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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) - Bishop George Berkeley


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.
http://www.blurb.com/user/ruudleeuw

 

 
BEST WISHES FOR 2017

Your own course and hgappiness in 2017

Don't listen to the politicians, don't accept information from social media at face value, but find your own course to proceed on, define your own happiness.
Wish you sanity and good health, see you in 2017!
[30DEC2016]

 
EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD by IAN RANKIN | BOOKS CRIME FICTION

Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin (a John Rebus novel)


Another fine John Rebus novel!
A former Scottish senior prosecutor has been found dead. Siobhan Clarke and a retired John Rebus are called on to investigate the prosecutor's death.
Meanwhile Malcolm Fox is drafted into a surveillance team monitoring a group of Glaswegian gangsters who look set to move in on 'the business' in Edinburgh.
'Even Dogs in the Wild' is the 20th (!) instalment in the successful Inspector Rebus series, published in 2015.
The novel takes its name from the song of the same name by the Scottish band Associates; that song is played in a car driven by two men with a body and some shovels in the boot of the car and that is how this book opens...

Rankin seems to have difficulty to retire John Rebus full stop and I am so glad! His cantankerous, solitary character is so much more appealing than that of Malcolm Fox.
Rebus was brought out of retirement, demoted and retired again, but his services are required yet again in 'Even Dogs in the Wild'. His involvement starts quite innocent enough: he is to liaise with 'Big Ger' Cafferty in an enquiry.

In the newly constituted Police Scotland HQ, former Rebus sidekick DI Siobhan Clarke is investigating the murder of David Minton, Scotland's senior prosecutor. A death threat is found on a scrap of paper, probably written by the murderer. Cafferty is also shot at while in his home, but the bullet missed; Cafferty also had, in the same handwriting, received a death threat. But no one can find a link between Minton and Cafferty but the latter refuses to coöperate with the police however 'talks' to John Rebus.
Cafferty thinks Darryl Christie is behind the murder attempt on him, aiming to send Cafferty into permanent retirement and become 'capo di tutti capi'  in Edinburgh.

But there is another plot going on. Glaswegian gangsters Joe and Dennis Stark, father and son, are in town looking for a freight hauler who has disappeared. Some 'merchandise'  of the Starks went missing too.
Both Christie and Cafferty think the search is a ruse, instead they think the Starks are intending to expand their territory and ready to take over Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Rebus manages to involve himself more and more by keeping a lid on Cafferty and Christie, who cannot decide if they should cooperate or fight each other.

Rankin's more recent creation, DI Malcolm Fox, is assigned to keep an eye on a group of investigators from Glasgow, who are monitoring the movements of the Starks in Edinburgh.
Joe Stark has a strained relationship with his son Dennis, whom he expects to plot against his leadership. Joe and Dennis each have a few 'soldiers' with them.
Relationships in the group of Glaswegian police are not what it should be either. Malcolm learns from one of them that there is a mole in the Stark gang, but DI Fox suspects he may have turned into a full blown criminal.

Malcolm and his sister Jude face a crisis in their father's health; as before we see they have a strained relationship with each other, Malcolm ridden with guilt fot haven't been there enough for his father.
Siobhan and Malcolm enjoy a close relationship, but that seems to go not much further than 'dinner and drinks'. As yet.
Malcolm Fox is keen to proof himself in 'real policework', still frowned upon by many from his career in 'Complaints'.

This 'Even Dogs.." is quite the Rebus novel and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  It will be interesting to see how Rankin continues to involve 'lone wolf' Rebus in future books. Since Rebus has no significant life outside his detective work I am sure we will see him return in his 'advisory capacity with Police Scotland'.

en.wikipedia.org:_Even_Dogs_in_the_Wild
https://en.wikipedia.org:_Ian_Rankin
www.theguardian.com/books/2015/....review-rebus

[29DEC2016]

 
THE UNWINDING by GEORGE PACKER | BOOKS NON-FICTION

The Unwinding by George Packer


In a tv documentary by the VPRO about the status of society in the USA, pre-2016 US Presidency election (won by Donald J. Trump), George Packer gave his expert opinion on 'the unwinding' of the USA. I decided I had to read this 2013 book.

The Unwinding is the right, spooky title for George Packer's epic, sad and unsettling history of the last four decades in the US.
His topic is the coming apart of something in the national fabric: about Wall Street's greed; about what a congressman would or wouldn't do for the right price; about what a company owes its workers..

Packer tells his story mainly through five central characters (although one of them isn't a person).
They are the entrepreneurial son of a failed tobacco farmer; the black daughter of a heroin addict, growing up in the Rust Belt (Youngstown!); an initially idealistic aide to Joe Biden; the billionaire founder of PayPal; and Tampa (Florida) one of the focal points of America's real-estate delirium and of the Tea Party that delirium helped create. Silicon Valley gets plenty of attention too.

Don't expect a 'big-picture' analysis of forces such as deindustrialisation, the neutering of unions, recessions, dotcom bubbles, the financial crisis, etc. There is no solution either, but the book does offer hope.

The personal profiles are mixed with biographies of the public figures of the time, among them Oprah Winfrey, Sam Walton (of Walmart), Jay-Z, Newt Gingrich, Robert Rubin and Colin Powell.

I found this a very powerful book and I would put it in my personal 5-star list, together with recent non-fiction books such as Flat Earth News (Nick Davies) and Thinking, Fast & Slow (Daniel Kahneman).

www.theguardian.com/books/2013/
en.wikipedia.org:_George_Packer

[28DEC2016]

 
CWWW.TIBET.CHIN.COM by KADIR LOHUIZEN | PHOTOBOOK TRAVEL PHOTOJOURNALISM

Tibet, photobook by Kadir van Lohuizen

Tibet by Kadir van Lohuizen


Photographer Kadir van Lohuizen documents a period of change in Tibet. The first time he visited Tibet he was a an extended backpacking trip and had not yet chosen photography as a profession.
Tibet fascinated him, inspite of the hardsjip encountered in getting there and revisited Tibet a number of times, documented in this pocketbook-sized (16x21cm) photobook.

Daniël Kamazine wrote the opening essay, a specialist on Tibet and date/location logged as Nepal 1999. He starts with the statement that Tibet is neither paradise not hell; he compliments the B&W images of van Lohuizen as an excellent illustration of the realities and contradictions in the 'Land of Snow'.

Kadir van Lohuizen subsequently writes in a number of chapters about the travels he made to Tibet, problems in getting there and move around.
The first time was in 1985, a decision made while enr oute backpacking through the Philippines and China. While in Bejing he found Tibet had been opened up for tourists only a few months ago and decided to go there. He encountered hardship but persevered.
In 1987 he intended to go to Tibet again but found the border closed because of a rising against the Chinese occupancy. He was literally turned back at the border.

It wasn't until 1995 he travelled again to Tibet. He had embraced photography as a profession by this time, but had to travel on a tourist visa for obvious reasons.
He found access to Tibet much easier, with the international airport of Lhasa much improved and while much had stayed the same also modernity had creeped into Tibet. The Chinese control and influence was unmistakable. He braced the severe minus 0 Celsius temperatures and travelled around, but had to be careful about his photography.

Kadir returned in february of 1998 and was shocked by the changes in Lhasa the Chinese had put in place.The winter was one one of most severest in many years, livestock lying dead and farming people desperate to get through these desperate times. Many places were cut off from the rest of the world, travel on the snowy roads is difficult if not impossible. Life in Lhasa is in sharp contrast.
He returns in the tourist season, for the first time, and find more change: the Chinese have found the importance of tourism and the Chinese population in Tibet is encouraged to be friendly towards visitors. The type of visitor has changed too; and there are both Western tourists as well as Chinese now.

Kadir van Lohuizen (b. 06aug1963) is a Dutch photographer.
After his schooldays, in 1982, he started travelling and photography. In 1988 he became a photojournalist.
His debut was in the 'Groene Amsterdammer', about the Palestinian rising. Since then he publishes also in Vrij Nederland, Trouw, NRC Handelsblad, de Volkskrant, De Morgen, Paris Match, The Independent, Newsweek and Time.
He won the 'Zilveren Camera' in 1994, 1997 and 2001.
In 2007 he won photo award Visa d'Or for the photoreport made in Tsjad, which he'd done for the French newspaper Le Monde.

nl.wikipedia.org:_Kadir_van_Lohuizen (Dutch)
www.lohuizen.net
en.wikipedia.org:_Tibet

[26DEC2016]

 
ONE OF US (TV SERIES) | CRIME THRILLER DRAMA

One of Us - tv-series (BBC)

One of Us - tv-series (BBC)


Childhood sweethearts Adam Elliot and Grace Douglas get married at the start of this four epsiode 2016 BBC series, 'One of Us'. Grace is very much pregnant.
But very soon we see a druggie walking around in their appartment, wielding a bloody knife, looking down at the dead bodies of Adam and Grace!

This is the story of two neighbouring families, the Douglases and the Elliots, traumatized by the news that their son and daughter have been murdered.
The plot thickens when they hear a car crash in front of their isolated farms and rescue the severely wounded driver, bring him into their home. Only to identify him by images on the tv news as the very likely killer of their Adam and Grace!
What to do with him? And why did he drive up to them in the first place, did he mean to kill them too?

There are a few other story lines to consider.
Adam's brother Rob is stalking the man who raped his girlfriend, Anna. Rob's sister Claire works as a nurse at a hospice and struggles with a request to end the life of a patient she cares for.
Their mother is a recovering alcoholic; their father left them many years ago but Adam's phone bill shows numerous attempts to get in touch with his father from Adam's honeymoon adress.

The police investigator involved in this case has a young daughter with a brain tumor. She resorts to selling lsd to a drug dealer to gather funding for specialized surgery abroad, but there is a backlash to her dope dealing.
Grace's father lives his life according strong religious believes. His wife has a sexual relationship with the farmhand. Their 17 year old son has a crush on Claire and spies her privat correspondence.
The families see their relations eroding fast and find themselves at loggerheads for a shared secret and suspicions, while the police keep probing and other relevant issues are revealed.
Wonderful scenery, set in a Scottish Highland village.
A very entertaining whodunnit, packed with drama.

en.wikipedia.org:_One_of_Us_(TV_series)
www.imdb.com/
www.theguardian.com/.../one-of-us-review

[23DEC2016]

 
FUJIFILM X100T | COMPACT DIGITAL CAMERA

Fuji X100T


With a growing interest in streetphotography, I bought this Fuji X100T last may. Today I sold it, for considerably less money than what I had paid for it. I gave up on it.
Most of my photography over the past 40 years was done with single lens reflex cameras and I made haste upgrading to a DSLR. I am very content with my Canon EOS 5D3, but I can see the day approaching it will be too heavy, too bulky for me.
So I selected this Fujifilm X100T, which came highly recommended. I had wished for a Leica M but those cameras are far beyond my means. The X100T looks a bit like a Leica...
But I found it too big to carry it in a pocket of my jacket and very got too terms with the different menus and set ups. The screen on the back cannot fold out either and I could control its use of energy, the EVF draining batteries much faster than my EOS 5.
This camera also has a fixed focus lens, but that was something I was getting used to.

So I have decided to refocus on my big EOS 5D3, for which a new 24-105/f4 L lens has recently appeared on the market. There is also another compact camera I am considering, much less expensive than this Fuji X100T but might be useful as a backup or the odd occasion if I step out of the door lightly packed..

I am sure the Fuji X100T is worth its money and that I rather failed the camera instead it failing me. Maybe it was too early for me to consider this change.
www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilm-x100t

[21DEC2016]

 
ENDEAVOUR SERIES 3 | DVD CRIME FICTION

Endeavour Morse - Series Three

Endeavour Morse - 3rd series

Endeavour Morse - 3rd series

Endeavour Morse - 3rd series

Shaun Evans returns for a 3rd season of the popular series as the young Endeavour Morse. In 4 new films, Endeavour must deal with the aftermath of the tragic events that left him languishing in prison, and his senior officer DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) with a life-threatening injury.

Falsely accused Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) was last seen at the end of Series 2 isolated and alone languishing in prison, framed for the murder of Chief Constable Rupert Standish.
Endeavour had unearthed corruption at the very heart of the City Force but his investigation had taken a sinister twist. We see him at the start of Series 3 hauled up in a cabin in the woods, chopping wood; he is deeply disappointed in the cover up, as he labels it, of his findings at Blenheim Vale. Morse considers his options after having been cleared in the subsequent investigation.
Series 2 ended with Fred Thursday's fate unknown, but in this series we see him gone back to work, though the bullet is still in his lung, too critical to be extracted. He suffers from coughing fits and expects his days to be numbered.
He also tries to convince Morse to return to work, remove criminals from society, it's what they do.
While Thursday (excellent again by Roger Allam) is unable to convince Morse, a murder mystery draws him back into the fold.

Series three of the prequel to the original Inspector Morse series comprises 4 x 120 minute films and was once again written by Endeavour creator, Russell Lewis.
Colin Dexter, whose first Morse story was published in 1975, continues his association with the drama, acting as a consultant to Endeavour producers Mammoth Screen.

Set in 1967, three months after Donald Campbell's ill-fated attempt to break the 300-mile speed barrier on water, the first of the new stories follows the murder of bus conductress Jeannie Hearne on the night she visited the local fairground of Cowley Green.
It is marvelous to enjoy the nostalgic scene, filmed and produced with great attention to detail of clothes and surroundings, e.g. the Great Gatsby-like party in the first episode.

After solving a faked kidnapping and tainted fruit being sold at a local supermarket, D.S. Jakes (a role by Jack Laskey) retires from the Force and leaves Oxford. Strange (Sean Rigby) takes Jakes' place as Detective Sergeant but assures Morse that they're still friends, though Morse is somewhat unsettled to find himself now bossed around by Strange at times.
Morse sits at his DS exams and has no problem completing them; people seem to expect he will move since there is no place for 2 Detective Sergeant's at his police department.

1967 is for Endeavour a year of change, personally and professionally. Departures and arrivals. Entrances and exits...

In the 4th and final episode of Series 3 an armed robbery takes place at a bank where Joan Thursday works and the armed robbers become trapped themselves along with Morse during an investigation into a killing and payroll robbery.
After the robbers are arrested, Joan, emotionally affected by the ordeal, leaves Oxford for pastures new.

Reginald Bright, Police Chief Superintendent of Oxford City Police, Cowley Police Station (a very kind role by Anton Lesser) has taken a more caring role of his staff due to the outcome of the Blenheim Vale investigation.
There is another very likable character in these Endeavour 3rd series: Dakota Blue Richards as the smart Woman Police Constable (WPS) Shirley Trewlove.
A number of returning characters: James Bradshaw as Dr Max DeBryn and Abigail Thaw as journalist Dorothea Frazil, daughter of the original Morse actor John Thaw and his first wife, Sally Alexander. And of course Caroline O'Neill as Win Thursday , Fred Thursday's wife and daughter Joan Thursday played by Sara Vickers.
We also see Shvorne Marks as nurse Monica Hicks with whom Morse seemed to be entering into a relationship earlier on in the series, but in this 3rd series only gets a smiling acknowledgment; I don't like this unfinished business, not adequately addressed in my opinion. A pity, but the only blemish I can think of.

A 4th series has apparently been produced and is expected to be broadcasted on ITV in January 2017. Something to look forward to!

http://www.pbs.org/
http://www.itv.com/.../endeavour-returns-series-3
https://en.wikipedia.org:_Endeavour_(TV_series)



[19DEC2016]

 
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME by YRSA SIGURDARDOTTIR | BOOKS CRIME FICTION NOVEL

Yrsa Sigurdardottir - Someone to watch over me

This is the second novel I've read written by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and I find myself each time having to get used a little to her different way of writing compared to that other great Icelandic author, Arnaldur Indridason.
For instance, the book does not start with a murder, so it isn't exactly a murder investigation. Rather a thriller.

The first chapter starts with a spooky scene, a cat concealing itself in the darkness behind some bushes. The reader is best advised to reread this chapter after finishing the book..
That first chapter continues with a woman waking up in the middle of the night, looking back on a fatal incident in het neighbourhood after which, she is convinced, her house became haunted.. That day is noted to be 08 November 2008.
The second chapter takes the reader to 04 January 2010. The main character, lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, is invited to a psychiatric healthcare unit where a patient named Jósteinn wants her to look into a case of arson for which a fellow inmate, Jakob, may be wrongfully convicted.

The author provides some background information on Iceland health care concerning people with Down's syndrome; it seems that in recent history even in legal statements these people were referred to as 'idiots'.
Thóra is asked to look into the matter and see if sufficient doubt can be raised regarding the investigation of a fire in a prestigious brand-new health care unit, where several patients with severe disabilities were treated though the conditions of the seven patients were very different from each other.

Meanwhile there is a radio presenter with job insecurities who is also stalked by spooky calls.
And the woman in her haunted house has a very occasional appearance in the story but her experiences play a vital role; why is revealed in the last chapters.

Most of the book we follow Thóra, who enlists her out-of-work boyfriend as a driver and assistent.
Backdrop of the book is the developing economic crisis in Iceland, as well as the winter conditions.

Thóra is a very level headed woman, which is quite a change from crime novels who have their investigator often in some sort of emotional crisis. But that is also how the story develops: on a very gradual pace she finds out things by digging into archives, spurred on by the occasional mysterious text of an anonymous sender.
Thóra has a crowded house because her parents have moved in, having lost their house in the banking crisis, and she has three kids from a previous marriage to take care of.

The comic note comes from Bella, the secretary of the law firm run by Thóra and her (rather invisible) partner. Bella came with a very cheap rent for office space and Bella quite abuses her working relationship.
Although plenty of facts pass concerning Icelandic healthcare, as well as the considerable amount of twists and story developments, the book picks up on speed in the second half and is in general quite relaxing to read. And less dark than fatal deaths in a home for severely disabled young people, with a possible wrongful conviction of a young man with Down's Syndrome, might have you think!

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/yrsa-sigurdardottir/someone...
https://www.goodreads.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org:_Yrsa_Sigurðardóttir


[19DEC2016]

 
KNEES DEEP IN ELECTRONICS CRAP


Right, I got a new PC, the old one was 6 years old and seemed beyond saving.
I hate that job of configuring a new PC! There is always a loss of files, like my email adressbook.

Since a few days I have been reinstalling applications, copying files from backups and reconfiguring the software with passwords, preferences, etc. Trying to get back to 'normal'.
I keep coming across files that were not saved according the latest revision and find folders missing that I have overlooked when sorting my back ups. Crap.
This in the light of reports by readers who get a 'Error 404 - Website Not Found' when going to my website and MidPhase Support, my website host, giving me very mediocre help.
And I also found that my smartphone is sending a daily text to a mysterious number, my laptop connecting to wifi but not connecting to The Web, "DNS Server Not Found" for every website I select.
Knees deep in crap. I seem to be loosing my connection with the 'smart age'.

So while I have a new PC to my disposal, I am fast approaching the day I am going to chuck it all in.

[19DEC2016]

 
KNOWING CHINA, A TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY GUIDE | BOOKS WORLD

Frank Pieke - Knowing China

'Knowing China, A Twenty-First Century Guide' by Frank N. Pieke (Leiden University, published: July 2016).
In the past 15 -20 years the knowledge of China was increased considerably, but often very fragmented and specialised. In this book Frank Pieke takes up the challenge to write a book about China for both the non-specialist and specialist alike.
While I have been interested in China, its history and its progress into modern times, over the past 4 decades, I consider myself a non-specialist; please consider this review in that light. The book certainly was of interest to me and increased my insight.

Pieke provides for the non-specialist a most digestible account to date of China's unconventional ascendancy. And he forces China experts out of their academic ivory towers into public world debate. Pieke explores connections between developments in the society, politics and the economy of contemporary China. He adresses issues such as human rights, the structure and machinations of the political system as well as the economic situation.

Contemporary China appears both deceptively familiar and inexplicably different. The novelty seems to be that the Chinese system has dictatorship in a working relationship with a market economy.

Frank N. Pieke adopts a China-centric perspective to move beyond western preoccupations, desires, or fears.
The common civilian in China realizes he or she enjoys increasingly more freedom, but there are 'power lines' one shouldn't try to cross. In the western world we find that Nobel prizewinner Liu Xiaobo and artist Ai Weiwei test these bounderies at their peril, but the commoner in China has little to do with such 'trouble & strife' .

Each chapter in the book starts with a key question about China, showing that such questions and assumptions are often based on a misunderstanding or misconstruction of what China is all about today.
Pieke explores 21st century China as a unique kind of neo-socialist society, combining features of state socialism, neoliberal governance, capitalism and rapid globalization.
Understanding this society not only helps us to increase an understanding of China and rise above the misconceptions of Western versus Oriental differences.

The book is written in an academic style, rather dry of prose (comparing to work I've read by authors such as Henk Schulte Nordholt), but of considerable clarity.

The above is based on the book description by David Parkin of All Souls College (University of Oxford)
and
www.guanxi.nl/2016/10/24/china-cafe-frank-pieke/

Frank Pieke is an Academic Director / Professor of Modern China Studies at the Leiden University (website)


[04DEC2016]

 
THE SALVATION - BAD MEN WILL BLEED | FILM WESTERN

Bad Men Will Bleed

I grew up with westerns on telly and in the cinema, but these days westerns are a lot less common. Imagine my surprise now to have come across a Danish western!
The production is an international one, with actors such as Jonathan Pryce, Eva Green and Douglas Henshall (Shetland) but also starring Mads Mikkelsen, Mikael Persbrandt (Gunvald in Beck). Eric Cantona plays a convincing 'baddie'.
Jon's wife Marie is played by Nanna Øland Fabricius, better known by her stage name Oh Land; she is a Danish singer-songwriter and record producer.
So in most respects, if not all, The Salvation (2014) is a Danish film, because it is also directed by Kristian Levring (and written by Anders Thomas Jensen & K. Levring).

Jon and his brother Peter participate in the Second Schleswig War in 1864 and following the defeat of the Danish Realm, they migrate to the USA and settle somewhere 'out West'.
Seven years later, Jon's wife, Marie and his ten-year-old son, Kresten arrive. The family boards a stagecoach bound for their small residence while Peter stays behind. Their coach is also boarded by two recently released criminals, Paul and Lester. Following a fight, the two criminals throw Jon out of the moving coach after which they rape and kill Jon's wife. They also kill his son and the stagecoach drivers...

With great effort, Jon catches up to the coach to find his family murdered. Enraged, he in turn kills the two convicts.
Unbeknown to him, Paul is the brother of Henry Delarue, a notorious gang leader and land baron. Revenge follows revenge...

en.wikipedia.org:_The_Salvation_(film)
[02DEC2016]

 
DCI BANKS | BRITISH CRIME DRAMA FICTION

DCI Banks, british tv crime drama


Recenlty watched what was probably the last episode of this British crime drama series, series 5 -
episode 6.

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 actor Stephen Tompkinson as Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks.

In January 2010, author Peter Robinson signed with Left Bank Pictures and ITV to adapt novels from the DCI Alan Banks series for television.
Filming on a two-part pilot based on 'Aftermath' was completed in July 2010, with scenes filmed in Leeds. 'DCI Banks: Aftermath' was broadcast on ITV on 27Sep. and 04Oct2010.
ITV commissioned a 2nd series; filming began in March 2012, and episodes began broadcasting in October that same year.
On 01Dec 2012, the 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 the episodes would be based on 3 books: 'Wednesday’s Child', 'Piece of My Heart' and 'Bad Boy'.
In this 3rd series we see Banks again assisted by both DS Annie Cabbot and DS Helen Morton, both Andrea Lowe (27 episodes, 2010-2016) and Caroline Catz (24 episodes, 2012-2016) reappearing; wonderful roles by the both of them.
The episodes were broadcasted in 2014.

In Sep.2014 filming began in Yorkshire for a 4th series. The 6 hour-long episodes, again inspired by Peter Robinson's books, aired from March 2015 to April 2015.
In 03Dec2015, ITV announced the show was renewed for a 5th and final series. In episode 4 we witness DS Annie Cabbot being stabbed in a dark alley while on the phone with DCI Banks... In the final episode 'Undertow' we see Banks and his team frantically trying to catch Annie's murderer.

On 08Nov2016 it was announced that the show would not be renewed for a 6th series, thereby bringing DCI Banks to an end after five series.
Jack Deam (as DC Ken Blackstone, a fine role of a down to earth detective) was the only one besides Stephen Tompkinson to appear in all 32 episodes.

I have a mixed relation with this series, often under the impression that Alan Banks was portrayed as too emotional for his position. And I was quickly fed up with the problematic DCI Banks - DS Cabbot relation. So when I ran into the series on telly I watched or recorded it and I probably saw most of it, but it is not in my top 5 of crime drama series.
Sofar I have not read any books by Peter Robinson.

en.wikipedia.org:_DCI_Banks
www.imdb.com

[29NOV2016]

 
THE ABSENT ONE by JUSSI ADLER-OLSEN | FILM CRIME FICTION

The Absent One, Danish crime fiction - by Jussi ADler-Olsen

The Absent One, Danish crime fiction - by Jussi ADler-Olsen

I had read the book, which in fact worked me because I bought this second film of Police Inspector Mørck (an excellent role by Nikolaj Lie Kaas), of the Danish Police Dept.Q, before having had the opportunity to see the first one.
I though that the film is an excellent rendition of Jussi Adler-Olsen's book.
When it was released in Oct.2014 it was Denmark’s highest-grossing opening week for a local film ever!

'The Absent One' (Danish: Fasandræberne) is a 2014 Danish crime mystery film directed by Mikkel Nørgaard (da) and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg (da), based on Jussi Adler-Olsen's novel of the same name.

Department Q is the cold case group, very much under appreciated by the entire police force and a bit of a joke among their colleagues; their office sits in the basement of the building, dusty files and bare brick walls.
It is the second film in the Q-Series, following the 2013 film 'The Keeper of Lost Causes', and preceding the 2016 film 'A Conspiracy of Faith' (original Danish title Flaskepost fra P).
No doubt I will soon purchase these two (both of which books I have written, but a comfortably long time ago).

Inspector Mørck's sidekick, Assad, played by Fares Fares, received the 'Danish Oscar' for his performance as Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In this film we see Mørck getting a secretary, Johanne Louise Schmidt as Rose.
And such wonderful roles by Danica Curcic (as Kimmie, the absent one, living below every conceivable radar) and Sarah-Sofie Boussnina as Kimmie when she was a student; wonderful roles!

You'll have gathered that I heartily recommend this film!

en.wikipedia.org:_The_Absent_One_(2014_film)

[29NOV2016]

 
THE FIVE (TV-SERIES) | CRIME DRAMA FICTION

The Five - tv crime drama


Absolutely enjoyed this crime drama which was recently aired on Canvas television. Fast paced series with each of the 10 episodes brimming with thrilling excitement and twists and turns in the plot!

'The Five' is a British crime drama television series, created by renowned crime author Harlan Coben, as his first original series for television.
The Five began broadcast on 15Apr2016 on Sky1 in the UK.
The series stars Tom Cullen (Mark), O. T. Fagbenle (Danny), Lee Ingleby (Slade) and Sarah Solemani (Pru) as childhood friends Mark, Danny, Slade and Pru, who are re-united after DNA evidence left at a murder scene is revealed to be that of Mark's brother Jesse, who disappeared one summer's day after playing in the park with the four friends...
No trace of Jesse has ever been found, but a serial killer, Jakob Marosi, who has been charged with 5 other murders claimed that he was responsible for Jesse's death.

Twenty years on Danny is a Detective Sergeant and on a murder scene DNA is found of Jesse. He shares this information with Mark (a lawyer and an investigator into missing persons), who has always blamed himself for not having taken better care of his little brother.
Mark's parents have seen their marriage fail because of Jesse's disappearance and respond very differently to new hope of ever seeing Jesse again.
Slade runs a youth shelter, but has a dark side to him. Pru had gone to the USA with her mother, but returned to England, married and mother of a daughter.
The four of them get united again, but the past is haunting them.

The series is fast paced with new developments (not one but two murders to investigate plus the disappearance of Jesse and abductions of young women), but also has good character development of all those involved. Although we don't really get to know how Slade came to be an expert in certain unlawful activities.

en.wikipedia.org:_The_Five_(TV_series)

[26NOV2016]

 
AMSTERDAM 1900 | PHOTOGRAPHY HISTORY

AMSTERDAM 1900 - early 1900s photography in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM 1900 - early 1900s photography in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM 1900 - early 1900s photography in Amsterdam

Yesterday's visit to the Amsterdam Stadsarchief (city archives) was very rewarding indeed because of this Amsterdam 1900 exhibition.
It concerned photographs by Jacob Olie, Hendrik Breitner & Bernard Eilers and contempories in and around Amsterdam (Netherlands), which around 1900 was becoming a very dynamic city.
Around this time photography became increasingly popular.
While this exhibition has fascinating images on display, the exhibition also concerns the development (pun intended!) of photography, its importance, its growing use and the various ways of developing and printing.

In the centre of town dominating structures arose, such as the Central and 'Beurs (stock exchange) van Berlage'.
The industry and the harbour grew, but meanwhile living conditions in the inner city deteriorated and there was much poverty.
For the first time there was a way to document and share this: by photography.
Research in photo collections of museums and archives brought about a veritable treasure of previously unknown images.
Besides work by well known photographers such as George Hendrik Breitner, Jacob Olie and Bernard F. Eilers this exhibition 'Amsterdam 1900' displays astounding images of unknown or long forgotten photographers.
The 'Stadsarchief' has around 5.000 glassplates by Jacob Olie, most of his work survived very well.

This exhibition, totalling 300 images, takes one back in time while it is also educational in the way equipment and use of photography changed over time by various groups in society then and now.

The catalogue of this exhibition will find a a good place in my photobook collection.

George Hendrik Breitner (b.12Sep1857 - d.05Jun1923) on Wikipedia
Jacob Olie (b.17Oct1834 - d.23Apr1905) on Wikipedia (in Dutch)
Bernard F. Eilers (b.24Apr1878 - d.26Apr1951) on Wikipedia (NL)
Stadsarchief (Dutch)

More images of my visit.


[23NOV2016]

 
BECK (SERIES 6) | DVD CRIME FICTION

Beck 6 - Scandinavian crime drama


With the 'Wallander'-series the 'Inspector Beck'-series is another benchmark for Scandinavion crime series on television.
While the Wallander series (I refer to the series with Krister Henriksson in the leading role) have ended, the Volume 6 of 'Beck' only hints at it being the end of the series... Perhaps slightly more than a hint.
Allegedly 'Beck' is the longest-running Swedish film series of all time, though that may include the series with other actors as Martin Beck instead of Peter Haber.

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö wrote a series crime novels, 10 to be exact. Police inspector Martin Beck is the main protagonist in these books.
The success of these books have for a large part been attributed to the setting of the crime plot in a story brimming with social criticism. The tv series, of which I particularly liked the ones with Peter Haber in the leading role, have less of that aspect though social problems in today's society do often appear in the storyline.
Since 1997 there have been 30 films only based on the characters, with Peter Haber as Martin Beck.

Martin Beck has aged yet again of course and grows increasingly more tired of his young superior Klas Fredén (a role by Jonas Karlsson), with his pressure for quick results.
His assistant, Gunvald Larsson (played by Mikael Persbrandt), ends his participation to these series and appears only in episode 1 (of 4, each lasting 90 minutes). Apparently they investigated some 30 cases together on screen...
Mikael Persbrandt is leaving the series to pursue an international career in cinema. Larsson is replaced by a Norwegian, who has relocated to be near his (ex/) wife and teenage daughter.
So in episode 2 we meet Detective Steinar Hovland, played by Kristofer Hivju in a wonderful role.
While I am sure we will miss tough, no-nonsense Gunvald Larsson at times, Steinar also uses some unothodox methods at times.

In this series #6 we see assistent Oskar return, a role by Måns Nathanaelson, now struggling with domestic issues; and also Elmira Arikan as Ayda and Anna Asp as Jenny Bodén.

Sjöwall and Wahlöö on WIKIPEDIA
'Martin Beck' on WIKIPEDIA
http://nordicnoir.tv/news/kristofer-hivju-joins-beck-in-2016/

Inspector Beck was also discussed on 2011Q1 - 2012Q1 - 2013Q4 - 2015Q3

[20NOV2016]

 
A NOBLE RADIANCE by DONNA LEON | BOOKS CRIME FICTION

A Noble Radiance by Donna Leon (crime fiction novel)


Years ago when I started reading Donna Leon's novels, I considered them lacking some 'edge', comparing the books to 'Scandi Noir' writing and found the thriller aspect lacking. My fascination for Venice made me return regularly to Donna Leon's writing and gradually my appreciation for Commissario Guido Brunetti, his wife Paola, Signorina Elettra gradually began to increase.
I like the gradual pace, the modest scale of events, its humor and last but certainly not least the critical notes in reference to Italian governmental institutions and injustices.
Yes, I will probably keep returning to Venice and Donna Leon's writing.

A Noble Radiance was published by Arrow Books in the UK, in 1999.

The plot: A tractor that carries out some works in a farmhouse at the foot of the Italian Dolomites reveals a badly decomposed corpse . Close to the body is found valuable ring that relates it to an influential family of the Venetian nobility.
Apparently the dead is the heir of the family, a young men kidnapped at the gate of his house 2 years ago and of whom nobody had seen since then. The commissary Guido Brunetti takes charge of the case in an investigation that will lead him even to request the help of his aristocratic father-in-law to penetrate the secrets of a noble family.

Donna Leon (b.1942- in Montclair, New Jersey) is the American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti.
Leon has lived in Venice for over 25 years. She was a lecturer in English literature for the University of Maryland University College - Europe (UMUC-Europe) in Italy.
She stopped teaching and concentrated on writing and other cultural activities in the field of music (especially baroque music).

The Commissario Brunetti novels are all situated in or around Venice. They are written in English and translated into many foreign languages, but not into Italian, at Leon's request.
German Television has produced 20 Commissario Brunetti mysteries for broadcast.

en.wikipedia.org - Donna_Leon
en.wikipedia.org - Donna_Leon_(TV_series)

I have discussed similar crime novels by Donna Leon on 2013Q3 - 2014Q2 - 2015Q1 - 2015Q3 - 2016Q1

[20NOC2016]

 
PARIS MINUIT - VARIOUS PHOTOGRAPHERS | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOK

Paris Muint - Parigramme, 2013 (photobook)
PARIS MINUIT - PARIGRAMME

Paris Muint - Parigramme, 2013 (photobook)

Paris Muint - Parigramme, 2013 (photobook)


When I picked up this book I completely fell in love with it! Such fine photography and so beautifully produced!
The book is quite heavy, all images are produced on thick paper, which contributes to turning the pages with some reverie.
The 227 (!) black and white images of 'Paris by Midnight' have deep blacks while the light brings life with magic clarity and the shadows create mystery to what has been recorded.
I like the fact that each photo has a 'where & when', while most of the images has the photographer identified (quite a few are 'anonyme').
Pity the preface is in French, as I am not fluent in French, but since this is a French production that is hardly surprising (beyond the border of France hardly anything of importance is worth considering by the French).

Most of the images date from the 1920s-1950s, but there are others too of a later date.
Here are most, if not all, of the photographers

  • Robert Doisneau (wikipedia)
  • Sabine Weiss
  • Charles Delius
  • Gabriel Loppé
  • Maurice-Louis Branger
  • Albert Harlingue
  • Boris Lipnitzky
  • André Kertész (wikipedia)
  • Eugène Atget
  • Paul Thompson
  • Marcel Bovis (wikipedia)
  • Brassaï (wikipedia)
  • Willy Ronis
  • Émile Savitry (wikipedia)
  • Denise Bellon
  • Pierre Jahan
  • Henri Martinié
  • René-Jacques
  • Roger Schall
  • Paul Almasy
  • Jules et Louis Séeberger
  • Ilse Bing (wikipedia)
  • Gaston Paris
  • François Kollar
  • Walter Limot
  • David E. Scherman
  • Nat Farbman
  • François Kollar
  • Walter Limot
  • David E. Scherman
  • Jean Dieizaide
  • Georges Dudognon
  • Jacques Rouchon
  • André Sas
  • Jeanloup Sieff (wikipedia)
  • Gérald Bloncourt
  • Denise Colomb
  • Janine Niepce
  • Harlad Chapman
  • Dennis Stock (wikipedia)
  • Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
  • Jane Evelyn Atwood (wikipedia)
  • Gleb Derunjinsky
  • Izis (wikipedia)
  • Raymond Voinquel
  • Charles Eldridge
  • Jean Mounicq
  • Jean Gourbeix
  • Charles Ciccione
  • Burt Glinn (wikipedia)
  • Ansquer
  • Jacques Boissay
  • Élie Kagan
  • Jean-Louis Rancurel
  • Patrick Chauvel
  • Gilles Caron
  • Claude Schwartz
  • Harold Chapman
  • Giovanni Coruzzi
  • Philippe Morillon
  • Philippe Lopparelli
  • Mat Jacob
  • Bruno Fert
  • Jean-Marc Armani
  • Meyer
  • Denis Darzacq
  • Romain Osi
  • Thierry Ardouin
  • In the context of this book, since its range is broader than mere 'streetphotography', the following on Wikipedia may be of interest: Humanist Photography.

    [17NOV2016]

     
    RAYMOND CHANDLER & JAMES HADLEY CHASE & STANLEY WEST | BOOKS CRIME FICTION

    Stanley West crime writer

    Stanley West crime writer


    Decades ago I came across a stack of books at home and found they belonged to my father, who I did not know as a reader. Apparently in the 1960s he took a temporary liking to crime fiction featuring 'hard-boiled' tough detectives and private eyes.
    I read them then, as a teenager, and liked them too but subsequently forgot about them. When my father passed away I took some of these books with me, those that weren't quite falling apart. They sit in a place of honour in my bookcase.
    The authors concerned are: Raymond Chandler, James Hadley Chase and Stanley West.

    It took a while before I found something on 'Stanley West' on the internet, then I learned it was an alias for a Dutch writer: David Trijbits! I found this quite surprising.

    David Trijbits (b.02Jun1898, Rotterdam - d.27Apr1967, Rotterdam). In daily life he ran a shop in clothing articles; in 1957 he started writing under the pseudonym Stanley West.
    In total he wrote 53 novels, most of them featuring one Jess Ford, a tough, macho detective. Trijbits was not considered to be a talented stylist, but he was prolific and he enjoyed publishing these detective novels, in part to fight the demons of WWII.
    Trijbits spent a considerable time in a prison camp in WWII. He survived but his daughter did not, she died in Bergen Belsen, aged 21. His son died in 1961 when he was only 36, another had died in 1928 when he was only four months old.
    Uitgeverij (publisher) 'De Combinatie' in Rotterdam published all 53 novels by 'Stanley West', in a socalled UMC series; these all featured a bright red cover and were all detective- or policeman novesl by authors such as Richard Prather, Henry Kane, James Hadley Chase, Ben Benson, Stephen Marlowe, Hal Masur, William Ard, Frank Stephens, Mickey Spillane and various others (over 300 in total!).

    The remarkable thing of the books by Stanley West was that all 53 covers were stolen by the publisher...
    An American pocket was found and slightly altered by some anonymous artist and the book was ready for publication without much cost. The content did not resemble the book of which the cover was copied whatsoever.
    Stanley West - stolen bookcovers
    From: http://spannings.blogspot.nl/2013/10/plaat-van-de-maand-42.html

    The UMC series was quite popular. Trijbits continued to write until 1967, the year in which he died.
    Stanley West bibliography (books were only published in Dutch, afaik):
    1957 'Rhapsodie in bloed'
    1957 'Hoogspanning....levensgevaar'
    1958 'De dood draagt een smoking'
    1958 'Dollars en demonen'
    1958 'Het dagboek van de dood'
    1958 'Kermis in de hel'
    1958 'Kille handen ....'
    1958 'Lieveling, het is ochtend...!'
    1958 'De nachten zijn lang...'
    1959 'De vlerken van de gier'
    1959 'Satan reist incognito'
    1959 'Geen gratie voor Gracie'
    1960 'In den beginne was het moord'
    1960 'Kostbaar bloed'
    1960 'De spin en het web'
    1960 'Linda schiet met scherp'
    1960 'Moord en brand'
    1960 'Van de wal in de dood'
    1961 'Satan's troetelkinderen'
    1961 'Ratten bij het spek'
    1961 'Haaien op de kust'
    1961 'Gangsters sterven niet'
    1961 'Bijtend zuur, lady'
    1962 'Adders in het gras'
    1962 'Daders op het kerkhof'
    1962 'Jacht in de nacht'
    1962 'Monsters zonder waarde'
    1962 'Moord als erfenis'
    1962 'Schurken en schatjes'
    1963 'Wie het gevaar zoekt ...'
    1963 'U spreekt met Jess Ford!'
    1963 'Roofridders van Brooklyn'
    1963 'Judas in vrouwenkleren'
    1963 'Jakhalzen'
    1963 'Feeën en feeksen'
    1963 'De duivel sliep...!'
    1963 'De dood is een dame'
    1964 'Galg en rad'
    1964 'Grieten en bandieten'
    1964 'Onkruid vergaat'
    1964 'Steken boven water'
    1964 'Een voet in 't graf'
    1965 'Venijn in de staart'
    1965 'Met hangen en wurgen'
    1965 'Leven en laten sterven'
    1965 'De hel in zakformaat'
    1965 'Geen paradijs voor Eva'
    1966 'De dame en de demon'
    1966 'Lipstick en stiletto'
    1966 'Monsters aan de Hudson'
    1966 'Parfum van het kwaad'
    1967 'Kunt u mij helpen, mr. Ford?'
    1967 'Als de kat van huis is'
    (Sources: Wim van Eyle, Uilke Komrij, Karel Siebers, Alwin van Ee, Max van Dam)
    http://spannings.blogspot.nl/2013/10/plaat-van-de-maand-42.html (Dutch)

    Stanley West crime writer
    Stanley West and James Hadley Chase

    Stanley West crime writer

    James Hadley Chase (b.24Dec1906 – d.06Feb1985) was an English writer.
    While his birth name was René Lodge Brabazon Raymond, he was well known by his various pseudonyms, including James Hadley Chase, James L. Docherty, Raymond Marshall, R. Raymond, and Ambrose Grant.
    He was one of the best known thriller writers of all time. The canon of Chase, comprising 90 titles, earned him a reputation as the king of thriller writers in Europe. He was also one of the internationally best-selling authors.

    Prohibition and the ensuing Great Depression in the US (1929–39) had given rise to the Chicago gangster culture prior to World War II. This, combined with Chase's book trade experience, made him realise that there was a big demand for gangster stories.
    After reading James M. Cain's novel 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' (1934), and having read about the American gangster Ma Barker and her sons, and with the help of maps and a slang dictionary, he wrote 'No Orchids for Miss Blandish' in his spare time, allegedly over a period of six-week-ends (though his papers suggest it took longer.) The book achieved remarkable notoriety and became one of the best-selling books of the decade.
    All of his novels were so fast-paced that the reader was compelled to turn the pages in a non-stop effort to reach the end of the book. The final page often produced a totally unexpected plot twist that would invariably leave even his most die-hard fans surprised.

    In several of Chase's stories, the protagonist tries to get rich by committing a crime — an insurance fraud or a theft. But the scheme invariably fails and leads to a murder and finally to a cul-de-sac, in which the hero realises that he never had a chance to keep out of trouble.
    In many of his novels, treacherous women play a significant role.
    Chase's best market was France (more than 30 books were made into movies) where all of his ninety titles were published by Éditions Gallimard in their Série noire series. He was also very popular in other European markets, as well as Africa and Asia.
    Following perestroika, Centrepolygraph in Russia contracted to publish all his titles.
    However, his books failed to take hold in the American market partially due to the fact that the descriptive details did not seem convincing to American readers. This, together with their misogynist attitude, turned off the female market.
    en.wikipedia.org:_James_Hadley_Chase

    Raymond Thornton Chandler (b.23Jul1888 – d.26Mar1959) was a British-American novelist and screenwriter.
    In 1932, at the age of forty-four, Chandler became a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression.
    His first short story, 'Blackmailers Don't Shoot', was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, 'The Big Sleep', was published in 1939.
    Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature. He is considered to be a founder of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers.
    Critics and writers, including W. H. Auden, Evelyn Waugh and Ian Fleming, greatly admired Chandler's prose.

    His second Marlowe novel, 'Farewell, My Lovely' (1940), became the basis for three movie versions adapted by other screenwriters, including the 1944 film 'Murder My Sweet'.
    In 1946 the Chandlers moved to La Jolla, California, an affluent coastal neighborhood of San Diego, where Chandler wrote two more Philip Marlowe novels, 'The Long Goodbye' and his last completed work, 'Playback'.
    Some of Chandler's novels are considered important literary works, and three have been considered absolute masterpieces: 'Farewell, My Lovely' (1940), 'The Little Sister' (1949), and 'The Long Goodbye' (1953).

    The detective Philip Marlowe is not a stereotypical tough guy, but a complex, sometimes sentimental man with few friends, who attended university, who speaks some Spanish and sometimes admires Mexicans, and who is a student of chess and classical music. He is a man who refuses a prospective client’s fee for a job he considers unethical.
    Chandler's wife, Cissy, died in 1954, after a long illness. After Cissy's death, Chandler's loneliness worsened his propensity for clinical depression; he returned to drinking alcohol, never quitting it for long, and the quality and quantity of his writing suffered.
    He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, in San Diego,CA.
    en.wikipedia.org:_Raymond_Chandler


    [.....2016]

     
    WEEGEE | GRAPHIC NOVEL PHOTOGRAPHY HISTORY

    Weegee, graphic novel

    Weegee, graphic novel

    Weegee, graphic novel


    Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur (Usher) Fellig (b. 12Jun1899 – d.26Dec1968), a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography.
    Weegee worked in Manhattan, New York City's Lower East Side as a press photographer during the 1930s and 1940s, and he developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity.
    Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death.

    Weegee was born in Zloczów (now Zolochiv, Ukraine), near Lemberg, Austrian Galicia.
    His name was changed to Arthur when he emigrated with his family to live in New York in 1909.
    There he took numerous odd jobs, including working as an street photographer of children on his pony.
    In 1924 he was hired as a dark-room technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos). He left, however, in 1935 to become a freelance photographer.
    He worked at night and competed with the police to be first at the scene of a crime, selling his photographs to tabloids and photographic agencies.

    Most of his notable photographs were taken with very basic press photographer equipment and methods of the era, a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera preset at f/16 at 1/200 of a second, with flashbulbs and a set focus distance of ten feet.
    In 1957, after developing diabetes, he moved in with Wilma Wilcox, a Quaker social worker whom he had known since the 1940s.
    He traveled extensively in Europe until 1968, working for the Daily Mirror and on a variety of photography, film, lecture, and book projects.
    On 26Dec1968 Weegee died in New York at the age of 69.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Weegee
    www.striptip.nl/recensies/weegee-serial-photographer/


    [15NOV2016]

     
    HOPES AND PROSPECTS by NAOM CHOMSKY | WORLD AFFAIRS

    Hopes and Prospects BY Naom Chomsky

    I grew up with the believe that the USA did good, ever since liberating Europe in WWII and helped to restore economy and well being of Europe ever since. A product of my education and upbringing.
    But I am a big boy now, have read up on the subject and the truth seems quite different.
    The U.S., in their own perception of itself as a force for good in the world, ran into a few misguided military pursuits for which any other country would have been brought before an international tribunal. But because of its #1 military supremacy and economic power most countries kowtow to Washington's demands.
    Even further down the sceptical spectrum is Naom Chomsky, an author I value for his clear mind and insight, who is able to step wide from the general perception. His political view of US political evangelism is that it is a grotesque hypocrisy, cunningly deployed to mask imperialistic ambitions.

    Noam Chomsky has bundled and updated a series of lectures and essays since 2006 in Hopes and Prospects. It is a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions which the 81-year-old linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology saw published in 2010, by Haymarket Books.
    Allegedly, he is the closest thing the intellectual far left has to a rock star...

    The content of the book shows as follows...
    PART I - Latin America
    Year 514: Globilization for Whom?
    latin AMerica and US Foreign Policy
    Democracy and Development: Their Enemies, Their Hopes
    Latin American and Caribbean Unity

    Part II - North America
    "Good News", Iraq and Beyond
    Free Elections, Good News and Bad
    Century's Challenges
    Turning Point?
    Elections 2008: Hope Confronts the Real World
    Obama on Istrael - Palestine
    The Torture Memos
    1989 and Beyond

    I found Hopes and Prospects not easy to consume: the facts, quotes, references and data stream from the pages like machine gun fire, there is no time for some gentle prose. But the content demands respect and pages are read and reread with a frown between the eyes.
    A few highlights: the capture of the US state and subordination of democracy to a narrow commercial and financial elite; the media's complicity; the uniquely high penalty paid by Latin America for the misfortune of being in Washington's backyard; the function of Israel as America's military client in the Middle East....

    Here are a few excerpts that struck me in particular.
    "In brief, the twenty-five years of economic sovereignty, state-coördinated economic growth, and capital controls under the (1944) Bretton Woods system led to better social and economic results that the following twenty-five years of neoliberalism, by just about every relevant measure, and by significant margins.
    It is improtant to stress that the results include social indicators. In the United States, for example, growth during the Bretton Woods period was not only the highest ever over a lengthy period, but was also egalitarian. Real wages closely tracked increase in the productivity, and social indicators closely tracked growth.
    That continued until the mid-1070s, when neoliberal policies began to be imposed.
    Growth continued, but gains were heavily skewed towards the rich, spectacularly so for the very rich. Productivity continued to increase, though more slowly, but real wages for the majority stagnated and the profits went into few pockets, increasingly so in the Bush II years.
    From 1980 to 1995, real wages for American workers declined about 1 percent, far more sharply for those lower on the income ladder.
    A tech bubble raised wages in the late-1990s, but after it burst, the stagnation and decline continued, worsening in the Bush years, which also left a long-lasting fiscal burden as a result of sharp tax cuts and war spending, greater than the effect of Obama-era stimulus and bailout, contrary to much fevered commentary.
    From 1975, social indicators began to decline, reaching the level of 1960 by the year 2000, the latest results available."
    [p.84]

    "A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that cost and risk are socialized to the expent possible, while profit is privatized. That principle extends far beyond financial institutions, the current focus after the financial meltdown of 2007-8.
    But much the same is true for the entire advanced economy, which relies extensively on the state for innovation, R&D procurement when purchasers are unavailable, direct bailouts, and numerous other benefits.
    [p.114]

    "In September 2009, the Israeli army invaded the North Gaza district south of the town of Beit Laha and kidnapped five Palestinian children on their way home after grazing sheep. Details are reported by the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.
    No coverage could be discovered in the English-language press, though the capture of Shalit, a soldier of an attacking army, receives regular wide coverage, and is regularly depicted as a prime obstacle to peace."
    [p.147]

    "Criminal actions by Palestinians, such as Qassam rockets fired from Gaza, are angrily condemned in the West. The far more violent and destructive Israeli actions sometimes elicit polite clucking of tongues if they exceed approved levels of state terror.
    Invariably Israeli's actions - for which of course the United States shares direct responsibility - are portrayed as retaliation, perhaps excessive.
    Another way of looking at the cycle of violence is that Qassam rockets are retaliation for Israel's unceasing crimes in Gaza and the West bank, which is not separable from Gaza except by U.S.-Israeli fiat. But standars racist-ultranationalist assumptions exclude that interpretation."
    [p.149]

    "Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced that "the current Isralei government will not accept in any way the freezing of legal settlement activity in Judea and Samaria".
    The term 'legal' in US-Israeli parlance means 'illegal, but authorized by the government of Israel with a wink from Washington'."
    "Obama administration officials informed the press that the Bush I measures are not 'under discussion' and that pressures will be 'largely symbolic'. In short, Obama understands, just as Clinton and Bush II did."
    [p.187]

    "...to Israel's U.S.-backed invasion of Lebanon in 2006, with pretexts that are hardly credible in light of Israel's regular practices of kidnapping, hijacking, and internment in secret prisons, as already discussed.
    The invasion that Obama supported so enthusiastically, Israel's fifth, killed over 1.000 Lebanese and once again destroyed much of southern Lebanon as well as parts of Beirut.
    This is the sole mention of Lebanon among foreign issues on Obama's campaign website. Evidently, Lebanon has no right of self-defense. Infact who could possibly have a right of self-defense against the United States or its clients?"
    [p.250]

    "Perhaps culpability would be greater, by prevailing moral standards, if it were discovered that Bush administration torture cost American lives. That is, in fact, the conclusion drawn by US major Matthew Alexander (pseudonym), one of the most seasoned interrogators in Iraq. Alexander expresses only contempt for the harsh interrogation measures: "The use of torture by the U.S.," he believes, not only elicits no useful information but has "proved so counter-productive that it may have led to the death of as many U.S. soldiers as civilians killed in 9/11."
    From hundreds of interrogations, Alexander discovered that foreign fighters came to Iraq in reaction to the abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and that they and their domestic allies turned suicide bombing and other terrorist acts for the same reason."
    [p.266]

    "A year after Washington's victory over the Church of the Gospels in El Salvador, the demon of liberation theology emerged again in Haiti with the democratic election of a liberation theology priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. As discussed earlier, Washington moved at once to destry the threat, reinstating the rule of the military and traditional ruling elite.
    A few years later the demon raised its head again in Honduras. One of the reason's for Obama's indirect but sufficient support for the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government and restored power to the traditional rulers, was Zelaya's moves toward 'alliance with liberation-theologian priests and other environmental activists protesting mining and biofuel-induced deforestation' .
    [p.276]

    "It turns out that Bush-Baker promised that NATO would not even fully extend to East Germany (GDR). They told Gorbachev that 'no NATO forces would ever be deployed on the territory of the former GDR... NATO's jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.'
    They also assured Gorbachev that 'NATO would be transforming itself into a more political organization.' There is no need to comment on that promise.
    What Gorbachev did not know, and Kohl and Genscher dismissed, is that President Bush kept to his position that 'we prevailed, they didn't, so they can impose no conditions."
    [279]

    www.theguardian.com/books/2010/jul/04/hopes-and-prospects-chomsky-review
    en.wikipedia.org:_Noam_Chomsky


    [15NOV2016]

     
    SINTERKLAAS | FOLKLORE NETHERLANDS DUTCH TRADITION

    XSinterklaas

    Sinterklaas

    Sinterklaas

    Sinterklaas

    Sinterklaas

    Sinterklaas


    Sinterklaas or Sint-Nicolaas is a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins based on Saint Nicholas.
    Other names for the figure include De Sint ("The Saint"), De Goedheiligman ("The Good Holy Man"), and De Goede Sint ("The Good Saint") in Dutch; Saint-Nicolas in French; Sinteklaas in Frisian; and Kleeschen and Zinniklos in Luxembourgish.

    Sinterklaas is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on 5 December, the night before Saint Nicholas Day in the Northern Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day itself, in the (Roman Catholic) southern provinces, Belgium, Luxembourg and Northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois). He is also well known in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Suriname.

    He is the primary source of the popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus.

    Glad to note there was nothing to be noted regarding the controversy (among adults) surrounding Black Pete... All the children rejoiced, esspecially towards 'Zwarte Piet', calling out his name, because he is the funny, crazy character.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Sinterklaas
    Mor eon my Flickr.com


    [13NOV2016]

     
    TELLUS | TV SERIES CRIME FICTION DVD

    Tellus - tv series

    Tellus (a latin word, meaning 'earth') is about a Finnish environmental group led by Eevi Forsman (a role by Minka Kuustonen) and who use increasingly radical means to "save the earth".
    They are pursued by Taneli Lokka (a role by Prikka-Pekka Petelius), an experienced police detective, who tries to save the earth in his own personal way.

    A group of young eco-activists, operating as 'Tellus', commit sabotage to companies which harm the environment in one way or the other. Cars are a target too, but a sabotage attempt at a large carpark at the airport fails because Inspector Lokka shows up on a hunch; they abort the mission.
    In another act of sabotage a man dies by accident, it was a cleaner who wasn't supposed to be there at that late hour.
    The group met years ago at school and share their commitment for saving the planet; they severed their social ties and only meet at secret rendez-vous. They prepare themselves very well and have avoided identification over a number of years.
    But they also lead isolated lives, double lives. This preys on the mind of Eevi, who tends to voice her dilemmas to persons who aren't there (but are visualized on screen - one of the markedly different features in this series). Eevi also 'sees' and speaks to her mother, she died years ago. Her father is a theoratical mathematician, also in search of answers to Big Issues, but she feels very much alone.

    Eevi has only her father for social contact, but then she meets Alex and they are both attracted to each other.
    Alex heads a group of... environmentlists; but they rather enjoy their meetings and administrating their 'decisions' most. Quite harmless, too harmless according to some.
    Both Eevi and Alex have doubts about their role in the groups and how the differences in the group are dealt with.
    Then Alex gets ousted from this group. But Eevi does not reveal her part in Tellus to Alex and her secretive attitude brings the relation to a breaking point.
    The other members of Tellus insist they should take lives to shock the world with a much more drastic approach... Even at a cost of their own lifes.
    Inspector Taneli Lokka is on his first job again since having had a brain haemorrhage and he did not tell his superiors he lost most of his sight from his right eye. He is under scrutiny of his superiors for quick results. Meanwhile Taneli is driving his family nuts with his different view on life.

    The Finnish language took me a bit of getting used to, for there is not a word that falls familiar on the ear...
    The 'save the world' ideology and various soul searching felt at times quite immature, but the love story of Eevi and Alex is convincing, while the role of Taneli is a remarkable one - which offers more than one twist one probably don't expect. And there is quite unexpected ending...

    All in all I can say I enjoyed the 6 episodes of Tellus, a crime mystery with a Finnish twist.

    /www.imdb.com/


    [13NOV2016]

     
    LEONARD COHEN (1934 - 2016) - R.I.P. | MUSIC POETRY ARTIST

    Leonard Cohen died aged 82 - R.I.P.

    Leonard Cohen biography
    Leonard Cohen's biography was discussed on Blog 2013 Q4

    Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

    Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
    To my great pleasure I found with the CD a little booklet with lyrics and a personal word.

    Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
    The bird has flown...


    During the early-1970s I 'discovered' singer/songwriters by listening to American Forces Radio, broadcasting from Rhein-Main in Germany. The first artists I bought albums of were Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot and.. Leonard Cohen. Many a melancholy mood deepened by a bottle of wine and Mr Cohen's music!
    Leonard Cohen died 07Nov2016; first time I learned heard of this was on the radio driving to work in the very early hours of 11Nov16 (Central European Time).
    Sad, but it seems to me he led an accomplished life.

    Just last month, he released 'You Want It Darker', an album produced by his son Adam.
    Severe back issues made it difficult for Cohen to leave his home, so Adam placed a microphone on his dining room table and recorded him on a laptop.
    Like David Bowie's 'Blackstar', the record felt like a swansong. "I'm leaving the table / I'm out of the game," he lamented on 'Leaving The Table'.
    "I am ready to die," he said. "I hope it's not too uncomfortable. That's about it for me."
    Cohen was, arguably, one of the most enigmatic poets and songwriters of his generation. While many of the themes in his work hinted at depression, he always felt that he was just a keen observer of the realities of life.

    Thank you for the music, Mr Cohen!

    en.wikipedia.org:_Leonard_Cohen
    Obituary on BBC.com/News

    [11NOV2016]

     
    THICKER THAN WATER | TV SERIES SWEDISH THRILLER

    THICKER tHAN wATER (2014 TV-SERIES)

    Thicker Than Water (2014 tv series)


    "The tap drips, there are stains … and that’s the appeal of Nordic noir", says Morgan Jensen, the head writer for 'Thicker Than Water', which tells the story of three estranged siblings who reunite at their mother’s isolated B&B as family secrets tumble into the open.
    "It’s also the case that something like 'Thicker Than Water' is basically a story about family, and that’s something that everybody can relate to, that idea of terrible secrets lurking beneath the surface".

    Thicker Than Water is a Swedish series by the same scenario writer who worked on 'Wallander', the benchmark of all Swedish (crime) dramas. This series is basically a family drama and thriller, not a murder mystery or a 'catch the criminal' - though there is plenty of crime in the background.

    Mother Anna-Lisa Waldemar invites her children Lasse and Jonna, both adults, for the opening of the new season to her guesthouse, on Aland, which is run by Oskar, her third child.
    The hotel is somewhat old fashioned where guests mainly come for a restful stay; the hotel seems less prepared for modern times but that is the way Oskar likes it. He runs the hotel with his wife Liv and daughter.
    Jonna is an aspiring actrice and Lasse is fighting financial problems of his restaurant in Stockholm.
    Oskar's wife, Liv, is a childhood sweetheart of Lasse and both find they still entertain strong feelings to each other.
    Oskar resents the presence of Lasse, for obvious reasons, but there is more to it: his older brother walked out on the family because he couldn't cope with their violent father; Lasse abandoned the rest of the family to their wretched fate.
    Later in life the father disappeared without a trace, abandoning the family. It is assumed he is dead.

    Anna-Lisa talks to the 3 children and leaves them with a cryptic message. Soon after she takes her own life for she is terminally ill.
    Of the latter situation Oskar, Jonna and Lasse only learn when the testament is read to them.
    Also that the will stipulates that all three of them should work together at the hotel for the entire season before they can claim the hotel as their legacy... They are not allowed to leave for Stockholm or anywhere and have to put their careers on hold.
    This conflicts with parts offered to Jonna. Lasse sees his restaurant go up in flames and his stay on the island is suspect to the police; also he has his daughter with him who resents her isolation in a place where there is so little to do.
    Oskar is used to getting his own way and resents the way this disrupts his routine; he carries more than one heavy secret with him.
    Lasse fears the police investigation, but he also ran with the wrong crowd to borrow a starting capital for his restaurant and they seek him out to make payments, money Lasse does not have.
    Jonna enrolls in a play with the local crowd and meets someone who has feelings for her - or for the place she will soon owns a share of...
    Lasse's daughter Kim finds a love interest next door, but finds herself breaching a family feud.

    Plenty of drama here, secrets unravel, relations being made or broken to maintain suspense over the 10 episodes.
    But I am not sure I want to watch Thicker Than Water II, if the story is based around the same characters..?!

    www.imdb.com
    en.wikipedia.org:_Thicker_Than_Water_(2014_TV_series)

    [.....2016]

     
    WOMAN IN THE DARK by DASHIELL HAMMETT | BOOKS CRIME FICTION

    Woman in the Dark, by Dashiell Hammett

    Samuel Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) came to prominence in the 1920s with his short stories about the ‘Continental Op’, published in Black Mask magazine.
    His longer works, including his five novels, initially began as extensions of these before leading to such crime classic as The Glass Key (1930), The Maltese Falcon (1930) and perhaps to a lesser extent, The Thin Man (1934).

    The book, dating from 1933 (my hardback copy dates from 1988), begins in classic fashion with a girl on the run. Sporting an evening gown, one shoe with a broken heel and cuts and bruises to one leg, Luise Fischer staggers to a crossroads and into the first house she comes to.
    Inside she finds the taciturn Mr Brazil (we never find out his first name), an archetypal hard-bitten, hard-boiled egg who is shepherding Evelyn, a young girl seeking solace from her overbearing father.
    Right away the young girl knows that Luise is a threat to her relationship with Brazil.
    It turns out that they are both outsiders – she a Swiss refugee now being ‘kept’ by Kane Robson, scion of the powerful local landowner; Brazil is a recent parolee who served time for a manslaughter arising from a saloon brawl.
    Kane Robson enters the house with a helper and intends to bring Luise back to his place, one way or the other. Brazil gets into a fight with Robson's helper, who suffers a headwound by a nasty fall against the fireplace. Robson threatens to return with the police and Brazil cannot think of anything worse than having to return to jail.
    Brazil and Luise become fugitives for the law and Robson's helpers.

    An entertaining crime story in 78 pages.
    'A Woman in the Dark' was published in the United States -in the shape of a book- in 1952; it was the last of Hammett's books to see print in his lifetime, with an introduction by Ellery Queen.
    Foreword by Robert B. Parker.

    Raymond Chandler, often considered Hammett's successor, summarized his accomplishments in 'The Simple Art of Murder':
    "Hammett was the ace performer... He is said to have lacked heart; yet the story he himself thought the most of, The Glass Key, is the record of a man's devotion to a friend. He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before."

    Hammett devoted much of his life to left-wing activism.
    He was a strong anti-fascist throughout the 1930s and in 1937 joined the Communist Party. He suspended his anti-fascist activities when, as a member (and in 1941 president) of the League of American Writers, he served on its Keep America Out of War Committee in January 1940 during the period of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
    In early 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hammett again enlisted in the United States Army.

    Hammett testified on July 9, 1951, in front of United States District Court Judge Sylvester Ryan, facing questioning by Irving Saypol, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described by Time as "the nation's number one legal hunter of top Communists". Hammett refused to reveal certain information and was found guilty of contempt of court.
    Hammett served time in a West Virginia federal penitentiary.
    During the 1950s, Hammett was investigated by Congress. He testified on March 26, 1953, before the House Un-American Activities Committee: his stand led to his being blacklisted, along with others who were blacklisted as a result of McCarthyism.
    Hammett became an alcoholic before working in advertising and alcoholism continued to trouble him until 1948, when he quit after his doctor's orders. However, years of heavy drinking and smoking worsened the tuberculosis he contracted in WWI.
    His time in jail did not improve his condition.

    His writing career faltered due to ill health and Hammett died in Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City, on January 10, 1961, of lung cancer, diagnosed just two months before.
    As a veteran of two world wars, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

    bloodymurder.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/woman-in-the-dark
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashiell_Hammett

    [09NOV2016]

     
    ONBEHAGEN by BAS HEIJNE | PHILOSOPHY WORLD AFFAIRS POLITICS

    Onbehagen - Bas Heijne


    Bas Heijne (author, essayist, columnist for NRC Handelsblad and also former presenter of 'Zomergasten' on Dutch television) analyses in 'Onbehagen' (Discontent) our civilization.
    In reference to Sigmund Freud the author sees a bleak light on our sense for 'lust'. Freud explored the balance and symmetry of lust and reality: our immediate desires are kept in check by our sense of reality, falling back on our culture and background.
    But our culture these days sees our rush for immediate desires gaining ground over our sense of reality, our patience to deploy common sense seems to be fighting a loosing battle.
    Western countries see a lifestyle where people have (tv) entertainment for immediate selection (netflix, on demand streaming), music at the push of a button (spotify, podcasts, streaming) and we voice our opinions from our couch or porch...
    Have we lost our reality check, our self-control?
    And who can we make to listen?

    Reading this book, or essay, 'Onbehagen' this afternoon there was much in there that explained the election of a man like Donald J. Trump as US President, as much as the Brexit, and the rise of populists in the EU in political power.
    People are fighting the overwhelming feel of being an object for governments, corporations, online (social) media, et cetera.
    We are reduced to a statistic and an 'fte'. There is no empathy, no help, from government not from the other institutions I mentioned.
    More and more people feel a need to 'kick over the applecart', even feel destructive emotions in their wish for getting a grip again on their lives and future, to bring society back to a size where the individual is a factor.

    Yes, society is shifting and changing, but the change is decreasing our powers to shape our own destiny; too many people find themselves hard up finding a good paying job, a pension, a health insurance or simply have experience a darkened mood for the future in the simplest of daily matters such as banking, insurance (recently read an insurance company insisting on people using a smartphone for all contacts), adressing local city council matters, health, et cetera.

    People feel discomfort, are discontented by governments ignoring their demands, corporations and banks putting jobs abroad and have no consideration for the well-being of the society they do business in.

    'Onbehagen' is an excellent book to bring these emotions and changes to proportion, it offers sensible analyses, but there is no happy ending. There is only small comfort in understanding, certainly no happiness.

    www.amboanthos.nl/boek/onbehagen

    [09NOV2016]

     
    US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: DONALD J. TRUMP ELECTED 44TH US PRESIDENT

    Donald J. Trump elected 44th US President

    Donald J. Trump elected 44th US President

    Donald J. Trump the new US President, unexpectedly defeating Hillary Rodham-Clinton in the race for the White House.
    What will the next four years bring: offal from the Oval?
    No doubt it will be interesting to follow, but I fear the hopes and wishes of the people who voted for Donald Trump will proof to be a mission impossible. For any president.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Donald_Trump

    [09NOV2016]

     
    033Fotostad 16Sep-16Nov @Amersfoort | Photofestival

    033Fotostad - Amersfoort (2016)
    Willem Wernsen in 'de Poth'

    033Fotostad - Amersfoort (2016)
    Fleur Wiersma in Amersfort's library 'Eemland'.

    033Fotostad - Amersfoort (2016)
    Carla Kogelman

    033Fotostad - Amersfoort (2016)
    Mattijn Franssen

    033Fotostad - Amersfoort (2016)
    Jeroen Jazet


    A considerable number of photographers displayed their photography throughout Amersfoort (16Sep-16Nov2016).

    Unfortunately I came away much less inspired than from (e.g.) visits to BredaPhoto or Naarden-Vesting (next year!).
    I found more exhibitions closed than open during my visit on tuesday, nov8th: exhibitions had ended, venues only open on 3 days a week and I had come on the wrong day, work or functions in progress barring me from a visit and so on...
    Also I was unable to find many of the 'Off' exhibitions, possibly already removed. At the library I could only find work of 3 photographers, no.4 I could not find.
    Locations were often poorly signposted, especially those outdoors.
    Too many times I fought rising frustration instead of experiencing a sense of glowing inspration.
    Fortunately, Amersfoort's historic center is a fine location for a stroll. And I did find excellent photo work by (e.g.) Willem Wernsen, Fleur Wiersma, Jeroen Jazet and Mattijn Franssen.

    But, regrettably, there were at least 20 photographers whose work I could not enjoy!
    I hope improvements will be made next time, if there will be a next time.
    A photography event lasting 3 months obviously fades in daily affairs at the approach of the ending. Perhaps a shorter period would bring focus, esspecially if participants are required to be open 7 days a week, not 3 days in a week.
    For now I cannot promise unreservedly to bring myself to a revisit for a similar future event here .

    www.033fotostad.com

    [09Nov2016]

     
    STREETS OF THE WORLD, PHOTOGRAPHY by JEROEN SWOLFS

    Streets of the World, by Jeroen Swolfs

    Streets of the World, by Jeroen Swolfs

    Streets of the World, by Jeroen Swolfs

    Streets of the World, by Jeroen Swolfs

    Streets of the World, by Jeroen Swolfs


    In 2009, Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Swolfs set out to visit and photograph street life in every country in the world. 'Streets of the World' is the result of this impressive journey.
    The streets of the world is a photography project that not only distinguishes itself in scale, but also by the positive vision of the photographer and his eye for people.
    The idea of portraying 200 countries through 200 street photos, displayed next to each other, is to show a positive image of the world in which we live. One that is different to the harsh images we’ve got used to. But just as true.

    On this date 06Nov16 I attended this pop-up photo event, it took place during 3 days in a parking garage.
    I applaud the focus & perseverance of Jeroen Swolfs for this project. As well as his fine photography!

    www.streetsoftheworld.com/streets-of-the-world/
    My images (30) of this visit on Flickr.com

    I am looking forward to receive the photobook on this project.

    [06NOV2016]

     
    MICROBREWERY 'TWEE KNAAPJES' | SPECIALTY BEERS

    Brouwerij de Twee Knaapjes


    Recently learned of this microbrewery, not far from Amsterdam, in Badhoevedorp.
    Must explore the region, at some point, to try some of their beers!

    www.brouwerijdetweeknaapjes.com

    [05NOV2016]

     
    MORTAL CAUSES by IAN RANKIN | BOOKS CRIME FICTION

    Mortal Causes by Ian Rankin


    Set during the Edinburgh Festival, this novel starts with a brutally executed corpse being discovered in Mary King's Close, an ancient subterranean street. The body has a tattoo identified with "Sword and Shield", a long-thought-defunct Scottish Nationalist group with links to sectarianism in Northern Ireland.
    The victim turns out to be the son of notorious gangster 'Big Ger' Cafferty, and the plot moves towards the unthinkable prospect of a terrorist atrocity in a tourist-filled Edinburgh.
    This 1994 novel, Mortal Causes, is the 6th of the Inspector Rebus novels by Ian Rankin. It was the 4th episode in the Rebus television series starring John Hannah, airing in 2004.

    Both Arnaldur Indridason (from Iceland) and Ian Rankin (Scotland) are my preferred crime fiction authors. I was glad I found Mortal Causes among my backlog of books to read as with both these writers I am running out of titles to read.
    John Rebus is his complex, solitary self: 'Rebus' meaning 'enigmatic puzzle'. He has difficulties with hierarchy at work, but also with relations in privat life. The plot of the story is good too and the dark side of Edinburgh contrasts nicely with the picture-postcard image most readers will have.
    A great read!

    en.wikipedia.org:_Ian_Rankin
    en.wikipedia.org:_John_Rebus

    [04NOV2016]

     
    AMERICANOS | TV DOCUMENTARY WORLD AFFAIRS

    Americanos, reporter Stef Biemans documents the migration of Latin Americans to the US

    Americanos, reporter Stef Biemans documents the migration of Latin Americans to the US


    Stef Biemans trails the stream of migrants from Latin America to the USA and documents the hopes and dreams of those who try to enter the US illegally.
    Stef walks with these immigrants, talks of their hope to make it for their family who are left behind. The route is full of danger long before they get to try to cross the Mexcian - US border.
    It is the largest flow of immigrants. He documents their story, their dreams and reasoning and is confronted by defeat (a body left to rot in the desert or stored in the cooler of a US official) but also the success of those who make it across the border.
    A documentary in 5 episodes, full of harsh realities and hope. Really well done and a very pleasant, respectful and sympathetic presentation by Stef Biemans - who lives in Nicaragua and is married to a Nicaraguan woman.

    www.npo.nl/npo3/waarom-je-americanos-zou-moeten-kijken
    nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stef_Biemans (Dutch)

    [04NOV2016]

     
    DROOMLAND AMERIKA | TV DOCUMENTARY WORLD AFFAIRS

    Droomland Amerika - VPRO doc, presentatie Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal

    Droomland Amerika - VPRO doc, presentatie Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal

    Droomland Amerika - VPRO doc, presentatie Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal

    Droomland Amerika - VPRO doc, presentatie Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal


    I recently watched the last of this documentary 'Dreamland Amerika', broadcasted in 8 episodes on tv.
    Journalist and former US correspondent Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal travelled the US and adressed some highly interesting subjects in this Presidential election year, detailing the legacy the new US President will have to face.
    The title of the episodes were: 1. Youngstown, the promise 2. Chinatown 3. Chiraq 4. No one's land 5. Mississippi 6. Palo Alto 7. The Plague 8. The system

    Youngstown has become a symbol of factories going bust, manufacturing jobs going abroad; but these days there is a glimmer of hope with new jobs and returning pride.
    Chinese students come to the US to take advantage of prestigious studies, young couples have their babies born in the US to claim a US passport for their children and the Chinese super rich buy a lot of real estate, spoiling the market if not the neighbourhood.
    Chicago - Iraq, gang violence and crime is common; will Obama's library bring a positive change?
    Immigrants and racism; a black president has not brought a big change to the black poor community - but they don't blame him.
    Palo Alto has the super rich and high tec, but what consideration is there for the poor who live on their doorstep?
    The US suffers under the malpractice of Big Pharma, massive amount of prescribed painkillers result in many people falling to addictive drugs.
    Washington D.C.: the broken system, the sad state of democracy in the U.S.A.

    Americans saw during the recent decades many securities crumble or disappear: the government failed to serve its people and a job was more easily lost than obtained.
    Just like in the Netherlands. The documentary seeks parallel lines between lives of the Dutch and Americans. We're also well aware that if the American economy fails, ours will hurt too.
    After WWII each generation saw a better life for their kids, but we have come to a turning point.
    Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, inspired by the much praised book by George Packer: The Unwinding, seeks signs and proof of the dismantling of the American dream.

    A quality documentary!

    Regisseur: Hans Pool
    Presentatie: Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal
    Eindredactie: Frank Wiering
    Producenten: Femke Wolting en Bruno Felix - Submarine in coproductie met de VPRO

    www.vpro.nl/programmas/droomland-amerika

    [04NOV2016]

     
    BANKSY - EXHIBITION in BEURS VAN BERLAGE | ART

    Banksy art exhib

    Banksy art exhib

    Banksy art exhib

    Banksy art exhib
    Powerful

    While I have a book on Banksy's art and have seen the documentary Exit through the Gift Shop, it was again a great pleasure to visit the expo in Beurs van Berlage (Amsterdam,NL) yesterday and enjoy his work and satire.

    Banksy is an England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director of unverified identity.
    His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique.
    Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces.
    He has managed to remain unidentified, ever since he started in the early-1990s.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banksy

    [02NOV2016]

     
    NEXT STOP PALOOKAVILLE by INGE HONDEBRINK | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOK

    Next Stop Palookaville

    Next Stop Palookaville
    Size of this image and next 2 were determined by my flatbedscanner, so not full size

    Next Stop Palookaville

    Next Stop Palookaville
    I did not like how the full spread images often cut through the faces, sometimes right between the eyes


    Inge Hondebrink is a committed photographer/filmmaker. In her work, she frequently initiates projects that personally move her.
    Through her lens, she brings striking subjects, stories and people to life in a fresh, sometimes unorthodox style.
    People are the constant factor in Inge Hondenbrink's photography.
    Famous, handicapped, old, young or beautiful each individual poses a unique challenge as a subject, whether in their daily life or when posing for a portrait.

    Next Stop Palookaville...
    The Greyhound is the mode of transport for America's underclass. Inge Hondebrink (Dutch) travelled 5.000 kilometers on the Greyhound busses and portrayed the passengers she met.
    A roadtrip through rugged America.
    A fascinating social document.

    I had seen images from this project published in De Volkskrant newspaper, but on BredaPhoto Int'l Photofestival (15Sep-30Oct2016) a larger selection of images were on display.
    Very appropriately the images (and video) were displayed outside and inside a bus.
    I bought the modest sized book to get the full series of pictures.
    A powerful project. Pity in most cases the full page spread of a portrait would cut the face in two, losing its impact entirely. Big mistake in the graphic design i.m.o.

    http://ingehondebrink.nl/

    [01NOV2016]

     
    BREDAPHOTO INT'L PHOTO FESTIVAL 2016 | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOGRAPHERS

    BredaPhoto Photo Festival 2016

    BredaPhoto Photo Festival 2016

    BredaPhoto Photo Festival 2016

    BredaPhoto Photo Festival 2016
    Gallery Ecker: 'Wolfskinder - a post-war story' by Claudia Heinerman

    BredaPhoto Photo Festival 2016
    Next stop Palookaville by Inge Hindebrink
    The Greyhound is the mode of transport for America’s underclass. Inge Hondebrink (NL) traveled
    5.000 kilometers on the bus and portrayed the passengers she met. A roadtrip through rugged America.

    BredaPhoto Photo Festival 2016
    I was impressed by the range and quality of the photography exhibited here!

    From september 15 till october 30, 2016, the 7th edition of BredaPhoto International Photo Festival took place in Breda, the Netherlands. This year's theme was YOU.

    The theme was described as: "After decades of a welfare state for everyone, now has come the time for the flexible and resourceful individual. Many see this as an opportunity and grasp it with both hands. People begin their own start-ups or art projects, seeking crowdfunding instead of waiting for subsidy. Residents improve their own neighbourhoods with small-scale initiatives to strengthen the community feeling."

    While this may have been the theme for the selection of the photographers, on most exhibitions I found the working theme emanating mostly (not all) on displaced persons, by choice or circumstance; and perhaps their limit on opportunities or their fate.

    www.bredaphoto.nl
    More images on Flickr.com
    [26OCT2016]

     
    EXILES by JOSEF KOUDELKA | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOKS

    Exiles, by Josef Koudelka

    Exiles, by Josef Koudelka


    When I went to Rotterdam for the exhibition EXILES | WALLS of work by Josef Koudelka (see below) I selected this book, though I found it hard to make a choice.
    The passion for photography, and the life Mr Koudelka led, is quite astounding. Having led the life of an exile, often living rough and sleeping in the open air, he had first hand experience of the uncertainties and dangers which many immigrants face in these present days.
    Exiles had to be my first book by Josef Koudelka. In time I hope to add other books.
    For more info see item further down this page.
    [24OCT2016]

     
    JAPANESE GARDEN on the CLINGENDAEL ESTATE

    Clingendael Parkland - Japanese Garden

    Clingendael Parkland - Japanese Garden

    Clingendael Parkland - Japanese Garden

    A visit on 22Oct2016. The Japanese Garden is open only a few weeks a year.

    Huys Clingendael is the name of a 17th-century manor house and surrounding parkland just outside The Hague, Netherlands, in the municipality of Wassenaar.

    The Japanese Garden on the Clingendael Estate was established by Marguérite Mary van Brienen (1871-1939) a.k.a. 'Freule Daisy' around 1910; she had travelled to Japan on various occasions and gathered ideas and objects. The garden was neglected over time but in 2001 it has been made a protected monument and seems fully restored.

    Initially I thought that I would be at a disadvantage going for a visit in autumn. But with a little sunshine the visit was very pleasant. I am sure I will miss the few weeks in Spring but here's hoping...

    More of my images of this visit - www.flickr.com

    en.wikipedia.org:_Netherlands_Institute_of_International_Relations_Clingendael

    [22OCT2016]

     
    ATA KANDÓ - I SHALL USE MY TIME | PHOTOGRAPHY

    Ata Kando - photo exhib in Rotterdam

    Ata Kando - photo exhib in Rotterdam


    Ata Kandó is a Hungarian-born Dutch photographer.
    Beginning her photography practice in the 1930s with children's photography, Kandó later worked as a fashion photographer, photographed refugees and traveled to the Amazon to photograph landscapes and indigenous people.

    Etelka Görög was born on 17 September 1913; when she learned to talk, Etelka was unable to pronounce her own name and called herself Ata, which she has continued to use. Both her parents encouraged their daughter in pursuing an artistic profession.
    She liked drawing and was enrolled in the Sándor Bortnyik private academy. Other students included the artists Victor Vasarely and Gyula Kandó, with whom she married in 1931.
    The couple moved to Paris but due to financial difficulties, returned to Budapest in 1935. Kandó and her husband returned to Paris in 1938 and she opened a photography studio. In 1940 the German invasion of Paris forced the couple's deportation and return to Hungary.
    Both she and her husband worked for the resistance during World War II, housing fourteen Jews in their home.

    In 1947 the family returned to Paris and Kandó resumed her photography career with a camera she received from Robert Capa after her own was lost. Capa also hired her to work at Magnum Photos laboratory where she remained until 1952. Unable to find work in Paris, her husband had returned to Hungary in 1949.
    When the Iron Curtain fell in late 1949, the family was unable to reunite. Shortly thereafter, Kandó and her husband separated and she fell in love with a 25-year-old Dutch photographer, Ed van der Elsken.
    The couple lived together for four years before marrying in 1954 and moving to the Netherlands.
    After less than a year, they divorced and she found herself alone in a foreign country with three children. Turning to fashion photography, she took pictures for well-known Dutch and French fashion houses.

    In 1956, Kandó traveled to the Austrian–Hungarian border during the Hungarian Revolution.
    Kandó returned to fashion photography and took a teaching post at a Dutch secondary school. In 1959 she won a silver medal from Munich for the best fashion photograph of the year and began working at the Dutch Academy of Arts and Design and Graphic Arts in Utrecht.

    In 1961, through a fashion model, Barbara Brandlín, Kandó was invited to visit Caracas. She photographed Brandlín in the jungle and through contact with a French priest was able to fly to the interior and take images of some of the native indigenous people. She returned again in 1965 taking more photographs of the Amazon landscape and people.

    In 1979 Kandó moved to Sacramento, California to be near her son. She continued working and publishing photographs from the United States for a decade.
    In 1999 she moved to the Isle of Wight, to be near one of her daughters; and in 2001 she returned to the Netherlands.

    Truly a hard life of which, I think, she came out victorious! I had come across her name in "Looking for Love on the Left Bank", discussed further down this page.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Ata_Kandó
    https://www.nederlandsfotomuseum.nl - Ata Kando
    My photos of this exhibition on Flickr.com

    Ata Kando photography

    [18OCT2016]

     
    JOSEF KOUDELKA - EXILES / WALL | PHOTOGRAPHY

    Josef Koudelka - photography
    'Wall' is a powerful documentary, one that is able to provoke anger; it documents a great injustice

    Josef Koudelka - photography
    'Exiles' is powerful too, but in a broader sense, more to do with a retrospective in photography.

    Josef Koudelka - photography

    Josef Koudelka - photography
    The exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum really hit home with me; went home with the Exiles book


    Koudelka was born in 1938 in Boskovice, Moravia. He began photographing his family and the surroundings with a 6 x 6 Bakelite camera.
    He studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT) between 1956 and 1961, receiving a Degree in Engineering in 1961. He staged his first photographic exhibition the same year.
    He began taking commissions from theatre magazines, and regularly photographed stage productions at Prague's Theatre Behind the Gate on a Rolleiflex camera. In 1967, Koudelka decided to give up his career in engineering for full-time work as a photographer.

    He had returned from a project photographing gypsies in Romania just two days before the Soviet invasion, in August 1968. He witnessed and recorded the military forces of the Warsaw Pact as they invaded Prague and crushed the Czech reforms.
    Koudelka's negatives were smuggled out of Prague into the hands of the Magnum agency, and published anonymously in The Sunday Times Magazine under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family.

    With Magnum to recommend him to the British authorities, Koudelka applied for a three-month working visa and fled to England in 1970. In 1971 he joined Magnum Photos. A nomad at heart, he continued to wander around Europe with his camera and little else.

    Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Koudelka sustained his work through numerous grants and awards, and continued to exhibit and publish major projects like Gypsies (1975) and Exiles (1988). Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999.
    In 1987, Koudelka became a French citizen, and was able to return to Czechoslovakia for the first time, in 1990. He then produced Black Triangle, documenting the wasted landscape in the Podkrušnohoří region, the western tip of the Black Triangle's foothills of the Ore Mountains, located between Germany and the Czech Republic.
    Koudelka resides in France and Prague and is continuing his work documenting the European landscape.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Josef_Koudelka
    www.nederlandsfotomuseum.nl:_Koudelka (NL)
    theartofphotography.tv/photographers: Koudelka
    pro.magnumphotos.com
    My images of this visit on Flickr.com

    Josef Koudelka, photography

    [18OCT2016]

     
    CLAUDE LORRAIN, CLASSIC ARTIST

    Claude Lorrain, painter

    Claude Lorrain, painter

    Claude Lorrain, painter

    Claude Lorrain, painter

    Claude Lorrain, painter

    Claude Lorrain, painter


    Claude Lorrain born Claude Gellée, called le Lorrain in French; traditionally just Claude in English; b.ca.1600 – d.23Nov1682) was a French painter, draughtsman and engraver of the Baroque era.
    He spent most of his life in Italy, and is one of the earliest artists of importance, apart from his contemporaries in Dutch Golden Age painting, to concentrate on landscape painting.

    By the end of the 1630s he was established as the leading landscapist in Italy, and enjoyed high prices for his work. These gradually became larger, but with fewer figures, more carefully painted, and produced at a lower rate. He was not generally an innovator in landscape painting, except in introducing the sun into many paintings, which had been rare before.
    He is now thought of as a French painter, but was born in the independent Duchy of Lorraine, and almost all his painting was done in Italy.

    He was a prolific creator of drawings in pen and very often monochrome watercolour "wash", usually brown but sometimes grey. Chalk is sometimes used for under-drawing, and white highlighting in various media may be employed, much less often other colours such as pink. These fall into three fairly distinct groups.
    Firstly there are large numbers of sketches, mostly of landscapes, and apparently very often done at the scene; these have been greatly admired, and influenced other artists.
    Then there are studies for paintings, of various degrees of finish, many clearly done before or during the process of painting, but others perhaps after that was complete. This was certainly the case for the last group, the 195 drawings recording finished paintings collected in his Liber Veritatis (now British Museum).
    He produced over 40 etchings, often simplified versions of paintings, mainly before 1642. These served various purposes for him, but are now regarded as much less important than his drawings.
    He painted frescoes in his early career, which played an important part in making his reputation, but are now nearly all lost.

    The earliest biographies of Claude are in Joachim von Sandrart's Teutsche Academie (1675) and Filippo Baldinucci's Notizie de' professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua (1682–1728).
    Both Sandrart and Baldinucci knew the painter personally, but at periods some 50 years apart, respectively at the start of his career and shortly before his death. Sandrart knew him well and lived with him for a while.

    While the details of Claude's pre-1620s life remain unclear, most modern scholars agree that he was apprenticed to Wals around 1620–22, and to Tassi from circa 1622/23 to 1625. Finally, Baldinucci reports that in 1625 Claude undertook a voyage back to Lorraine to train with Claude Deruet, working on the backgrounds of a lost fresco scheme, but left his studio comparatively soon, in 1626 or 1627.
    He returned to Rome and settled in a house in the Via Margutta, near the Spanish Steps and Trinita dei Monti, remaining in that neighbourhood for the rest of his life.

    On his travels, Claude briefly stayed in Marseilles, Genoa, and Venice, and had the opportunity to study nature in France, Italy, and Bavaria. Sandrart met Claude in the late 1620s and reported that by then the artist had a habit of sketching outdoors, particularly at dawn and at dusk, making oil studies on the spot.
    The first dated painting by Claude, Landscape with Cattle and Peasants (Philadelphia Museum of Art) from 1629, already shows well-developed style and technique. In the next few years his reputation was growing steadily, as evidenced by commissions from the French ambassador in Rome (1633) and the King of Spain (1634–35).
    Baldinucci reported that a particularly important commission came from Cardinal Bentivoglio, who was impressed by the two landscapes Claude painted for him, and recommended the artist to Pope Urban VIII. Four paintings were made for the Pope in 1635–38, two large and two small on copper.

    In 1650 Claude moved to a neighboring house in Via Paolina (today Via del Babuino), where he lived until his death. The artist never married, but adopted an orphan child, Agnese, in 1658; she may well have been Claude's own daughter with a servant of the same name.
    In 1663 Claude, who suffered much from gout, fell seriously ill, his condition becoming so serious that he drafted a will, but he managed to recover. He painted less after 1670, but works completed after that date include important pictures such as Coast View with Perseus and the Origin of Coral (1674), painted for the celebrated collector Cardinal Camillo Massimo, and Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia, Claude's last painting, commissioned by Prince Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna, his most important patron in his last years.
    The artist died in his house on 23 November 1682.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Claude_Lorrain


    [17OCT2016]

     
    PHOTO ALBUM | TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

    Albelli fotoalbum

    Albelli photoalbum


    New and pleasing addition to the bookcase, Scotland 2016, Albelli XL 120 page photoalbum. Not quite pleased with the Albelli software updates & support in this process but very speedily delivered: uploaded last tuesday and delivered to my home this saturday.
    See my Traveloque Scotland & England's The North - 2016

    This is my 2nd photoalbum done with Albelli. Since HEMA changed their software and I was unable to access my 18 or so photo albums compiled with their software I gave up on HEMA.
    The software of Albelli was virtually the same I was used to with HEMA.
    A trial version with Albelli software was satisfactory and I proceed with an XL sized album. I had to take a break of about a week when I was almost done: 400+ images and text compiled, just some checking and lay out to be done. But when I got back to it I found I could not access the album I had made.
    Two weeks work seemed down the drain!

    I contacted Albelli's helpdesk and they confirmed problems after they had made an update on their software. Over a few days their advise was fruitless.
    But I managed to access the software again, by doing a 'compatibilty update' on my Windows 7 PC.
    The software seemed slower and the cursor was somewhat jittery, but I managed to finish the job at hand.
    Over a week later Albelli came back to me with the advise to change my browser (!) from Firefox to Google Chrome. I found this peculiar advise!
    I don't see what my browser has to do with all of this, as one downloads Albelli software, receive updates by cookies installed, save the images on ones own PC and no browser comes into any of this.
    Also I dislike being commanded this way.
    It does give one an impression of Albelli being another data gatherer for Google or steering them to Google while taking backhanders in exchange for something...
    Anyway, I am done with Albelli and will look for alternatives.

    [16OCT2016]

     
    THE ROAD TO LITTLE DRIBBLING by BILL BRYSON | BOOKS TRAVEL TRAVELOGUE

    The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

    Bill Bryson books

    I have read most of Bill Bryson's books and always found them top of the bill in prose, fun and educational. I was glad I came across this one in Edinburgh's Blackwell's bookstore.

    Bill Bryson was talked into an update to his book Notes from a Small Island by his publisher, as that was published 20 years ago. This book 'The Road to Little Dribbling' is the direct result. Hence the subtitle 'More Notes from a Small Island'.
    Bryson, now in his 60s, has become grouchier with age, and opportunities to criticise the imbecility of those he encounters or observes (including book reviewers) are not missed. And while he finds plenty of occasion to express praise or commendation for Great-Britain, he is far more critical and lets of steam. Indeed, I believe I recorded 'fuck' 4 or 5 times (then again, my paperback numbered 477 pages..).

    And I quite like his mutterig discontent because in my recent visits to England and Scotland, in 2013 and 2016, I also became exasperated to such a degree I even cut both these holdiays short by a few days and went home earlier than planned. But went home realizing Great-Braitin (what's in a name) is something special and I will return in due course I am sure of it.
    Meanwhile I enjoyed Bryson's gift for the casual put-down e.g. "..the train from London to Cornwall is “like rigor mortis with scenery”. Simply wonderful.

    At one point, Mr Bryson muses: “In countless small ways the world around us grows gradually shittier…
    I don’t like it at all.”
    He encounters people, approaching them with his disarming charm of a senior person, only to be met with a look from the other person like he may get his head smashed in or an otherwise grudging remark.
    Fuckwits and humourless gits a-plenty.
    At some point he starts a ramble (he loves hiking!) from a busstop and observes a child waiting for a bus, eating a bag of crisps. Upon his return the child is gone, the empty bags of crisps is on the ground, with a bin only a few feet away. He considers ".. to get England back on its feet again the country may have to start with a good deal of euthanasia". Or words to that effect.
    My sympathies exactly but that observation goes international, as I am sure Mr Bryson agrees. But he is so taken with the beautiul English countryside!

    I quite like his grouchy humor, for it is quite in tune with my own emotions!
    Quickly, here is another one (I could go on!): on locations people go to visit the British, much alike the Americans, don't wander far from their car. But the Brit, on his return to the car, will drop some litter and get a tattoo...! Isn't that marvellous.

    Bill Bryson, travel writer
    Bill Bryson


    Bill Bryson has a lot of praise for Britain's schooling system, compares it favourably to the Universities in his country of birth, the USA.
    And to be fair, he does encounters, and illustrates, a great deal of stupidity in the USA as well. He warns us that stupidity seems to be spreading.

    I like it how he puts a critical note to the modern Stonehenge site and then finds in the area places very quiet and remarkable.
    I have seen the Sutton Hoo treasure in the British Museum a few years ago and value Bryson's background research on it. And how he busts the dambusters myth.
    On numerous occasions Bryson complains how public funds is appropriated and provides details and numbers to support his frustration.
    In fact, Bryson produces a lot of data and numbers so the book is quite educational.

    The journey continues from south to west to east gradually making his way up north; from the tranquillity of the Cornish fishing village of Mousehole to the turbulence of a soccer match in Liverpool, from the sadly diminished down-market resort of Blackpool to the orderly and unshowily prosperous Scottish tourist town of Ullapool.
    Bryson can’t resist a few sentimental return trips. Virginia Water, where he found his first job, at a very casually run insane asylum (now turned into a gated compound of “executive homes”).

    I could not agree more how he objects to that single focus on profit instead of investing in well-being, beauty in so many respects, basic kindness, proper transportation, schooling, etc.

    The book contained useful information for me personally. I learned of a new booktown, Sedbergh, I think I should visit (I have travelled through Britain 18 times in the past 40 years or so).
    Durham has been added on my list of places to visit.
    Indeed, I will reread this book when a revisit to England is called for, for there are plenty of places for scenic beauty, achievements or persons of interest mentioned in this book.
    But the great quality of Bryson's writing for is his unequalled sense of wit, easy rambling and a sharp sense of observation.

    www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/books - - - the-road-to-little-dribbling-review
    www.theguardian.com/books/2015 - - -the-road-to-little-dribbling-review

    Bill Bryson, author


    [15OCT2016]

     
    STEVE FORBERT @PARADISO 09OCT16 | SINGERSONGWRITER AMERICANA MUSIC

    Steve Forbert, Paradiso Amsterdam 2016

    Steve Forbert - albums

    Samuel Stephen 'Steve' Forbert (b. 13Dec1954) is an American pop music singer-songwriter.
    He is best known for his song 'Romeo's Tune', which reached No. 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980, and is ranked as the 60th biggest American hit of 1980.
    Forbert signed a recording contract with Nemperor in 1978, and they released his debut album, 'Alive on Arrival' that year. Allmusic noted that it "earned critical acclaim for its taut, poetic lyrics".
    His second album was 'Jackrabbit Slim' , released in 1979.
    I bought both albums, probably in 1979 or around that time at least, as I took an immediate liking to Forbert's music.
    It got me started on singersongwriter music in a more general way, having had my focus mainly on Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Leonard Cohen and Gordon Lightfoot prior to that time.
    I probably heard the music in American Forces Network (AFN) Radio, broadcasting from Germany.

    Jackrabbit Slim was recorded completely live at Quadrophonic Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and produced by John Simon, who had worked with The Band.
    On any comparison to Bob Dylan, Forbert said, "You can't pay any attention to that. It was just a cliché back then, and it's nothing I take seriously."
    Forbert also had a cameo appearance in Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" video, playing her boyfriend.

    In 1984, Forbert had a disagreement with his record company (Nemperor), which apparently did not want to release a recording he made. The record was shelved, and contractual issues prevented Forbert from recording for a number of years afterwards.

    Although he has never again recorded a song as commercially successful as 'Romeo's Tune', his first recording for Geffen Records, 1988's 'Streets of This Town', has been credited with "intelligence and maturity that bested most of his previous work."
    After many successful years, Forbert sought out new inspiration and found it when he relocated to Nashville in 1985. Forbert's tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, 'Any Old Time', was nominated for a 2004 Grammy in the best traditional folk category.

    Forbert has written new music in support of the Occupy Wall St. movement as well as re-releasing some of his earlier recordings on CD.

    One of his latest artistic adventures is photography. Using an old LG phone, an exhibit of his cell phone photographs opened at the Tinney Contemporary Art Gallery in Nashville in September, 2011.

    Here at the Paradiso in Amsterdam Steve Forbert promoted his latest albums, 'Compromised' (in 2015 released by Rock Ridge Music) and I took the opportunity to buy that CD as well as a hot recent release, 'Flying At Night'.

    It took me 30+ years, since buying his first records, to see and hear him play live and was pleased that the magic was still there for me.
    The only criticism I have is that I find it peculiar that a singersongwriter does not provide the lyrics to his/her songs, either with the album or on his/her website. Weird.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Steve_Forbert
    www.steveforbert.com/discography.html - for full list of his published recordings
    My images of this gig on Flickr.com (he stated he did not mind photography but objected to video, so no YouTube uploads)


    [11OCT2016]

     
    MAGNIFICENT SEVEN | WESTERN MOVIE FILM

    The Magnificent Seven - movie, western

    The Magnificent Seven - movie, western

    The Magnificent Seven - movie, western

    I quite enjoyed  watching 'The Magnificent Seven' last weekend.
    This is a remake by director Antoine Fuqua, an updated take on the 1960 John Sturges western classic (which was, in turn, based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, released 6 years prior).

    Antoine Fuqua has admitted that his magnificent cast (which includes Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier) may have a bit more in common with Sam Peckinpah's 1969 'The Wild Bunch'.
    I found the choice of characters in this edition (an Afro-AMerican, a Mexican, an Indian, a mountain man, a boozing gambler, an oriental guy) somewhat over the top.
    And indeed, apparently Fuqua was aiming for a blend of his all-time favorites and has said he also wanted to bring in some of humor of George Roy Hill's 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' plus the scope and scale of Sergio Leone's spaghetti western epics.
    Well, for me I am glad the western is not entirely dead and enjoyed it. Probably not as good as Tarantino's western 'The Hateful Eight', but worth to go to the cinema for and watch it on the big screen.

    I grew up with western movies (and WWII war films), those were the ones I went to the cinema for when I was a youngster. Lee Van Cleef 's Captain Apache, the socalled spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood, various John Wayne westerns (though he was getting a bit old and a bit before my time) as well as the 'Italian style Westerns' with Terence Hill (Mario Girotti) and Bud Spencer (Carlo Pedersoli).
    So I am glad when every now and then a good western comes along.

    www.comingsoon.net/movies:_antoine-fuqua-magnificent-seven
    en.wikipedia.org:_The_Magnificent_Seven (1960)

    en.wikipedia.org:_The_Magnificent_Seven (2016)
    en.wikipedia.org:_Lee_Van_Cleef

    [11OCT2016]

     
    FREQUENT FLYER by KINKY FRIEDMAN | CRIME FICTION NOVEL BOOKS

    Frequent Flyer by Kinky Friedman

    Kinky Friedman

    Kinky Friedman - Frequent Flyer


    Kinky Friedman--the New York-based, wisecracking, cigar-smoking, country-singer-turned-sleuth, stumbles upon adventure once again in his search for an apparently dead friend from the past.

    The book starts weird enough: he is invited to a funeral of a Peace Corps friend, John Morgan, so the Kinster flies off to Cleveland,OH. Except the person in the casket is not his friend John!
    But none of the 300 guests, including Morgan's parents, seem to notic anything strange. So Friedman keeps his observation to himself but back in New York he convinces himself he has not gone insane and something is amiss here.
    Back home in New York's Greenwich Village, he hears from an Argentinian woman who says she is Morgan's fiancee, and soon Friedman finds himself the target of an unrepentant band of Nazis... nazis, yes Nazis.
    So Friedman contacts his friend McGovern, who is a journalist, to do a little digging. Kinky consults his friend Ratso with whom he always has strained conversations. This is New York Ratso, as Friedman also has a friend Ratso in Washington, who gets involved for some leg work. Pal Rambam is for breaking and entering.
    Contacting a friend in Texas, apparently residing in an asylum, is called but he mistakes the contact for a plan to go back on tour..
    Meanwhile Friedman racks his brain for clues why Morgan may have returned to where they met, in the jungle of Borneo and why Morgan may have gone deeper into the jungle to hunt an elusive white tiger with blue eyes.
    Friedman's novels are presumably an acquired taste, I certainly got a little tired of the wise-guy attitude and crazy ramblings, but the weird twists in the story actually get to a point which makes sense. In a way.

    Richard Samet 'Kinky' Friedman (b. 01Nov1944 - ) is an American Texas Country singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain.
    He was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas.
    Kinky is commonly known to his many fans as 'The Kinkster'; he first found fame as the lead singer of the country-and-western band 'The Texas Jewboys'.
    He is also the author of a series of highly acclaimed detective stories, featuring himself as the wise-cracking, cigar-smoking, cat-loving sleuth.

    He populates his novels with many of his friends and associates, portraying them (to their great delight) as villains, cheats and con-men.
    In the words of the great Willie Nelson, he is the 'best whodunnit writer to come along since Dashiel Whats-his-name'.
    Kinky Friedman lives in a trailer in the South Texas Hills with two dogs, two cats and Dilly, his pet armadillo.

    'Frequent Flyer' was first published in 1989 by William Morrow and Company.

    www.publishersweekly.com
    /www.allenandunwin.com:_Frequent-Flyer-Kinky-Friedman
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinky_Friedman

    [07OCT2016]

     
    LOOKING FOR LOVE ON THE LEFT BANK by ED VAN DER ELSKEN | PHOTOGRAPHY

    Looking for Love on the Left Bank by Ed van der Elsken (photography)

    Looking for Love on the Left Bank by Ed van der Elsken (photography)


    Published in 1956, Looking for Love on the Left Bank (jn Paris) is the witness account of an era.
    Dutchman (b.10Mar1925 – d.28Dec1990) Ed van der Elsken created a photo novel, compiling it from photos he made of from his friends.
    With the original edition long out of print, in 1999 work started on a reprint which culminated, in 2006, in this edition, Une Histoire d'Amour a Saint Germain des Pres.

    I came across this edition during a brief stay of a few days in Paris in september 2016 and as we stayed in Montparnasse as did Ed van der Elsken in the 1950s, I could not resist to add this book to my collection of photobooks.
    The text is in both French as well as English. The story is about the unrequited love for Ann by Manuel that turns into an obsession.

    Ed moved around in Paris, after having stayed in Rue des Martyrs he moved to Rue Guisarde 12 in St. Germain des Près.
    While working for a photolab, Pictorial Services, he printed work by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ernst Haas. He tried to join the Magnum photo agency but failed, largely because he was not cut out for commisioned work.
    But then he met Ata Kando at the photo lab and moved in with her and her three children; she made it possible for van der Elsken to continue his life as The Artist.

    As a photographer Van Der Elsken was notorious fo the way he provoked people, pranced around them and challenged them. But he could also prey on his street subjects in a very unobtrusive manner.
    He hung around for days and nights in the cafes of Paris, became part of a bunch of bohemians bumming around and himself not in the highest of spirits.
    He became captivated by Vali Meyers, a redheaded beauty with a worldly background and heroin addiction. This is Ann in Ed's photo-novel. The book has several of her drawings included.
    While the photos in this photo-novel are from Ed's files, he sometimes directed and orchestrated his friends for the sake of the story.
    Ato is Martha in this photo-novel.

    For the 1950s publication van der Elsken, after organizing his contact sheets, he compiled the first of his three dummies from his archives.
    The first dummy was loose-leaf and consisted of photographs mounted on yellow and black boards with strips of white paper, the captions in French and notes added.

    Apparently the idea to use his images as a complete story in a book came from Edward Steichen, then curator of MoMA.
    Love on the Left Bank shows Van der Elsken's love for contrast, the photos vary in graininess and sharpness.
    Being short of money he first worked with a 6x6 Rolleicord, later also with a (35mm) Leica.
    While the text defines the way the story is read, the photobook could stand without the text.

    The love story is explicit in the use alcohol among young people, sex and drugs; in 1956 the text was definitely an issue for the publications in Dutch, English and German. But Van der Elsken was adamant his text would go unrevised.
    This was also the reason why an American edition did not come to fruition: the book included a passage where Ann divulged her love life with negroes in a jazz cellar.
    In his own country commentary varied from "the publishers of this kind of picture novel should be shot" (FOTO magazine) to "filth likely to be read in a urinal". So it did not pass unnoticed..
    But only the English edition was censured.

    This edition sees the photo-novel extended with a 17-page essay (both in French and English) by Tamara Berghmans, in exquisite detail and bridging the time gap 1956 - 2006, certainly adding to the publication.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Ed_van_der_Elsken


    [05OCT2016]

     
    JEROEN OERLEMANS IN MEMORIAM | PHOTOGRAPHER MEDIA

    Jeroen Oerlemans R.I.P.

    Jeroen Oerlemans, photographer; in memoriam


    Jeroen Oerlemans (b.1970 — d.02Oct2016) was a Dutch photographer and war correspondent who reported mainly from the Near East and Afghanistan. His photographs were published in Newsweek, Time, The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, The Sunday Times and Courrier International.
    He was killed by a sniper in the Libyan city of Sirte.

    He studied political science at the Amsterdam University and thereafter photojournalism at London College of Communication.
    As a freelance photographer he covered several areas of conflict: Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan and nearly all countries of the Near East (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian Territories). In his later years he was mostly active in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

    When not on assignment Oerlemans lived in Amsterdam with his wife and children.

    In July 2012, Oerlemans and the British photographer John Cantlie were kidnapped in northern Syria and detained for one week. They were freed by fighters of the Free Syrian Army.
    In October 2016 he was on assignment in Libya, reporting for the Belgian weekly Knack. In the town of Sirte heavy fighting was going on between pro-government Libyan forces and the ISIL in Libya.
    Oerlemans was wearing a bulletproof vest and he had a helmet on, but the bullet hit him on the side, just at the opening of his vest.

    According to his colleague Eddy van Wessel, who spoke on Dutch tv in memoriam of Jeroen Oerlemans, (photo)journalists are on the killing list of snipers these days. In past times representatives of the press were regarded as neutral to the conflict but these days a western journalist is a bonus for the snipers. With his remark that these snipers, with years of experience, can shoot a cigarette from the corner of your mouth, he implied that finding the weakspot of a bulletproof vest was intentional.
    But the brunt of the killings are local reporters (see link below).
    With also relief convoys and hospitals being bombed the inhumanity in war has reached a new dimension.

    en.wikipedia.org:_Jeroen_Oerlemans
    ifj-safety.org/en/killings - Journalists & media staff killed list in 2016
    cpj.org/killed/2016 - CPJ - Committee to Protect Journalists - (killed 2016)
    www.panos.co.uk/blog/ - Jeroen Oerlemans | 1970 – 2016, by PANOS


    [05OCT2016]

     
    RAY BONNEVILLE | AMERICANA BLUES SINGER-SONGWRITER MUSIC

    Ray Bonneville at InTheWoods, 2016

    Ray Bonneville at InTheWoods, 2016

    Ray Bonneville did not record until he was in his 40’s but since then he has issued 8 albums, the latest of which is 'Easy Gone'.
    His performance in In The Woods (Lage Vuursche, Utrecht, Netherlands - 01Oct2016) was the kick off for 17 gigs during this European tour, promoting Easy Gone (released in 2014). I watched him play here a year ago too, he was touring with Gurf Morlix then.
    Ray was born in Quebec, raised in Boston, and since then he has lived in many places, including New Orleans (7 years); he currently calls Austin, Texas, home.

    Ray was very relaxed here, remarked on his jetlag (what is the Dutch word for jetlag? 'Jetlag', oh, right)!), talked to / with the audience, related how he worked as a bushplane driver in Quebec for a few years but a particular scary flight in the fog made him decide to turn to music for a living; aged 42 he was.

    This CD was recorded in Austin with a small set of musicians: Ray plays guitar, harp and sings, Gurf Morlix plays bass and Geoff Arsenault drums. Mark Norvel and Eliza Gilkyson add backing vocals to one track each and on two tracks Ray is backed by Will Sexton on bass, Rick Richards on drums and Richie Lawrence on piano. There are 9 originals and 1 Hank Williams cover.
    The way Ray plays the guitar in his signature style, adds the harp and footstompin', one quickly forget the need for backing vocals and supporting musicians.
    Baseline with the thumb, melody with the pointy finger, grated voice, great foot tapping: a veritable one man band!

    The album opens with the moody 'Who Do Call The Shots' with lyrics that talk of a “…dark road on this no mercy night”. 'Love Is Wicked' is a tale of suspicions – “A perfume on his coat made her look for the lies he told”.
    Ray’s voice is sometimes aptly described as being like JJ Cale (e.g. 'Mile Marker 41'), the atmosphere breathes a style of storytelling on the porch; stories that tell a tale or share an experience of the category 'what was going on there..?' Much is left to the imagination.
    On previous albums the swampy rythm and laid back singing also make me think of Tony Joe White sometimes.

    'Easy Gone' has been described by some as more Americana-style than blues, which may have something to do with relocating from New Orleans to Austin. But the combination of Ray’s world-weary voice, relaxed playing and interesting lyrics has plenty of blues seasoning in my opinion.

    SETLIST - In The Woods, Lage Vuursche 01Oct2016
    1.Waiting On The Night (unreleased)
    2.The Next Card To Fall (unreleased)
    3.Who Do Call The Shots
    4.What Was I To Do
    5.Mile Marker 41
    6.Roll It Down

    7.Blonde Of Mine 8.July Sun
    9.Stand Real Still
    10.Tomorrow’s Yesterday

    1.Darlin’ (Put Your Suitcase Down)
    2.Crow John (my YouTube)
    3.The Day They Let Me Out (unreleased, my YouTube recording)
    4.Rough Luck
    5.Two Bends In The Road
    6.I Am The Big Easy
    7.Lone Freighter’s Wail (my YouTube)
    8.Down On The Ground
    9.Good Times
    10.Mississippi [Mike Jordan]
    11.Shy Star (my YouTube)

    My photos of this gig on Flickr.com
    UPDATE: a few days later, through the promoter of In The Woods, I received word from Ray he was 'not amused' by me recording his music and publishing. He requested me to remove the recordings. At none of the three shows I attended previously I had received such negative feedback. So I will remove the recordings but will no longer attend Mr Bonneville's shows and no longer promote his music.



    [04OCT2016]

     
    DE VERENIGDE STATEN VAN EVA | TV WORLD MEDIA

    De Verenigde Staten van Eva

    De Verenigde Staten van Eva


    Eva Radana Jinek was born in Tulsa,OK by Czech parents but moved with her parents to the Netherlands aged 11. At that time she did not speak a word of Dutch but she became a journalist and an anchor woman on Dutch television, as well as a bit of a celebrity because of two failed high profile relationships. In particular her relationship with former criminal defense lawyer Bram Moszkowicz sparked controversy.

    On 20Jan2009, she was the host of the live broadcast on Nederland 1 of the inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States.
    Her popularity increased with her work as a co-host of the show 'Amerika Kiest' (America Votes) by the NOS (Dutch public television network) on the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. Together with Philip Freriks (nl) she reported directly from the Occidental Restaurant near the White House.

    With the upcoming 2016 US elections she now returns to her country of birth and her early roots.: The United States of Eva ("Hi, I am Eva").
    For this documentary she travels from the westcoast to the east and documents both journalistic research as well as a personal moments.
    Her roadtrip is a grassroots investigation into matters such as racism, equal opportunities, the divide between the rich and the poor, American pride and identity, cultural background of immigrants, their meaning of freedom and what people expectations are of the upcoming elections.

    She finds many people who are at the wrong side of the stick but surpisingly upbeat and motivated, but also hears often disapointment in politics, "Washington is broken".
    We see and hear a lobbyist explain how Congress, which has a Republican majority, sits on its hands to prevent president Barack Obama (Democrat) getting things done and acquire a positive reputation.
    In previous years both the Republicans and Democrats worked together in deal-making despite their differences but both parties have moved too far away from each other, are gripped in a deadlock by angry oppositions.
    This situation, not surprisingly, enforces people loosing faith in their national government, creates a growing resentment and allow persons like Donald J. Trump rise to the level of presidential candidacy.

    Eva also has personal encounters: for the first time since 35 years she revisits Tulsa where she was born (the family moved to Washington DC later on) and meets the photographer who documented her birth. She goes to her school where she spent her kindergarten and praises the school(system) for its positive influence on her life, but is shocked to learn how expensive such a privat schooling has become.
    Poverty lowers the chances for people to make it in life and the lack of education increasingly becomes the great divider for the 'have and have nots', making it likely society will further harden into extreme oppositions, widening the gap in society.

    One may love or hate the United States of America, it remains a fascinating country while it struggles with important issues at home as well as changes to its leading position in global matters.
    As such I enjoyed the program but I felt a growing suspicion that the deliberate personal notes of the presenter in this series was because of her cool image on Dutch tv. Or the emotional aspects were to attract an audience endeared by soapy moments, adding a certain value to an otherwise dry repeat of opinions and political statements.
    All in all I enjoyed all 6 epsiodes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Jinek
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_United_States
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress


    [01OCT2016]

     
    UNFORGOTTEN TV-SERIES (1) | TV CRIME DRAMA

    Unforgotten, tv crime drama, series 1

    Recently I watched on BBC First all 6 episodes of Unforgotten, a British television crime drama first broadcast on ITV (first premiered 08Oct2015).
    Nicola Walker, whom I remembered from her role in Spooks, had the leading role of DCI Cassie Stuart and performed very well indeed in my opinion.
    This first series was created and written by Chris Lang and focuses on 4 people whose lives are rocked when the bones belonging to a young man who died 39 years ago are discovered below a demolished house.
    DCI Cassie Stuart leads a team, assisted by Sunil 'Sunny' Khan (a role by Sanjeev Bhaskar) in the impossible search for the murderer and the circumstance surrounding the death of Jimmy.
    After the identification of the dead man Cassie contacts Jimmy's mother, who has suffered under the uncertainty of her son's fate.
    Trevor Eve, who starred in the award-winning BBC drama series Waking the Dead, plays a wonderful role as Sir Philip Cross who sees his dark past catching up with him.
    Tom Courtenay has a stirling performance as Eric Slater, an accountant at a place Jimmy frequented around the time of his disappearance. Eric is in a wheelchair and has to deal with the progressive dementia of his wife (a dramatic performance by Gemma Jones).
    Excellent crime drama and pleased to have learned that ITV has commissioned a 2nd series to air in late 2016, with Chris Lang returning as writer. Am looking forward to series 2!

    en.wikipedia.org:_Unforgotten


    [01OCT2016]

     

     

     
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    Created: 01-Oct-2016