Western train station, platform 5, 4.18 pm. That’s the meeting point and date we got for the session with Toronto-based Jason Collett, who is also a member of Broken Social Scene. His train is perfectly on time and we pick him up just at the end of the platform in order to use the ride from the train station to the venue of his show for a quick session. Jason seems slightly surprised to see us there; maybe he’s still elsewhere with his thoughts, just arriving in a new city and probably not having his complete schedule for the day in mind yet. But he’s into the offstage sessions concept and opts for a rather quiet outdoor spot, so we take the metro and head to the Naschmarkt area with its abandoned market atmosphere (it’s a Sunday). Jason picks up his guitar and starts into „High Summer“ from his new album „Rat a Tat Tat“ while walking down the alley. Halfway through the song he suddenly turns left into a short, dim passage and continues playing under the arcade. „I came in here for the reverb. It sounded good just walking by”, he says after the song, „Let’s try another song?“ Yes, please! And on he goes, playing a beautiful version of „Long May You Love“.
Naschmarkt is the biggest inner city market and thus Vienna’s most popular one. It has existed since the 16th century when it was more of a farmer’s market offering aliment for the daily need. Its name and expansion have changed several times since then. The area carries the signature of the famous architect and urban planner Otto Wagner and was intended to become his biggest showcase. After he regulated and canopied the river Wien (so Naschmarkt could spread on the newly won surface on the roofed river), Otto Wagner looked to transform Wienzeile, which runs along the right and left side of river Wien and Naschmarkt from Karlsplatz to Schloss Schönbrunn, into a spanking boulevard. The outbreak of World War I eventually frustrated further constrution projects. Some grand art-nouveau apartment buildings along Wienzeile (Wienzeilenhäuser) give an idea of the resplendent, but unrealised plan at the turn of the 20th century. The assortment of goods sold at the market grew and grew and the market became well-known for its exotic titbits. The term Naschmarkt, meaning market for eating titbits, was born. In addition to local products, international food from the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey and from East Asia can be consumed here. Apart from the traditional market stalls, there are an increasing number of small-sized restaurants, trendy bars and well-attended cafes. Naschmarkt is very much alive, a tourist hot spot and still a superb place to snack. Most activity is on Saturdays when adjacent to the food market Vienna’s most popular flea market takes place. Naschmarkt is closed on Sundays, although there’s been ongoing discussion about a liberalisation of opening hours.