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Buddha and the Art of Motorcycle Breakdown

Buddha and the Art of Motorcycle Breakdown

“I’ll meet you at the door,” were my Buddhist friend’s instructions. It was the 60th birthday of Buddhist monk Bhante Seelawansa at Palais Eschenbach in Vienna, so you would have thought he’d show up. I hovered at the entrance, trying to look as if I belonged. Suddenly, one of the hosts approached, with a smile […]

Infiltrating Austro-American Football

Infiltrating Austro-American Football

The parking lot was nearly empty as we approached the Stadion Stadlau for a football game – American football, that is, between the local teams the Danube Dragons against their arch rivals, the Vienna Vikings. Were we in the right place? Where were the “tailgate” parties I had heard so much about, the lavish picnics, […]

Luring la Vida Loca

Luring la Vida Loca

From the outside it didn’t look like much – I desperately searched the door for some indication of Latin America. Nothing. Not knowing what to expect, I ventured through the door: Colour! Motion! A delicious sense of raucous enjoyment so seldom sensed in this city swept over me. The event was held at the OKAZ […]

The Gate Crasher: Im Kinsky a rear window on art

The Gate Crasher: Im Kinsky a rear window on art

Entering the grand carriage way of the Palais Kinsky, into the Stiegenhaus past the gauntlet of magnificent Baroque statuary up the grand stairway, I was stunned, as is often the case in Vienna, by the surrounding opulence. These palaces have that effect – the kind of red carpeted, marbled luxury that makes you conscious of […]

Wiener Wäschermädelball 2013

Wiener Wäschermädelball 2013

As in years past, I have been one of many Wienerinnen who dolls herself up to take part in the fairy tale of Ball season, dancing and frolicking until the early morning hours. Vienna’s ball season always opens with a waltz on New Year’s and ends with the search for lost shoes at Easter. But […]

The Gate Crasher: Sodom and Gomorrha

The Gate Crasher: Sodom and Gomorrha

An upside-down cross hung over the dance floor as I stepped into the Sodom and Gomorrha party at the disco Grelle Forelle on the Danube Canal. This was the first time I’d ever jumped the line. It may have been due to gate-crashing-cojones, or just the drinks I’d already consumed, but who cares? I was […]

Toasting the Diplomat Musicians

Toasting the Diplomat Musicians

Ambassador John McGregor’s exquisite piano playing echoes in my mind as we pass the Karlskirche to the French Embassy on Schwarzenbergplatz. We’ve just been to the annual “Ambassadors in Concert” at the Musikverein and, as we stroll along, my friend and I hotly debate the varied skills of diplomats and friends on the programme, among […]

At a Loss at IWC Watches

At a Loss at IWC Watches

“Hello!” a pleasant-faced girl beamed at me with refreshing enthusiasm, “I didn’t know you were an IWC man!” I glanced at my companion, Martin, for help – did she know me? And what was IWC? But my friend was already taking the young lady’s hand and tipsily examining the ring on her index finger with […]

Posing with the Big Boys

Posing with the Big Boys

“Isn’t it funny how people who can afford to pay always manage to get into these things for free?” said a man turning to my date for the evening, the thick smugness dripping from his smile like double cream. I smirked uncomfortably to myself: Gate crashing was a financial necessity to me, but as my […]

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