Friday, January 12, 2007

Vienna Vignettes

'Tis was a beautiful balmy morning in Vienna on Tuesday; the sun was shining, it was pleasant to read the paper on one of the many seats all over the centre of town (on 10 January when it should have been freezing), the municipal gardners were going about their business, weeding the trees in the plant troughs.....

...when round the corner came a baying sound, of people upset about something. Wandering along to investigate I found myself facing two bored policemen minding a scruff of rather underdressed youngsters covered in red paint, and shouting away, demonstrating against the fur trade outside the Burberry's shop. It would seem that Burberry's use fur in their designs - have you ever seen a Burberry fur coat? Nor have I - no animals grow the Burberry check on their backs. The double irony of demonstrating against fur coats in a spring-like temperature (when no-one in their right mind would wear a fur coat anyway), and about 50 metres down the road from a real furrier's escaped them completely. Was it a demo against the fur trade or against globalization?

Of course spent much more money than necessary in Vienna (there goes a New Year's resolution...) in the EMI shop in Kaernterstrasse, the music shop Doblinger's in Dorotheengasse and Jem Mode in Himmelpfortgasse, a shop selling the most wonderful silk outfits. Just what I need in Georgia....

Also popped into the Mozarthaus (Domgasse 5), for the sake doing at least something cultural in Vienna (9 Euros). It is a three story building, laid out in the modern sparse manner that other musician's flats Vienna are also displayed, eg Schubert's and Beethoven's flats. Mozart's flat in the first floor (until 1787 - the poshest one he had all his life) essentially went round the stairwell from the front to the back of the building, around the side .... and all rooms joined onto each other, like pearls in a necklace. No space was wasted on a corridor, so Mr and Mrs Mozart, their children and various servants all lived on top of each other. Sanitation? Who knows. The display in the house was mainly of portraits of other people living during Mozart's time, a job application with many crossings out, and many bits of manuscript (or facsimile's). I did not learn much new, but it was interesting looking at the place, and observing the view along the very narrow street facing the flat, lined by tall houses. There are many such streets in Vienna town centre. When do they get the sun?

Popped into a cafe where at the same time Anna Netrebko was partaking of Kaffee und Kuchen (so I was informed, not having seen her in the flesh before, and not being keen to stare).