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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 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.




Southcliffe, tv drama

Southcliffe is a British drama series, set in a fictional town on the North Kent Marshes.
It employs a nonlinear narrative structure to tell the story of a series of shootings by a local man, Stephen Morton, portrayed by Sean Harris; it depicts the cause of these shootings and the effects on the town and residents.
The plot is sometimes hard to follow, as episode 1 & 2 start at almost the same point in time and more or less end at the same time, converging from different point of views.
It explores tragedy, grief, responsibility and redemption, as seen through the eyes of a tv journalist (David Whitehead, played by Rory Kinnear) returning to the small town of his childhood, to cover the story of the tragedy and those closest to the victims of the tragedy. At some point his past, having grown up in Southcliffe with a trauma, gets the better of him.
Be prepared for a lot of grief and mourning.
The flashbacks, mainly in episode 3 & 4, are functional but sometimes a bit disruptive, depending on ones personal taste of such narrative.
The series was filmed in Faversham in North Kent.




Donna Leon

Donna Leon - The girl of his dreams (2008; I read the Dutch translation, titled 'Droommeisje')

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 9th Brunetti novel, Friends in High Places, won the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger in 2000.
German Television has produced 20 Commissario Brunetti mysteries for broadcast.

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, as in this book) Vianello and the all-knowing and well-connected Signorina Elettra, Patta's secretary, assist Brunetti on the ground and through research.

In this book the issue of the Roma is adressed and how Italian politics deal with such an issue. There is plenty of cynicism for ineffective governing and maffia involvement in Italian society.
What irks me somewhat is how it apparently is still custom in Italy to go home for a hot meal with the family at lunchtime or leave the workplace for dillydallying at a nearby bar, for some contemplative thinking. As Brunetti does. So different from life as I know it. But that is Italy and it does explain a lot.

It took a few chapters before I started to enjoy my reading, but Donna Leon manages to integrate other Italian customs too and the story develops in a leisurely manner. With an ending some may find surprising.
For me these books are not in the same league such as the books by crime fiction writers such as Carl Hiaasen or Arnaldur Indriðason, but from time to time they make for a pleasant change.

en.wikipedia.org - Donna_Leon
en.wikipedia.org - Donna_Leon_(TV_series)




'Snoecks' is a yearly publication which I have been faithfully buying since the 1980s. I lost interest for a few years somewhere, when I found the amount of 'glamour photography' dominating the issues, but for years now I have again found tremendous pleasure in browsing and (re)reading it.
I was a bit late in buying it this time, due to house renovations which had all my books displaced and it took months to reorganize. But since I bought it late last january I have picked it up at least once every week.
There is a lot of content in those 560 pages!

I always start with The Top 100 of Books and find titles I want to purchase. So I make a short list and these are bought over a number of months.
Then there are the loads of photographers, architects and artists to browse. The short stories make for a nice break. The variety of photography is what I value most. Below is a selection to illustrate the scope; the photos are cropped somewhat by my scanner and I have scanned them on purpose like this, as I did not want to produce mere copies (for there are also the copyrights to consider). They are meant as a tribute to this fine publication.

Snoecks 2015
A section of the backcover

Snoecks 2015
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre. I have their 'Detroit' book.
Gunkanjima: a place I would very much like to visit and photograph!

Snoecks 2015

Snoecks 2015
Brian Bowen Smith. The tattoo included the text:
'Not all those who wander are lost'

Snoecks 2015
Tom Gauld

Snoecks 2015
Raoef Mamedov

Snoecks 2015
Amazing Architecture

Snoecks 2015
Short story

Snoecks 2015
Matt Hoyle, portraits of comedians

Snoecks 2015

Snoecks 2015
Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz. Done It The Milky Way.

en.wikipedia.org - Snoecks




Cor Jaring - fotografie

Cor Jaring - fotografie

Cor Jaring - fotografie
Cor Jaring, photography exhibition in Stadsarchief Amsterdam.

Cor Jaring - fotografie
Cor Jaring, photography exhibition in Huis Marseille (Amsterdam,NL)

Cor Jaring - fotografie
Cornelis 'Cor' Jaring at Mont Saint-Michael, France (1976)

Cor Jaring - fotografie
Cor and Sander Troelstra, fellow photographer and
compiler of the exhibiton 'Cor Was Hier' in Huis Marseille

Cor Jaring - COR WAS HIER
The book with this exhibition, Cor Was Hier.


Yesterday I went to Amsterdam (Netherlands) to visit both exhibitions, celebrating the photography career of Cor Jaring. 'Het Stadsarchief Amsterdam' (Amsterdam city archives) held an exhibition of his work relative to Amsterdam, while Huis Marseille (a nearby photography museum) held a more complete retrospective exhibition.

Cornelis 'Cor' Jaring (b. Amsterdam, 18Dec1936 - d.17Nov2013) was a Dutch photographer and conceptual artist. He became well known for his photos of the unruly 1960s and 1970s.
His photography was mainly black & white, a.o. of the Provo movement (not unlike the recent Occupy movement), Amsterdam's excentric 'magic centre' and the riots during Princess Beatrix' wedding in 1966, of which his photos found a world wide circulation. The same for his photos of John Lennon & Yoko Ono in their 'Bed-in for Peace' initiative in Amsterdam's Hilton hotel in 1969.
In 1975 he received First Prize from World Press Photo for his 'Amsterdam, beeld van een stad', in 1979 the Photography Award by the City of Amsterdam and he received in 1986 'honorary citizen' status by the same.
In 2002 he was awarded the 'Frans Banninck Cocq' -award for his achievements in photography of Amsterdam.

nl.wikipedia.org - Cor_Jaring (Dutch)
Huis Marseille (photography museum)
Stadsarchief Amsterdam

More photos of my visit to Amsterdam for these exhibitions, see my Flickr.com



Weather Permitting by Ilse Wolf
Weather Permitting by Ilse Wolf

Ilse Wolf appeared last week in a tv program, Fotostudio De Jong, and had 30 seconds to explain a photograph. Apparently she stayed for 7 weeks on a very small island, Caldey, of the coast of Wales and the particular photograph was part of a photo essay completing her photography studies.
It sounded fascinating and I applaud such ambitions.
A few days later I read an article in the saturday supplement of my morning paper, about this very same project. My fascination grew!
So I checked her website, www.ilsewolf.nl, which confirmed my decision to buy the book. My local bookstore had it in stock.

Caldey Island is a tiny island of the coast of Wales, where time seems to stand still. Her words. There used to be a school and children, but this has changed to a population of people 'passed their middle age', living a secluded existence. There are no street lights.
The 28 inhabitants have learned to live by the weather, the ferry to the mainland operates once a day: weather permitting. Like anything else on Caldey.
Due to a storm Ilse had to wait 7 days in Tenby for the ferry to breng her to the island.
Her contact on the island was a fellow Dutchman, a monk named Titus.
As a modern young woman, used to 24/7 connectivity, Isle was interested in living in an environment dictated by light of day and the weather; one is less in control here. World news here is not much of interest, but a falling tree on the island is 'breaking news'.
You ask an islander what he does, he or she will reply: "I am an islander". If not a profession, it certainly is a state of mind.

Ilse Wolf has managed to capture the atmosphere both with her photography and her interviews quite nicely, I think. And I am glad to have 'Weather Permitting' in my photobook collection.
Her website also illustrates other photography projects by her.



The Spiral - tv crime drama (dvd)

Spiral (French: 'Engrenages') is a French television police and legal drama series set in Paris.
The show follows the lives and work of Paris police officers and the lawyers and judges who work at the Palais de Justice.
It was created by the TV production company Son et Lumière.
The first eight-episodes series started on Canal+ in France on 13Dec2005. The series was first shown in the UK on BBC4 during the summer of 2006.
Spiral has been a great export success, with sales to broadcasters in some 70 countries, among them Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

After having come across series 5 on BBC 4, and being totally captivated by it, I acquired also series 1 & 2 in dvd boxsets. And they were as compelling as the episodes we've recently seen on the the BBC. So I hope to watch series 3 & 4 soon too.

The following characters acted in series 1 and also appeared at the start of series 5:
Caroline Proust ... Laure Berthaud, capitaine de police(52 episodes, 2005-2014)
Grégory Fitoussi ... Pierre Clément, procureur (47 episodes, 2005-2014)
Audrey Fleurot ... Joséphine Karlsson, avocate (51 episodes, 2005-2014)
Philippe Duclos ... François Roban, juge (50 episodes, 2005-2014)
Fred Bianconi ... Luc 'Tintin' Fromentin, lieutenant (47 episodes, 2005-2014)
Thierry Godard ... Gilles 'Gilou' Escoffier, lieutenant (47 episodes, 2005-2014)
Also important in the series 2 & 4:
Samir Boitard ... Samy, officier de police du SIAT (10 episodes, 2008-2012)

en.wikipedia.org - Spiral_TV_series

Blog Q2 2015 - Series 3 & 4



Boone by Robert Morgan

Daniel Boone (b.02Nov1734 - d.26Sep1820): brilliant explorer, trapper and pathfinder, renowned marksman and revolutionary militia officer, he was also a loner, parent, legislator, settler and failed speculator.
Robert Morgan portrays Boone in lively prose but also in excessive detail. Some will say quite deservedly, others could have done with less pages.
But Boone comes fully alive in Morgan's writing, his objectivity portrays the greatest pioneer of the Trans-Appalachian west, who helped open Kentucky to settlement but kept going, settling eventually in Missouri.
One can question his role as a provider, to his wife and children, for he kept running into debts and sought his fortune in the wilderness. He may have been too gentle to succeed as a businessman in a normal society, uncomfortable by competion and criticism.

Boone was deeply respectful of the native tribes, a respect returned by the Indians, many of whom he befriended even when he was in conflict with them. If only others had possessed his wisdom and character, but the general attitude then was that many of 'the whites' were weary of this friendship and spoke ill of him, even spoke of betrayal behind his back.
Robert Morgan has written a very detailed, but objective account of the person who was above all the greatest pioneer of the wilderness west of the Appalachian mountains.

en.wikipedia.org - Daniel_Boone



Joris Luyendijk - DIT KAN NIET WAAR ZIJN

This book, of which the title would translate as "This Cannot Be True" (subtitled 'Joris Luyendijk among bankers') reads as a thriller, but don't count on a happy ending.

Can you make a complex subject like the world of finance accessible to outsiders? The English newspaper The Guardian invited Luyendijk, a Dutch anthropologist with a background in journalism, to start a blog about the world of bankers in London’s financial district.
Luyendijk published his findings on a blog during two years, hopefully snowballing into a better understanding, perhaps even a path to a solution, of the things gone wrong with the banks & bankers.
and let him blog his findings?
At first it was hard for Luyendijk to find people working in this industry who were willing to talk to him: he ran into The Code of Silence. But finally a start was made; people could react to the blog and the responses lead to other (anonymous) interviews, some 200 in total.
So all the people voicing a point of view in this, except the author, were from a banking background. Plenty of people one would say, to defend the way of operating by people in banking and finance, and offering insight and understanding to the near-disaster in 2008 and show solutions in place.
Far from it, alas.

Joris Luyenduijk manages to drive home in 200 pages the seriousness of the 2008 collapse: forget about IS, the Islamists, the crisis in Ukraine - for very little has been put in place to avert Armageddon caused by the banks and financial institutions. This is a threat much bigger, forget about less job security, the need to economize & cutbacks: the 2008 collapse brought us near to a situation that could have led to plunder and rioting in the orderly places we live in.
We have seen the scenes in disaster movies where an aid to The President, contrary to instructions, phones home to his wife, telling her to get the kids and only pack essentials, not to ask questions, and get the hell out of the city. Well, similar phonecalls, about getting as much cash out of the ATM and transfer money, were made in 2008 by people in banking offices. Like watching an avalanche coming at you, but the snow stopping inches from your feet.

Much has been written about the cause of the collapse, but no one went to jail. No guilty persons, in fact many of heads of instutions involved in the UK & USA are still in their jobs or have moved on to even bigger salaries in the world of finance. Yes, certain provisions have been made, but when things go wrong as it could have gone wrong, it will once again be the taxpayer holding the bucket.
The system is subject to failure, the bankers won't change it (for them it works) and national governments cannot control the world of finance, which operates on a global scale. Money and high paying jobs will find their way to politicians, so they won't try too hard. The public does not understand the complexity, so politicians are not forced to adress it as there are no votes in it.
So where will the change come from?

Luyendijk manages to convey the urgency of this situation, explain the complexity, allow some 200 people their say but quite amazingly he manages to end with hope for change, as he states: "we also managed to do away with slavery while it spanned centuries and we dealt with women rights, so why wouldn't we be able to solve this too?!"
He thinks the democratic process, through politics, is the way to go for restoring power to the people, regaining control over the global financial sector. But I wouldn't bank on it.

A thrilling read, but one best not to be read while under medication for depression.

en.wikipedia.org - Joris_Luyendijk



Killer Rat
Cartoon by Joep Bertram, published in Groene Amsterdammer 05.03.2015

Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov was a Russian physicist, statesman and liberal politician.
Nemtsov was one of the most important figures in the introduction of capitalism into the Russian post-Soviet economy.
He had a successful political career in the 1990s under President Boris Yeltsin, and since 2000 had been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin.
Nemtsov was assassinated on 27Feb2015 on a bridge, near the Kremlin and Red Square, in Moscow. He was shot four times in the back.

en.wikipedia.org - Boris_Nemtsov



Fotostudio De Jong

Tonight another episode of 'Fotostudio De Jong' on tv, with top amateur work on display, photo editorials in the news explained and a professional discussing his work. Excellent!



Black Angels, Icelandic crime drama

In a sale I came across this dvd boxset; while I have seen all episodes of Unit One and those of The Eagle, this Icelandic series 'Black Angels' was new to me. So I bought it for the 3 episodes of 'Svartir Englar'.

Black Angels is a crime series based on the books by Icelandic writer Ævar Örn Jósepsson, and a true member of the 'Scandi noir'-type of films.
The story is based in Reykjavik and follows a police team of 4 people, each very different in character and background, with a very nice interaction between all of them. 
The series were filmed in spring of 2008 and broadcasted that same year by RUV, the Icelandic public radio- and tv broadcaster.

The full series seem to have 6 episodes:
In due course I hope to find myself those other 3 epsiodes!



Fotografie - 80 meesterwerken

In a sale I came across this nice photobook, in a handy format 18,5 x 13 cm. The original title is 'What makes Great Photography'. This Dutch edition was published as recent as 2014.

It showcases 80 outstanding photographs, from the first daguerrotypes to today's digital masterpieces and by photographers as diverse as Alfred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus, Ernst Haas and Don McCullin.
Val Williams highlights the elements of each photograph that distinguishes it from its peers, such as composition, colour, texture and fidelity to subject, explaining just what it is that makes it so great. Her insightful text is clear and inspiring.
Glad I could add this book to my collection.

Three pages (with only the image concerned partially displayed) as an example on the lay-out:
What makes Great Photography - Val Williams

Val Williams is a British curator and author who has become an authority on British photography.
She is the Professor of the History and Culture of Photography at the London College of Communication, part of the University of the Arts London, and was formerly the Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Hasselblad Center.
Williams has curated the work of Martin Parr and also the influential Tate Britain show How We Are: Photographing Britain.
She has also written on the representation of women, and work by women photographers.
Her photographic archive is held at the Library of Birmingham

Val Williams - Wikipedia, more..



Thomas Erdbrink - docu Onze Man in Teheran
After 5 years correspondent Thomas Erdbrink and director Roel van Broekhoven finally obtained permission of the Iranian authorities to shoot in Iran for a new series 'Onze man in Teheran' (translates as Our Man in Tehran, broadcasted on Dutch television VPRO).
Through the eyes of Erdbrink one gets acqainted by Iran, the country, its people, its customs, as one seldom perceives in new bulletins.
Erdbrink is married to an Iranian woman, a truly delightful person, and speaks the language.
A very informative series and indeed an invitation to, hopefully, visit it one day. Even if it is only Tehran.



Jumping Fire by Murry Taylor, a smokejumper's memoir

Due to my interest in vintage aircraft I came to know about the use of aircraft in firefighting, dumping retardant or water to contain wildfires. But I knew very little about smokejumpers, men that are parachuted from aeroplanes into wilderness areas to contain and extinguish wildfires.
Little had me prepared for such a thrilling read!

Murry A. Taylor was a smokejumper on and off since 1965, in Alaska and 'the Lower 48'. He became the oldest ever to do the job, so there is little doubt he knows what he is writing about. But he is quite the storyteller and writer too!
Taylor manages to convey the camaraderie among smokejumpers, what it takes to become part of that crazy, elite force and the effects on personal life.
Parachuting into the wilderness, heavy with equipment, brings the dangers of actually landing in the fire, ending up in water and drowning, hung up in a 50-feet tree, getting seriously wounded while landing on steep or rocky terrain or getting smashed into a boulder or giant tree. Bypassing the risk of things going wrong in parachuting: equipment failure, midair collisions, etc.
Then there is the fighting of fire, the hardship of toiling on difficult terrain to create a line that would stop or delay a fire, working long exhausting hours skipping meals or make do.
Murry Taylor also manages to give the fire an identity as a sly and cruel foe, swooshing and swirling, encircling or backlashing the firefighters, its prey.

It is an absolute standard work for anyone interested in smokejumpers, but also a thrilling read with a fair share of personal insight, romance and descriptive of the scenic beauty of the landscape the firefighters help to preserve.
A five star read!




Amelia Curran

By circumstance beyond my control it had been many months since I visited a singersongwriter concert. The happy occasion was last night, when I visited a gig by Amelia Curran in Koudekerk a/d Rijn, hosted by the Trouble Tree Folkconcerts people and LDM ('Lucky Dice Music') bookings.
Amelia played several of here older numbers, but also from her latest album, They Promised You Mercy.
I love the clarity in her voice and how she articulates her lyrics, even though here lyrics seem often rather dark.
Pity there were no lyrics included in the CD I bought and while I know I can find them online, same goes for the music. I think a singer/songwriter should always enclose his or her writing with the CD.

My photos of this gig on Flickr.com
http://en.wikipedia.org - Amelia_Curran



Maria Wern - Swedish crime drama (dvd)

A few years ago I stumbled on these series, but they were not available on dvd at the time. I managed to find someone who was able to provide series 1 & 2 on dvd for me. I lost track of the series until recently when I found series 1 - 3 had been made available on one boxset and this season 4 on a seperate set.
I never watched series 3, but that was not a handicap to watch episodes 10 & 11 in full enjoyment.
These series were produced between 2008 - 2013.

I am rather surprised that these series never made more headlines, perhaps not grim enough for the 'Scandi Noir'-lable? Certainly gripping enough, with a nice mix of some wry humor and against the pitoresk backdrop of Gotland.
The stories are based on the novels by Anna Jansson.

I could not even find an English description of these series on Wikipedia, only a write up on Eva Röse who plays the leading role very well.

sv.wikipedia.org - Maria_Wern (Swedish)



Amsterdam micro-brewery De Prael

Amsterdam microbrewery De Prael

Recently visited this micro brewery in the center of Amsterdam (Netherlands). The output of this brewery is small scale, limited to the facilities in the heart of historic Amsterdam. It also has a bar next door where one is able to taste the various specialty beers. They also serve food.

nl.wikipedia.org_Brouwerij_De_Prael (Dutch)



'Dorpsbieb' Vijfhuizen
'Dorpsbieb' Vijfhuizen

In my quest for libraries I visited yesterday the village library ('Dorpsbieb') in Vijfhuizen, a community effort since the official library (funded) was closed in 2000 because the village population went below a required number. This library opened in Dec.2014. Today
I added a few of my books.
See more libraries I came across-



Johan Falk, tv crime drama
Johan Falk, tv crime drama

I came across the Johan Falk series upon a dvd boxset of various 'Scandi Noir films', which contained 2 Johan Falk episodes, where Johan Falk (actor Jacob Eklund) is a police officer and shows his dedication by grim determination lacking in team work with his fellow police officers and willing to steer close to legal or moral limitations. Frustrated by police procedures he resigns and becomes part of a security team.
This 'career period' contained 3 episodes of which I saw 2.
I liked the pace and the storyline.
It took a while before I found out a complete series (the dvd boxset refers to Series 1, but these episodes are also referred to as Season 2), where Johan Falk has returned from 5 years at 'EuroPol' in The Hague and has moved back to Gotenburg. He is assigned to a special unit, GSI, Special Operations, fighting organized crime.
And again I liked the action, the pace while Johan Falk's personal background is sufficiently developed.
These series started in 2009 and had 6 episodes.

Recently I watched the last episode of the 2nd boxset (Series 2, a.k.a. Season 3) and this series continued where it left off, with informant Frank Wagner (codename 'Lisa') working for Johan Falk but wanting to get out and start a normal life away from criminals. The privat circumstance of Johan is much more harmonious, but some of his collegues don't trust Johan's motives and information.
Patrik, Johan's boss, face health issues, his intendent replacement is geting in too deep with an informant of her own.
Again a series of 6 episodes with plenty of action and nice interaction between the various officers in the GSI police unit. Very entertaining.
While the last episodes were released in 2012, and Wikipedia made no mention of new episodes, I noticed Imdb does mention 2015 filming of 2 new titles. Nice!




Spiral, French tv crime drama

Spiral (French: 'Engrenages') is a French television police and legal drama series set in Paris.
The show follows the lives and work of Paris police officers and the lawyers and judges who work at the Palais de Justice.
It was created by the TV production company Son et Lumière.
The first eight-episodes series started on Canal+ in France on 13Dec2005. The series was first shown in the UK on BBC Four during the summer of 2006.
Spiral has been a great export success, with sales to broadcasters in some 70 countries, among them Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Following the death of Sami, Captain Laure Berthaud is trying to cope as best she can. But her personal life, already a mess, threatens to be derailed further when she receives some unexpected news.
But work remains first and foremost in her life. So, working with her trusted team, she leads an investigation into a shocking double murder.
Meanwhile, lawyer Josephine Karlsson tries to rebuild her reputation by taking on the case of a man accused of killing a policeman. It's a brilliant opportunity to get back in the ring, but things don't quite turn out as planned.
Judge François Roban is pivotal to the various investigations. Police Lieutenants 'Tintin' and 'Gilou' have their shares in personal 'dire straits'.

This was series 5 which I stumbled upon, broadcasted on BBC 4. I had not seen any of the previous series and was more than pleasantly surprised by the quality of these French tv series. They reminded me very much of the first series of 'The Killing'.

I'll make sure I'll find the previous four series to watch and hope there will be a 6th series!

en.wikipedia.org - Spiral_(TV_series)


Doors Open, by Ian Rankin

Over the past few years I have worked my way through Ian Rankin's excellent books on DCI Rebus of the Edinburgh constabulary. Before contueing with his new main character, I took it upon myself to read Mr Rankin's other books, the stand alone stories. Doors Open is one of them.
In a variation to 'Scandi Noir', a label for the moody Scandinavian crime books and film, Ian Rankin's writing has been labelled 'Tartan Noir'. Quite deservedly.

'Doors Open' was first published in 2008 and it has Ian Rankin's easily identifiable writing in development of the general setting, the gradual development of the main character, and regular descriptions of the scene setting (e.g. streets of Edinburgh, a pool hall, a pub, etc). And as usual a fascinating plot, well detailed, twisting and turning with yet a somewhat surprising ending.

But somehow it never really gripped me, it seems the 'twisting & turning' happened (to me) in slow motion, never really surprising and somewhat lacking in 'edge'. Entertaining yes, but not quite the page turner I had hoped for.



Life of Riley - B.B. King

After recording a documentary broadcasted on the Belgian tv channel 'Canvas', I was able to watch this documentary 'Life of Riley', a documentary on the legendary blues musician B.B. King.
For many years B.B. King embodied the blues in music for me.

'The Life Of Riley' is the much-lauded feature documentary film on the extraordinary life of Blues legend B.B. King. King worked closely with Director Jon Brewer for 2 years to create this powerful film.

Riley B. King was born in a cabin on a cotton plantation outside of Berclair, Mississippi, to Albert King and Nora Ella Farr on 16Sep1925. Although, King considers the nearby city of Indianola, MS to be his home.
In 1930, his father left the family, and his mother married another man. King was raised by his maternal grandmother Elnora Farr in Kilmichael, Mississippi.

Battling unrelenting racism and the humiliation of segregation whilst working in the cotton fields as an orphaned child, King lived to overcome the toughest critics in the entertainment industry and ultimately be hailed as one of the kingpins of an entire genre of music.
Over the years, King has developed one of the world's most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato.
During the 1970s and 1980 he toured at a relentless pace, playing over 300 gigs a year.

'The Life of Riley' includes appearances and contributions from: Aaron Neville, Bill Cosby, Bill Szymczyk, Bill Wyman, Bono, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Willis, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Carver Randle, Derek Trucks, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, George Benson, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Walsh, John Mayer, John Mayall, Johnny Winter, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mick Taylor, Morgan Freeman, Paul Rodgers, Rev. David Matthews, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Slash,, Susan Tedeschi, Tina France, Walter Trout, and Wayne Cartledge.

wikipedia.org - B.B._King



Above Suspicion (3), tv series

'Above Suspicion' is a British TV series based on Lynda La Plante's novels 'Above Suspicion', 'The Red Dahlia', 'Deadly Intent' and 'Silent Scream'.
The series stars the alluring Kelly Reilly and Ciarán Hinds (as DCI James Langton), and features the career of La Plante's latest heroine DC Anna Travis. There is some unresolved sexual tension between these two.
The first series, 'Above Suspicion', was broadcasted in 2009. The second series in 2010 and the third in 2011. But I did not get to see the 3rd series until recently, missed the 2nd episode so ordered the dvd boxset to watch 2nd and 3rd episodes.
'Deadly Intent'  is much grittier than most, with a facial reconstruction in some gruesome detail opening the 1st episode; a retired copper gets murdered in a council estate crack den, events bring Columbian tough guys chasing the same ghostly master criminal as Travis and Langton.
Action filmed with handheld cameras give it pace and there's no humor to soften the blows.
Not the best ever I've seen of British crime dramas, but certainly very entertaining and better than most.

The fourth series, 'Above Suspicion – Silent Scream', was first shown on ITV in January 2012, but it might be another year before I can see it on tv, broadcasted by Belgian tv or our Dutch tv (KRO Detectives most likely). I cannot watch ITV.
ITV cancelled Above Suspicion on 28May2012.

wikipedia.org - Above_Suspicion_(TV_series)



The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth by Benjamin M. Friedman

It took me quite a while before I was finished with this book. In part due to circumstance beyond my control, but also because I frequently needed rereading: the chapters are so packed with statement and figures that it took me some slow reading to have it all sink in. But I did not mind one bit, it is a glorious book (rather like slowing down eating on a rich meal) and I hope to reread it again in full, pencil in hand, at some later date.

'The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth' not only deals with how economy functions (looking back sometimes for centuries), but also with how it serves the common good.
Reading this book creates an understanding, how dealing with economy and changing scenarios effect our daily lives. Friedman demonstrates how economic growth promotes the social, political and economic well-being of people. Well documented too.
"Are we right," Mr Friedman asks, "to care so much about economic growth as we clearly do?" In his answer Friedman reaches beyond mere economics.

A list of the Chapters:
PART I: Ideas, their origins, and their implications
1/. What growth is, what growth does
2/. Perspectives from the Enlightenment and its roots
3/. Crosscurrents: the age of improvement and beyond
4/. Rising incomes, individual attitudes, and the politics of social change

PART II: Democracy in America
5/. From Horatio Alger to William Jennings Bryan
6/. From Tr to FDR
7/. Great depression, great exception
8/. America in the postwar era

PART III: Other times, other places: the European democracies
9/. Britain
10/. France
11/. Germany

PART IV: Development, equality, globilization, and the environment
12/. Economics and politics in the developing world
13/. Virtuous circles, Viscious cricles
14/. Growth and equality
15/. Growth and the environment

PART V: Looking forward
16/. Economic policy and economic growth in America



Lumiere.be crime drama on dvd
Lumiere.be crime drama on dvd

A enthusiast for crime drama, it is quite surprising to see how many of these series I watched. Only two here I haven't seen yet: The Spiral (though presently watching Series 5 on BBC4!) and Death of a Pilgrim. Only saw oa few of the BBC Wallander series as I did not like them as Kenneth Branagh portrays Kurt Wallander as a blabbering fool.
Then there are the 'Just Bridge' dvd's and the series on the BBC (several of them produced by ITV), such as Midsomer Murders, Death in Paradise, Above Suspicion...


Iain Banks - the Crow Road

Iain Banks (b.16Feb1954 – d.09Jun2013) was a Scottish author. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks.
His books have been adapted for theatre, radio and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of 'The 50 greatest British writers since 1945'.
In April 2013, Banks announced that he had inoperable cancer and was unlikely to live beyond a year. He died on 09Jun2013.
The asteroid (5099) Iainbanks was named after him shortly after his death.

This book describes a pivotal period in Prentice McHoan's life, seen through his preoccupations with death, sex, his relationship with his father, unrequited love, sibling rivalry, a missing uncle, relationships, cars, drink (and other intoxicants) and God, with the background a celebration of the Scottish landscape.
The Crow Road (1992) was adapted for BBC TV in 1996 (directed by Gavin Millar).

I was under the misconception that Iain Banks was a crime writer and after some 120 pages I gave up on the book, in my view it wasn't going anywhere interesting. My choice for this book was in error.




Amsterdam Lightfestival 2015
Amsterdam Lightfestival 2015

What seems to have beeen established as a yearly art festival, the Amsterdam 'Lightfestival ILLUMINADE', was visited this time through a boat ride through the Amsterdam canals. And a lovely experience it was, this 'Water Colours' tour by the Grayline.
One can also do a walking tour. To see all the art display one should do both!
For more images of the various art expressions seen this time, see my Flickr.com account.




Joep Bertrams in Groene Amsterdammer, 15jan2015

Above cartoon was drawn by Joep Bertrams and published in the Groene Amsterdammer, in the aftermath of the assassinations in Paris,France.
On 07Jan2015, 2 Islamist terrorists forced their way and opened fire in the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo (French for Charlie Weekly, a French satirical weekly newspaper), killing 12, including staff cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski, economist Bernard Maris and two police officers as well as wounding 11, 4 of them seriously.
During the attack, the gunmen shouted 'Allahu akbar ('God is great in Arabic) and also 'the Prophet is avenged'.
Aterwards politicians and many who has an interest in 'law and order', started clammering for stricter policing, enforcing new laws (effecting people's privacy rights) and equipping the police with heavy armour.
It all goes back a long way, the differences between Christianity and Islam. The widening gap between these religions is painfully felt in a world that has grown smaller, in a 'Global Village'.
The assassinations in Paris are linked to when the 'Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy', which began after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons on 30Sep2005, most of which depicted Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
But is equally linked to 'nine-eleven' and it could also be a shooting match between IS and al-Qaeda.
Zooming out we see the outrage comes from individuals: those who manage to transfer their outrage to large masses (demonstrations after the Jyllands-Posten cartoons) or who pick up guns or bombs for terrorist attacks.
Their is no war between Christians and Muslims.
Perhaps my concern is more directed towards measures that will curtail our freedoms, as we've seen with security because of the Osama bin Laden threats. There are a lot of cynical people in the Western world to abuse this situation to their own advantage, claiming to work for people's safety and security but their own gain is their prime concern.



Redemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen
A Conspiracy of Faith (US), Redemption (UK), 2013 [= Department Q Vol. 3]

One of those books one finishes with a sigh, found compelling to the very end and a pang of regret that it is now over. Truly a good read.
This is Jussi adler-Olsen's third book in the Department Q series, in other words: another Carl Mørck crime story.
Possibly the best of the three, but that may well be because I just finished it and the taste lingers.
While I read it titled 'Redemption', I have also seen it titled 'A Conspiracy of Faith'.

The book starts ominous enough: two boys held captive in a desperate condition, chained and gagged in a boat house, terrified. The older of the two struggles to get his bound hands on a glass bottle, a splinter of wood, and a bit of paper.
The message in a bottle reaches... Scotland. But due to a sequence of dramatic events the message isn't read for years! One wonders where this is going to, we're made to wait, suspense increasing.

Meanwhile Carl Mørck has his own troubles: his assistent Rose has gone awol but has sent a replacement in her sister, Yrsa. Like Rose, somewhat eccentric. Mørck's assistent Assad is still a bit of a mystery: he does not live on the adress he is registered at and has skype contact with fellow Arabs at odd hours from the office. But Assad has also discovered a common thread among a string of arson cases and Dept Q proofs of great help to Dept A.
Their office in the basement has asbestos in it and runs the risk of being condemned, something Mørck gets his nickers in a twist about, 'those bloody the burocrats'. He is more concerned with the ever increasing number of flies in his office.
Carl Mørck is a grumpy yet dedicated slacker, his ambition is to get some sleep at his desk, seeking some peace and quiet from his privat situation and not convinced that the message in the bottle is of any great importance or urgency. Until he finds out that the murderer is still at it.

So Carl Mørck accepts the bizar behaviour of Yrsa, the veiled background of his Syrian assistent and Assad's broken Danish, pulls himself together to decipher the letter written in blood, break the code of silence in the religous community the killer preys on and starts tracing in earnest the invisible serial killer with the many identities. When he finds out that two more children have been kidnapped, and face death, the story increases in grimness and urgency.

The story is being told from the perspective of Carl Mørck, but also from the murderer. His background, his double life, his wife, his victims: they all increase the drama and suspense.
The characters are written in sufficient depth to enhance the novel, elevating it to an over average crime novel. Recommended reading indeed.

en.wikipedia.org: _ Jussi_Adler-Olsen



Jonathan Creek BBC tv series

'Jonathan Creek' is a British mystery crime drama series produced by the BBC. It stars Alan Davies as the title character, who works as a creative consultant to a stage magician while also solving seemingly supernatural mysteries through his talent for logical deduction and understanding of illusions.
The series ran semi-regularly from 1997 to 2004, broadcasting for four series and two Christmas specials, initially co-starring Caroline Quentin as Creek's collaborator, writer Maddie Magellan.
This is the setup of the 4 dvd boxes depicted above.

Alan Roger Davies (b. 06Mar1966) is an English stand-up comedian, writer and actor. In recent years he is best known for appearing as the permanent panellist on the BBC panel show QI, since 2003. I love his part on 'QI'.
Caroline Quentin became known for her television appearances: portraying Dorothy in 'Men Behaving Badly' (1992–1998), Maddie Magellan in 'Jonathan Creek' (1997–2000), and DCI Janine Lewis in 'Blue Murder' (2003-2009).

Back to the 'Jonathan Creek'-series.
After Quentin's departure in 2001, Julia Sawalha joined the cast as new character Carla Borrego, a theatrical agent turned television presenter.
Following a five-year hiatus, the series returned for a one-off special on 01Jan2009, 'The Grinning Man', which featured Sheridan Smith as another paranormal investigator with whom Creek joins forces.
A further 90-minute special 'The Judas Tree', was broadcast on 04April2010. A third special, 'The Clue of the Savant's Thumb', was shown at Easter 2013.
Sheridan Smith repeated her role in both specials.
Series 5, comprising 3 episodes and featuring Sarah Alexander replacing Sheridan Smith as Creek's newest partner (this time married to Creek), started on Friday 28Feb2014 on BBC One.

I think I watched the Series 5 last year, or at least partially, but I thoroughly enjoyed this 'blast of the past' with these early episodes.





For a few years I had been listening to Karen Miller's Americana music, through downloadable podcasts. Then I discovered her channel on Mixcloud, and this way I found out about Michael Park's channel there, The International Americana Music Show.
These are my favourite online sources of Americana music.
TMTHT has Karen's lovely voice as a bonus, while Michael Parks has a focus on, the clue is in the title, non-American artists playing folk and singersongwriter type of music which can be tagged as 'Americana'.
What an outstanding way to learn of new artists, while also enjoying the familiar, established old hands, by the expertise of these two experts.


In the Dec.2014 issue of 'Straatjournaal' ('Streetjournal') was a very nice article on 'beers' for the deep of winter in the Netherlands. The author, Willem Brand, invited a panel and did a blind test.
With the above result.
Most winter 'ales' are dark and heavy, though 'Winterwit' (2nd place) is a white beer.
'Kasteel Winterbier' came in first, I might go look for a taste!
Here's to the New Year!




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Created: 01-Jan-2015