12 Reasons Why We Love Austin

Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater. The indie-movie legend was born in Houston but, after dropping out of college and working on an oil rig, became cool in Austin. He founded the Austin Film Society before going on to make movies of his own, including Slacker, Boyhood and the superb Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy. All of which starred Ethan Hawke, a native of Austin.

Friday Night Lights. The book was set in Odessa, Texas, but a five seasons of the high-school football-team TV drama were shot in Austin – well apart from a few bits in Pflugerville, which frankly doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. So that makes Austin the spiritual, if not the literal, home of full-back heartthrob and genial ne’er-do-well Tim Riggins.

Sister Cities. Austin is twinned with 14 places around the world, including bizarrely and perhaps aptly, Hackney.

Willie Nelson. When he’s not on a tour bus or sunning himself in Hawaii, the grizzled, ponytailed country singer can be found on his ranch outside Austin, which he has had since the early Seventies.

Breakfast Tacos. There’s a scene in the movie, Blue in The Face, where Jim Jarmusch, in conversation with Harvey Keitel in a New York diner, drawls: “Coffee and cigarettes, you know? That’s, like, the breakfast of champions.” But that’s, like, a bunch of white-bread east-coast hipster baloney. In Austin, the breakfast of champions involves more substantial fare, ideally in the calorie-rich form of a ham, egg and refried-bean taco. Followed, maybe, by coffee and cigarettes

The People. Texan hospitality rules, but it’s worth learning some of the Texan rules while you’re enjoying the hospitality. These have been eloquently summarised by Kinky Friedman, an Austin-educated satirist and novelist who once ran for governor of Texas. His Guide To Texas Etiquette includes such practical tips as: “Just because you can drive on snow and ice where you come from does not mean you can drive in a Texas downpour. When it rains hard, stay home. If you have to drive, get on the highway, move into the fast lane, and go no faster than 35 miles per hour. If you have to drive at night, watch out for the deer. Only hit the ones with huge antlers, because they make the best wall hangings.”


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