After the collapse of communism in Europe, Hungarians experienced a rush of freedom. The euphoria from this rush was short-lived for most. The collapse of communism also meant the collapse of the fixed market economic system that had kept most of the people moderately fed and sheltered. Literally overnight, inflation went rampant. Money lost its purchasing-power. Prices sky-rocketed. People lost their jobs by the hundreds of thousands.
At the same time, the West poured in with its MTV and American Dreams and consumerism and endless igniting of material desire. New opportunities to make money arose. Organized crime moved in. An extensive drug-trade developed. Adult-entertainment companies were also becoming aware of opportunities in the former eastern Bloc: young women. The average wage for a secretary after the Iron Curtain fell was approximately $125 a month. A single porn scene could earn a woman the same amount for a few hours "work". Thousands of girls who had never before considered working in the adult-entertainment industry began to view pornography as their ticket to wealth and success . . . is it any wonder cities like Budapest and Prague became the new capitals of pornography in the 1990's?
I drew most of the inspiration for The City of Earthly Desire through the two years I lived in Budapest from 2001 to 2003.
This is a photo of me atop Castle Hill with Parliament in the background. (I like this photo because it's the closest I have ever come to looking hip and cool!)
Author of The City of Earthly Desire and the forthcoming Fallen Men. I am following the white stag to wherever it will lead me . . .
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