36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 004: To the dorms, to the discotek


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 4 — To the dorms, to the discotek
06-August-1971 (Fri.)


Have been staying at Hotel Vindobana. Nice, but slightly expensive. Will leave today.

New address: from 6-Aug. to 4-Sept.

A-1010 Wien 1
Johannesgasse xxx

Very nice rooms. Plenty of room and space.

This is where the instrumentalists of the Music Academy stay during the year. Take lessons here, etc. Will see if I can stay here during the year.

My German seems to be working very well. Mostly everyone can basically understand me—and only fünf lektion from Herr Schmidt.

Put away clothes. Suits too wrinkled. Found a cleaner, bought hangers, soap, towel, etc. See what responsibility does?

At dinner, TV was on. Americans shouldn’t complain about commercials. There were at least 10 minutes of straight commercials. Then the news came on, almost as bad here in Europe as in the U.S.—P.S. The commercials are just as stupid.

Lonely…walked around at night. Vienna just as beautiful at night. At the dorm, saw a little of some type of oriental dancing…interesting.

Since I was lonely, I went to my first discotek—Voom-Voom. Unbelievable place. I had three strikes against me: (1) Didn’t know German, (2) dressed too neat, and (3) hair not long enough. “Möchten-sie dance?” — “Nein.” Somewhat corny by American standards. Dumpy place, painted weird. American rock—slightly old. Only a few people seemed to be having a good time. Seemed to be a “fad” place. (1) Long hair–almost everyone; (2) dance weird; (3) bra-less mädchens—practically everyone..I think I’ll go back again sometime.


Where to stay? Well, I finally mention the hotel I stayed in. I guess it will be ok to leave in the names of real places. I wonder if they are still in business. I can remember a bit about the street that it was on.

I leave the expensive hotel to go to the student dormitory. I will only be staying here during the summer, that is for the duration of the German language course. The school is where instrumentalists stay during the year, and so you know, this is a music school.

Learning German. I mention that I have taken a few lessons in German back home, before I left for Europe. That was a grand total of five lessons. That’s it. I don’t remember any other prior experience with German. I took French in high school. Thanks to Mr. S., my teacher in NJ.

So, I decide to go to Austria for a year of graduate study, where they speak German, without having had much experience with German. Remember, I’m a graduate. I’m supposed to be smart. Well, I didn’t remember much French either. So the question begs, why?

Why Vienna? Why did I choose Vienna? Vienna was a city full of music and music history—composers Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, Brahms, Mahler, Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg were some of the composers writing music in Vienna. The Vienna State Opera, the Volksoper (Folk Opera), the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the school where I would study, the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (The Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) sealed the deal. It was a great choice. It was the city of music. You will see, that before long, I will fall in love with Vienna.

As an aside, I met someone today, in the present time, from Germany. I briefly mentioned my stay in Vienna and the idea of this blog. He told me that today’s Vienna is different than 36 years ago. Well, now I’ll have to go back! Maybe it’ll be a sequel to this blog. Wouldn’t that be nice! I suppose, after 36 years, all cities and places change.

Life's little details. As you see, this journal will contain a fair amount of the little details of life. I’m the first to say that I’m not interested in other people telling me what they ate, how they burped, and their adventures washing their clothes. So, skip ahead on these sentences.

36 years ago there are a large number of commercials on TV per hour in Austria. That did surprise me. It also surprises me that we now have 10-15 minutes of commercials per hour on cable TV in the U.S. Remember when the lure of cable TV was that it didn’t have commercials? Surprise, surprise. Life is full of surprises.

Disco fever. Bra-less fever. Back in Vienna, I’m lonely. So what do I do? Hit the discotek. Remember, this is after the 60’s but not much after. My hair was always just regular, a little long, but not hippie-long. Here I am chiding the hippies with long hair, how they dance, and the bra-less girls. How do you spell bra-less? This is a theme that will repeat many times. I don’t suppose you noticed my youthful male infatuation with girls that don’t wear bras? Ah yes, the good old days, the good old bra-less girls. Actually, in college back home during the late 60s, I didn’t remember anyone being a bra-less hippie-girl in my school. I had to go to Austria to meet the 60s. So, I take it back, I love the discotek. How many times did I mention bra-less in this paragraph? 5


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