Who's batty and nuts here?

2nd March 2017 | Text: Hubert von Goisern

Open letter in response to an album review of Bilderbuch's Magic Life in the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard.
(the editorial team lacks the courage and sportsmanship to publish it as a reader's letter)


When in the seventies Paul McCartney was regularly dismissed and vilified in spite (or because?) of his many number 1 hits and sold out tours, he quite rightly asked what he had done to provoke such attacks on him and his band Wings, as though they a danger to society. As if instead of music, they were producing missiles and tanks, with which they were attacking mankind.

Dear Christian Schachinger, what you have delivered in Der Standard over the past two decades reminds me every time of Paul's words. Your resistance to upgrowth is astounding. Is it the thinking "the more enemies, the more honour" that fuels you? What have Bilderbuch done for you to attack them as if they'd spat in your beer? Perhaps you underestimate the power of the written word? How else can someone treat his gift so carelessly and irresponsibly? Is the need to give someone a roasting a requirement for you to feel your own raison d'être and authority to write? Though your sweeping blows against everything that isn't urban are often eloquent and witty, they ultimately come across as polemic rampages. In so doing you serve your clientele no less than H.C. or Gabalier serve theirs.

We live in a time where alienation within our society is becoming ever more of a problem. I'm talking here about city vs countryside. You should have better things to do than complain about or condemn everything that comes from the provinces. You deride the language of those who "didn't graduate in Döbling (a bourgeois Viennese district), but rather outside among the vegetables". Where did you graduate? Rumour has it you come from the Upper Austrian province. Is it the struggle with your own roots that is giving you problems?

And what is this insinuation that the music of Bilderbuch is "from the school of bawdy farmer rock" and intended for "people with short attention spans"? I saw Bilderbuch live for the first time last year at a festival in Italy. And I believe that their music is among the best and most innovative that Austria currently has to offer. You are of course free to reject someone else's art and way of life, but in a serious newspaper such as Der Standard, I find your reflexive spite to be out of place. And I don't buy your assertion that "I am paid for people insulting me" (Noisey; 17.2.2016). And if it's true, you cast a gloomy light over your employer.
Try a novel sometime and vent yourself on fictitious characters - in other words, become an artist yourself.

With discordant greetings from Salzburg, Hubert von Goisern