Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

2018 Q4
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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.




Friday on my mind - Nicci French

Dreadful weather in january and early february made me devour 2 editions of favourite authors in a matter of a few days (having put aside some non-fiction books, preferring something easier to read).

By the time his corpse is fished out of the Thames, neurologist Alexander 'Sandy' Holland is scarcely identifiable. But a hospital bracelet he’s wearing labeled 'Dr. F. Klein' leads DCI Sarah Hussein and DC Glen Bryant to Frieda, and she makes the dry-eyed identification.
Soon the inquiry focusses on Frieda Klein, instigated by some people who have no liking for the psychotherapist. She did end the relation with Sandy Holland which the latter had great difficulty in accepting.
Frieda immediately sees the black hand of Sean Reeve in this, getting rid of her stalker but also implicating Frieda.
The Sandy’s wallet turns up in Frieda's dresser drawer and a warrant for her arrest is made up.
But, instead of turning herself in, Frieda does a bunk, goes into hiding with the help of her good friend Josef Morozov, a Ukrainian builder with contacts from here to Kiev. In fact a Russian helps Josef here.
When compiling a timeline after some research, she realizes that Reeve can’t have killed him!
While the net is tightened around her, she can't resist helping Sasha and her son Ethan; DCI Mats Karlsson finally tracks her down, but does not offer her whereabouts to the police inquiry - which results in him being suspended when this is found out.
Again a great novel with a compelling high pace and which I thoroughly enjoyed, although not all the reviews I read came out positive.




Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon

Commissario Guido Brunetti looks into a 15-year-old mystery in Donna Leon’s 25th novel (published 2016) with the Venetian police inspector fighting crime, police politics and his general musings about changes in society.
Did Manuela Lando-Continui, who was almost 16, fall into a canal, as the contemporary police investigation concluded, or was she pushed?
The beautiful youngster sustained permanent brain damage and has no recollection of the incident. The only witness, a notorious drunk named Cavanis, claimed that he saw a man push her.
Manuela’s elderly contessa grandmother would very much like to know the truth before she dies.

It seems like a hopeless inquiry but the plot remains interesting in the light of struggles of contemporary Venetians unable to afford housing in their beloved city and under threat from hostile immigrants.
Brunetti finds helpful assistance by Commissario Claudia Griffoni, the inspector’s colleague.
Of course Signorina Elettra assists in her unorthodox ways, but she plays a less dominat part in this book.
And we get the usual share of Brunetti's domestic life, about his wife Paola and his children Chiara and Raffi.




Zilveren Camera - prize winning photojournalism

Zilveren Camera - prize winning photojournalism

Zilveren Camera - prize winning photojournalism

Zilveren Camera - prize winning photojournalism

Dutch photographer Cynthia Boll has won the Dutch photography award Zilveren Camera ('Silver Camera') 2018 in the category Documentary International for her photo series Sinking Cities, Jakarta. The series is a direct result of her photo project The People Behind The Seawall, that DutchCulture helped produce.

In the exhibition were many other series worth watching; excellent work throughout.

photoqbookshop.nl/product/zilveren-camera-2018 (1949-2019: 70 years!)




Stonemouth, crime fiction tv-film

Stonemouth, crime fiction tv-film

Stonemouth is a 2012 novel by Scottish author Iain Banks. The novel was published in 2012 and was filmed in a two episode tv-film.

Stewart Gilmour returns to Stonemouth, a fictional seaport town north of Aberdeen, for a funeral. It is five years since he ran away to London after a sexual indiscretion at a wedding. Stonemouth is controlled by two rival gangs, the Murstons and the MacAvetts, and Gilmour was engaged to a member of the former clan before he had to leave.
Gilmour also has to face his former fiancée, Ellie, but she (nor her family) has forgiven his indiscretion.




In A House Of Lies - Ian Rankin

Another splendid novel by Ian Rankin, again featuring the three partite: John Rebus, DI Siobhan Clarke and DI Malcolm Fox.
Rebus has retired from the police force but gets involved because Siobhan asks him to look into a not-so-cold case and Rebus tries to follow the progress of an ongoing investigation, to see what dirt may be coming his way.
Malcolm Fox is involved in the investigation because a missing person has reappeared as a murder victim and Malcolm is called in to look for skeletons in the cupboard of the 'misper' investigation; he soon finds it has Rebus' paws all over it for favors and tip offs.

Three boys discover a car deep in a gully in thick woodland. It has been there for a long time, and there’s a decomposed body in the boot. The legs are handcuffed and appear to be police-issue equipment.
DI Siobhan Clarke, Rebus’s old protégé, is early on the scene, and it’s not long before she gets a text from Rebus, asking if it’s a red Volkswagen Polo...
The murdered man, Stuart Bloom, was a missing person in a case back in 2006.

Rebus is suffering from COPD (emphysema) and needs to keep an inhaler on him. He had to stop smoking and all but has given up on alcohol; he seems a typical pensioner as he walks his dog Brillo in the Meadows. But from the Meadows he can see the apartment where his old adversary Big Ger Cafferty lives...
The investigation into the murder of Stuart Bloom brings out of the woodwork two crooked cops and Rebus sees a glimmer of hope to bring Cafferty behind bars again; but Rebus also exchanges information with Cafferty: the old adversaries circling each other like back in the old days.
A leopard cannot change its spots..

The protagonist in 'In A House Of Lies' is still John Rebus, though Siobhan is very much on the foreground as well (obviously Rankin may have difficulty writing from the thoughts and emotions of a woman), while Fox has taken a backseat in this novel.
John Rebus, having difficulty with social media and other modernities in Scotland anno 2018, driving around in his decrepit Saab and hesitant to move in with Deborah Quant, Rebus remains the scoundrel we like to read about!




Max Westerman, In Alle Staten
'Het Amerika van Max Westerman'

In this book (EN: 'In All States') journalist Max Westerman describes his experience and career during a period of 25 years in his life, from a first visit to the United States, backpacking, to a lengthy career as a journalist and tv correspondent for RTL Nieuws (tv channel), featuring US President elections, 9-Eleven, commenting on devastations such a Hurricane Katrina plus all kind of local events and insights (into e.g. religion, UFO believers) in the USA and its people.
He had the longest career of Dutch tv-correspondents in the USA. Before that career he also worked for Newsweek. He made two popular tv-series and wrote another bestseller: Max & The City (about New York City).

While this book was published over 10 years ago (2007, Nieuw Amsterdam) it still provides valuable insights, but it's also very much a pleasure to read through the concise, 'to the point'-style of writing and while critical never negative, Indeed, Max often proclaims his love for this powerful country where people have a plentitude of optimism and bounce back from disappointments for a 2nd (3rd, 4th..) attempt on success and the American Dream.

The author keeps it light, there is plenty of self-criticism and he occasionally shares a tongue-in-cheek remark.
A pleasure to read and to this day of informative value on a country that often enough finds itself on the wrong side of history.

nl.wikipedia.org:_Max_Westerman (NL)



Goldstone, fil ('Outback Noir')

Goldstone, fil ('Outback Noir')

Goldstone, fil ('Outback Noir')

Goldstone, fil ('Outback Noir')

Goldstone is a 2016 Australian crime thriller film directed by Ivan Sen. It is a sequel to Mystery Road (2013) and stars Aaron Pedersen, Alex Russell, Jacki Weaver, David Wenham and David Gulpilil.
It was released in Australia on 07Jul2016.

Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons inquiry. What seems like a simple light duty investigation opens a web of crime and corruption.
The Furnace Creek gold mine pulls all the strings in town and the neighbouring Aboriginal community has little say in the ambitions of the gold mine corporation while they stand to loose ground and see the fish floating dead in the water.
Young Asian women are flown into town for prostitution, to serve the miners; the women are held against their will. The local policeman has succumbed to the powers of the mining company, enforced by the pie-baking mayor, and he enforces the law in a very minimal way.
Jay has roots in the indigenous community, from where he was taken away when he was a child.
He must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.

The film has extraordinary sceneries of the outback and the community consists only of a handful of houses and trailers.
A very entertaining film, of which a series was made as a result, also featuring Aaron Pedersen as Jay Swan; discussed on myBlog2018-Q4.





De Tijd in Kleur, Beelden uit Wreledgeschiedenis 1850-1960
My copy was the Dutch translation: 'De Tijd In Kleur, Beelden Uit De Wereldgeschiedenis 1850-1960'

De Tijd in Kleur, Beelden uit Wreledgeschiedenis 1850-1960
These scans do not include the entire book, too large to fit on my flatbed scanner

De Tijd in Kleur, Beelden uit Wreledgeschiedenis 1850-1960

De Tijd in Kleur, Beelden uit Wreledgeschiedenis 1850-1960

'The Colour of Time', of which I recently acquired a Dutch translation (published in 2018) spans more than a hundred years of world history from the reign of Queen Victoria and the US Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and beginning of the Space Age. It charts the rise and fall of empires, the achievements of science, industry and the arts, the tragedies of war and the politics of peace, and the lives of men and women who made history.
Dan Jones is the author of this interesting historic document and Marina Amaral was responsible for painstakingly digitally colouring, pixel by pixel, this hefty book.
Unfortunately the Dutch translation was not without spelling mistakes and typing errors, the worst being 'Al Pacino' where 'Al Capone' was referred to!

Marina Amaral has created 200 stunning images from the original B&W photos and each photo has a short narrative describing the situation in context.
A most readable book!




Marc Riboud, photographer (Photofile publication)
The cover depicts an image taken by Riboud on 21Oct1967, entitled 'The Ultimate Confrontation:
The Flower and the Bayonet' and it is among the most celebrated anti-war pictures. Shot in
Washington, D.C. where thousands of anti-war activists had gathered in front of the Pentagon
to protest against America's involvement in Vietnam.

Marc Riboud, photographer (Photofile publication)

Marc Riboud, photographer (Photofile publication)

Marc Riboud, photographer (Photofile publication)
One of Riboud's best known images is Eiffel Tower Painter, taken in Paris in 1953. It depicts a man painting the tower, posed like a dancer, perched between the metal armature of the tower. Below
him, Paris emerges from the photographic haze. Lone figures appear frequently in Riboud's images.

Marc Riboud (b.24 Jun1923 – d.30Aug2016) was a French photographer, best known for his extensive reports on the Far East: The Three Banners of China, Face of North Vietnam, Visions of China, and In China.
He photographed his first picture in 1937, using his father's Vest Pocket Kodak camera. As a young man during World War II, he was active in the French Resistance, from 1943 to 1945.
Until 1951 Riboud worked as an engineer in Lyon factories, but took a week-long picture-taking vacation, inspiring him to become a photographer.
He moved to Paris where he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour, the founders of Magnum Photos. By 1953 he was a member of the organization.
Over several decades, Riboud traveled around the world.
In 1957, he was one of the first European photographers to go to China, and in 1968, 1972, and 1976, Riboud made several reportages on North Vietnam.
Later he traveled all over the world, but mostly in Asia, Africa, the U.S. and Japan.
Riboud has been witness to the atrocities of war (photographing from both the Vietnam and the American sides of the Vietnam War). But he has also captured the graces of daily life, set in sun-drenched facets of the globe (Fès, Angkor, Acapulco, Niger, Bénarès, Shaanxi), and the lyricism of child's play in everyday Paris.
In 1979 Riboud left the Magnum agency.

Riboud's photographs have appeared in numerous magazines (e.g. Life, Géo, National Geographic, Paris Match, Stern), won many awards and his work was displayed worldwide in several retrospective exhibitions (e.g. at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the International Center of Photography in New York).
Riboud died in Paris on 30 August 2016, at the age of 93

The Photofile series brings together the best work of the world’s greatest photographers in an attractive format and at an affordable price. Handsome and collectible, the books are produced at the highest quality.
Each volume contains some sixty full-page reproductions, a critical introduction, and a full bibliography. The series was awarded the first annual prize for distinguished photographic books by the International Center of Photography.




Fortitude, season 2

Fortitude, season 2

Fortitude, season 2

Fortitude (a.k.a. Svalbard) is a British sci-fi psychological thriller tv-series created and written by Simon Donald. A 12-episode series was commissioned by Sky Atlantic in 2013; it started airing on 29Jan2015. The series is set in the fictional Arctic Norwegian settlement of Fortitude.
On 09Apr15, Sky Atlantic recommissioned the show for a second series consisting of 10 episodes, which premiered on 26Jan2017.
Most of the filming was done in Iceland and the icy arctic wasteland is depicted in a most impressive way. Probably one of the most attractive features of this series!

Series 2 begins several weeks after the events of series 1 and the strange goings-on continue in the town of Fortitude, on the edge of the Arctic Circle, after a body is discovered.
A headleass body...

So picking up the plot from the first series took me a while. We find that Sheriff Dan Anderssen has disappeared. Eric Odegard has set out to find him among the glaciers but needs to replace Dan in town with the murder inquiries.
Governor Hildur Odegard is replaced by an official from Oslo, she is sacked for ignoring a fuelban by the Norwegian authorities much for the shipping fleet to sail for the crab season.
The marriage of Eric and Hildur seems to be on the rocks. Eric is jealous of Hildur's suspected relationship with shipper Michael Lennox, with whom Hildur is following a seperate line of inquiries. Her theory of an ongoing conspiracy Eric dismisses as disappointment for being fired.
Eric does not have the qualities needed to replace Dan and can't see beyond his jealousy.
The police track down their suspect, but a dark turn of events leads them to question everything.

There still seem to be wasps around which can survive the Arctic cold and infect victims, humans as well as animals, by a parasite who die or show abnormal behaviour. The ultimate fate of the surviving victim is uncertain.
Dr Khatri is the mad scientist here, working on a hidden agenda for a biomedical firm, trying to discover magical regeneration on human tissue and organs of those infected by the wasps at Fortitude.
Eric struggles to keep control as the body count increases. Meanwhile, lab technicians Natalie and Vincent's field trip end in chaos.
Michael finds a glimmer of hope for his wife Freya, who suffers from A.L.S. and is at death's door.
Dan resurfaces and he and Elena relive their trauma. Dan goes through a biological alteration but seems not to realize it fully. He is determined to deal with the threat on Fortitude.
Nobody except Eric gets along with the Oslo burocrat, Erling Munk, who has replaced Odegard as governor of Fortitude.
Police women Petra and Ingrid continue to seek the truth, but lack insight and supervision. They know to suspect Erling Munk but not to what extend.
Dan, serving justice on 'a consultancy basis' (but no longer sheriff), faces his toughest battle, seeking his own vengeance with a disturbing obsession
A Shaman is at large and is identified as murderer of most of the bodies, but he is hunting a demon.
Is Dan the demon here?

In this second series I think they tried to cram in so many weird ideas and subplots, things became quite complicated and it needed some knowledge of the first series too to grasp the plotlines. I am not too keen on supernatural aspects in these mystery series, too many easy ways out.
Fortitude 2 did not quite grow to its full potential for me.





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Created: 04-JAN-2019