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Once Upon a Time in Eastern Europe
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Once Upon a Time in Eastern Europe

Author: Steven Robert Carlson

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Telling the magical stories of Hungary's first independent English-language newspaper, Budapest Week, in a series of interviews with its editors, writers, founders, staff and readers.
7 Episodes
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#6 - Os Davis

#6 - Os Davis

2020-11-2701:06:34

This is a terrific interview and I wish that I could write a worthy introduction.Maybe later.For now, please enjoy
Kate Carlisle asked me to turn the mic around and let her interview me.I happily agreed.When I first met Kate, she was a production designer working side by side with Editor, Tom Popper and Copy Editor, Desmond MacGrath. She came on shortly before I left the newspaper, but we traveled in the same circles. In more recent years, Kate has captured my attention on social media with her vegan humor, animal memes, and what appeared to be a budding romance with a former Budapest Week colleague, Jannes Hartkamp, a rumor which I can confirm to be true.I invited Kate to introduce this episode:"City Mag Budapest Week started in the early 1990s, as the so-called Eastern bloc was crumbling. A clutch of edgy, sharp and revolutionary media enthusiasts started a weekly, that any non-Magyar could access — both for the language and salient reporting. It was just damn well written."Steve Carlson was one of the founders along with a group of irreverent and brilliant shaker uppers. He is compiling archives, interviewing colleagues of old and has stepped up to make sure history is not lost. Kate Carlisle, another Budapest Weeker from the past, interviews him about fading cafes, print runs, missing pages and how it was to be part of history in the making."Thank you, Kate Carlisle!
#4 - Chris Condon

#4 - Chris Condon

2020-10-2501:28:21

Chris Condon joined the Budapest Week just over a year after we launched. He started as a reporter, worked his way up to News Editor, and eventually served as Editor-in-Chief.Chris belongs to a generation of journalists, Hungarians and foreigners, who cut their teeth reporting for the Budapest Week.He also worked for the paper long after I left, which means he was able to share a few stories I hadn't heard. For example, moving offices and discovering a gun concealed in a wall cavity since 1944.Chris went on to write for Business Week and the Financial Times. A few years back, he moved back to the United States to work for Bloomberg, covering the Federal Reserve.However, Chris took a little bit of Hungary with him to the US: his wife Dora, and two daughters, Siobhan and Shannon.
#3 - Bob Cohen

#3 - Bob Cohen

2020-10-1901:43:12

What to say about Bob Cohen? Our friendship predates the newspaper.The other foreigners I met knocking about Eastern Europe in the late '80s were an odd bunch: itinerant language teachers, folk musicians,  folklore researchers,  linguists, and other misfits.That's a pretty good description of Bob.As soon as we started the paper, I wanted to bring Bob onboard. The only reason we hesitated was because of his unreasonable demands to be paid. But it worked out in the end because Bob Cohen was our funniest writer.
#2 - Rick Bruner

#2 - Rick Bruner

2020-10-1457:10

I met Rick Bruner through his father, Richard W Bruner. Dick was the first editor of the Budapest Week, as well as my mentor and friend.Rick Bruner, Tibor Szendrei and I are the three surviving founders of our newspaper. That's a sobering thought.Dick was the gray eminence of our little startup team. He convinced us it could be done. He introduced us to his wide circle of friends, and many of them became our contributors, supporters and friends.Rick and I had a contentious relationship, but as he reminds me on this episode, that was part of our magic.In the first six months of the paper, we struggled every week to fill a 16-page newspaper without an office, staff or even a reliable income.Rick and I soldiered on together through sleepless nights and impossible deadlines. We argued over headlines and commas and inspired each other to further effort.It never would have happened without Rick and Dick. Dick and Rick.
#1 - Tibor Szendrei

#1 - Tibor Szendrei

2020-09-2801:00:52

Tibor Szendrei was one of the first people to commit to creating the Budapest Week, and as our single Hungarian partner, Tibor also had the most to lose. In this episode, he talks about why.We knew we could count on Tibor when, for example, a local printer required 300 dots per centimeter, rather than per inch.But he was so much more than an interpreter. Tibor's silver tongue smoothed relations with our key partners, including distributors, computer suppliers and printers, especially when we couldn't pay them, which was often.Tibor's other superpower is the ability to absorb the Hungarian press and crank out page after page of concise, coherent English-language news and analysis. These days, he performs this service for news publications in Brussels.Tibor and I are working to collect and digitize the Budapest Week archives. We only have a partial archive, so we're calling on former colleagues and friends to fill in the gaps.
#0 - Bruce Lewis

#0 - Bruce Lewis

2020-09-1901:15:33

I asked my old friend, Bruce Lewis, to kick off this project with me by recording the pilot episode. He's is an accomplished guitarist, born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Bruce and I were introduced by a mutual friend, Bob Cohen. Bruce became my roommate shortly after I left the newspaper, kicking and screaming.He wrote a few pieces for the Budapest Week, but this interview isn't really about the newspaper, although I did try to steer it in that direction.Bruce describes what it was like to live in Budapest in the early 1990s, and how his experiences changed him. He also talks about some of the talented musicians he met and played with, throughout his many years gigging in Europe.
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