How it actually started - Podnos.cz
Just by chance I came across an interesting article about Vítězslav Nezval, in which his life-long partnerFáfinka gave evidence on him. Suddenly I was able to see the chubby, rather non-attractive poet, as we remembered him from his pictures in dull school textbooks in completely different light. After short investigation in period materials I discovered a charming personality that emerged before me, the man, who could produce charm despite his not very charismatic appearance. Bearing this in mind I immediately saw in my fantasy a parade of further representatives of our cultural life from the period of the Czech avantgarde, who we know from our school readers.
They were persons who were anchored in their creative work, but also lived rich social life, led heated discussions, foundedmost different associations, and at the same timewere often excluded from them due to discrepancies in views and love affairs.
Most of the mutual contacts took place in cafés, where the artists debated, created their works, and in fact lived. In a café it was always warm, unlike in a room with a burnt out stove, which young intellectuals used to rent. It was possible to sit all day long over a glass of coffee or tea. Fancying a first Republic café I can see in my fantasy a row of small tables with comfortable chairs and half opened upholstered niches along walls. I can hear a ripple of muffled conversation, which is on and off disturbed by louder call by personnel inviting some of the visitors to the telephone apparatus. I was so much intrigued by such a picture in my mind that I took an idea to prove to which extent the Prague cafés of our cultural avantgarde of the 1920s and 1930s changed, or if they still managed to preserve something from the original atmosphere (at least in the way I am now able to imagine myself).
A café – it is first and foremosta black coffee, served on a shiny nickelsilver tray, of course with a glass of water and other complements according to the wish of visitors, but a decisive thing is that typical tray for elegant serving. The Czech equivalent for a tray is “podnos”. There is another Czech expression “pod nos”(prepositional construction), which, when it is pronounced, sounds the same as “podnos”. “Podnos pod nos” may be translated as “a tray used for bringing you something right under your nose”.
For the realization of my project I needed assistance – a good photographer. I found it in my daughter Linda, who became fond of our mutual collaboration. Due to my intention we began to meet regularly, and our lovely appointments were always filled with talks on the work on this project. I must also mention my mother Alena as big help, who proofread and corrected my texts from the language point of view as well as history and art. Without her my texts would not have reached their present final shape.