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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.




Gepeperd Verleden door Harm Stevens (Rijksmuseum)

Gepeperd Verleden door Harm Stevens (Rijksmuseum)

Gepeperd Verleden door Harm Stevens (Rijksmuseum)

Gepeperd Verleden door Harm Stevens (Rijksmuseum)

Gepeperd verleden / Indonesië en Nederland sinds 1600; by Harm Stevens.
"Dutch colonialism go to hell!" proclaimed a banner in 1960, fastened by demonstrators to the gate of the Dutch embassy in Jakarta in 1960. The history shared between the Netherlands and Indonesia is one of battle and controversy.
The title translates as 'Peppery Past'. The subtitle, Indonesia and the Netherlands since 1600, details that long standing relationship.
Colonial repression, violence, Indonesian nationalism, the fight for freedom and the end of colonialization are adressed by items preserved in the Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.
There is a portrait of a prince (which we recognize from a 1952 100 rupiah bill, a flag claimed in battle, a uniform of a civil servant, a shield of a Dayak: all items and more that allow the author Harm Stevens to show the shifting perspective on our history and past; he is critical on the manipulations of recorded history.

Harm Stevens is Curator History (20th century) in the Rijksmuseum. He published on military expeditions in the Dutch-Indies and as such acquired collections preserved in museums.

'Gepeperd verleden' is published by the Rijksmuseum (History Dept.) in a series about countries the Netherlands share a (colonial) past with, such as Indonesia, Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, South-Africa, Ghana, Suriname and Brazil. The books detail the history by items preserved at the Rijskmuseum.



Swans Against the Sun - Michael Martin Murphey

Recently I was listening to KNBT Americana Radio, a programme called Turn Tables with Ray Wylie Hubbard being interviewed on a selection of blues & americana music.
The name 'Michael Murphey' was mentioned a few times and that rang a bell.

During the 1979s, when I first started listening to singer-songwriter music by musicians such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and Kris Kristofferson, I also bought a (vinyl of course) album ('LP') by Michael Murphey, titled Swans Against the Sun.
I probably bought it because of the song Renegade, which I may have heard on American Forces Network or Radio Luxembourg.

When I googled 'Swans Against the Sun' I came across this double album and recognised the songs Wildfire and Secret Mountain Hideout of the album Blue Sky - Night Thunder. They probably were hit songs in the 1970s.
A pleasant bit of nostalgia for my ears!




Simon Carmiggelt: Mag het een ietsje meer zijn?

Simon Carmiggelt was a Dutch writer (b.07oct1913 – d.30nov1987) and columnist, who became particularly famous for his newspaper columns ('Kronkel', in Het Parool) and his appearances on radio and tv (he read some of his work for a minute or two, this was the early days of television).

His writing shows a great craftsmanship for building round, flourishing sentences, while exuding a melancholy only people 'of a certain age' may recognise and appreciate.
The columns and short stories compiled in 'Mag 't een ietsje meer zijn' was compiled by Simon Carmiggelt himself from 40 previously published compilations of columns and 3 compilations of verses; Carmiggelt was allowed to make his own choices for, as he wrote: "a man in his seventies is allowed to be his opinionated self.."
The book was published in september 1983, my edition was a 4th print, of march 1989.

Carmiggelt observes life as a fly on the wall. He has a keen eye for observation, people talk to him unreservedly it seems and he has a pleasant wry wit.
Reading this book I realised how unique his florid writing was, but perhaps my appreciation also has to do with having become 'of a certain age'!
Wikipedia (Dutch)
Wikipedia (English)

Simon Carmiggelt

From www.dbnl.nl Simon Carmiggelt's anthology:

Vijftig dwaasheden samen (1940, in 1946 uitgebreid tot 'Honderd dwaasheden')
Allemaal onzin (1948)
Het jammerhout (1948)
Tussen mal en dwaas (1949)
Klein beginnen (1950)
Louter leugens (1951)
Omnibus (1951)
Poespas (1952)
Vergeet het maar (1953)
Speciaal voor u (1953-1978)
Al mijn gal (1954)
Ping pong (1954) <-------
Articles de Paris (1955)
Fabriekswater (1956)
Kwartet (1956)
Spijbelen (1956)
Vliegen vangen (1956)
Allemaal onzin (1957)
Haasje over (1957)
Een toontje lager (1959)
Duiven melken (1960)
Alle orgels slapen (1961)
Een stoet van dwergen (1961)
Torren aan de lijm (1961)
Dag opa (1962)
Een stoet van dwergen (1962)
Kroeglopen 1 (1962)
Oude mensen (1963)
We leven nog (1963)
Weet ik veel (1963)
Herman Heijermans (1964)
Later is te laat (1964)
Fluiten in het donker (1965)
Kroeglopen 2 (1965)
Mooi weer vandaag (1965)
Een Hollander in Parijs (1967)
Een stoet van dwergen (1967)
Een toontje lager (1967)
Morgen zien we wel weer (1967)
Allemaal onzin (1968)
Drie van vroeger (1968)
Je blijft lachen (1968)
Kroeglopen 2 (1968)
Mijn moeder had gelijk (1969)
Speciaal voor u. 1969 (1969)
Speciaal voor u. 1970 (1970)
Twijfelen is toegestaan (1970)
Gewoon maar doorgaan (1971)
Speciaal voor u. 1971 (1971)
Ik mag niet mopperen (1972)
Elke ochtend opstaan (1973)
Brood voor de vogeltjes (1974)
Speciaal voor u. 1974 (1974)
Duiven melken (1975)
Notities over Willem Elsschot (1975)
Slenteren (1975)
Dwaasheden (1976)
Dwaasheden (1976)
Notities over Willem Elschot (1976)
Ze doen maar (1976)
Duiven melken (1977)
Vroeger kon je lachen (1977)
Bemoei je er niet mee (1978)
Onzin (1978)
Onzin (1978)
Bemoei je d'r niet mee (1979)
De rest van je leven (1979)
Mooi kado (1979)
Onzin (1979)
Speciaal voor u. 1979 (1979)
De avond valt (1980)
Speciaal voor u. 1980 (1980)
Een Hollander in Parijs (1981)
Een toontje lager (1982)
Welverdiende onrust (1982)
De Amsterdamse kroeg (1983)
Mag 't een ietsje meer zijn (1983)
Met de neus in de boeken (1983)
Ik red me wel (1984)
Vreugden en verschrikkingen van de dronkenschap (1984)
Drie in een (1985)
Ontmoetingen met Willem Elsschot (1985)
Bij nader omzien (1986)
Trio voor één hand (1986)
De vrolijke jaren (1987)
Het literaire leven (1987)
Zelfportret in stukjes (1989)
De kuise drinker (1990)
Schemeren (1992)
'Van u heb ik ook een heleboel gelezen...' (1993)
Schemeren (1993)
Thelonious en Picasso (1995)
Beste Godfried, beste Simon (1999)
Voorhout (1999)
Ik lieg de waarheid. De beste Kronkels (2007)

Uitgaven van Simon Carmiggelt
Kraaltjes rijgen (1958)
Maatschappelijk verkeer (1965)
De gedichten (1974)
Ongeordend lezen (1975)
Ze doen maar (1976)
Mag 't een ietsje meer zijn (1983)
Tussen mal en dwaas & Klein beginnen (1997)
Louter leugens & Poespas (1997)
Articles de Paris & Vliegen vangen (1998)
Vergeet het maar & Ping pong (1998)
Mijn moeder had gelijk & Twijfelen is toegestaan (1999)
De gedichten (1999)
Dag opa & Oude mensen (1999)
Mooi weer vandaag & Fluiten in het donker (1999)
Spijbelen & Haasje over (1999)
We leven nog & Later is te laat (1999)
Morgen zien we wel weer & Je blijft lachen (1999)
Duiven melken & Alle orgels slapen (1999)
Kraaltjes rijgen & Een toontje lager (1999)
De kuise drinker & Schemeren (2000)
De vrolijke jaren & Zelfportret in stukjes (2000)
Bemoei je d'r niet mee & De rest van je leven (2000)
Brood voor de vogeltjes & Slenteren (2000)
Ik mag niet mopperen & Elke ochtend opstaan (2000)
Ik red me wel & Bij nader omzien (2000)
De avond valt & Welverdiende onrust (2000)
Ze doen maar & Vroeger kon je lachen (2000)
Ik lieg de waarheid. De beste Kronkels (2007)
For some reason the list showed a number of duplicated titles; I removed the duplicated ones.



William J. 'Bill' Cunningham Jr. (13Mar1929 – 25Jun2016) was an American fashion photographer for The New York Times, known for his candid and street photography.
Cunningham was born and raised in Boston, where he had his first exposure to the fashion world as a stockboy in Bonwit Teller's Boston Store. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he returned to New York in 1953 and started writing, first for Women's Wear Daily and then for the Chicago Tribune.
He contributed significantly to fashion journalism, introducing American audiences to Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier. While working at Women's Wear Daily and the Chicago Tribune, he began taking candid photographs of fashion on the streets of New York.

Cunningham photographed people and the passing scene in the streets of Manhattan every day, focusing on their genuine usage of clothing to express personal style.
He did not photograph people in the manner of paparazzi, but preferred style to celebrity. He made a career taking unexpected photographs of everyday people, socialites and fashion personalities, many of whom valued his company.
Cunningham died in New York City after being hospitalized for a stroke. He was 87.




Stephen Shore Retrospective exhib.

Stephen Shore Retrospective exhib.

Stephen Shore Retrospective exhib.

Stephen Shore Retrospective exhib.

Stephen Shore (b. 08Oct1947) is an American photographer known for his images of banal scenes and objects in the United States, and for his pioneering use of color in art photography. In 2010, Shore received an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society.
Self-taught, Shore received a photographic darkroom kit at age 6. He began to use a 35 mm camera 3 years later and made his first color photographs. Aged 10, he received a copy of Walker Evans's book, 'American Photographs', which influenced him greatly.
His career began at 14, when he presented his photographs to Edward Steichen, then curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Recognizing Shore's talent, Steichen bought 3 photographs. At 17, Shore met Andy Warhol and began to frequent Warhol's studio, the Factory, photographing Warhol and the creative people that surrounded him.

Shore then embarked on a series of cross-country trips, making 'on the road' photographs of American and Canadian landscapes.
In 1972, he made the journey from Manhattan to Amarillo,TX, that provoked his interest in color photography. Viewing the streets and towns he passed through, he conceived the idea to photograph them in color, first using 35 mm hand-held camera and then a 4x5" view camera before finally settling on the 8x10 format.
His 1982 book, 'Uncommon Places', was a bible for the new color photographers because, alongside William Eggleston, his work proved that a color photograph, like a painting or even a black and white photograph, could be considered a work of art!
Notable photographers Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Martin Parr, Joel Sternfeld and Thomas Struth have acknowledged his influence on their work.
I was most impressed by Shore's 1970s work, 'American Surfaces' and 'Uncommon Places', because I can relate to the feeling those images exude; they represent what I felt, travelling through North America - but was unable to register & record as a concept because I mix them with tourist impressions.

In recent years, Shore has been working in Israel, the West Bank, and Ukraine. I found his images of the Ukraine particularly fascinating and hope to travel in his footsteps some day; now is not the best of times.

Shore has been the director of the photography department at Bard College since 1982. Since about 2 years Shore also has an Instagram / Facebook account.

My photos on Flickr.com
On 'Winslow AZ' see MyBlog 2017Q4



Helmut Newton Retrospective exhib.

Helmut Newton Retrospective exhib.

Today I enjoyed Foam's major exhibition of the work of Helmut Newton (Berlin, 1920 - West Hollywood, 2004), a legendary photographer.
Taking over the entire building on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht, the retrospective features in excess of 200 photographs, ranging from early prints that rarely go on display to monumental photos.

I remember the impact of the powerful nudes Newton published in his heyday; the fashion photography in this exhibition is of a bygone era, but I liked his props e.g. a plane chasing a model or a magnificent stallion rearing on his hind legs.

Helmut Newton Foundation
More of my photos on Flickr.com



saints of the Sahow Bible by Ian Rankin

Ken Stott as John Rebus
Ken Stott as Rankin's policeman John Rebus.
I always picture Ken Stott when I read about John Rebus, such a convincing performance!

Ian Rankin has found a way to bring his long-running detective John Rebus out of retirement, but the former detective inspector has been forced to take a demotion, forced to return as a mere DS and he swallows it like a bitter pill.
Saints of the Shadow Bible, Rebus' 20th outing, sees him reporting to his former protege, Siobhan Clarke, as the pair investigate a suspicious car crash.
He's also sparring with Malcolm Fox (his years with Complaints are about to expire) from the police complaints department over an old murder. Thirty years ago, Billy Saunders was tried for beating a man to death. The case collapsed because of the actions of Rebus's former colleagues – Saunders was a snitch, and Fox believes that despite his guilt, Summerhall CID decided he was more use on the street than in prison.
Rebus is confronted with 'old policing habits', where a policeman did all he could to get the scum off the streets. Including bending the law.
His former boss, Stefan Gilmour, took the fall for the contaminated evidence and the dodgy interviews that resulted in Saunders walking free; Gilmour is now a millionaire and a big player for the 'no' campaign, against Scottish independence. He and the Saints don't take kindly to being questioned, and put prssure on Rebus to smooth the issue over for them. Taken into Fox's confidence, Rebus isn't sure which side to play for.

Rebus, says Clarke, ruefully, to Fox, is "..like one of those chess wizards, the ones who play a dozen boards at the same time". So, it feels sometimes with Rankin, as he weaves his dual plots into an ever more tangled maze, and then smoothly, oh so satisfactorily, irons them out again. Like stepping out from the maze into the open all of a sudden.
Saints of the Shadow Bible is a clever read, but most of all, it's a genuine pleasure to see Rebus back in the CID. He remains a dinosaur though: "I'm from the 1980s… I'm not the newfangled touchy feely model," he tells a suspect, "Now get out of my fucking car!"
I did feel wrong-footed a bit for the first part of the book, expecting Fox once again as the main character but finding Rebus hot on the trail, in his usual drinking & smoking style. Quite the opposite of Fox, who is a recovering alcoholic and has most of his life in order and under control.
Another difference between the two: Rebus finds himself "sharing oxygen once more with a gangster". And making use of his services..
Rebus won't change, can't change and I love him for it.

The next book should be interesting for a different reason: will Rankin finally retire Rebus and continue with Malcolm Fox, who we see ligning up as a proper detective with CID... Or will Siobhan Clarke turn main character?
Anyway, once again I found Rankin's work a real treat.

Review on theGuardian by Alison Flood



Modus tv-series

Modus tv-series

Modus is a Swedish crime series, consisting of 8 episodes that premiered in September 2015 on TV4.
The script was written by Emmy Award winners Mai Brostrøm and Peter Thorsboe and is based on the book Frukta inte by author Anne Holt.
I think I have read one or two books (e.g. '1222') by Anne Holt, but that must have been a while back. Positive thoughts anyway and so is my opinion of these series, I hope for a follow up soon!
We also see a performance of Krister Henriksson, the one-and-only Wallander in my opinion! Another sterling performance.

Modus follows Inger Johanne Vik (Melinda Kinnaman), a criminal psychologist who has worked for the FBI in the US but has now returned home to Sweden to work in the academic world.
She has two daughters, the older of whom, Stina, is autistic and the sole witness to a murder. To protect her daughter, Vik decides she must catch the murderer, and so returns to work for the police alongside detective Ingvar Nyman, only to discover that she is in fact pursuing a serial killer...
The issue of homosexuality is a major storyline here, lifting Modus to a level higher than a mere 'whodunnit'.





Exiting times: what will happen in the next few days?


Lynsey Addario: It's What I Do (warreporter)

Lynsey Addario (b.13Nov1973) is an American photojournalist. Her work often focuses on conflicts and human rights issues, especially the role of women in traditional societies.
Addario grew up in a sheltered environment; she was born in Norwalk,CT (USA), to Italian-American hairdresser parents. She graduated from Staples High School, in Connecticut, in 1991 and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995. She was given a photocamera and immediately took to it.
She began photographing professionally in 1996 at the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina and then began freelancing for the Associated Press. She was interested in other cultures, was eager to travel and photography was a means to en end.
She was finding her way in life, love interests and all.

In 2000, she photographed in Afghanistan under Taliban control. Then on September 11th events changed the world. Her passion to be involved in news reporting grew intense and she went back to the region, as one of the few photojournalist with experience in that region. Without realizing she had turned war-reporter.
She has since covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, Republic of the Congo, and Haiti. She has covered stories throughout the Middle East and Africa.
'It’s What I Do' follows a course unavoidable for Addario: from her first camera and the pictures it inspired, to early years as a street photographer and the inspiration she found in the work of (a.o.) Sebastião Salgado. She went to the front, up close and personal she witnessed young American men die in a foreign country far from home; she was wounded while abroad, found her being a women brought difficulties but also opportunities during her work. Meanwhile she wondered how a partner would ever find a place in her life and accept the dangers she had to face, such as abduction or was reported missing on assignment; and how to deal emotionally with collegues who did die during there work (e.g. Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros).
She did find that partner and managed to keep working through most of her pregnancy. It did not end her career. She has photographed for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, and National Geographic.
A thoroughly interesting book about a woman possessed in the most positive way possible: a photographer's life of love and war.




Smart PC Fixer: a word of warning

Word of warning here.
When I was trying to solve an Microsoft Windows 7 problem on my PC I ended up on a Microsoft webpage and found some software to download, provided by Smartpcfixer.
The download cost me usd5 and so I was not too disappointed when this software did not solve my problem (reïnstalling Live Essentials 2012).
Only to find a week later I was billed another usd60,- for an annual subscription, which I did not ask nor signed up for! Who reads the small print, esspecially when one is frustrated by computer problems! I felt tricked.

On a forum I was warned about these people, but only after the fact. I removed the software since I had no use for it, it hadn't worked.
In the shop my problem was repaired and had my Live Mail installed again.

In an attempt to get a refund from SmartPCFixer I got friendly message, repeatedly offerings for help and asking for complaint details and OS information. While I supplied the requested information, I also made it clear the problem no longer existed, the software was no longer on my PC and insisted on the 60 dollar refund.
They kept sending me these friendly offerings for help and told me the software might be useful for other PC problems. Repeatedly they sent me more or less the same messages, but a refund was not forthcoming.

Then I started posting negative reviews on Twitter and Facebook (including their Facebook page).
That triggered something and through PayPal I received confirmation a refund was forthcoming.

Consider the above as a feedback; there may be other people with positive experiences, but I felt tricked when I first was billed 5 dollars I had agreed on and then another 60 dollars for an annual subscription I had not asked for.



frustrated by PC problems

For the 2nd time I collected my PC from the repair shop. For my complaint of the PC (Windows 7) freezing up on my (only a hard reset will bring it back to life) again another hard drive has been replaced (SSD), but upon testing, like when concluding the first repair, they had no findings.
It was suggested I looked at the equipment I had hooked up to my PC: 2 external hard drives for back ups, printer, flatbed scanner, wifi keyboard & mouse, sound boxes...
To make sure I bought a new wifi keyboard & mouse.
Continue the frustrating job of reinstalling software and getting all settings how I want them. Of course the back up was not full proof...


NO Offence tv-series

NO Offence tv-series

'No Offence' is a 2015 British television police comedy-drama shown on Channel 4, created by Paul Abbott.
The show follows a team of detectives from the Manchester Metropolitan Police (a fictionalised version of Greater Manchester Police), focusing on their investigation into the serial murders of girls with Down's syndrome.
The show was filmed on location in Manchester.
It is a 'cops-and-robbers' series where the women have brass balls! For me it took a little gtting used to, being more vibrant and very outspoken than what I have become used to in the 'Noir'-series from Scandinavia and France. But that was quickly overcome!

D.I. Viv Deering is scathing in her leadership of a team of detectives at the Manchester Metropolitan Police. D.C. Dinah Kowalska (Elaine Cassidy) misses out on a promotion to D.S. due to a mistake in her professionalism, but she proceeds to uncover crime details that reveal a serial killer is killing Down syndrome girls across Manchester.
Joanna Scanlan as D.I. Vivienne Deering, a cast-iron cop with an in-your-face attitude.
Elaine Cassidy as D.C. Dinah Kowalska has an emotional but determined focus on finding the killer(s).
I love the role by Paul Ritter as Randolph Miller, an eccentric in forensics; he also featured in Vera but he gets to play the eccentric to the hilt here!
Plenty of drama and a bit of romance (including a leg over in the back of a car); a series of which I am pleased to have learned it will get a follow up: Channel 4 has renewed 'No Offence' for a 2nd series of 8 episodes.




Recher Tie - Judge Dee

Ever since China sparked my interest during the 1980s, I find occasion to read or explore something on the subject, in whatever form. The 'Rechter (=Judge or Magistrate) Tie Mysteries' by Robert van Gulik offer an easy insight in China in historic times.

Dutchman van Gulik wrote historic crime novels in English; the translations into Dutch (including the name of the magistrate change from Judge Dee to Rechter Tie) are mostly by others.

Judge Dee (also, Judge Di) is the eponymous protagonist of Robert van Gulik's series of detective novels. The series is set in Tang Dynasty China and deals with various criminal cases solved by the upright Judge Dee (judges often play the investigator role in ancient Chinese crime stories).
The Judge Dee character is based on the historical figure Di Renjie (c. 630–c. 700), magistrate and statesman of the Tang court. During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) in China, a 'folk novel' was written set in former times, but filled with anachronisms.
Van Gulik found in the 18th century Di Gong An an original tale dealing with three cases simultaneously, and, which was unusual among Chinese mystery tales, a plot that for the most part lacked an overbearing supernatural element which could alienate Western readers. He translated it into English and had it published under the title Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee.
This gave van Gulik the idea of writing his own novels, set with the similar Ming anachronisms, but using the historical character. Van Gulik was careful in writing the main novels to deal with cases where Dee was newly appointed to a city, thereby isolating him from the existing lifestyle and enabling him to maintain an objective role in the books.
Van Gulik's novels and stories made no direct reference to the original Chinese work and so Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee is not considered to be part of the Judge Dee series.
Van Gulik also wrote series of newspaper comics about Judge Dee in 1964-1967, adding up to a total of 19 adventures. The first 4 were regular balloon strips, but the later 15 had the more typically Dutch textblock under the pictures.

Robert Hans van Gulik was born in 1910, in Zutphen,Netherlands and spent most of his youth in the Dutch East-Indies.
Later he studied several Asian languages, became a diplomat, indulged in scientific research and found himself a literary talent.
He passed away in 1967, in The Hague,Netherlands.

About this particular book:
Teamerchant Meng reports to councillor Kao that his guest Student Soeng has been found dead. Foul
play is obvious.
Rechter Tie (EN: Judge Dee or Judge Di) is visiting his colleague Lo Kwan-tsjoeng and is requested to share his thoughts on this murder. The robbery-gone-wrong scenario is soon disgarded, because Student Soeng was found to have had a secret agenda, researching the archives for the details of an injustice committed to his father.
Magistrate Lo Kwan-tsjoeng has invited Rechter Tie Jen-Tsjie (or Ti Jen-chieh) to join his guests for the festive days, compare poetry.
The other guests are Siao Fan-wen, acknowledged author and former president of Emperor's Academy, and poet Tsjang Lan-po.
Also present as guests are a Zen monk, Loe, and Yoe-lan, a famous woman for her poetry but being escorted to Emperor's court to face trial for murder.
While all gathered for a festive dinner and fireworks, a young woman, Little Phoenix, is murdered shortly before she is about to perform a dance.
And what is the mystery of a girl named saffron living in an the abandoned Temple of the Black Fox?
Another fine Judge Dee murder mystery!

I found that in the Netherlands reprints of the Judge Dee novels are in progress
www.judge-dee.info/welcome/index.jsp (EN)
www.rechtertie.nl/  (NL)



China & de Barbaren - het verzet tegen de westerse wereldorde

The Dutch title translates as 'CHINA and the Barbarians', subtitled 'China's resistance to Western global domination'.
Truly an excellent book by Henk Schulte Nordholt, a must-read for anyone trying to understand China's past and present.

For centuries China dominated eastern Asia. The influence of the Middle Empire reached from Tibet to Japan. Other nations were considered barbarian.
In the Century of Humiliation (1839-1949) China had to bow deep; Western countries and Japan degraded the old nation to a colony.
In our day and age China has picked itself up as an economic global player, but how do the Communist leaders deal with this? Will Bejing change towards Western world order or will she attempt to reinstate itself to its former glory? Can a confrontation with the USA be avoided?

Schulte Nordholt's starting point is that the Communist Party is aware that its present model of governing, for a considerable time now based on Marxism and Maoism, is reaching its expiry date. Mao has been replaced as a role model by most Chinese by Mammon and the Party seems unable to solve major issues in the economy and environment..
The author shows how the ‘glorious past’ offers the Party many possibilities for producing a ‘new, connecting story’. The history of seafarer Zheng He in the 18th-century under emperor Qian Long, who expanded China with Mongolia, Tibet and parts of Russia, continue to inspire the imagination of nationalist thinkers. They only gain in power because the communist are able to claim that they ended 'the Century of Humiliation' (1839-1949) – a period with two 'Opium Wars', the destruction of the Summerpalace by a French-English expedition and the Japanese occupation, which degraded China until 1945 in to a half-colony. And Japan is still considered to be the archenemy.

Since China has recovered from 'the Century of Humiliation', now is the time according to Xi Jinping for the ‘great rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation'. Schulte Nordholt sees evidence in the speeches and behaviour of president and partyleader Xi Jing linking the past to the present.. Xi himself behaves like an emperor, he has managed to draw almost all military, economic and political power to himself. By historic precedence Xi presents himself in the government-colled media as the great benefactor.
Just like the emperors the party leaders consider themselves exalted over the common people and they are tasked to provide welfare and glory. To serve the people, in Chinese tradition, is a different concept in both in classical terms as well as modern context than to listen to the people.
Re-establishing these Chinese values is cause for concern, according to Schulte Nordholt.
The expansion of China throughout Asia is evident. If China had its way all of Asia and Europe would connect tomorrow to the Chinese railway network and gas pipelines. But the expansion proceeds by a more gradual, crafty approach.
Subterfuge, ruse and maipulation - tactics recommend by the great Chinese strategist, Sunzi – will be deployed, but an open conflict with the Great Hegemonist is to be avoided. war with the United States would irrevocably result in the end of the Communist Party, which is determined to remain the greatest and richest political party of the world.

What makes China's development unpredictable is the combination of cultural uniqueness and an autocratic Communist Party, which is determined to maintain in power and in absolute control at all times.
'China and the barbarians' details the influence of China's history in its search for a new identity.

Hendrik (Henk) Schulte Nordholt (b.01Jun1953) has been involved with China for 30 years.
After his studies 'Sinologie' in Leiden, he went to work in 1981 for the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Den Haag. For 4 years he worked on improving economic relations between the Netherlands and countries in the Far East, in particular China.
In 1985 he was established as the first AMRO-bank director in Bejing; China was a very closed, isolated country in those days.
In 1990 he was transferred to Taiwan. In that same year ABN merged with AMRO and Schulte Nordholt returned to Bejing, to start with a few partners a trading house, Hofung. It grew in a matter of a few years to a technology firm with 60 employees and offices in Bejing and Tianjin.
Besides his business career Schulte Nordholt has bene active for over 20 years as a writer and speaker on China.
He wrote 4 books on the subject of which this book is the most recent.
His special expertise is China's history, culture, economics and finance. These subjects are interwoven and explained in this book, analysed from a very practical perspective.

If I still have difficulty understanding China and its politics, I now know the reasons why!




PC aggravation

My desktop computer started giving me problems a few weeks ago, ceased up at random intervals. At first I played 'PC doctor' myself, thinking it had to do with software.
Finally I took it to a repair shop and found, after almost 6 years, the Seagate harddrive had packed it in. I had a Samsung 1Tb SSD installed.
My Windows 7 was reïnstalled and then my grief and frustration really started!

I could not install Live Mail again. Installation through Microsoft Essentials 2012 kept giving me the same fault codes. Through the Microsoft website I ended up with an app by 'smartPCfixer' but that was of no use either.
I installed Outlook 2012, but it does not import Live Mail folders and email. My entire adress book is probably lost too.

The reason I reinstalled the PC with Windows 7 again, though upgrading to Windows 10 was still free, was because I had software important to me limited to Win7; only to find, when I copied the files back onto the PC, that it wouldn't start! While it had worked on the same PC in Win7 before!

Of course I am finding that my backup was not complete and upgrades to some new software means I have to find my way again.
What a mess.



The Northen Lights at InTheWoods.nl
Left to Right: Matt McGinn, Ben Glover and Stevie 'Malojian' Scullion - performing as
The Northern Lights at InTheWoods (Lage Vuursche, Netherlands - 28May2016).

Ben Glover at InTheWoods
Ben Glover

Matt McGinn at InTheWoods
Matt McGinn

Stevie 'Malojian' Scullion

Northern Lights is Ben Glover, Stevie Scullion en Matt McGinn.
They are all singer-songwriters from Northern Ireland. For this brief tour they have grouped together as Northern Lights.

Ben Glover shares his time between N.Ireland and Nashville,TN to stay close to blues-, roots- and americana music.
In recent years he has toured with Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters; he played on Peters' latest album "Blackbirds", while she joins in on two songs of his latest album.
The 'Atlantic'-album is according to him heavily influenced by his travel through the Mississippi Delta.

Stevie Scullion hails from Belfast and is the frontman of the band Malojian. Malojian is influenced by Britse folk. Stevie himself is a singer-songwriter in the 1970s tradition of folk- and countryrock music.

Matt McGinn has his roots in the Mourne mountains and has established a reputation in the Irish music scene. His debut album "Livin" (2011) was very received. Matt toured all over the world, with performers such as Nanci Griffith and Kim Richey.

Setlist of this performance:
1. I’m Not Looking Down Anymore [Matt McGinn/Madeleine Slate] *
2.Whatever Happens Will [Ben Glover] **
3.Watch The Rain [Stevie Scullion] ***
4.Lie [Matt McGinn] *
5.Oh Soul [Ben Glover/Mary Gauthier] **
6.Bath Tub Blues [Stevie Scullion] ***
7.You Have Your Dreams [Matt McGinn] *
8.Lean On Me [Stevie Scullion] (unreleased) ***
9.Sweetheart [Ben Glover/Neilson Hubbard/Joshua Britt] **

1.Julie-Anne [Stevie Scullion] ***
2.Latter Day Sinner [Matt McGinn] *
3.Blackbirds [Ben Glover/Gretchen Peters] Ben, solo
4.Slow Us Down [Matt McGinn] (unreleased) Matt, solo
5.Crease Of Your Smile [Stevie Scullion] Stevie, solo
6.Prisoner [Ben Glover/Neilson Hubbard] **
7.What I’m Worth [Stevie Scullion] ***
8.Darkest Before The Day [Matt McGinn] *
9.Harriet [Ben Glover/Neilson Hubbard/Joshua Britt] **
10.You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere [Bob Dylan]

Matt McGinn|vocals, acoustic guitar, kick drum
Ben Glover|vocals, acoustic guitar, snare drum
Stevie Scullion|vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica
* Matt, lead vocals
** Ben, lead vocals
*** Stevie, lead vocals

More images of this gig at MyFlickr and recorded music on YouTube



Guy Clark, singersongwriter musician

Guy Clark, singersongwriter musician

Guy Clark, singersongwriter musician

Guy Clark, singersongwriter musician

Guy Charles Clark (b.06Nov1941 – d.17May2016) was a Grammy Award winning American Texas country and folk singer, musician, songwriter, recording artist, and performer. He has released more than twenty albums.

Clark was born in Monahans, Texas and eventually settled in Nashville, where he helped create the progressive country and outlaw country genres. His songs 'L.A. Freeway' and 'Desperados Waiting for a Train' that helped launch his career were covered by numerous performers.
The New York Times described him as "a king of the Texas troubadours".

Artists such as Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Hayes Carll, Brad Paisley, John Denver, Alan Jackson, Rodney Crowell, The Highwaymen, and Kenny Chesney have recorded Clark's songs. Clark is frequently referred to as The Fifth Highwayman.
Clark had been a mentor to such other singers as Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell. He organized Earle's first job as a writer in Nashville.
Clark credits Townes Van Zandt as being a major influence on his songwriting.

In 2006, Clark released Workbench Songs. The album was nominated for 'Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album' at the Grammy Awards. He also toured with Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, and John Hiatt in 2004, 2005 and 2007.
In 2006 I enjoyed his performance at the Blue Highways festival in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Guy Clark won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album in 2014 for 'My Favorite Picture of You'. It was one of the best albums I'd bought in a number of years.
Guy had one son, Travis Clark (b. 1966), from his first marriage to folksinger Susan Spaw. From 1972 Clark was married to songwriter and artist, Susanna Clark; she died from cancer on 27Jun2012 and his album 'My Favourite Picture of You' shows much melancholy (but never too sweetly) of his years with her and her passing.

On 17May16, Clark died in Nashville following a lengthy illness.




Mark Germino, singersongwriter musician

Mark Germino, singersongwriter musician

Mark Germino, singersongwriter musician

In the 1980s, upon visiting a friend of mine in England, I learned of Mark Germino. His music, 'London Barnyard Remedies' was obviously played to my on vinyl, but this friend of mine copied it on a small cassette. As such it survived a number of years but was disgarded at some point.
When looking for replacement I only came across 'Rank & File' on CD. Again a few years later I found 'Radartown'. But the very early albums eluded me for many years, as they seemed only available on vinyl...
Until last month I happened to check again and found those 2 albums 'Caught in the Act of Being Ourselves' and 'London Barnyard Remedies' released as a double CD!

Mark Germino is an American folk rock and country singer-songwriter. Born in North Carolina, he initially worked as a poet before moving into folk rock songwriting; by 1974, he had moved to Nashville. Initially, he did not plan to become a singer, although he eventually bought a guitar and took up singing as well, as he decided that singing was easier than reciting poetry.

The Song 'Lean on Jesus (Before He Leans on You)' co-written by Germino and sang by Paul Craft reached No. 55 on the Billboard country chart in 1977.
Germino moved on to performing in Nashville clubs at night, while working by day as a truck driver.
By 1981, he was signed to a songwriting contract; five years later, RCA Records signed him as a recording artist.
Between 1986 and 1991, he recorded two solo albums for the label (1986's London Moon and Barnyard Remedies and 1987's Caught in the Act of Being Ourselves); a third album for the label, 1991's Radartown, featured a backing band called The Sluggers.
His third solo album, 1995's Rank and File, was issued independently.

'Broken Man's Lament' from the 'London Moon and Barnyard Remedies'-album has been recorded and released by Emmylou Harris on her album 'All I Intended To Be'.
Germino also co-wrote the singles 'Bill's Laundromat, Bar and Grill' for Confederate Railroad and 'I Will Stand' for Kenny Chesney.
'Rex Bob Lowenstein', a song about an independently-minded radio DJ who rebels against being given a playlist by his boss, taken from 'Caught in the Act of Being Ourselves', was particularly admired and much played on BBC Radio 1 by British DJ Roger Scott and is a personal favourite of BBC Radio 2 DJ Bob Harris.

  • London Moon and Barnyard Remedies (1986, RCA, PL85852)
  • Caught in the Act of Being Ourselves (1987, RCA, PL86608)
  • Radartown (1991, RCA, PD90550) (as Mark Germino and The Sluggers)
  • Rank and File (1995, Winter Harvest, WH3303)
  • Atomic Candlestick (2006, Atomic Office Records, 044-001) (as Mark Germino and the Grenade Angels)

Maybe I'll look for that 2006 album as well.
While I found Mark Germino on Wikipedia, it seems he does not do much profiling on Facebook or personal website.
I wish him well and thank him for his music, which has lost nothing of its attraction to my over these past decades.








The long running BBC comedy news quiz 'Have I Got News for You' is presently on series 51 (recently broadcasted episode 6, chaired by Frankie Boyle).

'Have I Got News for You' is a British television panel show produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. It is loosely based on the BBC Radio 4 show 'The News Quiz', and has been regularly broadcast since 1990.
The HIGNFY show has cultivated a reputation for sailing close to the wind in matters of libel and slander with its topical and satirical remit.
It is often cited as beginning the increasing domination of panel shows in British TV comedy, and remains one of the genre's key standard-bearers. In recognition of this, the show received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 British Comedy Awards. In 2016 they also received a BAFTA in the Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme category.

The original line-up, from 1990 to 2002, was Angus Deayton as chairman, with Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, and comedian Paul Merton as team captains. Each captain is accompanied by a guest, usually a politician, journalist or comedian, or somebody particularly relevant to recent news.

In May 2002, following newspaper headlines of his sex with a prostitute and use of illegal drugs, Deayton was relentlessly ridiculed on the show by Hislop and Merton (along with guests Dave Gorman and Ken Livingstone). Following a second round of revelations about his private life later in the year, leading to further mockery, Deayton was fired in October, two shows into series 24.
One online poll, on the BBC's own website, showed over three-quarters of respondents wanting Deayton to stay on as the programme's host. In April 2003, Stephen Fry supported Deayton, by refusing to appear on the show again.

A series of guest hosts appeared for the remainder of the series, including Anne Robinson, Boris Johnson, and Jeremy Clarkson. Despite an initial search for a permanent successor to Deayton, having a different guest host each week proved successful, with average audience figures increasing from 6 million to 7 million. It was therefore announced in June 2003 that this feature would continue permanently.
And so it remains today.
Though I certainly continue enjoy the show, I thought it was best with Angus Deayton at the helm. Ian Hislop is as sharp and witty as ever, I think Paul Merton has shown less inspiration in recent times.




The One From The Other by Philip Kerr

For a while I had read reviews recommending Philip Kerr's books and I finally came to reading 'March Violets' (published 1989) in Oct.2015 (2015 Q4). Its setting in time is Nazi Germany 1936.
I wasn't convinced I liked these Bernie Gunther-novels, but now this book won me over!
Bernie's wicked wit never grows tiresome, the plot is gripping and the historical settings are masterfully developed.

Philip Kerr's 'Berlin Noir' , (Kerr's 3 Bernie Gunther novels – MARCH VIOLETS, THE PALE CRIMINAL, A GERMAN REQUIEM -- were compiled in one volume, but I only came across the first book in a seperate edition. So I jumped from #1 to #4 in the Bernie Gunther series but I did not experience it as a problem.

This novel titled THE ONE FROM THE OTHER is the follow up to the trilogy (a trilogy changed to a quartet?) and was published some 15 years after the last Bernie Gunther Berlin-novel.
The story finds Gunther, a German private investigator, travelling to Palestina in 1939 (???).
The story than skips the war (though often referred to) and we find Bernie picking up his old profession in Munich.
Bernie had married, but his wife is being treated for a mental depression and succumbs unexpectedly while in hospital. This leaves Bernie with an unpopular family hotel, in Dachau of all places, and he soon decides to try to sell the place and move to Munich, where he finds work searching for missing persons (including Nazi war criminals who've done a runner)..
The story starts innocent enough, a few cases of missing persons. Munich-after-WW2 (1949) is very well described: the destruction and rebuilding, Germany & Austria divided in US, British, French and Russian zones, food on coupons, illegal trade, etc.
What follows is a gripping, bleak tale of the dirty deals made by victors and vanquished alike in postwar Germany.
The story gets a few twists which puts things the reader had taken for granted in an entirely different perspective. Bernie has to fear for his life!

Meanwhile the Bernie Gunther series had grown and I will keep an eye open for these novel!

An excellent review can be read on



Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus @Duycker 14May2016

Ian Siegal and Jimbo Mathus played a gig at the modest digs of Podium Duycker. Very playful, I enjoyed the banter and diversity. These gents show they enjoy music and performing.
I had been keen to attend a gig by Ian Siegal for at least two years now and was pleased the opportunity finally presented itself.

Ian Siegal, singersongwriter
Ian Siegal is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, bandleader and recording artist whose music
encompasses Blues and Americana music. Born near Portsmouth in England, he dropped
out of art college in the late 1980s and went busking in Germany. He has toured in the
UK and Europe extensively.

Ian Siegal, singersongwriter, Americana musician
The inaugural British Blues Awards in 2010 saw Siegal pick up the Best Band award. In the following
three years he collected awards in various categories. His 2011 release, The Skinny, was recorded in North Mississippi. This album was nominated in the Blues Foundation's 2012 Blues Music Award for
Best Contemporary Blues Album. A return visit to the Dickinson's Zebra Ranch studio in Coldwater,MS resulted in the 2012 album, Candy Store Kid, credited to Ian Siegal & The Mississippi Mudbloods.
An appearance at the London Bluesfest in 2013 resulted in an album release (April 2014) entitled 'Man
& Guitar' recorded by the BBC and released by Nugene Records.

Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus

Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus
My choice of CD's this night was 'Picnic Sessions' (2014) and the Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus
CD 'Wayward Sons'.'

Jimbo Mathus

James H. Mathis, Jr. (b. August 1967), known as Jimbo Mathus, is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work with the swing revival band Squirrel Nut Zippers.
He was born in Oxford, Mississippi to Jimmy Mathis and Jeanella (Malvezzi) Mathis. His genealogy is of Scottish and Italian origin.
He left home at age 17 to study philosophy at Mississippi State University and began writing songs and performing in the Starkville, Mississippi, area. He was recorded and records released in the mid-1980s under the name Cafe des Moines.
In 1987, Mathus joined the Merchant Marines working as a deckhand and tankerman for the Canal Barge Company on the Mississippi, Illinois and Tennessee Rivers. He used his shore leave to travel the country, usually alone, camping and sleeping in his pickup truck.
Upon a chance trip to North Carolina, he decided to move to the Chapel Hill area and began his music career in earnest.

Jimba Mathus
Jimbo Mathus

In 1993, Mathus met and soon married Katharine Whalen. Together they formed Squirrel Nut Zippers. This group utilized Mathus' knowledge of theater, early American music and leadership along with Whalen's fashion and vocal style.
Their albums have been awarded gold and platinum records.
In the mid-1990s, Mathus' frequent trips back to Mississippi led to his meeting Jim and Luther Dickinson. This rekindled Mathus' interest in Mississippi music, Mathus also began recording and producing on his own.
The Squirrel Nut Zippers disbanded in 2000 amid disastrous lawsuits filed by ex-Zippers Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher. Left penniless by these events and after a decade of relentless work, Mathus and Whalen divorced in 2003.
Simultaneously, Mathus was gaining recognition for his blues guitar knowledge through his work with Buddy Guy.


More of my images taken during this Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus gig on FLICKR!



Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer

Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer

Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer

Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer

Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer

In 1852 an inland sea in the Netherlands was made dry and turned into an agricultural area, with farms and a few communities.
This became the Haarlemmermeer.
A canal was dug and the water was pumped out of the inland sea. The area never ceased to grow and change.
Schiphol Int'l Airport is located here too; the entire area remains below sea level.
The museum illustrates how under primitive conditions a start was made here, how people lived, effects of WW2, how it all changed over the years until the present day. At the time of visit there was an exhibition celebrating Schiphol's 100th anniversary this year.
A veryinformative and charming museum.

The 'Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer' presently celebrates the 100 years anniversary of Schiphol with a fine exhibition.
While internationally known as 'Amsterdam Int'l Airport' the airport actually belongs to the Haarlemmermeer.
Amsterdam claimed ownership of the airfield, but was rejected, because it is part of the Haarlemmermeer (it is located on reclaimed land, below sea level).
The start for Schiphol was as an airfield for the military, without any infrastructure. Aircraft became bogged down in the mud when rain fell.
The farming community was against establishment of an airfield here.
In the days when the airport grew and Lockheed Constellations and Douglas DC-4s operated with KLM, Plesman advocated the move elswhere and this subject remains a recurrent issue, but was never put in effect.
Until this day farms and communities have to relocate to make way to the ever expanding airport.
A fine exhibition with a splendid diorama, photos, film and information.




Verdwenen Merken

Verdwenen Merken

Verdwenen Merken

As illustrated below, brands disappear, nothing lasts forever. Still, some brands are such a household name, that it comes as a shock to see it go under or disappear in a merger.

Verdwenen (Nederlandse) Merken ('Dutch Brands Remembered') was written by Richard Otto en Robbert van Loon; it was published late 2015 and I acquired a copy very recently.

Where did 'Van Gend en Loos' go, why did 'Postbus 51' cease to exist and when did 'Air Holland' become grounded?
These questions get their answers in this book and over 300 brands are dealt in the same way, brands that disappeared in the Netherlands between 1970 and 2015.
Though many of the articles, stores or brands were common in most households, some businesses toppled because of old age and complacency, some were so attractive to the competition they were taken over while others found popularity for only a short period and went under.
Some brands I never really realized they'd gone!
Trends and topics of changes in the marketplace are adresses in a 2-page essay by Aria Buurman, Simon Neefjes, Bert van der Veer, Erik de Zwart and Marianne Zwagerman.

A lovely book to browse for some nostalgia or frustration (why did the ING kill 'de Postbank'?) and a reminder that nothing lasts forever and we can only adept, accept these changes!





V&D final closure

I remember this warehouse V&D coming to our town, only a few decades ago; it started the growth of the shopping district, brought other shops in its trail. Previously we had to go to other cities for clothing and such.
This Dutch chain of department stores was founded in 1887.
Vroom & Dreesmann was founded in 1887 by Willem Vroom and Anton Dreesmann. The first branch opened in Weesperstraat in Amsterdam. The company expanded rapidly throughout the Netherlands in the 20th century.
As of 2015, V&D operated 67 branches throughout the Netherlands, three of which were branded as La Place, its former subsidiary restaurant chain which has both in-house and standalone restaurants throughout the country.
The V&D department stores sold, among other things, clothing and shoes, jewellery, cosmetics, books, home-entertainment products, electric goods, stationery, cards and posters, furniture and home wares. Most branches also had a La Place in-house restaurant, a travel agent and an ATM. Larger branches also had a bakery.
In Dec.2015, after year of struggling and changes of ownership, it was declared bankrupt and after final sales to get rid of stock and inventory, by end-April 2016 it was definitely over for V&D.
It raised the percentage of empty stores in my town to over 10% here, in other places it is even higher.

They say the economy is recovering from the global crisis (2007- ) but in terms of jobs, shops opening or closing, stock market, etc I don't see it. I suspect it is just political spin, this 'recovery'.




On the Map by Simon Garfield

Simon Frank Garfield (b.19Mar1960) is a British journalist and non-fiction author.
He won the Guardian/NUS 'Student Journalist of the Year' award in 1981, and the same year he became a sub-editor at the Radio Times.
He wrote scripts for BBC radio documentaries in the early 1980s.
Garfield also wrote for Time Out magazine, acting as editor from 1988 to 1989.
Garfield appeared on 25Feb2013 episode of The Colbert Report to discuss why he wrote On the Map.
Recently I read another book by him, Exposure, a biography of photographer Bob Carlos Clarke.

From the maps made by the old Greeks until our Google Maps: our maps of the world never cease to inspire us. Simon Garfield chooses the right words to steer us through the world of mapmakers and shows how maps have influenced our history, our way of thinking and living, and even what we may expect in the future.
He describes in On The Map (Dutch: Op De Kaart) how difficult it was to map Africa and other 'white' patches on the maps, about Ptolemeus and Johannes Blaeu, about discoverers on the South Pole and maps for 'star gazers' in Hollywood.
Then and now it is deserving of the book's subtitle: 'Why the World Looks the Way it Does.
Garfield does his exploreing in a pleasant, easy to digest style, full of enthusiasm; the book is brimming with interesting facts, but anecdotes & adventures are plentyful as well.
History at its best.

I bought the book in 2013, when it was just published. Always had a keen interest in maps; as a child I drew and designed my own maps. Maps I put my finger on as a child, wishing to visit these destinations one day, I did visit decades later.
But an enormous house renovation in 2013/2014 made me put this 480-pages book aside while only half read. Recently I 'found' it again and started afresh.
The book did prepare me for an unexpected find in Venice last year, when I came face to face with the historic Fra Mauro map!
Garfield's writing had made me aware of the historic significance of this map in the Marciana Library on Piazza San Marco.

I wil attempt to outline the contents of the 22 chapter sof this book...
Chapter one is, obviously, about great names in the earliest map making and the difficulties in producing a suitable format for a map; how to reproduce something that is round onto a flat surface. And how the maps represented authority and showed what they knew, but would later proven incorrect.
For centuries maps held mistakes, because people thought it was true and copied each other.

Maps became a valued article and became an item to trade, buy or sell. Forgeries were made, experts appeared.
We learn about Hereford's Mappa Mundi and when I came face to face with Fra Mauro's maps in Venice last year, I could value the occasion for I had read about it in this book.
Five hundred years before Columbus discovered America, people from Scandinavia had sailed to Newfoundland and Labrador and had produced maps ('Vinland'). Or had they and was this 'Vinland' map a forgery?

America has ben named after Amerigo Vespucci; Garfield analyses why this is actually a bit too much honour for Mr Vespucci.
From mapping the world, people went mapping their cities and regions. People walked for miles and measured to get proper maps for these purposes. these maps became very popular with the general public. At times people were obsessed with map making!

And we shouldn't forget the maps marked with an 'X', where a treasure was supposed to be buried... People sailed around the globe for these treasures, believing their maps.

Garfield describes about the many uses for maps, not just for finding your way, but for display of researched data (goes back centuries) or statistical information. The many size of maps and the difficulties in making globes.
Sometimes maps were found in the cold, dead hands of explorers; notes on these maps detail drama and tragedies.
We read about modern map makers, e.g. Rand McNally, the Times Atlas, London A-Z. About modern digital applications such as Google Earth, Streetview and Bing. But also why in these modern times some fail where others succeed.
How maps can succeed while dismissing with proper distances and detail, e.g. the London Underground map.
And how maps led to travel guides such as the Baedecker guidebooks and Michelin maps. Lonely Planet and (e.g.) Rough Guides had plenty (sometimes hundreds)! of simple, sketchy city maps in their publications.

Stanfords bookshop in London is famous for its selection of maps and I am pleased to say I have been a client there, even if that was decades ago.
Plenty of fun and good humour in this book. But the differences between men and women reading maps is scientifically analysed here too.
Modern applications have brought maps on our smartphones, into our cars, show us if a relative has landed at its destination, where the hotel is which we are considering for a reservation.
Fictional maps are popular with computer games, e.g. Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto, Dungeons & Dragons, Doom.
Meanwhile planets are seriously mapped too, for we may visit one day! Until that time, experts ponder the images and maps for their interpretations.

While I will consult Google Maps on my smartphone, finding my way through a town or city, and am very used to my TomTom satnav while driving, both nationally as well as internationally, I like to consult printed maps too. My sense of exploration is better suited with a printed map than an app to lead me from A to B.
A very well written, informative and comprehensive book about exploring and our maps.




Story of China, BBC documentary by Michael Woods

At the moment I am enjoying these series, The Story of China, a BBC documentary by historian Michael Woods.
I was particularly fascinated by the episode of Mr Wood's visit to Xian, exploring the Tang Dynasty. An emphatic ruler and brave exploits into India by a Chinese Buddhist monk, Xuanzang; he was, besides a Buddhist monk, also a scholar, traveller, and translator who became famous for describing the interaction between China and India in the early Tang dynasty.
Xuanzang became famous for his seventeen-year (!) overland journey to India, which is recorded in detail in the classic Chinese text Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, which in turn provided the inspiration for the novel 'Journey to the West' written by Wu Cheng'en during the Ming dynasty, around nine centuries after Xuanzang's death.
Amazing to note that Xuanzang mostly travelled on foot!

From the picturesque old city of Luoyang Michael Wood travelled along the Silk Road to the bazaars of Central Asia, and then into India on the track of Xuanzang who brought Buddhism back to China. This tale is still loved by the Chinese today and is brought to life by storytellers, films and shadow puppet plays.

The Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907) was the second great dynasty of Chinese history that was able to unify a vast territory, to spread its culture to the surrounding countries and to absorb and adapt the cultures of surrounding states and peoples.
A great part of the Tang aristocracy even was of non-Chinese, especially Turkish origin, and merchants from Inner Asia, like Sogdhians and Persians dwelled the quarters of the capital Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi).
But after growth, there was decline too.
After the uprise of a military commissioner named An Lushan and a following 'civil war', the central government lost its grip on the local administration and gave way to warlordism in 907; China became again divided into north and south and many small shortlived dynasties, the so-called Five Dynasties (907-960) and Ten States (902-979).

Perhaps, one day, I take up a study of China; its history and osition in the world fascinates me as no other country.

Michael David Wood (b.23Jul1948) is an English historian and broadcaster.
He has presented numerous television documentary series, including Great Railway Journeys (1980), In Search of the Trojan War, Art of the Western World, Legacy: A Search for the Origins of Civilisation, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great (1998), Conquistadors, In Search of Myths and Heroes, The Story of India (2007) and, most recently, The Story of China (2016).
Books by Michael Woods:
    In Search of the Dark Ages (BBC Books, 1981)[13]
    In Search of the Trojan War (1985)
    Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England (1988)
    Legacy: A Search for the Origins of Civilization (1992)
    The Smile of Murugan: A South Indian Journey (1995)
    In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great (1997)
    In Search of England: Journeys Into the English Past (1999)
    Conquistadors (2000)
    In Search of Shakespeare (2003)
    In Search of Myths and Heroes (2005)
    India: An Epic Journey Across the Subcontinent (2007)
    The Story of England (2010)




Occupied, 'Nordic Noir' tv drama

Occupied, 'Nordic Noir' tv drama

Occupied (Norwegian title: Okkupert) is a Norwegian political thriller TV series with 10 episodes that premiered on TV2 on 5 October 2015.
Based on an original idea by Jo Nesbø, the series is directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg.
With a budget of KR 90 million (USD 11 million), the series is the most expensive Norwegian production to date, and has been sold to the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
Okkupert depicts a fictional near future in which Russia, with support from the EU, occupies Norway to restore its oil production. This is prompted by a Europe-wide energy crisis caused by Norway's Green Party coming to power and stopping the country's oil production

Excellent drama about energy, sustainable future for this planet, politics, Russian's soft-style invasion, armed resistance, investigative journalism, political correctness, family drama, unexpected twists ...
The ten episodes kept me well entertained, but the ending was disappointing; it can only mean a 2nd series must be in the pipeline (which I will watch with pleasure!).




Edward Sheriff Curtis (Phaidon) by Joanna Cohan Scherer

Edward Sheriff Curtis (Phaidon) by Joanna Cohan Scherer

Edward Sheriff Curtis (Phaidon) by Joanna Cohan Scherer

Edward Sheridd Curtiss, photographer

Edward Sheriff Curtis (b.06Feb1868 – d.19Oct1952) was an American ethnologist and photographer of the American West and of Native American peoples.
While he received citiscism for having his subjects posing in dress or objects outside the special events when they were normally worn, when he did this it was for his attempt to document a vanishing race complete with traditions, daily life, culture, etc.
Curtis photographed over 80 tribes and this introductory monograph includes a range of his portraits, landscapes and pictures from around the American West, alongside examples of his studio portraiture which was more typical of the Pictorialist photography of the time.
Though Curtis was largely forgotten at the time of his death in 1952, interest in his work revived in the 1970s.

Besides a fascinating series of photographs, wonderfully reproduced in this beautiful Phaidon publication by Joanna Cohan Scherer, it is astonishing to see how Curtis travelled far and wide, from hot & dry southern states such as Arizona and New Mexico to the Nunivak Island in Alaska's Arctic north!

Edward Curtis was born on 16Feb1868, on a farm near Whitewater, Wisconsin.
His father, the Reverend Asahel 'Johnson' Curtis (1840–87), was a minister, farmer, and American Civil War veteran born in Ohio. His mother, Ellen Sheriff (1844–1912), was born in Pennsylvania.
Weakened by his experiences in the Civil War, Johnson Curtis had difficulty in managing his farm, resulting in hardship and poverty for his family.
Curtis left school in the sixth grade and soon built his own camera!

In 1887 the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where Edward purchased a new camera.
In 1895, Curtis met and photographed Princess Angeline (c. 1820–1896), aka Kickisomlo, the daughter of Chief Sealth of Seattle. This was to be his first portrait of a Native American. In 1898, three of Curtis' images were chosen for an exhibition sponsored by the National Photographic Society.
In 1906, J. P. Morgan provided Curtis with $75.000 to produce a series on Native Americans. This work was to be in 20 volumes with 1.500 photographs! Once Curtis had secured funding for the project, he was able to hire several employees to help him.
222 complete sets were eventually published. Curtis' goal was not just to photograph, but to document, as much of Native American traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907: "The information that is to be gathered ... respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost."

In 1892, Edward married Clara J. Phillips (1874–1932), who was born in Pennsylvania. Her parents were from Canada. Together they had 4 children.
During the years of work on The North American Indian, Curtis was often absent from home for most of the year, leaving Clara to manage the children and the studio by herself. After several years of estrangement, Clara filed for divorce on 16Oct1916.
In 1919 she was granted the divorce and received the Curtis' photographic studio and all of his original camera negatives as her part of the settlement.
Edward went with his daughter, Beth, to the studio and destroyed all of his original glass negatives, rather than have them become the property of his ex-wife, Clara...
On 19Oct1952, at the age of 84, Curtis died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California in the home of his daughter, Beth.

Joanna Cohan Scherer is Emerita Anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution.
She is an authority on photographs of Native Americans and has written numerous books on the subject. She contributes regularly to both photography and anthropology publications and was a key researcher for the Handbook of North American Indian, a twenty-volume encyclopedia on the history and the cultures of all indigenous peoples of North America.




Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason

The moment has arrived: I have caught up with the writings of Mr Indriðason! Oblivion was the last book I had on the shelf, purchased in july 2015; while published in 2014, its English translation by Victoria Cribb appeared in the bookstores in 2015.
The early 'Erlendur titles' I read in rather a random order, because I obtained them as such. While I prefer to read in English, I found some titles needed reading them in Dutch because they had been translated in Dutch before the English version appeared.
Oblivion ('Onland' became the Dutch title, published in 2016) is the second Young Erlendur-novel to appear in English and it takes place in 1979.

The previous book was about policeman Sveinsson Erlendur during his younger years, while Jar City, Voices, Arctic Chill, etc. had Erlendur firmly as a middle aged man and an experienced police inspector.
While Indridason also wrote other books, not involving recurrent police characters, he switched to writing novels with Erlendur not involved in actual crime fighting but with his colleagues leading the investigation.
There was a book with Marion Briem as the main character, Erlendur's mentor with the police but a retired persona in the previous Erlendur novels. Erlendur appears only on the very last pages.

Strange Shores wrapped up the original series, now we find ourselves with prequel series featuring a younger Erlendur, telling us about his earlier cases.

The book previous to Oblivion, titled Reykjavik Nights, featured Erlendur's start as a policeman in uniform, but his interest in 'lost causes' appeared and he concluded a murder investigation on his own successfully and his talents were noted by Marion Briem.
This title Oblivion sees Marion Briem and Sveinsson Erlendur working together in Erlendur's earliest career as a detective.

In Oblivion the murder mystery is about a body found in a remote, milky-blue lagoon. The dead person shows signs of a fall from a great height. From a plane?
Soon the nearby US air base becomes involved, but the US military show a lack of coöperation. Something to hide? Was the murdered person an eyewitness to something illegally transported on US aircraft, were nuclear weapons passing through Iceland?
Briem and Erlendur set out to investigate and come across illegal merchandise, including drugs, making its way from the base into Iceland.

The childhood loss of his little brother during a snowstorm, for which he blames himself, is still a permanent presence in Erlendur's life. It comes as no surprise that Erlendur gets sidetracked into the investigation of a schoolgirl lost without a trace over 25 years ago.
In Reykjavik Nights he is in a early start of his relationship with Halldora, not yet married. In Oblivion he no longer lives with her and there is only a brief reference to a young daughter.

I do hope Mr Indridason has another (Erlendur) novel published soon, but meanwhile I have found a list of other Icelandic crime writers...
• Árni Þórarinsson
• Óttar M. Norðfjörð
• Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson
• Yrsa Sigurðardóttir


My previous blogs on books by Arnaldur Indriðason:
blog-2010 q2
blog-2010 q4
blog-2011 q2
blog-2013 q2
blog-2014 q1
blog-2014 q3
blog-2014 q3
blog-2015 q1
blog-2015 q2
blog-2015 q3



Koningsdag 2016


Traditionally people in the Netherlands rejoice in their Royalty during the month of april; festivities are organized, games are held and there is a socalled Free Market (revenue earned are tax exempted on this day, products are often 'flea-market'-type stuff).
Unfortunately the weather played a negative part this year, keeping the numbers down of those selling as well as those visiting and browsing.
Though I suffered drizzle, hail and rain, with short spells of dry, I also came across a lot of smiles!

This tradition goes back a long, long way.
The holiday was initially observed on 31Aug1885 as Prinsessedag or Princess's Day, the 5th birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, heir to the Dutch throne.
On her accession in November 1890 the holiday acquired the name Koninginnedag, first celebrated on 31Aug1891.
In September 1948, Wilhelmina's daughter Juliana ascended to the throne and the holiday was moved to Queen Juliana's birthday, 30 April. The holiday was celebrated on this date from 1949.
Up until 2013, when Queen Beatrix abdicated and was succeeded by her son Willem-Alexander, the holiday was known as Koninginnedag or Queen's Day and was celebrated each year on April 30th.
Koningsdag or King's Day is now celebrated on April 27th (26 April if the 27th is a Sunday), the date marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander.
On April 27th the King and his family (including his brothers & family) visits a preselected town or city.
Over the years the character of this day changed, but many traditions have survived.

More photos I've taken on Koningsdag: Flickr.com



World Press Photo (WPP) 2016 exhibition

World Press Photo (WPP) 2016 exhibition

World Press Photo (WPP) 2016 exhibition

World Press Photo (WPP) 2016 exhibition

Yesterday I visited the World Press Photo 2016 exhibition, in De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam (Netherlands). 
A really good photo exhibition, fantastic photography both in capturing news events, tragedies but also things of great beauty.
The World Press Photo Foundation is a major force in developing and promoting the work of visual journalists, with a range of activities and initiatives that span the globe.
The annual contest has since its start in 1955 grown into one of the most prestigious awards in photojournalism and multimedia storytelling.
The prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries (the kick off is in Amsterdam,NL) and is seen by more than 3.5 million people each year.
Warren Richardson (photo at the top here) won this year's prize.

More of my images (17) of this visit at Flickr.com



The Bridge (Saga Norén), 3rd season

Impossible but true: this series gets better every time!
Another mystery for Malmö police inspector Saga Norén to solve; fortunately it is not just about another serial killer on the prowl.

This 3rd series starts with a sinister discovery at a Malmö building site, on the top floor of an unfinished tower block. A family of four mannequins, two adults, two children, sits at a dining table … except one – the mother – isn't a mannequin.Was she killed for family values?
She is Helle Anker, prominent campaigner of LGBT rights and the recent founder of a gender-neutral preschool – no boys, or girls, just kids. Now, she's dead, with a smile painted on her face, like a clown. Actually, like a smiley face emoticon.
And her heart has been removed, it later emerges! She is from Denmark, hence the investigation crosses the Øresund bridge, between Malmö (Sweden) and Copenhagen (Denmark) frequently.
And for that reason a Danish police inspector supports the investigation into the serial killings, a killer who displays his or her victims as art..?

Hanne is first assigned to support Saga, but she very much dislikes that assignment. I won't spoil how she is replaced (very soon) by Henrik Saboe (excellent performance by Thure Lindhardt), whom I like more than Kim Bodnia's Martin; there is more interaction between Henrik and Saga and the writers have gone all out to make his role a brilliant one.
Henrik has his own personal demons to deal with, dabbling in drugs (uppers and downers to make him sleep and to keep going at work) to help dealing with the pain of a personal tragedy.

Sofia Helin plays a stellar performance once more as Saga Norén, of whom we get more background and see her struggle with other people's faults (she couldn't overlook Martin's actions and she reported him, condemning him to a long jail sentence), her own short-comings, accusations by her mother, doubts about her sister's suicide... And her relation with Henrik, who allows her space but does not hesitate to mock her, calling her 'Wikpedia'or 'Wiki'.

A woman photographer appeared in a few episodes, her face rang a bell but I could not place her in the right series. Found 'paparazza Tina' not in the Bridge III castlist (e.g. Imdb), but finally it hit home! Her name is Ida Engvoll and this Swedish actrice played an 'IT techie" in The Team (2015).
She also had parts in Beck (2009) Arne Dahl (2012) Den fördömde (2013).
And.. she will star as a lawyer-investigator in films based on Åsa Larsson's award-winning thrillers!

I was surprised to hear a Bob Dylan track at some point! I found that he had offered something as such and when the producers replied they could not afford him, he took a token payment for he was a fan of these series!

While the murder mysterie is compelling, the characters really keep you wanting for more, all through the 10 episodes.
It'll be hard to consider writing a 4th episode, but I just can't imagine I've seen the last of Saga Norén?! The ending seems prepared for a follow-up and I would welcome one!




Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
This book nice sized coffee-table book (256 pages) offers a broad collection of striking photographs,
some well known (famous even!) but fortunately many less published. The book includes photography
by both well-known and unknown photographers. A distinguised historian of photography, the author Eva Weber, cuts a special perspective to this book with her essays on the subjects and themes that
have persisted and pervaded the photographs of the American West.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
While most photographs are by Ansel Adams, one should not assume he only photographed
mountains & rocks! He also photographed subjects such as people, crops and buildings.
The first chapter is a lengthy essay on Ansel Adams, his youth, his love for music, his career
as a photographer in a variety of roles as well his part in growing appreciation of Nature.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
From the chapter 'Views Aesthetic and Spiritual' with photographs by Carleton E. Watkins
(left) and Eadward Muybridge. Besides detailing work by these gentlemen and adressing the
chapter's subject, obviously, there are photographs reproduced by Adams, Timothy
O'Sullivan and John K. Hillers.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
"Surveys and Science, with photography by William Henry Jackson (left) and Timothy
O'Sullivan. This chapter adresses details with exploring the terrain and mapping the
topography as well as collecting all sorts of scientific information of the new lands in The West.
Alexander Humboldt and John C. Frémont benefitted from photography In 1859 painter
Albert Bierstadt made over 100 stereographs whule accompanying the Lander federal wagon-
route survey across Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.Photography y Timothy O'Sullivan, John
K. Hillers, William Henry Jackson, Andrew J. Russell, Ansel Adams (in theCarlsbad Caverns),
Carleton E. Watkins, Edward S. Curtis and F.A. Ames.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
Edward S. Curtis: Canyon de Chelly - Navaho

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
"Shadow Catchers', with photography by Edward S. Curtis.
The frontier photographers, called shadow catchers by the Indians, produced a body of work
on native life that was widely appreciated in their era, but which has become the focus
of considerable controversy in more recent times. Most controversial of all are the romantic
Indian portraits and ceremonial re-enactments by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952).
A very interesting chapter, there obviously was a business side to this photography.
Also nice to read that Chief Sitting Bull and Geronimo had their portraits taken, signed them
and charged for them! They too had a sharp business sense!
Photography also by I.G. Davidson, Walter D. Wilcox, Timothy O'Sullivan, Alexander Gardner
John K. Hillers, William Stinson Soule, William Henry Jackson,Ben Wittick, Laura Gilpin, A. Adams.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
'The West Transformed', photography here by Solomon D. Butcher (left) and William J. Lubkin.
The subject here is both history as well as actual fact. We read about Indians being removed from
Yosemite Valley only years before tourist arrive, but while land is set aside for preservation there
is forever activites encroaching such as farming, mining, logging, water damming, oil drilling,
geothermal power projects and other commercial business such as tourism!
Photography in this chapter also by Andrew J. Russell, William Henry Jackson, Eadweard
Muybridge, E.M. Hegglund, Alexander Gardner, F.A. Ames, Carleton E. Watson, Stanley J. Morrow.
Ansel Adams photographed a flock of sheep in the Owens Valley (1941) and a corn field near Tuba City.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
'The West Transformed', photography by Andrew J.Russell.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
'Documenting History and Society', photographs by W.H. Illingworth.
Photography played role in the Civil War, Battle of Little Horn, treaties with the Indians
being signed (the final blow to Native American resistance came in 1890) and photography
became a vital instrument when economy crumbled in 1932 and resulted in the Great
Depression; photography was used by photographers such as Dorothea Lange for the
Farm Security Administration (FSA), visual material helping to map and understand the crisis.
Also photography by D. Lange, Timothy O'Sullivan, Eadweard Muybridge, Alexander Gardner,
A.J.McDonald, C.P. Rich, Jacob Riis, Russell Lee, John C.H. Grabhill, George Trager,
Charles H. Townsend, Arnold Genthe, John Vachon and Arthur Rothstein.
Ansel Adams is included with a photo 'Relocation: Packing up to Leave', 1943 at the Manzanar
Relocation Center; but his portfolio on such social documentary was a very modest one.

Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the American West; by Eva Webber
Photographs of by Arnold Genthe support the part of the Chinese immigrants in this essay.

Ansel Adams proved most decisively that photography could be a major art form. His pictures, whether still life, portrait, or the landscape and nature studies (for which he is is most famous), invite a poetic experience, a poetry enhanced by the exceptional clarity of the images.
Adams's work was part of a tradition of western American photography that began in the late 19th century and this book includes the work of Carlton E. Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge, and several Civil War photographers including Alexander Gardner, Timothy O'Sullivan and A.J. Russell, among others.

Photographer Edward Curtis's ambitious 30-year documentation of 80 tribes west of the Mississippi came out of the same fascination with the region's grandeur and wildness and the drive to record it.

This book is a beautifully produced document (published in 2002 by Thunder Bay Press), with over 280 photographs and a fascinating text by noted photographic historian Eva Weber.
I consider it a treasure not only for the captivating photography, but also for my interest in the history and beauty of the American West.

Ansel Adams
Carlton Watkins
Eadweard Muybridge
Timothy H. O'Sullivan
Alexander Gardner
Andrew J. Russell
Edward S. Curtis
Dorothea Lange

Eva Weber is an art historian specializing in American photography and design of the 19th- and 20th centuries.
A Vassar College graduate, she has an advanced degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She was director of the Hampshire College Art Gallery from 1975 to 1990 and is the author of 'Art Deco in America', 'Great Photographers of the American West', 'Great Photographers of the Civil War', 'Alfred Stieglitz' and 'Pioneers of Photography'.



Keukenhof Holland 2016

Keukenhof Holland 2016

Keukenhof Holland 2016

Keukenhof Holland 2016

Keukenhof Holland 2016

Sometimes, in spite of the hordes of tourists, one has to go to places almost too corny to visit. The Keukenhof is such an exception for me.
Keukenhof has over 7 million bulbs in bloom this spring, with a total of 800 varieties of tulips!
All this colour does wonders to ones disposition.
There are also some 90 different species of trees here. As one can see in the photo immediately above, there is art too.
For kids various things are in place, such as a small petting zoo with alpacas, small goats, little pigs and rabbits; there is a maze to get lost in and a playground with plenty of climbing facilities.
Every year some 1 million (plus) visitors share this 'garden' during a period of only a few weeks. For 2016 this is March 26th - May 16th.
Small trails make it possible to avoid congested areas and I must say that watching people is almost as much fun as enjoying the flowers!




Erdogan, not a goatfucker

Erdogan cartoons

Erdogan, trampler of democratic rights
An update from Haarlems Dagblad, 15Apr2016

The EU made a dodgy deal with Turkey, trying to stem the tide of illegal immigrants fleeing from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. They travel through Turkey and make an illegal entry through countries such as Greece.
President Erdogan, or should I say Sultan Erdogan, has turned into a dictator, trampling democratic rights in Turkey. Now he finds that the same EU leaders who shunned him for so many years now need him.
A dictator such as Erdogan however knows no bounds, does not know modesty or when to stop. His hugely inflated ego accepts no criticism and this he manifests on a daily basis in Turkey.
A few days ago a satirist in Germany read a poem, brimming with irony, but the humour was lost on Erdogan. And he demanded legal prosecution by Chancellor Merkel!
This is obviously a hot potato in EU politics, but Western freedom of speech is in the firing line. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
My sympathy is with Mr Böhmermann, but he has had to go into hiding for fear of harm done to him.




Janet Malcolm: Forty-One False Starts

'Forty-One False Starts' was acquired by me at the same time as her book 'The Journalist and the Murderer', which I enjoyed. This book I did not like very much, though the fault, I am sure, is all mine.

Janet Malcolm (b.1934) is an American writer, journalist on staff at The New Yorker magazine, and collagist.
She is the author of 'Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession' (1981), 'In the Freud Archives' (1984) and 'The Journalist and the Murderer' (1990).
Craig Seligman wrote of her: "Like Sylvia Plath, whose not-niceness she has laid open with surgical skill, she discovered her vocation in not-niceness ... Malcolm's blade gleams with a razor edge. Her critics tend to go after her with broken bottles." And the influential critic Harold Bloom has praised her "wonderful exuberance," writing that Malcolm's books, "transcend what they appear to be: superb reportage."

This book has essays by Malcolm, written over several decades. It concerns too many artists, writers, photographers I do not know nor found an interest in (e.g. David Salle, Edith Wharton, Cecily von Ziegesar);in various cases I could not bring myself to finish the chapter, though her writing is something to be enjoyed, very eloquent and often evocative. Obviously 'literary'.

I did enjoy the essays on Edward Weston, Diane Arbus and Thomas Struth; of the latter I learned he was also famous for his photography inside museums, depicting people watching, studying - a form of photography of mine I had not taken seriously yet!
Some articles aroused my interest (e.g. 'Salinger's cigarettes'), but still I found it difficult to finish; and others (e.g. on an American art publication) I very soon lost interest in and skipped pages.
The same with "... her exploration of the Bloomsbury Group's obsessive desire to create things both visual and literary"; it was totally lost on me.

The book made a very American impression on me but I cannot express why, for the subjects were not limited to American persons or institutions.
I feel the fault is entirely mine.




Zijden Draad, China en Nederand sinds 1600 (Mostert & van Campen)

Zijden Draad, China en Nederand sinds 1600 (Mostert & van Campen)

'Zijden Draad' (EN=Silken Thread) is an account of the history shared between China and the Netherlands since 1600.
Going by the extensive collection of the 'Rijksmuseum' in Amsterdam, history and trade routes are explained and illustrated.
Starting with initially failed or fruitless attempt to reach China and contact those in power to open up trading, establish trading posts, there is also chapters on the growing Western fascination for Chinese products.
For centuries trading from the Dutch colonies (Batavia) was the most successful, including piracy! Unable to establish trading posts Batavia accepted goods (e.g. silk, porcelain, lacquerware) and shipped them onwards. The VOC managed to do a brisk business.

For centuries the shared history shows difficult relations, illustrated by piracy, war and other trading obstacles. But all through the 19th- and 20th century the fascination for China only grew and the final chapter in this book is about overcoming obstacles and recent success such as a Chinese businessman investing millions in a Dutch football team, ADO Den Haag.

While I have a limited interest in art objects such as porcelain, I did find the book very educational and was captivated by the entire history. The illustrations are nothing shot of brilliant!
The cover has a photo by Robert Capa, which goes well with my fascination for streetphotography (the cause for these people looking upwards is far from common).
An excellent history book (248 pages, full-colour) on a specialized subject.




Vojta Dukat - photography

Vojta Dukat

Vojta Dukát, photography

A Moravian photographer, Vojta Dukát (b. 1947), went into exile in the Netherlands after Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Soviet Army in August 1968.
He then wandered the world and excelled in humanist photography. He continues to try and be a professional amateur, true to the Lubitel camera.
He does not work systematically.
He haunts places where he can find harmonic relations towards things and nature in the company of his fellow human beings. He likes to chat with people who are unstressed by the notion that time is money.

In 1974 and 1976, he was a Nominee of Magnum Photos in Paris.
Since the mid-1980s, he has limited his photography in order to concentrate on video recordings.
He was awarded the Capi-Lux Alblas Prize, in 1997, and the Pieter Ouborg Prize, in 2001, for his long-term contribution to the visual arts.

The articles in this monograph, Dukát's second, are by Antonín Dufek, an art historian and curator emeritus of the photography collection at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Melchior de Wolff, T. S. Gottlieb, and Vojta Dukát.
Published in 2013, 144 pages; format: 160 x 180 mm.




Looking at the US, 1957 - 1986

Looking at the US, 1957 - 1986

Looking at the US, 1957 - 1986

Looking at the US, 1957 - 1986

'Looking at the U.S. 1957-1986' is an extended look at cultural and political life in the United States over nearly three decades of change and stability.

Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watrissare are known for organizing and hosting FotoFest, an international photo festival and portfolio review that takes place every two years in Houston, Texas.
They travel around the world to participate in photography festivals, conferences and portfolio reviews — looking at new work, encouraging promising photographers, and helping to introduce like-minded people to each other wherever they go.
The two have generated over the past 40 years, an admirable amount of work, both working individually as well as together as photographers, journalists and activists for human rights and social justice.

This book (the exhibition toured internationally around 2009) displays some of the most important historic events of the last half century in the U.S. — the Civil Rights Movement, Ku Klux Klan, Vietnam War, American drug culture, Feminism, and local and national politics, to name a few.
They traveled with and photographed well-known figures from that era, including Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.
Beyond the big stories, they documented rural life, poverty, and the struggles for survival and dignity in small communities throughout Texas over an extended period of 13 years of self-initiated investigations.
There is an understanding of the importance of history and the recording of that history.

My interest in this book was first captivated by the histories and ways of life photographed in Texas 20-30 years ago, for my own visit to Central Texas last year.
What moved me the most though, was the account on Vietnam Vets, who returned home with post-traumatic stress syndrome problems, brain injuries, and immune system problems associated with the use of depleted uranium weaponry.

Anyone who is interested in the history of the United States, human rights, and documentary photography will find value in this work.

Review by Jim Casper on:



Thomas Struth museum photography

I was quite surprised to find recently that my photo reports on visits to museums and (photography) galleries, which I considered mere tomfoolery on my part, is actually a genre! 
This kind of work actually made Thomas Struth famous (admittedly he is recognised for other talents in photography as well, such as portraits). 




Trapped tv-series

TRAPPED is a tv series I so much enjoyed, fresh and vibrant, it made me think of how much I enjoyed the first series of The Killing!
As I am used to watching such series with subtitles, spoken in Scandinavian languages, I had no trouble now dealing with Icelandic.
After its first screening at the Toronto International Film Festival on 20Sep15, it was first broadcast on RÚV on Dec. 27th. It has since been sold to numerous broadcasters across the world, including the BBC, who began screening it on 13February16. I acquired it through a dvd boxset.

The story is complex, multi-layered, but is unravelled in a tidy and understandable way; there are no sudden, unexplained moves.
It starts with a fire in a warehouse where two young people had made their love nest. Then the story skips seven years, but this fire has consequences that reverberate throughout the series.

When a carferry from Denmark docks in Seyðisfjörður, a sleepy town in eastern parts of Iceland, it coincides with fishermen finding a dismembered body in the water. The police suspects that the passengers and/or crew on the ferry has something to do with the dead body and forbids it to leave. Chaos ensues, as passengers are stranded and illegal humam trafficking comes to light.

Meanwhile a group of local businessmen try to sell their village the idea of a Chinese investment: their village is ideally located to create an international sea harbour, but everybody would need to sell their land to make this dream come true. With the 2008 banking crisis in Iceland still well in mind, this is met with suspicion by some.
If we regard the current scandal in Iceland, as revealed by 'the Panama Papers', and the financial schemes Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugssonnow has to answer to, fiction is not so strange in this Icelandic murder mystery!

The local constabulary consists of only three people and they are put hard up to solve this murder, deal with the chaos of the stranded ferry passengers and find the people implicated in illegal human trafficking. All this against a backdrop of severe winter weather, when the entire village find themselves trapped by an avalanche blocking the roads and a blizzard making air traffic impossible.

The police force in Reykjavik want to claim their responsibility, and media limelight, and when they finally can, they blunder in with too much haste.
A local old boys network, with interests in the harbour development, is hard to crack; until one of them is murdered.
Many people in the small community have something to hide, including police-inspector Andri (who is also dealing with his ex-wife visiting, with her new partner, and she intends to take their 2 young daughters back to Reykjavik).

The filming in snow and wind conditions is really top notch; the peeling away of the various layers of mystery is steady and compelling.
Twenty episodes would have been as welcome as the ten I watched!

Trapped on Wikipedia

Seyðisfjörður  is a town and municipality in the Eastern Region of Iceland at the innermost point of the fjord of the same name.
Every week the car ferry MS Norröna of Smyril Line comes to Seyðisfjörður from Hirtshals in Denmark and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands. Until January 2009 it also called at Bergen, Norway and Scrabster, Scotland.
Seyðisfjörður is connected to the Icelandic ring road Route 1 at Egilsstaðir, via Route 93 which departs west from Seyðisfjörður. [Wikipedia]



Ad Nuis - De Dam (streetphotography)

The title 'De Dam' (1991, forword by writer&poet F.Starik) refers to the dam that gives Amsterdam (Netherlands) its name. Dam Square is a crossroads of tourists, visitors and locals in the city; some even say it is the center of the world!
For almost five full days Ad Nuis took position here and photographed people passing and stopping here.

Ad Nuis (b.1958) got a degree 1985 having studied at the School of Photography in The Hague. He's been an independent photographer ever since.
He has his work published in newspapers such as De Volkskrant, NRC, Parool as well as with VPRO, Vrij Nederland, Communicatie, Management Scope.
Ad Nuis also invested in long term projects, some if not all ended in the publication of a book. During the 1990s these titles were published (a.o.): 'Alweer een Dag', 'De Dam', 'Bomenboek', '65+', 'De Aftrap'.

From the year 2000 he switched from B&W photography to (digital) colour photography. This brought new projects: 'De Bovenste Verdieping', 'Nieuwe Amsterdammers', 'Koningshoef'.
He continues to publish columns and work in NRC ('Returning to the past for a moment') and Vrij Nederland ('Nuis NL').
In recent years he's been adding more text to his photos, guiding his photography.
For the 'Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst' he produced a book about squatters, at Tetterode, in the 1980s.
Ad Nuis continues to work on various projects; a book I am seriously considering buying is about his visits duing 2008 - 2013 to Azerbaijan, a book titled 'Oil & Paradise'.

For my interest in streetphotography I am glad I ran into this nice little book!

Ad Nuis, Oil & Paradise
Ad Nuis on Facebook
F. Starik



The Blood Spilt by Asa Larsson

Larsson, Asa - 'The Blood Spilt' (translated by Marlaine Delargy)
Paperback: 352 pages (May 2008) Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd ISBN: 0141031085
First published in Sweden in 2004, Det Blod Som Spillts

Eighteen months after the events described in Asa Larsson's debut novel, 'The Savagae Altar', Rebecka Martinsson is still psychologically unfit to return to work at her law firm. Nevertheless, her notoriety brings in new business, so she's allowed to sit in on cases without taking an active part.
Mentally she is still struggling, she's haunted by the traumatic case in which she became involved in the earlier book, and feels herself an object of curiosity.
Company business sees her return to Sweden's north and she thinks she is ready to face her demons.

The law firm specialises in representing religious organisations, advising them about their investments and strategy. The priests in a village near Kiruna, Rebecca's childhood home and scene of the events in the previous book, want legal advice about the local church's financial affairs in the wake of the recent death of one of their number. Thorsten Karlsson, a senior partner at the firm, gets the assignment, and, for a change of scenery, Rebecka accompanies him to the village.
Immediate business attended, Karlsson leaves but Martinsson stays behind for a few loose ends. She decides to extend her stay, considering it may be helpful for further mental recovery; she rents a log cabin, hangs out at the local café (befriends the owner and even helps out waitressing), connects with a mentally handicapped boy (Nalle) and gradually picks up the courage to visit her grandmother's house and her neighbour, Sivving (and his dog Bella) in Kurravaara.

We follow the police investigation into Mildred's murder, by police inspector Anna-Marie Melis, who has recently returned to work after her maternity leave.
More and more we learn about Mildred, the murdered priest; she was responsible for a great deal of social unrest in the small community. Was that the reason why she was hanged? Or perhaps her lesbian relationship?

Further investigations sees Anna-Marie peeling layers of the tight knit community. Religion, and what it does to people, seems to be a fascination of Asa Larsson. Rebecka Martinsson connects with the community in a different way than Anna-Marie (Rebecka is not searching for a murderer), but they find common causes and share findings.
The story proceeds, we read about all kinds of wrongdoing, petty misdeeds are exposed and nasty behaviour comes to light. But for a long, long while there is no clue in sight that would expose the murderer; until...

The supernatural is present in some of the Asa Larsson novels, but here we get chapters on a 'she-wolf', named 'Yellow Legs'.
Yellow Legs is like Rebecka - part of a group but on the outside of it.
Eventually, Yellow Legs is rejected by the pack, at the same time as the villagers discover that Rebecka is the girl who was involved in the earlier sensational case, and (in some cases at least) ostracise her.

The observations and atmosphere are well presented by the author and her translator. If there is a weakness in the book, in my opinion, it is in the ending: rather abrupt but also unsettling.

Over the past few years I've read several if not most of the superb books by Åsa Larsson.
Some are reviewed on my blog: MyBlog 2016Q1 for 'The Black Path' and on MyBlog 2013Q 'Until Thy Wrath Be Past'.



Une Femme exhib at Huis Marseille
Huis Marseille: Jeroen Robert Kramer 'Une Femme'

Une Femme exhib at Huis Marseille
Jeroen Robert Kramer 'Une Femme'

FOAM: Jacques Henri Lartigue 'Life in Colour'
FOAM: Jacques Henri Lartigue 'Life in Colour'

FOAM, Disfarmer 'The Vintage Prints'
FOAM: Disfarmer 'The Vintage Prints'

FOAM, Disfarmer 'The Vintage Prints'
Disfarmer 'The Vintage Prints'

PhotoQ Bookshop, Amsterdam
Pièce de résistance: the PhotoQ Bookshop, specialty store for photo books.
Warning before entry: your consumer's self control will be severely tested, so much of interest here on offer!

Yesterday I had a lovely afternoon in Amsterdam, first visiting Huis Marseille for an exhibition of work by Jeroen Robert Kramer.
The central figure in Une Femme is composed of different characters. There is Khiar, a handsome, elderly Lebanese gentleman who lives in Beirut, a city scarred by decades of religious tension. The wars that arose from those tensions do not appear in the exhibition, but we sense the presence of an 'elephant in the room'. Then there is the photographer, who makes images of traffic lights changing, or of the planters that are found everywhere in Beirut, and who finds beauty in a pile of sand or in the banality of a barber's sign or a grocer's shop full of food.

I liked the concept (though the concept did not work for me: I could not compose a character by the images, but I like his recording 'daily life') and I liked the 37 historic prints of Bierut, here on display too!

From Huis Marseile it is only a short walk to FOAM, where I walked in with my camera and to my chagrin was told that photography inside wasn't allowed. Where is the harm and what to think of the many who did take pictures (I did not see 'no photography'-signs inside). I decided there and then that I would look, take a few sneak pictures ("we do our own publicity and social media": blaah!) but would buy nothing at the FOAM, no books of the exhibitions.
So convenient there is an excellent Photobooks bookstore nearby, takes only a 20 minutes walk to get there.

Jeroen Robert Kramer (born 1967, Amsterdam) is a Dutch contemporary photographer.
He started his career as a free lance photographer for the Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant, which sent him to Iraq to cover the invasion in 2003.
Since then he has worked extensively in the Middle East.
He is most famous for his work for magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times, Vanity Fair and Der Spiegel that has taken him to many conflict zones in the past decade, including Afghanistan, Kenya, Lebanon, Iraq, the Philippines and Pakistan.
In 2008 Kramer decided he no longer wanted to work as a documentary photographer.
This led to the publication of his book 'Room 103', in which he mixes ordinary life in the Middle east with images of violence. In his opinion his earlier work focused too much on violence and thereby created a distorted view of the world.
With Room 103, he presents an intimate view of life in the Middle East. The book was awarded the top Dutch documentary award, The Dutch Doc award and the New York Photo festival book award.

Jacques Henri Lartigue (b.13Jun1894 – d.12Sep1986) was a French photographer and painter, known for his photographs of automobile races, planes and Parisian fashion female models.
Born in Courbevoie, France to a wealthy family, Jacques Henri Lartigue started taking photographs when he was seven.
He photographed his friends and family at play – running and jumping; racing home-built race cars; making kites, gliders as well as aeroplanes.
Due to his wealthy background he was able to experiment with colour photography at a very early stage.
He also photographed sport events, such as the Coupe Gordon Bennett and the French Grand Prix, early flights of aviation pioneers such as Gabriel Voisin, Louis Blériot, Louis Paulhan and Roland Garros.
Many of his initial, famous photographs were originally captured through stereo, but he also produced a vast number of images in all formats and media including glass plates in various sizes, autochromes, and film.

Mike Disfarmer (1884-1959) was an American photographer whose portraits of everyday people in rural Arkansas became regarded as art some years after his death.
Born Mike Meyer in Indiana, his family moved to Arkansas in 1892. He changed his surname to 'Disfarmer', possibly to break with his family's agrarian roots, the first move in a maverick career that embraced both obscurity and a rigorous aesthetic.
Disfarmer maintained a portrait studio in his hometown of Heber Springs, Arkansas, and photographed members (and visitors) of the local community for small fees. But his 'penny portraits' were far more than mere keepsake photographs.
Employing a stark realism and often lengthy, unnervingly mute sitting sessions, Disfarmer produced a consistent stream of portraits that, according to some, strip his subjects into an uncanny intimacy.
I did not see the beauty of all these very small, very similar prints, but maybe my mood had been spoiled by the "no photography"-reception upon entering FOAM.




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Created: 03-Jan-2016