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The Second String Quartet was composed when Janáček was 74, in the last year of his life. Listening to this music full of fresh, dramatic, and passionate musical ideas, one almost refuses to believe the age of the composer. But his inspiration was profound; it stemmed from his strong, fateful attraction to a young woman, Kamila Stösslová.

Janáček knew that such a strong emotional experience is not a guarantee of the origin of a great musical work. He wrote to Kamila:

“Sometimes the feeling itself is so overwhelming and strong that notes hide under it and flee. Great love – weak music. And I would like: Great love – glorious music!”

Lenka Andrysova MP

Fresh from their success in parliamentary elections, a group of female politicians have posed for a calendar to highlight the growing presence of women in Czech politics.

Members of the Public Affairs party will feature in a 2011 charity calendar posing provocatively in revealing outfits.

The party’s racy calendar comes after a record 44 women were voted into the 200-seat lower house of the Czech parliament.

“We want to draw attention to the fact that we have women in politics,” said MP Lenka Andrysova.

“Women’s political influence is growing. Why not show we are women who aren’t afraid of being sexy?” said Marketa Reedova, Public Affair’s 42-year-old candidate for the Prague mayor’s office.

These girls are serious competition for the UK’s Sexy Tory Ladies.

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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