Jan Vodňanský, poet, writer, singer-songwriter, screenplay writer
Written by: Anita Lišková
Art: Nenad Vitas
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Successively: the president, a hockey goalie, and, in my teens, fighter pilot. Also a sailor.
What is your favorite daytime activity?
Walking around Prague and waiting for inspiration.
What truth would you like reestablish about yourself?
That I am an author with a need to exhibit my works.
Where will you never go back to?
The Soviet Union.
What was recently stolen from you?
An umbrella I received from the Minister of Interior.
What gift would you like to receive?
A trip around the world for two.
Your favorite saying?
Ignorance is bliss.
What is your state of mind right now?
Partly cloudy with occasional showers.
What dream of yours has come true?
Entertaining audiences in sold-out theaters with my thoughts.
If you were organizing a dinner to which you could invite five people from any place and any era, whom would you invite?
Jiří Voskovec, Jan Werich, Yves Montand, Božena Němcová, and Mata Hari. The first three influenced me greatly in my youth, and I’ve heard and read so much about the two women that I’m very curious about them. And of course I’d invite my wife, Ivana.
Do you have to be in love to make love, or can you make love even without love?
I’ve never liked the phrase “have to”. To me, making love means making someone happy, so it makes me happy too.
Do you you think it’s better to know everything or to know nothing?
I don’t think one must always know everything. What’s intuition for? Ask too much, and you learn too much.
How do you get up in the morning?
With whom do people confuse you?
Always with Jiří Stivín, and sometimes with Juraj Jakubisko.
What would be the first thing you’d point out to an alien?
My writing, especially my original song, “Aliens”.
How would you like to die?
So unexpectedly I wouldn’t know about it.
What’s your favorite drug?
Creative work. I’m a workoholic, which is still tolerated.
Have you ever made an unusual bet and what were the consequences?
When I was 18, the world ice-hockey championship took place in Prague. I made a bet with my schoolmates at the university that some team, I don’t remember which one, will defeat the Swedes. Then I had to wear a notice board on my chest at school saying “I don’t understand ice-hockey”. On top of that, I had to create it myself with legible and elegant writing.
What would you like inscribed on your gravestone?
Long ago I wrote a brief epitaph: “My body was flexible – it was, but no longer.”
Do you like happy endings?
I like “happy” and “endings”, and sometimes even “happy endings”, but pleasantly surprising ones; nothing forced or trite, in movies or in life.