Memory of Friends: Andrzej Ibis Wróblewski + Other Friends from MAXIM Music Club in Warsaw…
I am reading Jeremi’s memoirs “Closed Eye of Providence” (Mr. Jeremi plays with words as usual). But when I mention the Editor Andrzej Ibis Wróblewski, it seems to me that when this wonderful man left this world on the beautiful, last, pre-spring day of this year, Providence narrowed the eyes of the Polish people, if it did not close it, at least narrowed it. How is it? Such a wonderful man passed away, little memories appeared, and there was silence. Here is an example of contemporary customs of the Polish people AD 2002 – someone completely nondescript somewhere is blocking the road – the press, RTV, etc. trumpets for many days and weeks. But when a great man leaves – silence!
Even more and more journalists specialize in writing memoirs about former 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. secretaries or members of something. O history full of paradoxes! – how is it that more and more often in the memories of people of politics or culture of the old past system, so many wrongs that they suffered from this very system, which they themselves created so fanatically.
Fortunately, there were other people around us – Andrzej Ibis Wróblewski – a great figure in the Polish culture of the 20th century. A man who is extremely affectionate, warm, with a great culture of speech and constantly directed towards others. Hundreds and thousands of people who had contact with him remembered him as a great, system-independent, fantastic journalist (his wonderful columns in Życie Warszawy) and a reliable man, always helping others. For several dozen years he was the Great Minister of Polish Culture and Polish Language – a minister without a portfolio, which is a pity – such were the times!
My humble memory connected with him and with other wonderful friends met on the way of life in the organization of the MAXIM Music Club in Warsaw –
It was 1971, very gray, very sad and very poor, as in the communist era (well, maybe not for everyone – it was a system of “social justice”, where they were equal and more equal – but you had to belong – and be subject to).
A group of extraordinary, crazy, young people (electronics engineers, architects, economists) decided to separate our common, gray life and organize a modern MAXIM Music Club in Warsaw in 1971. They found an empty, closed place of the former post-war pub “Maxim” (huge pre-war cellars under the Palladium cinema, 7/9 Kniewskiego Street – now 7/9 Złota Street – now it houses the HYBRYDY club). Our work on the MAXIM club lasted three years. And this club was opened! And only thanks to the great, social (young people’s attention – it means that without any payment, without any money for projects and many years of organizational preparation!) Work of many fantastic people, in 1974 it was brought to its opening! The main organizer of the MAXIM club was an amazing friend Marek Bogatek – now settled in Sydney Australia, the first designer of the MAXIM club was a great architect Krzysztof Pasternak with the help of an equally great architect Andrzej Krzemiński, and the editor of the MAXIM club was the editor Andrzej Ibis Wróblewski from the editorial office of “Zycie Warszawy”.
IBIS helped, he wrote such warm articles about MAXIMA in the press. An unforgettable man, an extraordinary personality, a great specialist in the field of culture and journalism.
After opening on December 31, 1974, the MAXIM club only existed for a few months. The authorities quickly closed him, because, as I remember, the decisive factor in the gastronomy in Warsaw – the new representative of the party’s central committee (sic !?), immediately after taking up his position, called me to his great office and made me a tavern row – who allowed the opening of the place that breaks simple rules of gastronomy – “vodka, girls and singing” !! ?? (a joke? – not at all – there was a theory that the government controls society or the criminal world more easily, if it creates and controls day and night pubs with alcohol and girls – and that was why the MAXIM night pub was needed, and not some “fancy” clubs there musical).
So we parted ways with Maxim and with Mr. Andrzej – the good spirit of our club. Then martial law came and we were scattered all over the world – all the way to Australia. But we were together in spirit all the time, friends wrote from the country that somehow they were sticking, that his home with Elżbieta (Elżbieta Wojnowska – beautiful artistic songs) was always open to those in need. It was a time of supporting one another in spirit, of great mutual help, a time of solidarity (before great SOLIDARITY).
And even later, when the dream of freedom came (it did not fight itself!), Mr. Andrzej taught and helped small local communities (Ursynów) how to build from scratch, how to start a new life, how to support others. Can anyone list his other great ideas and initiatives of various forms of culture? Will someone give back the riches and sufferings of his life?
And the time of MAXIM and meetings with such fantastic people in the dull reality of the 70’s was something that cannot be bought for the world’s greatest treasures. I sincerely wish everyone such moments in his life!
Tadeusz Wysocki – aka “Max” (the eldest son of MAX also – after Maxim, of course)
Manager of the MAXIM Club in Warsaw 1971-1975, Warsaw March 2002
PS From my dear friend Marek Bogatek from Sydney, I received a few more words from the memory of the MAXIM Music Club in Warsaw:
* The author of the Maxim logo, this beautifully styled M, which adorned the front door back in the 90s, when Hybrydy had been operating there for years, was another great architect – Tomek Lechowski, my friend from Lelewel’s high school.
* Electrical installations were made by some “Mr. Staszek” (?), Whom we used to serve on a rationed beer in the bar upstairs (on the left side of the PALLADIUM cinema), which was the bar and the entire MAXIM restaurant you ran as the head of the Warsaw gastronomy assignment as organizational practice, when you were allocated all this MAXIM with its dark and closed grand vaults after the post-war restoration.
* The first DJ was our friend “Staszel” – Andrzej Staszewski, who not only had the best album collection in Warsaw, but also had the then unique ‘psychedelic’ lighting effects.
* I got the music equipment for the club from the director of Diora – Mr. Jelonkiewicz, the father of my friend from Electronics.
* Someday we will put our heads together and remember the wonderful, probably the best party in Maxim … a week before its official opening on New Year’s Eve 1974. Everything, as with Maxim, was spontaneous and social: Natasza Czarmińska and probably “Elka” Elżbieta Jodłowska (also a friend from Lelewel) made numbers for the cloakroom by hand, Zbyszek Namysłowski organized music, helped Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski, Czesław Niemen, Stanisław Cejrowski (PSJ – Polish Jazz Association) had to organize goalkeepers, because someone probably guarded our coats. It was the REAL MAXIM that we wanted so much to create for us and for others. Then the commercials began.
* Finally, words of appreciation are due to two “commies” (I think about them warmly!) Thanks to whom the omnipotent PZPR Party agreed to organize the club: the Director of the WZG (Warszawskie Zakłady Gastronomiczne) – Mr. Staszek ??? , and the then First Secretary of the Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party in Warsaw, Ryszard Frelek – for their consent in giving us a free hand to what was “enormous madness” for those times. To this day I remember my (I – an absolutely non-party citizen!) Speech on this matter until the meeting of the Provincial Committee of the party, when I won the permit for Maxim’s activity until 3 in the morning (even their beloved restaurant “Kongresowa” located nearby in PKIN (beautifully by The party called “Palace of Culture and Science”!) Had to close at 1 o’clock.
I do not remember any more sins, if I remember something additional – I will not fail to write.
Marek Bogatek, Sydney
—– Original Message —–
From: Andrzej Wróblewski caramon @ chello.pl
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 7:21 PM
Subject: About Ibis …
Thank you very much for posting an article about my father in the National Gallery. We miss him very much, and on the anniversary of his death (March 20, 2006, four years pass), the silence is almost ominous, because there are no signs of memories or any realization of his project of protecting the mother tongue, which he created just before his death. All the more, human memory matters, as does sharing your memories of Ibis with others. I would like to find a way for the implementation of the “Polish language repair program” by my father … unfortunately, I do not know if it will be given to me, because I am just a gray, ordinary man who cannot speak on his behalf, and even not too much about him it falls out for me. However, I hope that the end justifies the means.
Thanking you once again, I express my appreciation and gratitude.