Thursday, 29 January 2015

Wau! Is it Wurst?

The above cartoon, which I have just drawn, was prompted by an advert from the city's public cleansing department in today's paper.

The advert showed a mountain of dog waste disposal bags and stated that 60,000 portions of picked-up dog excrement are collected every day from the provided bins here in Vienna.

From personal observation of the city's paths and a couple of recent  unfortunate incidents involving the soles of my shoes and the soft smelly brown substance I can vouch that there are still a good number of doggie-doo miscreants taking advantage of the long hours of winter darkness in this city of countless hotdog stands, 1.8 million humans, and their innumerable canines.

The joke in the cartoon is that the Viennese word for a sausage and for a piece of dog shit is the same word.  It is Wurst.

It is Wurst is an expression commonly heard here, and it means in effect: Don't worry, there's nothing to be done about it. Nevertheless it is gratifying to learn that an increasing number of dogs and their owners are making an effort to keep the streets clean and hygienic. 


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Winter concert in b-minor

at last  ------ the last movement        ------- the final glissade _______ from the strings

 of silence 

and non-
(via explosions) 

(earlier sequenced)
and echoed 
in bronchi

now underscored

of an audience 
clapped   ......../............) ...........! .............`....   out 

Joyce & Svevo, a collage

The text at top left states: 
'His affinity and friendship with Italo Svevo (born Ettore Schmitz and defined by Joyce as a "neglected writer") would prove very significant: the two met in 1907 when Svevo, who was travelling to London to attend to the Veneziani family business, was looking for an English teacher. Svevo is regarded as one of the models for Leopold Bloom, particularly in his Jewish aspects. Joyce was also inspired by Svevo's wife, Lilia Veneziani, and he referred to her long tawny mane when describing the water flowing in the river Liffey, that runs through Dublin, in Anna Livia Plurabelle, one of the chapters of Finnegans Wake.' 

It is worth noting that Svevo described Joyce's influence on his writing as "the Resurrection of Lazarus", for it restored his faith in his literary skills. His masterpiece La coscienza di Zeno (Zeno's Conscience) owes much to Joyce. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Auschwitz Liberation Day

On the 27th January, that is to say tomorrow, it will be exactly 70 years since Ukrainian troops opened the gates of the Auschwitz extermination camps and liberated those inmates who were still alive. 

The 70th anniversary of the end of Auschwitz (more than a million people perished behind those infamous Arbeit Macht Frei gates at the behest of the leaders of an educated and cultured people) should remind us that we must remain watchful.  

The anal outpourings of certain politicians, those with ambitions to deprive us of our hard worn liberties using some convenient pretext or other, should be constantly sifted for clues as to the real agenda. History has a habit of repeating itself. 

A few days ago the minute hand on the Weltuntergangsuhr or Doomsday Clock ticked forwards a couple of minutes.  The time is now  three minutes to midnight. 

There's a link to the official Auschwitz website HERE.

The photo (with caption) below shows the Vienna Holocaust Memorial, which in reality is grey,  in the city's Judenplatz. Any charred paper effect is my licentia poetica.

The text reads: 
This memorial commemorates the 65,000 Viennese Jews who were murdered during the Nazi regime. It was created on the initiative of Simon Wiesenthal (1908 - 2005). The reinforced concrete cube by the British artist Rachel Whiteread (b. 1963) represents an introverted, non-accessible library. Countless editions of the apparently same book stand for the large number of victims and their life stories. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Opening Gambit

Overwhelmed with emails:

learning German can be fun: