Mid-afternoon crisis

I’ve realised that there isn’t quite enough moaning and complaining on this cantankerous blog. Frankly, Hallein is so stultifyingly dull at times that there’s little to get cross and worked-up about. But I will seriously try harder.

Yet…. the silence, the snow, the silence….it’s a little bit like the novel Reykjavik 101, but without the culture. That’s a great novel about an adolescent thirty-something living with his mother in Iceland, spending all of his time watching bad imported British TV shows, and going to bars. The pretext of the book is the boredom, the Generation X-tacy’ of  the protagonists days..I’m envious. Reykjavik, for me, sounds thriving to me. The narrator should have set it in Hallein, Austria. Here, (indeed, in Austria generally I think) shops must -by law- close on Sunday. That’s not a bad thing, I don’t particularly enjoy shops or shopping. But the fact that it is enforced winds me up a bit, even though I despair at the general activity of Sunday shopping as a kind of family thing to do in the UK. They should re-introduce compulsory Sunday walks in the countryside with picnics and conservation work. It used to be enforced, didn’t it?

I’m full of contradictions today. It was beautiful, crisp, bright sunshine and snow here – and Sunday. We’re surrounded by mountains, fresh air, alpine monuments, sports a-plenty. I spent the day watching re-runs of the Soprano’s and making chutney. Actually, a pretty decent way to spend time, but I really should have got out and about. Now I can feel some full-on pessimism settling in.

So, what else?

Biathlon. Winter sports. Avid watchers of it, the Austrians and Germans. It’s watchable, don’t get me wrong, but what bugs me is the spectators who stand at one point cheering. Like any circuit sport, you only see a few seconds of participants passing by, ring a bell or two, stand around freezing. We have to watch biathlon though as it’s in the family.Biathlon, skiing, ski-jumping…ice skating…winter sports…bring back compulsory shopping.

Hmmm, the video shop. A hub of culture here, besides the Celtic history museum, a couple of kebab shops, a bar or two, and ummm, no that’s it. No, really.

I wonder if anyone goes to video/DVD rental shop these days? Hard to find, I think. No small wonder. Listen:

The one here has a pitiful selection of action films and awful American spoofs of things. Piss. Poor. Usually, we spend about an hour in there, passive smoking (it’s next to a bookies and a porn shop), scanning the same videos, desperately hoping to be surprised by the manager having mistakenly ordered something of interest. Sadly, our efforts are mostly fruitless. Now yesterday, we thought of two films we wanted to see – at least one of which we knew to be there – 127 hours. “Don’t smoke just yet hon’ – no need” …we walked in…usual skulking weird people who have nothing better to do….thick, cancerous choking air…posters for 10 year old B-movies on the wall, racks of films you’ve never heard of…

Then, we actually saw three or four covers of interest -as if they’ve had an overhaul in stock and discoverd cinema isn’t just about Van Damme. But something wasn’t right. The place was still. People were leaning against the dispensers with even less than the usual dead look in their eyes. Instead, a kind of sad, remorseful, vacant hopelessness wept from the blind dull reflections on the grey glass screens…Grey, dead, empty…: the machines were all out of order. Each and every one. Alas, as the premises of these moribund industries are no longer staffed by humans we couldn’t get any of the thrilling titles we’d found out on loan. Dolph Lungren, may your back catalogue await for another weekend. Also, as it was now beyond 7pm, all the supermarkets were closed. Another pedantic law. We were bereft of anything to do. Glumly, we traced our way home through the desolate night, the snow falling in cinematic sorrow, Thom Yorke crooning miserably on the car radio (probably), as we helplessly resigned ourselves to a night of Austrian television. “Never mind baby, perhaps Austrian Rock Idol is on. We could get some Pringles from the garage?” I sobbed softly into my safety belt, and plotted my sleep.

Another eventful Saturday night in Hallein.

But today, Chutney. Brighter, better….now following the LIVE feed of a football match on the BBC, in which – owing to broadcasting rights – one can read excitedly what breathless commentators have to write about a game, including text and Twitter updates from fans.

Life’s a bit ridiculous sometimes.

Think I’ll just read a book and snap out of this..



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2 responses to “Mid-afternoon crisis

  1. Good grief, sounds dreadful!

    You must have something like LoveFilm or NetFlix you can use if the VIDEO SHOP (imagine such a thing!!) is entirely broken…surely. It’s a basic human right to have 65 billion films at your disposal online.

    I’m not sure anything could make me watch Austrian Rock Idol. I’m currently obsessed with Borgen, and my head is spinning with Danish intonations. Today it got so bad in the Post Office I thought people were speaking Danish. But Alas, it was just Cockney.

    • Hey Chris!

      Thing is, the internet is rationed out in my building, so we have a limit on bandwidth and can’t download. Imagine it?! Well, we survive. In fact, I was trying to be extremely crass in my posting just to keep the general vibe of negativity going… I do regret it now. This is a delightful place to live, of course. Almost as vibrant as Birmingham.

      See you at the residentials

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