The Rooster in Brussels or Austria’s Twitter ‘Evolution’

31 10 2009

Cremer_Hahn_28102009 Photo: Students protesting in the streets of Vienna, Oct. 29. Photo Credit: Cremer / Der Standard.

“I feel already well-equipped, and speaking English daily will hopefully not cause me to forget German,” Johannes Hahn – the last name Hahn translated into English means rooster or cock – replied confidently in his first public interview with the daily Der Standard of Oct. 28, when asked about his English language knowledge after his surprise nomination as Austria’s EU Commissioner. The current Federal Minister for Science and Research, in office since January 2007, will be Austria’s most influential European politician as part of Emanuel Barroso’s second European Commission.

With the unanimous decision by the Austrian government of Oct. 27 lunchtime, the show-down between the two coalition partners – Werner Faymann’s Social democrats and Josef Pröll’s Conservative ÖVP – eventually found an abupt end. The contest of nomination was mere on the surface, though, as Faymann declared already months ago that his party – though strongest in the Austrian Parliament – would not nominate a commissioner, but played a risky tactical game of which Conservative nominee they would support.
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EURO2008 City Scenes: Austria Survived, Just About – A Chat Review

15 06 2008

Photo: Polish supporters in Vienna; not to be confused with Austrian supporters, who dress red-white-red!

The final crunch test for the Austrian team approached on Thursday, June 12, 2008. Having lost against Croatia the Sunday before (0:1, though with a strong performance in the second half), another loss would have meant the end of the Austrian participation in the tournament. Would Austria’s fate that evening as its co-host Switzerland the day before?

Fate had another path that night, though for long stretches of the game it seemed that the end of Austria’s EURO2008 dreams of reaching at least the semi-finale was rather unlikely. If your German is good enough, you should read the lovely commentary by my colleagues of on that game; some of them were actually watching the game live at the Ernst-Happel-Stadium. According to the writer, there were four acts to the day and the game, with an unknown enthusiasm (Act II) from the Austrian fans for their national team, for about the first 30 minutes. Their attack skills in particular captivated the fans – the execution of scoring evidently less, because no goal was scored then. A picturesque passage I would like to quote here (in my English translation):

“Team and Fans became one, the emotions on the pitch and on the echelons merged to one collective though of the sea of senses and yearning for the first success in red-white-red at the European Championship emerged with every attack yet again to a national football delirium.”

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1,000 Readers & a Happy New Year 2008!

19 01 2008

Slideshow: Some Firework shots, New Year celebration in Vienna 2008 . Copyright: Matthias Wurz

What can I say? Today, almost exactly three months after my first entry in my blog here I have reached 1,000 unique hits! This is amazing, because this is not a commercial site, and I have no time at this stage to strategically develop it, or contribute as regularly as I wish. Nevertheless, there were always readers here, even at times when I had not written anything for weeks. I can only say: Thank you very much!

Let us celebrate this day with some fireworks! And let me also wish you and your families my best regards for the New Year 2008! Despite that I was ill during the holiday season, I was able to watch some of the excellent firework displays from my own apartment on New Year’s Eve, and some of the pictures you can see here now.

Please come back regularly, as I shall be contributing almost daily. This blog is, however, different, from most other blogs, as the entries are much longer. This is because I am drafting stories for the newspaper, or analyze and comment political events, rather than quickly reporting them as any other news agency, paper or television station. It takes time to write and consequently to read. This is, after all, a blog for readers – for You!

The coming days are exciting as ever: Tomorrow are the elections in Graz, and the tension of what effect the racist campaign of the far-right FPÖ has on the overall election result is one I shall be commenting tomorrow. Also, the Democratic Caucasus in Nevada takes place today, and its equally unpredictable result shall give me the opportunity to comment on the political phenomenon Barack Obama.

Lots to come and lots to read! Stay on course, comment on what I am writing and, if applicable, disagree with me. That’s what journalism and writing blogs is all about.

A Blogger’s Happy Life

23 10 2007

Well, when I spread my wings on the weekend and started this blog, I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself into. I expected very little – that is not meant in a negative way – but after all, I am totally inexperienced in blogging. And who would read what I have to say?

Well, this is the second day in my venture, and when my blog registered almost 30 hits yesterday, I thought this cannot get any better for the time being. I was wrong: I have now almost 40 hits and the day has still some hours left. All I did on Sunday night when I went public was to inform my 50-something contacts about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Blank Page

7 10 2007

This is my blog. After looking at numerous blogs, I decided: “I also can do this”. Writing about things I care about, and that is my home, the magnificent city of Vienna, Austria. About the musical scene, the political developments and the international flair it has developed over the past decades.

As a musician and Music Critic for The Vienna Review, it seemed logic to publish more material on the subject matter in English; particularly as I collected a a lot of material which I am never able to use for my stories published.

But then again, there is reality, and for me as a writer there is nothing so frightening than looking at a blank page that needs to be filled with words. Not that I have no ideas, rather the contrary: I need to sit down and and select, focus and cut. But the blog gives me the opportunitiy to collect my thoughts, assemble material – interviews and background – to my stories, which should enable the reader to learn more about the citiy’s life.

But on my frequent travels within Austria and abroad I collect more stories and materials. And my academic background – aside of being trained as a conductor, musicologist and journalist – is in International Relations. So, you will also find, in due course, stories on matters of international politics. And, of course, my second home was the United Kingdom for over seven years. Therefore, I follow the political events there with greater interest than any other European country, except of my native Austria.

I think, for the beginning, I have successfully overcome my fear of blank pages. However, I ask of your patience, as it might take some time for me next entry here. Afterall, I am a beginner here in blogging. Please, keep reading, commenting or making suggestions.