Parallel realities

If you rarely travel home you can also be astonished by things which have become quite common for the folks back home.

Europe is burning with the fever of the Football World Cup. In Berlin, Prague, Krakow, in the bars, billboards and firewalls you can see the photos of the national teams, or at least of the teams favored by the respective nation. However, on my way from Poland to Maramureș, as I surface from the metro in Budapest at Ferenciek Square, I waver for a moment, wondering whether I have lost a year and have gone back in time. In front of the national tobacco shop* owned by the Franciscan order, still with the wrought iron Sacrament of the former church shop above its door, the poster invites you to cheer in the English-Hungarian London football match of sixty years ago in the fast food shop which has opened in the place of the former church bookstore.

Proceeding dwon Károly Boulevard, the seemingly dislocated time is gradually rectified, as the few bars and posters appear to celebrate the same World Cup as the rest of Europe. But when you turn the corner of Rumbach Street, some unexpected actuality creeps out gradually from the vacant lot facing the synagogue.

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The firewall poster painted in memory of “the match of the century”, that is, the glorious London 6:3 of the Hungarian Golden Team, as the Urbanista blog writes, was made by the Neopaint Works not expressly for the World Cup, but for the Hungarian national feast of last October. However, this is not to reduce, but rather to increase the currency of the work. Just as the ironic song of Hobo Blues Band, written in 1986 with the commonplaces of the 1950s about this national myth, has not lost its relevance in the past thirty years.

Hatot rúgtunk Angliának, olyan mint egy álom,
A mi hazánk nevét zengik szerte a világon,
Szepesi Gyuri volt a magyar nép szeme,
A rádió mellett együtt éltünk vele.

Köszönjük a hat gólt, a pompás győzelmet,
Kedves magyar fiúk, a szívünk veletek,
Felétek száll hálánk, boldog lázban élünk,
S velünk együtt boldog a mi bölcs vezérünk.

Túl a Don-kanyaron, Isonzón, Mohácson,
Büszke most a magyar, zengik a világon:
Négy-kettő a félidőben, a végén hat-három!

Gyarmatai vérét szívja a Brit Birodalom,
Mégis hogy megroggyant e szép őszi napon,
A híres oroszlán áll a gyászos ködben,
A béketábor meg piros-fehér-zöldben.

Hatszáz csille szénnel több jön a bányából,
Az öntudatos vájár ma százasával számol,
Nevezetes év lett ez az ötvenhárom,
Győzelmet arattunk a kapitalistákon.

We kicked six to England, it is like a dream,
now the name of our land is sung all over the world.
[The commentator] Gyuri Szepesi was the eye of the Hungarian people,
In front of the radio we breathed with him.

Thank you for the six goals, the gorgeous victory,
Dear Hungarian boys, our heart is with you.
Our gratitude flies to you, we live in a happy fever,
And our wise Leader is happy together with us.

Beyond the Don Bend, * Isonzo, * Mohács, *
is now happy the Hungarian, and all the world is echoing:
Four-two at half-time, six-three at the end.

The British Empire is sucking the blood of its colonies,
But it cracked on this beautiful autumn day.
The famous lion stands in the mournful haze,
And the peace camp in red-white-green.

Six hundred extra cars come today from the mine,
The self-conscious miner counts today by hundreds.
The year of 53 became a glorious year:
We have gained a victory over the capitalists!


The land of the rising ball

The task of the ennobled firewall is, as the district mayor puts it, to embellish the unused, ugly wall of the vacant lot. And with good reason. On the huge lot at Rumbach Sebestyén Street 8 until recently there stood the Jakabffy house, the most beautiful merchant’s palace of the district, according to the neighborhood monographist Anna Perczel. It was built in 1872, the same year as Otto Wagner’s fashionable synagogue opposite the street. Both the street and courtyard front of the palace were lined with shops. In its courtyard there was, since 1775, the renowned ballrom of Hacker’s Inn, the Hacker Sala, which hosted between 1809 and 1812 the first Hungarian-language theater of Pest. In the summer of 1944 it was designated as a yellow-star house. This grand building was pulled down in 2002, in the framework of the infamous 7th district real estate bubble, by the local government, to build a seven-storey garage in the heart of the protected heart of the district. This, however, was not realized, and it is now the twelfth year that a parking has been operating on the empty and desolate plot.

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Perhaps the football policy without football is right. Instead of facing bleak present, it might be indeed more comfortable to look back to those golden days, when the poet Ernő Szép could still say:

A football az, ami a földön
mindenkit őrülten érdekel.
Hát az F.T.C. Budapestről
Az ő lábával útra kel.

Megy az F.T.C. a lábával
Megy Bécsbe és Berlinbe megy,
Az eredmény a mi javunkra
Hol 2:1 hol 3:1.

Megy az F.T.C. a lábával
Hamburgon át, Londonba ki,
És itt is, ott is nagyokat rúg,
Isten fizesse meg neki.

Istenem áldd meg az F.T.C.-t,
Mivel ott tartunk már manap,
Hogy a külföldön legalább a
Lábunkkal szóbaállanak.
Football is what crazily
interests everyone in the world.
So, the F.T.C. * from Budapest
sets on the way with its feet.

Goes the F.T.C. with its feet,
to Vienna and Berlin it goes,
and the result, in our favor,
is 2:1 and 3:1.

Goes the F.T.C. with its feet,
through Hamburg to London,
and here and there it kicks a lot,
may God bless it for that.

God bless the F.T.C.,
because it brought us to the point
that abroad they are inclined
to talk at least to our feet.

A principle of the government: “Never change a tested evil”. The eagle swooping down on the football in front of the recently built stadion of F.T.C. repeats the central motif of the Nazi eagle swooping down on the Hungarian crown on the recently erected, and passionately debated monument of the 1944 German occupation of Hungary