>Communist ice (cream) age


The long shadow of the communist-era even reaches the ice cream stall at the Luhačovice municipal lido. My daughter wants a Helena ice cream – named after and endorsed by Helena Vondráčková, the politically conformist 1960s pop diva turned stalwart of normalization era light entertainment. Vondráčková looks about 20 on the wrapper, but must be well over 60. “Helena, she’s a famous Czech singer, kočičko”, the man at the stall helpfully explains to my daughter, who isn’t interested and also objects that she isn’t a cat. Curiously, the lolly is actually made in Poland. Presumably Vondráčková (her name is mis-spelled Vondráčkowá on the wrapper) has a few fans there . Meanwhile, as the anniversary of the 1968 invasion is near, on the radio they are playing a song by Marta Kubišová, another star of the Prague Spring era whose less than compliant attitude to normalization led to two decades of obscurity before 1989. She is a better singer, but doesn’t have an ice cream named after her.

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