Ivan Martin Jirous, known as ‘Magor’ (or ‘Loony’) was artistic director of a psychedelic rock group that challenged Czech communism. An art historian by training, he was jailed in 1973 for singing an anti-Russian song in a pub and eating a chunk of an official newspaper. The gestures may have seemed futile but they kindled hope in a silent generation.
Magor’s death has been announced in Prague, aged 67. Vaclav Havel, a close friend, said ‘I am glad he lived to see better times, for which he contributed a lot.’
Plastic People of the Universe were the unseen heroes of the 2006 Tom Stoppard play, Rock n Roll. When the play transferred to Prague’s National Theatre in February 2007, the original group was reconstituted to give live performances of the opening and closing songs.