Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

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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

 

 
CATHEDRAL OF THE PINES by GREGORY CREWDSON | PHOTOGRAPHY

Gregory Crewdson: Cathedral of the Pines
The Photographer's Gallery in London

Gregory Crewdson: Cathedral of the Pines

Gregory Crewdson: Cathedral of the Pines


Gregory Crewdson (b.26Sep1962) is an American photographer. He photographs tableaux of American homes and neighborhoods.
I had the pleasure of visiting an exhibition of his work in London recently, in The Photographer's Gallery, called 'Cathedral of the Pines'.

As a teenager, he was part of a punk rock group called The Speedies that hit the New York scene. Their song, 'Let Me Take Your Photo' proved to be prophetic to Crewdson's future career. In 2005, Hewlett Packard used the song in advertisements to promote its digital cameras.
He graduated from SUNY Purchase and later attended Yale University receiving his Master of Fine Arts. He is now a professor at the Yale University School of Art.

Crewdson's photographs usually take place in small-town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events.
His photographs are elaborately staged and lit, using crews familiar with motion picture production and lighting large scenes using motion picture film equipment and techniques.

The creation of the self defined American realist landscape photographer and his peculiar style originates from Crewdson’s long appreciation for 20th century melodramas and literature. Gregory Crewdson’s most recognized and iconic collection is 'Beneath the Roses', similar to his previous projects, its haunted urgency and profound dislocation from the audience is uncomfortable yet familiar.
The same atmosphere, haunted, one will find in 'Cathedral of the Pines', which I visited. It was the first time that The Photographer's Gallery, in this new location, dedicated all its space to one exhibition. That means something for the strength of this exhibition. 

In this exhibition, Gregory Crewdson departs from his interest in uncanny suburban subjects and explores human relations within more natural environments.
In images that recall 19th-century American and European paintings, Crewdson photographs figures posing within the small rural town of Becket, Massachusetts, and its vast surrounding forests, including the actual trail from which the series takes its title. Interior scenes charged with ambiguous narratives probe tensions between human connection and separation, intimacy and isolation.

en.wikipedia.org:_Gregory_Crewdson
thephotographersgalleryblog.org.uk/2017/06/28/cathedral-of-the-pines....interview


[25SEP2017]

 
BRAQUO | FRECH CRIME DRAMA TV-SERIES

Braquo - season 3

Braquo is a French crime drama television series created by Olivier Marchal. It was produced by Capa Drama with the participation of Canal+ in association with Marathon Group, Be-Films and RTBF. Braquo was first broadcast in France from 12 October to 2 November 2009.

The name of the series comes from the French word braquage, meaning armed robberies, particularly of banks.
The seasons 1 & 2 were discussed on MyBlog 2016Q1 and season 4 is on MyBlog 2017Q4

We've just finished watching season 3 and it was a great pleasure to get reacqainted!

This 3rd and apparently final season was announced by lead actor Jean-Hugues Anglade in 2011. However, the ending of the 3rd season, with two separate plot strands left unfinished, suggested a possible return.
At the end of Season 2, Caplan’s team was barely back together when the car which Lieutenant Théo Wachewski had just got into exploded…
At the start of this new season what’s left of Caplan’s SDPJ 92 group is even more shattered and each, in their own way, is trying to overcome his or her affliction to – perhaps – find a degree of closure.

I love this French version of 'Scandi Noir': Braquo is as 'noir' as it gets: the rough & tough main characters, the dilapidated police headquarters, back alleys and abandoned factories... Dark and bitter!

The fourth - and final - season of Braquo was shot between February and June 2015 in Marseille and Paris. It is directed by Xavier Palud and Frédéric Jardin and written by Abdel Raouf Dafri. It screened in France in September 2016.  

Main characters:
Jean-Hugues Anglade as Eddy Caplan    
Joseph Malerba as Walter Morlighem   
Karole Rocher as Roxane Delgado           
Geoffroy Thiebaut as Roland Vogel
Lizzie Brochere as Orianne Beridze
Isabelle Renauld as Michelle Bernardi
Joël Lefrancois as Fargette
Antoine Basler as Romain Vibert
Valerie Sibilia  as Helene Rossi

In this 3rd series we see former Internal Affairs Vogel return to revenge himself on Eddy Caplan. Vogel finds an uncomfortable accomplice in a young woman who is as intend on taking revenge on Caplan as
he is.
The infighting in the police department and other justice departments is as fierce as in series 1 & 2.

The main plot of the 3rd series is the Russian maffia increasing their foothold in France, but Machiavellian conspiracies start when their 'capo di tutti capi' dies of illness (lead poisening by the many tattoos he got while in prison).
A war between two Vor V Zakone clans,  a Russian Mafia made up of Russians, Armenians and Georgians. A criminal organization that was born in Stalin’s gulags and which has now spread across Europe, especially to France...
As for Vogel, his is waiting in the wings to swoop and strike and have done with Caplan, permanently...

www.capatv.com/en/portfolio-item/braquo-season-3/
en.wikipedia.org:_Braquo


[24SEP2017]

 
PEAKY BLINDERS | CRIME DRAMA FICTION TV-SERIES

Peaky Blinders - season 1

Peaky Blinders - season 1


Peaky Blinders is a British television crime drama based upon the exploits of the Romani/Irish Peaky Blinders gang, which operated in Birmingham, England, during the aftermath of World War I.
The series centres around and stars Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, the gang's leader, and Sam Neill
as Chester Campbell, a commissioned detective tasked with suppressing the gang.

The first series aired on BBC Two on 13Sep2013 and ran for 6 episodes. The 2nd series premiered on 02Oct2014. The 3rd series premiered on 05May2016.
Sofar I have only seen the 1st series, but I have the 2nd series in a dvd box ready and waiting.

On 26May2016, the BBC announced they had ordered a 4th and 5th series of the show. Series 4 will likely be released late 2017.
Looking forward to all that!

en.wikipedia.org:_Peaky_Blinders_(TV_series)


[23SEP2017]

 
THE BLACK SWAN by NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB | BOOKS

Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

De Zwarte Zwaan / N N Taleb


Nassim Nicholas Taleb (b.1960- ) is a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analyst, whose work focuses on problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty.

His 2007 book The Black Swan was described in a review by The Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II. 

Taleb is an author, has been a professor at several universities, serving as Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering since September 2008, and as co-editor in chief of the academic journal, Risk and Decision Analysis since September 2014.
He has also been a practitioner of mathematical finance, a hedge fund manager, a derivatives trader and is currently listed as a scientific adviser at Universa Investments.

 He criticized the risk management methods used by the finance industry and warned about financial crises, subsequently profiting from the late-2000s financial crisis.
He advocates what he calls a "black swan robust" society, meaning a society that can withstand difficult-to-predict events.

He proposes antifragility in systems, that is, an ability to benefit and grow from a certain class of random events, errors, and volatility as well as "convex tinkering" as a method of scientific discovery, by which he means that decentralized experimentation outperforms directed research.

'The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable' was released on 17Apr2007 by Random House.
The book focuses on the extreme impact of certain kinds of rare and unpredictable events (outliers) and humans' tendency to find simplistic explanations for these events retrospectively. This theory has since become known as the black swan theory.

The book also covers subjects relating to knowledge, aesthetics, and ways of life, and uses elements of fiction in making its points. The author frequently shares anecdotes from his own life to elaborate his theories.
The book's first edition appeared in 2007 and was a commercial success. It spent 36 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
The second, expanded edition appeared in 2010. This is the one I read (in Dutch, 'De Zwarte Zwaan')

The book is part of Taleb's four volume philosophical essay on uncertainty, titled the Incerto  and covers the following books: Antifragile (2012), The Black Swan (2007–2010), Fooled by Randomness (2001) and The Bed of Procrustes (2010–2016).

en.wikipedia.org:_The_Black_Swan:_The_Impact_of_the_Highly_Improbable
en.wikipedia.org:_Nassim_Nicholas_Taleb


[23SEP2017]

 
MAPS

MAPS - in shapes and sizes

MAPS - in shapes and sizes

Ever since my schooldays I have had a fascination for maps, in all shapes and sizes. As a boy I used to circle places (e.g. the National Parks in the US in my 'Bosatlas') I dreamed of visiting.

Maps took me all over the world, used them for detailing the stands on a local fair or booktown (e.g.
Hay-on-Wye) to roadmaps (e.g. the Rand McNally Roadmap) which made me opt for scenic routes and little byways or an obscure marking on the map to investigate.
I kept 2 boxes of them but started to throw them out some 3 years ago. These are the last ones I've kept for sentimental reasons and they are going out too.

I still have a fair selection of the maps National Geographic added to its monthly publications, collected during most of the 1970s-1990s (the magazines went out a long time ago). Not quite ready to dispose of these yet.
Some roadmaps I will keep for they are still of use on extensive roadtrips in Europe and North America or as back up in case the sat nav fails.

But today I looked for a streetmap of a place I intend to visit and found I did not have it anymore.


[23SEP2017]

 
MY FAVOURITE BOOKSTORES

My favourite bookstores

Bookstores which impressed me the most on my travels, sofar:
Blackwell's of Oxford (at Broad Street)
Foyles of London (Charing Cross)
Topping & Co Bookstore, Ely, England
Title Wave in Anchorage, Alaska
Powell's Books in Portland,Oregon
Kinokuniya, Siam Paragon, Bangkok
[15SEP2017]

 
UNFORGOTTEN | CRIME DRAMA TV-SERIES

Unforgotten 2 - tv-series

Unforgotten 2 - tv-series

Unforgotten is a British television crime drama, first broadcast on ITV on 08Oct2015.
The series was created and written by Chris Lang, and follows two London detectives, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), as they work together to solve cold cases.

I had seen the first series and found it for plot and drama a notch or two above average 'whodunnits'.

After the success of the first series (nominated for the BAFTA award for Best Drama Series), ITV commissioned a 2nd series, with Lang returning as writer.
It focuses on the murder of one David Walker, a Conservative Party consultant who disappeared in 1990 and whose remains are found in a suitcase buried in the River Lea.
This second series began airing on 05Jan2017.

Unforgotten series 2 is probably even better than the first series!  Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar show sterling performances.

I am glad a 3rd series has been announced.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unforgotten


[09SEP.2017]

 
CONTEMPLATING CONSPIRACIES

I contemplate
You contemplate
It's complicated
We're complacent
While they conspire ...

#warontyranny #corporatetyranny

[08SEP2017]

 
SPOMENIK | MONUMENTS

Spomeniks

Spomeniks, by Jan Kempenaers

I had never heard of 'Spomenik' until this day, when I read an article in DeGroene about these monuments in Tito's Yugoslavia!
They are looked upon as symbols of a fascist regime and some have been blown uto bits or otherwise demolished.
Jan Kempenaers seems an authority on these Spomeniks and his photography is exemplary!

His book about the monuments has been described: "The Antwerp-based photographer Jan Kempenaers undertook a laborious trek through the Balkans in order to photograph a series of these mysterious objects. He captures the Spomeniks in the misty mountain landscape at sundown.
Looking at the photographs one must admit to a certain embarrassment. We see the powerful beauty of the monumental sculptures and we catch ourselves forgetting the victims in whose name they were built. This is in no way a reproach to the photographer, but rather attests to the strength of the images.
After all, Kempenaers did not set out as a documentary photographer, but first and foremost as an artist seeking to create a new image. An image so powerful that it engulfs the viewer.
He allows the viewer to enjoy the melancholy beauty of the Spomeniks, but in so doing, forces us to take a position on a social issue." [ISBN 978 90 77459 50 8]

From Wikipedia:
'Cultural Heritage of Serbia (lit.: 'Immovable Cultural Goods') are national heritage sites in Serbia (including Kosovo) which are covered by Serbia's Law on Cultural Heritage.
Some of them are also World Heritage Sites.
The preservation and protection of cultural heritage sites in Serbia is entrusted to the National Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments. The Institute maintains the Central Register of Cultural Heritage. The Register currently lists 2.458 heritage sites classified in four categories: cultural monuments, archaeological sites, historic landmarks and spatial cultural-historical units.
Twohundred of those are classified as being "of exceptional importance", and thus entitled to the highest level of protection.
A further 582 are classified as being "of great importance", while the rest are "unclassified".'

Monumental.

www.jankempenaers.info
en.wikipedia.org:_Cultural_Heritage_of_Serbia

[08SEP2017]

 
GERRY RAFFERTY | MUSICIAN MUSIC

Gerry Rafferty (RIP), musician

Gerry Rafferty (RIP), musician

Autumn. Melancholy straining the levees.
Perhaps a little early for Leonard Cohen, it's Gerry Rafferty on the speakers. On Spotify, for the albums
I had were on vinyl and they went out the door a few years ago.
Yes, Gerry Rafferty's music hits the spot and not only on somber days.

Gerald 'Gerry' Rafferty (b.16Apr1947 – d.04Jan2011) was a Scottish singer-songwriter best known for his solo hits 'Baker Street', 'Right Down the Line' and 'Night Owl', as well as 'Stuck in the Middle with You' recorded with the band Stealers Wheel.
Rafferty was born into a working-class family in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. His mother taught him both Irish and Scottish folk songs as a boy; later, he was influenced by the music of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, after which Rafferty started to write his own material.

In 1969 Rafferty became the third member of a folk-pop group, The Humblebums, composed of comedian Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey. Harvey left shortly afterwards, and Rafferty and Connolly continued as a duo, recording two albums for Transatlantic Records.
After the duo separated in 1971, Transatlantic owner Nathan Joseph signed Rafferty as a solo performer. Rafferty recorded his first solo album, Can I Have My Money Back?
In 1972, having gained some airplay from his Signpost recording 'Make You, Break You', Rafferty joined Egan to form Stealers Wheel and recorded 3 albums with the American songwriters and producers Leiber & Stoller. The group was beset by legal wranglings, but had a huge hit 'Stuck in the Middle with You'.

Legal issues after the break-up of Stealers Wheel meant that, for 3 years, Rafferty was unable to release any material. After the disputes were resolved in 1978, he recorded his 2nd solo album, 'City to City', which included the song with which he remains most identified, 'Baker Street'.
That album turned his life around, it was his big break and turned him into a star, but 'Baker Street' was all about how uncomfortable he felt with the music industry...
His next album, 'Night Owl', also did well.
Subsequent albums, such as 'Snakes and Ladders' (1980), 'Sleepwalking' (1982), and 'North and South' (1988), fared less well, perhaps due partly to Rafferty's longstanding reluctance to perform live, which
he felt uncomfortable with.

In 1983, Rafferty announced his intention to take a break and devote more time to his family: "It dawned on me that since Baker Street I had been touring the world, travelling everywhere and seeing nowhere. Whatever I do in the future, it's at my own pace, on my own terms."
According to his former wife Carla, who discouraged visitors: "He was just stalling for time. ..I knew he'd crossed the line as far as the record business went."[38]
His next album, North and South, was released in 1988 and had mixed reviews.

Rafferty released 2 further albums in the 1990s.
On a 'Wing and a Prayer' (1992) reunited him with his Stealers Wheel partner Egan on several tracks. It included three tracks cowritten with Rafferty's brother Jim, also a singer-songwriter.
The album 'Over My Head' (1994) concluded the partnership with producer Hugh Murphy (spanning 30+ years), who died in 1998. Murphy's death was ".. a great blow to Gerry".

By the end of the 1990s, new technology enabled Rafferty to distance himself even further from the conventional approach of the music industry and work entirely on his own terms.
'Another World', released in 2000, produced with assistance of Mark Knopfler and Egan, featured an album cover illustrated by John 'Patrick' Byrne, who also illustrated the covers for 'Can I Have My Money Back?', 'City to City', 'Night Owl', and 'Snakes and Ladders', and all 3 Stealers Wheel albums. Byrne was also responsible for one of Rafferty's most prized possessions: a hand-painted Martin acoustic guitar bearing his portrait and the name 'Gerry Rafferty', which features in many photographs of the singer ...

In 2009 Rafferty released 'Life Goes On'.
Rafferty's death in January 2011 rekindled interest in the singer's work. His daughter Martha relaunched Rafferty's old website, gerryrafferty.com, with a full discography, rare photos, and new artwork by John 'Patrick' Byrne.
She portrayed her father as an autodidact with an "incredibly strong work ethic" and passion for books ("There were literally whole walls of book shelves at home and he'd read every single word. Mainly philosophy, art, religion, psychology and many a biography.")

In 1965, 18-year-old Rafferty met 15-year-old Carla Ventilla, an apprentice hairdresser from an Italian family in Clydebank, at a dancehall—a story he later recounted in the song "Shipyard Town" on North and South. They married in 1970 and lived in Scotland with their daughter, Martha Mary, before moving to the south of England in the late 1970s.
Their marriage did not survive his alholisme. His early songs, such as 'One Drink Down', 'Baker Street', and 'Night Owl' had expressed his love for drinking since an early age.
In the end he died of the consequences, his own struggles and help from friends could not save him.

In October 2013 Peter Cameron released a biography of Rafferty entitled "Stuck in the Middle with Gerry Rafferty", published by the independent publisher Linn.

en.wikipedia.org:_Gerry_Rafferty

[08SEP2017]

 
MUSKIETENGAT by JOHN TER HORST | BOOKS HISTORY

Muskietengat, John Ter Horst


Muskietengat. The subtitle would translate as 'A forgotten history of the VOC in Cambodia'.
by John Ter Horst

For many years the author (b.1969) had been working in Cambodia as an anthropologist, working on research about the the Silk Trade. But upon his return to the Netherlands he found that the Dutch East India Company (VOC) had been involved in the history of Cambodia.
This faded chapter begged for action and so he read up on the subject and returned to Cambodia.

One of the bloodiest massacres in the history of South East Asia took place in 1975, by Pol Pot and his regime, when he tried to free Combodia of the shackles of 4 centuries of imperialism and colonialism.
This anti-colonialism revolution is seen in this book in a surprising light, noting that the Dutch also belong to this hated group of imperialists:  from 1601 to 1666 the VOC made several attempts to obtain a monopoly on the trade of deerskins in these parts of the world.

Using diaries of VOC-merchants in his backpack, John ter Horst travels through parts of Cambodia, searching for the almost forgotten facts and the faded links to the Dutch history.
The subtitle is not quite correct for much of the book is also on present day Cambodia.

In an attractive gonzo-style of journalism he takes the reader by the hand and shows which horrific facts were part of 17th century progress and quest for ideals of the that time.
Ter Horst  speaks with former Khmer Rouge-soldiers, family members of victims, entrepeneurs on low and higher levels, monks and ladyboys about the past, more recent as well as of centuries past, as well as on corruption and present affairs in Cambodia.

During his travels the reason becomes clear to him why the Dutch history in this country is only a footnote in the history of The Netherlands so commonly shared.

I have only been once to Cambodia and those weeks created an ever present interest in that complicated country. In that light I enjoyed this book very much, it has been written in a fluid style, with dabs of irony, and brings both the author as well as the reader to new insights.

en.wikipedia.org:_Gonzo_journalism
www.trouw.nl/home/muskietengat~a43e77e5/     (Dutch)
en.wikipedia.org:_Dutch_East_India_Company
en.wikipedia.org:_Cambodia

[04SEP2017]

 
SECTION DE RECHERCHES | FRENCH TV CRIME DRAMA

Section de Recherches ('Research Unit') - French crime drama

Section de recherches is a French television series that was first broadcast on TF1 on 11May2006.
This special group is a unit of the National Gendarmerie, responsible for the most complex cases. The series are situated in Bordeaux (from 2006 to 2013) and then in Nice (since 2014); the unit investigates child abductions, disappearances, murders and sexual crimes.

I recently came across this series, broadcasted on Belgium's Canvas, and have only seen the 2nd series (located at Nice).
The series seem to follow American production lines, which I find disturbing. The cast for one: too many young beautiful women (casting is not resembling actual life), a white male as the 'wise senior' in charge of a very loyal team and a black guy in the investigation team.
Also a sparse background of the key actors, some romance, no humour. Fast tempo instead of real 'noir' scenario's. Bleak comparison to another French production, (e.g.) The Spiral.

Plotlines were entertaining, but not the best French crime drama I have seen sofar.

en.wikipedia.org:_Section_de_recherches


[17AUG2017]

 
THE CORONER | BRITISH TV CRIME DRAMA SERIES

The Coroner - tv series

The Coroner is a BBC Birmingham ('feel-good')  drama series of 20 episodes, starring Claire Goose as Jane Kennedy.
She is a coroner based in a fictional South Devon coastal town.
A coroner is a person whose standard role is to confirm and certify the death of an individual within a jurisdiction. A coroner may also conduct or order an inquest into the manner or cause of death, and investigate or confirm the identity of an unknown person who has been found dead within the coroner's jurisdiction.
The word coroner derives from the same source as the word crown, and denotes an officer of The Crown.

Matt Bardock has a very nice role as Detective Sergeant Davey Higgins.

Jane Kennedy returns to Lighthaven as the local coroner. She works with Davey Higgins, a Detective Sergeant in the South Dart police; they were childhood sweethearts and he broke her heart.
I liked the playful banter between Jane and Davey, a bit of humour so often missed in modern crime drama series.
Nice roles also by Oliver Gomm as Clint Holman (Coroner’s Officer) and Grace Hogg-Robinson as Beth Kennedy, Jane's daughter.

The BBC announced on 02March2017 that there would be no further series.
I have only seen Series 2, the last 10 episodes of the series. As feel-good drama goes, I quite liked the series.

en.wikipedia.org:_The_Coroner


[17AUG2017]

 
SEBASTIÃO SALGADO 'GENESIS' | PHOTOGRAPHY

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO | GENESIS
'Overwhelming' and 'spectacular' comes to mind when viewing these photographs

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO | GENESIS

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO | GENESIS
I am determined to visit Argentina's Peninsular Valdes for the whales some day!

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO | GENESIS
I love the way how the 2 women look: one in the direction of the photographer the
other in the direction of the woman next to the photo. A candidate for my next LOOK edition.

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO | GENESIS
Another candidate for my Blurb edition LOOK: do you see the couple leaning into a photo there?

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO | GENESIS

Yesterday I visited a world class photo exhibition in Netherlands Photo Museum (Rotterdam) : 'Genesis' by Sebastião Salgado.

Genesis is the magnum opus of world-renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. To create his ode to our fragile planet, Salgado travelled to such remote regions such as the Galapagos Islands, Madagascar and Antarctica: places where people and animals still live in harmony with each other and with the natural world.
In these photographs, Salgado shows us the beauty of the pristine natural world and makes us aware of the need to preserve our planet. 
The over two hundred spectacular black-and-white photographs in the exhibition include images of life forms ranging from whales to tortoises, landscapes from glaciers to deserts, and a variety of native peoples.
I hope I can share some of my enthusiasme for these images here! The images certainly added a few destinations to my 'bucket list': Madagascar and Argentina's Peninsular Valdes for the whales!

nederlandsfotomuseum.nl/en/exhibition/salgado-genesis
www.amazonasimages.com
en.wikipedia.org:_Sebastião_Salgado


[10AUG2017]

 
SO ANYWAY... by JOHN CLEESE | BOOKS AUTOBIOGRAPHY

So Anyway - John Cleese autobiography

John Cleese


John Cleese’s 'So Anyway…' (Random House 2014, Arrow Books paperback 2015) is the long-awaited story of the actor’s life, told how he wants to tell it ("how a tall, shy youth from Weston-super-Mare went on to become a self-confessed legend").

John Marwood Cleese (b.27Oc1939 - ) is an English actor, voice actor, screenwriter, producer, and comedian.
He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on 'The Frost Report'.
In the late 1960s, he co-founded Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus and the 4 Monty Python films: 'And Now for Something Completely Different', 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', 'Life of Brian' and 'The Meaning of Life'.

In the mid-1970s, Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the British sitcom 'Fawlty Towers', with Cleese receiving the 1980 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance.
Later, he co-starred with Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, and former Python colleague Michael Palin in 'A Fish Called Wanda' and 'Fierce Creatures', both of which he also wrote.
He also starred in Clockwise and has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films as 'R' and 'Q', 2 'Harry Potter' -films, and the last 3 'Shrek'-films.

This is a very entertaining look at Mr. Cleese’s early life. It must not have been easy for Mr. Cleese as a child. He was tall at a very early age — five-foot three at age 8 and over six feet tall at 12. Being that height so early in life not only makes you stand out in a crowd.
He was weak and awkward, very uncoordinated.
While he is very fond of his dad, he credits him for keeping his complicated marriage together. The same can’t be said for mom; she was a complicated woman who, by his account, was a good mother, but she was also "self-obsessed and anxious, and that could make life with her very uncomfortable indeed".

Mr. Cleese weaves his recollections seamlessly together while along the way displaying some of his sardonic observations, I envisage him making his remarks with clenched fists and teeth but in a very polite and eloquent manner. Having had to deal with BBC scrutiny and 'political correctness' (which he abhors) he quite enjoys putting his readers (his audience) at arms length and uttering the occacional 'fuck'!

An excellent book by one of the best comedy writers of his generation, even though he did not include much from his Monty Python days.

www.washingtontimes.com/.../book-review-so-anyway
en.wikipedia.org:_John_Cleese

[01AUG2017]

 
FOLLOW THE MONEY (SEASON 2) | TV SERIES CRIME FICTION DRAMA

Follow the Money (Season 2)

Follow the Money (Season 2)


'Follow the Money' (Danish: Bedrag) is a Danish financial crime thriller that has run for two seasons and been shown in several other countries.
The original series, set in the renewable energy business in Denmark, was first broadcast in Denmark in January 2016 in 10 episodes; it has dialogue in Danish, Swedish, and English.
In The Netherlands, the 1st episode was broadcast on 07Mar2016 on VARA television, under the title 'Follow the Money'; many countries followed.

The 2nd season of the show was broadcast in October-November 2016; this series continues the stories
of most of the characters from the 1st series, but the main focus is on a bank practicing P2P lending and their attempted takeover by a bank whose chair, Knud Christensen, was behind the fraud case investigated in the 1st season.
It was screened in the UK, on BBC Four, starting 04Mar2017.
Screenwriter Jeppe Gjervig Gram revealed in November 2016 that work on a continuation to 'Follow the Money' has begun!
Excellent crime drama and indeed looking forward to Season 3!

Cast:
Thomas Bo Larsen - as Mads Justesen
Natalie Madueño - as Claudia Moreno
Thomas Hwan - as Alf Rybjerg
Esben Smed Jensen - as Nicky
Line Kruse - Kristina, wife of Nicky

en.wikipedia.org:_Follow_the_Money_(Danish_TV_series)
www.imdb.com


[31JUL2017]

 
STREETS OF THE WORLD EXPO & BOOK | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOKS

Streets of the World - Jeroen Swolfs, photography

Streets of the World - Jeroen Swolfs, photography

Streets of the World - Jeroen Swolfs, photography

Streets of the World - Jeroen Swolfs, photography

Streets of the World - Jeroen Swolfs, photography

Streets of the World - Jeroen Swolfs, photography

Streets of the World - Jeroen Swolfs, photography

Photography by Jeroen Swolffs, who travelled all over the world to depict streetscenes in every country in a sphere of positive spirits and hope.
He travelled 195 countries in 7 years and produced a fantastic coffeetable book on this project this year, with 195 photos in 436 pages including iphonographics and his 'why & what' of each photograph.
To see many of those photographs almost larger than life is awesome.
Fantastic achievement, -photography, -exhibition and -book! Inspiring!

MyFlickr
folder for more images
www.streetsoftheworld.com


[29JUL2017]

 
ON READING ('36 Exp'-series) by RUUD LEEUW | PHOTOBOOKS

www.blurb.com/user/ruudleeuw


[25JUL2017]

 
BROADCHURCH, SERIES 3 | TV-SERIES CRIME FICTION DRAMA

Broadchurch, series 3

Broadchurch is a British television crime drama, produced for and first broadcasted on ITV.
The first series, which premiered on 04Mar2013, focused on the death of an 11-year-old boy and the impact of grief, mutual suspicion and media attention on the town's community.
While one can enjoy series 3 without having seen series 1 or 2, aspects of these series continue in three.

Broadchurch series 1 focused on the search for a boy's murderer by detectives Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (played by Olivia Colman).
Alec Hardy saw his marriage and his career going on the rocks and is hoping to start afresh in Broadchurch, but has difficulties adapting. Ellie Miller annoys him immensely, with her empathy and emotions, but she finds his weak spots, finds great pleasure in teasing him while contributing with her perspective to the investigations and knowledge of the local community.

The series was created and written by Chris Chibnall, who was inspired by the Jurassic Coast of Britain to set his crime drama in a fictional, close-knit small town in Dorset.
Harbour Cliff and Beach in West Bay, Dorset is often featured in the background while filming.

Series 2 primarily focuses on two plot strands: the trial of the murderer (who after initial confession claims to be innocent when on trial and is set free) and the reopening of the Sandbrook case (backgroud of Alec Hardy).
Tennant, Colman and most of the cast of series one returned for series 2, as we see many familiar faces in series 3.
A U.S. remake in one season, Gracepoint, also created by Chris Chibnall and starring Tennant, aired on 2014 on Fox. The French channel France 2 also announced an adaptation, titled Malaterra.

Filming for the series 3 began in May 2016 and broadcast started on 27Feb2017.
The final series follows Miller and Hardy as they investigate a serious sexual assault.
In all three series the personal background and family issues of Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller ('Millerrrrr...' ) add to the drama, lifting Broadchurch's entertainment to a level much higher than a simple 'whodunnit'. The working relation between Hardy and Miller provide a glimmer of humor, which I do so appreciate.
Also again an excellent role by Jodie Whittaker, as Beth (the mother of Danny, the murder victim in series 1 and again in a starring role in series 3); recently it was announced that she is to become the next 'Doctor Who', the 13th and first woman in that role!

Enjoyed all three series tremendously, Tennant and Colman had a great raport between each other and the drama was intense.

en.wikipedia.org:_Broadchurch
http://www.imdb.com/
[24JUL2017]

 
THREATS OF PAIN AND RUIN by THEODORE DALRYMPLE | BOOKS
Threats of Pain and Ruin, by Theodore Dalrymple (2014)


Perhaps not the most inviting ititle to pick up at the bookstore, but I have read books by T. Dalrymple before and again was not disappointed: more of interest than shockingly depressing! But is indicative for his (wry) sense of humor. I like it.

The man himself has this to say of this book:
'What is written without pain, said Doctor Johnson, is rarely read with pleasure. Rarely perhaps, but not, I hope, never: for the little essays in this book were written, I must confess, without much angst.
In part this was because, in writing them, I had no thesis to prove, no axe to grind, except that the world is both infinitely interesting and amusing, and provides us with an inexhaustible source of material for philosophical reflection.
Many of the subjects treated of in this book were found by serendipity or came to me in flashes - it would be immodest to call them of inspiration - of previously unsuspected connection and interest.

I can only hope that they entertain the reader as they have entertained me. At least they will do no harm, in compliance with the first principle of medical ethics..'

Some background from Wikipedia-
Anthony Malcolm Daniels (b.11Oct1949- ), who generally uses the pen name Theodore Dalrymple, is an English writer and retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. He worked in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries as well as in the east end of London.
Before his retirement in 2005, he worked in City Hospital, Birmingham and Winson Green Prison in inner-city Birmingham, England.
Daniels has been described as a pessimist. In 2010, Daniel Hannan wrote that Dalrymple's work "takes pessimism about human nature to a new level. Yet its tone is never patronising, shrill or hectoring. Once you get past the initial shock of reading about battered wives, petty crooks and junkies from a non-Left perspective,
... you find humanity and pathos".
In 2005 he retired early as a consultant psychiatrist.

Regarding his pseudonym 'Theodore Dalrymple', he wrote that he "... chose a name that sounded suitably dyspeptic, that of a gouty old man looking out of the window of his London club, port in hand, lamenting the degenerating state of the world".
From his travels (see further below) one will not ethat he did not stay at home with his books to form his opnions on (to use a familiar quote from another book) "Life, the Universe and Everything"!

His writing has some recurring themes, e.g.....
  • The cause of much contemporary misery in Western countries – criminality, domestic violence, aggressive youths, hooliganism, broken families...
  • Poverty does not explain aggressive, criminal and self-destructive behaviour.
  • An attitude characterised by gratefulness and having obligations towards others has been replaced – with awful consequences – by an awareness of "rights" and a sense of entitlement, without responsibilities.
  • Technocratic or bureaucratic solutions to the problems of mankind produce disasters in cases where the nature of man is the root cause of those problems
  • &c &c...

    Meanwhile he followed some adventurous paths in his life!
    From the backcover: 'He has been arrested as a spy in Gabon, been sought by the South African police for violating apartheid, visited the site of a civilian massacre by the government of Liberia, concealed his status as a write for fear of execution in Equatorial Guinea, infiltrated an English communist group in order to attend the World Youth Festival in North Korea, performed Shakespeare in Afghanistan, smuggled banned books to dissidents in Romania, been arrested and struck with truncheons for photographing an anti-government in Albania and crossed both Africa and South America using only public transportation.'

    www.goodreads.com/book/show/22239152-threats-of-pain-and-ruin
    www.skepticaldoctor.com/2014/09/18/threats-of-pain-and-ruin/
    en.wikipedia.org/:_Theodore_Dalrymple
    Life, The Universe and Everything on Wikipedia


    [20JUL2017]
  •  
    FARGO (SERIES 1) | TV-SERIES FICTION CRIME

    FARGO - SERIES 1

    Fargo - series 1


    The 1st season of this black comedy-crime drama tv-series Fargo, premiered on 15Apr2014, on FX.
    Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks and Martin Freeman, the season consisted of 10 episodes.

    Set in January 2006, the season follows drifter Lorne Malvo (Thornton) who stops at a hospital in Bemidji, Minnesota following a car accident and influences local mild-mannered insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Freeman) with his violent and deceptive ways. Their meeting sets forth a series of murders throughout the city.
    Meanwhile, Deputy Molly Solverson (Tolman) and Officer Gus Grimly (Hanks) of Duluth, Minnesota attempt to solve several crimes across the state they believe may be linked to Malvo and Nygaard.

    Filming of the first season began in Calgary, Alberta in late 2013 and concluded in 2014.
    It is one of the few US tv series I actually enjoyed, being a fan of Billy Bob Thornton, I had enjoyed the original (1996) Academy Award-winning film Fargo and found all key actors here (including Colin Hanks as Officer Gus Grimly, Keith Carradine as Lou Solverson and Police Chief Bill Oswalt played by Bob Odenkirk) doing a wonderful job.
    I have been a fan of Martin Freeman since his role in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) and his part as Watson in the Sherlock tv-series (starring Benedict Cumberbatch).
    Am looking forward to see Fargo 2 and Fargo 3!

    en.wikipedia.org:_Fargo_(season_1)
    [18JUL2017]

     
    ABANDONED PLACES by HENK VAN RENSBERGEN | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO BOOKS

    Abandoned Places by Henk van Rensbergen (2016)

    Abandoned Places by Henk van Rensbergen (2016)

    Abandoned Places by Henk van Rensbergen (2016)

    Abandoned Places by Henk van Rensbergen


    As a photographer Henk van Rensbergen explores the empty buildings of our times, an urban world where mankind has disappeared.
    In Belgium he is considered one of the pioneers of Urban Exploring in Belgium. He started some 30 years ago, venturing in abandoned hospitals, factories, hotels, etc

    The photos in 'Abandoned Places' (published in 2016, as a spin off of the bigger coffee table book, which was published 2 years earlier) show the silent beauty and the macabre decay of these places, sometimes revealing their secrets…
    "Some of the photos were taken at locations I visited during my stay after flights, most however are the result of planned explorations. I prefer to set out on my own, but with many locations it isn’t wise to do so. I am very aware of the legal questions involved. Therefore I never break my way in, I don’t invade ones privacy, take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints."

    The photos reproduce the atmosphere that reigns inside these abandoned places, the presence of people is still very tangible and it is that eerie ghost-like feeling that stirs the imagination.
    As a kid van Rensbergen first started doing this exploring, he clearly remembers the urge to explore one freightening abandoned villa in the dunes of Oostduinkerke, a Belgian coastal town and that one started a long series of explorations!

    Henk van Rensbergen (Brussels, b.1968) is an airline pilot, and currently flies as a Captain on the
    Boeing 787.
    He has already had several exhibitions and was represented at different art fairs.

    This book contains 160 pages, has a hardcover and the size is roughly A5.

    www.henkvanrensbergen.com

    [17JUL2017]

     

     

     
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    Created: 17-Jul-2017