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

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.).
The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website or Amazon.




Blood Hunt by Ian Rankin - crime fiction novel

This is not a Inspector Rebus novel, but a stand alone thriller novel. In my mind a rather 'run of the mill' paperback but even for Mr Rankin it is hard to compete with the police scoundrel Rebus.
I would label it 'average', but the detailed and distinct atmospheric descriptions of the Scottish landscape (and weather!) has Ian Rankin's signature all over it and as an overall story the book is sufficiently entertaining.

We have here Gordon Reeve, ex-SAS soldier, now operating a survival course for weekend warriors on Skivald, a small island off South Uist, Scotland. He lives there with his wife and son Allan. The marriage seems to be progressing so-so but we have to make our own guesses as to why this is. Most likely because Gordon still struggles with PTSD ('red mist') from an assignment in the Falklands War and is less communicative than he should be.
When he receives word that his brother Jim, a freelance journalist in California, has committed suicide, Gordon flies off to San Diego to claim his body. Despite the assurances of local cop Mike McCluskey that Jim did indeed kill himself, Gordon finds too many facts contradictory or down right suspicious and strongly suspects it was murder.
When he follows up on Jim's last assignment he notices he's soon being tailed, hassled and shot at... Also a talk to a driver/fixer temporary assistent of Jim makes his suspicions stronger.
But there is no clear motive for a murder as there is no trace of Jim's research or findings.
While 'Blood Hunt' was published in 1995, the story is very actual because at the core is a global pesticide conspiracy and influence on our food chain.
Thus we get to Co-World Chemicals and its head honch Mr. Kosigin, described as a business man with a very common appearance. And we come the Machiavellian Jeffrey Allerdyce of D.C.'s Alliance Investigation.
Kosigin sends his enforcer to deal with Gordon Reeve and as it turns out he is Gordon's Falklands campaign nemesis, the mercenary Jay.
Outnumbered and hunted Gordon manages to draw Jay and his party of blood hounds back to the Scotish wildlands he knows so well and prepares for the show down. Of course Gordon and Jay are the last men standing and a score can be settled.

Gordon Reeve is a bit too much of an invincible character to my taste, with his SAS military background, secretive friends, truth drug and secret bank stash. Neverthless, an entertaining reading of fiction.




The Flatey Enigma - Icelandic tv crime drama

The Flatey Enigma - Icelandic tv crime drama

The Flatey Enigma - Icelandic tv crime drama

The Flatey Enigma - Icelandic tv crime drama

The Flatey Enigma - Icelandic tv crime drama

The Flatey Enigma - Icelandic tv crime drama
From: online trailer www.mysterytribune.com

Set in 1971, the series follows Jóhanna, a professor of Nordic Studies, returns to an island community from her home in France to bury her father and deal with his estate. She travels with her nine years old son Snorri but is known in the community as an unmarried mother: a taboo in those days.

Her father was retired but worked obsessively on solving a mystery: a medieval manuscript 'Flateyjargátuthe' containing a 600 year old mystery of the last Norse King's grave hidden on one of the many islands, important in Icelandic culture and folklore.
Jóanna is promised a publishing deal if she will share her father's documents who claimed to have solved the mystery.
Except he hasn't!
Jóanna takes it upon herself to resolve this to safeguard her publication.

But then a visiting Danish scientist is murdered on one of the neighbouring islands; he had stolen a document, a map, from Joanna's father upon his visit to the wake, believing it could be where the warlord's grave is. 

The police officer Brynjar is sent from Reykjavik to solve this murder.
Ten years prior to current affairs Brynjar and Jóhanna had been in a relation; he abused her and she left, returning home, fleeing the bullying Brynjar.
When she found out she was pregnant and told her father, he was more concerned with his reputation and sent her back to Brynjar. Instead she ended up in France and never told him he'd become a father of a son.

When Brynjar meets Jóhanna and finds out he (himself from an unloving foster upbringing and craving a family) was unknowingly a father for 10 years, he tries desperately to implicate Jóhanna for the murder and thus claim her son. His unsympathetic character becomes apparent.

The murder seems to be related to the Flateyjargát and Jóhanna makes every effort to find the solution.
It does not help her situation that she is in a relationship with a young photographer, Kjartan; she's labelled a woman with loose morals, an unfit mother and Brynjar becomes very jealous. Stubbornly she refuses to make amend to Brynjar nor the community, but Jóhanna has to face her deepest fear: the man she ran away from ten years ago and his ability to take her son Snorri away from her.

Based on a bestseller by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson.
Viktor Arnar has twice been the Icelandic nominee for the Glass Key award, which is awarded by Skandinaviska Kriminalselskapet (Crime Writers of Scandinavia). Three of his five novels have been translated into German, and 'Flateyjargáta' was published in English as 'The Flatey Enigma' in February 2012.

Margrét Örnólfsdóttir wrote the scenario of the 4-episode mini-series based on the book; she was also involved in the other Icelandic series 'Prisoners' (Fangar), 'Trapped' and 'Case'. The first two were discussed elsewhere on my blog, including other Icelandic crime series.
First broadcasted in 2018 on Icelandic tv RUV.

Cast (a.o.): Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir (Jóhanna), Stefán Hallur Stefánsson (Brynjar), Hilmir Jensson (Kjartan), Sigurður Sigurjónsson (Grímur Hreppstjóri).

www.mijnserie.nl/the-flatey-enigma/  (NL)



Follow the Money, season 3

Follow the Money, season 3

'Follow the Money' (Danish: Bedrag, 'Fraud') is a Danish financial crime thriller that has now run for three seasons.
The original series, set in the renewable energy business in Denmark, was first broadcast in Denmark in January 2016 with 10 episodes; the 2nd series was broadcast in October-November 2016, which continues the stories of most of the characters from the first series, but the main focus on a bank practising P2P lending and their attempted takeover by a bank whose chair, Knud Christensen, was behind the fraud case investigated in the 1st season.
This 3rd series was first aired in January 2019; it focuses on two of the main characters from the previous series: Alf Rybjerg on the law enforcement side and Nicky Rasmussen on the criminal side of
the fence.
It was (a.o.) broadcasted on BBC Four in the UK from 06Apr2019.

Alf heads a task force to find the kingpin of large illegal hash imports; he suffers from insomnia and resorts to illegal drugs, causing (emotional) side effects. Alf is also in a relationship with the District Attorney, who is married.
Nicky has spent 2 years in Spain and exploits his contacts in Spain to distribute hash in Denmark. He thought he left his wife and baby well provided for, with a stash of drug money, but now finds she has handed over the money to the police, collapsed mentally and taken into care while their son went to relatives for foster care.
Nicky is determined to become a proper father for his son Milas, but his business keeps getting in the way.

There is a 3rd important character at play here: bank clerk Anna Hansen is asked by her husband Soren to release a loan which is blocked for suspected money laundering. She gets passed by promotion to branch manager after 24 years of faithful work and is bitter; she approves the loan and this leads to more money laundering deals and she finds she is good at it. She also likes the rewards.

Alf is contacted bij the Chief of Police, who helps him when Alf needs to bypass his superior. But the Chief has an agenda of his own and Alf finds the special (secret) relationship has strings attached.
Nicky gets into a relationship with Sahar, who is good with his son Milas, but she does not approve of Nicky's business (they follow the same business course).

For some reason it was Nicky that I had the most sympathy with.
Ten episodes of conflict, personal dramas, a flood of crime and hardened criminals, an innocent victim, corruption in the police: this is top quality scandi noir so don't expect too much happy endings!




Foto Festival Naarden 2019
Photos by Koos Breugel en Eddy van Wessel on display while entering Naarden-Vesting

Foto Festival Naarden 2019
The displays have a unique setting, both inside and outside the defense works

Foto Festival Naarden 2019
Stephan Vanfleteren

Foto Festival Naarden 2019
Ernst Coppejans - 'Sold' (about human trafficking)

Foto Festival Naarden 2019
Robin de Puy - 'Randy'

Foto Festival Naarden 2019

Foto Festival Naarden 2019
Otto Snoek - Rotterdam captured in panorama format

Foto Festival Naarden 2019
Eddy van Wessel - The Road to the Caliphate (Syria)

Theme of 2019: Dutch Masters & Marvelous Misfits
The 2019 event of FFN has been made with the intention to honour and include the misfit.
The misfits presented at the FotoFestival are greater masters than they are given credit for – they are marvelous misfits.
Curators of the FotoFestival Naarden 2019 were Koos Breukel and Hedy van Erp.

It struck me that as a photo manifestation it had less presence in the streets of Naarden-Vesting than on previous editions. I came away somewhat less in awe. Still, I found very interesting photography on display, with work by Stephan Vanfleteren and Eddy van Wessel for me as the most impressive.
But 'misfits' does narrow the choice of subjects down, I hope next time the theme will allow more variation in photography than people and portraits.

I overheard two volunteers talking, one of whom said 'there will be another edition, inspite of the losses incurred' (in Dutch of course).
It was my impression that the ticket fee was higher that previously and more photography was behind a steward checking the tickets, taken photos out off the public domain, probably in an effort to balance the books. I hope they work it out, it is a fantastic event.

As in previous editions there is also a series of exhibitions organised as 'Festival OFF', free of charge and on display in stores. But I found these much less accessable, often inside small establishments instead of in windows and I saw very little of the 26 allegedly on display.
The setting in Naarden-Vesting as the location of FFN is truly unique, both inside the defense works as well as outside. And on any day Naarden-Vesting is a nice place to visit.

More photos on Flickr.com




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Created: 01-APR-2019