Hockey sticks come in different degrees of flex - medium, stiff, and extra stiff. A stronger player, who hits more powerful shots, usually wants a stiffer stick.

In colloquial German, widely used term for a compact, mobile (smaller than a chainsaw) rotating blade saw.

flex is the "fast lexical analyzer generator". It's based upon lex, but can generate much faster lexical analyzers. That's great, except that it doesn't actually explain anything. First, what is a lexical analyxer?

A lexical analyzer (also called a parser, tokenizer, or scanner) takes an input stream and breaks it up into smaller parts called tokens. It does this by doing pattern matching on the stream. Each pattern that the parser looks for has a rule to go along with it. When the parser finds a certain pattern, it does whatever the rule says.

flex has its own language for the definition of the scanner. You create this definition in the language, which is sort of like a bastardized version of C. Then, you run flex on the file and it generates a C program that you can compile. After those various steps, you've got a program that takes an input stream and looks for patterns in it.

Now you're wondering what good that is. Well, breaking a text stream up into parts is very useful for a stack calculator, the parser part of a compiler, or creating your own specialty languages. flex is a good thing, because it allows you to very rapidly create a parser

Check out the flex man page for lots of good examples. Here's a quick example of writing the Unix program wc in flex:

int num_lines = 0, num_chars = 0;

%%
\n    ++num_lines; ++num_chars;
.       ++num_chars;

%%
main()
   {
      yylex();
      printf( "# of lines = %d, # of chars = %d\n",
                  num_lines, num_chars );
   }

Everything before the first %% is regular C code. Here, we just declare a few variables. It can also contain #include directives, struct definitions, or whatever else you want. Everything between the first %% and the second %% are pattern/rule pairs. Each line is a regular expression, then whitespace for seperation, then some C code for the rule. More than one line of C means you have to put braces around all the code. Everything after the second %% is more C. You can have functions that are called from the rules, code that gets exectued before and after the lexer is run, and more. Use your imagination!

Flex is a bizarre short film by Chris Cunningham, a director famous for his work making music videos with Madonna, Björk and Aphex Twin. It was commisioned by Anthony d'Offay for his gallery, and its main run was at the controversial Apocalpypse exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Its soundtrack is by Aphex Twin, and it is currently running at the Edinburgh College of Art along with the Monkey Drummer film as part of the Edinburgh Festival from 10am-5pm every day until 26 August 2001. I would recommend seeing it; it's one of the few free things at the festival, and seems likely to never be released to the public in recorded form.

The film consists of a couple alternately having sex - not simulated, real sex - and then savagely beating each other. This occurs against a perfectly black backdrop, and while they copulate they seem to float in starless space, while a solid beam of intensely bright liquid light shines on them. The fight is incredibly vicious, shot as a fast montage, and combined with the twisted beats of Aphex Twin's aural assault it is an incredible sensory and emotional overload, as the woman is left in a bloody pulp by the much larger man. However, although it seems to perhaps be saying something about the sexual act, Chris Cunningham himself is quoted as saying "It was...an experiment to me... It was intended to be completely abstract but it didn't quite work out that way and although it feels like its trying to say something, it isn't."

Whether or not it has a point, it is an intense and disturbing film that does what all great art should; it makes you think.

The venue

The Flex (1) in the center of Vienna, the capitol of Austria, is venue of some of the finest clubs in town (often featuring world-famous DJs like Kruder & Dorfmeister), backdrop of live concerts, cultural center and cafe. It is said to have the best sound system in town; no, wait a moment, this is a fact, it's one of the best systems on the continent. When there are live gigs, you usually see local or underground bands, because there's only place for some 800 attendants. However, from time to time also "big" bands like the Stereo MC's play there.
The club events include the weekly dubClub (dub reggae mixed with drum&bass, hip hop and house), London Calling (underground rock) and sub (breakbeating between downbeat, electro, hip hop and drum&bass, often intermingled with improvised MCing, sometimes live-sessions). Saturdays there's always something very special (like gigs by the trife.life! crew, (2)), but the admission is usually very affordable.
If you'd like to hear some music they play at the flex, just check out the live stream (3), every day from 23:00 CET.

The place is not of the glamorous nightclub variety, you'll rather face concrete walls with grafittis. But fear not, depending on the event taking place, it can be cosy inside nevertheless. It's common to sense the smell of marijuana inside and in front of the Flex. Depending on how you look like, you'll likely be asked by someone if you would like to by some dope, or if you could be so kind to sell some. I'd recommend neither, because the police also knows about it and it's much better to get your weed from a trusted friend, anyway.

The location

After the operators of the Flex had received hundreds of charges for breach of the peace in the first years, they moved to a new location, which was in fact an empty subway tunnel. Thus, the venue has quite an unusual address...
Flex
U2 - U4 Schottenring
Donaukanal Abgang Augartenbrücke
1010 Wien
... because it's not located at a street, but the Donaukanal (Danube Canal). It's easy to find, though: Just go to the underground station Schottenring (the lines U2 and U4 go there) and go to the backside of the station, down the stairs to the concrete bank of the canal (i.e. use the Abgang Augartenbrücke, which means access Augarten Bridge). Just follow all the other people.

The atmosphere

Last week I went to my favourite event there, the sub club, which featured a live gig by Bauchklang (4) but also had a nice DJ-lineup. It surprises me every time again, how diverse the audience is; there are people of all ages, tarted up commercial clerks next to punks next to vamps next to rastas. It was crowded as always. Getting in rather quickly is no problem when you arrive either soon or late enough, but if you want to leave your jacket at the wardrobe, you have to stand in line for ages. If you nevertheless choose to do so, don't give them your backpack with your expensive reflex camera; as far as I've heard, they're not that trustworthy. I prefer flirting with a DJ and storing my belongings on the stage *cheeky grin*. The evening was superb, the music was great (and had the right volume), the people were cool, the drinks not too expensive, the visuals nice. In summer it's even better, because you can go outside and chill out a little between dancing. And you don't have that jacket you don't know where to put.
Speaking of drinks: If you are from abroad, use the opportunity to try the Austrian version of Hooch, which is kind of an alcoholic soda, because it's not sold in too many bars and tastes delicious.

The cafe

Most events start around 22:00, but the flexCafe openes at 18:00. It is as gemuetlich as one of Vienna's world-renowned traditional coffee houses, but at the same time the perfect place to hang out for the modern Everythingian: Four surf stations are integrated into the bar, so, while having a drink (soda-water is free!), you can control a jukebox, which contains over 700 CDs with "chill-in/out-easylistening-background-sound", and even browse E2. The combination of glass and chrome in a dim atmosphere, lit by red and blue fluorescent tubes, and somewhat punk-stylishly dressed barkeepers makes you feel like you're in the Chatsubo (you know, the bar from Neuromancer).

In case you happen to be in Linz (the capitol of Upper Austria) instead of Vienna, go to the Kapu.

(1) http://www.flex.at
(2) http://www.trifelife.at
(3) http://www.flex.at/html/mp3.html
(4) http://www.bauchklang.at

Return to Everything Quests: The E2 Tourist Guide

Flex (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Flexed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Flexing.] [L. flexus, p.p. of flectere to bend, perh. flectere and akin to falx sickle, E. falchion. Cf. Flinch.]

To bend; as, to flex the arm.

 

© Webster 1913.


Flex, n.

Flax.

[Obs.]

Chaucer.

 

© Webster 1913.

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