Intellectual Slippage

It was while looking at this photograph taken in Café Central in the very old part of Vienna that I began to realize just how absurd the tourist experience can be.

Café Central is a famous landmark, it’s where in the past, intellectuals from all over the world met. A list of luminaries too long to list, all elegantly dressed, sipped coffee, ate delicate cakes and discussed the meaning of mind here.

It is important to note the word past in the previous sentence. The guidebook may say that it was a quiet haven where the intellectual elite could relax, but today one has to queue to get in.

Also, like almost everybody in the vast room I was dressed to accommodate the weather outside, which means T-shirt and shorts, not what one would call elegant. As you can see, I, like everybody else, was also busy taking pictures.

The staff, who are elegantly dressed are still playing their role, despite the day long manic deluge of gawking tourists, but one has to wonder what they think of the vast, sweating, badly dressed herd that is the current customer base.

Bottom line, it is simply not possible to experience the past as it was. It is not even possible to get a glimpse because there are too many me’s and you’s irreparably altering the social and visual landscape.

It was too hot for coffee so I had a beer. But the room is nice in a crowded, busy sort of way.

Drinks, as one would expect, are not cheap. The cakes are wonderful.

50mm, f2.8, 1/50sec, ISO500


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