People: Prague rockers stuck in a revolutionary groove

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The Independent Online
THE CZECH Republic's No 1 rock music fan, President Vaclav Havel, played host to a dinner for Pink Floyd on Tuesday, then the next night joined a sell-out crowd of 115,000 rain-soaked enthusiasts at the British group's concert in Prague.

Teenagers, the 58-year-old President and other fans mostly wanted to hear 'The Wall', the band's anti- establishment anthem, which was a Prague underground favourite in the early 1980s.

Pink Floyd were the latest in a long line of middle-aged rockers to visit the Czech leader since the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Local press reports said he and the band's lead singer, David Gilmour, talked well into the night on such subjects as Czech entry into Nato and the role of rock music in society.

The crowd on Wednesday night surpassed the 100,000 who turned out for the Rolling Stones in 1990, when Mick Jagger promoted the concert on television by staying, in stilted Czech, 'The Stones are rolling in, the tanks are rolling out'.

Czechs of all ages seem to prefer the older musicians who have visited - Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Jethro Tull and Black Sabbath. Newer acts, including Guns n' Roses, Depeche Mode and The Cure, have attracted much smaller crowds. As a local newspaper put it: 'Old bands don't die, they just play Prague.'

WHEN THE repairmen arrive, sometimes it is best just to move out for several days, even if you're the President of the United States. Bill Clinton, his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, arrived back in Washington on Wednesday from their 12-day holiday and moved into Blair House.

Their stay at the presidential guest residence across the street from the White House marks the first time a first family has stayed at Blair House since Harry and Bess Truman spent almost four years there from 1948 to 1952 while a major renovation of the White House was carried out.

The Clintons are to stay at Blair House only until Sunday while repairs proceed on the White House's heating and ventilation system - the first such repair since Truman's days. A spokesman for Mrs Clinton said the family simply wanted to stay out of the workers' way.

TWO MONTHS after his death, Kim Il Sung may be getting nearer to burial. 'Judging from various information obtained at home and abroad, North Korea aparently intends to bury Kim's body after failing to prevent it from decomposing,' a high-ranking South Korea official says. The unidentified official told the news agency Yonhap in Seoul that North Korea has given up plans to preserve its late leader's body in a glass coffin.

A burial site, the official said, was being prepared near the mausoleum of Tangun, the legendary father of the Korean people. North Korean radio said renovation of the mausoleum would end this month, but did not say whether Kim would be buried there. And there has been no further word on the plan to have Moscow's Centre for Biological Structures, which preserved the bodies of Lenin, Stalin and Ho, do up Kim as well.

(Photograph omitted)

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