Please don’t sing that song, that we all can sing along

Some memories of the Paul McCartney concert yesterday at Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna. It’s his Out-There-Tour and it sure was a blast, of some kind. But I don’t need to see the biggest Beatles-Cover-Band featuring Paul McCartney. I don’t have the urgent want to sing “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” or “Hey Jude” in a drunken beer-mood. I want the real thing. I want to see a brilliant musician at work. Not an entertainer, celebrating his Greatest Hits over and over again. There should be more to it. And – I guess you can ask every real Beatles fan – there is.


My Vienna – #1

After some years of using Instagram I’ve come up with quite a collection of pictures and snapshots. Many of them not very unique or with any other purpose than documenting a single situation eventually on facebook. Like “look I made carrot salad” or “me and my husband at …”. But then there are some few pictures I really like and that can stand for themselves I think.

As I live and work in Vienna, many of my pictures are taken in this city so they come with kind of a theme naturally. I’ll just put my favourites from the past few years on display right here – and, as I am choosing to throw the “#1” behind the headline, I set myself the goal to make more “better” pictures and less “look I have a life” snapshots. So I hope there might be more soon.

Talking ’bout my generation.

I live in Austria, was born and raised here – in this old small country that used to be so great and important. People tend to talk a lot about “soul” when they talk about Austria – the Austrian soul, the Viennese soul. Italians got temperament, Germans got their preciseness, the French got passion and inveted love and we got Sigmund Freud and grumpy waiters.

We Austrians like to feel blue and like to wallow in our sorrows surrounded by everybody who likes to listen, preferrable accompanied by a lot of alcohol. And that’s all it takes to invent “Heurige”, all those Viennese songs and our whole approach to art and literature. But this is not meant as a fiery monologue against this beautiful country – quite on the contrary. I guess we’re kind like that kid in the last row in school, that dresses weirdly and doesn’t talk much. But when it begins to rely on someone and opens up, you may see, on a good day, an intelligent and loveable person in front of you.

One of my favourite Austrian things is cabaret – not the french dancing thing, but the, again very Austrian, one man standing alone on a stage and talking about all the things he hates in his life and in this country in a very funny, amusing and contemplative way thing. I grew up with people like Alfred Dorfer, Josef Hader and Günther Paal, listening to their programmes on CD, watching them on television, in their movies or live. They always talked to me in a very special way – it felt good that there were people that had the guts to discuss certain things openly, when most of us couldn’t be bothered or didn’t have the courage. But even if it got very, very dark and serious they would bring you back with a witty joke. Going home with this certain feeling of having grown a little bit in the last two hours.

I haven’t been to cabaret in a while now but decided to see Manuel Rubey and Thomas Stipsits in “Triest” – not really knowing what waited for me there. I don’t know this two young Austrian actors very well I must admit – even though a quite strong enthusiasm for Rubey hit me when I saw him on my way to work in the subway this fall. I kind of noticed him but wasn’t sure why. Then it returned to me, that I saw this guy in one of the “Mundl” movies (another very Austrian thing, but that’s another story). When I reached work that day I did a massive Google search on him. I started watching “Fauner Consulting”, an Austrian online series that airs every Tuesday on the website, in which he plays a self-proclaimed life consultant, surrounded by strange but interesting people. I listened to some of the songs he did with his former band “Mondscheiner”. And I really liked all that – so I just bought tickets to see him live.

It’s funny how things sometimes come together in strange, obscure ways, but I guess that’s how life is supposed to be. Truly, it was quite unlikely for me to see “Triest” – ever. But I was late for work and everything added up to me seeing Rubey on the subway and in the end sitting in this audience waiting for the show to begin. And it was amazing.

Rubey and Stipsits do a brilliant job bringing this wild story to the stage. A film crew is on the ship to make a big, new Austrian movie with Rubey in a minor part. The comedian Stipsits, hired to entertain the holiday makers. They end up sharing a small cabin on the ship and becoming friends. And this setting gives this new generation of soulful, grumpy, angry, outright, disappointed, witty and charming Austrians the perfect stage. They feel so fresh and straight forward and go through it all with such ease that you just have to be totally magnetised by them. This two guys are about my age, Stipsits a little bit younger and Rubey four years older than I, and this may be another reason why they got to me so much. It’s strange but also liberating when someone talks about the things that bother you, that steal your sleep at night and that make you laugh.

We are a new generation of Austrians with all our soul. We wallow in our sorrows from time to time and like it a lot. But we also have new voices and new ways to handle things, allthough the subjects may stay the same. But we reinvent, we create and we’re having a damn good time. Hopefully.

Day 05: Top five places you’d like to live.

Finally I’m back, taking care of my 30 days challenge. So let’s talk cities and here are my top five:

  • New York. Maybe it’s a little bit premature to put this city on top of my list, given that I’ve never been there and my first visit to this town is weeks away. But – I really, really, really believe that I will love it there, having spent nearly all of my life learning about this town in songs, books, movies and from people who’ve been there. In my mind, I’m stuck with a mixture of an Woody Allen/John Lennon/Sex and the City/Andy Warhol kind of place. I see it like old black and white pictures in shades of grey with a little bit of colouring here and there. It’s a romantic, wild, artistic, free and also dangerous place for me. And I can’t wait to see it.
  • London. This was always my big love from my childhood on. All the music, books and art I grew up with evolved around this magic city and I feel so warm about this place. I’ve been to London several times now and it never disappointed me. I would love to live there, but I hardly think that would be affordable. But the dream stays and of course always the possibility to go there if I’m feeling too homesick.
  • Stockholm. I’ve been to Stockholm with my dear partner in crime when we did our big Scandinavia round trip. We’ve seen lot’s of cities then, but I kind of liked it best, even though I felt really drained from our long journey and all the impressions. I get a really good feeling when I think about it and I hope we will go there soon again.
  • Prague. This town is so near to Vienna and it’s almost a crime, that I didn’t go there earlier. Sebastian and I spent our holidays last spring there and we surely hoped for the best, everybody telling us what an amazing city this is for months. And I imagined that it would be nice there – but we both hadn’t been ready for this. Prague is absolutely breathtaking! I’ve seen some cities now but there surely isn’t one more beautiful. Everybody, please go there! Don’t miss that!!
  • Vienna. And, last but not least, my beloved hometown. I’m really happy to live in this charming and lively city that has so much history and still keeps defining itself new over and over again. There are many lovely cities in this world, but I guess we can be very pleased to live here in the heart of Europe.

Music & Words.

Last monday my boyfriend and I had the great chance to see Patti Smith at the Burgtheater in Vienna. First of all – this is a top location for a Rock concert and I love the special mood that arises from old and dignified walls when they open their doors for something a little different from time to time.

Some years ago (I must have been 16 back then…) I had the pleasure to see R.E.M. at the Vienna Staatsoper – it was beyond words and still my favourite concert. Back then I saw Patti Smith for the first time, not quite sure who she was. She supported R.E.M. on only two or three songs but she left a lasting impression on me. And I decided to learn more about here.

Sadely I acutally never really did, apart from listening to her now and then… there were other things for me at that time, my head and heart was all stuck in to Beatles, R.E.M., Green Day, Tocotronic or Bob Dylan – what is, when I look back now, a quite strange mixture of taste in music. But it fitted me fine back then and it always stayed with me and made me a quite wide ranged adult music lover. One that seems now ready for digging his head into her songs and work.

So – 12 years later my boyfriend, who is just reading Patti Smith’s new book “Just Kids”, took me out to see this grande dame of Punk and Rock again. And we had a great evening of music and energy and deep thankfullness that someone like Patti Smith is out there, still living her fascinating way of life. She had a quite awfull cold and drank tea all the time. Sometimes she had to start songs again because of her bad voice and now and then her voice broke a little more than usual… But it didn’t make it a bad concert – on the contrary it seemed to benefit it: Patti Smith’s whole performance is, for me, about imperfections and rawness and the fact that she was not on top of her form just made her more tangible and true.

I think Patti Smith is one of the strongest and at the same time most vulnerable women I ever saw: She takes the whole room over and shouts with her wonderfull voice for freedom and love. But she also stands there, suddenly seeming a little bit smaller and thinner than she is, crying for her dead friends and lovers. And all this makes her so special to me and to so many people. She was such a important voice of her generation and I hope she also is for ours. We couldn’t do better…

Just everything.

It seems 2011 is a very good year for new bands! I must admit, I fell in love again… Friends of mine kind of  hi-jacked me to Everything Everything’s concert at Flex (Vienna). As far as I could remember, I had heard some of their songs on my friends car radio – but I had no special feeling to go with that memory.

So the usual ceremony took place before the gig: Checking myscpace, checking the band’s homepage, watching youtube and a good but not yet fully formed image about the music.

Long story short: We’ve been there, we’ve seen them and THEY ARE FAB! The music is amazing and fresh and they are good gig players. They made an effort and wore matching brown overalls which brought a dark and futuristic feeling to the whole set. The guitarist, bassplayer and drumer also had matching haircuts and the singer freshly dyed bright blond hair in contrast to the rest of the groups brown hair. So it felt really deliberate and it just gave their music the final touch.

We had a great time and the four guys took the time to sell and sign their cd’s and there’s no doubt – of course I got my cd and I got it signed! Afterwards I noticed that I missed one out in the hurry and commotion, but I think I’ll make up for that real soon hopefully…

Koloman Moser.

As a big fan of Jugendstil, I think it’s the right time to dedicate this post to one of my favourite artists of this time, Koloman Moser. Moser (30. März 1868 – 18. Oktober 1918, Vienna) was an Austrian painter, designer and artisan. He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna and was co-founder of the Wiener Sezession in 1897. He contributed about 140 illustrations for its magazin Ver Sacrum. Koloman Moser was also a co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903.

At the turn of the century Moser was one of the major artists in Vienna and is one of the leading Jugendstil aritsts. I find it most impressive that he, as many artists in this period, was such an allrounder: He was not only a graphic artist and painter but also designed furniture, jewelry, fashion or hangings.

And look at this photograph of him – he looks strangely timeless as if you could cross him on the streets of Vienna somewhere, don’t you think?