I never think of Funke and the Two Tone Baby as an overt story-teller in his songs – obviously there are stories in there, but the lyrics are obtuse – they don’t spell things out (that for me combined with the masterclass in multi-instrumental multi-tasking is a big part of the appeal!). So you could be forgiven for mistaking Bella’s Kiss as being a passionate tribute to the breathtakingly good kissing technique of a lass called Bella.
It’s certainly something I fell foul of, with Bella rhyming with Ella it even took on a degree of soppy significance. It was at Deerstock that before playing it Funke casually introduced it like this: ‘here’s a song about a Hungarian serial killer’ – at the time I was looking forward to a new song, only to be faced with the confusion of a familiar tune that I thought I already knew well. Being a song-story geek I took to Google almost immediately – and unearthed, well, a pretty disturbing tale.
Bella’s Kiss is about Béla Kiss. Born in 1877, he was a tinsmith who lived in Czinkota (then it would’ve been a town in its own right, now part of Budapest) since 1900. In 1912 – according to some reports after his wife Marie, fifteen years his junior, left him for another man called Paul Bikari. Kiss, well thought of in the local community, probably illicited great sympathy from friends and neighbours when he confessed they’d run away together.