What is this with video distributors wanting to be magazine publishers? Accompanying the inquiry is a video cassette giving you a virtual tour of Elgaz businesses and facilities in Gdańsk. Quite impressive, considering that this is 1991 – years and years ahead of the virtual tour ever came into existence. I reflect upon the fact that I have also had a similar inquiry from Video Vision from South Africa. The owner, Anant Singh had actually stopped by my office one evening. After I explained what was actually involved and once he understood, he let it pass. Quite the contrary with Janusz Lekztoń – the young entrepreneur of Elgaz. For him, wanting to publish Playboy is not just a business proposition, it is his lifelong dream.

Following my meeting with Beata (Milewska) that January morning, I meet with Lekztoń’s designate, the journalist Jerzy Mazur (Jurek) for coffee and agree to have lunch with his boss  Lekztoń and his associates the next day.

Boyish and pudgy, Lekztoń doesn’t speak any English. Neither do the ones accompanying him, except Jurek, who also spoke Spanish. From what I understood, Elgaz, as the name suggests was once a company that supplied household and industrial natural gas in Poland, the company Lekztoń had come to inherit during the shuffle at the fall of the communist era. No longer in gas business, his main income stream currently is international video distribution. That is, to acquire territorial rights, have the foreign movies dubbed in Polish and distribute them to the households through retail outlets.

Of the five of us sitting around the table, the interchange takes place only between Jurek and I. He is the communicator for Lekztoń, and if we were to reach an agreement, it would be him who would become the editor and the publisher. Though he would later tell me that he too had in mind Tomasz Raczek as his editor. I spend a pleasant lunch with Lekztoń and his associates. We stroll around the old town square with his photographer trailing us. They are gracious hosts and want to show me the past and fortunately undestroyed glory of one of the Europe’s most beautiful town squares.

The square is garlanded by the rows of three to five stories buildings butted together, each painted individually in vibrant colors that wear the sunny glow of the warm fall leaves – yellows, oranges, reds and pinks and the cooler but equally a s vibrant aqua marine and green. Those fairy tale houses remind me of the canal front row houses in Amsterdam and also the houses on  Prague’s Old town Square. To see them within a day of having saddened by those dour panaleks as the Czechs call their pre-fabed clapped together wall panels communist housing complexes and juxtapose them with the Old Town houses make for a quick history lesson in the country’s recent past. Paved cobblestones, the square takes me to what must have been the glorious past of Poland.

We eat at one of the traditional Polish restaurants, table bedecked with crisp white table clothes under the bright yellow ones, propped on which are turquoise napkins. Antique wall hangings and all. They are trying to show me the best that their country has to offer, which makes for a very pleasant and laid back afternoon.

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