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Smoking Sections… Again?

Smoking Sections… Again?

Friday, 25 November. It was a headline in the U-Bahn daily Heute that got the talk started all over again: In the current negotiations on the new governing coalition, “an agreement was imminent” to make smoking illegal in all bars and restaurants in Austria. And just as quickly, a denial came from Lisa Fuchs, spokeswoman […]

The Road from Serfdom

The Road from Serfdom

The aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis has wage earners unsettled, idled involuntarily and indefinitely. Unprepared either for the hardship of scrimping, or the moments of relief from toil, the unemployed are bewildered. What is in store? Many seek relief anticipating a return to the ‘good times’ of the recent past. In his commentary, Austerity […]

Winter is coming

The local ski industry breathed a sigh of relief after the heavy late-November snowfall in the Austrian Alps. White slopes before Christmas are a guarantee of winter tourism and skiing has remained, without a doubt, the number one sport in the Alpine Republic. Traditionally, Austrian ski resorts are nestled between wooden chalet villages and tree-lined […]

Losing Time & People

Losing Time & People

The Austrian publisher News Verlag informed staff in mid-November that it plans drastic spending cuts. Changes that will hit the flagship weekly News include reducing the frequency of publication to every 14 days. With 80 jobs to be cut across the company, 25 will be at News itself. When he started the magazine with his […]

Pianist David Aronson: The Man Behind The Singers

Pianist David Aronson: The Man Behind The Singers

The coffee had just arrived as pianist and conductor David Aronson came gliding past the broad windows of the Café Sperl on Gumpendorferstrasse in Vienna’s 6th District, his long, swinging strides bringing him seconds later in through the panelling and bevelled glass of the entry way. (He lives right around the corner on Theobaldgasse and […]

Dr. Daria Siekhaus: Crossing All Boundaries

Dr. Daria Siekhaus: Crossing All Boundaries

It was just 14:00 as I locked my bike on Kolingasse alongside Café Stein where I was to meet Dr. Daria Siekhaus, a cell and developmental biologist and project leader at the Institute for Science and Technology Austria (IST) in Klosterneuberg.  But she had arrived ahead of me and was leaning, half standing, half perched, […]

Austerity and Demoralisation

Austerity and  Demoralisation

The high unemployment that we have today in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere is a tragedy, not just because of the aggregate output loss that it entails, but also because of the personal and emotional cost to the unemployed of not being a part of working society. Austerity, according to some of its promoters, […]

The Fifth Column: November 2013

The Fifth Column: November 2013

1914 – 1918:  Spreading the Blame “I’m not saying it’s your fault,” goes a common managerial expression. “I’m saying we’re going to blame you.” In this pre-August 1914 anniversary year, historic shifts-of-responsibility are coming under fresh scrutiny. One is the idea that the old softie Emperor Franz-Josef was reluctant when he uttered the ominous words: […]

Sneak off, You Arse Violin!

Sneak off,  You Arse Violin!

The Viennese pride themselves in being a culture of misanthropic complainers. A society of the dissatisfied, oblivious to the fact that many Austro-expletives – dialect or otherwise – are utterly endearing, cringingly funny or so shamelessly graphic you can’t resist a chuckle. A lazy person is an “Owezahrer”, literally someone who pulls you down.  The […]

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