A Best Bud Week Blast from the Past
Someone asked me for a copy of an old Budapest Week yesterday. Any issue, he said. I had a bagfull in one of my (other) junk rooms. I put my hand into the wad and the first copy I pulled out was an issue dated Aug 27 - Sept 2, 1992. And this is what I found.
I opened the yellowing newspaper and the first story to catch the eye (on page 3 - the front page being photos and taster headlines) was entitled: Csurka Tells MDF: Change or Die, by political editor Tibor Szendrei.
For those not around at the time, this was about far-right firebrand Istvan Csurka seeking to force centre-right Prime Minister and MDF leader József Antall into his (Csurka's) way of viewing the world - and most particularly Jewish people in it.
Both politicians are no longer with us, of course. Nor are their parties.
The top story on page 2 was headlined: "Olympic Manager Disappears with Millions" by Sándor Laczkó. Some things never change, eh?
As I flicked through the paper, the names of colleague journalists brought back memories of handing in copy to be typed or seeking to borrow an Apple-Mac in a shabby office of a former state tobacco company on Budafoki út. (Many of us had yet to learn to type - pass, I had done that - or obtain a computer - fail. I hadn't.)
The names came off the pages: Krisztina Fenyő, Stephen R Sarocco, Lucy Hooker, Peter Haley-Dunne, John Nadler and the flamboyant, absurdly titled and outrageously funny Dork Zygotian.
Several have gone on to carve out successful media careers, others switched to more lucrative, and almost certainly more secure professional livelihoods. One or two of the külföldiek are still in Budapest.
Then, to my utter amazement, towards the back, I found a whole page by yours truly. Amazement because it was the one and only occasion when I had authored the revered "Best of Budapest" mega-column which was otherwise the domain of András Török, author of the first modern, independent guide book to the Hungarian capital back in 89.
For your delight (or possible bafflement) here is part of the offering on that page.
When I next walked into the OTP Bank on Nador utca, someone had obviously shown the piece to the brown-haired teller furthest from the entrance. (But not to the CEO at the time - the pot-luck, take-your-pick queueing system lasted for a year or two beyond this.)
At the bottom of the page was an explanation behind my temporary takevoer of András' page.
András graciously said he'd loved my version and promised to buy me a bottle of pezsgő to celebrate. (He still has to honour that promise though - I'm still available, Andris! :))
For a (very) brief history of Budapest Week - see Perspectives-Budapest blog post entry for October 20 Rock 'n' Roll will Never Die - Budapest Week, 1991.
For more on András Török and his work, see: https://www.budapest-criticalguide.hu/
For Bud Week co-founder Steven Carlsons' pod cast with Tibor Szendrei, see: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1347982/episodes/5644948