Dienstag, 27. Dezember 2011

A Happy New Year!

The Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna

...sadly closes its portals but the gardens will still be open to the public. You can still visit on the 30th and get some free catalogues of past exhibitions. The collection is very ideosyncratic with a strong focus on the Baroque including not only paintings but also furniture and statues. The palais itself is also great with frescoes by Rottmayr on the ceilings...many concerts have been held there in the past, both lucrative for the artists and the audience.

Heiner

Sonntag, 11. Dezember 2011

Merry Christmas!






















I'll be away over the next few weeks and wish you all a blessèd Christmas. I'm off to some skiing, Alpine boozing with spiritual exercises and visting friends and family in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and elsewhere. All the best to all of you and yours and let's get together for a new round of internet craziness soon!

The Family Palais:

Freitag, 9. Dezember 2011

Romanticism

'To romanticize the world is to make us aware of the magic, mystery and wonder of the world; it is to educate the senses to see the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as strange, the mundane as sacred, the finite as infinite.' (Novalis)

Donnerstag, 8. Dezember 2011

K.& k. Perfumer:
















Over 200 years old, this shop has always been on the same address. Eau de Lavande, originally created in 1892 could make a good (last minute?) Christmas present.

The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson

"Adulthood came through with none of the pledges you'd been led somehow to believe in; the future still remained the future-illusion; a non-existent period of constantly-receding promise, hinting fulfillment, yet forever withholding the rewards. All the things that had never happened yet were never going to happen after all. It was a mug's game and there ought to be a law. But there wasn't any law, there was no rhyme or reason; and with the sour-grapes attitude of “Why the hell should there be”- which is as near as you ever came to sophistication- you retired within yourself and compensated for the disappointment by drink, by subsisting on daydreams, by living in a private world of your own making (hell or heaven, what did it matter?), by accomplishing or becoming in fancy what you could never bring about in fact."
 Especially in the last two years it was one of my past-times to enjoy books about drinking. I've read through Bukowski, Fallada and many others but compared to most this one was very good with a succinct and subtle psychology to it. I can recommend it; this could also very well mark an erstwhile end to my Sturm und Drang hard-liquored drinking career since recently and surprisingly even to myself it tends to bore me. From now on I want to read more philosophy again and today made this resolve: I will- as far as I can- drink half a bottle of red wine every day of my remaining life. Red wine is always a good investment be your future luck up or down, it will always satisfy you but only if you will drink it and never speculate with it.

Sonntag, 4. Dezember 2011

Josef Weinheber

It was my grandmother who first introduced me to the poetry of Josef Weinheber. Then, in my early teens, I found it a bit too provincial and soppy but upon reviewing it recently I came to realize and appreciate its intrinsic quality. It surely sometimes has a pronounced local Viennese note to it, often charmingly so, at other times it is decisively anti-modernistic even classicistic, evoking old eternal truths. Oskar Werner reading a few of Weinheber’s poems.

Some Scarves for Winter:


 From the top: Boss, Barbour, Royal Country Sport (some obscure local- company), Gant, Daks (the cashmere version of course! I bought that over twenty years ago), N.N. (I cut out the label long ago), Mila Schön Cashmere, Franco Ferrari, Paul & Shark, Alpaca from Peru, Burberry. This post was inspired by M. Lacroix who posted some of his scarves the other year.

Samstag, 3. Dezember 2011

A Village Called Christkindl

No Trachten in Town!

This doesn't pertain to Japanese or American tourists who want to wear funny Tyrolean hats or buy traditional clothes and wear them in the city or to provincials who happen to visit the capital for a few days or participate in folkloristic musical performances on national holidays here in Vienna but to persons from the provinces who either work or study here for a longer time. I am aware that this rule is already some sort of an atavism though; it is a bit ridiculous to admonish those who say wear their Steireranzug to church on Sunday instead of a normal suit or jacket trouser combination (since hardly anyone wears either) but still: traditions have to be remembered by somebody!

Edward VIII
















Not only paradigmatic for the whole of the 20th century in his style, Edward was also very popular with his subjects but Churchill and certain politicians as well as parts of the FBI opposed him. One wonders what would have happened had he not abdicated. Maybe there would have been no war between Germany and Britain (and the U.S.)...

Sonntag, 27. November 2011

Hanna Reitsch Interview

I have always liked this interview; especially when she describes (in part three) how she actually slept through an airraid and afterwards felt embarrassed of it!

Panacea: Honey, ginger, garlic!

The goddess Panakeia, daughter of Asclepius and granddaughter of Apollo has pointed me to these substances which I have found very useful.

N.B. Garlic is the eastern European 'version' of the south-east Asian ginger insofar as both are of a disinfectant nature ginger is slightly more efficient though. Honey is one version of the ambrosia of the immortals; the Brisai-nymphs raised the young Dionysus on it. Honey conserves like amber or gold with which it shares the connotation as a symbol for eternity (gold is the metal that hardly corrodes). All three are especially good for sore throats, influenza, ailments of the upper torso, potency; honey as a relaxant ginger and garlic as an activator of force.

Donnerstag, 24. November 2011

Covert-Coating

Whenever I wear this style of coat it evokes in me a sense of authority and responsibility and commands respect in others, something that I don’t necessarily like as you know if you have read this blog penned under the Bacchic seal of drunken madness. But it’s ideal daywear when I want to have a chat with my bank-manager or take a stroll on the Ringstrasse followed by a nice cup of tea in a café where I’ll read luxury editions of poetry-books that are elongated to such an extent that only 3, 4 words will fit into a single line.

Sometimes I eccentrically don’t take it off but bury myself inside of it while whispering to the waiter in a hushed voice so that he can hardly understand me, showing my contempt for society while still partaking in it somehow.

Dienstag, 22. November 2011

Advent in Austria


To elegantly and most authentically experience the time around Christmas and the New Year it is best to spend it in Austria. 
Crede experto.

From my Father’s Library:

„Selbst ein Weltmann von Format, ein umworbener Playboy, ein Snob, der schon alles kennt und dem das Beste gerade noch gut genug ist, oder ein Gentleman mit internationalem Flair wird mit diesem Buch noch manch unterhaltsame Stunden verbringen (und ihm manchen exzellenten Tip entnehmen- was er natürlich nicht zugeben darf).“

 (~Even a cosmopolitan, a playboy, a snob with eclectic taste or a jet-setting gentleman will spend many an entertaining hour reading this book [and will receive many an excellent tip from it- a fact that he of course should not admit] ).

Montag, 21. November 2011

Hans Makart


The egregore of the city of Vienna. [Actress Charlotte Wolter as Messalina]











Bacchic ramble [Der Triumph der Ariadne]

Samstag, 12. November 2011

How to Ski-Trip:

  I have been an avid skier since the tender age of three and enjoy the sport. I even took the exam for the State skiing instructor that is traditionally held in summer on the Kitzsteinhorn-glacier (of course I never worked as one)...Now, girls and boys, this is how we do it: We wake up at 7 a.m., eat a large breakfast and be on the slopes at 8:30 or 9. This early will actually be the best because least crowded time.
  
For lunch we drink tea with lemon- no alcohol like the normaloes [normal/average people] since it will spoil the sport and the great experience of nature (if it’s really cold you may tell Sepp to put some rum in it)- and an apple with a power-bar or some light soup. As you know, I normally don’t refuse a drink if it’s pushed on me but not while skiing, not during the day (smoking on the lift as some cretins seem to be fond of is equally intolerable).

 After one, one-and-a-half hours of rest we’ll be back on the slopes, in the woods and the untouched deep-snow terrain off-track till about 4 p.m. Then, back to hotel, shower and about 2 hours rest (then maybe a few rounds in the pool).

 Then at dinner at a good or authentic restaurant we stuff ourselves with heavier or more opulent foods and drinks- mostly wines and beer-, afterwards off to the bar, nightclub or disco (for this it’s necessary to be in a place like Cortina, Kitzbühel or Gstaad that provides acceptable nightlife): we dance, guzzle Schnaps and fool around till at least 12:30 a.m. Next morning: again, wake-up call at 7 a.m.
Repeat this for one, two weeks!

Such a vacation reinvigorates me both mentally and physically.

p.s. there is an alternative to such a ski-trip: you ski for about 45 minutes a day drink and eat and dance at lunch at the mountain-side hut, bake in the sun and party during day *and* night- absolutely feasible too and recommended to those who don’t or don’t want to ski.

Freitag, 11. November 2011

Austro-Hungarian Naval Uniform Buttons:


Such buttons of historical uniforms- here mostly some from officers of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, the k&k Kriegsmarine- can be very apt to give a special note to ones blazer-jacket. Why not inform yourself about your local history and then invoke it anew by applying it to your attire?

Dienstag, 8. November 2011

Aquavit

Someone recommended this drink to me the other day and I wonder if it is any good (and if so where to even get it here). At least it seems to have a royal warrant of the Danish crown which is always a good sign.

Rambling about Northern painters and artistic preferences...

 I quite like Northern painters such as Friedrich (see his Eismeer à gauche or, also good: Monk by the Sea et al) who has a talent for romantically depicting man confronting his inner-, and outer nature that reflects former; or Munch who is able to efficiently portray pure emotion. I like both the Italians and the Dutch but am neither too fond of Dürer- not as a painter- too pedantic, too self-aware, too much an epigone of the Venetians like the great and underappreciated Jacopo de' Barbari and the Bellinis- though he is a good graphic artist, nor of Cranach- a Protestant! and friend of the fat, malicious Luther- but again think favourably of the so-called Donauschule (Danube School) especially Altdorfer with his archaic, cosmic nature-realism.

Coming again to more modern stuff, I even enjoy the jokes of the Surrealists and the still very much neglected kitsch of the French Academy and have nothing against the Impressionists, either, am more than tolerant of the English portraitists, water-colourists, of the visionaries Turner and Blake.

The last 50 years would deserve an additional (future) ramble: there is much hypocrisy, ignorance and blatant stupidity in them but at least we- and hereby I mean true art on this highest level as I understand it- seem to resurface a bit recently, meaning that complete abstraction and white-canvas, pure-idea-instead-of-substance Dreck, is declining again.

My recommendation of a good artist of the recent -my- generation would be Stelios Faitakis (I had already thought that European culture was initiated by the Greeks and also would be ended by them but maybe it will also again arise through them?) He is able to truly artistically re-interpret traditions like the Icon and Asian influences in the scope of the present, modern world; like in Gaudì's architecture one can see his faith, his true religiosity or at least his honest struggle with it and crave for it in his works.

I could propagate my own writings or my relatives' paintings and graphics here but I simply won't out of decency. That's how we few modern real artists actually feel: we again have found meaning and the value of meaning in life. We refute atheism and spurn purely profit-oriented thinking. We again put value on God or the gods and honour valour, our local and ethnic affiliations and Tradition (including but by far not restricted to modernism and post-modernism!). We, are the future.

Stelios Faitakis' work. I have his book 'Hell on Earth' -which I recommend- in my other appartment now. I'll post some of his more positive, 'iconic' pictures in a future entry.

Montag, 7. November 2011

Trainjourneys

I enjoy travelling by train through central, alpine Europe in this season. Taking a first-class compartment one is nearly never disturbed by other passengers. If somebody should try to sit with you, here is a simple trick: take a large newspaper, hold it upside down and empathically nod at them with wide open eyes like a madman.

Leisurely glancing at a volume of wild-romantic philosophy while dark-green forests, fog-enshrouded ravines and snowy peaks with red autumnal foliage are slowly passing you by is a very relaxing way to go from Vienna to Vaduz and on to Zürich where you will meet your friends in the local clergy and arts-scene before you catch up with the summer in Northern Italy or Southern France for a couple of days.

Donnerstag, 3. November 2011

Oliver Reed!


















"Reed was banned from all his local pubs. His most spectacular eviction came when he clambered up the chimney at the Bull's Head shouting 'Ho! Ho! Ho! I'm Santa Claus.' He was naked at the time." (Robert Sellers: Hellraisers)

An onomatopoetically creative interview

Montag, 31. Oktober 2011

Endymion

Robert Graves

'A poet is a person who lives and thinks in a certain way. A poet doesn't necessarily write poems. It is simply an attitude, and there are a great many more poets around than meet the eye. I think about one person in 20 is perhaps a poet. The ones who are not poets expect something of what they think is poetry, which I don't propose to give them. What I write is for people to understand who are on the same, as they say, wavelength as myself. I don't write for an audience at all really: I write for myself. But the audience is presumably there.'

http://net.lib.byu.edu/english/WWI/influence/graves.html

Samstag, 29. Oktober 2011

Casino Royale


Now, that the money from my small inheritance is dwindling, instead of working or filling the fountains of my family-château with black ink like the Marquis de Brunoy, I thought about taking up my old, lucrative past-time of gambling again. My brother-in-law who is a banker in Tokyo is well versed in this department and knows many casinos around the world. He even travels abroad not to see the sights or to get a taste of another culture but only in order to visit those aleatory establishments. I, who am actually quite fond of culture and art should find this behaviour disgusting but cannot help secretly admiring him for his non-caring attitude. Last time he even went to Venice and saw nothing else than the airport, the taxi his hotel and the casino on the Canal Grande. Maybe I could get some tips from him. For further preparation I will also reread Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler to avoid any graver mistakes.

Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2011

The Blood Is Sacred

I've been watching this entertaining and admittedly kitschy vampire-drama series recently. It's fun although American all-too American (Puritanical with an over-sexed rebound and an often cheesy dialogue although it has one of the better depictions of vampires; and you can believe me there since I am very knowledgeable about this 'myth'):

Here one can watch the aired but not-yet released 4th season: "O-M-f-ing_Gawood, as those Amis" would say ;):
http://lksil.com/video/2B56BR6N6WBN/True-Blood-Season-04-Episode-01

Tintin


I really always liked - especially the aesthetic of- the comic (and also the old cartoon) called Tintin. Now there seems to be a new CGI-movie out that is very much propagated and that- I must admit- I do not plan to watch due to its extremely ugly looks. There certainly are very well-made computer generated things out there these days also in the form of video games, but as far as I am concerned a Tintin film would have been much better either in real-life format with authentic 1920s/30s costumes or as a well-executed animation à la Hayao Miyazaki.

Freitag, 12. August 2011

Montag, 8. August 2011

The Modern Drunkard

This book was real fun to read, and it even contained such practical-philosophical gems as the one below.

The Modern Drunkard

Relaxing at the Stiegl-Bräu/Salzburg...

Guess which one is mine...


Montag, 25. Juli 2011

Gaspard de la Nuit:

.
I am going to read this in the near future...

Freitag, 1. Juli 2011

Peter Richter: Über das Trinken



"I would like to propagate the notion of drinking as a sport: not in the sense of 'who can drink the most' but in the sense of surfing; to mount a wave of deep inner joy and then ride it as long as possible without crashing. Drinking needs to result in inebriation! That doesn’t say that you need to drink such amounts that would make you stagger around but a little swaying couldn’t hurt or else the good stuff would have been wasted on you."

Dienstag, 28. Juni 2011

Gin & Water!

"Most gin in this country is drunk with tonic and ice and lemon. And, if you want to take trouble, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. After many years of exposure, I find this a rather unworthy, mawkish drink, best left to women, youngsters and whisky distillers. Its history is suspect: in the days of the Empire, you were supposed to drink quinine water, the ancestor of tonic, to keep away fever. Someone noticed that the vile stuff went down a little better if you splashed gin into it. What an idea!

One large gin and tonic is acceptable as a thirst quencher.[…]
For further, serious drinking I recommend gin and water- and ice and lemon. This combination is favoured by the understandably popular George Gale. My advice: make sure you don’t overdo the water. Gin and water is an all-round improvement on gin and tonic: cheaper, less fattening and less filling as well as being not sweet or gassy. Gin is a real and interesting drink, carefully prepared with those botanicals and all, and it deserves to be sampled with its flavour unimpaired…"
(Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking, p.104 f.)

I find this completely acceptable also with mineral water, too. We in Austria have some excellent mineral waters by the way...and they also have a certain cachet since they are not widely known.

Freitag, 24. Juni 2011

Martin Heidegger


The greatest philosopher of the 20th century. Unfortunately only a few Germans and some Japanese scholars and Zen-instructors understood him till now...

Freitag, 17. Juni 2011

Old Ivy

As a thing sacred to Dionysus, I specially like ivy. It has a cooling, relaxing effect on me. It also feels good when buildings, monuments and old stones are partly covered by it or by vines and convolvulus. Maybe because it is a sign that nature will eventually reconquer, re-cover and reabsorb all of our man-made endeavours.

Red Socks and Testosterone



I hate red socks except when I wear them myself. When I see them on others, they arouse my annoyance, at times even my anger at such pseudo-intellectual artsy wannabes!
[excepted are only the British and those in pinstripe suits!]

Eccentric Loafer (Karl Ivants)


From: Helge Sternke (Alles über Herrenschuhe)

As I have said previously here somewhere,
I like loafers in all their forms but how about this?
Maybe a bit too much? But used in place of those
ubiquitous desert-boots: any day!

Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011

A Tale from My Family

I come from a family of lower gentry based in the Eastern part of Lower Austria. My forebears were farmers, woodsmen and wine-growers and some of my relatives still are. They also often did administrative duties or ran errants for the higher aristocracy, one was for example first hunter-master of the ancient Kuenringer family whose 'heirs' and descendants are known under the name of Liechtenstein today, another one once had the duty to deliver a substantial amount of money to some workmen in service of the Hapsburg-Emperor.

It must have been in the 18th century when the times were still rough. When he stayed at an inn, some highwaymen unfortunately took the money of all the other guests. Yet, they left my ancestor alone because for the journey he had donned the coarse robes of a monk and when the bandits observed him, he kept his eyes on the prayer book that he had brought along silently moving his lips.

"That filthy beggar-monk has got no money, anyhow." the robbers said and left him untouched so that he could safely deliver the earnings to the craftsmen, even though he could have kept them for himself since news of the incident, though not of its details, had spread by then, already.

Dienstag, 14. Juni 2011

The Master and Margarita: Hangover Breakfast Russian-style!



Masterpiece. Apart from this authentic description of a hangover-breakfast it concerns itself with the breaking in of diabolic phantasm into paranoid reality.

"'Forgive me ...' Styopa croaked, feeling that his hangover had presented him with a new symptom: it seemed to him that the floor beside his bed went away, and that at any moment he would go flying down to the devil's dam in the nether world.
'My dear Stepan Bogdanovich,' the visitor said, with a perspicacious smile, 'no aspirin will help you. Follow the wise old rule - cure like with like. The only thing that will bring you back to life is two glasses of vodka with something pickled and hot to go with it.'
Styopa was a shrewd man and, sick as he was, realized that since he had been found in this state, he would have to confess everything.
'Frankly speaking,' he began, his tongue barely moving, 'yesterday I got a bit...'
'Not a word more!' the visitor answered and drew aside with his chair.
Styopa, rolling his eyes, saw that a tray had been set on a small table, on which there were sliced white bread, pressed caviar in a little bowl, pickled mushrooms on a dish, something in a saucepan [The saucepan was opened and found to contain frankfurters in tomato sauce], and, finally, vodka in a roomy decanter belonging to the jeweller's wife. What struck Styopa especially was that the decanter was frosty with cold. This, however, was understandable: it was sitting in a bowl packed with ice. In short, the service was neat, efficient."

http://bibliotekamm.tripod.com/MasterAndMargarita/04.html

Nicolás Gómez Dávila



Dávila is still very unknown and not widely published in the English speaking world. I have mainly read him in German in which some of his works came out even before they did in his native Spanish.
Wiki-article, A Blog containing a few translations
I am much inspired by both Dávila's writings and his biography, and to those who know German and would like to read him in that language, I would recommend the well-presented selection of some of his aphorisms edited by the Eichborn Verlag titled 'Das Leben ist die Guillotine der Wahrheit'. Good, full translations of some of his works were also done by the publisher Matthes und Seitz of Berlin, others in the Karolinger Verlag of Vienna.

Freitag, 10. Juni 2011

Curiously Inquisitive, Honest, Excellently Outrageous Comments by Prince Philip:

To an Aborigine in Australia:
"Do you still throw spears at each other?"
To his wife, the Queen, after her coronation:
"Where did you get the hat?"
When asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union:
"The bastards murdered half my family."
To a Briton in Budapest:
"You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly."
To a driving instructor in Scotland:
"How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"
To a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea:
"You managed not to get eaten, then?"
To Elton John after hearing Elton had sold his Gold Aston Martin:
"Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car – we often see it when driving to Windsor Castle."
To the President of Nigeria, dressed in traditional robes:
"You look like you’re ready for bed!"
To ex-chancellor Kohl of Germany:
"Thank you for the welcome, Herr Reichskanzler!"

Sonntag, 5. Juni 2011

The Bar



I once was a regular of a bar that was not meant to be a bar but rather the drug-storage and antechamber of some yakuza who held meetings in the rooms next door. It was only frequented by me with either a Chinese girlfriend or some American buddy of mine. We always were the only customers- only once, two scared looking young men in black suits were there and another time two old drunks. I guess as foreigners we were tolerated there cause we were considered as outsiders anyhow. Of course there was also the barkeep called Hiro, a.k.a 'Hero' (he even had that moniker printed on his business-card, too).

The place was very small and dirty only consisting of the bar, two tables with seats and some bar stools, some posters and graffiti and what looked to us like dirt mixed with fluorescent goo on the walls. Hero was always stoned and in the rare moments when he was there talked about his daughter who wanted to build a career as an idol-singer in the capital, but most times he had to do some business-errants. In the interim we were unofficially given responsibility for the place and could help ourselves to free beer and the small range of hard liquors they served such as Cutty Sark, Stoli or some other basics of that kind. Basically it was irrelevant what we took as this went under 'calculated risk' for the people doing business next door- or so we suspected.

But unfortunately this period of unhindered boozing did not last for long. One fateful night we stood before closed doors and later we heard that our dear barkeep and hero was in jail on the charge of possession of illegal substances. After a few months, when he got out, he never seemed to be the same again...from then he seemed nervous, always kept a close eye on his merchandise and wasn't as talkative as before...absentmindedly he stared into nowhere and if we hadn't known it better we would have thought that it was not the drugs but prison combined with the absence of former that did that to him...

Freitag, 3. Juni 2011

The Charles Bukowski Tapes:

The Daodejing


http://home.pages.at/onkellotus/TTK/_IndexTTK.html

Recommended translations in English are: Cleary, Henricks, Mair, Mitchell, Yutang of the newer ones, Legge and Waley are already older and Möller, Schwarz and the older Wilhelm of the German ones.

Mittwoch, 1. Juni 2011

An Oasis of Civilization in a Desert of Democracy

Bruce Boyer: The Signature-Item

"T[he] approach, of allowing one item prominence in an outfit, also has the advantage of promoting a sense of individual style. Some men choose one item and repetitively give it a certain prominence, so that it becomes a signature of sorts for them. The familiar pink shirt, or the bow tie, or the tweed hat are small but telling signs that these men recognize convention but insist on their individuality as well, as we all should- and know the satisfaction of finding something they particularly like and sticking to it regardless of the trendy whims of fashion and the impersonal machinations of the garment industry." [Bruce Boyer: Elegance, p.56]

Freitag, 27. Mai 2011

An Aristocratic Trait:

Not to be an expert in anything!

Lupin III: Cagliostro's Castle.



A very good animation with a surprisingly deep symbolism and a depiction of Europe as we like it! Also note the old-model Fiat 500 at the beginning (and end) of this clip. The stories about the gentleman master-thief Arsène Lupin were originally created in the 19th century by French writer Maurice Leblanc.

Dienstag, 24. Mai 2011

Hortus conclusus



Here in Vienna we have a fine selection of hidden, semi-private parks and gardens. Surrounded by medieval walls, old Roman stones and baroque jardinères one can elegantly dream away a hot noontide in the shade of chestnut-trees enveloped in fragrances of magarites and roses. Today, sunken into a dozy half-slumber my small book of verse still in hand, I drifted in and out of fancy until the borders of reality were blurred and the planes were blended into pure unbroken being.