Archives for posts with tag: Poland

It’s Not Enough To Dream

Haresh Shah

warsaw
There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. Oscar Wilde

It’s not unusual for small but ambitious publishers to be bitten by the idea of adding Playboy to their stable of publications. Bitten even harder are the ones who have had no familiarity with the publishing business. But they have dreams and the desire and some money to spare that drive them to near obsession, do everything in their power to buy the Playboy license. Because in their dreams and the desires what they are thinking is: If only I can get to publish Playboy! At this point they are not thinking what it really takes to undertake such a project. Their psychological business plans have no provision for what if it doesn’t quite work out?

The letter came forwarded from Andreas Odenwald – our editor-in-chief in Germany. Guess, this is for you amigo, said his scribble. It’s an inquiry letter from Poland from the company called Elgaz. Attached to it is a recommendation letter from their German partners, a PVC window manufacturers, vouching for the serious intent and the solid financial standing of this Polish company involved in various businesses, among them the international video distribution.

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I Went Home And Cried

Haresh Shah

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Sitting across from me in a small windowless meeting room of the Holiday Inn in Warsaw is stunningly beautiful Beata Milewska. She is dressed in a conservative grey dress with the sharp U shaped neckline, trimmed with black satin ribbon. Underneath the geometric U are black brass buttons that run down to and below her breasts. Blonde, she wears fashionably shorter hair, reaching down just a little above her neck. Her eyes are sparking blue and smiles are amused but slight and measured. I guess her to be in her late twenties or the very early thirties.

Sitting next to her is Tomasz Raczek – supposedly to translate from English, but Beata herself is quite proficient in the language, so other than some whispered consulting, Tomasz is there more as an observer who would eventually be the editor-in-chief of the Polish edition. On my left is our Hungarian Publisher Deszo Futasz and on my right is Rolf Dolina, the man who has gotten us together in hopes that I would be positively impressed by Beata and her ability to gather a qualified team of professionals to create the Polish edition of Playboy.

After landing in still the old and the dilapidated Warsaw-Okecie Airport, as we drive into the city, I witness the remnants still of the city heavily bombed first by the German Luftwaffe in 1939, and then by the Russians in 1944 to quell the Warsaw Uprising. Both sides of the road are lined with the communist era’s drab and dark harsh apartment blocks. Making them further sinister is the shroud of the cold and the cloudy month of January. I cringe at the thought of the lives lived and of deaths and destruction and the dismay that still must permeate the day-to-day lives of its citizens. After all, it’s just little over a year since the fall of the Berlin wall.

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Haresh Shah

From Sleazy Sex Show To The Celebration Of Suave Saxophonist’s 50th

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When I was based in Munich, it wasn’t unusual for me to start my day with breakfast in Munich, have lunch in Essen and land in Paris just in time for dinner and the next evening have dinner in Milan. Georg Kührer of the printing house Girardet once observed: you hop on and off the plane more often than I do a bus. Amazing. But true. Even so, the eleven days I remember the most about my relentlessly on the go happened years later when I was living in Chicago. What to me is mind-boggling still, is the intensity of those days, being in constant motion and deprived of sleep. And I don’t even drink coffee, let alone take any other stimulants. I thrived on the natural adrenaline and the high I got from interacting with people.

I began my journey in Chicago on the afternoon of Thursday, October 15,1992, arriving in Budapest the next morning.  I loved the way the airlines wine and dine you in the front of the plane on their intercontinental flights. No phones ringing, nowhere you can escape. I am not for watching movies or doing any real work on planes. Reading yes. But mostly what I love the most is to really let my hair down, enjoy the treats, perhaps snooze a little bit and arrive at my destination, if not well slept, quite relaxed.

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