July 3, 2016


Your summery fix

Every once and a while we get to see gastronomical events and new releases of books on rural-cultural lifestyle scattered all over the city banners. I have yet to determine how, but this mix of customs and traditions hits too close to home without anyone ever asking themselves if these fairs are really the best outlet for origin stories. Gastronomy, the universal language.

The art camps are being set up, the heatwave has arrived at last. I wonder which artist will build a totem of decisions this year? Let us invoke the god of lucidity and offer him our full attention. Maybe something will change for the better. But seeing as we didn’t have such good streak lately, the totem will most likely call upon the god of ambiguity and we will have a contest: Steer clear of the equivocal!

There are no reasons to complain about boredom, the everyday is made up daily bread and entertainment. Wherever you see opportunity, even though it isn’t there, new ones will arise, or so the New Age followers claim. But is the opposite also true, if we ignore our problems, will they go away? After working in the field for 18 years, I can say that problems unrelentingly grow with each new generation, and they grow just like sponge cake dough. So perhaps sponge cake and entertainment is the Romanian formula for 2016.

What if we were to wake up one morning, open the window and see our neighbor smiling from the next door balcony? And we were to ceremoniously wish him a good day and exchange news about the weather? Until we get to reach the elite and / or mass culture, we urgently need to access the culture of good manners. Violence and the lack of goodwill is poisoning our days, our roads, our bus stops and store queues. Man transformed into beast, reduced to instincts. Solve that, you culture!

scoala centrala

Scoala Centrala de Fete (Central School for Girls), architect Ion Mincu. View from airplane. Official Journal of Romania. Source: private collection.

Today’s funny fix comes from a two and a half year old girl who sings Your eyes without knowing the lyrics. But what does it matter: she keeps her feet firmly on the stage, has one hand in the air, she hangs on thigh to the blue microphone and thinks it’s a fitting move to pass the mic from one hand to the other. The audience, made up of the toddlers’ moms, dance to the rhythm of the hand the little singer keeps above her head and the adults sing along; the little girl is delighted by the unexpected response from the public. No worry, no stress.

Speaking of performing, a music show at the end of a school year: why are the children tortured by their parents? It’s obvious that the youth on stage would rather be anywhere else. If there’s no passion, then you got nothing.

The high school diploma exams have started. There have been debates whether it would be fitting to reduce the difficulty level. Wouldn’t it be better to raise the chances for the children in rural area to go to high school and college? Or, better yet, build vocational schools, maybe even schools where they teach arts and crafts? Blasphemy! Let’s even ourselves out with general stupidity, let’s do that! But saving ourselves with education, not that, no!

Universitatea din Bucuresti

University of Bucharest (temporary headquarters of the Romanian Academy). From the „Picturesque Album of Romania”, photographic atelier Franz Duschek, editor. Source: private collection.

Beyond the extraordinary smell of linden trees, the Eminescu commemoration on the 15th of June and the European Football Championship, the feeling of déjà-vu cannot be defined. There are new players in the cultural field, the interim is the way to a successful managing in the future. In fact, be it a contest or a temporary promotion, there is a fast and exceptionally efficient procedure for avoiding the obvious truth: the era of fair contests has ended. Have a glass of water, let’s face those championship disappointments, after all, everyone had their own private Switzerland! In the mean time, objectives are being crossed off and significant moves are being made. The Book Fair is already over, we have over 100 new books, thank the hard workers! It’s endearing how cultural existence lives on each new season without shocks, with no hope, no evolution. A passage, a slide, a careful balance: as to not upset, let’s ride this wave of peace and quiet. Right before the cylinder ride that’s gonna be the autumn election, which should calm everyone down for a while.

Ministerul de Finante actualmente Muzeul Colectiilor

Ministry of Finances, actually The Museum of Collections. Original period postal card, unknown editor. Source: private collection.

Let me remind those who think that it can’t possibly get any worse than this that our small country beats any competition in this field. While one of the two remaining houses in Bucharest with a veranda dating back from the XVIII-XIX centuries lost a wall on Orzari street, and the other on Șerban Vodă street is waiting for a real estate investor to tear down its wooden colonnades with stylized tulips in Ottaman designs, there are plenty of things that need attending to. It almost makes me think, parole d’honneur, that I myself am relic from a century past, just like those lonely houses in the urban jungle. I don’t get with the times, and neither do they. But to be fair, I don’t regret it that much, my beliefs keep me alive. Stubbornness rarely got me anywhere, but at least it got me an unexpected ally: I get to sleep soundly at night, under the linden flowers that gently scatter in the summer breeze. Is that worth something, is it worth nothing?! I have no idea. I’ll let the old merchant houses with veranda tell you whether the rhythm of the XXI century is worth the sacrifice or the loss. I for one, don’t think so.


Andreea Grecu

Andreea Grecu is a cultural manager and lecturer. Between 1999-2004, then from 2009 onward, she is active on the NGO scene, as member of cultural associations and professional unions in domanis such a...

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