Songbook / The Sound Of Us Playing Together
And As The Ship Went Down, You'd Never Looked Finer
True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston cover)

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Woodpigeon

My Mother, Waltraud Hammerling, was born in Vienna in 1947, right around the time Carol Reed was filming The Third Man in the city with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten. My friends Withered Hand and The Hidden Cameras have both done sessions with They Shoot Music, so when the idea arose to do some filming together in Vienna, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to visit the addresses where my mother spent her formative youth. First we went to Simmeringer Haupstrasse 102, where my Opa Franzel-Wilhelm Hammerling’s workshop was located. Franzel was a carpenter and woodworker, and around our homes in Canada we still have some of the items of furniture and carvings he made. Presently there is a small hardware store where his workshop was, which is somewhat fitting — the space is still being used for a similar purpose. We went around into the back courtyard, where I sang a song about memory called ‘Oberkampf’. What was strangest about visiting this place, however, was walking on the street immediately in front of the shop. The details of the story aren’t entirely clear to me but I do know my Opa’s mother was blind, and on coming to visit her son in his shop, she was hit by a car and killed. I’m not entirely sure, but I think the story I’ve heard involves her accident taking place right in front of the shop. It was a strange sensation to sing behind the building, but at the same time it also felt as though I was paying some sort of tribute to the ghosts of my family. We wandered over to Krausegasse 3, the home of my mother in her youth, and I sang in the back parking lot. Sadly, it appears that both the building here and at Simmeringer Haupstrasse 102 no longer exist as they did back then. Still, it felt somewhat monumental to be there and wander up and down these streets with They Shoot Music. We ended our time together by sitting in a cafe on the same street and ordering food from a barman I suspect may have been around the same years my Mother was in the city. Who knows? Perhaps this was a bar my Opa frequented with my Oma?

  • Posted: October 11, 2010
  • Camera: Simon Brugner
  • Sound Recording: Matthias Leihs
  • Post-Production: Simon Brugner
  • Photography: Bettina Freiberger