Quote-of-the-Month author: American poet the late Richard Brautigan

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Iphigenie en Aulide et Tauride

Enthusiastic applause and bravi followed last night's performance of Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera Iphigenie en Aulide et Tauride at Vienna's Theater an der Wien.

          Congratulations to all involved in the presentation of the dramatic tragedy; and not least for demonstrating on the stage the inner-politics and public 'spin' combination required to conduct a brutal war. First the martyrdom and then the populace can live with the breaking news of mass burials and defeats and images of the lined-up dead awaiting body bags. The people have been persuaded that the blood sacrificed, right or wrong, is a price worth  paying. As it was in ancient Greece so it is today. 

The Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Leo Hussain drenched the auditorium with the atmosphere required. The stark white scenery, the funeral black clothing, the strong lighting, befitted the tragedy. 

Veronique Gens in the title role was outstanding. Stephan Degout and Rainer Trost, brothers struggling to sacrifice themselves for each other had us gripping our nerves. The sinister Andreas Jankowitsch patrolling with his knife on the heels of his next victim is a man cut out for the role . . .

Highly recommended. Further performances: 24th, 27th, and 29th October 2014. 


When it comes to the business of warfare today, simply by sitting in front of our TV sets we can all have good seats at the show. 

Song for the TV War-Embedded
    "Art owes its continuous evolution to the Apollonian - Dionysiac duality . . .  the constant conflicts and periodic acts of reconciliation."   - Friedrich Nietzche

rat catcher tricks
and killer of dragons

wander abroad

with a revelling
by scenes
to the ruins . .

the thin veil 

of the deep 
subtraction  .
        to the eloquent
essence in war's
                       shock and awe
 the witch's cauldron 
the savage urges 
  of a mind  par excellence        


holding up 
the Gorgon's head

blood  drips 

 day labour 
for an afterlife 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Mayerling Affair

Yesterday, as well as visiting Hafnerberg I went to the nearby visitor centre at Mayerling. The official story of the events  of 30th January 1889 is well-known. But there are many alternative theories as to what may really have happened. I will provide a link at the foot of this post. 

Mayerling today

Mayerling at the time of the tragedy 

One version of the Events of Wednesday January 30th 1889

6:30am The Crown Prince ordered the valet Loscheck to leave and to wake him in an hour.

7:30am Loscheck returned to awaken the Crown Prince but there was no response. The door to the bedroom was locked contrary to practice. Hoyos arrived and only then learned of the presence of Mary Vetsera. He waited for Coburg.

8:10am Coburg appeared and they decided to break down the door. Loscheck reported that both the Crown Prince and Mary Vetsera were dead.

8:30am Hoyos travelled to Vienna to inform the Emperor.

9:00am Loscheck telegraphed the personal physician and hid Mary Vetsera's corpse.

10:00am Hoyos arrived at the Hofburg and initially informed Chief Chamberlain Bombelles. The Empress's Lady-in-Waiting informed the Emperor that Mary Vetsera had poisoned the Crown Prince.

11:00am Helene Vetsera learnt of her daughter and the Crown Prince's  deaths from the Empress. Official version: 'Stroke'.

12:30pm Post-mortem by Dr. Widerhofer. Verdict: Both had been shot.

4:00pm Arrival of an official commission in Mayerling.

7:00pm Rudolf's corpse moved to Vienna.

Cab driver Bratfisch 

The Bratfisch account in booklet form

Suicide note 

Rudolf's note to his wife

Rudolf in naval uniform
LINK to Wikipedia

Monday, 20 October 2014

Meeting in Hafnerberg

The Hafnerberg Menhir (maen hir)


Christ being stripped

Nailing Christ to the cross

This morning I went to Hafnerberg and there I walked from the village church along the Via Sacra, a pilgrim way in the Vienna Woods. The path climbed through woodland and I discovered there were 14 stations of the cross along the way. Two are shown here.

The path then emerged from the woods and I entered a gated field in which the stations of the cross trail ended. I climbed a small hill in the field and in 5 minutes I was at the top and standing beside the Druidenstein Felsnadel and a sign stating that I was in an area of positive electro-magnetic healing energy.

As I gazed at the rock I became aware of a presence. I glanced behind me and saw a friendly farm dog. Her name was Asta, perhaps named after the cute fox terrier in the 1930's film The Thin Man, but there the resemblance ended.

I found Asta's name on a tag on her collar. In her mouth she was carrying a pine cone which she politely dropped at my feet. The message was clear. We would play for a spell.

I threw the pine cone hither and thither for nearly half an hour. It was impossible to tire her out. She ran up and down the hill chasing this way and that and all the time gaily tumbling over and jumping back to her feet.

She always quickly retrieved the pine cone even when it lay amid others or was concealed in dense undergrowth. She often found the pine cone by using her acute sense of smell.

Finally I returned to the main path and of course Asta accompanied me. A final throw of the pine cone then.

And then a voice calling Asta from a farm house two fields away.

The dog galloped home, it seemed to me with unflagging energy, and I walked thoughtfully down the hill and back to Hafnerberg.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Friday, 17 October 2014

The View from the Top

The View from the Top 

and going down 

the plughole

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