The Eighties never die: Lucerna's DJ Jiří Neumann

Jiří Neumann, foto: Michaela Neumannová
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"Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody" so famously sang Cat Stevens. So, where to go when you're in a similar bind? 80s/90s night at Lucerna Music Bar!

"80's/90s night is the biggest place in all of Prague for men and women to meet," says DJ Jirka Neumann about the action that takes place every Saturday. One night in this seething cauldron of sweaty, smiling, pumping humanity and you will be convinced this claim is the truth.

And Neumann holds the key. Jiří Neumann has been playing hit videos from the 80s and 90s on the massive Lucerna screen since way back in November 1996.

In the beginning, it was a novelty: laughable adventure travel into the past.

"When 80s night began, we had lots of people who were over 30-years coming to see the videos. We didn't have these videos during the communist times. 

Many people had heard the music we were playing, but they were curious to see what these groups looked like or what the songs represented. People used to just stand around and stare at the screen."

Jiří Neumann back in the 90s (photo by Jan Hrouda)Jiří Neumann back in the 90s (photo by Jan Hrouda)At the time, Neumann didn't even have enough videos to take up the whole evening. He shared the spotlight with Shannon Grey, a group specializing in 80s sounds.

Neumann worked at Radio 1 from 1991-1998 and made great contacts in the local music industry. He used these connections with EMI, BMG, etc. to build his vintage 80s video collection. 

The collection now totals over 2,000 videos. He plays more than 100 songs every Saturday, some which get weekly play due to their popularity. Beds are Burning, Should I Stay or Should I Go and The Final Countdown are great examples of essentials on the play list.


THE DEVOLUTIONARY OATH: "We Are All Devo"

1. Be like your ancestors or be different. It doesn't matter. 2. Lay a million eggs or give birth to one. 3. Wear gaudy colors or avoid display. It's all the same. 4. The fittest shall survive yet the unfit may live. 5. We must repeat.


"There's too many people who want to come out and enjoy the scene. We have more than 1,000 people every night!" Both nights are packed every week. Lucerna has sold out every Saturday for 18 months running. 80s night is frequented mostly by the 15-25 year-olds who are looking to do something else than wear black, take ecstacy and dance to the same beat all night while staring at the lights or the floor in Roxy or Radost. 

People are the attraction at 80s night. These kids kick back and enjoy themselves. Just by attending 80s night, people are essentially already giving up any pretense of being cool. That's what makes it fun: the 'I don't care what you think of me' attitude. 

People dance until they're a sweaty mess. They smile all night. They get up on stage in front of the entire crowd, throw their hands in the air and encourage people to clap and swing their bodies in rhythm. This is 'No Fear' taken to a silly extreme. It might lead to regrets upon waking the next morning, but no one doubts him/herself on the Saturday stage.

There's actually a routine to doing the whole 80s night thing. You should get relatively hammered before you go to the place. Otherwise, you feel a bit disoriented when you walk into the party. 

This feeling is mostly due to the fact that everyone else is at least 8 drinks ahead of you, and you're more likely to notice the people falling off the stage onto their heads and such. You have to buy your tickets beforehand as well. It sells out usually around 10 o'clock. 

There's no worse feeling than actually convincing yourself to go to 80s (again), and then, once you've already sold your soul to Jirka Neumann, you can't get in. Can you imagine it? 

"Sorry. Sold out. Come back next week."

It really does make you feel unwanted to find out you can't even get into 80s night. Like, wait, I'm not cool enough even for 80s night? We've got it all figured by now, though, being the veterans we are. Someone goes and buys the tickets at 8, then we go somewhere else to get hammered before returning to descend upon the heaving masses. 

Even though the place sells out, there's still a crowd outside the door.

The town obviously doesn't have enough going on when people actually wait outside of 80s night in hopes of getting in. In NORMAL cities, people hang outside of trendy clubs and wait to get picked to come in and join the fun. Well, this is the Prague version, sad as it might be. You can push your way to the front of the crowd if you already have tickets. Honza (or whatever his name is) at the door will let you in when you flash your pass.

Once you do get in, check the shy side of your personality at the door. 

Drink beer, take shots, dance your ass off and have fun without reservation. But beware of the end of the night and prepare yourself or you'll be sorry. The last hour of the night (around 2:30), Neumann starts kickin' out the slow tracks. Everyone who hasn't already hooked up grabs the person next to him/her for an extended slow dance and a snog. 

The remaining scraps of human desperation scatter to the sides of the room and curse themselves for not being more aggressive in picking up the woman/man of their dreams. If you're not ready, you'll be forced to watch your angel dancing with some loser who hangs out at 80s night.


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