Welcome to my Blog!
Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to
talk about himself. -
In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.). The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website.
HINTERLAND | CRIME DRAMA TV SERIES
These days I thoroughly enjoy the HINTERLAND tv series, crime drama set in Wales. I've been several times to Wales and one has only to look at the landscape and feel drama!
Y Gwyll (EN: The Dusk) or known in English by the name Hinterland, is a police detective series broadcast on S4C in Welsh and in English on BBC One Wales. When it was aired on the BBC in 2014, it was the first BBC television drama with dialogue in both English and Welsh.
The main character, DCI Tom Mathias, is played by Welsh actor Richard Harrington.
The programme was mainly filmed in Aberystwyth and the surrounding Ceredigion region on the west coast of Wales.
On 27Nov2013, a second series was announced by S4C, these will air on S4C in early 2015.
CAMILLA LÃCKBERG CRIME SELECTION | SCANDI CRIME DRAMA (DVD)
Jean Edith Camilla Läckberg Eriksson (August 30, 1974) is a Swedish crime writer. Her work has been translated into 33 languages. I don't think I have read any of her books, but quite enjoyed these episodes in this dvd box: Olycksfågeln (EN: the Jinx, NL: Zusje), Predikanten (EN: the Preacher, NL: Predikant) and Stenhuggaren (EN: the Stonecutter, NL: Steenhouwer).
These murder mysteries have their location in Fjällbacka, which is a small community in the county of Tanum, in the province Västra Götalands län, in Sweden.
Niklas Hjulström and Elisabet Carlsson play their roles in a very kind way: Patrik is a policeman but not the most superior in Tanum county; he is the trying small town policeman overcome by events, while his wife Erica starts a career as a writer and both are in a period of their life to start a family.
New series were released by Lumiere on dvd, as Season 1 for some reason, with different actors. I have written on this in august 2014.
THE MERCHANT OF PRATO by IRIS ORIGO | BOOKS & HISTORY
The book is a fascinating insight in medieval life and trade, a treasure in my bookcase.
ABOUT FACE by DONNA LEON | BOOKS
I read this book in Dutch, titled 'Gezichtsverlies'; rather a pleasant translation by An de Greef and Maya Denneman.
This murder mystery is about illegal waste transport and dumping. Brunetti is reluctantly being drawn into the investigation, while also a bit preoccupied with business dealings of his father-in-law and the fascinating signora Franca Marinello.
AMSTERDAM! by ED VAN DER ELSKEN | PHOTOGRAPHY
Dutch photographer, iconic streetphotographer I might add, Ed van der Elsken had been missing from my bookcase for far too long. So when Ed van der Elsken's legendary book Amsterdam! recently became available, in a strongly improved print quality even, I immediately grabbed my chance. I also have to add that it is for the first time also in English available.
The book is of a glorious proportion: 240 pages and its size is 290 x 300mm.
Subtitle of the book is 'Old photos - 1947- 1970'.
Ed van der Elsken was born on March 10, 1925 in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
In 1937, pursuing a desire to become a sculptor, he learned stone cutting at Amsterdam's Van Tetterode Steenhouwerij. After completing preliminary studies at Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs, the predecessor of the Rietveld Academy (dir. Mart Stam), he enrolled (in 1944) in the professional sculpture program which he abandoned to escape Nazi forced labour. That year, after the Battle of Arnhem he was stationed in a mine-disposal unit where he was first shown Picture Post by British soldiers. Later, in 1947, he discovered American sensationalist photographer Weegee's Naked City. These encounters inspired his interest in photography.
At the suggestion of Dutch photographer Emmy Andriesse (1914–1953) he moved in 1950 to Paris. He was employed in the darkrooms of the Magnum photography agency, printing for Henri Cartier-Bresson (who was impressed with his street photography), Robert Capa and Ernst Haas.
He moved back to Amsterdam in 1955, he recorded members of the Dutch avant garde COBRA, including Karel Appel. But he also traveled extensively, to Bagara in 1957 (now in Central African Republic) and to Tokyo and Hong Kong in 1959 to 1960.
From 1971 he lived with his third wife near Edam, where their son was born. During this period he continued to travel and worked prodigiously between film and photography, producing a further 14 books and broadcasting more than 20 films.
He died on 28 December 1990 in Edam (the Netherlands).
MY FLICKR.COM ACCOUNT | PHOTOGRAPHY
WORLD PRESS PHOTOS AWARDS 2014 | PHOTOGRAPHY
On Thursday may 29th I visited the inspiring World Press Photo Awards 2014 exhibition in De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
I am always in awe of the often difficult conditions where photographers even risk their lives to capture the most striking images or travel for months in remote areas to show the world a situation that needs adressing; the commitment of these winners to their trade is more than evident.
The 2014 photo contest that brought forward these winners has incredible statistics: 5.754 photographers of 132 nationalities sent 98.671 images for the jury to choose from.
A magnificent exhibition, a record of events that mattered and should be adressed or at least not forgotten.
More photos on my Flickr.com account
ROMAN VISHNIAC | PHOTOGRAPHY
Two days ago I had the pleasure of visiting a wonderful photo exhibition at the Joods Historisch Museum (JHM) in Amsterdam (NL), brilliant work by Roman Vishniac, some of it never before on display as it had been recently rediscovered. Hence the title of the exhibition, Roman Vishniac (Re)discovered.
Roman Vishniac (b.09Aug1897 – d.22Jan1990) was a Russian-American photographer, best known for capturing on film the culture of Jews in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. A complete archive of his work now rests at the International Center of Photography.
Roman Vishniac won international acclaim for his photos of shtetlach and Jewish ghettos, celebrity portraits, and microscopic biology. His book 'A Vanished World', published in 1983, made him famous and is one of the most detailed pictorial documentations of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe in the 1930s.
An impression of this exhibition HERE..
TOP OF THE LAKE | CRIME DRAMA (DVD)
During recent days I watched this BBC crime drama from a dvd box, six episodes on 2 dvd's with a bonus dvd included in the set.
Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss), who returns home to care for her sick mother, finds herself caught up in the missing persons investigation of a young girl Tui Mitcham, aged 12. And 5 months pregnant, but by whom she refuses to tell.
There are (suspected) threats everywhere: from Matt, who doesn't like the law interfering with his search for his daughter (because he is her father or because he wants to hide the fact he raped Tui and wants to destroy the child?); perhaps from Al who is vague about his relations with Matt and lives in prime real estate on the lake, owns an expensive boat); the new found relation between Robin and Johnno face crisis after crisis; Tui may not survive living rough in the mountains nor giving birth without proper medical attention; Robin may succumb to her traumas; and of course there is the the lake, menacing for its depth and icy cold water, where people could die and disappear.
FANTOOM IN FOE-LAI (RECHTER TIE MYSTERIE) - ROBERT VAN GULIK | BOOKS
Robert Hans van Gulik (b.09Aug1910 – d.24Sep1967) was an orientalist, diplomat, musician (of the guqin), and writer, best known for the Judge Dee (in Dutch: Rechter Tie) historical mysteries, the protagonist of which he borrowed from the 18th-century Chinese detective novel Dee Goong An.
The title shown above, which translates as 'A Phantom in Foe-Lai', was the first title on the 'Rechter Tie Mysteries' by Robert van Gulik, published by Elsevier in (a 3rd print) March 1980. Published in English its title was 'The Chinese Gold Murders'; the original Dutch translation was editted by the writer.
The cover shows a porcelain Buddha statue which was made available to the publisher by 'het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde' and dates from the K'ang-sjie period (1662 - 1722) and represents the Chinese priest Poe-Tai; he lived at the end of the T'ang dynastie and is considered to be a reincarnation of Maitreya. These names play a role in this book.
Robert van Gulik was born in Zutphen, the son of a medical officer in the Dutch army of what was then called the Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia). He was born in the Netherlands, but from the age of three till twelve he lived in Batavia (now Jakarta), where he was tutored in Mandarin and other languages.
KLEINE AVONTUREN AAN DE TAP - SIMON CARMIGGELT | BOOKS
'Kleine avonturen aan de tap' is a modest, but delightful, publication by Lucas Bols (1st print 1973, 47 pages, paperback), written by Simon Carmiggelt.
It translates as 'Small adventures at the bar', and I am not referring to anything having to do with legislation. These are, of course, bars and pubs in the Netherlands, specifically in Amsterdam.
Simon Carmiggelt was a Dutch writer (b.07oct1913 – d.30nov1987) and columnist, who became particularly famous for his newspaper columns ('Kronkel', in Het Parool) and his appearances on tv (he read some of his work, this was early days of television).
Carmiggelt considered himself a journalist, not a writer.
He reports from what we call these days 'the public domain'; as a fly on the wall he has a keen eye for observation and a pleasant wry sense of humour. This book illustrates his craftsmanship very well indeed
In my Q4 2012 blog I did a considerable write up on Simon Carmiggelt, see HERE..
DEAR LIFE by ALICE MUNRO | BOOKS
Alice Munro (b.1931) won the Nobel Price for Literature in 2013. 'Dear Life' is a 2012 collection of her short stories, reissued in celebration; it ends with autobiographical pieces of which she stated: "I believe they are the first and last – and the closest – things I have to say about my own life."
Many of Munro's stories are set in Huron County, Ontario. Her strong regional focus is one of the features of her fiction. Another is the omniscient narrator who serves to make sense of the world.
DE ZON SCHIJNT - COLUMNS DOOR MARTIN BRIL
Vijf jaar geleden overleed Martin Bril aan het slopende werk van slokdarmkanker; hij was 49 jaar.
Hij was in zijn tijd waarschijnlijk de populairste stukjesschrijver van Nederland. Zijn werk wordt nog altijd goed verkocht.
Na zijn dood verschenen er tot dusver 18 compilaties van zijn stukken en met die boeken verbleef Bril vaker in de top-60 van bestsellers dan met het werk dat tijdens zijn leven verscheen.
Ook dit boek is weer een plezier om te lezen.
Bert Wagendorp heeft een leuk stuk over Martin Bril geschreven: Volkskrant 21Apr2014
BURNING IN WATER DROWNING IN FLAME - C. BUKOWSKI | POETRY
'Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame' has the subtitle 'Selected Poems 1955 - 1973' in this ECCO (Library of Congress publication, 2003).
While I liked picking up this book, for a daily dose of 'Buk', I cannot choose a representative poem but it isn't all about drinking, whoring and gambling. Just to show:
BIGGLES by W.E. JOHNS| BOOKS, FICTION
"Biggles" – nickname of James Bigglesworth – a pilot and adventurer, is the title character and main hero of the Biggles series of youth-oriented adventure books written by W. E. Johns (1893–1968).
In my teenage years I read loads of these books. Little did I know then that aviation would play such an important role in my life.
Biggles first appeared in the story 'The White Fokker', published in the first issue of Popular Flying magazine, in 1932. The first collection of Biggles stories, 'The Camels are Coming', was published that same year. The series was continued until the author's death in 1968.
Biggles is accompanied in his adventures by his cousin Algernon ('Algy') Lacey and his mechanic Flight Sergeant Smyth, who are to accompany Biggles on his adventures after the war; added to the team in 1935 is the teenager Ginger Hebblethwaite.
The bulk of the Biggles books, however, are set post-World War I and after Johns' own flying career was over. Biggles has an unusually lengthy career, flying a number of aircraft representative of the history of British military aviation, from Sopwith Camels during World War I, Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires in World War II, right up to the Hawker Hunter jet fighter in a postwar adventure ('Biggles in the Terai').
The books were highly successful, and were eventually translated into Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.
I cannot say I read them all but certainly a great number of them.
William Earl John, who retired from the military with the rank of Flying Officer and declared himself a Captain, wrote 96 Biggles books; they were published between 1932 and 1970, with an additional 6 omnibus editions published within this period.
Plus two further books published in the late 1990's. So 104 books in all !
He certainly was a prolific writer, as he wrote other novels as well.
Of 'The Worrals Books' there were 11 books published between 1941 and 1950, with 3 other short stories published elswhere.
And 10 books in 'The Gimlet' series were published, between 1943 and 1954, with one short story published elsewhere.
And the Sci-Fi subject was adressed too: 10 books were published between 1954 and 1963.
There were also 'The Steeley' books (6), 'the Juvenile' books (8), the 'Adult books' (12), the 'Factual books' (8), as well as various other contributions and publications.
But I never read any of those, only the Biggles novels, and they made a lasting impression.
DICTE - TV SERIES | SCANDI CRIME DRAMA (DVD)
NEW AMSTERDAM, The Island at the Center of the World by RUSSELL SHORTO | BOOKS, HISTORY
New Amsterdam, subtitled 'The Island at the Center of the World'
The Dutch in the 17th century were a world power; when the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, one saw the tables being turned and England took over global domination. But as we know that era ended too and the United States took over.
The map on the inside cover of the book shows how Dutch names of places can still be recognised in the present: Breukelen became Brooklyn, Wal Straat became Wallstreet (which, btw, was a defense against the British, not against Indians), Jonas Brock's Plantation became the Bronx, New Haarlem became Harlem, Van Der Donck's Plantation became Yonkers, Lange Eylandt became Long Island, etc.
ARCTISCH DAGBOEK - JELLE BRANDT CORSTIUS | REISVERHALEN
The notes he made in a diary during an Arctic cruise form the core of this book. There are a number of criticial notes on the sort of travel and people on these voyages, but mainly the attitude and expectations of people towards him.
DCI BANKS tv series | TV CRIME DRAMA
DCI Banks is a British crime drama series produced by Left Bank Pictures for the ITV network.
The series is based on Peter Robinson's Inspector Alan Banks novels and stars Stephen Tompkinson as Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks.
In 2013, the series won in the drama category at the regional Royal Television Society Yorkshire Programme Awards.
On 01Dec2012, author Peter Robinson announced on his website "that DCI Banks has been recommissioned for a 3rd series of 6 one-hour episodes (again, 3 two-parters)"; according to a revised statement, posted 17Jun2013, based on 3 books: 'Wednesday's Child', 'Piece of My Heart' and 'Bad Boy'.
Cast (2011): Stephen Tompkinson - DCI Alan Banks, Andrea Lowe - DS Annie Cabbot, Lorraine Burroughs - DS Winsome Jackman, Jack Deam - DC Ken Blackstone.
I've been watching this tv series for the past few weeks on Belgian telly, the Season 2 series. I noticed I had seen this series before (BBC?), but have season 3 and 4 to look forward to.
MARIA LANG MYSTERIES | TV CRIME DRAMA
The Maria Lang Mysteries, a.k.a Crimes of Passion, is a Swedish drama television series that was first broadcast on TV4 on 08Mar2013. The 6-part series is based on the crime novels by author Dagmar Lange.
Set in Bergslagen in the 1950s, the series follows Puck Ekstedt (a role played by Tuva Novotny), her boyfriend and later husband Einar Bure (Linus Wahlgren), called Eje, and police superintendent Christer Wijk (Ola Rapace, whom I knew from the Wallander series).
Dagmar Lange (31 March 1914, Västerås - 9 October 1991) was a Swedish author of crime fiction under the pen name Maria Lang. She was one of the first detective novelists in the Swedish language, and her books helped make the genre popular in Sweden.
FOYLE'S WAR (tv series) | TV CRIME DRAMA
Foyle's War is a British detective drama television series, set during and shortly after World War II, created by screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by ITV after the long-running series Inspector Morse came to an end in 2000.
It has been broadcast on ITV since 2002.
It was cancelled in 2007 by the then director of programmes, Simon Shaps, but positive public demand and a number of complaints about the cancellation prompted ITV to revive the series after its 6th series proved to be a ratings success.
The series is set during and after the Second World War in Hastings, Sussex, England. This is where Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (a role played by Michael Kitchen) attempts to catch criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion the war has created.
The crime plot is set against a certain politial canvas, such as war profiteering, unemployment after the war, food rationing, war damage to properties, racial issue (e.g. a British woman having a baby from a coloured American).
///UPDATE sep.2015: the cancellation prompted ITV to revive the series, after its 6th series proved to be a ratings success! I have seen Season 7 and Season 8 has also been broadcasted. Foyle's 'War' continues with MI.5: The Cold War. Details on the Wikipedia links.///
SOLITUDE by JEROEN TOIRKENS & PETRA SJOUWERMAN | TRAVEL & PHOTOGRAPHY
Solitude, a book by Jeroen Toirkens (photography) and Petra Sjouwerman (writer), caught my attention because it crossed the path a little which I had travelled in the Arctic North recently.
This book describes and illustrates very well the vastness and indeed, the Solitude, of this region.
The third photo above shows the illustration in the book of a place called Vardø, a place where jeroen & petra went to, which I had visited (see insert and notice the radar installations) and which Willem Barentsz had visited. I regret not have had the knowledge there was a statue in honor of Willem Barentsz installed in recent years, as I would have tried to find it - though the stop by our Hurtigruten ship was probably too short to undertake this enterprise.
Willem Barentsz, anglicized as William Barents or Barentz (b.ca1550 – d.20June1597) was a Dutch navigator, cartographer, explorer, and a leader of early expeditions to the far north.
SHETLAND - TV SERIES | CRIME DRAMA
'Shetland' is a BBC Scotland crime drama television series, starring Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez.
On 3 April 2013 it was announced that Shetland had been given a full 6 part series, airing from 11 March 2014, with filming occurring during summer 2013.
I stumbled on these stories, not having recognised the title for a crime drama. Without subtitles it is hard for me sometimes to follow the plot, but it is worth it. Definitely worth it!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shetland_(TV_series)
BEGGARS BANQUET by IAN RANKIN | CRIME FICTION
Over the years, Ian Rankin has amassed an incredible portfolio of short stories. Published in crime magazines, composed for events, broadcast on radio, they all share the best qualities of his phenomenally popular Rebus novels. This was new to me and I was actualy surprised, when I picked up this book to read, that it was a collection of short stories.
Rankin's work is probably best knows for the Detective Inspector John Rebus stories, their popularity helped by the tv series 'Rebus'. But Rankin's work is sold short if he is appreciated only for those stories.
Beggars Banquet provides ample evidence of the fact that Rankin's writing does not need the Rebus character to be compelling and sinister.
Ranging from the macabre ('The Hanged Man') to the unfortunate ('The Only True Comedian') and right back to the sinister ('Someone Got To Eddie'): they all bear the hallmark of great crime writing.
Like his primary protagonist, Detective Inspector John Rebus, Rankin was born in Fife. He studied at Edinburgh University where he obtained an M.A. in English Literature. Later, he won a Chandler-Fullbright Award, which enabled him to study in the U.S. He has also won a collection of awards including the CWA Short Story Dagger and an Anthony award.
PS 'Beggars Banquet' is also the title of one of the very best Stones records ever! Rankin has Rebus often digging into his album collection at some point in the book, reciting bands and records of great fame, so the tite of the book is no coincidence.