In 1983 he started playing with the music band The Plastic People of the Universe, in 1985 with the band Garáž. At that time he made money as a heater or a house-keeper. That allowed him enough time for reading and music. He was meeting the dissidents, participated in publishing and distributing samizdat. In 1988 he signed the Chart 77.