To sell ourselves to the Western media as political refugees would have been out of style. Therefore, we wore Russian military uniforms with our punk hairdos and talked about being highly trained KGB agents sent to the free world to destroy the morals of the Western youth.
It’s a fact: in summer, people go on holiday. Why? Because the sun is shining; it’s hot; work is scarce; or the family is together, and everybody is fed up with Budapest – where we all love living, if it weren’t for the concrete soaking in the heat, the streets stinking of dog shit and other decomposing biological waste.
His long, beautifully written secret reports were highly critical of my works, many of which he helped to complete. He called them “the products of a madman” to his state security employers. “Let us give him more state commissions,” he wrote in one of his reports, “so he won’t have time for his own anti-socialist stupidities.”
The Hungarian literary scene has only recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the rebirth in 1986 of the notable literary periodical Újhold (New Moon), which originally existed between 1946-1948. This is an important anniversary for contemporary literature which found its roots in the New Moon generation.
Eurozine, a network of Europe’s leading cultural journals, is an online magazine featuring texts taken from its partner journals on various pressing issues of our time, translated into English. HLO talked to editor Simon Garnett about the present, past and future of the magazine during the Budapest Book Festival.
Ágens, the singer is no follower of any musical trend. Her singing and the style of her works have been compared to that of shamans and to the atmosphere of religious initiation rituals, as well as to jazz, György Kurtág and Meredith Monk. Nevertheless, we had far better avoid compulsive categorising and just listen to her music.
When I was twenty-one I was baptised, along with C, by full immersion in a West London Baptist Church. It was an act of romantic commitment. My mother was in the congregation. Later, she was to write to a friend in Hungary that C and I emerged out of the water like drowned rats.