Is it my imagination or are more and more people talking about emigrating or going home? Earlier this summer, a local web portal ran an article by a Norwegian chap who’d been living here since 2008. He was returning to Oslo and had written up his reasons for leaving. Others chimed in with theirs. Apparently, the list of reasons to leave ran longer than the list of reasons to stay.
I’m not an optimist. I could never be accused of suffering from too much positivity. But I firmly believe that how we react to a situation is our choice. Being open to opportunity and seizing the moment when it presents itself, that’s the secret.
Out and about last week, I ran into Terry V. This is his story.
Sitting in the Scottish Caledonia pub one Tuesday night with some musician mates, someone suggested that they start a band – do something different, something a little off kilter for Hungary. They decided on Country Rock. It was accessible, they thought: traditional instruments with a rock and roll format and pop melody lines – a winning formula. They’d jammed together before; they’d had fun; they knew they’d work. So, unlike many great ideas borne out of a bottle of whisky and destined to come to nothing, this one survived the vapours and was christened Tuesday Night Rodeo.
You might recognise some of the faces. Joey and Sam from Paddy and the Rats and Zsolti from the Hooligans. Steven who found fame with a Budapest-based Guns and Roses tribute band. Add Terry (ex-London) to this Hungarian mix and you get the band.
Their single, Stranger (in a Strange Town), was picked up by Radio Rock (95.8 FM). And then a German station, Country 108, got in on the act. Next thing you know, the lads have a record deal with an album due to be completed in October and released before the end of the year
Stranger was picked up and given daily rotation on Radio Rock. Tilos Radio was listening in and the following day, they picked it up and added an early morning interview with Joey for good measure.
So what, you say? This sort of stuff is commonplace. No biggie. Well, I think it is. These lads ain’t in their teens or their twenties or their thirties. In the music world, they’re positively ancient.
When he was 10, Terry saw Marc Bolan from T-Rex on TV. He immediately asked his dad for a guitar – glam rock was his future. Back in the mid-1980s, he did get a record deal in Japan and then in the UK. He was doing well. He ran a club in London’s Covent Garden for a few years. When he moved into the admin side and they downsized, he had the chance to work from anywhere. He chose Budapest. He’d first been here about 14 years ago on a boys’ weekend; he loved it so much he kept coming back. Last year he was working on a website to help musicians find their lost/stolen instruments. He still played music but thought, at 55, that he was a bit long in the tooth to get any airplay.
And therein lies the beauty of it all.
Hungary, and Budapest in particular, has an energy about it that fosters opportunity. With a musical legacy that holds its own on the world stage, there’s a lot more going on here music-wise than in London. Yes, a lot of the smaller clubs are seriously underfunded, but there’s talent and there’s space and there’s an audience hungry for something new. And there’s guys like Tuesday Night Rodeo who dream the dreams down the pub on a Tuesday night but then do something to make those dreams happen. And when the opportunity knocks, they’re ready. This is Budapest. This is Hungary. This is a reason to stay.
First published in the Budapest Times 9 September 2016