Vienna Swoosh: April/May

This year I’m teaching English Monday evenings till 9pm and before my class I always stop for a breather at the Cafe Fichtl in Floridsdorf and order a Melange and Spezialtoast (they used to call it that in the 70s, but now it’s just ham and cheese) with Ketchup. Now this Cafe is an old Viennese Cafe, no internet, no music, almost always almost empty, newspapers galore for free reading and attentive and discreet service by the lady who works there. Sometimes the elderly owner comes by and pitches in.

So of course I was curious about a reading by a local writer, Hermann Bauer. “Krimi” on Saturday, 24 April. The Cafe opened especially and the place was packed. Bauer, a writer with theatre training, read from his latest (of three) book, Verschwoerungsmelange. Now I’m not really a fan of crime stories, but this was different. The protag, Leopold, the old waiter at the Cafe Heller, has a sort of Miss Marple role. And what really grabbed me was the way that I felt I was in the story: thanks to the reader, the place – yes, Floridsdorf, the Cafe and what went on there, the reading was alive and I was fully into the atmosphere of the story.

And there was a different sort of life last Friday night at Soho in Ottakring when I went to see one of my former students from another class perform (unmasked) with her woman duo, Propella. Standing room only, but I did manage to grab one of the few chairs, and incredible stuff with guest action by Andi Leikauf of Mopedrock on his electric violin to segue into that band’s inimitable performance with texts in French, electric guitars, terrific drums and yes, that violin.