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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 I feel have no place on my website (focussing mainly on aviation history and travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) - Bishop George Berkeley

In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.). The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website.

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.





A Cambodian Prison Portrait: One Year in the Khmer Rouge's S-21 is a harrowing account of an artist's experiences in prison during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

Vann Nath, 63, born in Battambang, Cambodia, is one of 7 survivors (and 3 still alive today) of the Khmer Rouge's secret prison known as S-21, where 14,000 men, women and children were interrogated, tortured and executed during the 1975-79 Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.
He is one of Cambodia's most prominent artists, and it was this skill that kept him alive at S-21. His life was spared by his jailors so that he could be put to work painting and sculpting portraits of Pol Pot.

A truly distressing account but also a vitally important historic document.

Khmer Rouge on Wikipedia
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum



Universel Reisgids voor Moeilijke Landen - Jelle Brandt Corstius
A both useful as well as hilarious book, explaining travel through 'difficult countries', e.g. Third World countries.
Brimming with useful advise as such as how to bargain for a good deal, how to swallow food that might disgust you, what to do when robbed by a monkey, how to deal with abject poverty, and much more!
Travelling through these countries is taxing, not relaxing, and the author has learned many aspects the hard way. So benefit from his experiences, even if you go on a package tour to (e.g.) S.E. Asia.
Jelle Brandt Corstius writes with a dry wit and the book is terrific good fun to read.


Rob Wijnberg: De Nieuwsfabriek
Nice read about journalism and the media, how we are all hooked on it (in very superficial way, little distinction in terms of impact, dulls the mind even...), the money interests, the state of printed newspapers are in, etc.
Rob Wijnberg has a very clear cut style of writing and the media matter is dissected in a very easy to read way.
Suggestions to boot on how the media could reinvent instelf, according to Wijnberg.
Very useful read.



De Witte Tijger - Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga.
It was first published in 2008 and won the 40th Man Booker Prize in the same year.
The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy.

In detailing Balram’s journey first to Delhi, where he works as a chauffeur to a rich landlord, and then to Bangalore, the place to which he flees after killing his master and stealing his money, the novel examines issues of religion, caste, loyalty, corruption and poverty in India.

Balram's eyes penetrate India as few outsiders can: the cockroaches and the call centers; the prostitutes and the worshippers; the ancient and Internet cultures; the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.



The Killing III - Scandi-Crime drama

The third and last series of the Scandinavian Crime series 'Forbrydelsen', featuring police inspector Sarah Lund (brilliantly played by Sofie Gråbøl).
Evidently a decision was made to stop these series at its peak!

First of 10 episodes start with the abduction of a young girl, body parts found of a murdered seaman and two seaman found murdered on a nearby vessel.
We also see Sarah Lund preparing a meal (which certainly is a departure from the domestic scene in the two previous 'Killings') and setting the table for her estranged son and his fiancée; but he cancels their visit by phone and we witness Sarah's struggle in relations. She has also applied for another job (OPA - Operational Planning & Analysis) with the police force; she's ready for change it seems, and though changes will come to here they are not the ones she expected or planned.

There is very few violence in these series, focussing on mysteries and intrigue.
The young girl is held captive against a ransom, but the kidnapper isn't clear for what offer he will set the girl free. The parents of the abducted child have seperated, the mother lives with a new partner. These relations wind through the story, as well as the position of the father, Robert Zeuthen, as head of the Zeeland corporation.
There is a strong current within Zeeland's Board of Directors to move abroad for cheaper labour.
There is also again a government connection: an election is upcoming and the three political parties maneuver, using the abduction as well as a previous crime to their advantage. Zeeland's strategic plans are of political importance.
And the prime minister finds him struggling (besides the loyalties of his associates) with the alleged suicide of his son, who also seems to have played a role in that previous crime (disguised by early inquiries as a suicide, but a closer look reveals a murder took place on the young girl).

So Sarah finds herself under pressure to solve this abduction, political pressure applied on her superiors (another fine role by the imposing Morten Suurballe as Lennart Brix), but only Sarah Lund fully appreciates how that previous murder inquiry plays a role for the kidnapper.
Sarah's fellow inquirer this time is Mathias Borch (played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas), an Intelligence officer; they were briefly in a relation in the past but Sarah had withdrawn. Their relation sees a rekindling of the spark but is complicated by Mathias' hidden agenda.
Don't expect happy endings here!

These three series of The Killing have established new benchmarks for crime drama, absolute brilliant stuff!

The Killing - Danish TV Series on Wikipedia



Shakey, Neil Young's biography - by Jimmy McDonough

In 1989, Young encountered a San Francisco-based writer for New York's Village Voice named Jimmy McDonough. The interview they conducted turned out so well that the normally media-shy Young surprisingly agreed that they collaborate together to create a definitive Young biography.
This book is the result of years of siege to the fortress that is the person Neil Young.
Jimmy McDonough did a fine job, he wrote a compelling book, but don't expect Mr Young to come out as a saint or even smelling of roses! Most certainly not.

Young went on to speak at length to McDonough during the early 1990s, as well as granting the writer access to individuals from his past whose own detailed recollections would be blended into the finished text.
Bernard Shakey is one of Neil Young's preferred aliases for himself, an acknowledgement of the singer's ongoing battle with epilepsy.

Neil Young attracts and withdraws as he sees fit. McDonough has difficulty trying to keep up with Young's mercurial ways.
Young is not loyal to people he work with, even to those he may consider friends. He sees it as applying priorities and everybody knows his music comes first.
Actually, his obsessions come first! During a period of time Lionel trains was most important to him. This started as an interest but he fathered a son, Ben, afflicted by severe cerebral palsy; this spurred Young on to attempt creating new ways to communicate with the child and one thing led to another, Young has invented and put on the market a new line of toys designed for the mentally handicapped!
As someone described it: "if he wouldn't be doing all those things now, the way he does them -or not-, he may well have ceased his music by now".

Every chapter in this book describes a unique way of life of a unique person, but with what is learned in one chapter doesn't really offer a clue or prediction as to what Mr Young would do next.
And I felt the same when I'd finished the book, all 700+ pages. One learns about aspects of Neil Young, like a map offered of the fortress but not allowed to enter to see and check.
Certainly not for lack of effort by Jimmy McDonough, who wrote a very 'innaresting' book!

SHAKEY, Neil Young's Biography - Anchor Books (2002).

A much better book description, from which I borrowed generously to write the above, can be found:



NL statistics



Arne Dahl - Scandinavian Crime Drama

Volume 2 of the excellent 'Arne Dahl' crime series and yet another confirmation of the highest standards of drama series produced by the Scandinavian countries.
This box contains 3 dvd's, each containing 2 episodes of 90 minutes, covering 3 stories.
Besides the crime theme the stories also cover personal circumstances of some of this 'A-team' squad, fighting international crime.

Jan Arnald (born 11 January 1963) is a Swedish novelist and literary critic, who uses the pen name Arne Dahl when writing crime fiction. He is also a regular writer in Swedish newspaper 'Dagens Nyheter'.



DI Rebus in The Falls

It was good to pick up another DI Rebus novel, another gripping tale yet a comforting escape from life surrounding.

A student has gone missing in Edinburgh and there is very little for Detective Inspector John Rebus to go on apart from his gut feeling that there's more to this case than a runaway..
Two leads emerge: a carved wooden doll in a tiny coffin and an Internet role-playing game. Rebus concentrates on the coffin, eerily reminiscnet of 16 similar relics found on a hillside in 1836, leaving DC Siobhan ('Sio-vawn') Clarke to deal with the cyberspace Quizmaster.

'The Falls' is at its best as a series of engrossing character studies. It is a complex mystery novel, as you would expect from Rankin, one of a handful of truly outstanding British mystery writers.
One of Rankin's particular strengths is the way he can shade a character with just a sentence. The unraveling of the mystery is of course gripping, but you don't find yourself any nearer to solving the mystery on page 300!
The fascination is in the characters, not just those of DI Rebus and DC Clarke, but also those of Rebus' new-found friend at the museum and Clarke's temporary sidekick Grant, as well as others.
The story develops through their actions and seen through their eyes.

A wonderful read!

Ian Rankin on Wikipedia.



Dorothea Lange - photography

Acquired this little book (13.5cm x 15,5cm, 5,5 inch wide hence the 'Phaidon 55' reference) through a secondhand shop. I had been on the look out for something by Dorothea Lange for quite some time and stumble on this nice little publication.

Dorothea Lange (née Nutzhorn, b.26May1895 – d.11October1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography.

At the age of 7 she had contracted polio, which left her with a limp.
When she was 12 her father ran off. Hard times for sure.
In 1918 she left New York to travel the world, only to find her money stolen in San Francisco. Travelling plans abandoned, she found work and her photography career started at that time.

I was surprised to read about her toughness having seen her work so full of compassion. While her photography can be described as 'documentary' her photography cannot be considered as dry and distant, far from it.
But when Depression hit in 1930, she boarded both her children and put work first.

During 1945 - 1950 she had to discontinue her photography due to illness. In 1952 she worked with photographer Ansel Adams and her writer son Daniel Dixon for Life magazine.

During 1958 - 1959 she travelled to Europe and Asia with her 2nd husband, Paul Taylor; she photographed whenever possible.
In 1965 she died of cancer.
Wikipedia, more..
The Great Depression on Wikipedia



Fotografie van de 20e Eeuw
Bought this tome of a book in a sales somewhere. Thought I couldn't go wrong with over 750 pages of photography of 20th century. And I was right.
From Ansel Adams to Piet Zwart, famous photographers and many others, unfamiliar names to me. A lovely book to browse and get inspired.
Truly a work of celebration: Taschen's 25th anniversary.



A|nno 1790 - Scandinavian Crime Drama

Anno 1790 is a Swedish historic crime drama starring Peter Eggers, Joel Spira and Linda Zilliacus. The first season was broadcast on SVT in the fall of 2011 and ran for 10 episodes.
Last night we watched the final 2 episodes of this dvd box. Our fascination for Scandinavian crime drama as well as an avid interest in history come together in these wonderful series.

The main character is Johan Gustav Dåådh (Peter Eggers) a former army physician from the Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790), now criminal inspector in Stockholm. He is inspired by the French revolution and the new ideas of his time.
The main character is Johan Gustav Dåådh (Peter Eggers) a former army physician from the Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790), now criminal inspector in Stockholm. He is inspired by the French revolution and the new ideas of his time.
Wikipedia, more..



Monsoon by Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is a photographer whom I admired for decades. It wasn't the famous portrait of a girl in Afghanistan, but rather a photography exhibition of his work in Naarden-Vesting which kept me mesmerized.
For budget reasons I prefer secondhand books of such portfolio work and on this book 'Monsoon' I got a got deal because the front cover showed some discoloration.

I don't think we, in the Western World, can imagine what a phenomenon such as the monsoon implicates for a society. McCurry, in the finest documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle but also joy.
McCurry did a wonderful job illustrating the difficulty of day to day activities during the monsoon; his fantastic dedication permeates through his photography, creating understanding around the globe. .




John Hiatt - Mystic Pinball

After almost 40 years of recording music, John Hiatt has done it again. My history with him doesn't go that far, in fact in recent years I seem to be buying his music more often!
His music is relevant, melodic, and fits in with about every mood I am in and wherever I am.
And nice to see the album does include the lyrics, quite adding to the relevance of buying the album instead of merely downloading.

John Hiatt (b. 20Aug1952) is an American rock guitarist, pianist, singer, and songwriter. He is regarded as one of the most respected and influential American singer-songwriters.
Hiatt was working as a songwriter for Tree International, a record label in Nashville, when his song 'Sure As I'm Sittin’ Here' was covered by Three Dog Night. The song became a Top 40 hit, earning Hiatt a recording contract with Epic Records.
Since then he has released t21 studio albums, 2 compilation albums and 1 live album.
His songs have been covered by a variety of artists in multiple genres, including Bob Dylan, Willy DeVille, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Willie Nelson, Three Dog Night, Joan Baez, Paula Abdul, Buddy Guy, the Desert Rose Band, Jimmy Buffett, Mandy Moore, Iggy Pop, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rosanne Cash, Suzy Bogguss, Jewel, Aaron Neville, Jeff Healey, Keith Urban, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan and many others.
The Dutch singer/songwriter Ilse DeLange recorded the album 'Dear John' with 9 of his songs.
Wikipedia, more..

Review by Joanna Colangelo on the Huffington Post



Walker Evans photography

Walker Evans is one of the photographers I admire most. Images from every day life turned into gripping photo documents. I recently acquired this book, 'Lyric Documentary'.

Walker Evans’s career spread over 46 fitful and prolific years, yet in a scant two, 1935-1936, he produced the singular body of work that came to define him. During that brief time, while working for the Farm Security Administration (previously the U.S. Resettlement Administration) photographing the consequences of the Great Depression, he refined a hybrid style that combined documentation with sly personal comment.
He delighted in traveling incognito as an artless photojournalist, but with the independence to satisfy his own artistic designs.
Walker Evans: Lyric Documentary presents these seminal images for the first time as a comprehensive, cohesive body of work, in chronological order. [www.photoeye.com]

Much of Evans's (b.03Nov1903 – d.10Apr1975) work from the FSA period uses the large-format, 8x10-inch camera. He said that his goal as a photographer was to make pictures that are "literate, authoritative, transcendent".
Evans took up photography in 1928 around the time he was living in Ossining, New York.
In 1930, he published three photographs (Brooklyn Bridge) in the poetry book 'The Bridge' by Hart Crane.
In 1931, he took photo series of Victorian houses in the Boston vicinity sponsored by Lincoln Kirstein.
And iIn 1933, he photographed in Cuba on assignment for the publisher of Carleton Beals' then-forthcoming book, The Crime of Cuba, photographing the revolt against the dictator Gerardo Machado. In Cuba, Evans briefly knew Ernest Hemingway.
In 1935, Evans spent two months at first on a fixed-term photographic campaign for the Resettlement Administration (RA) in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. From October on, he continued to do photographic work for the RA and later the Farm Security Administration (FSA), primarily in the Southern United States.
In the summer of 1936, while still working for the FSA, he and writer James Agee were sent by Fortune magazine on assignment to Hale County, Alabama, for a story the magazine subsequently opted not to run.
Evans continued to work for the FSA until 1938. That year, an exhibition, 'Walker Evans: American Photographs', was held at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. This was the first exhibition in this museum devoted to the work of a single photographer.
In 1938 and 1939, Evans worked with and mentored Helen Levitt.
Evans was a passionate reader and writer, and in 1945 became a staff writer at Time magazine.
In 1971, the Museum of Modern Art staged a further exhibition of his work entitled simply 'Walker Evans'.
Evans died at his home in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975
Wikipedia, more..



Slipstream by Bonnie Raitt

It must have been decades since I bought a cd by Bonnie Raitt. Not because I did not like her music but she rather disappeared from my radar and I seem to take more to male singer/songwriters anyway.
'Slipstream' was released in 2012 and I probably read a raving review. I certainly liked it!
And nicely produced, the album includes a songbook with the lyrics.

While Bonnie Raitt has won a Grammy Award nine times, her career apparently had a break because 'Slipstream' was her first studio album in seven years; it was published on her own label: Redwing Records.
Four tracks on this album were produced by Joe Henry, whose music I began to appreciate last year.

I like the funky 'Used To Rule The World', not in the least because I like the slide guitar.
Her singing and slide guitar comes into their own with the ballads 'God Only Knows' and 'You Can’t Fail Me Now' (written by Loudon Wainwright III -another favourite of mine, cannot be a coincidence!- & John Henry) as well as Bob Dylan’s 'Million Miles' and 'Standing in the Doorway'.
A nice and worthy tribute is made to Gerry Rafferty with a version of 'Right Down The Line'.

She is Blues Royalty for sure!
She is touring the UK this summer and I hope she'll visit the Continent too!

Bonnie Raitt on Wikipedia




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Created: 01-Jan-2013