Antonia Rodriquez – Besame
A record played a lot at the sensory twilight zone that was the Budapest discothéque, the oddest chance ever to dance in Helsinki. Originally a failed Hungarian restaurant, the place went disco in 1977 with minimal effort – they simply got a so-so sound system and dragged out the furniture apart from a couple of random wooden chairs. No special disco lights were installed to this zero budget dance palace, or anything else resembling decoration.
Shoving the entrance fee across a table placed in the bare downstairs lobby where the doors to the toilets were, you climbed up a winding staircase and entered a world of loud music and almost inpenetrable blackness. The club was so dark your eyes had trouble adjusting and all you could do is either stay there standing until they did or try to stagger towards a single dim lightbulb flickering across the hall. On your way you’d bump into apparations shaking in the dark like lost souls trapped in some sort of hellish urban cave, announcing their existence with lit cigarettes. When you reached the only illuminated part of the shapeless smoke filled space you noticed the light came from a narrow hole in a wall, cut something like one meter high. This is what constituted a “bar” at the Budapest. On the other side in an equally dimly lit room there was a table next to the hole, with two kinds of bottles lined up: regular beer and Lonkero, a local foul tasting blue-tinged long drink mixture that has, in 2016, suddenly acquired cult status in Japan. A grim faced matron sat by the table, taking your money without a word.
You’d only hear about thirty different tracks played at the Buda, as it was known among it’s habituées, during any night as the dj favoured the longest possible records. This must have been out of necessity as the booth had one tiny blue spot of light above the decks. Romeo and Juliet, Get On The Funk Train, Watch Out For The Boogie Man, From Here To Eternity, I Love America, here was the place to fully get lost in the sound. You kept on dancing, oscillating and jerking in a state of virtual blindness, hoping your need to piss would go away.
The Buda is STILL there, under a different name and management and with more light.