Sunday, May 21, 2006
FBO Finds 'Key European Hub'
FBO ADOPTS SZEKELYUDVARHELY, ROMANIA
Some towns are great just because the people are great. This town of 37,000 in central Transylvania is the only of its size in Romania home to a majority (about 97%) of ethnic Hungarians called the Szekely. Their ancestors have lived here for over a thousand years. Transylvania only left Austro-Hungarian hands after WWI, something some locals here still resent.
Music and art is a big part of the town, with G Pub, sporting six rooms -- including a collection of radios dating five to eight decades. The G stages local bands, including the 17-year-old kids as part of Tear Gas (who write their songs and sing gruffily in English over brooding rhythms with heavily reverbed Cure-like guitar leads), and an expiremental guitar/violin duo called Amnesia. Tear Gas' artwork adorns one bar here, taken by a teenage girl who last year introduced the town to dreadlocks. On Sunday mornings, intellects and hipster youth heel-click, with urgency, to Casa de Cultura, where they are attending a rehearsal of a theatre piece, performed in Hungarian.
Being here, FBO Admin notices, is like being in an Eastern European or Southeast Asian town shortly after it 'opened up' to the west -- something like stepping into other towns (even a Prague or Ho Chi Minh City) in the early or mid 1990s. People are delighted by your presence, wondering how you knew about their town, and how you decided to spend time here. A chance encounter in a shop leads to an hour-long converstation about politics or horse markets or hockey or clarinets.
--> The FBO sympathizes with the sense of being an 'outsider' enclave amidst a greater, more successful, entity. And hereby adopts Szekelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc) as its two-year European headquarters. Based on peformance that status may be renewed in 2008 for another two-year period. Talk has started with Robert Roth, of Herr Travel, about bringing some Failed Bands of Oklahoma to participate in a rock-music festival in 2007. Stay tuned.
Tasks for the Key European Hub will include fostering an open environment for failed bands, spreading awareness for failed bands, as well as hosting FBO events by 2007.
A key goal of the FBO's press-garnering tour of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey is to find a Key European or Middle Eastern Hub. That task has now been achieved.
Mobile HQ/European Key Hub -- Szekelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc), Romania
PS -- The photos include an abandoned power plant on the road between Szekelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc) and Marosvasarhely (Targu Mures); a clock in the town's central square, and the 1781 Hungarian Reformed Church.
Posted by Robert Reid at 3:46 AM