Finally, some good news: “Tattooed composer polling strongly in the Czech elections.”


Amid worries about propriety voiced primarily by professional politicians, it should be self-evident that Vladimir Franz, an artist and composer, would be a far worthier successor to the spirit of former dissident, playwright and president Vaclav Havel than any number of party hacks.

The post is largely ceremonial, anyway. Just imagine the symbolic properties of Franz’s state visits with Angela Merkel, Hugo Chavez and Mitch McConnell.

Excerpts and photo courtesy of the Associated Press, via The Guardian.

Vladimir Franz: tattooed composer polling strongly in the Czech elections … University professor’s pro-education, apolitical stance wins significant popularity in presidential campaign – although he has spent little and is also distracted by the premiere of his new opera

Vladimir Franz, an opera composer and painter, is tattooed from head to toe, his face a warrior-like mix of blue, green and red. He’s also running in a surprising third place ahead of this week’s Czech presidential elections …

 … He is tipped to win around 11% in the first round on Friday and Saturday – not enough to make the runoffs. But he may end up a kingmaker, as the leading candidates – former prime ministers Jan Fischer and Milos Zeman – would be eager to pick up his supporters if the vote goes to a second round …

 … Franz says his tattoos are simply body art and that the election is not a beauty contest. “A tattoo is a sign of a free will and that does not harm the freedom of anyone else,” he said …

 … As the campaign approached its end on Tuesday, eight candidates were busy on the stump. The ninth – Franz – had other matters to deal with: a final rehearsal of his work War with the Newts at the State Opera. Torn between art and politics, Franz cut short his appearance at an election debate to return to the opera house that is part of Prague’s national theatre.