Tag Archives: music

The pub

It might not be somewhere over the rainbow
But it is somewhere out there…
Hidden from view but not ear,
A band of friends, perhaps conspirators?
They laugh beyond the cheery tune on the radio.
In here…
In here in this other room, the desolate one, where the desperate sit perched at the bar or in the darker corners,
typing on phones, reading newspapers, or staring into the half distance, finding the floor sometimes a good repose…
In here heads turn expectantly but nothing ever happens, only the songs on the radio are any indication of a better world out there –
Wherein resides “Daddy Cool”.
Even as the door opens a mumble is all that’s heard…
The aging barmaid streaming out,
Perhaps this rat has jumped the ship
And yet the open door promises change

And then…
“Itt a Babus” and the chatter begins.
The barfly awakens, the barmaid questions, another familiar enters…
And then the door closes.
Who is the desperate one now?
Alone in the phone-screen glow.

The casual eye

The casual eye

Reflections, musings, all indirect.
The shadows of timidity set.
Eyes bound to embrace if by chance
And then in blush turn once more back.
To shaded Eyes, the hidden glance,
The brushing back – displaying risk.
Another eye to eye embrace
Till two souls set save embarrassment.
A nail pick and a fumble still
The night resides in circumstance –
Ill-comfort or the lack of breath –
One’s terrified by the sombre poet.
Hope, yet eternal, springs then falls
It is the chill of winter afterall.
And so the fleeting glance- perchance-
Is nothing but the final failed romance.
And yet in words as these, such coined,
There is a lurch towards new Hope!

Jukebox Junkie


For those of you familiar with Bogyó és Babóca you’ll be probably aware of the catchy theme tune which introduces the cheery pair of friends. For those of you unfamiliar, think of the many animation pairings, except perhaps for Pinky and the Brain, and you should be getting that sunshine, adventure, and existential angst feeling.
Well, Tara did her tour and now it’s Keela’s turn though I am not certain as to the extent of the appeal beyond the opening tune itself.
Awakening early morning Keela no longer cries out for her mother’s milk first thing. Instead, she bobs her head and rounds her lips, emitting a hum and doodle that is a mimicry of B & B themselves. That she also grabs for the books probably indicates an appeal in the feature too but a night time despair is more easily subdued by a rendering of the tune than by any graven image.
So what is it, I ask myself, that has made her latch onto Bogyó and Babóca so suddenly and so intensely? And then suddenly it hits me! With The Community, a comedy series I used to watch with my girlfriend, and with Keela present, there was also a noticeable reaction to the theme tune but what remains is the difference that B&B are also available to touch in book form on the floor. What then does this suggest? To any old fool the answer now dangles before the nose, but I’m not any old fool! I’m the worst kind:)
But Just in case you’re wondering:
A hint of animation on-screen
A dash of animation in books
And a catchy tune to boot!

But does this all explain Hello Kitty?
Well, some mysteries intend to remain unsolved…



The Hideaway

I’ve hidden in this place before, more exposed than truly hidden.
Revealed by an awkwardness, an intent, that didn’t fully flourish.
Now here unbound I can be myself, behind the music and the language,
Within the shadows and glow light, the half sense to write or just listen,
Till the pen balances thinking with drinking.
A crumpling of a coffee packet accompanying, as the music spills on into jazz, into life,
And the wonder at not understanding other people talk,
Takes nothing from the very fact that they are my company, and in theirs I revel in a notion of life, where my fantasies flourish.
I may be mistaken, even choosing to be so
And I allow the play its new act, my life a new scene, and the writer once more to reality.
(sound of pen dropping and beer slurping:))

What’s in when going out?

What’s in when going out?


If you mention Móricz Zsigmond körtér it often evokes a feeling of nostalgia, and this for a place I have but a recent memory of. I’ve thought and taught here and drunk but a bit and yet I feel it’s somewhere I’ve been before, a place of greater memories, even if it isn’t.
There is a certain atmosphere in the area what with the tram rushing through as well as the 6 and 61 finishing up here. The schools, bookshops, fastfood places, all a step off make it a vibrant hub and now with development of the Metro 4 complete this area has come into its own. It owns the night scene Buda side, even if Lövõház is challenging to the north, and with the restaurants, bars, and general nuisances fanning out in all directions from the square, it’s certainly a pin to put in your google, or mental, map. Bartók Béla út, which dissects the square, is the main source of attraction and distraction with Szatyor, Nevada Pub*, Moha*, to name but a few offering up in terms of not only food and drink but other forms of spiritual nourishment. Nevada with its Cowboyish Wild West look, swinging doors to boot, has live music from the middle of the stairs on your way up: a live set-up in such a confined space?…interesting! (Sometimes a DJ may take over.) Booking a table is almost a prerequisite especially if you’re a group, or come looking for the perfect seat. The winter sees activities contained indoors while the sun shine draws forth a smattering of chairs making it a perfect beer and leer environment, even if your lungs and ears have to compete with the slight inconvenience of pollution from the ever busy Bártok Béla út…
Szatyor across the street has a sprawling ground floor with tables all ariot, while upstairs the seating is shared with a space for performances, exhibitions, and all the rest. As with Nevada it can get tricky to find seating around the weekend so be warned.
Whereas Nevada is a pub with grub on offer, Szatyor is a cafe with its own culinary aspirations. An offer of garlic soup followed by a Lángos was one of the lunchtime treats when I was visiting , and I tried it (poor students that afternoon), so while many may judge that as its downfall, it was most certainly for me its selling point. Like Nevada service in Szatyor never breeches the barrier between polite and friendly with smiles being somewhat a rare commodity.Maybe it’s the pressure, maybe it’s me, but especially in Szatyor’s case it seemed to be a little off-putting.
Another place worth mentioning is Moha which can be found farther down the street towards Gellért tér, and which is also inclined to entertainment beyond the food and drink on offer. As a place for breakfast it works, with ham and eggs amongst the choices, and there is an atmosphere which suggests something greater bubbling just beneath the surface. The grand piano in the corner may have something to do with it; my interest peaked. Of all the places I’ve mentioned it is the one place which I have not had the chance to sample evening time, so as to what to expect I can only fictionalise. A sign indicating a movie theatre hidden somewhere out of the morning’s grasp leads me to conclude that this place is aspiring to something bigger. As to whether it will achieve this, well, that remains to be seen, or will perhaps remain forever relative, because afterall, what is success? How can it be…blah blah blah.
That there are plenty more places to choose from goes without saying but to a man who has now got two children and too little time, such voyages of exploration are somewhat staggered, at least in comparison with what has gone before. These days memory must serve in place of accuracy, perhaps, and so I leave you to ponder and, if you wish, to contradict my words, for afterall, and in the end, there is no right nor wrong, just subjective truths:)



*UPDATE: Since writing this review I have been down that way again and found two changes, not to the locations but to the names.

Nevada is now Osztrák Söröző: https://www.facebook.com/osztrak


and Moha is The Rabbit and the Duck bar, with a great logo to boot.






35 Café

Bike themed and youthful the problem with this place is that it doesn’t take itself seriously enough as a business. My entering was greeted by surprise and my order was misheard.
Maybe I’m In a mood and maybe it is functional in a way that would usually serve but today that’s not enough.
After sitting stewing I decided to repeat my request and sure enough the girl had been allowing me the pick of the ziros kenyérs. I shot before asking questions: a trait I hate in others and which I’ve indulged myself just now to hypocritical proportions.
Now hunger tantrums aside let me take another look around. It is a basic spot complete with broken toilet (ladies) at the moment but with booth style seats it surely can be of use. Still in a district with so many alternatives being caught downstairs in the gloom at lunchtime is low on the list. Come nighttime, come difference perhaps but for now best take my word for it, unless like me your curiosity is greater than some random stranger’s opinion.
“Texas and whiskey… funerals”






Calgary…a review

Calgary…this is not my first time.
Herein seduced by the piano
Now all atumble with bits and bobs
But isn’t this whole place?
And so-
I wonder-
If maybe at a twirl, speakeasily,
Everything may be different.
From out of the radio the music spells freedom:
Hungarian, gypsy? –
Inflected with a francophilia.
It sways into a kind of opulence
Before surrendering to the density of the heart
Only to be released by the furious incline
Of a violin, a fiddle,
Turned demented – Chagallian –
Dancing o’er the notions of a childish nightmare.
And then a kind of swing kicks in –
In defiance of work, or the mundane,
And yet in celebration of life, of love.
And then the beer protests
“No words are more important”
As the hands and mind become distracted.
Again the calls repeat more loudly,
More vociferously
“No words were ever so important”
But the pen moves on
The gas keeps rising
And so the battle has begun
Between the poet and (the) drink
Sober and drunk
And somewhere amidst this selfish incline-
A battle suffused on the shores of otherness –
A hint, a notion, of other things.
A charge, a brigade
In the light they falter fall, but forever rise again.
For unlike men this is family,
For unlike duty this is love,
But for unlike freedom,
This is responsibility.
The thing that tears at each rebel’s heart.

“They would topple a government and so too a family in favour of a freedom that can never be won – a dream, however, that is the fuel of life.”


All About Atmosphere (The Budapest Jazz Club)

When I first arrived in Budapest the Budapest Jazz Club was situated on Múzeum utca in the popular university area which spans the 5th, 8th, maybe even 9th districts of the city. It was near that area where an Irish pub consisted of putting the word Irish before it and the streets had yet to be pedestrianised. Now that the area is looking good the Budapest Jazz Club has upped pegs and shifted residence to the 13th. It’s still up and coming Hollán Ernő street style but somehow this district, this part at least, and my favourite, is more becoming of Jazz Club mystic post smoking ban.
In the place where once the Odeon, an arthouse cinema stood, it has changed little albeit better music emanates from the speakers mid morning.
It still retains the arthouse feel and along with the other arthouse cinemas that have fallen foul of progress, or other conspiracy theories, imagination has been employed in order to maintain quality, at least the quality of difference.
With regular concerts and an early morning, 10am, opening this serves to be as much a library as a theatre. It’s a cool place to hang out, literally during the almost unbearable summer’s days and it serves to enhance the spirit for those more musically curious.
And for those who’ve just popped in for a coffee you are in a good neighbourhood for some good quick eats if things turn peckish.
Disfruta la!


I’m half hating it?

I’m half hating it?

I’m loving it or I’m hating it? I’m not sure cos, for starters, I’m not even sure where to begin! The fact that I seem, semantically, to be answering a question suggests that I have recognised the statement form above as question: rendered, as it is, intonationally in the spoken form. I learnt or learned this, though I do not profess myself the learned man, in a random French class of my youth. As it happens, my odd-Catholic mother ( odd because she adheres to the practice while not believing in shit) furthered my education when, one day, I proclaimed I had French letters in my bag. Ah, but that is, as they say, scéal eile!
Returning to another point I’m not even sure I’ve made yet: I’m loving it. Taught as incorrect by desperate ( panicky rather than terrible) EFL, or other acronymical, teachers everywhere because of those damn stative verbs and yet more recently contradicted by Ronald and his cronies, I do now have to add my 50 Cents(!), or tuppence or 5 forint or whatever.
Those who teach languages as rule-based risk being discredited by popular culture. Those who don’t risk unnerving their students. I, however, have just this to say:

and because Otis said it, I believe it, and… A. that’s that! B. that’s fuckin’ well that!
Your choice. My opinion;)


Moka pokey

A step off the main drag, Margit Körút style, at the corner of Varsányi Irén and Eröd utca(k), this one’s new to me, but I gather, also to the neighbourhood.
The first thing I noticed was its relative modesty from outside, a chalkboard and a small sign bare indication. If I hadn’t been told of this place I may never have found it – but aren’t such places sometimes the best.
Well let’s see.
On entering: a low table to the left, two small tables to the right, and a bar curving out in front makes it, as the exterior, certainly not boasting swank. A stairwell winding up suggests seating out of sight and this is pleasing considering everything downstairs is full, with one-a-table being a jam.
There’s free WIFI just in case the laptops accompanying nearly every single customer haven’t aleady given the game away, but these days that’s par for the course/to be expected.
I order and settle upstairs. Cosy seats, low tables, not the best for writing on, but it does force me to unwind, and that is what I do, caffeine to hand.
The general atmosphere is subdued, gentle, placid and the staff are suitably laid-back, friendly, and curious. Chalked up on the wall is a food menu but I regard it only as a snap Hungarian lesson, I’ve just come from food…home-cooked…the best:)
But what has me really kicking back and letting go, beyond the confines of my armchair is the music; a mix of Jazz, slow blues, and old R&B (the good stuff when singers had voices not just funky names). To top it all off the sounds are omitting from a record player, the real deal – vinyls, needle caressing, and not a scratch to be heard. What manner of preservation is this! Almost unholy, what with my Hits 5 playing like a seance snippet off of Paranormal Weekly these days, well like it would if I had a record player. I’m not HD me, I’m all for da mood. Like smoke in a dark and dirty Jazz bar, I miss some of the things which are now considered bad for me.
As I finish my coffee I laze, I inhale, and I promise to return. It’s a wee bit on the parsimonious in terms of overall space but just to huddle up to the vinyls and speak about times past, I could offer up my peg leg – again!
Moka…tis no joke!!!



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