October 7, 2020


Autumn always make me wistful. I heard, or read, that John Lennon would have been eighty years old, and that Janis Joplin killed herself fifty years ago. So sad.

Exploring Autumn in Vienna
Photo by Jade Stephens / Unsplash


Autumn always make me wistful. I heard, or read, that John Lennon would have been eighty years old, and that Janis Joplin killed herself fifty years ago. So sad. I am not musical by any means but I like her song Mercedes Benz, I never got a Mercedes Benz, but my dad and my uncles owned them, and my maternal grandfather, had a fleet of them in his time. But the song written with Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth is an absolute classic.

Also today I hear that Johnny Nash died today aged eighty, he more widely know for writing the song ‘I can see clearly now’. Sad but life must go on.
And Eddie Van Halen will be jumping no more.

An inconvenience is that from now on, with the weather changing I am going to have to dress up like Robert Falcon Scott if I need to go for a mega trundle, but thanks to some lovely Swedes I have the stuff, and I do look like I am off on a mission to find the lost hamlet of Batson buried under a small layer of fallen leaves. Leaves the sworn enemy to us trundlers. A little known fact about Scott’s expedition is that the Clothing and Tents were suppled by an extremely famous fashion brand who make trench coats amongst other things. Their security tape on their boxes had a motif of Scott’s tent embossed on it.

I worked for the aforementioned company and was well known for wearing a trench coat and a trilby hat. I used to have to scurry around in the early hours of the morning as part of my work, and one November night I presented myself at West End Central police station, and the duty sergeant walked from the CAD room, looked at me and exclaimed loudly ‘fuck me it’s Harry Lime’. It made me a happy man because that film in which Orson Welles played Harry Lime is an absolute classic.

Part of the charm of the film is the soundtrack and the story goes that:

One night after a long day of filming The Third Man on location in Vienna, Reed and cast members Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and Orson Welles had dinner and retired to a wine cellar. In the bistro, which retained the atmosphere of the pre-war days, they heard the zither music of Anton Karas, a 40-year-old musician who was playing there just for the tips. Reed immediately realized that this was the music he wanted for his film. Karas spoke only German, which no one in Reed's party spoke, but fellow customers translated Reed's offer to the musician that he compose and perform the soundtrack for The Third Man. Karas was reluctant since it meant traveling to England, but he finally accepted. Karas wrote and recorded the 40 minutes of music heard in The Third Man over a six-week period, after the entire film was translated for him at Shepperton Studios.[1]

Without that music the film, in my opinion would not have been what it was. So by chance the Zither music of Anton Karas was discovered and how lucky we all were, who have watched the film, for his discovery. My father told me that story many years ago, and what an incredible story it is.

Watch the film.

  1. Source: Wikipedia article on The Third Man Theme ↩︎