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Welcome to The Lotus Position, an intermittent collection of extempore navel gazings, ponderings, whinges, whines, pontifications and diatribes.

Everything is based on a Sample of One: these are my views, my experiences... caveat lector... read the Disclaimer

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey


Monday, 18 August 2008

A Man, A Plan, A Camera

Yes, it's time for an update on that serious event on the Budapest calendar... Sziget!

This year I shall be mostly not going to Sziget (if it's not already over it will be shortly) - at least compared to other years when Sziget was a week-long festival: this year it is only 5 days and we only went for two... but it was 14 hours the first day and ~11 hours the second. We get our money's worth!

So, off we go... first the natty sunglasses courtesy of Iguana...

Then a nod to the strong European influence everywhere these days... the "European Urban Art Centre..."

But, what I really came for was the music. Thank you Dylan for observing - indirectly - that I have the musical tastes of a paleontologist as the bands I wanted to see - the Sex Pistols and R.E.M. - were "dinosaurs".

A well preserved fossil is shown below, a specimen of Rottenus Johannii, if I am not mistaken

Way back when Mr Rotten was vociferous in his belief that there was "No future" - 30 years on the failure of his initial prediction does not deter him from its endless repetition. Is it perhaps post-ironic nihilism - with a twist? Are we still vacant? Did god only save The Queen because the Pistols asked him to? We shall never know. It's been a fun 30 years... punk, war, new romantic, war, retro, war, other stuff, and more war. And through it all, Johnny Rotten - a veritable icon of stability and the establishment.

And then, a propos of nothing much, there is the strange, but so typically French attitude to dogs to report... "If your dog is lost..." it says beneath the "Found-again Dogs" headline [Query: if "lost and found" is "objets trouves", why do dogs get to be retrouve'd? eh?]

But that's a side issue. Note the phrasing beneath the headline. Not, you notice, "If you have lost your dog" but if your dog "is lost"... as in "temporarily uncertain of position" to use the aviator's euphemism, or bewildered by the absurdity of a world in which people stand on sticks (see below) instead of fetching them. If either of these apply to your dog - or other companion animal - I suggest you buy it a satnav and/or discourage it from reading Sartre and Camus.

This next snap sequence began with "Does the moon look odd to you...?" (and went on, obviously, to "Ooh! Look! Something is eating the moon! Maybe Ragnarok is coming!"

But it's not all linguistic and astronomical fun here at Sziget; when walking on the ground is just too easy why not stick yourself three feet above the ground (~1m). Takes some getting used to but there is more than a little satisfaction in this generally pointless exercise... it's just fun! Must think about a unicycle sometime.

But now, back to the music...

The REM main-event on the main stage - enhanced by the coincidental partial eclipse of the moon - was somewhat diminished for me by the cold. Friday it had been scorchingly hot (38C) and so on Saturday (despite 60% chance of rain... which never materialised) I went again in shorts and short-sleeved shirt in expectation of hot-wet and occasional sheltering in marquees and other beer dispensing locations; as it happened it was cold-dry, and by 22:30 my teeth were chattering.

Still, got to sing "Losing my religion" with 20-30 thousand others.

We did branch out into other musical genres. Apocalyptica is a fine upstanding Finnish, er, band of some description - three long-haired, Finnish rock-gods playing cover versions of Metallica (and Grieg) on cellos. Damn good actually - go and see them if you get a chance. And then Punish Yourself a fine upstanding French group with bare-breasted fire dancer cum angle-grinder workbench. Then there was Mass Hysteria - also French (Ah! Que les francais adorent Le Rock!) - with lots of energy and a willingess to take on all comers... Bush, Sarkozy, the EU etc. etc. etc.

What else?

Oh yes - bungee-cord ballet courtesy of a rather spectacular show called Carillon 3. It begins with a bungee-monolith...

Dancers arrive dangling from the large crane I had noticed parked suspiciously nearby and then proceeded to do all sorts of contortions on, in and around the monolith...

occasionally with umbrellas.

And that as they say, is nearly all there is to say apart from the fun to be had on the rock-your-own-boat thingie (no pics yet)... the Vietnamese water-puppet-theatre... the outsize table & charis and crib (thanks to the anonymous Frenchman for the show...), hats (of course), and last, but not least, the kinetic sculptures near the Luminarium (which we've seen before so didn't bother to endure the enormous queue for this year - but if you get a chance, go see it...)