10. 27. 2005. 08:30

Budapest Bardroom’s hexidecimal edition

An English-language show in Budapest

The Budapest Bardroom defines itself as an ‘English-language show in Budapest, featuring poetry, music and spoken word by local and visiting performers’. This fall’s Bardroom session was themed around the date: an inconspicuous October 16th, being Sunday, but that turned out to be irrelevant. English-reading Budapest, alive and kicking.

The usual suspects: poets David Hill and Kálmán Faragó organized the regular get-together at Nyitott Muhely, the café at Ráth György utca 4 well-known for its various literary and musical events, as the name suggests: open workshops, lots of books, teas and wine, run by the one and only László Finta. The chair-crowded venue once again presented live, living contemporary literature to an enthusiastic audience gathering around as the show hosts and their guests sat up front at a table facing them, hopelessly outnumbered. A half-hour slip of schedule just allowed for the prolific bar-cue to be seated for the programme, or rather the show. More on this later. But first, there is this looming mathematical aberration of the hexidecimal, a system of counting which riddled our quiz questions throughout the evening. The audience was frequently called upon to decript various historic dates from bizarre codes of numerals and letters: a hexidecimal code (with place values of 0-16, quite unwieldly). Mystifying. And quite amusing, really, considering one could even end up winning prizes like the odd ‘lifelike’ dinosaur or the Multi-Functional toy mobile phone. Hill and Faragó push their hilarious intermezzos till they tickle.

And then, there was poetry galore. And prose. Established Budapest literators like Mark Griffith and Paul Olchváry, the hosts Hill and Faragó all read out some of their recent works.
Griffith’s narrative poems illustrating recognizable scenes of urban Budapest life, Faragó frivolously beats about the avant-garde, David Hill as always is perceptive and witty. Paul Olchváry’s follow-up to his successful September performance was an encore of stylistic brilliance, captivating and incredibly funny both in text and its deliverance, despite his allegations of being ‘intended for reading in an armchair’.
In between, there were readings by open-mic partisans from the audience invited on stage to share their writings, which were warmly received by all. The end result was spontaneous and responsive, truly a literary workshop.

Music was provided (sometimes hexidecimally) by Gary Brill and David A. Hill from DGN Blues Band. The duo from the trio who claim no relation Bardroom’s David Hill were there strumming rare Fender guitars in blues classics. Delicious.

Finally the star of the evening, Alistair Noon rounded off the event with a well-strung string of verses from his stunningly varied repertoire. Hailing from Berlin, Noon has enjoyed success with the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry, London’s SubVoicive, the Bobeobi Festival of Sound, and has now broken ground in Budapest Bardroom. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more from him in future, a massive talent making an imprint.

So, coming along for the next session? It’s on same place, 4th of December.

Dániel Dányi

The website of the Budapest Bardroom

Tags: An English-language show in Budapest