Boem

A bohemian (fr. bohème) is a person with a non-comformist, carefree lifestyle. Artist are usually bohemians. Originally the term referred to persons from Bohemia (a region in the Czech Republic).

For some Parisians, the Roma from Bohemia were a challenge to their conventional and monotonous everyday existence, while others found them inspirational. As those free-spirited nomads challenged the bourgeois way of life, the locals who were resentful towards bourgeoisie identified easily with the Roma – they rejected the norms, accepted taboos and unconventionalty and created a movement which was a much needed vent for anyone overwhelmed by the repressive bourgeois morality.

Parisian cafes became the meeting places of the bohemians, first the cafes in the city centre, the Quartier Latin, and later the ones on Montmartre and Montparnasse. There were many reasons why cafes were ideal places for the bohemians. The most important one was that they could gather around cafe tables, exchange ideas and mock the bourgeoisie during the day, and indulge in carnal pleasures, the company of women and heavy drinking at night.

Being bohemian implies a lifestyle of individuality and expression of personal opinions about the social system. Its progressiveness is reflected in its fight against the old-fashioned and stagnant forms of urban society, its exploration of new artistic forms, as well as in the fight for the freedom of artistic expression.

Bohemians can usually be found in the bohemian quarters of the big cities: Montmartre and Montparnasse in Paris, Greenwhich Village in New York, Uzupis in Villnius (Lithuania) or Skadarlija in Belgrade.

Skadarlija cafes and restaurants have become the hub of Belgraders who represent the artistic life of the capital city. Many local and foreign artists, poets, musicians, journalists, painters and writers have spent most of their lives in the restaurants such as Bandist, Dva jelena or Istok, making Skadarlija an important segment of their life and their creative endeavours. 

Famous bohemians lived and created their works in this street: Zmaj, Ðura Jakšić, Tin Ujević, Drainac, Nušić, Sremac, Milovan Glišić, Janko Veselinović, Borisav Stanković, Domanović, Jakšić, Antun Matoš, Gustav Krklec, Jovan Cvijić... Bora Stanković, for example, was working in the Bajloni Brewery in this street when he wrote and published his novel 'Impure Blood' (Nečista krv).

Although bohemian lifestyle means much more than just enjoying restaurants and good food, it cannot be imagined without them.

Nowadays, Montmartre and Skadarlija have lost much of the bohemian edge from the old days. Contrary to the common belief, true bohemians have not disappeared or changed, because true bohemia is a spiritual principle of rebellion and freedom. As such, it will continue to exist as long as there are people who are not free, and as long as there is a false morality and cowardice of a common man. It must exist and persist until the above negative phenomena are overcome