Marton, László Távolodó
The writer, poet, and journalist László Távolodó Marton was born in 1956. He graduated from the Széchényi István High School, the last high school in Hungary for boys only. He started his career in 1977 as an educator at the foster home at Megyaszó, a small village one hour from the city of Miskolc. Initially, he was asked to teach geography and biology, but as the position was filled, he taught physical education and handwork and handicrafts instead. Later, he taught mathematics and grammar. He started to work as an educator because it was a field “which did not require strict education, but it provided a service flat.” However, later he completed his studies in higher education and became a full-fledged teacher, even though his studies were interrupted by two years of military service. In the 1980s, he worked as a Hungarian (literature and grammar) and history teacher. During this time, Marton mostly wrote poetry, and he started to work in music journalism. Later, he published several literary, semi-autobiographical novels and short stories over the years, often related to music.
Marton was always interested in music. He was 16 years old when he acquired his first record player, although he could not yet afford to purchase contemporary Western jazz and rock records. He also decided in the 1970s that he would like to be a writer. These two interests were naturally combined in his work as a music journalist. His first writing in this genre was about a concert by the band URH (Ultra Rock Agency) at Kassák klub. While this particular article was not published, Marton did not give up his ambitions. At first, he started to publish in a column led by his friend, Ottó Fenyvesi, of the Novi Sad based magazine Képes Ifjúság. Meanwhile, he continued to pursue his literary ambitions. While these writings were only published years later, he wrote several short stories and poems at the time.
Marton always felt like an outsider. This is where his pseudonym Távolodó (meaning Receding), which was inspired by a poem by Patti Smith, ,comes from. In this move away, the search for the unknown and the uncertain plays as important a part as the feeling of not finding one’s place in the world. This feeling, conveyed by the word receding, pervaded Marton’s whole youth. When he travelled to Australia in the summer of 1983, he planned to stay there. As he was exiled, he moved in with his uncle, who lived in New Zealand for the same reason. However, he eventually came back to Hungary, and when the legendary underground club Fekete Lyuk (Black Hole) opened its doors in 1988, Marton and Tamás Rupaszov became frequent visitors. They started to edit the club’s fanzine under the name Lyukság (Holey Things). Fekete Lyuk was more than a popular nightclub. While the 1980s bore witness to the weakening of political-administrative control, as indeed the very existence of Fekete Lyuk shows, the collapse of the regime was still almost unthinkable. Within this environment, the club provided a rare place for free initiatives. One of these free initiatives was the fanzine Lyukság.With the regime change, this club lost this unique role: the hectic 1980s, the softening and eventual collapse of the regime, the emergence of new wave in Hungary, some creative and innovative young people, the right place and the right time was needed for Fekete Lyuk to be what it was. The unique role it played under the softening dictatorship changed with the regime change, and the club lost its significance in many ways. In parallel, Marton’s status as an outsider also changed: the former uncertainty was slowly replaced by stability, both in terms of his profession and private life. He got married and had children, and in 1990, he became the music editor of the magazine Magyar Narancs (Hungarian Orange), a position which he held until 2006. In 1988, he began working as the artistic leader of Sziget Festival’s Worldmusic Stage. He also worked as the editor and anchorman of several radio programs, such as Radio Q’s Érintés (Touch), and Petőfi Radio’s Passzport (Passport). He also organized the Babel Evening series at the Palace of Arts. Today, in addition to his creative work, he is also a teacher at the TANEXT Academy.
- Budapest, Hungary
- Bagi, Eszter Borbála
Marton László Távolodó. 2003. Ezeregy rémes éjszakám legszebb meséi. Budapest: CrossRoads.