Every now and then I get linguistic crushes: I grow very affectionate of expressions in a certain language, and often suffer when I find they are nigh untranslatable. That’s probably their charm in the first place- finding them I feel I discovered a way of saying something I hadn’t known before. Such is the French beau fixe then, describing a period of fine weather that seems to go on forever. Although it sounds highly poetic, like many things in French tend to, it’s origins are actually pretty mundane, and relate to the barometre’s needle being fixed in the area of good weather. Budapest though, has been a different kind of fixed lately, namely fixed frozen. After several mild winters, it’s kind of a novelty to have constant minuses even during sunny days. And then there’s the annoyance of no snow- well there were those two days of it, before the weather got warmer for another two days, and turned the whole thing into vile slush.
This kind of weather is however excellent for plans- lo behold all those superlative things I’ll do when my face is not frozen numb by a trip to the grocer’s. I have therefore compiled a useful, albeit absolutely non-exhaustive list of events of possible interest for the months to come and as a bonus I’ve added some of the shots I took while thinking of the list, and convincing myself that my fingers won’t freeze while I press the shutter.
When it comes to concerts, things don’t look overly grand yet, but I’ve whined about that already in the end of year post, so here are the gigs I am looking forward to presently: Tycho (playing in Akvárium on February 14), Tegan and Sara (Dürer Kert, February 4), Trentemøller (Dürer Kert, February 8) and Astronautalis ( Dürer Kert, February 11). That’s a lovely Budapest trend, actually, to have everything interesting happening within a week or so, and then wait months and months in a desolate twilight zone of salsa parties and tribute acts. It’s also an attempt by February to convince me that January is the worse month of the two- for this is a subject of grave concern to me, and I have been looking for an answer basically my entire life. I am hoping for some new exciting names for months other than February too- and I will here appreciate the odd intensity of Thomas Dybdahl’s affection for our tiny village, as he’s back and playing on A38 on May 12.
There is of course the matter of Depeche Mode playing in Budapest on May 21st, but then again, given their almost religious following around these parts, they come almost too often- don’t get me wrong, I do like them, but after about a dozen slices even a sugar fiend gets tired of cake. Then there’s Green Day on June 18th- and me trying to understand what’s there to like in a band that was borderline interesting with Dookie and then drowned itself in a sea of nondescript rock ballads. Marilyn Manson playing on the 2oth of July in Budapest Park, which will also be hosting Scooter and DJ Bobo’s 25th Anniversary tour sounds almost exciting, especially put in the perspective of the other two. Though come to think of it, there might be a quantity of Unikum which makes Chihuaua sound like a good song, but it’s probably something that would kill an average human, so I’ll pass on that. Sziget, on the other hand, is Sziget and it’s such a relief to have it- no matter how bad the rest of the year(and I’ve seen years far worse than 2017 is shaping up to be) you can count on Sziget packing a few zingers- the first names for this year’s anniversary 25th edition have been released in December, and a new set of artists is due to be announced on January 25th.
In a delightful development, we now have the dates for the Titanic Film Festival, which always means spring, happiness and good movies in early April- this year between the 5th and the 13th. For those who cannot wait until then, there are some exciting films coming to Budapest’s cinemas in the near future: Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End of the World, Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents, Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, for which Natalie Portman might or might not land another Oscar, Moonlight, another possible Oscar darling, Manchester by the Sea, which got the super Hungarian translation of The Old City, and Lion, the real life story of an adoptee who found his biological parents with Google Maps.
And it gets better: Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson is arriving in early February, and I suggest you go and see it in Cirko Gejzir, because the distant rattle of tram 2 seems like the perfect match for the Jarmuschian universe. Also, 2017 brings two sequels I genuinely look forward to: Trainspotting 2 lands soon and has received pretty rave reviews so far, while for Blade Runner 2049, which was filmed right here in Budapest, we’ll have to wait until the summer, but in the meantime you can treat yourself to Ryan Gosling very practically having coffee in one of Gellért bath’s pools. On the quirky delights list, the documentary Space in Between: Marina Abramović and Brazil– I spent a good bit of January reading Marina’s recently published autobiography and I now suddenly feel more enlightened about many things, and somewhat understanding of video artists prepping for the Biennale.
Early February brings the Finnish film days, and there’s an exhibition of Finnish photography too opening on Monday in the Capa Center. Finnishness obviously fits this weather exquisitely, but come spring it’s also exciting to see Finns melting in the May sunlight during the Embassy’s annual Restaurant Day event. Speaking of nations bringing their magic to Budapest, I can only hope that the super popular Saint Patrick’s Day’s parade will be organized once again. And, last but not least, an almost birthday treat for me in the second half of April: the guest of honour of this year’s Book Festival will be none else than Orhan Pamuk.