Le Grand Guide de Budapest

A house in Budapest. One week away to teach, think, write, wander around holding hands in the cold. Sip coffee and drink wine, as usual, almost always, almost anywhere. I’ve been told that spending lots of time in coffee shops remains one the best ways to get somewhere close to knowing a city, so I plan on doing that. But what if a part of you secretly doesn’t feel like getting to know the city? What if the exacerbated self-consciousness of being part of the ever-growing globalized movement of people gets in the way of your desire to explore? Or what if you have a lot on your mind, a book to finish, doubts about what you are going to say in the classroom tomorrow, what if this is about you? (A trip is always about yourself, in the end, isn’t it?)[1]

I have been sitting here in the living room all afternoon[2]. I’m going through the papers for tomorrow. I’ll speak to artists in the morning, cultural managers in the afternoon, I’ve been told by the promoters. (Intriguing setup.) Once again, arts management and cultural policy it is. My angle: “Swimming in the sea of contradiction: innovative yet conservative?”

PS: No surprise, it is getting more and more difficult to stay afloat through social media’s misdemeanours and dictatorial algorithms. So if for some strange reason you fancy reading this blog once in a while AND you’re not my mother, consider subscribing. Let’s do it the new-old-fashioned way.

[1] At least that’s what Michel Onfray argues in his “Theory of Travel”. (It is not a great book. It’s just ok.)

[2] “Civilization was built upon stopping. Speed is uncivilized and brutal, non-human. One can only build if one stops.” (my rough translation of a superlative writer, Gonçalo M. Tavares).


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