Book look: ABBA & agents

A landmark photo book about one of the most successful bands in pop is shifting the standards for band encyclopaedias. Now, as the German edition of the abbapublication has been released, fans of ABBA are getting the chance to get as close to their idols as possible. The 400-page tome does not just feature more than 600 photographs. “ABBA. Die ganze Geschichte in 600 Bildern” also includes comments by the four band members. Here, they reveal their personal feelings concerning certain situations on the road. Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida also speak about the different stages of their careers, sharing colourful anecdotes with their fans. The images are brilliant as they are taking readers behind the curtain. The Swedish pop giants’ fame is not the only aspect. “ABBA. Die ganze Geschichte in 600 Bildern” also offers insights on the musicians’ private lives. Exciting tour photos, information regarding the hit musical and film blockbuster “Mamma Mia!” will please ABBA fans as much as intimate images taken behind the stage. Bottom line: a fantastic book about a fantastic band.

ABBA. Die ganze Geschichte in 600 Bildern
By Jan Gradvall, Petter Karlsson, Sascha Kirchner and Julia Gschwilm
Published by National Geographic Deutschland (

Sepp Blatter’s reelection as FIFA president could be considered as the latest evidence that global soccer is all about economic aspects and being in charge. Television companies are paying millions to leagueassociations and clubs for broadcasting rights while merchandising and sports equipment manufacturers are benefiting from the unabated football hype. The business of agents is another controversial part of the game. Few of them household names, deals are done in intimate backrooms of luxury hotels and airport lobbies. Now a German football expert presents a precise analysis of the thrilling business behind sensational transfers. Kai Psotta explains what happens before players join a new club for sky-high sums. The transfers of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Gareth Bale have dominated the headlines of newspapers for weeks. In his new 300-page book “Die Paten der Liga”, Psotta also writes about the German Bundesliga’s powerful managers and agents. Furthermore, the Bild reporter portrays FC Barcelona’s youth academy La Masia – and reveals how clubs lure the world’s most talented young players.

Die Paten der Liga. Spielerberater und ihre Geschäfte
By Kai Psotta
Published by Piper (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Metternich and masterpieces

A new exhibition documents the cultural life in the Austrian capital during the Congress of Vienna.1

State leaders from all over Europe gathered in the city in 1814 and 1815 to debate the future of the continent which had been shattered by various conflicts. The Viennese Belvedere’s “Europa in Wien. Der Wiener Kongress 1814/1815” (Europe in Vienna. The Congress of Vienna 1814/1815) goes far beyond the political discussions. Curators avoided lengthy explanatory texts regarding these issues – a clever move which helps visitors keeping their focus on the beauty of artworks created around 200 years ago. The political circumstances have been analysed in numerous books.

Visitors of the Belvedere exhibit – which is split into two parts due to its expansive volume – find some excellent caricatures, precious furniture and many paintings by Johann Nepomuk Hoechle. However, a portrait painted by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller and Jacques-Louis David’s Napoleon masterpiece are the exhibition’s artistic highlights. Another outstanding object on display is the final document of the congress signed by Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich and several other diplomats and politicians attending the conference.


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Vienna & Jerusalem

Richard Lugner is desperate for attention. Michael Häupl is overweight. The people of Vienna are addicted to coffee. The real meaning of Sigmund Freud’s cigar. These subjects and many more controversial aspects regarding the Austrian capital are the topics of a new cartoon collection. “Cartoons über Wien” features amusing drawings by more than 20 Austrian and international artists. Clemens Haipl (“Projekt X”), Volker Kischkel (Focus, Titanic) and many others have contributed cartoons to this fine 60-page publication by Holzbaum.

Cartoons über Wien
By Teja Fischer, Bernd Ertl and many others
Published by Holzbaum (

Wolfgang Büscher has been praised for his travel reports. After walking from Berlin to Moscow, he decided to hike from the US-Canadian border to the United States-Mexican frontier. His portraits of people living along the road to the Russian capital were released in 2003 (“Berlin – Moskau. Eine Reise zu Fuß“). In 2011, Büscher published a book about his trip across the United States. His books are full of colourful memories of cities, landscapes and people. Büscher is capable of creating a very special atmosphere, enabling the reader to comprehend his feelings and impressions. Now the 64-year-old German presents a book about the capital of Israel. “Ein Frühling in Jerusalem” has received almost unanimous acclaim by critics who praise the book for considering the vibrant and exciting present of the city’s young inhabitants but also its political and religious conflicts in past and present.

Ein Frühling in Jerusalem
By Wolfgang Büscher
Published by Rowohlt Berlin (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Bayern & Bruce

German sports writer Ben Redelings (“Tausche Schwester gegen Endspielkarte”) has released an immensely entertaining collection of Bayern Munich anecdotes. “Ben Redelings’ Bayern-Album” features legendary statements by celebrated players of the popular club – from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to Dietmar Hamann and Mehmet Scholl. It is no surprise that infamous loudmouths like 1990 World Cup winner Lothar Matthäus are honoured with some extra pages. The rich variety and comprehensive approach are the album’s strength. Funny photographs and memorable magazine covers were considered as well to please every fan of the Bundesliga champions.

Ben Redelings’ Bayern-Album
By Ben Redelings
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

A new picture book documents the impressive career of Bruce Springsteen. The rock star from New Jersey has had an enormous influence on fellow musicians over the decades. Being able to delight fans in sold-out stadiums as well as in intimate clubs, “The Boss” is still going strong. Now the German edition of a comprehensive anthology has been released. “Springsteen Retrospektive” focuses on Springsteen’s albums, from his 1973 debut “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” to “High Hopes” (2014). US music journalist Ryan White analyses the impact of legendary songs such as “The River” and “Dancing in the Dark”. Fans will be pleased to find detail information regarding band line-up, track lists and the production of all the albums. This 290-page release offers the chance to discover this unique musician, but it also provides die-hard Bruce fans with essential background information as well as intimate photographs taken behind the curtains and on the road.

Springsteen Retrospektive
By Ryan White
Published by Edel (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Rapid desperate for derby revenge

Rapid Vienna are aiming at taking revenge as they face city rivals FK Austria on Sunday.

The team managed by Zoran Barisic are focusing on securing second place in the Bundesliga while FK Austria want to achieve some kind of happy end to what has been a poor season. Former national team striker Andreas Ogris is currently coaching the side, but a new manager will be presented within the coming days. Ex-German Bundesliga coaches Armin Veh and Felix Magath could take the hot seat at Vienna-1Favoriten while Barisic has the Rapid board’s unanimous support.

The Green-Whites beat Altach last weekend 3-1 after being 0-1 down while FK Austria failed to score against Franco Foda’s Sturm Graz (0-0). All eyes will be on Robert Beric this Sunday afternoon (kickoff: 4.30pm) as the Slovenian striker is currently arguably the home side’s most dangerous weapon.

However, the skills of FK Austria must not be underestimated as the 2014/2015 ÖFB Cup finalists, who are only seventh in the 10-team league – won the most recent Vienna Derby. And it seems that the away team does not appreciate fan support at the match venue, the Ernst Happel Stadium, despite the special occasion of clashing with the key rival. FK Austria Vienna decided to organise a free of charge public viewing event at their Franz Horr Stadium.

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: animals & architecture

Mass consumption, low-quality meat products and disastrous conditions at big slaughtering businesses – the pressure on the industry is increasing as more and more people are adopting a healthy lifestyle. Television documentaries, newspaper articles and books keep informing us about the scandals of the food industry and reveal the problems caused by unclear regulations regarding organic products labelling and quality management. Hilal Sezgin’s new book offers a panorama view on the manifold aspects of the coexistence of mankind and animals. She presents positive examples and difficulties. Sezgin writes about attempts to protect animals and portrays the life of all kinds of animals. The seasons structure her book. While Sezgin – a freelance writer whose articles have been published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit and other papers – contributes the texts for “Hilal Sezgins Tierleben”, Rotraut Susanne Berner is in charge of the book’s illustrations.

Hilal Sezgins Tierleben. Von Schweinen und anderen Zeitgenossen
By Hilal Sezgin and Rotraut Susanne Berner
Published by C.H. Beck (

Vienna is booming in various regards – rising population figures, a constantly high number of tourists, the organisation of big cultural events like the Eurovision Song Contest. wienFurthermore, the city is ranked among the top locations in several quality of living studies. However, the number of problems politicians and inhabitants will have to face is increasing as well. Heavy traffic keeps straining the Austrian capital city’s infrastructure. Complex architectural challenges are evident as well. Now an experienced photographer has documented the status quo and recent developments. Margret Wenzel-Jelinek’s pictures reveal the changes Vienna’s roads and buildings have gone through recently. “Wien wertvoll” also informs about ambitious projects such as the construction of Austria’s highest building, the 250-metre DC Tower skyscraper. Renowned experts on traffic, environment and architecture such as Hermann Knoflacher, Helga Kromp-Kolb and Gustav Peichl analyse the current difficulties and offer and outlook on future developments.

Wien wertvoll
By Margret Wenzel-Jelinek
Published by Styria Premium (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Ute Mahler & the mountains

Cloudy skies. Scarce living room furniture. Shabby bars and dirty playgrounds. At a first glance, Ute Mahler’s series of photographs convey a rather dull and depressive atmosphere. However, the renowned photographer refuses to answer questions. Her images work like tasks. The spectator has to find out what could be going on. Is this couple not looking at each other because they just had an argument? Or are they remaining silent for a moment together, happy with their simple but harmonic life? Many but not all of the photos Mahler took for her “Zusammenleben” series depict couples. Some are portraits as we know them, others appear more spontaneous. Now they are published in a book for the first time. Hatje Cantz has just released “Zusammenleben” which also features an article by Sibylle Berg in German, English and French. Mahler was born in the GDR. The “Zusammenleben” shots were taken behind the Iron Curtain. After its fall, she co-founded Ostkreuz, a prestigious photo agency.

By Ute Mahler
Published by Hatje Cantz (

Mountainous landscapes have always been a popular subject for painters and photographers. A new picture book documents the developments in landscape photography in the Alps. The 140-page publication “Jenseits der Ansichtskarte. Die Alpen in der Fotografie” features photos by more than 50 artists, including Mathias Kessler, Sonja Braas and Michael Reisch. The book’s contents are based on an exhibition of the same name which was on display in the German city of Waiblingen, Baden-Württemberg, and Bregenz in Vorarlberg, western Austria. The force of nature dominates many images – mighty rocks covered by fog, ice and snow dominate photographs which look like still lifes. However, some photographers also focused on life in the Alps and the effects of skiing tourism.

Jenseits der Ansichtskarte. Die Alpen in der Fotografie
By Zara Reckermann, Nina Pfeiffer and others
Published by Hirmer (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Canaletto & cartoons

The most significant works by Bernardo Bellotto are now collected in a superb picture book. “Canaletto. Bernardo Bellotto malt Europa” cahas been released in connection with an acclaimed exhibition at the Alte Pinakothek gallery in Munich. The book – edited by exhibit curator Andreas Schumacher, Julia Thoma and Theresa Wagner – offers a very precise overview on the famous Italian artist’s oeuvre. Canaletto, as he was called, focused on depictions of picturesque city squares from Venice to Dresden and Vienna. However, his creative output is even more multi-faceted, as this new Hirmer publication reveals. The book – which is out in German and English – also features several etchings and rich information on the painter’s background, his inspirations and intentions.

Canaletto. Bernardo Bellotto malt Europa
By Andreas Schumacher, Julia Thoma and Theresa Wagner
Published by Hirmer (

Does anyone remember the days when a vegan lifestyle was considered as unusual, strange or even scandalous? Vegetarian nutrition and vegan diets are SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAanything but extraordinary nowadays as an increasing number of people are questioning their eating habits. Books, apps and television shows dealing with the matter are immensely popular. Even a vegan ball took place in Vienna-Donaustadt in February. Now even cartoons are going vegan, as a new book shows. “Vegane Cartoons” published by Holzbaum features funny drawings by cartoonists from Germany and Austria like Til Mette, Lisa Semrad and Oliver Ottitsch. It is interesting to discover the different graphic styles and senses of humour the artists are working with. On 65 pages, a rich variety of topics is covered while vegan food acts as the leading subject.

Vegane Cartoons
By Clemens Ettenauer and Johanna Bergmayr
Published by Holzbaum (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas