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Interview med Crook (18. Januar 2005)


*anonym*
Whats your real name?
David Soucek. – Do you really think this is a good question? Does my real name say anything about me? (Besides of my coordinates, of course.)

*anonym*
Question: why did you choose that nick? You're not such a bad guy!
Really, am I not? :-) -- It is a chess term: BB is a bishop obstructed by the pawns of its own color. At the moment of my registration, chess was my favorite game, actually the only game I wanted to play on BK. It has hardly anything to do with my real badness... Well, probably I really chose it because of the predicate "Bad"; maybe I belong to the sort of people, who like playing bad guys after all, and at that time there were in the left-winged Austrian press a campaign against a conservative bishop Kurt Krenn, whom I really like. I picked his photo as my icon too, but a few days later was annoyed to constantly explain, that it's not me on the photo...

*anonym*
How old are you?
(Back to the questionnaire...) I'm 46 years young. I think in about 20 or 30 years I'll learn what the midlife crisis is. :-)

*anonym*
Do you have any children?
Yep, I have a daughter. She celebrated her 20th birthday shortly.

*anonym*
Do you have any siblings? Brothers or Sisters, and Older or Younger?
I have a half-brother, he's eight years older than me. (C'mon, ask something interesting...)

Are you married, single or have anyone special in your life?
Oh, I have someone very special in my life, indeed! I've been married for nearly 27 years to one of the best women on the whole world. (I hope, nobody is disappointed that I'm not free any more... :-))

Where do you work?
Do you mean from where do I connect to BK if I'm not at home? I'm something between a system admin and a maid of all work in a small institute for advanced study.

*anonym*
Can you tell us something about the place you live?
Are you joking? Should I write a homework about the city or what? I live in Vienna. If you are really interested, I'm quite sure there are some books about Vienna in your local library.

Is it true Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
A very good question and not easy to answer... I don't want to be misunderstood, but to be honest, I don't think so. I was born there, I grow up there and I like Prague really very much, it is a beautiful city, no doubt. I'd recommend to everyone to travel there and to form an impression by him-/herself, but there is IMHO a lot of cities, which are much more beautiful than Prague.

We left Prague in February 1982. It was a dirty, grey and brown city, full of dirty slush, covered with dirty sky, but we liked the majestic silhouette of the castle over the Vltava river, the art nouveau houses on the river (we lived in one of them), the historical centre. At most we probably liked the genius loci or at least something we thought it was. After 1989 the city went colorful, old houses were repaired, nearly everything went better and nicer, but the city we knew disappeared. Today it's futile to search (as most of the tourists do) for Prague's genius loci from the time of Rudolph II, later XIX century, Kafka, Hrabal or even from the later seventies/early eighties... If I'm there, I can see only a nice city (with quite strange people), certainly nicer than Vienna, but it's not the city I liked thirty years ago any more.

Are there differences in the ways of government that you see as an adult in Austria, compared to that of Prague?
I'm not really sure whether I understand the question. Do you mean whether there are some differences between the government in Austria and the government in Czechoslovakia in the time of the real socialism? Well, ugh, we can't compare a – even the worse – democratic elected government to a totalitarian regime, can we? If you insist on it, I'd say: Yes, there are probably some differences, indeed... (Whohohohoho! :-)) – Or do you mean whether there are some differences between the Austrian government and the today's Czech government? To be honest, I have no idea, I'm still reading Czech newspapers, but I'm not able to do some statements about the Czech politics.

How did a czech end up in austria and why did you once say you feel a stranger to both countries?
(Again a very good and a very difficult question...) The first part is easier than the second. We and all our friends had actually a choice, given us 1980-1983 by the police, between leaving Czechoslovakia and being (with more or less the probability, but nobody knows) arrested. We felt that the probability in my case was rather big, because one colleague of mine was arrested only few month before, for four years, for something I had done, too. Our first choice was Germany, we wanted to go to Munich, but the German embassy refused to give us the permission. Then we went to the Austrian embassy (we met two of our close friends there in the waiting room) and it was said, we will be warmly welcomed in Austria, because the government (the old socialist Kreisky, God bless him!) promised to give a political asylum to every declared member of our group (Charta 77).

Why I feel strange in both countries? For sure I'm a stranger in Austria till the end of my days, no matter what I'm thinking/doing. I mean I'm feeling/thinking like an Austrian and I think I'm already an Austrian, but don't tell the Austrians, they would probably laugh. I'm speaking German with a heavy Czech accent, so I have no chance to hide in the crowd, and the most people here are a bit xenophobic (but probably no more than elsewhere in Europe and certainly much less than the Czechs are). – I wasn't worrying too much about the Czech matters/politics in the last twenty years, so I'm really a stranger there, and if I'm reading discussions on the servers from several Czech newspapers, I'm astonished what I can read there, written by the mob with an internet access. I could tell you... I'm not really sure whether I'm a Czech by heart and an Austrian by mind, or whether the opposite is true, but I'm quite sure I'm neither a real Czech (probably no more) nor a real Austrian (and never will be). – But who cares? I'm taking it easy and as an Austrian I'm grumbling about the Czechs – as a Czech about the Austrians. :-)

Tell us something more about your emigration from Czech Republic.
I'm afraid it would be too long and my English skills are not good enough. Besides, which part of it do you mean? The decision? The official procedure? The arrival in Vienna and the first days? The new beginning? I'll make it short... The decision wasn't really easy, the formal procedure was damned difficult and long. The start was a bit easier than the "normal" refugees had, but a lot harder than we originally thought. I was unemployed for longer than one year, we learned the language, finally I found a job as an unskilled worker on a printer's. Some years later we moved from the suburbs to the city and I started to work for the institute where I'm still at. (BTW, I didn't leave the Czech Republic, I emigrated from the Czechoslovakia.)

If you were given a chance to start your life over without being forced to leave Czech Republic during the communist era, would you stay in Prague instead?
It's hard to say and I think, I gave already different answers on different occasions. Sometimes I'm saying that the emigration was the best gift the communists could give me, sometimes I'm saying that I'd rather be a good citizen and would stay in Prague. The final decision to leave was not easy and I saw the things 23 years ago with a bit different eyes than today. Otherwise I've never regretted the decision, it gave me the chance to make the best out of my life (unfortunately it was a bit too late to start from the beginning, but I don't complain), without having to live in the totality and marching with the crowd. Let say, I'd leave again.

After reading your profile page I see that you were a bit rebelious. Would you say your rebelious nature was brought on by the citizens of your country and the laws, or by your upbringing in your family?
I don't think that the Czechs are rebelious by nature, oh my God, not at all, they are rather Svejks, if we can generalize. My father (a member of the communist party) hoped, of course, I'll only study "to have some future", as probably every father hopes for his child (me too! :-)). "Guilty" on my (rebelious?) nature are only "bad friends", no doubt.

Bad Bishop, your father was a famous czech writer of science fiction. Do you also have any writing ambicions?
No.

What was it like being raised by an author?
It was goooooood! :-) – First of all we had a huge library and I've really read a lot as a child (thanks God there were no disturbing computer games and dozens of TV channels in the sixtees...). My father had supported my love to the books and literature from my childhood on. I met many interesting people and even after my father's death in 1978, his name opened some doors, which would otherwise probably remain closed.

How competitive are you in your games?
I don't know, better you ask my opponents.

*anonym*
How did you find BrainKing?
Fencer "the drug dealer" invited me. We met in a discussion group about chess. I didn't want to join, I thought: "A game server, how silly!". Nevertheless, the next day I took a look – and two weeks later I were already addicted.

*anonym*
What is your favourite BrainKing feature?
Huh? – I think the possibility to play various games is quite good. :-)

*anonym*
What is your favorite BrainKing game?
At the moment probably 5-in-the-line. I have no idea what it will be in two weeks.

When you happen to get bored with Checkers, which game will be the next one to collect hundreds of books about?
Hehe, I already started to collect books about go, go-moku and renju. But this part of my library will hardly involve hundreds of titles, I'm not searching for Japanese or Chinese books (yet).

*anonym*
Who do you have on your friends and enemies lists?
There are nearly 30 people on my friends list. I think some of theme are really my friends, some of them are there for another reason (to see whether someone is online, to track nick changes and so on). And there are people, who I like, and I didn't put them on the friends list. – The enemy list is empty, I don't need it. What for? Sure, there are some people around, whom I think to be assholes (they are invited to think similarly about me), but why should I put them on the enemy list? I don't bother them, they don't bother me, I wouldn't accept any games from them, they probably wouldn't accept any game from me, so what?

What do you like to do for fun when you're not on Brainking?
I'm watching movies (DVDs) or I'm taking my part as a father/man in the family game. From time to time I'm playing chess with a friend of mine (last week we started to play go). – I like to be at home, if possible, so the outdoor activities (even to go to the cinema or in a pub) are really minimal.

*anonym*
Where was the last place you visited on holiday, and where would your dream holiday be?
If I'm not wrong my last real holiday were two wonderful weeks in the Alps in summer 1997 (?). Since then I'm enjoying my holidays at home. In the last years I'm consuming the majority of my holidays only 1 day per week, but for several months. I like it, it's actually my dream holiday. :-) – I'd like to visit some places (Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu, Stalingrad, Tuwa), but I'm affraid I'm too lazy to go there.

Do you own any pets? Can you tell us what they are and their names?
At the moment we have one cat. Sometimes, if she want, she listens to the name Malá ("little" in Czech), but in her vaccination certificate is her real name Zottel (something like "shaggy tuff" in German).

*anonym*
What do you consider to be your worst habit?
I don't have any. I don't consider nail-biting, digging in the nose, loud farting or ###### as bad habits, these are my endearing traits.

What question(s) did you hope would be asked, and what would your answer(s) have been?
Now I could be witty or vulgar for free, couldn't I? Actually this is what I don't want to do. :-) – To be honest, I didn't hope for any question to be asked, I rather hoped for some questions to not be asked, I mean the questions like "what is your real name?" and so on. If I understood it correctly, this should be something like an interview (if it's possible at all without any interactivity) and not a questionnaire. Are those anonymous questions, which are in all "interviews" I've read on BK, standard questions for everyone – or are thery really ask again and again? Several of the asked questions are very good and I enjoyed to think about the correct answers, many thanks for them. Maybe I've learned through these lines more about myself than "the patient reader" did. :-)

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