Of Cafes and Bike Rides

At Tirolerhof today. It’s a marvelous cafe, though they regrettably haven’t installed wireless access yet. Walls cream-coloured; large windows arched in a vaguely Arabic manner, outlined in black; similarly shaped mirrors in between the windows; chandeliers suspended from a lofty ceiling; a few old-fashioned glass cabinets with several shelves of freshly made tortes and strudels; a varied clientele, generally lining the tables by the windows and walls (they have comfortable sofa-like booths), reading newspapers, chatting—one genially corpulent gentleman to my left is perusing the theater schedule. Continue reading



Back from Salome. Very good. The Herod (Wolfgang Schmidt) was a bit on the weak side, with a wide, wobbly vibrato that constantly threatened to swing out of orbit; Herodias (the generally excellent Janina Baechle) was solid, in the relatively small part she has; Camilla Nylund’s Salome was competent and occasionally thrilling, without being revelatory. The best of the evening was no doubt Jokanaan, sung by Alan Titus, who possesses a deep, rich, resonant bass usually restricted to Russians and Finns and other existential pessimists. Continue reading

Strauss On A Rainy Evening

I’m sitting in the old flat now, listening to Salome, and thought I’d kill the hour or so before the performance starts at the opera by jotting some random notes. I went to Rosenkavalier the other day (Sunday, I suppose it was), and enjoyed it a great deal. The singers were quite good, if not uniformly spectacular; Ricarda Merbeth’s Marschallin was perhaps the best, with an indisposed Angelika Kirchschlager replaced by a very good Octavian whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten. Sophie (Jane Archibald) was a tad shrill, and thin (her voice, I mean), but a pleasant eyeful, at least from the back of the Gallerie. Continue reading

Of Daseins and Hard-ons

Hanging around this afternoon without really much to write about, so I thought I’d just improvise. I’m sitting in Pickwick’s once again; it’s mostly empty, aside from a group of 6-7 high-school-aged girls a few tables away from me, prattling along with customary though not unpleasant vapidity. Strangely the women I’ve met recently—with one significant exception, I think—tend to be either good-natured but not particularly interesting, or not very good-natured—morose, in fact—but possessed of more hidden depths, murky though they be. I generally seem to prefer the Continue reading


Strolling around town today I saw a poster for a Max Ernst exhibit at the Albertina, and I stopped to have a look at it. It’s a sepia-toned woodcut of the corner of a bourgeois-looking interior, with a large figure in the middle and another visible through the window to the left. The main figure is dressed in a Victorian robe of sorts, something between a dressing gown and the cloak with shoulder-length cape that Sherlock Holmes is often portrayed as wearing. In place of it’s head is one of those Moai faces, dark, impassive, impersonal. Continue reading