Robert Pimm

Review: Get Out – an instant classic? 9/10

A young black man goes with his white girlfriend to see her parents at their remote woodland mansion.

Bad things happen.  See the trailer.

A top reviewer and 100% trusted person recommended Get Out to me in March, but I only managed to see it on a weekend visit to Istanbul in late April and it is only now appearing in Vienna (question: (more…)

The Third Man: location photos

When I knew I would be moving to Vienna, but before this was widely known, I changed the heading on my Twitter account to a new image.

My intention was to hint, to those who knew either Vienna, me or both, that I was on the move.

The picture is an image from my all-time favourite film, set in post-war Vienna, The Third Man.  To avoid spoilers I shall not say what it depicts, but merely to look at it gives me shivers of recollection.

Vienna is rich with Third Man locations, many redolent with history.  You can even do a tour of the sewers, where key action (more…)

Review: words and music in Vienna 10/10

No-one is allowed to applaud.

After each item the audience stirs, a captive beast, constrained – and stays silent.

Only after 15 performances – seven readings by Julian Barnes, and eight piano pieces by Angela Hewitt, lasting two hours – is the audience unleashed.  Rapture ensues.

The Konzerthaus is one of Vienna’s great cultural institutions.  With four separate concert halls, it offers an eclectic range of arts designed to be accessible to a broad public.  In recent years the programme has included the “Originalton” cycle – literary readings with music.  Most authors read in German but in 2015 British author Ian McEwan read; and in 2017 it was the turn of Julian Barnes – both accompanied by Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt.

Julian Barnes and Angela Hewitt at the Konzerthaus – Photo Robert Pimm

(more…)

Review: Vienna cafes: which are best? (Part 2)

Since I published my review of Vienna cafes a couple of weeks ago it has become one of my most popular posts.  It has also harvested more comments than nearly anything else I have written.

So, as promised, I have expanded it.  Instead of reviewing three cafes, I now review six.  Additions include the Kleines Cafe; Cafe Landtmann; and, considerably less famous than either, the Ungar Grill.

Nice presentation at the Cafe Central in 2006 – Photo Robert Pimm

You can read the revised and expanded version at the link above, or here.

I’ve been particularly pleased to receive several comments recommending particular cafes as wonderful or terrible examples of what makes Vienna cafes special.  More comments, or suggestions, welcome!

More reviews, including the Cafe Museum, Cafe Sperl, and Cafe Bräunerhof, coming up soon – in some cases these are new to me and I will need to visit them first.

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Tatiana speaks: how to enjoy the Hotel Stories

Tatiana speaks:

‘If I am honest, I am surprised that although many readers are enjoying the first few Hotel Stories, in particular The Two Rooms and The White Blouse, not so many are enjoying the latest Stories.

In fact, this makes no sense at all.  This is because the latest two stories, Ask for Scarlett and The Swedish Woman are some of the best stories of all.

Click the links, and you will see what I am meaning.

What is more I am noticing that some people are buying all six Hotel Stories separately!

I am sorry to say that this is not logical.

This is because if you are buying even two Hotel Stories, the cheapest and best way and if you are asking me most sensible way all round is to buy Hotel Stories: The Complete Collection.  In this book you can read six Hotel Stories.  I guarantee this is best value and also a wonderful book.  You can buy it on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Thank you for listening.’

Tatiana

Review: Vienna cafes: which are best?

Viennese customer (standing up, exasperated, after 20 minutes of trying to get the bill) ‘Excuse me, Mr Waiter; I’d like to pay, please.’

Head Waiter (chatting to other waiters on the other side of the room) ‘If you’re in such a hurry, you should have stayed at home.’

This is a true story from Vienna, 1986 – I was there.  If my host that day (then working in the Town Hall) is reading this, do get in touch.

The entrance to the Cafe Hawelka – photo Robert Pimm

How good are Viennese cafes?  Is it even fair for me to assess them, as a foreigner who has lived only three and a half years in the city, all but the last six months back in the 1980s?

Most Viennese cafes are excellent.  I like the fact that (more…)

Definitive: Chuck Berry’s 7 greatest tracks (with clips)

Should you feel sad or celebrate when a musical icon of your youth is no more?

Here’s a list to celebrate.  Seeing others’ lists of the Shakespeare of Rock’n’Roll’s top songs, I thought readers deserved something more definitive and (dare I say?) imaginative.  So here are my personal 7 favourite Chuck Berry tracks.

“I-40 heading west” – 1979 hitch-hiking photo by Robert Pimm

7. Almost Grown (1959) – a paean to teenagerhood (curiously, the word for a teenager in Russian, Подросток, means “almost grown”).  As so often with this most original singer-songwriter, the lyrics are exquisite as the restless teenager grows up – and settles down (“Now I really have a ball/So I don’t browse around at all”).

6.  Brown Eyed Handsome Man (1956) has funny, not to say absurd lyrics about the sex-appeal of brown-eyed, handsome men – like Chuck Berry himself (“Milo Venus was a beautiful lass/She had the world in the palm of her hand/She lost both her arms in a wrestling match/To get a brown eyed handsome man”).  Plus, as always, passionate guitar riffs. (more…)

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