Falco was my father

The daughter of ‘Rock me Amadeus’ singer Falco has released a biography depicting the eccentric star as a caring and attentive father. For eight years, Katharina Bianca Vitkovic lived with the Austrian pop star, whose real name was Hans Hölzel.

Vitkovic was 12 in 1998 when Falco died at age 40 in a car accident in the Dominican Republicon.

In her new book, Falco was my Father, she depicts the famous singer as an attentive father who taught his daughter chess, gave her piano lessons and tested her English vocabulary. Vitkovic told the Berliner Morgenpost that Falco wanted her to be “a lady.”

Whether Falco was Vitkovic’s father, however, remains unclear. In the early 1990s, a paternity test threw doubt on whether Vitkovic was, in fact, the biological daughter of the famous singer. Until that time, Vitkovic’s mother Isabella Vitkovic had raised her daughter together with Falco. But Katharina believes that he was her biological father.

The paternity test had severe consequences for then 7-year-old Katharina.

“After the paternity test, he changed his will. Before, I was the sole heir. Afterwards, I was completely excluded from the will,” Katharina told the Berliner Morgenpost. When Falco died in the car crash, Vitkovic inherited nothing.

A great deal of bad press followed the paternity test. Vitkovic took her mother’s maiden name as a way to escape teasing and harassment that followed the very public paternity test.

As to whether she will retake the paternity test Vitkovic told the Berliner Morgenpost, “I will make it when I feel stabile enough for it.” The young woman now works as an IT technician in Vienna and lives in relative anonymity, the paper reported.


Dancing like there’s no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig

For techno enthusiast Philipp Koegler, it almost felt like a normal Saturday night again as he joined 200 fellow revellers at "Distillery", the first German nightclub to reopen since the start of the pandemic.

Dancing like there's no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig
A file photo of a disco ball in a night club. Photo: dpa-Zentralbild | Britta Pedersen

“Tonight, there are no rules,” the almost 30-year-old told AFP, whipping off his mask on his way to the dance floor.

Despite more than a year of closures forced by the coronavirus, it didn’t take long for the thumping beats, low lights and buzzing crowds to reawaken the much-missed club atmosphere.

“It feels like I’ve come back after being away on vacation for a week,” Koegler beamed.

But of course there are some rules to restarting the party, even in Germany where coronavirus infections have declined steadily in recent weeks as the pace of vaccinations has picked up.

The Distillery club in the eastern city of Leipzig, which bills itself as the oldest techno venue in Germany’s former Communist east, is taking part in a pilot project supported by scientists from the Max Planck institute and the local university hospital.

Just 200 club-goers are allowed in instead of the usual 600 and each person must take two different kinds of coronavirus tests earlier in the day, with entry granted only if they test negative both times.

Once inside, the masks can come off and revellers don’t have to socially distance.

Each participant also agrees to being re-tested a week later, to uncover potential infections despite the precautions taken.


Organisers hope the project can serve as a blueprint for further club re-openings to help the hard-hit sector back on its feet after a devastating year.

Although several venues in Germany experimented with open-air parties, club-goer Konny said it “just isn’t the same”.

“In the club, you’re in a different world,” she said.

Growing influence

Distillery manager Steffen Kache expressed pride at being the first club in the country to reopen indoors.

“Everyone is jealous,” he told AFP.

Kache said that if there has been an upside to the pandemic closures, it was that politicians had woken up to the social and economic importance of Germany’s vibrant club culture.

Lawmakers last month agreed to reclassify nightclubs as cultural institutions rather than entertainment venues, putting them on a par with
theatres and museums to provide more protection and tax benefits.

Germany’s nightlife capital Berlin alone – home to iconic clubs Berghain, KitKat and Tresor – usually attracts tens of thousands of foreign visitors each year who generate over a billion euros in revenues.   

Many observers fear that when the pandemic dust has settled, not all of Germany’s clubs will have survived the lengthy shutdowns.

The collaboration with local authorities that made Distillery’s pilot project possible was “unthinkable before the crisis”, Kache said, and evidence of a “reconciliation” between underground club culture and the political establishment.

He said he hoped the next step would be “the nationwide reopening of cultural spots and clubs, without Covid restrictions”.