Welcome to my Blog!
Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to
talk about himself. -
Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo
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.).
AMSTERDAM LIGHT FESTIVAL, 8TH EDITION | ART
Disturbance lies at the heart of the exhibition of the eighth edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival with its theme 'DISRUPT!'.
WE HAVE BEEN HARMONIZED by KAI STRITTMATTER | BOOKS CHINA
Subtitile: 'Life in China's Surveillance State'.
(Translated by Ruth Martin)
Kai Strittmatter reports as a foreign correspondent for Süddeutsche Zeitung. He gained experience in foreign coverage from 1997 onwards with posts in Beijing, Istanbul and Beijing until fall 2018.
In China's shiny new 'Smart Cities', citizens can scarcely cross the road or buy an orange without the Party (Chinese Communist Party - CCP) knowing. And posting a satirical online comment about President Xi's Winnie-the-Pooh-like features can land you in jail for Chinese social media is strictly controlled by government agencies.
A generation after the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, China's autocratic leaders are using powerful new technologies to create the largest and most effective surveillance state the world has ever seen.
The book is also a warning against Western complacency. Beijing is already finding eager buyers for its 'Operating System for Dictators' - in Africa and Asia, Russia and the Middle East.
Very interesting book, with the content more than a tad disconcerting!
COUNTERPART | TV-SERIES DRAMA SCI-FI
Counterpart is an American science fiction thriller tv-series. Two 10-episode seasons were produced and I recently watched the 1st series which dates back to 2017.
In general I am not a fan of American series, but the dual role by J. K. Simmons as Howard Silk is fantastic and itself a reason to watch this series. The speech, facial expression and the posture by Simmons for those 2 different characters is uncanny!
About the narrative.
Howard Silk has been working for 30 years for a Berlin-based (United Nations) agency, Office of Interchange (OI). However, his rank is too low for him to be told what his work really involves.
In fact, OI oversees a crossing point to a parallel Earth (the ' Prime world' ), a copy of Silk's world.
The 2nd season reveals that this crossing point was unintentionally opened or created by East German scientist Yanek in 1987.
People in general are kept unawares of two seperate worlds. Both worlds watch each other with distrust, in fact those in the know in the 'Prime world' bear a hateful grudge for causing a flu epidemic in their world resulting in millions of deaths (from a virus); they are convinced of foul play.
While at the start of the duplication both worlds were identical, differentiation has occurred. We see people comparing (availability of) products and the architecture has become different.
The 'Prime world' has a training center for children to be trained according to the lives of their counterparts, as some convenient point in time they are inserted in the 'Alpha world' as sleepers in while their counterparts are eliminated.
Silk's 'other' self, his counterpart from the 'Prime world' (grown in an entirely different character) is, among other things, an OI Prime field agent who regularly makes crossings to Silk's world (the 'Alpha world') to retrieve 'others' who have gone rogue. Factional in-fighting in OI Prime, where some operatives hold the opinion that the 'Alpha world' caused the deadly virus, spills over to the 'Alpha world', endangering Silk and his comatose wife, Emily.
BROOKLYN - THE CITY WITHIN by ALEX WEBB & REBECCA NORRIS WEBB | PHOTOGRAPHY
Having collaborated on numerous photographic works over the years, notably the book projects 'Violet Isle' and 'Slant Rhymes', Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb have most recently turned their attention to Brooklyn, their home of over 20 years. Their distinct interests and working processes have resulted in here in ' Brooklyn: The City Within'.
Alex Webb was on my wishlist for some time, a famous street photographer with a distinct style.
In the introduction Alex Webb states that this book is a process of saying farewell to Brooklyn, as they expect to move away from Park Slope in a few years. It certainly is a worthy tribute.
A few notes from Wikipedia:
'Rebecca Norris Webb (b. 1956) is an American photographer.
LIFE.LOVE.BOOKS. by MRK MANSON | LIFE LOVE BOOKS
This is only chapter 1 in LIFE, others details are discussed 2 (fascinating: The Vaue of Trauma).
LOVE is all about making the right decisions while often tempted to look on the rosy side of things.
FOTOBOEK | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOGRAPHERS
THE SOUTHEAST | ENGLAND TRAVEL HISTORY
BLOOD | TV-SERIES DRAMA FICTION
Cat Hogan (Carolina Main) returns from the big city (Dublin, though ImDb states she travels from England) to West Meath (Ireland) upon her mother's Mary's sudden death - she's had an accident at home and died.
Her father Jim (a role by Adrian Dunbar) is a GP and a respected member of the community in the village. He was supposed to be at home helping his wife (admirable role by Ingrid Craigie), suffering from advanced ALS, instead of the nurse, but he had been called away by a patient. But this is found out to be a lie. A different explanation of his whereabouts is also found to be (probably) a lie. So diagnosed an accident but perhaps she was murdered, hit over the head with a garden ornament at the pond where she was found?
Cat has a difficult relationship with the family for as a small child she'd witnessed her father beating up a man who later that fateful day committed suicide. Her brother Michael (Diarmuid Noyes ) and sister Fiona (Grainne Keenan), plus her parents, always insisted she'd made that all up, to a point where Cat began to doubt her faculties.
And the story seems to repeat itself: her suspicions are not taken seriously by Michael and Fiona. Her father denies wrongdoing, but is secretive.
Barry Flood (Cillian O'Gairbhi), the son of the pub owner who killed himself, requests the coronary report of his father's untimely death and finds that bruising details had not been copied onto the final death certificate by... Jim Hogan. What has Jim to hide and why was it so important that Cat's witness at the time was suppressed?
Plenty of other drama too: Jim is in a relationship with the receptionist Sarah (married with a child, a
role by Shereen Martin) at his practise, he also pays her rent but meanwhile has problems making ends meet at home financially, paying for the daytime nurse...
Michael is gay but hasn't told his father yet and still lives with his parents; works at th elocal supermarket without much ambition).
Fiona (married, 2 young children) shows early signs of ALS like her mother while the local Gard has a grievance with Jim and 'Uncle' Frank arrives at the scene; he is behaving indecently towards Cat....
Frank also brought a gun!
Blood is about old secrets, older betrayals, mind games and the lies family tell each other.
Yes, plenty of drama to keep you fascinated over 6 episodes.
GUILT | TV-SERIES CRIME FICTION DRAMA
A niece, Angie (Ruth Bradley) shows up to settle the estate of Walter; she's from Chicago and Jake falls in love with her while he and Angie decide on what to do with Walter's excellent LP collection.
Guilt is a 2019 dark comedy-drama in 4 episodes, the first commissioned by BBC Scotland, written by Neil Forsyth about 2 brothers played by Mark Bonnar (a.o. from the Shetland- and Unforgotten series) and Jamie Sives (allegedly from GoT, great play and great voice!) who get involved in a hit and run.
Must admit that I initially had trouble digesting the absurdity in this dark drama series, but after 1 episode I was properly convinced!
CRAP TOWNS, THE IDLER BOOK OF | BOOKS SATIRE HUMOUR
Full tittle 'Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK'. It was followed by other publications such as:
'Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides' and 'Crap Towns Returns: Back by Unpopular Demand'
These are a series of books edited by Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran, in association with UK quarterly The Idler, in which towns in the United Kingdom were nominated by visitors to The Idler website for their "crapness", with the results being published in The Idler and in the books.
A sister publication, 'Crap Jobs', was created by similar means, and 'Crap Holidays' was published in October 2006.
These boys are on to something.
It was great fun reading, but I would not recommend reading it from from front to back in one go: too depressive!
Publication of 'Crap Towns' brought widespread criticism from residents, politicians and other notable figures from the towns listed. Many notable figures were quick to defend their respective towns.
THE LONG TAKE by ROBIN ROBERTSON | BOOKS POETRY HISTORY
Robin Robertson (b.1955) is a Scottish poet.
'The Long Take' was published by Picador in 2018 and is a novel in narrative poetry form with noir style.
Walker sees a return to Nova Scotia and his girlfriend as impossible, he has seen too much cruelty on the front and considers his character deformed by what he's seen and done.
While he roams the streets of L.A. (he's also sent to San Francisco, to document the homeless there), he is witness to the urbanisation of Los Angeles, where entire housing projects are demolished, people are trampled for 'progress'. Land was sold to developers for housing projects and highways. This was in large part to address the severe post-World War II housing shortage, but speculation allegedly played a role.
One of these areas which succumbed to progress was called Chavez Ravine, of which I have a recollection for the CD by Ry Cooder (2005).
ASHES TO DUST by YRSA SIGURDARDOTTIR | BOOKS CRIME FICTION ICELANDIC
Sigurdardóttir’s excellent 3rd thriller 'Ashes to Dust' featuring lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir was another pleasant read for me. It is moderatelt paced, with plenty of details and small developments, while Thóra remains a believable lawyer rather than a investigator-in-crisis.
DISHONESTY IS THE SECOND-BEST POLICY by DAVID MITCHELL | SATIRE WORLD
Comedian David Mitchell has just published his latest collection of Observer columns, 'Dishonesty is the Second-Best Policy'.
He’s been a columnist with the Observer since 2008 and he has just published this latest collection of very entertaining columns. This collection goes back to 2015.
We’ve gone from UKIP surge to Brexit shambles, from horsemeat in lasagne to Donald Trump in the White House, from Woolworths going under to all the other shops going under. It’s probably socially irresponsible even to try to cheer up.
Ok, forewarned is forearmed. If you’re determined to give it a go, you might enjoy this collection of David Mitchell’s attempts to make light of all that darkness. He's not shy of using 'long words'.
For Brexit he blames David Cameron: "In 1975, Harold Wilson wanted to stay in the EU," he says. "He called the referendum and he won it. That’s because he was a good politician.
I also liked the bit about the internet:
There's much more of that in this book, but you'll find a message among the ranting. Mitchell is a very smart guy.
I know David Mitchell from his appearances on BBC television. Funny thing is, while reading I can hear his voice! He writes much in the way he speaks, with so many facts (and 'difficult' words) in one sentence that you'll find your mind reeling trying to digest it all. But do try!
PORTRAITS OF MODERNITY by BERENICE ABBOTT | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOKS
BERENICE ABBOTT | PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
"Photography is a method of education, for acquainting people of all ages and conditions with the truth about life today," wrote photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), in an unpublished text, 'Statement in Regard to Photography Today', 1946.
Born in Springfield, Ohio, in 1898, Abbott studied sculpture in New York before moving to Paris in 1921, where she worked as an assistant at the Man Ray studio. There, she mastered the art of photography and in 1926 held her first solo show at the gallery Le Sacre du Printemps in Paris.
BRASSAÏ, A FIRST RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION | PHOTOGRAPHY
Very much enjoyed Foam's exhibition today, a retrospective of Hungarian-born French photographer Brassaï (b.09Sep1899 – d.08Jul1984).
Born Gyula Halász, Brassaï (1899-1984) was probably the best known Hungarian photographer besides André Kertész. His career started in Paris in the 1930s.
WOMEN WAR PHOTOGRAPHERS | PHOTOJOURNALISM PHOTOGRAPHY
WOMEN WAR PHOTOGRAPHERS -
From Lee Miller to Anja Niedringhaus.
An exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany, features about 140 works by acclaimed photographers including Carolyn Cole, Susan Meiselas, Lee Miller and Gerda Taro taken over the past 80 years. This is the catalog, but I hope I get to see the exhibition as well in due course.
EARLY WORKS by MARTIN PARR | PHOTOBOOK PHOTOGRAPHY
For a while now I had been looking out for a photobook by Martin Parr, but I only came across books I could not afford. When I browsed in the PhotoQ bookstore (Amsterdam) recently and came across Martin Parr's 'Early Works' I did not hesitate selecting it for purchase.
Martin Parr (b.23May1952 - ) is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. He is known for his photographic projects that take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life, in particular documenting the social classes of England, and more broadly the wealth of the Western world.
'Martin Parr - Early Works' has been available from RRB PhotoBooks and The Martin Parr Foundation from 16Oct19.
IN VENETO 1984-89 by GUIDO GUIDI| PHOTOBOOK PHOTOGRAPHY
Recently acquired, I picked up this book because there was an immediate click with memories of mine dating back to even earlier (1960s, 1970s) of Italy. The houses, their environment, et cetera.
While the essays (by Mariano Sartore and Stefania Rössl, in Italian and English) describe the process of change, for me the value it things 'ordinary' in Italy.
Guido Guidi (b.01Jan1941 -) is an Italian photographer.
CARDINAL, SEASON 3 | CRIME FICTION DRAMA TV-SERIES
'Cardinal' is a Canadian crime drama tv-series, which was first broadcast on 25Jan17, on CTV (in English) and Super Écran (in French).
The series adapts the novels of crime writer Giles Blunt, focusing on police detective John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and his partner Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse), who investigate crimes in the fictional city of Algonquin Bay.
Filming include fantastic sceneries of Canadian rural areas.
In this 3rd series, the suspicious death of Cardinal's wife Catherine coincides with a double murder, and Delorme is ordered to take the lead in the latter investigation.
Reluctant to believe that Catherine committed suicide, Cardinal begins investigating other possibilities, whilst dealing with a succession of anonymous letters blaming him for the suicide of his wife.
Meanwhile, Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson), recovering from the death of her sister, tries to reason with another prospective suicide and is devastated when she fails to prevent him killing himself.
Thoroughly enjoyed the 6 episodes and we can only hope for a 4th season!
DAY OF THE DEAD by NICCI FRENCH | BOOKS CRIME FICTION
ARRIVAL OF SINTERKLAAS | NETHERLANDS TRADITION CULTURE
Sinterklaas, or Sint-Nicolaa,s is a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children.
The feast of Sinterklaas celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December. The feast is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on St. Nicholas' Eve (5 December) in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day, in Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois).
Sinterklaas is one of the sources of the popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus.
For a number of years now the appearance of 'Black Pete' is under severe discussion in Holland, for a racial context. Media and a number of communities paint the faces less black in colours. Here 'Zwarte Piet' has the traditional appearance in colour, though in other ways his facial appearance has been
NOBEL - PEACE AT ANY COST | CRIME DRAMA TV-SERIES DVD
Nobel is a 2016 Norwegian television series that premiered on NRK on 25Sep2016. It depicts Norway’s military involvement in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Erling Riiser (Aksel Hennie) of the Special Forces arrives home from an Afghanistan mission, after forcefully stopping a woman from running into a bomb explosion. Back in peaceful Norway he receives a text message that directs him to a location where he intervenes in an abuse, an event which has considerable implications for him but also for those involved in military presence of Norway in Afghanistan.
Zamani was in Norway for an oil deal, which also had idealistic implications for the Afghanistan region, though Zamani was mostly interested in the best price. The Chinese were waiting to step in.
The Foreign Minister of Norway had been visiting Afghanistan, but the Taliban terminated the meeting. At that event he and the Special Forces escort ran into the ambush.
Someone leaks to the press and a.o. Erling is exposed in the tabloids as a cold blooded killer.
Erling, suspended during investigations, thinks that Hektor is behind the killing of Sharif Zamani to avoid being exposed for dodgy business deals in Afghanistan. They knew each other since studies in England.
When Erling's suspension is lifted to enable to participate in the security fo the delegation he is very suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the meeting. The Taliban is an unexpected guest when everybody is gathered to sign the oil deal. Johanne has decided to travel with the delegation to Afghanistan to see for herself; she is not overwhelmed to Erling present.
'Nobel' refers to the Nobel Peace Prize but also to the noble cause Norway is involved in.
While I am not a fan of flash backs, they involve missions in Afghanistan and the location has such a stark contrast that there is no danger of becoming confused.
PEAKY BLINDERS, SERIES 5 | CRIME DRAMA TV-SERIES
Peaky Blinders is a British crime drama tv-series created by Steven Knight, that premiered on BBC Two on 12Sep 2013. The series is primarily set in Birmingham, England, and follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the aftermath of World War I.
The crash of the financial markets also has a devastating effect on the fortunes of the Shelby family. Previous series saw their influence on horse racing, the Shelby family expands to fixing football matches and regain cash through betting offices.
Spellbinding thriller with fantastic detail to location, clothing and accents. The ending seems to indicate a 6th series, which I'd welcome.
PANORAMAS OF ENGLAND by ADAM NICOLSON & NICK MEERS | PHOTOBOOK
Small villages steeped in charm and majestic mansions surrounded by lush lawns. A trip through (mostly) rural England, wielding a panorama camera.
Phoenix Illustrated, 1997 paperback (first published in 1992)
GRANTCHESTER, 4TH SERIES | CRIME DRAMA TV-SERIES
I was rather pleased that Sidney Chambers was written out of this series, I found his role (by James Norton) had become rather sentimental and sticky. A feeling that crept on me even during the 2nd series! Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) seems a much more interesting character and I like how the events in society play a role (e.g. the Teddy Boys), such as we also get to see in the Endeavour (Morse) tv-series.
BELOW THE SURFACE II | SCANDI NOIR DANISH CRIME DRAMA
Below the Surface (Danish: Gidseltagningen) is a Danish thriller drama tv-series.
RAZOR GIRL by CARL HIAASEN | CRIME FICTION HUMOR BOOKS
There is Buck Nance, star of a 'reality show', he and his family exploiting a chicken farm in the Deep South: The Beverly Hillbillies 1960s series all over again. Buck takes time out in the south of Florida and becomes hostage to an even more remarkable person, a fan in extremis, and this Benny (a.k.a. Blister, a.k.a. Spiro, a.k.a Deerbone) wants to become Buck's brother in the tv series..
Like I said it was 5 years ago I last read a Hiaasen novel and I now found Hiaasen's characters and 'Americana' has lost much of its fun and attraction to me. Over the past decade or so US politics, shootings, discontent in society, polarisation in US media, domination of major tech companies, caused much irritation with me and the USA, as a result, has in many (if no tmost) aspects lost its glamour and attraction to me.
THE CAPTURE | CRIME FICTION DRAMA TV-SERIES
BRUNO ENGLER, PHOTOGRAPHY
I came across this photobook while browsing in the 'Book Lover's' bookstore in North Vancouver.
While I love the photography in general, this book also contained of places and areas recent travel had brought me to, e.g. Bow Lake and Num-Ti-Jah Lodge built by Jimmy Simpson.
Bruno Engler was born on 04Dec1915 in Lugano, Switzerland.
He came to Canada from Switzerland in 1939 and spent 60 years in the Rockies as a photographer, mountain guide, ski instructor and cinematographer.
He is known for his work on Days of Heaven (1978), Lost and Found (1979) and Ghostkeeper (1981).
His stunning black and white photos capture the magnificence and grandeur of the Canadian alpine landscape from the smallest plant to the highest peak.
Bruno Engler is a recipient of the Alberta Achievement Award for Excellence, the Premier Cup for Photography and Mountaineering, the 1987 Rose Award and the 1986 Summit of Excellence Award, which is the highest honor that the mountain community can bestow upon its peers for contributions to mountain culture.
He died on 23Mar2001 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
OFFLINE by ANNE HOLT | BOOKS CRIME FICTION NOVEL
It has been many years since I had read another book by Anne Holt, titled '1222'. The main protagonistwas Hanne Wilhelmsen I remember, though it must have been over 10 years ago since I read that book (published in 2007).
Holt's 2015 novel 'Offline' is about a terrorist attack on an Islamic cultural center by a group of extreme Norwegian nationalists. And how investigations and media focus on Islamic terrorists.
So, when bombs go off at the Islamic Cooperation Council’s headquarters in Oslo, detective Hanne Wilhelmsen is on the case. Well, in her wheelchair at home she has been reduced to investigating cold cases as an independent investigator outside the police organisation, she becomes focussed on actual events and ultimately sees a cold case involving a racial motivated missing person (murder?) connect with the present time.
Wilhelmesen is approached by her friend Billy T., who fears his own son may be linked to the bombings. Here I found details lacking , perhaps by not having read earlier books (there are no Wilhelmsen novels published between '1222' and 'Offline'). Billy T. is an empty character in this book.
BIG SKY by KATE ATKINSON | BOOKS CRIME FICTION NOVEL
It’s nearly a decade since Kate Atkinson’s morose and melancholy private detective Jackson Brodie last appeared in print. I did so enjoy Jason Isaacs role in the BBC tv-series 'Case Histories', but a follow up novel was long overdue I think (Atkinson won awards with books written by her afterwards, on different subjects).
'Big Sky' is not a straightforward crime novel, Atkinson's writing is bigger than just another whodunnit novel.
Old secrets and new lies intersect this wonderfully entertaining novel and I hope we've not seen the last of Jackson Brodie!