Fame & Forstner

Tex Rubinowitz has raised doubts over whether Austrians were actually as tolerant as everyone claimed after Conchita Wurst’s Eurovision triumph.

The singer – who failed breaking through as Tom Neuwirth before inventing his androgynous stage personality – sensationally won the competition four years ago. Now Rubinowitz claimed: “The atmosphere in Austria would have become even more homophobe and hostile had she returned without winning any points. And I’m dead certain Conchita would have been asked to appear in ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’”

Speaking to news magazine Profil, the German author who settled in Vienna in 1984, revealed his passion for the Eurovision Song Contest which is, according to Rubinowitz, not about music but a perfect reflection of sociological developments in society. He said: “Thomas Forstner, who flopped in 1991, had to face hatred and mockery. He was 21 years old back then and deeply traumatised.”

Asked whether writers were expected to deal with tough social circumstances before finally making their way to the top, the cartoonist and author of acclaimed books such as “Die Fliegen” and “Irma” said: “I still have to justify my success as I’m just some bloke drawing funny stuff. You got to be Kafka and suffer from tuberculosis. Puberty had to be hell. Then you don’t have to justify anything.”

He told newspaper Kurier: “I’m forced to justify what I have achieved all the time – towards colleagues who did not win the Bachmann Award.”

Rubinowitz was awarded the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2014. He is known for speaking at readings off the cuff, preferring to speak about his latest release spontaneously instead of reading certain parts. “Most authors can’t read properly. They lean at their desks, reading their texts monotonously.”

As far as handling fame is concerned, the 56-year-old told Profil: “I moved out when I was 16, taking on different jobs. Not having to turn up for work at eight in the morning is priceless.”

Lass mich nicht allein mit ihr
By Tex Rubinowitz
Published by Rowohlt (www.rowohlt.de)

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