My evangelical stance on the awesomeness of this city continues strongly. After some more months in this place, I have some new findings and old re-findings. That Brno is a great place to live is usually recognized by the international community. Unfortunately, this fact is still only scarcely recognized by the Czech people I meet randomly.
On a more positive note, this works as a nice filter, if you meet someone who likes it here, you know you have found a good one. A couple of weeks ago Uvoz was announced the most polluted street in Central Europe by a Danish research institute, of which everyone seemed to be informing everyone. This information would be imparted accompanied with a strange satisfaction, as if internationally recognized environmental issues finally proved people right – “I told you this place is a shithole.” The question “Why did you choose Brno?” accompanied by an expression of disbelieve and amazement, still continues to haunt me wherever I go. And a friend of mine, who to be fair entertains himself with a very peculiar form of sarcasm (probably the form of humor that is most prone to misunderstanding in international settings), managed to deeply insult some people by joking around that the reason marijuana is decriminalized in this country is to make the entire situation more bearable. All in all, I concluded another upper cannot hurt the situation.
The proliferation of cultural events in this city is unbelievable and conflicting with keeping up with weekly readings. At any point in time there seems to be at least one festival going on, mostly of a non-commercial, art-loving, critical kind. Apart from these events, in general opportunities to consume culture abound. The city is heaven for film lovers, Art Kino, Scala, the film club in Café Paradigma just to name some. Live music has become more difficult to avoid than to find at this point. For theater non-natives are horribly deprived, which is the case in most countries. If you count eating and drinking as cultural events, I would not know where to begin or when to stop. And on top of that, the above is work-in-progress and just what someone can make of this place in half a year.
Lastly, I would like to say something about the importance of consuming culture in the wild (i.e. outside your bedroom). Enjoyment needs concentration and attention, and the atmosphere of the average café or theater somehow seems to support this. Any kind of attention span is more strongly felt, when someone else next to you holds their breath too. The place I used to call home is a cultural desert compared to Brno, especially for students who have become so culturally deprived they don't even notice it anymore. It is never good to compare, but it cannot hurt either, especially if you have just found out you are living on the most polluted street in central Europe.
Author: Roos Derks, Faculty of Social Studies
This article originally appeared in HALAS, the magazine of students of the Faculty of Social Studies. The original version is available at http://casopishalas.cz/clanek/zobrazit/1782