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 or Amazon.



Creative Photography
After I had favourable experiences with the Panasonic FZ200 and Sony SX60, earlier this month
I upgraded myself to the, supposedly superior, Sony RX10 M3. The image above is one of the more
creative experiments. At this time I am getting to grips on 'idiot-proof' settings, but feeling positive.
Disadvantages: considerably more expensive, larger, heavier and I have trouble dislodging the SD-card.

Sony RX10M3 (RX10 Mk.III)




De projectexpositie opent donderdag 25 januari om 19:30u (welkom vanaf 17:30u).

Slutshaming. All women and girls may have to deal with this at some point; for their confidence, sexy clothing or behaviour different from others values they can be labelled 'a slut'..
Museum Hilversum offers a podium for discussion on this subject.
Together with four studensts of the Comenius College this 'project exhibition', "I will not be shamed" was organised. This photo exhibition opened 25Jan18.
The object is to start a dialogue on this subject of ‘slutshaming’.

The series of photographs were made by Veronique Jansen. She portrayed proud young women standing up for their own identity, making their own choices.

Excellent portraits and a relevant subject.

www.museumhilversum.nl/Evenement/i-will-not-be-shamed/ (NL)



Photographer Chris Keulen (1959) won the Canon Zilveren Camera 2017.
He produced a series of forceful, emphatic photos about the love of a man for his wife who is increasingly suffering from dementia.
'A Vulnarable Love' (worktitle), to live with dementia.
Chris Keulen stepped into the life of Alda and her husband Kim in 2015. Alda was already suffering from dementia for 8 years. Back then, in 2015, she greeted Chris with a hug but subsequently wandered off
into the rooms of her house or to her garden shed. Since then Chris documented, with their permission, their daily routines.
In 2017 Alda no longer responded to the arrival of Chris. And she no longer goes into the garden.
Kim and Alda's world has shrunken to very small dimensions. Kim is adamant not to put her in a care home.
Chris remains at the sidelines, merely documenting.
He initially struggled with submitting this series, feeling a great responsibility for his subject. But statistics show one in five elderly will face dementia and Chris Keulen accepted his responsibility in this matter.
www.zilverencamera.nl/2018/02/03/chris-keulen-wint-canon-zilveren-camera-2017/ (NL)


2017 Zilveren Camera (sponsored by Canon)

Not the first time war photographer Eddy van Wessel won a price in the Zilveren Camera competition!
This time he documented 'life restarting on the ruins of ISIS'. In panorama format.
In his grainy 'black&white' work Eddy loves his blacks, the white is only there to emphasize the black..

2017 Zilveren Camera (sponsored by Canon)

2017 Zilveren Camera (sponsored by Canon)

Last thursday Ada and I visited the Hilversum Museum for the '2017 Canon Zilveren Camera'. Visit recommended, superb news photography, in single news photos or in series. 'Spread The News'.

The 'Zilveren Camera' (EN: Silver Camera) is a Dutch photojournalism competition. It is a initiative (started in 1949) of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Fotojournalisten (NVF), a section of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten.
Awards will go to an overall winner plus their are sections for individual photographs and series, on various subjects.

More of my photos on MyFlickr.com
nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zilveren_Camera (NL)



The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The phonograph disc record was the primary medium used for music reproduction until late in the 20th century.
It had co-existed with the phonograph cylinder from the late 1880s and had effectively superseded it by around 1912. Records retained the largest market share even when new formats such as the compact cassette were mass-marketed.
By the late 1980s, digital media, in the form of the compact disc, had gained a larger market share, and the vinyl record left the mainstream around 1991.

Phonograph records are generally described by their diameter in inches (12-inch, 10-inch, 7-inch), the rotational speed in revolutions per minute (rpm) at which they are played (​8 1⁄3, ​16 2⁄3, ​33 1⁄3, 45, 78), and their time capacity, determined by their diameter and speed (LP [long playing], 12-inch disc, ​33 1⁄3 rpm; SP [single], 10-inch disc, 78 rpm, or 7-inch disc, 45 rpm; EP [extended play], 12-inch disc, ​33 1⁄3 or 45 rpm); their reproductive quality, or level of fidelity (high-fidelity, orthophonic, full-range, etc.); and the number of audio channels (mono, stereo, quad, etc.).

Vinyl records may be scratched or warped if stored incorrectly, but if they are not exposed to high heat, carelessly handled or broken, a vinyl record has the potential to last for centuries!




No Is Not Enough - Naomi Klein

Klein's 5th book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need was published in June 2017.
It has also been published Internationally with the alternative subtitle Defeating the New Shock Politics.

Klein's new study in shock politics is a warning of the enormous toxic potential of the Trump presidency and a call to oppose it. Refusal needs to turn into resistance.
As the title suggests, Klein wants her readers to move from refusal to resistance, from a passive stance of opposition to engagement in a programme of action. Turbulence is, at least for the foreseeable future, our new condition, and we must learn to function within it. We have to teach ourselves to stand upright on a moving deck.

In 'Trumpworld' there are only two existential categories: winners and losers. Trump stands for winning, and if you oppose him, you are a loser. His support is curiously immune to scandals and failings that would have sunk other politicians, a curious fact that Klein ascribes to the migration of branding into politics.
Trump has shown that "you don't need to be objectively good or decent; you only need to be true and consistent to the brand you have created". Trump's brand is that he's the boss and part of being the boss is that the rules don't apply to him.

The shock of 9/11 was exploited by various actors to inaugurate a 'security bubble', in which police and security powers were extended and vast resources were diverted from other uses to fight the war on terror.
In The Shock Doctrine (2007), Klein argued that there is a playbook for exploiting shock events such as 9/11 and the Iraq war. As she puts it in No Is Not Enough: "Wait for a crisis (or even, in some instances, as in Chile or Russia, help foment one), declare a moment of what is sometimes called 'extraordinary politics', suspend some or all democratic norms - and then ram the corporate wish list through as quickly as possible."

Klein notes that Trump's cabinet is packed with "masters of disaster", men whose careers have been based on exploiting shock.

Trump's unselfconscious reaction to 9/11 was to see it as a marketing opportunity, remarking to a journalist that he now had the tallest building in Manhattan... Intentionally or not, he has shown himself adept at creating instability, not least in his own workplace, and the fear, as Klein underscores, is that he will be tempted to deliver the ultimate shock in the form of another war!

Klein's book is ultimately optimistic, because she believes the power to make change lies in the popular will. She calls on us to recognise that this will has enemies, and they are making havoc.




Czar Peter House in Zaandam,NL (2018)
Details on the cover and supports can be found in the text below.

Czar Peter House in Zaandam,NL (2018)

Czar Peter House in Zaandam,NL (2018)

Czar Peter House in Zaandam,NL (2018)
A multitude of signatures, not only on the wooden interior but also on the glass!

Czar Peter House in Zaandam,NL (2018)
'Czar Peter house in earlier condition. Zaandam'

The Czar Peter House (Dutch: Czaar Peterhuisje) is a historical building in the town center of Zaandam, the Netherlands.
It is best known as the place where Czar Peter I of Russia resided in 1697 during his Grand Embassy. The building was constructed in 1632 for previous owners, using shipbuilding materials.
Peter (travelling under the name Peter Michaeloff) had met the Zaandam blacksmith and craftsman Gerrit Kist when Kist had worked for the Czar in Moscow.
Peter wanted to learn more about the Dutch shipbuilding industry and at that time, the Dutch Republic was one of the most developed countries in the world.

While sculptures and pictures portray Peter as actually working as a ship builder, I consider this doubtful as in the museum I learned that Peter was quickly unsatisfied with what he could learn in Zaandam: shipbuilders worked by 'feel' here. Peter soon moved on to England where shipbuilding was done by using documentation and written plans.
After being married he did return, with his wife Catharina and they stayed here, in 1717. But the stay must again have been brief. A street sign states they visited on 05Mar1717.

Willem I, King of the Netherlands, bought this house as a present for his daughter-in-law, Anna Pavlovna, the sister of Czar Alexander I and descendant of Peter the Great.
An innkeeper by the name of Bulsing bought it by end-19th century and saved it from fatal dilapidation. It is (one of?) the oldest surviving wooden structures in the Netherlands.

A first stone cover (not fully closed) was constructed in 1823, paid by Anna Pavlova. Her son Prins Hendrik closed the overhead structure for improved preservation, after Pavlova had died.
The structure was moved onto a stone foundation in 1890 and supports were placed to prevent it from sagging into the soft ground and collapsing.
Evidence of this is all to obvious. Stepping inside make one unsure of its footing and balance!
It is (one of?) the oldest surviving wooden structures in the Netherlands.

In 1886 Willem III donated the little house and art collection to Czar Alexander III.

In 1895, a new stone cover (the present one) was built over the house to protect it. This was done by the architect Salm, best known for designing the Artis Aquarium in Amsterdam. It was paid for by Czar Nicolas II and construction was said to be inspired by the Russian-Orthodox churches.
After the Russian Revolution early in the 20th century, the city of Zaandam was asked by the Russians to take
the Czar Peter House in its care. Later the care was handed over to the present Zaans Museum. But ownership still seems to reside with 'State of the Netherlands and Heirs of Czar Nicolas II'.

Over centuries multitudes -including Russian Czars, Dutch Royalty, even Napolean of France- visited this little house. Innumerable signatures on the walls inside, including on the glass, is a testimoney to this.





Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

'Longer Ways To Go, Photographs of the American Road' is a photo exhibition I was able to enjoy in the Phoenix Art Center in 2017 , in Arizona. Alas, there was no catalogue to take home.

This collaboration between Phoenix Art Museum and the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography (CCP), Longer Ways to Go: Photography of the American Road delves deep into the complex dialogue that photography can enter into with a subject dear to many.
This exhibition explores the symbiotic relationship between photography and the folklore of the American highway, including the emblematic Route 66.
'Longer Ways' juxtaposes photographs from different eras, exploring themes related to travel, ideals of small-town life, the national heritage of westward expansion, and personal freedom.

The exhibition includes work by Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Robert Frank, Gary Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Danny Lyon, Ed Ruscha, Joe Deal, Stephen Shore, Richard Avedon, Richard Misrach, Christopher Churchill and Scott B. Davis.

See my roadtrip America Southwest 2017




Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

In Oct.2017 I visited this exhibition of Wynn Bullock's work at the Center of Creative Photography, Tucson (Arizona). It is a path from basic photography and composition to experiments with about everything photography had to offer at the time.

Wynn Bullock (1902 – 1975) was born in Chicago and raised in South Pasadena, California.
His early career was as a singer, and following high school he moved to New York where he performed in the chorus of Irving Berlin’s Music Box Revue and later with the show’s Road Company.
During the mid-1920s, while performing in Europe, he became fascinated with artworks by Cezanne, Man Ray, and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy.
Subsequently Bullock bought a simple box camera and launched into amateur picture making.

In 1938 Bullock enrolled at the Los Angeles Art Center School. Three years later, his work was showcased in one of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's early solo photography exhibitions.
During the 1940s, he conducted pioneering research to control the effect of solarization (a darkroom process for altering an image).

Bullock was deeply inspired by fellow photographer Edward Weston, who he met in 1948, and Weston’s work motivated him to investigate straight photography.
A lifelong learner, he also read widely in the areas of physics, general semantics, philosophy, psychology, Eastern religion, and art.
Bullock came into the public spotlight when Museum of Modern Art curator Edward Steichen chose two of his photographs for the 1955 'Family of Man'-exhibition.

During the early 1960s, Bullock departed from the black-and-white imagery for which he was known and produced a major body of work, Color Light Abstractions.

Along with Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer, he was one of the founding photographers whose archives established the Center for Creative Photography in 1975.

In the last decades of his life, he lectured widely, participated in many photographic seminars and symposia, and was a guest instructor for the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshops. Bullock died at the age of 73 in November 1975.
His work is included in over 90 major museum collections around the world.




The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man, created by Edward Steichen.
This thoroughly ambitious photography exhibition was curated by Edward Steichen, the director of the Museum of Modern Art's (MoMA) Department of Photography.

It was first shown in 1955 from January 24th to May 08th at the New York MoMA. It then toured the world for 8 years, making stops in 37 countries on 6 continents as part of the Museum's International Program.
In the Netherlands it was shown in Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum (23Mar56 - 29Apr56) and in Rotterdam ('de Floriade'), May-Aug 1960.
More than 9 million people viewed the exhibit.
According to Steichen, the exhibition represented the 'culmination of his career'.

The physical collection is archived and displayed at Clervaux Castle in Luxembourg (Edward Steichen's home country; he was born there in 1879 in Bivange). It was first presented there in 1994 after restoration of the prints.
In 2003 the Family of Man photographic collection was added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in recognition of its historical value.




Donna Leon: Uniformed Justice

Uniform Justice (2003) by Donna Leon is where her faithful policeman Brunetti faces an unsettling case when a young cadet has been found hanged, a presumed suicide, in Venice's elite military academy. The boy is about the age of his own son.
As he pursues his inquiry, he is faced with a wall of silence: the military closing its ranks.
Brunetti tries to breach the defenses of a powerful elite: the military who live and work by their own regulations and consider them above civil law, while they are protected by friends in politics. Both sides profit from corruption and have a lot to loose if the tables are turned.
Even Signorina Elettra, the Questura's computer expert, has little luck.

On the one hand Brunetti is sympathetic to the bereaved family - it's obviously a terrible loss to them - but cannot help feeling nothing but contempt for the attitudes of the boy's teachers and his fellow students.
The boy's father, Dr Moro, is a former politician and a man with the sort of integrity which no one can quite believe exists in Italian politics. Brunetti can't understand why Moro is unwilling to talk to him, or to involve himself in the investigation into his son's death.

This is the 12th book in Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti-series. I've read them all well out of order, but found that all the Brunetti books read well as standalones.
I am amazed to read that anno 2003 Italians still go home for a hot meal or to a restaurant for a lunch with a glass of wine.

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.
The intelligent and capable police commissioner Guido Brunetti confronts crime in and around his home town of Venice. Each case is an opportunity for the author to reveal another aspect of the seamy underside of society and another aspect of Venetian (or Italian) life.
Brunetti serves the vain and self-serving buffoon, Vice-Questore Patta, while Sergente (later Ispettore) Vianello and the all-knowing and well-connected Signorina Elettra, Patta's secretary, assist Brunetti on the ground and through research.




Fangar, tv-series crime drama (Icelandic)

Fangar, tv-series crime drama (Icelandic)

Linda is sent to serve time in Iceland's only women's prison for a vicious assault that leaves her father in a coma.
She has a history of drug abuse. But no-one knows that she harbors a dark secret that could tear her family apart, a secret that could set her free.
Linda's family (her parents, her sister) is well-off. Her father has many contacts in political spheres and guides his favourite elder daughter in her political career.
Linda has a good relationsship with her sister's daughter, but this teenager has problems of her own.

Relationships, relationships...  Linda's sister was married but her husband left her for a man. We see Linda struggling during her first days in prison; she is obviously from a rich background and regards her make up kit as a critical necessity. Linda is sensitive to the social fabric in the prison and conquers her space; ties to the outside world make them vulnerable.
When Linda's father recovers he bans her from the family and forbids all family members to have contact with her.
The prison we see is a converted house and the prisoners do community work (kitchen duties, cleaning toilets, etc).
The lawyer that was assigned to Linda's defence has his own agenda. A journalist sniffs at the heels of Linda and her sister, not without reward.
The Icelandic 'scandi-noir' series are in a class of their own!




Liar - tv-series

Liar tv-series, season 1

'Liar' is a thriller series stars Joanne Froggatt (as Laura Nielson) and Ioan Gruffudd (as Andrew Earlham, suspect as a rapist) and debuted on ITV on 11Sep2017.
After the first series concluded on 16Oct2017, it was announced that the programme would be returning for a 2nd series in 2019.

Excellent roles by Zoe Tapper as Katy Sutcliffe (Laura's older sister who works with Andrew at the local hospital), Warren Brown as PC Tom Bailey (Laura's ex-boyfriend) and Shelley Conn as DI Vanessa Harmon.




The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

'The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone' is a non-fiction book written by Olivia Laing.
The book was first published by Picador in 2016 and, like Laing's previous works, it blends research, biography and memoir.
The majority of the research for the book took place when Laing was living alone in New York City after having been abruptly left by a partner. Her reflections on the isolation she felt during this time make their way into the book.

The book is divided into 8 chapters, with each chapter beginning with Laing's experiences being alone in New York, before devolving into reflections on artists and the way in which loneliness permeated their work. In order, the artists discussed are:

Straight off I have to say I was immediately taken in when the book started about Edward Hopper ('Nighthawks'!), whose work informed Laing’s own sense of isolation.
Andy Warhol's chapter also took me by the hand to new insights. And Henry Darger, of whom I had never heard, reminded me of Vivian Maier (as an artist).
Loneliness is a fascinating 'condition' and to find this in artists (even when in the limelight), and in their work, provided for brilliant reading.

Olivia Laing (b.1977) is a British writer and cultural critic. She is the author of three books: 'To the River' (2011), 'The Trip to Echo Spring' (2013) and 'The Lonely City' (2016). In 2014 she received the 'Eccles British Library Writers Award'.




The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares
'Through the eyes of Cris Toala Olivares'

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares
One of my favourites..

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

In spite of knowing Amsterdam pretty well, having walked along these famous canals frequently, now seen through the eyes of Ecuadorian photographer Cris Yoala Olivares I see so many new perspectives!

He highlighted the characteristic places of this city from different angles: onto the canals, from the water, from houses and shops along the canals, even went into the water!
The beautiful, historical houses, everyday streetlife and in all seasons, scenes are captured through the lens of this top photographer.
The result is a luxurious photography book with 300 splendid photographs over 352 pages.
Such a joy!

Cris Toala Olivares is a Dutch-Ecuadorian photographer born in 1982 in Manta, who has followed an education in Amsterdam.
Cris is an independent photographer who covers stories globally, and domestically in Europe.
His work has been published in many international newspapers and magazines, among others: National Geographic, GEO, der Spiegel, etc. as well major news agencies such as Reuters and The Associated Press. His photographs received several international awards, and exhibited in many galleries and museums.




The Rain in Portugal, poetry by Billy Collins

Billy Collins is absolutely one of the best contemporary poets, and his latest collection 'The Rain in Portugal' does a lot of work to show off his strengths.
The title of the book is a play on the traditional rhyme, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain."
This poetry collection of 160 pages (56 poems) would be a great primer for anyone who wants to try to experience poetry. While Collins does play around with convention, he does not take it to the extremes as some contemporary poets do. He is one of the most accessible poets that is out there, and he is perfect for beginners.
I read little poetry and have yet to proceed beyond Bukowski and Collins. The latter is more cheerful and friendly. Poetry for different moods.

I'd like to quote just two poems, A Restaurant in Moscow (p.49)
'Even here among the overwhelming millions
and the audible tremble of history,
a solemn trout stared up at me
as it lay on its side on a heavy white plate
next to some broccoli and shards of broken bread.

I could tell from its expression,
or lack of expression, that it was pretending
not to listen to my silent questions about its previous
its cold-water adventures, its capable mother-
and that its winking at me was a trick of candlelight.

But soon, all that was left
was the spine and a filigree of bones,
so I sat back to finish off the wine
and survey this place that had comforted me
with its chests of ice where fish were bedded,

drawings of fish in frames on the white walls,
and the low music. Backed by a hint
of guitar sang a broken-hearted woman
I imagined to be my waitress
who had no English, no I any Russian,

and who never once smiled, yet she had waited
for me to close my notebook
and put away my pen before clearing my plate
as if she understood the provocative nature of this trout.
And how sweet to realize this only later

after I had put on my raincoat
and was back in the drizzle of the wide boulevard
among pedestrians on their private missions,
heading downhill to my hotel,
the onion domes of St. Basil's lit up in the distance.'

And here is 'Note to J.Alfred Prufrock' (p.69)

'I just dared to eat
a really big peach
as ripe as it could be

and I have on
a pair of plaid shorts
and a blue tee shirts with a h0le in it

and little rivers of juice
are now running down my chin and wrist
and dripping onto the pool deck.

What is your problem, man?'

My edition by Random House, New York (2016) is a lovely edition and I always appreciate a last word about the type used, in this case Garamond, described as clear, open and elegant.



Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. Wolin
Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

'Inverted totalitarianism' is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin in 2003, to describe the emerging form of government of the United States.
Wolin analysed the US as increasingly turning into a managed democracy (similar to an illiberal democracy). He uses the term "inverted totalitarianism" to draw attention to the totalitarian aspects of the US political system while emphasizing its differences from proper totalitarianism, such as Nazi and Stalinist regimes.
The Superpower claims both democracy and global hegemony. Democracy and hegemony is coupled by means of managed democracy, where the elections are free and fair but the people lack the actual ability to change the policies, motives, and goals of the State.
Sheldon Wolin's book 'Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism' received a Lannan Literary Award for an 'Especially Notable Book' in 2008.

Political scientist and author Chalmers Johnson, in a review of Wolin's Democracy Incorporated in Truthdig, wrote that  Wolin's analysis is more of an explanation of the problems of the United States than a description of how to solve these problems, particularly since Wolin believes that the U.S. political system is corrupt and heavily influenced by financial contributions primarily from wealthy and corporate donors, but that nonetheless Wolin's analysis is still one of the best discourses on where the U.S. went wrong.

"democracy is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs. What is at stake in democratic politics is whether ordinary men and women can recognize that their concerns are best protected and cultivated under a regime whose actions are governed by principles of commonality, equality, and fairness, a regime in which taking part in politics becomes a way of staking out and sharing in a common life and its forms of self-fulfillment. Democracy is not about bowling together but about managing together those powers that immediately and significantly affect the lives and circumstances of others and one's self."
― Sheldon S. Wolin

While the book was published during the George W. Bush ('George II') Administration, the content also strongly refers to what we see happening during the Donal J. Trump Administration. Perhaps even stronger!

Sheldon Sanford Wolin (b.04Aug1922 - d.21Oct2015) was an American political theorist and writer on contemporary politics. A political theorist for 50 years, Wolin became Professor of Politics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, where he taught from 1973 to 1987.
During a teaching career which spanned more than 40 years, Wolin also taught at University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Santa Cruz, Oberlin College, Oxford University, Cornell University, and University of California, Los Angeles.










Wherever you go, a country's unique character is more clearly visible in its small towns than in its major cities.
In small towns, France is more French, England is more English and Germany is more German.
The Netherlands - Off the shelf
by photographer Hans van der Meer is a project about typically Dutch small towns such as Lisse, Raalte, Drunen, Boskoop and Nieuw Vennep.

Small towns that adopt the aspirations of cities - marketing slogans suggesting a great experience, an amazing future or outstanding business opportunities. The truth is, most of what we see in the public domain is simply ordered from a catalogue - mail order shopping!

Hans van der Meer captures this world from a stepladder and shows the Dutch comfortable, common public domain: sometimes trite, often hiding its familiarity in a clutter of objects.




The Loch, tv-series

The Loch, tv-series

A prank by students, to raise publicity for the Lochness Monster and boost tourism, brings a gruesome find: a human heart. Almost at the same time a body is found beneath a cliff: a fatal accident or murder?

The search for a serial killer (kept silent for a long time) is a once in a lifetime career opportunity for detective Annie Redford, who is trying to cope with her first murder case; her motherly-care for the well-being of her daughter does not sit well with her superior.
Laura Fraser is the local DS Annie Redford and Siobhan Finneran is DCI Lauren Quigley, sent over from Glasgow, to take charge of the investigation.

The Loch (also known as 'Loch Ness') is a six-part British television drama series, first broadcasted on ITV on 11Jun2017.
A small town police officer with the Scottish Highland Police is confronted with her first murder investigation, of piano teacher Niall Swift who is found dead at the bottom of a cliff in the picturesque village of Lochnafoy, Loch Ness.
When it becomes apparent that part of Swift's brain has been removed, and a human heart belonging to another victim is found close by, Annie's team realise they are searching for a serial killer.

Supporting cast includes Don Gilet as psychological profiler Blake Albrighton, John Sessions as Annie's boss DCI Frank Smilie, Gray O'Brien as Alan Redford, Annie's husband, and William Ash as local tourist operator Leighton Thomas.
The series was filmed in the summer of 2016 and was shown in full in the Netherlands and Australia before its British broadcast. In both countries, the series was aired under its original title of Loch Ness. The reason for this change of name is unknown but may have been done so as not to confuse viewers expecting a series about the loch's famous inhabitant...
I liked the series, plenty of wide-eyed drama and a pretty good plot in a small village with personal parallel plot lines. Hope for a 2nd series.




Peaky Blinders, series 3

Peaky Blinders, series 3

Peaky Blinders is a British television crime drama based upon the exploits of the Peaky Blinders gang, and is set in Birmingham, England in the aftermath of World War I.
The (first two) series centres on stars Cillian Murphy as Thomas '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 13Sep13 and ran for 6 episodes. The 2nd series premiered on 02Oct14.
This 3rd series premiered on 05May16.

The series picks up in 1924, with Thomas Shelby's wedding to Grace Burgess. A young Russian Duchess Tatiana Petrovna (Gaite Jansen) is introduced, the Russian connection is a plotline through all 6 episodes in this 3rd series.
Thomas is drawn into a conspiracy from very high up and is left with little option but to follow orders. Much is kept to himself and this leads to troubled family relations.
Brother Arthur has seen the light due to his wife's religion and his conscience is playing up.
We see society troubled with strikes by factory workers, anti-communist conspiracies and even the women of the Shelbies dare to go out on a strike!

Again the viewers see Tommy getting beaten up and seen him struggling for survival, trying to avoid prosecution while the stakes are raised to international connections. He is on a leash but the ones holding the leash take measures he will not turn on him. Who will have the last say?
The ending is ominous.

The 4th series has been broadcasted, so I hope to see this series soon, while the 5th series seems to be in the pipeline!





The Mind's Eys - Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Mind's Eys - Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Mind's Eys - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson's writings on photography and photographers have been published sporadically over the past 45 years. His essays, several of which have never before been translated into English, are collected here for the first time.
The Mind's Eye features Cartier-Bresson's famous text on 'the decisive moment' as well as his observations on Moscow, Cuba and China during turbulent times.
These essays ring with the same immediacy and visual intensity that characterize his photography.
And it is such a lovely produced little book!
I bought last summer it in one of my favourite bookshops, London's TPG - The Photographer's Gallery (thephotographersgallery.org.uk)

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) began his career in photography in 1930.
A pioneer of the documentary photography genre, he was one the founders, along with Robert Capa, of the photo agency Magnum.
He is considered one of the major artists of the 20th century and his work has appeared in hundreds of publications, museums, and galleries around the world.





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Created: 02-Jan-2018