Put your general rubbish in there,

your cans in there,

your cigis in there,

your paper in there,

and your dogs in there.

Andy T

To my left, a couple of kidneys and a brain, on a plate. To my right, three men stand at a table, hacking up half a pig. In front of them lies a mysterious bucket of gore, a loose eyeball perched on top. I’m standing, staring right back at it, when my Hungarian friend leans over and recommends some brain. Try it. It’s goood, he says. Very good with eggs! If you like, we can ask Mother to fry it up for breakfast tomorrow…

We’re standing in a darkened garage in the heart of the Hungarian countryside. Dropped cold into this house of horror, a scene like this would look jaw-droppingly wrong. However, five hours (and several pálinkas) after it all began, it’s very acceptable. In fact, the pig has started to look less like an ex-farmyard animal and more like an extravagant jigsaw - tricky, three-dimensional and ultra-realistic. Putting all of this back together would take hours, I think, swaying slightly.

Can it really be only 10.45 am? I gulp down some wine, look at my watch, then step over a box of pig’s head (ears, snout, face etc.), and around a bucket of fresh, chopped up skin. Five minutes earlier, our friend Támas had picked up a piece of this, tossed salt onto it, and popped it into his mouth. ’Try it. It’s goood’ he’d said, holding one out to me. Woof! Politely, I’d declined.

Even though I’d hardly moved, arriving at this point felt like a journey, especially for someone as squeamish as myself. Watching
Cannibal Ferox is fine in the comfort of your bedroom, but having scenes acted out in front of you is altogether different. In the garage, a head had been taken apart, in the back garden a spine removed with Father's bare hands. Upstairs, in the relative comfort of the kitchen, mother and daughter stirred a bucket of blood, preparing a breakfast of fresh liver and black pudding. And everywhere, the house was greasy. Smudges were left on the kitchen window, the door handles smeared with fat.

We’d met the pig the previous evening and watched it jostle for space in its pen, with three others. It was bulky and certainly no Babe - in fact, he looked about as graceful as a bus, manoeuvring its way around Tesco car park. Perhaps it was this that put me off. At six fifteen, when I emerged blinking into the sunlight, the pig was lying on its side, blood trickling out of its throat. I went over to the corner of the garden, looked at the tractor for a while, then drank a pálinka. After that, we bathed the pig, set fire to it, and strung him up.

It’s an odd time to have a pig killing, mid-May, and it only really happens if you’ve got extra pigs. Even though it was far too hot to smoke any meat, not much went to waste. A good deal of it disappeared into the refrigerator and we ate what we could - sausage, liver sausage, blood liver sausage, deep fried pork. Fat was cooked and put aside for later, snout and ears put into pig cheese, brain saved for some kind of mad breakfast.

Ultimately, I’d half expected to come back from this pig killing a hollow man, like John Rambo, or failing that, a vegetarian, like John Rambo (only joking, he definitely eats meat). Neither happened - I still like meat, and I’m still fine with the fact that to eat it, you have to kill an animal. In reality, I actually returned from Bakony feeling more like a hermaphrodite.

Let me explain. Tasks at a Hungarian pig killing are divided up pretty squarely, and while I wasn’t man enough to kill the animal, I wasn’t quite enough of a woman to be allowed into the kitchen to stir blood, and chop onions. Instead, I floated around with a camera and a microphone, slack-jawed, giggling.

However, if there’s one thing I did learn from this weekend, it’s that organs really do look like organs. A heart looks like a heart, liver like liver, intestines like intestines and that there’s an undeniable similarity between the insides of pigs and humans. Give me a human liver, and I might know what to do, eventually. A bowl of human blood, maybe I could cook it. You see, it isn't that I want to kill a man, but right now, it really doesn't feel like that much of a stretch. With time, maybe, possibly, perhaps… I could learn.

Andy T.

Dawn. The countryside. An adorable pig blinks away sleep, wondering why on earth he’s been woken up so early, and what so many people are doing near his pen. Goodness gracious, thinks the animal. Perhaps I’ve been doing something right after all. They’re here to play with me! It’s my lucky day!

In the kitchen, a clock strikes six and a last shot of p
álinka is downed. From across the garden, a burly, moustachioed man strides towards the enclosure.

Hello, thinks the pig. That’s the chap who feeds me every day. It’s about time they gave me a bit of tucker! Chocolate drops, hopefully.

Although the animal has no idea, this macabre routine is well-rehearsed. The crowd looms over him... his legs are grabbed roughly, and the pig starts to get cross. Now, come on, he thinks. There's no need for all this. Let's play nicely for a bit, then we all can eat the chocolate drops together. Oi! Ow!

‘…kill the pig, cut his throat, bash him in, kill the pig! cut his throat! bash him in! KILL THE PIG…!’ As the chanting reaches a peak, the knife plunges down, slicing him from ear to ear. A river of blood fills the garden.


It's not the right season, but I'm going to my first pig killing this weekend and I'm apprehensive, to say the least. This is the itinerary, which was sent to me via email.

Regular schedule: awakening (at 5 o'clock), pálinka, killing the pig, pálinka, breaming the pig, pálinka, breakfast (fried?/baked? blood with onion), stripping the pig, pálinka, lunch (lots of meat), pálinka, making black pudding, liverwurst, sausage etc., pálinka and wine.

Other than that, I've no idea what to expect. Comely maidens smothered in gore, carrying buckets of blood back and forth. The village joker dancing about with a pig's head on. Me, sitting at the kitchen table at 7am, pissed out of my mind, next to the pig's still-beating heart. Whatever happens, I hope I won't be returning from this journey into hell (Bakony), scarred and changed forever, like DeNiro in The Deer Hunter.

Time will tell. Anyway, there'll be a report put up about all of this nonsense sometime next week...

Andy T.

Fancy that!

The idea that Budapest is a little behind the times is nothing new… but even I had to do a double take when I came across this at the end of Vaci utca yesterday. At first glance, it looks fairly normal - two street artists sit behind a display of their caricatures and portraits, bored out of their minds.

It‘s common the world over, have your face distorted in a playful way or if you're shy, get a straight picture drawn. Don't worry. They're good at what they do. Look! They've sketched some pretty nice portraits of Britney Spears, Kevin Costner, Jean-Claude van Damme and... who is that exactly? MacGyver?

It was at about this point that I stopped, looked, blinked, looked away, looked back, blinked again. Britney Spears, Kevin Costner, Jean-Claude van Damme and MacGyver. What an odd quartet.

I nodded at the woman and bent down for a closer look. Of the four, perhaps Jean Claude van Damme's portrait was the most revealing. I was looking into the eyes, and hair, of a man who had just released Double Impact, rather than the mysterious-sounding, but largely unavailable The Shepherd:Border Patrol. And this was the old Kevin too. The superstar who strung together hit after hit after hit in the mid-eighties, who so charmed my own mother in Field of Dreams. There's something less charming about Kevin these days... perhaps it's this incident (and I quote from the Sun...)

"A MYSTERY Hollywood idol accused by a hotel masseuse of performing a lewd sex act in front of her was named yesterday as Kevin Costner.

The Untouchables star, 51, was on HONEYMOON in Scotland when he allegedly whipped off his towel and pleasured himself".

And where do you start with Britney? That's a cautionary tale for any all-American pop-star wannabe. It was really only this other character, the Richard Dean Anderson-a-like, the wild card of this wild bunch, that I felt warranted my wholehearted admiration. How times have changed!

With this in mind, I strolled away, my head filled with thoughts of the Muscles from Brussels, Britney on the Mickey Mouse Club, and Kevin Costner pleasuring himself. It wasn't long before I felt ridiculously nostalgic, and old... like a pensioner perhaps, who had just happened upon a battered picture of Vera Lynn.

(from our sister site, monkeyfallsofftower. Spoil films in four words...)

Andy T.


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