Prague Correspondent

We’re always on the lookout for international correspondents, in fact it was only last week we decided that Miranda Kerr, Mark The Cobra Snake Hunter, Chloe Sevigny, Uffie and a handful of others were at the top of our list to approach to regularly blog about their adventures.

Enter into the mix Damien Mitchell! a talented writer from Wagga Wagga residing in Prague. We applaud his below efforts and have asked Damien to head up our Prague HQ. Below is the first we heard from Damien this morning;

Dear Pedestrian magazine.

My name is Damien Mitchell and in the beginning of March this year I downloaded a pod-cast of a short segment you did for triple j. That same night I went to a movie here in my current home of Prague. There I picked up a program for the, at the time, upcoming one world film festival. After a few hours of scheming over beers I thought that maybe if I pretended to work for your company and asked the festival organizers for press accreditation I could see movies for free. It worked! So for the last 10 days I have been buggerizing around town, popping in, and out of cinemas, generally making the most of it.
I hope you do not take offence to my fraudulent bullshit, and do not intend to take any legal action (even if you did there is no way of catching me, ha ha!) but please understand that in no way, shape or form have I slandered the name of your organization, except for the obvious fake journalist thing. I do respect the effort you have put into producing it and can see the possible point of view that what I’m doing is cheap tomfoolery and riding on the coat tails of an already successful company, but conversely I do believe we share the same d.i.y. ethic. If anything, I hope you see the opportunist confusion that anonymous action can create between the ill communicating powers that be in international festival organizing committees. Maybe even something your magazine can capitalize on in the future.
I have seen some good and some not so good films but in the end it was not the overwhelming plethora of depressing topics that got to me, it was, surprisingly, the guilt of being a fake journalist. So in a pathetic attempt in moral salvation I’m going to flex my wrist, crack my knuckles and try my hand at writing a film review. I have no formal training or even general literacy skills (I dropped out of kooringal high school Wagga Wagga and came to Prague when I was 17) and how I plan to write is a direct rip-off of those writers I like to read. And thus I pay homage:
please see attached…


On Tuesday 4th of March I wrote to the One World Film Festival (Prague) pretending to be a journalist for Pedestrian magazine. I was hoping to scam a press pass and see all the movies I wanted for free.

It worked.

So for the last 10 days I have been farting around seeing movies all over town. Consequently though, I have begun to feel guilty about the use of the name of an upcoming Australian magazine for my own gain, without permission. So to salvage what is left of my conscience I have written reviews, sort of. They can be printed or chucked in the bin at the leisure of those in charge at pedestrian magazine.

El futuro del ayer (The future of yesterday)

This was the second movie I saw, so at this point I hadn’t yet been totally desensitized to the overwhelming depress-fests that are human rights documentaries. So when I snuck out of work early one Thursday afternoon I was well and truly ready to have my outrage appetite whet.
The story I saw centers on the abandoned residence of Pueblo Textil, the brain-child of Fidel Castro’s massive building and production industry. This sleepy factory town in the west of Cuba was designed to be the housing for a textile plant located just out of town, hence the name. Interestingly though, since being a planned city, none of its residence were actually from there. This led into problems later.
Cuba suffered greatly in the wake of the collapse of the soviet empire. So when its biggest importer stops importing, is put in combination with the trade embargos imposed by the u.s.a. since the 60’s, the economic excrement had well and truly hit the fan.
This is when people started turning back to farming; a practice they abandoned with Castro’s thrust to the future. But this was new land, on arid plains, which were a far cry from the rich coastal hills of their fathers.
Anyway, all this led to a pretty grim picture of the life there. No employment and people seemingly devoid of ambition the main characters the film focused on were a mixed bunch with no obvious connections. -In order of appearance- a teenaged girl, whose face incidentally doubled as the movie poster, and of course also, her own face. She was born into the bust period of the town, her dreams and aspirations centered on the ideal of the American lifestyle, and European style, whatever that is. And she spent most her time daydreaming and compiling scrapbooks. Next up we had the guy who ran the pub, unsurprisingly playing the role of local Samaritan. He was lending money and beers on tick, while also acting as mediator in local disputes. He was although, the life of the movie, as seen it the bit when he dances around the bar with a lucid waitress, who stares blankly into the assumedly out of place camera. Then there was 84 year old, sacked factory worker. With his deeply sun wrinkled face he took the audience on a hitch hiked road trip back to the factory. Once there he looked sad and wandered around a bit and told a story about the workers eating lunch together. He also spoke for most of the film telling other inane tales.
The image of the Cuban people though is a far cry from the image of the huddled masses, penguin walking through the grey and brown streets of Eastern Europe after the break up of the U.S.S.R. The weary daydream feel of the film made me less outraged than I had expected. So in a way I had felt cheated, but if what I was being cheated out of was outrageous human rights documentaries I don’t feel like it was a bad thing

Red without Blue

I didn’t know what to expect when I stumbled into the last movie on Saturday. I had forgotten the movie brochure-list thing they gave me with the press stuff and there was no one in the ticket booth. The lady who rips the end bit off was also gone so I had no idea what I was about to see when I snuck in the door
I had been planning to be there earlier to see more of the shows that night, but instead went to the pub. It was good, and if this were a review on pubs I would give a shining reference. But its not, and lets not buggerize around with the details of something that nobody needs any help in recollecting. But I don’t have much to say about the movie, so why not…
I ended up drinking with the kinds of people that I seem to be unable to avoid when living in a foreign city. See, with the expansion of the European union further east, there also follows the western business market, and subsequently the English business teachers, These are the people who spend a semester abroad from their business degrees, experiencing new cultures, expanding horizons, opening eyes, and all that stuff. However, rather than go out of their way to meet the locals they hang out in foreigner bars, with their foreigner friends talking about how things are different from back home, or how everyone is this country is rude. This cultural sponge doesn’t seem to fit its square pants. It’s nicer to sit talking crap because you haven’t bothered to learn the national language or really move far from the circles that exist around the schools. On occasion good friendships are made through this, but more often than not a ‘put up with it and tell stories nobody really listens to about you and your uni friends back home’ method of communication is employed. These people end up sitting around talking about visa misunderstandings, work politics, the pedantic subtleties of the English language (something that they have wouldn’t have bothered taking note of until their parents paid for them to take a certified English teacher training course for like $6000US) for hours, and when I’m around It really gives me the shits!
So I left.
I find my self drawn to this lot when ever I feel isolated and missing home myself. To hear a familiar accent despite what crap its blathering seems like a comfort. Although this usually always leaves me even more bummed out and lonely. It is nice to have a conversation in your native tongue and I’m not saying they shouldn’t come, not at all, but just, I don’t know, do something.

Faceless book

When one of my colleagues was getting some pizza out of the microwave he said ” if this was facebook I’d say “john is getting pizza out of the microwave “

good call.

One other man at work has started spending every minute that he is not required to not be on facebook, on facebook. one woman equally socially awkward woman sits next to him and they occasionally comment to each other of stuff that is going on in the lives of their facebook friends, “her husband has the flu at the moment and I want to give a message to say get well but I cant remember his name and on her profile it doesn’t have his name, oh how terrible”

yes it is terrible, but on a larger scale than you think, candypants.
you are acting out all the things people do when they have friends, but instead of putting energy into the kind of things that would give you real friends, your computer generates some fake ones, and you stay socially retarded.
send enough ‘…sends you a hug” messages and you are gonna get one back. Even if it is the mistake, where someone is trying to send a ‘hug’ to someone else and the default settings mean that it gets sent to everyone.

and when i got that message “matt has challenged you to a movie quiz” i thought my friend had thought of some cool quotes from films we had both seen and I was supposed to reference them, but no, it was a generic market research poll where a bunch of shots of Hollywood movies are shown and i have multiple choice quiz to test my ‘knowledge”

no I do not want to add the ‘who thinks you are hot’ application or the ‘mood ring’ application, or the ‘join the league of vampires’ circle of crap
and perhaps worst of all, is the ‘rank your friends’ quiz. What??
no, it is not “perhaps worst of all”, it IS worst of all. i got an email sent from facebook to my email account informing an anonymous friend had voted me “second best dancer”
second best?!! keep your bloody opinions to yourself whoever you are, or at least, to quote (and with equal venom) one computer-game nut who had just been killed in one of those ‘room of 200 people playing doom against

Photo by Martina Vackova for Street Style Prague