Monday, June 21, 2010

Hungarians in Vancouver.

B.B. Gabor was an "alternative" niteclub act in the 1980s. I remember seeing him at the Commodore, performing songs like "Moscow Jewellery (Nyet, Nyet Soviet)", "Consumer", and "Metropolitan Girls", after which he could be found outside, busking. B.B. dated a friend of my mother after moving here from Toronto to work with producer Todd Rundgren. Does anyone know what became of those sessions?

Another Hungarian is Elizabeth Fischer, who led bands such as Animal Slaves (1980s), Murder Museum (1990s) and, most recently, DarkBlueWorld. Like B.B., Elizabeth's bands fused numerous -- and sometimes contrasting -- literary and musical styles. She remains one of the greatest singers I have ever seen.

But the Hungarian I am closest to is my godfather, Mano Herendy. Mano came to Vancouver in 1956, where he worked as a couturier, acquiring the Leslie Lane House (now at Mole Hill) and the house that served as Umberto Menghi's first restaurant, the Yellow House on Hornby Street. With his wife Olive (Puddifoot), Mano produced thousands of confirmation, bat mitzfah, graduation and wedding dresses, some of which continue to be worn by the daughters and granddaughters of the women who stood for them.

Mano was someone my father befriended and brought into our lives. Gregarious, mordant, effusive and sullen are words that come to mind when I think of Mano Herendy.

B.B. and Mano are no longer with us. But Elizabeth, who is ageless, is.

From her Murder Museum period:

(Elizabeth Fischer)

Stay up all night in rose coloured shadows
Too many times not in love but in grief
Blue blood boiling there is no tomorrow
You have lost the power of flight

Little wild rooster do the unspeakable
The unbearable leers from the storm
Demand a miracle from a comatose oracle
A good luck charm and you still come to harm
jump into the fire

Dancing with phantoms the walls dripping shadows
Living in a room full of sticks and stones
Twin sins in mirrors snake skin burning
Hot and bright on bathroom floors

Stay up all night in a busted balloon
Skin crawling goose bumps sand dunes
Suspended in light little wild rooster
Pillowed in air feathers and pride
jump into the fire

You're a lucky lucky boy, you've found the get-well toy
Anything's better than a much-thumbed letter
Home is the hero, he's stainless but broken
And left as a token
Is a wild, wild heart.

Buffered by thorns and the smell of roses
Little wild rooster crows and poses
Thick thieves thumping on a tin dream drum
Strumming the rungs of the ladder to fire
jump into the fire


  1. Love Hard Core Logo. Love Music. I just wrote a piece on the most vile punk band in Canada. You should check it out.

  2. ima... hungarian, yep. and... thanks michael, for, i dunno, reading me. i didn't know you did that. listening me too? am i the "greatest singer you've ever seen"? hah, i dunno. i wish i would sing again. but things are so damned murky, i'm better off hiding.