Wednesday, April 11, 2012

......And All That Jazz

Grant Boyd-Gibbins is by nature an entrepreneur. At first converting redundant Budapest factories to sleek contemporary offices, he has now turned his hand to developing an entire Croatian village into a health resort. With a little help from his friends, who happen to own an hotel chain, and the European Union Development Fund, we have no doubt that his latest speculation will become a successful reality one day.

Dorottya Udvar, a former textile factory, developed by Grant Boyd-Gibbins

And in the meantime Grant has another, more social venture, closer to home. As a founder member of the Jerry Lee Lewis inspired GGGBOFFC, Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire Film Club, his idea is to provide on a monthly basis a social setting for English speakers who share a love of art cinema.


entrance hall to the Budapest Jazz Club, home also to GGGBOFFC each month


So, with the promise of a dinner, wine, lively conversation and a surprise film, we made our way, with our friends Paul and Gil, to the Budapest Jazz Club. Housed in the former Hasenfeld House of 1875, in the delightfully cobbled Múzeum utca, a stone's throw from the National Museum, the Budapest Jazz Club provides an exciting venue for all manner of cultural activities......and Jazz music!


staircase of Hasenfeld House, the Budapest Jazz Club, with bust of Kossuth


The walls of the Club are adorned with 'Jazz Greats', Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, either as black and white photographs or full scale murals. A sweeping marble staircase carries visitors elegantly to the first floor, the nicotine of decades of smoking has tanned the walls of the bar, Thonet type bentwood furniture fills a downstairs room and plush sage velvet armchairs, somewhat sagging at the seams, create the perfect ambience for a private cinema in Room 9.


interior  showing murals in the Budapest Jazz Club


The seventy or so GGGBOFFC guests were as eclectic as they were engaging. A fast talking blonde Canadian, a zany Brazilian wearing an equally zany shirt, a cut glass accented George, a charming Dominic, the gregarious Grant and his delightful wife Eszter, lawyers, venture capitalists and green activists all made for sparkling conversation and not a little laughter.


a selection of stills taken from Sam Mendes 1999 film 'American Beauty'


The film, 'American Beauty', proved to be an excellent and entertaining choice. A debut film by Sam Mendes in 1999, we believe that it will stand the test of time, as indeed it has done to date, as an iconic example of the best in American cinema. And, some days later, we are still asking, "Is 'American Beauty', and all that it stands for,  like its namesake rose, prone to rotting away at the roots? Are all teenagers terrifying?  And who exactly did kill Lester Burnham?".

199 comments:

  1. It all sounds like great fun and I would love to visit the Jazz Club with all those famous portraits. Come to think of it, it is too many years since I visited Budapest.

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    1. The Jazz Club is an exceedingly lively place and it has regular appearances from Jazz celebrities throughout the year. In addition, students from the Music Academy's Jazz Department practise there which makes for a very enjoyable [and free] evening's entertainment.

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  2. What a great evening you had. Restoring old building is a great venture, love it, that's a great glass enclosed staircase in the first photo.

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    1. Dorottya Udvar was once a thread factory, built in 1905, so it is very good, as you say, that new life has been breathed into it!

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  3. Loving those iconic paintings. I get the feeling like it was going back in time but with 20th century conversation.

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    1. Exactly so, Sue! One really could be back in the 1920s/1930s there. It has a great atmosphere.

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  4. Dear friends, when you travel or visit places, it feels, while reading you, that I have been there too : )
    I hope you have a lovely Easter, lots of love from Norway

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    1. Would that you were there with us too, what fun that would be, for certain!

      Hoping that you are enjoying your holiday!!

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    2. good to be away from blogging for a while and visit friends just for the sake of visiting ; )

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    3. Just sometimes a break away is what we all need to come back refreshed and ready to carry on.

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  5. Oh next time you go take me with you! This sounds such a fabulous evening... witty conversation, amazing building, one of the cleverest films of all time, and jazz presumably playing in the background over dinner.

    The conversion of the textile factory looks rather splendid. Is the rest of it as successful as this angle?

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    1. We are pleased, Virginia, that you too rate 'American Beauty'. We agree that it is a clever film and, indeed, in our view, merits seeing several times as on each occasion rather more layers of meaning are revealed.

      Yes, in our opinion, the restoration of the Dorottya Udvar has been exceptionally well done and the landscaping has also been carried out very successfully. Once a thread factory and now home to Coca Cola amongst others!!!

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  6. Well it definitely wasn't Carol!
    What a wonderful venue for GGGBOFFC, and how attractive the guests appear to have been.
    You will surely look forward to your future visits.

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    1. We agree about Carol. Far too emotional....Annette Bening was simply wonderful in that role in our view!

      Yes, we are already anticipating the next screening of the GGGBOFFC with much excitement. In summer, the films are shown outdoors on the terraces of the founder members so that is something we shall very much look forward to!!

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  7. It looks like a beautiful building and certainly worth a visit if in the area. I have never been a huge jazz fan, but having said that I could, and still can, listen to Lois Armstrong all day long. We had a black guy in the police band, of what was then Rhodesia, who not only looked like LA, but he had mastered his voice and habits to a T down to the white handkerchief. He was a huge hit at any event they went to. Diane

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    1. We too are not particularly keen on Jazz but, like all things, when done well it has an appeal and a vitality which is infectious.

      What an interesting story of your Rhodesian Louis Armstrong. LA must surely be one of the most copied of Jazz Greats of all time.

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  8. What impressed me about your story was how an interesting venue, convivial people, and beautiful architecture all combined to make a perfect evening. Although the Hasenfeld house was only one element of this, I do particularly admire that marble newel post--simple but solid and attractive.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. The original architectural details that remain in the building are most attractive. The staircase had a particular appeal for us but, also, the carved fireplaces and entrance balustrading were attractive too.

      As you say, it was the combination of different elements that made the evening special, not least of which our friends, Paul and Gil with whom we went. It is an event that we shall remember fondly for all time.

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  9. What a superb venue! Neither of us are terribly keen on jazz but what lovely architecture/interiors! Add in good company and a good film and the result is an excellent 'cocktail' for an evening out.

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    1. Certainly a most interesting venue. On our arrival, as people were milling around with various musical instruments, we did begin to wonder if we were actually in the right place, but it all turned out well in the end.

      As you say, having excellent company, friends with a great sense of fun and an excellent film, makes for an intoxicating evening, even without the drink!!!!

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  10. What a beautiful old building - thank goodness no-one has converted it into flats or offices. Sounds like you both had a wonderful evening with like-minded folk. I enjoyed that movie - Annette Bening especially was superb.

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    1. The house makes a wonderfully eccentric venue for so many cultural activities and a home for the Jazz Club. It is always good to see these buildings used rather than just crumbling into rubble.

      Yes, Annette Bening really is amazing in that film as too, in our view, is Kevin Spacey.

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  11. Dear Jane & Lance,

    Such an original name for a film club! It put a smile on my face. I already saw some of the photo's of the jazz club on your friends blog. It looks like a place with lots of atmosphere. What a delight to get invited to such a special evening.

    It's been quite some time since I saw American beauty, but I can assure you not all teenagers are terrifying. When not having one of their mood swings, we have some very sweet ladies around the house :-)!

    Have a lovely Wednesday!

    Madelief

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    1. Well, it was with a great spirit of adventure that we all went to the film evening as we had not attended any of the previous sessions. However, we were rewarded with such a fun event and we are very much looking forward to next month's offering.

      We are so pleased to be reassured about teenagers!!!! Having spent many years teaching in secondary schools we found that young people never ceased to amaze.....

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  12. I love the idea of former industrial buildings changed into living breathing homes or offices again. Of course we have a plethora of those in the North.

    The Jazz club looks wonderful, so very atmospheric. As for the terrifying teenagers, worry not, my own children and all of their very varied group of friends are a constant source of fun, so different than my generation in lots of ways but full of inspiration none the less.

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    1. There are, as you may imagine, so many redundant industrial buildings in and around Budapest, remnants from Communist times and not fit for modern purposes. It is, therefore, very pleasing to see them put to alternative uses, especially when the renovation is done sympathetically.

      Having worked with secondary age children for many years in our teaching days, we agree totally about the resourcefulness, creativity and spirit of young people. They are our future.

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  13. Grant is obviously a very talented developer, I guess I hadn't realized the scope of his achievements until now, and what an eloquent and entertaining description of a most amusing evening, unexpectedly one of the highlights of our visit with you. A presto!

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    1. Grant is certainly a 'wheeler-dealer' and his projects grow ever more ambitious. From thread factory to Croatian village, there seems to be no stopping him.....and running a film club in his spare time!!!!!

      Fortunately, the evening turned out well after all our initial worries. But, we wonder, can we remember the name of the fast talking Canadian blonde for the next time.....!!!!

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    2. Now, Paul, do not pretend that you do not remember. She was the one who, in spite of having five boyfriends wanted to go 'clubbing' with you!!!

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  14. Goodness me, what an excitingly looking design, I'm sure it has its place, it looks good, but somehow I'm more in love with the old. The jazz club looks absolutly amazing, one can only wonder at all the joyous events it has played host to over the years.

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    1. Like you, Jason, wrecks of buildings, ghosts of their former selves, rather appeal to us too. That said the conversion to offices is rather splendid.

      The Jazz Club is, as you say, amazing and it was quite fun to hear strains of jazz from distant rooms as the evening progressed.

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  15. Dear Jane and Lance

    This is exactly the type of evening I would expect Mad Boy to arrange. The building, dinner and eccentric characters all make for an absolutely wonderful evening. I am unfamiliar with the film, American Beauty and shall add it to my list.
    I always feel like I am along with you on such outings, you describe it so perfectly.

    To a great week

    Helen xx

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    1. But, dear Helen, where is the 'Mad Boy'?? Out there somewhere neglecting his duties, we suspect!

      The evening, as you may imagine, did have some very odd moments, mostly centred around our fellow guests who were most certainly not only eclectic but also, in some instances, very strange indeed.

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  16. One of my favourite films, the music soundtrack by Thomas Newman is excellent as well. In fact, inspired by the post, I am now listening to the CD. Marvellous, thank you for that.

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    1. How splendid, Andy, that you should feel inspired in this way to listen again to the soundtrack. We had seen the film on a previous occasion but enjoyed it just as much on a second showing.

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  17. What an amazing building!

    Oh and it was the Colonel, in the kitchen, with the revolver ;D

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    1. Oh, Annie, really? We rather favoured Miss Scarlet in the Billiard Room with the lead piping!!!!

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  18. Already I love Grant Boyd-Gibbons. Not just for his double-barrelled surname (I would like to think of yourselves as Jane and Lance Hattatt-Hattatt, if you don't mind?) but for the wonderfully named club and his advocacy of Art Cinema. An all-round good guy, as are all of your acquaintanceship introduced to us here. What colour you bring to our worlds!

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    1. Ooooooh yes, the Hattatt-Hattatts !!! We love it!!!!

      We have visited the Croatian village where Grant is now proposing his next project. It has taken some eight years in the planning and is in an area of outstanding beauty but grinding poverty. If anyone can breathe life into it, then Grant will most certainly be the man to do it.

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  19. It's wonderful, Jane and Lance, to see European cities revive, when it could have been that they'd wilt. I cannot believe how handsome your jazz club is. There's something about jazz, especially when it's given the chance to sparkle, that lifts all of our human spirits.

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    1. You are absolutely right, Faisal, that so much of the 'Belle Époque' could have been lost without trace but, instead, with the unflinching determination of certain individuals, its spirit lives on.

      We must admit that our night at the Budapest Jazz Club has certainly piqued our interest in Jazz and we may return one day for the music alone.

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  20. I've not yet learned to love jazz, though given the beauty of that building I just know it would come to me! I do love films, though. I'm just back from six weeks in Australia and still catching up with my blog reading (and getting the old body clock turned around). We're just going to have to put Budapest higher on our travel list (it sort of slipped when EasyJet stopped flying direct from Newcastle, which is a shame.)

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    1. Since the demise of Malev, the Hungarian airline, a number of budget airlines have taken up flying to Budapest. Both Ryanair and Wizz Air have increased their routes to the capital, so we do hope that you will investigate these options for the future.

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  21. The Jazz Club looks breathtaking. The company stimulating. The movie - I didn't get it. My hubby loves it though... should that worry me? No matter, here's to new adventures in historic places.

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    1. Every day in Budapest seems like a strange adventure in a foreign land to us, perhaps that is why we love it so.

      'American Beauty' was definitely improved by a second viewing in our opinion, so perhaps you might give it another try?

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  22. The Jazz Club looks and sounds fantastic.

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    1. It is very much a hidden attraction of Budapest, away from the usual tourist trails.

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  23. Thank you for this glimpse into the entrepreneur's mind and projects. The jazz club is stunning--and a fine setting for a cultural gathering. An arts group in the Catskills had a winter-long series of films about food, which was well-attended.

    I thoroughly enjoy these glimpses into your adventures!

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    1. The Catskills winter series of films sounds most enterprising and, how rewarding that it was so well attended. When we lived in rural Herefordshire a travelling film club which set up screens in village halls across the county ensured that even the remotest village had no shortage of art cinema. This is all very important for people with little or no access to larger cities and towns.

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  24. I especially like when old buildings are re-purposed. The details are so much more interesting.

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    1. It is important, we feel, that where redundant buildings are of architectural worth and interest, then ideally new uses should be found for them as opposed to the easy option of demolition.

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  25. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I love everything about this post. Jazz Club you went to has such fantastic history and the way you described it is just wonderful. The interior of the building is beautiful and it very much appeals to my sense of style.
    As for American Beauty - I've seen it years ago when it first came out. I liked it very much and in particular Annette Benning and the music. And of course, it was filmed beautifully too.
    I now would like to see it again.

    Have a happy rest of the week.

    Red

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    1. We are so delighted that you have enjoyed the post, Red, and thank you for saying so. So many of the old buildings in Budapest have an equally interesting history relating to their original use, but much was destroyed during the previous regime.

      'American Beauty' we felt to be well worth seeing for a second time. A happy week to you too!

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  26. RE: American Beauty, I loved it and hated it and I don't remember who killed Lester. :)

    I am happy to say that the building I live in, was originally a private home , 100 years ago, that members of the original family are my neighbors and that it is protected by all sorts of laws against messing about with the architecture etc.
    Even the trees.

    We restored our apt from the modern black and white unimaginative decor the last owner gave it, back to the warm, elegant and very French style it had at the beginning.
    And now we will leave it to someone who appreciates it for what it is and what we did.

    besos, C

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    1. We think that the ending is left deliberately ambiguous, Candice, allowing for all manner of speculation.

      Your apartment, fully restored by you, sounds to be an absolute delight and we are sure that, when the time comes, you will be very sad to leave. But New York and the countryside beckon and so we do hope that you will be able to sell relatively quickly.

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  27. Not being a jazz fan I was reassured to hear hat it all worked out as a lovely evening.
    All in favour of finding new uses for old buildings - and wishing we had access to EU funds to bring some of the lovely buildings of San Jose back to life....

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    1. Like you, we have no particular interest in jazz and had it not been for Grant and the film club it is unlikely that we should have ever gone inside.

      Hungary has, in general, benefited greatly from European Union funding although we imagine in these difficult times that that source is becoming increasingly scarce.

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  28. Indeed it sounds as if a great time was had by all, and I wouldn't mind attending such a delightfull evening myself, were I not so far away.

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    1. We do think, Meike, that you too would have enjoyed the evening. It was certainly very different and none of us was quite sure what to expect beforehand.

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  29. What a great evening! American Beauty is such a modern film...full of angst and emotion. Perfect for a night out in a historic, Budapest jazz club! Such a contrast in culture,.... yet an everyman story that we all can relate to. I'm glad there was a fast talking Canadian there.....Our take on the English language can really be a contrast to the more moderate, Queen's English. It certainly was an evening of contrasts!

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    1. You are right, Susan. An evening of contrasts sums it up perfectly. The fast talking Canadian was, indeed, great fun but at times difficult to keep up with as she was far ranging in her choice of topics, some of which were not only 'fast' but also slightly risqué. She did, however, greatly add to the fun.

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  30. I have spent this last week in a mountain resort, going on brisk walks and eating brisk vegetarian food. But the reason I am mentioning it is because of the 150 people here, about a quarter are Hungarian speakers!

    The Budapest Jazz Club has maximised the home it settled into, with great stairs, sculpture, furniture and murals. I hope the jazz and other entertainments are also excellent.

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    1. But what great fun, Hels, and how extraordinary that there should have been so many Hungarian speakers with you.

      The house, in which the Jazz Club is situated, would, we believe, have fascinated you and it really is something of a gem of late C19 architecture. Sadly, though, like so much else in Budapest it is crying out for money for proper and appropriate restoration.

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  31. It sounds like an enchanting evening and I really wish I was there to tag along.

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    1. We are certain, Andrew, that your presence would have served to make the evening even more enjoyable. We should have loved to have had you and R tagging along!

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  32. love, love american beauty. it was the next door neighbor who killed lester.

    i just finished reading the great gatsby for the billionth time and i love everything about that era.

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    1. Janet, it is wonderful that you too love 'American Beauty'. It really is a film with much to say and open, as all good films possibly should be, to different interpretations.

      Now, 'The Great Gatsby' is a very special novel which certainly repays rereading.

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  33. Your precise and spot-on descriptions of the accents flowing around that room are absolutely amazing---I've heard all those, I believe---though not in one evening nor in such an august assemblage. Your words never fail to delight.

    I could'a skipped the movie and just wandered around, looking my eyes full. And if The Killah had attended, I don't know if he can sit still that long.

    I see that he's appearing in Paris in June, then back to New York that weekend, and BACK to Monte Carlo the next week. Some of your fellow club members might just be trekking off to have a look. Wish I were---it's been years.

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    1. This is so very generous of you, Rachel. Much of the delight and fun of the evening was that so many different nationalities were represented. And before the actual showing of the film there was ample time to 'work' the room and meet up with so many fascinating people.

      You are so well informed and so much more than we are. And even now that we know it is unlikely that we shall make Paris in June, let alone New York. But some, as you say, might!

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  34. What an amazing building... filled with atmosphere and charm ~ perfect for cultural events. The chance to mingle with such a diverse group of people must have been fascinating.

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    1. We were totally unprepared for the wonderful atmosphere of the building itself. Yet another of the hidden surprises of Budapest and which one discovers almost by chance.

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  35. What interesting and varied lives you lead. Budapest certainly suits you. The club looks fantastic and it looks like you were well entertained.

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    1. We have, over the years, come to regard Budapest very much as home, Gaynor, and, possibly like you in France, enjoy the richness and diversity which another country and culture brings.

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  36. This sounds like such a lovely evening -- and such a rich store to mine for interesting characterizations for fiction. Sorry! Couldn't help but imagine the register of charming Dominique's voice or the particular pattern of the zany Brazilian's shirt. I imagine a guayabera with buttons in the shape of loros!

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    1. Suze, you would have LOVED it all, adding your own very special and wonderful individuality to the mix. And, as with Paul and Gil, what fun, and wickedness, we should have had with you talking through the evening afterwards. Indeed, looking back at the whole event we could well, for those few hours, have stepped into the world of fiction. Such material to tap!!

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    2. But as we always say, and believe, one day!!!

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  37. Our evening at the Jazz Club was indeed an unexpected highlight for us while seeing Budapest through your eyes, thank you for posting the event and the memory of it.

    Gil

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    1. But, Gil, it would never have been the same without you and Paul. Looking back, what were we letting you in for? But, as always, you both, as we say, arranged your faces and rose to the occasion thus making the entire experience one of enormous fun. Our thanks go to you!!

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  38. Wonderful post! I love all about it! From the great developments of Grant Boyd- Gibbons to 'Belle Epoche' beauty and the glamour of movies and Jazz, oh, I would not know any better entertainment but to have joined you there, to see the strange folks and the fab movie, which I absolutely love.... Teenagers.... oh well, I am partial to this subject, being exposed to the strange and beautiful sides of them right now at lightning speed!
    Just read in our local news, that The Sundance Filmfestival (Robert Redford) will open a Cinema right here nearby (5 min away from us) to show independent and art films.... opening in 2014!
    This is indeed great news!
    Enjoy all that, what the wonderful city of Budapest has to offer! Such a great place to be!

    xoxo
    Victoria

    PS: Just finished 'Her Fearful Symmetry' by Audrey Niffenegger. Do you know her? She also wrote 'The TimeTtraveller's Wife' Loved the books and the movie too! Just sayin'....
    : )

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    1. And how lovely it would have been for us had you been there, Victoria. It was an evening of such mixture, as you say here, covering so much in the space of a few hours. But we should not have missed it for anything.

      Teenagers! You summarise them so well with their chameleon characters but, like you, we should miss them sorely if they were not there but, unlike you, we have none of our own.

      Such splendid news about the opening of a cinema to show independent and art films near to you. We can imagine that you cannot wait.

      No, we do not know of Audrey Niffenegger but will most definitely look her out. We are always more than pleased to have book recommendations so thank you so much.

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  39. It is so heartening to know there are visionaries who can turn eyesores and derelicts into beautiful and useful spaces. Hats off to Mr. Boyd-Gibbons.

    The Jazz club sounds to be a very interesting place, I had no idea that my favorites Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald are so popular in that part of the world.

    As far as teenagers are concerned I find them very harmless creatures not at all terrifying :)

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    1. Grant, who we have known for over ten years now, is certainly one of those imaginative people, prepared at times to take risks, that this country so much needs. His transformation of the derelict textile factory really does have to be seen to be believed.

      The Jazz Club is a most interesting place and we too were somewhat surprised to see so many musicians having earned a place on the walls.

      In truth we regard teenagers as most often terrifyingly original and do see them, and admire them, as all of our futures.

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  40. Goodness, what a wonderful place.
    Straight out of the movies itself!
    I would have to choose very carefully what to wear. Feathers might be involved.

    And... if I remember correctly... the grumpy father next door killed Lester.

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    1. A strange place but, yes, Pamela, wonderful too. And we are certain that you would fit in beautifully and you could, of course, be accompanied by Edward for that extra helping of style. As for the feathers, don't stint!!

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  41. What a great evening! What's next?

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    1. As of now the answer has to be we do not know. The film is always a surprise but we shall go with high hopes!

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  42. I remember that movie well. Even though it won all the awards, I was not sure how I felt about it. I have known people who bared a resemblance to the character played by Kevin Spacey, and the self absorption and the total breakdown of the family left me feeling empty. It was interesting, but I would have rather watched a more uplifting movie.

    However, the venue in which you see a movie can make all the difference. Seeing a film in a beautiful restored building, having fine wine and being surrounded by interesting, eclectic folks sure beats viewing in in a sterile multi-plex while eating stale popcorn.

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    1. We thought that, taken as a whole, the film did an accurate portrayal of what increasingly we have come to see as the gradual, if not break down of society, then a shift away from previously held norms. Families, it seems to us, are becoming more and more dysfunctional but that is a generalisation based upon what we see in the United Kingdom and we certainly have no authority to make similar judgments about either America or other countries.

      All of that said, Arleen, the venue in all of its strangeness was rather wonderful and did add a great deal, as did the company, to the occasion.

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    2. All over the world you will find that most families are dysfunctional in some way or another. It is so the norm and works for many of us.

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    3. Perhaps it is the new norm and that it simply represents a new order. Whatever, we certainly believe in the individuality of the individual, and that goes for families too.

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  43. What a wonderful evening in a wonderful setting. The whole thing sounds like a treat for the senses! Oh, and by the way...all teenagers are terrifying ;)

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    1. It was certainly an unusual evening, Elizabeth, and one which we feel would have provided you with much in the way of 'character' material to capture in a sketch.

      And how reassuring you are about teenagers!!!

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  44. how absolutely fabulous...I love going to the movies it is my place of refuge ...when I briefly lived in LA I went most days to escape....and this looks like a particularly brilliant event...excellent movie too....tonight am off to the comfy armchairs of the screen on the green to enjoy Sean Penn in This Must Be The Place...with a large glass of red...!!

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    1. We too love the cinema and one of the things which appeals to us so much about Budapest, in addition to the GGGBOFFC, is that there are so many small, art cinemas showing interesting films which are outside of the mainstream.

      Sean Penn is, of course, a must anywhere at any time. Enjoy!!

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  45. I must say that I dislike contemporary office buildings and am grateful this man has at least one activity that does not involve mind numbing architecture.

    My husband who is a lover of all things jazz would enjoy a club like that. My love of jazz is limited and Big Band is at the top with greats like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Harry James.

    I love the photograph of the staircase. A staircase like that is made to show off a lady of the house in her elegant evening ensemble, I hope there will be lovely vintage inspired parties hosted at this jazz club!

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    1. Perhaps it is not clear from the image, but Grant did in fact, in rescuing an almost derelict building, retain much of the integral character of the original textile factory. Without his intervention it would almost certainly have been demolished.

      We think that your husband would be most intrigued to see the building and the way in which the Jazz Club have adapted it for their own use. The staircase is, as you say, Joy, lovely - even better if the carpet and stair rods had been retained.

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    1. Much as we felt, Suz, about the whole evening.

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  47. What a good idea! And what a good spot in which to meet interesting people. The building, too, is beautiful - specially the staircase - and so the venue is obviously worth a visit in its own right. I have never been a great jazz fan but I don't think that would stop me attending if I lived in Budapest.

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    1. Yes, Jenny, we thought it to be a good idea too. The founder members of the GGGBOFFC take it in turns to 'host' the evening so the venues and the menus change with every viewing. In the summer, the films are seen outdoors and that is also a wonderful experience.

      We too are not great Jazz fans but we rather think that we shall try out the Jazz Club when students from the Music Academy are performing.

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  48. Dear Jane and Lance,
    What an outstanding representation of architectural history. One feels that David O. Selznick would have found production muse literally infused in every corner. My minds eye pictures our blog hosts ascending the voluptuously curved stairs wrapped in Channel and Armani, each with a Bellini in hand.
    To write a society column for a Budapest newspaper and to have had the fortune to cover the evenings festivities for I am sure my column would have read something like: The Hattatt’s were seen… the Hattatt’s were heard to say … the Hattatt’s wore … the Hattatt’s instilled rage and envy in the stellar assemblage. What truly a grand time it must have been.
    And I have it on good authority that Lester Burnham was killed by, oh wait, spoilers, never mind. – gary

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    1. Dearest Gary, you are always so tremendously kind and amusing. Yes, it was all rather like being in a film but then we often feel like this in Budapest. This is a beguiling city with a surprise around every corner.

      And oh, what fun it would be to write a society column and to instil 'rage and envy in the stellar assemblage'. Sadly, our Hungarian is just not up to the task at present.....perhaps after the next ten years....!!!!!

      You spoilsport, Gary for not revealing the killer. Whatever, we cannot go with the man next door idea!!!!

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  49. Dearests,
    The venue sounds and looks 1930sesque amazing. Your company, Paul and Gil, having tuned into Paul's blog, wonderful. As for American Beauty, I could not engage with for some reason. The only thing I remember is the marvellous dancing bag scene! It sounds like a wonderful evening though.
    Di
    X

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    1. Oh Dianne, we are thrilled that you have discovered Paul's delightful blog and, as you may well imagine, they are the most charming of house guests.

      We are sorry that 'American Beauty' did not appeal to you. Sometimes it depends upon the mood, the time or the place to make a viewing special. The night at the Budapest Jazz Club was certainly one of those occasions.

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  50. Dear Jane and Lance,
    what an exciting invitation! And such a beautiful surrounding - and the promise of a film-surprise (this one I don't know) and interesting people. English people - I almost wonder whether dear Edith Hope was among them - a terrific garden blogger (so sorry she stopped writing), who divided her life between Great Britain and Budapest.
    I am so happy to read your enthralling blog!

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    1. It was such an entertaining evening in so many different ways, Britta, and we are sure that you would have enjoyed it as, indeed, we think that you would be intrigued by the film 'American Beauty'.

      Edith Hope is, of course, known to us - rather a long story which we must share at some point. In the meantime, we are so pleased that you are enjoying the blog.

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  51. Dear Jane and Lance,

    or should I say Nick and Nora...what a charmed and delightful life you lead...and I’d be jealous as hell if I didn’t like you so much. Cynthia xx

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    1. This is so kind of you, Cynthia. But isn't the Blogosphere itself charmed for it brings so many very different people together in such a joyous way. And through it we know you.

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  52. I love the fact that that factory structure will be saved. The GGGBOFFC sounds like brilliant fun and that building is unbelievable!

    I loved "American Beauty," but haven't seen it since it was released all those years ago. I didn't remember the shooting being open for interpretation. I thought the next door neighbor had done it. Was that not as clear as I remember it?

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    1. The GGGBOFFC is, as you say, great fun and the Budapest Jazz Club is, as it happens, a most suitable, if slightly quirky, venue for it.

      We felt that there was a certain ambiguity about the ending of 'American Beauty' which, for us, added to the intrigue and interest of the film seen as a whole.

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  53. What a delightful evening - something for everyone. Stimulation for all the senses and plenty to talk about. I'd be green with envy, but you write with such sensitivity and great appreciation for the opportunities you have. Here's to many more evenings courtesy of the GGGBOFFC!

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    1. Yes, Lucy, we think that possibly we may well become 'hooked' as members of the GGGBOFFC as it was, in so very many different ways, so thoroughly entertaining. But then we were most fortunate to be able to share it with friends, Paul and Gil, who also appreciated its quirkiness.

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  54. Thank you for the wonderful tour on this cold rainy Texas afternoon...perfect..and thank you always for your dear comments. :-)

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    1. We are so pleased that you have enjoyed the post and, as for the comments, you are most welcome for we have much pleasure in reading what you write.

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  55. This is just so utterly cool - though cool is from the wrong era. This place seems to defy time and I think it is wonderful! Let's say, it's the bees knees; it's just so hip it's unreal...love it!!
    Axxx

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    1. 'Bees knees', and even more so 'hip', really do seem the right words to apply to the whole evening and are very much in keeping with the time, place and, of course, the film.

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  56. I find that the GGGBOFFC is a great initiative for all the foreigners living in Budapest. Enjoy it!

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    1. Yes, Dona, perhaps membership of the GGGBOFFC should be a requirement of all foreigners wishing to live in Budapest. It is certainly an experience.

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  57. Dear Jane and Lance,
    What a fabulous place for a jazz club and all things arty !
    My dear old Dad would have loved to have gone there. He played the saxophone and clarinet and would often frequent the '100 Club' and other similar venues in London, to play and sometimes to listen to whoever was playing.
    .....and, a great venue to watch 'American Beauty. I've seen it a few times....so many complex and emotional issues going on there to say the least !! XXXX

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    1. Your father, Jackie, sounds to have been a most interesting person and very musical too. To have played at the '100 Club' is quite something - good memories for you to have of him.

      We do so agree with what you say here about 'American Beauty' - so much going on leaving one with so much to think about. But that is the strength of the film.

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  58. Wow, that sounds like such a fun evening, and what a great location! The conversation that night must have been very interesting. It reminds me of my university days. There was a film society that held a movie screening once a month in one of the lecture halls. It was much anticipated by the students (it only cost $1 to attend) and we always had so much fun.

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    1. Actually, Louise, you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak. The whole evening could so well have been taking place in some university or other and we were all, in a sense, transported back to our student days. It was certainly the kind of atmosphere which you recall.

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  59. Dear Jane and Lance, What a fun place to enjoy with your friends. I love the ambience . . . terrific details. Now do tell . . . who among you ordered 'a pig foot and a bottle of beer?' American Beauty is a favorite of mine as are Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. Beautifully presented post. Are the trees in bloom there? Carol

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    1. Now, on this particular occasion, Carol, we passed on the 'pig foot' and 'bottle of beer' but neither would have seemed amiss and there is, of course, always another occasion!!

      Yes, the trees are just coming into blossom and we thought, possibly next week, we might do a post of our Easter Monday spent in the countryside.

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  60. Lovely space! Thanks for sharing the photos!

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    1. We are so glad that you enjoyed the post. A most interesting, and unusual, evening!!

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  61. Sounds like a stupendous time indeed! :) I see you guys are just all over the place! :) Jazz and a good movie = a evening well spent! :)

    Hugs,

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    1. We did enjoy ourselves hugely, all the more for having gone with such good friends. The building itself, as you may imagine, was totally fascinating, as was the film!

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  62. Budapest sounds like a very civilized place indeed!

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    1. It is indeed. And we greatly enjoy living here, much preferring it to the United Kingdom!

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  63. This sounds like a wonderful event. That staircase is truely breath taking what a beautiful buiding. I don't watch much tv and hardly watch films except at Christmas so i wouldn't really have a clue who was who ;-) Have a lovely week, dee x

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    1. We really do think, Dee, that you would have enjoyed the evening hugely and we can well imagine your descending the staircase dressed in one of your wonderful vintage outfits. Like you, we hardly ever watch television, having got rid of it thirty years ago!!

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  64. One of my all time favourites.... Whenever I see a plastic bag in the wind I smile a wider smile...

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    1. And we shall now be doing the same!! Yes, we agree, it really is an excellent film leaving one with so much to think and talk about.

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  65. Dear Jane and Lance,

    Mr. Boyd-Gibbons is doing such a wonderful service with the renovations, hopefully bringing waning pockets of Europe back to life.
    And what a fun place, this jazz club! Beautiful architecturally...looks like a place where I would love to "hang out". :)
    So glad you had a great night, sounds very exciting. Perhaps new friendships will come out of these lovely evenings.
    I have only seen the film once, when it was first in theaters. It has stayed with me all of these years...
    powerful cinema.

    And thank you, dear friends, for your visit this morning!
    Etsy is truly a revolution for artists and artisans...I am so inspired just browsing the site, a virtual art fair at our fingertips!
    Sending love and wishes for a splendid weekend,
    - Irina

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    1. We very much agree with you about the importance of bringing 'waning pockets' [wonderful description] of previously neglected and run down places back to life and to give them new purpose and direction. The restoration of the old textile factory in Budapest is very much to Grant's credit.

      You are right, 'American Beauty' is a tour de force of cinema and certainly, as we found, repays a second viewing.

      We so much enjoyed your post of today, Irina, with so many links to such interesting and creative sites.

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  66. Hello Jane and Lance,
    Thanks for your comment today. I'll see what I can muster up on my blog. No promises though - I don't feel very writey lately!
    A splendid choice of film by Grant. Will others be given the opportunity to choose in future? If so, what would your choice be?
    Ben.

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    1. It is so good to hear from you, Ben, as we have rather missed Decade 4 but do quite understand as the blog should never become a chore.

      Yes, we too thought 'American Beauty' a very good choice with much about the film to consider afterwards. As we understand it, members do take turns to choose. Given the choice we should, in all probability opt for 'Very Annie Mary' or, as second choice, The Station Agent directed by Thomas McCarthy.

      Delete
    2. We now have remembered that the link does not work on a reply!! We shall give it to you on your site.

      Delete
  67. It's great to see what Grant Boyd-Gibbons is doing with old factories. I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the steel industry was dying there, and in lieu of new building, it spurred the renovation of many old building that might have otherwise been demolished. The city went through a great renaissance that was lemonade from lemons, and today it's a big technology center.

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    1. He did, in fact, make a superb job of the old textile factory, turning what was a wreck into a landmark building.

      It is so encouraging to hear of the renaissance of such places as Pittsburgh, particularly for those who live and work in cities that have, for whatever reason, lost their original industries.

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  68. What a wonderful evening's entertainment, Jane and Lance. A great idea in a lovely building and I think the cotton factory conversion is marvellous.

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    1. Yes, it was a wonderful evening and it was so good to see the building come alive at night with all the musicians arriving. The factory conversion is a triumph, we think, as undoubtedly it would just be a large pile of rubble by now if it were not for Grant's entrepreneurial spirit.

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  69. Wow, really beautiful! My best friend is Croatian, so I'll have to ask him if he's heard about this:)

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    1. We cannot remember the name of the Croatian village, but how amazing it would be if your friend has heard of this!!!

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  70. What a beautiful venue in which to watch a film, or just hang out. Grant did a wonderful job on the old textile factory.

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    1. Yes, Mary, we too feel that the conversion of the factory was sympathetically done. So much better than simply rotting away.

      And yes, the Jazz Club is a hidden gem...one of many such treasures in Budapest!

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  71. Jane and Lance, pleaseee spread away the mystery and delight us with a visual of yourselves. I am so curious, I have no idea how to imagine you, I don't know how to think of you, aside from incredibly fascinating :). I need a visual :).

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    1. We simply hate having our pictures taken!!! We are delighted that you find us fascinating and are sure that mystery is the best policy!!!!Perhaps a brief glimpse, one day....

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    2. I love you as mysterious as you are and I bet I would adore the glimpse of you :)

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    3. That is most kind of you. All in good time...!!

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  72. What a wonderful evening....you write so beautifully that I can imagine the lovely time you had. Isn't it great when a room of people all doing different things, get together and enjoy each other's company? The staircase is amazing and I loved your description of the 'plush sage velvet armchairs, somewhat sagging at the seams'...my favourite type of comfortable chair!

    We first saw American Beauty whilst living in South Carolina and I would have to say, it wasn't a popular film there! I had never been a fan of Annette Bening but thought she was fabulous in this role. Great film and it must have been fun watching it in such beautiful surroundings with interesting people. Sounds like a perfect evening. Thanks for sharing. Annie x.

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    1. It was, as you rightly point out, Annie, something of a very special, and at times most unusual, evening with an interesting mixture in the way of company.

      Like you, we thought that Annette Bening gave a wonderful performance which we found totally convincing and full of great subtleties.

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  73. Oh I too long for a brief glimpse, but I do understand the 'mystery can be the best policy. :)

    Looks like Budapest is turning into a 'happening' kind of town, Jane and Lance.

    Well, I should know that wherever Jane and Lance Hattat are, that is 'happening' enough. :)

    The Jazz Club sounds like a wonderful place for friends and associates with like-minded interests to gather. Movies and jazz, what could be better? Not much.

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    1. We really do promise a glimpse one day - perhaps when one of our friends who is able to take a good picture is with us!!

      Budapest really does have so much to offer in the way of cultural activities which is one of the principal reasons we enjoy being here. And for anyone who is interested in music, of whatever kind, then this is most certainly the place to be.

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  74. Goodness, Gracious, Great balls of fire! Ya'll need to have someone from the American South in that group. How about me?

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    1. And how splendid it would be if that person could, indeed, be you, Kay. In fact, as far as we are can tell, America is somewhat under represented. Get on a plane!!

      Delete
  75. That was a tremendously good movie--must get it out again sometime (although, at the end, wasn't there this odd thing about raining frogs? one misstep, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. BEYOND that, though, what a marvelous outing in such a marvelous place. I am now quadruply determined to get to Budapest next spring. The piggy bank is out, and I am filling it as fast as I can!

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    1. Certainly a great deal of heavy rain towards the end of the film, Susan, but we are not so sure about the frogs!

      We do think that you would so much enjoy Budapest, not least for the music to be found all across the City although, as we know to our cost, often appallingly advertised.

      Yes, start filling up that piggy bank!

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  76. I am so surprised to find so much American culture in another country...really! It sounds like a super-special evening and I know you had fun! I did go to your friend Gervais's blog and had a look around. Those hotels he toured...amazing!!

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    1. American culture certainly has, most likely since the war, made an enormous impact on Europe [and probably other parts of the world too], not least in the area of film.

      Yes, Phyllis, the hotels which Paul shows on his blog are wonderful, and we can vouch for the food as we enjoyed delicious lunches in them.

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  77. What a fun evening, I love places like that and coming across fascinating characters. (I love people watching too and guessing what one's story might be). The movie looks quite interesting too.

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    1. It was indeed great fun. People watching is, as you say, always enormously fascinating and making up stories about them adds to the intrigue!

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  78. Hello my dear friends! Oh my, as I am on the road I hope that you will forgive me for being late to your jazz party--it sounds like you had such a wonderful time. And that movie has long been a favorite too. What more could one ask for in a night out? Really?
    Bisous to you both!!

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    1. Dearest Heather, what a time you are having travelling the length and breadth of France!! The Jazz Club was such fun, we are certain that you would have loved it all too. Such an eclectic mix of guests and yes, a favourite film for us too.

      Safe travels and kellemes hétvégét!!

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  79. I watched a re-run of American Beauty on television recently and I must say your soiree and surrounds at the jazz club sound much more appealing than just me and the dog on the couch. (No offence Portia, I do love you!)

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    1. It could just be that Portia did not immediately identify with 'American Beauty' - but then that is somewhat understandable! It was certainly interesting at the Jazz Club.

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  80. What a rich social life you have, Jane and Lance! And, what a wonderful evening! Bringing myself to that fascinating architecture of Jazz Club is just wonderful to me, still more mingling wih those interesting people. I’d like to eavesdrop the people’s conversation, if I had better English listening comprehension. I like the staircase which must be made of marble.

    I saw American Beauty. Though my memory is fading, I remember there were many ugly things ironically in spite of the word “beauty”. There are things we recognize problems but don’t know why they exist or how to solve them. A sort of depressing.

    How’s your piano practice going? Keep practicing, keep smiling.

    Yoko

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    1. It is always great fun, and interesting too, Yoko, to find oneself in a new situation as, indeed, the Budapest Jazz Club and the GGGBOFFC were for us.

      Yes, the staircase is of marble and must have been very splendid when the house was, as when built, in private hands.

      Indeed, 'American Beauty' is filled with ironies, some of which are very depressing.

      Oh dear, Yoko, our practising is getting nowhere at present. But we love 'Alexander'!!

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  81. Beautiful balustrade, did the ceiling have fan vaults? I'm not a great lover of jazz. However, in the early 2000's a jazz loving friend of mine persuaded me to go with him to The Stable Theatre to see Cleo Laine perform scat on stage. Trying not to wince during her performance proved to be quite a challenge.

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    1. Actually, we are not terrific jazz fans either but the Music Academy does have students practising there and so we might be tempted to give it a go at some point. Decorated ceilings but not vaulted!

      The evening with Cleo Laine sounds excruciating. Rather as ours was, all those years ago, with Marlene Dietrich. But she did, in her day, have style!!

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  82. I really thought I had commented on this post but cannot see it, not the first such incident this evening either. Oh well it was interesting to read about this place.

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    1. Oh, this is so frustrating and so annoying. We are so sorry - something which happens to us too all too often.

      Whatever, thank you for coming back and we are so pleased that you found the post of interest.

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  83. Oh Jane and Lance, the Jazz Club sounds wonderful, would love to visit one day. Dave and I were headed to Croatia just before he got sick; it's still on my to-do list, one day, I'm sure.

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    1. You must, of course, still see Croatia, as you both would have done, and there will come a moment when you think that the time is right. And Budapest, with possibly a trip to the Jazz Club, will make for a very good starting point.

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  84. What a wonderful idea Jane and Lance and a great way to meet people from all walks of life! I love that movie and you are so right, good cinema always stands the test of time.

    I am off to see "To Kill A Mockingbird" as part of the Dendy Cinemas Autumn Film Festival here in Sydney. One of my all time favourites and I am so looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. My dad though is quite befuddled as to why I wouldn't rather just borrow his DVD - sigh!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Stephie x

    PS YES teenagers are very scary beings!

    PPS Did the Easter Bunny deliver?!

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    1. There is, we agree, something rather special about seeing a film on a big screen and, when in the company of like-minded individuals then it is even better still.

      Your Autumn Film Festival sounds a great idea and should definitely be something which we should enjoy. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a wonderful novel which we remember fondly from our teaching days.

      P.S. Thank you for the confirmation!

      P.P.S Definitely. We had a wonderful time.

      Happy weekend!!

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  85. An evening of art films inside this old Jazz club sounds like a perfect night! I don't know much about Jazz but know how much it inspired great artists and writers and classical musicians.

    www.thefoolishaesthete.blogspot.com

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    1. Jazz has never held great appeal for us but you are absolutely right about its capacity to energise and inspire the creative spirit.

      Thank you for your comment. We hope that we shall welcome you here again.

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  86. Out of that whole post, interesting as it is, your almost-final question is the one that sticks.

    I think that teenagers are beyond terrifying. Unfathomable and alien. They transmogrify back into something resembling a human being as they approach 20, I've been told. But that handful of adolescent years is frightening.

    And I liked American Beauty very much - it's a memorable film.

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    1. It is extraordinary that teenage behaviour, and one must beware of generalisations, is largely so unaccountable and, as you say here, verging at times on the alien. When we were growing up, long before your time, Wendz, 'the teenager' as such, had yet to be invented - they were simply young people who, more or less, conformed to the norms of their day. We do remember the 'Teddy Boys', and they were somewhat frightening, as we believed them to carry flick knives. Whatever, they were a minority.

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  87. I haven't seen the film, which leaves me without an answer to our final questions.

    But, and here I must be wholeheartedly honest, I do love the idea of your somewhat decadent lifestyle, at least that is how it appears to me. Old Europe still has pockets of old-style, genuine, unashamed self-indulgence, which are unavailable in the more austere and puritan attitudes promoted in the UK. Plush seats, intimate little theatres, jazz clubs, film clubs? I wish!

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    1. We do, without any wish to boast, but in an attempt to be equally as honest, believe that we lead charmed lives and are so fortunate to be able to spend our days as we wish, within reason, and to have so very many interesting friends who also share a love of this lifestyle which is, as you say, very much redolent of Old Europe and so very different from the UK. But you too have your lovely house and garden which is in one of the loveliest parts of the country.

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  88. Greetings Jane and Lance,
    Once again, you have delighted and entertained my humble self and judging by the numerous comments above mine, all the rest of your adoring fans.
    A captivating article and to set the record straight, I wasn't the fast talking blonde Canadian. My hair isn't blonde. And speaking of Canadian, I would ask you to keep this a secret. I have been asked to star in the upcoming film, 'Canadian Beauty'.....
    Once again, I'm loving the way you highlight your eagerly anticipated replies in a rather fetching pink colour.
    With respect and all that jazz, your way, Gary

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    1. Oh how perfect the evening would have been if you had been the fast talking Canadian, Gary. We should have so enjoyed your being there and we are not in the least bit surprised that you will be starring in 'Canadian Beauty', we are only left wondering why it has taken so long for you to have been 'discovered'!!!!

      We like the fuchsia pink too...no idea how it got there but we hope that it will stay!!

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  89. Oh gosh, if only there were a Budapest Jazz Club over here. What fun! I love the staircase and the art work, but American Beauty somehow lost me. I think I am one of the very few who did not care much for this film. I just didn't "get" what was so special about it to deserve all the raves it received.
    But the idea of getting together to watch great films--nothing better.

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    1. In talking over the film with others we have, in fact, Rubye, come cross many who feel about it much in the same way as you. It seems to be one of those films which divides opinion.

      That said, we are certain too that you would enjoy the Budapest Jazz Club as it is a wonderful building and next month's film, never announced in advance, is bound to be something entirely different

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  90. Dear Jane and Lance, you are such socialites...I cannot keep up with your engagements. I think it must be fun to be living in a foreign land, it kind of forces you to either completely retreat or just jump in there with both feet and make the most of it. I am so glad you belong to the latter camp! You have such a zest for life, it is totally enthralling. I just love you to bits! (I haven't been on the wine, honestly).Keep up the good work, love Linda xx

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    1. Dear Linda, we are totally overcome by the kindness of your comment here which is so thoughtful, and not a little bit untrue!!

      Certainly we much enjoy our lives in a 'foreign land' and feel ourselves so very privileged to be able to have all of the many experiences which, living here, allows us to have. But it is the friendship of those, like yourself, Linda, who even though we have never met, which matter so much in life and which contribute, more than is possible to say, to enrich our lives. And for this we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

      Delete
  91. Dear Jane and Lance,

    you are two very special people, and if we should never meet in person I still am better off from having known you, (albeit virtually).Love Linda xx

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    1. Dearest Linda, we absolutely feel that we shall meet one day, the day,perhaps, when we fulfil our long held intention to visit Ireland. And, when that day comes, there will be a party like no other!!!!

      Until that time, we hold you close in our hearts!!

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  92. As regards to the above reply to Linda, and promised party...please count me in my dearest Hattatts :)

    You are welcome to my humble garret when you eventually make your visit to the Emerald Isle, if I am here that is and not jaunting off somewhere myself.

    I am thinking of putting a Situation Wanted advert in The Lady for the post of a Mad Girl. My recent visit to Belgravia last week did not amount to the longed-for employment sadly.

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    1. Oh Dolly, we should certainly wish to look you up if we ever manage to get to the Emerald Isle. But, it always seems to us that you are for ever gallivanting all over the place so it would possibly be a miracle for us all to be in the same place at the same time!!

      However, should that day dawn......we should need another word to describe our meeting as'party' would not even come close!!!

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  93. On a different note, I loved this post as I do all your informative Hungarian posts and have added Hasenfeld House to my list of places to search out on my next visit to Budapest. It looks fabulous and just my glass of pink gin :)

    I have mentioned to you before my search for relatives in Hungary/Romania and I'm pleased to say that I have now tracked down relatives in Debrecen! I think a visit to Hungary, and western Romania is imminent!

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    1. How exciting to have tracked down your relatives and surely that does call for a visit to this corner of the world. Whatever, should you pass this way, we shall not forgive you if you do not get in touch and arrange a meeting!!

      Yes, pink gins all round at the Budapest Jazz Club. It is the perfect place to party the night away!!

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  94. I love your generosity in sharing your lives and homes with us. Every post I read enriches my life. Thank you.

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    1. That is such a lovely thing to write, Kim! Thank you for this most kind and generous comment.

      Delete

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