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Seven Days in Vienna

Seven Days in Vienna

The night before my flight to Vienna, I sat down to watch Before Sunrise (1995). Despite brutally highlighting the current lacklustre state of my love life, I did enjoy it. Scenes captured Vienna’s beautiful landscape – romance at the Riesenrad, the Danube in the moonlight, seedy bars. In some ways, the film can even be […]

Location is Everything: Rough Trade at the New WU

Location is Everything: Rough Trade at the New WU

The neon lights of the Prater amusement park glowed in the descending darkness on Perspektivstraße. Two women sat on the curb amid the stench of greasy sausage from the “Hans Wurst” Würstelstand. They wore black tank tops, jean shorts cut high over bare buttocks, and platform heels.  Looking further down the road, a third, then […]

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

It is 5:00 in the morning. They lie in damp grass that gets increasingly uncomfortable as time passes. They have waited for hours, listening for the slightest noise. Suddenly, one shot, and the waiting is forgotten. This is not Africa or the wilds of the Yukon. This is Vienna, where a group of intrepid local […]

Opening Pandora’s Dirty Picture Box

Opening Pandora’s Dirty Picture Box

The thesaurus says a synonym for “sex” is “intimacy”, but very few of the photos in Pandora’s Dirty Picture Box were intimate. They were loud fantasies and not-so-subtle innuendo, showing plenty of skin, leather and ropes. This was not about sex, it was about arousal – being sexy, not having sex. Approaching the entrance of […]

The Twilight of the Ghost Trains

The Twilight of the Ghost Trains

It’s easily been a couple of decades since I’ve felt I had to close my eyes on an amusement park ride. I’m not afraid of heights or the dark on their own, but when my tiny metal car started its climb along a darkened, kerchunking track in one of the Prater’s Geisterbahnen, or ghost trains, […]

Waltzing On Water

Waltzing On Water

Going sailing was not on my agenda for my time in land-locked Austria. What I didn’t know is that the countryside is full of lakes, and in the city, the Alte Donau is full of boats. I arrived at the Hofbauer Yacht Club feeling a mix of excitement, anxiety and a little fear. I hadn’t […]

The Path of Everyday Revolution

The Path of Everyday Revolution

Are you looking for something?” The voice sounds less than welcoming. Standing in the backyard of an apartment house in the 4th district, I immediately feel like the intruder I obviously am. “Is this the entrance to Planquadrat?” I say, trying to act self-confident and pointing to a locked door in the fence. “How did […]

I’m Chicago, Hear me Roar: The Allure of the 1920s

I’m Chicago, Hear me Roar: The Allure of the 1920s

There is something about the roaring twenties that beguiles trend-stragglers; it’s hard not to be captivated by its lawlessness and sense of freedom, the lure of shady extravagance. Speeding down an empty highway, hopping a freight, all that matters is a good time and staying out of jail. It’s all so far from the conventional […]

At the Casino: A Bittersweet Taste of Risk

At the Casino: A Bittersweet Taste of Risk

“No more bets, please,” the croupier says forcefully, while the crowd around the roulette-table pushes forward, obsessed with the ball bouncing uneasily around the wheel. I’m at Casinos Austria on the Kärtner Straße in Vienna’s 1st District with a friend who is a regular. Some might call him an addict; I just see it as […]

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