In our last Pesti Paprika cabaret scene we hopped off the tram in Vienna. This time we hop on a bus in Budapest in the same radio cabaret series.
Pesti paprika on radio
In 1958 the Hungarian Radio broadcast a three-part cabaret series under the name Pesti paprika. The cabaret scenes are sassy, witty and funny and they give a whole new meaning to the terms “paprika” and “spice”. According to the cabaret host, Pesti paprika is a lot older than Szegedi paprika, it is as old as Buda and Pest. It is rooted in asphalt. It grows in apartment houses and offices. On concrete floors of factories and in smoke-filled coffee houses. Pesti paprika is the toughest plant in the world. It flourishes in heat and frost. No fire, flood, earthquake or war can do any harm in it. It is like a jungle plant: it grows speedily and it spreads everywhere. Pesti paprika is very similar to Szegedi paprika as both are spicy and hot. They only differ in the way people use them. Paprika from Szeged is food-seasoning, whereas Paprika from Pest seasons LIFE itself. Pesti Paprika is humour and spirit. Pesti Paprika Cabaret stories are brought to you by PaprikaMolnár’s Paprika Museum.
This particular cabaret scene we’ve selected reveals – again – Hungarian humour which is bittersweet and full of irony. Educating passengers.
Educating passengers on a bus
Cabaret host: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! I must tell you that I almost missed the start of the show… You see, while I was coming here on a bus I was reading the bus company instructions on the window and I got so engrossed with what I was reading that I missed getting off the bus! One of the instructions was so hilarious that I thought I was reading the funny pages in a newspaper. It was called „We, the passengers” and it talked about how misbehaving, how untidy, how rude „we passengers” can be. This was the company’s way to educate passengers to behave on the bus!
At first I was perplexed: in the eye of the bus company we the passengers are to blame for all the problems they have? But then I thought the bus company must be right: with no passengers on board, everything would be perfect. Without passengers there would be no crowd, no stowaways, no nervous conductors, no need to stop at bus-stops!
What an invention! Until now we’ve only known top-down and bottom-up criticism, but the bus company here created a brand-new type: the criticism of the user, meaning the criticism of the service user for whom the service is. (Sorry for not having a simpler expression for this new phenomenon.) Now, imagine other service providers using this same criticism! For instance, restaurants will have their own instructions called „Yak, guests!” with an illustration of a guest who cries for more beer after he’d drunk all the beer of the house. Or, another one who voluptously and deliberately sprinkles goulash sauce on the white tablecloth…
This new criticism will no doubt change family relationships, too. I foresee a time, not in the distant future, when children will have their own instructions to educate their parents. It will say „Dad is mean.” or „Mom can’t stand bottom-up critisicm”.”
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