I voted for the mayor on Sunday, for the second time, and I got it right both times. It’s feels so good to be a winner! Our beloved Emil Boc - elected on platform of “lets simply mend the roads and not antagonise anybody*, which he largely fulfilled - recently received the call to become his county’s 14,7859th prime minister and so we, the grateful people of Cluj, have elected his deputy in his place. But the list of candidates did not really present the cream of this fine city, in my opinion, so here are my top-ten for the town hall, the only criteria being that they must have been born here or hereabouts:
#10 Gheorghe Mureşan
A 7’ 7” former-NBA basketball player, and actor, born in a village near here. He may seem merely a gentle chap with a pituitary disorder, but think about it, when in Romanian politics his huge bear-like hands could cream the money that much faster off of the EU honeypot.
#9 Sándor Végh CBE
Ethnic-Hungarian violinist - if someone in town hall’s going to “fiddle” the accounts it might as well be a maestro - born here when the town was called Kolozsvár. A favourite of mine as he specialised in chamber music and many of his groups, e.g. The Hungarian Quartet, have an outstanding reputation for their interpretations of Bartók, Beethoven, etc. Shame there’s no street named after him here when so many are named after Romanians that nobody’s heard of.
#8 László Tőkés
The actual Catalyst That Sparked The Revolution. In December 1989 it was a protest concerning this ethnic-Hungarian pastor which eventually let to Ceauşescu’s overthrow, belatedly and with bloodshed. He’s gone on to be elected by Romanian Magyars as a member of the EU, but still looks like he’s not having much fun. A very solid candidate - for the Hungarian wing of the Face-Like-A-Slapped-Arse party.
#7 Mrs Dilo
Could do it, should do it, but her natural modesty always gets in the way. So, no canapés or Ferrero Rocher for me then.
#6 Mrs Dilo’s Mother
Could do it, should do it, and would do it. Food would be distributed for free but all other transactions would be argued down to a matter of farthings, and always to her opponents’ disadvantage. Would put this town straight within a week.
#5 Mrs Dilo’s Father
Only in an ideal world, where his admirably positive view of humanity would ensure he’d let everybody get on with what they wanted to do and that everything would turn out alright in the end.
A dog belonging to one of Mrs Dilo’s cousins. Actually, it’s claimed he’s half-wolf - he certainly looks it, though how he was prised away from his mother has yet to be satisfactorily explained. At less than 1 year old he’s still perhaps a little wet behind the ears, but I reckon he’d look topping in the mayoral sash.
#3 Gabriela Irimia
One half of The Cheeky Girls. Has already brushed up against politics in the shape of Liberal Democrat asteroid-botherer Lembit Öpik, so she’s well primed for the job. I was on the plane with the girls once. They had the only two reserved seats on a WizzAir flight yet still nobody paid them any attention, until in baggage reclaim that is, when a group of lost English lads greeted them with “F*ck me, it’s The Cheeky Girls!!”, which prompted beaming smiles and much autographing of body parts.
#2 Monica Irimia
The other half of the Cheeky Girls. Frankly, they’re as gorgeous and as talented as each other, so they could do the job on a rota system and nobody would know the difference. Öpik himself must have made the wrong choice some nights when he’d come in from work tired, so Monica probably knows as much as her sister.
No, not the warbling Glaswegian lady-hobbit, but a Cluj “character”, a vagabond, beggar and sage, with a reputation for hiding in coffins. He’s six-foot under ground now but I reckon he’d make as good a mayor in death as he would have done in life - his response to all questions and greetings was an emphatic yet appropriately vague “You will see!!” Not quite Churchill or JFK, perhaps, but apparently many citizens turned out for his funeral.
* Exactly opposite policies of his predecessor, Gheorghe “Mad-Dog” Funar, who surely deserves a post all of his own some time.