Kontroll alatt - Könnyűzene a szocializmusban
Individualists, Traditionalists, Revolutionaries or Opportunists? Political and Social Attitudes towards Jazz in the 1950s and 1960s
This essay focuses on jazz from the time it was banned by the cultural administration after 1948 to its integration from the 1960s and onwards. In the age of the Cold War, the ethos of freedom permeating jazz music was fuelled by the American political hegemony and consumerist mass culture on the one hand, and the America-phobia of the communist regime on the other. These factors shaped the often heroic image of the genre in many recollections. In the beginning of the 1960s, jazz gained a legitimate status as part of both new youth and cultural politics, and became partially institutionalised. However, due to the fact that music was monopolised by the organisations of classical music, which enjoyed the full support of the official cultural administration, jazz continued to be unrecognised as an autonomous art form. The legitimisation of jazz brought about the loss of its revolutionary myth. Controlled by the Communist Youth Organisation (KISZ), attempts were made to re-ideologise jazz and use it to counterbalance rock and roll and beat music among young people. However, modern jazz arriving in Hungary with a 15–20-year delay was unsuitable for this purpose. Moreover, by this time, young audiences had lost contact with the outdated forms of jazz. The revolutionary myth, thus, was transferred to beat and rock music. The irony in the post-1945 history of jazz is that the genre had lost its potential audience by the time it was tolerated by the regime.
The Reception of An Imaginary Report on an American Pop Festival at the Vígszínház in the Context of the Cultural Policy of the Kádár Administration
The study places the 1973 musical entitled An Imaginary Report on an American Pop Festival in the context of the contemporary dilemma of youth culture, through the interpretation of the thematics that became identifiable by the contextual analysis of the script. The aim of the work is to examine the broader cultural context that was significant in the staging of the show, as well as its typical questions such as the ideological education of the youth and the role of beat music and theatre in society. The author also addresses contemporary modes of theatre administration, youth policy and the youth theatre's concepts of aesthetics, as well as its bearing on the musical, generally considered as a progressive genre. Besides the exploration of the circumstances that surrounded the writing of Tibor Déry's novelette, which served as a basis for the script of the musical, the essay also examines Déry's intention and motivation as author, and the varied interpretation of the show in the press in Hungary and abroad. The research extends to archival sources relating to the staging of the musical at Vígszínház, the relations between youth culture and theatre, Déry correspondence (partially unpublished), as well as contemporary and present-day press. The broader aim of the study is to provide further insight into the sociohistorical aspects of theatre and the scholarship in the field of contemporary Hungarian youth policy.
Musicking in the Merry Ghetto. The Czech Underground, 1968–1989
This study presents an empirical case study of the Czech Underground community, focusing on actors' entrance into, and experience within, the Underground from the late 1960s to 1980s. The Underground can be conceived as a network of alternative dispositions toward social and cultural life in Czechoslovakia that emerged through non-official musicking practices. The author uses this case to focus on the non-official uses and reinventions of 'music-as-resource' in the Underground in a simultaneous, two-fold manner: 1) to understand music as a transformative aspect in the activities and processes of community-building and 2) to think more specifically about music's role in collective agency and how collective phenomena begin and grow. The article explores how 'music-asresource' takes shape in relation to what is described as 'creative constriction': the paradoxical situation whereby suppression generates new opportunities for creative action. The 'creative constriction' – censorship, banning, state-consolidation of the music industry, auditions/reviews – is situated in the production of music, subsequent consumption of these products, their embodied practices, and how actors articulate meaning to musical materials. Through non-official musicking in the Underground, the author illustrates how 'music-as-resource' aff orded new and socially important cultural practices that were informally learned in and through musical experience. These 'lessons' in turn provided a springboard for alternative, non-official, or 'underground' modes of being, permitting us to see the creation of an imaginative cultural space and how this collectively coalesces into a community.
The Museum of Hate. Spions, 1977–1978
This study aims at answering the questions of where and how the avantgarde scene of the 1970s, home of the art punk band Spions, was organised. Besides the semi-publicity created by extending the private sphere of personal residences, the second half of the decade found this scene returning to venues supported by the official cultural policy: the cultural centres. How was it possible for these supported venues to house forbidden shows? The answer lies in the transforming modes of social identification and recreation choices whose exhaustion was already visible, even for the sociology of the day. The avantgard scene, thus, did no more than repopulate these depleted cultural spaces. This transformation is significant, as the creation of the Spions would have been unimaginable without cultural centres. In their case, the Ganz-MÁVAG Cultural Centre, under the directorship of Tamás Papp, provided the environment where the band first started during a lecture series about utopias. This first Hungarian punk band, however, was far from ordinary; it was set up with the aim to develop poetics and create a musical idiom. The founders, Gergely Molnár, Péter Hegedűs (with György Kurtág, Jr) and Tibor Zátonyi, were originally involved, respectively, in neoavantgard art, contemporary classical music and photography. The band, arriving at popular culture from the exclusivity of avantgard aesthetics and contemporary classical music, was in many respects atypical and defied the logic of pop. Their communication was hierarchic, rather than emancipatory, and the thematics of escape, self-destruction and hate were characterised at the same time by the implicit criticism of state socialism and the New Left's denunciation of capitalism. The Spions, using pop as a mere medium, reduced the people's celebrated leaders to the same morphological level as the adored celebrities, fashion models and dandies.
Rock, Lies and Youth Park. The Interpretation and Reinterpretation of the Concept of Collaboration: The Case of Agent 'Dalos' and its Recollections
This study focuses on the responses to the 2004 exposure of 'Dalos', an agent of the secret police in the Hungarian pop scene, through his person, his reports and interviews with the subjects of his reports. The media has presented the person and his reports in various interpretive frameworks, with attitudes ranging from moral denunciations, objective explanations, and forgiving/accepting. The thematic interviews with the subject of 'Dalos's reports presents a diversified palette too: upon confronting these individuals with the reports on their person, some chose to understate the responsibility of the agent, some attempted to interpret his motivations and some condemned him on a normative basis. The accounts of contemporaneous events in 'Dalos's reports provide insight into the centralised popular music scene of the socialist state. They reveal the tactics and strategies employed by those active in the field of popular music, for example, to loosen censorship by being able to perform while expressing their opinions, even if it is through lyrics of a symbolic language.
Montpellier, Vendée, the Historian and the Narrative
If we juxtapose Robert Merle's historical novel, En nos vertes années, and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's book, The Beggar and the Professor, we are struck by the fact how many details in the novel are real – in the sense that they correspond to the sources, in this case Felix Platter's diary, as used by Le Roy Ladurie, too. Real and fictional elements mingle without difficulty in the text of the historical novel. In fact, one of the directions, in which postmodern modifies the practice of a few historians, is mixing real and fictional elements (for example: in Simon Schama's Dead Certainties). If we examine historical and literary narratives of the counter-revolutionary revolt in Vendée in 1793, we can state that historians use the same techniques as Victor Hugo or Honoré de Balzac to shape their texts, and through this they direct their readers' sympathies towards the party that they side with. While these conclusions suggest that history is closer to literature than it is usually claimed, on the example of Simon Schama's Citizens we can see, that history is still a diff erent type of writing: historians might feel obliged to change their original point of view under the burden of the facts that they themselves enumerate in their texts.