Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

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

Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo

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




Vera - tv crime drama, season 8

Vera - tv crime drama, season 8

Vera is a British television crime drama series based on novels of the same name, written by crime writer Ann Cleeves.
It was first broadcast on ITV on 01May2011, and to date, 8 series have aired.
The series stars Brenda Blethyn as the principal character: Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope.

Vera is a middle-aged employee of the fictional Northumberland & City Police, who is obsessive about
her work and driven by her own demons.
She plods along (in a constantly dishevelled state in the first series), but has a calculating mind and, despite her irascible personality, she cares deeply about her work and comrades.
Vera forms a close relationship with both of her sergeants, Joe Ashworth (David Leon) and, subsequently, Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty).

I recently watched Series 8.
Episode 1 we see Vera called upon when the charred remains of a body are discovered in an abattoir incinerator. The body is found to be that of DC Harry Fenton, of the Northumberland & City Fraud Unit, who had been on his final day of the job before retirement.
Episode 2 has Vera being called to the scene of a violent car crash; he quickly realises that the crash was not accidental and after the victim dies in hospital, Vera connects this murder connected to the recent suicide of a local man.
Episode 3 has a 43-year-old mother of two, Alison Glenn, found bludgeoned to death in her back garden.
Episode 4 opens with the body of teenager Ethan Dewley found floating in a reservoir. Vera and her team discover that Ethan had been missing for three days and the investigation focusses on a rural timber community for answers.

'Vera' has been for some years now one of my favourite British crime series, as is 'Shetland' (also based on stories written by Ann Cleeves).
In my BLOG 2019 Q1 I reviewed the 9th season.




The Kettering Incident - crime tv drama

The Kettering Incident - crime tv drama

The Kettering Incident - crime tv drama

The Kettering Incident is an Australian television drama program, first broadcast on Foxtel's Showcase channel, on 04Jul2016.
I thought it quite weird, it reminded me of the Swedish crime-drama series 'Jordskott'.
The series was filmed in and around the town of Kettering and Bruny Island in Tasmania. Plenty of impressive scenery!

We see Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) leaving the UK, struggling with mental issues, returning to Kettering which she left when she was just fourteen. She left Kettering shortly after her best friend (and paternal half-sister), Gillian Baxter, mysteriously disappeared.
Upon Gillian's disappearnce the two girls had been cycling through the forbidden forests outside Kettering when they saw strange lights in the sky. Eight hours later, Anna was found alone, terrified and covered in blood.
Fifteen years later, Anna returns to find the town struggling to survive. The forests around Kettering have provided the town for decades with a living for many inhabitants and the other half seem to live off fishing. The wood mill is about to close and dead fish end up on the coastline.
The town is on edge following violent clashes between environmentalists and the local loggers.
Anna's reappearance causes a stir when another local girl, Chloe Holloway (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) suddenly disappears.
Anna finds her mother in a mental institution and her father retiring as Chief of Police in Kettering. The new Chief of Police is Fergus, whom Anna knows well from her school days. There is also a detective, Dutch, in residence; he seems involved in smuggling drugs with local youths. Dutch has been sent down to investigate suspected corruption by the Chief of Police, Anna's father, but this assignment is well hidden.
Anna has strained relations with about anyone in town.

I wasn't impressed by Anna's role, a very feeble minded woman and not very plausable. On the one hand she seems determined to find out why she feels she has a calling to return to Kettering (she has blackouts over lengthy periods) and on the other hand she blunders in without considerations any adult would consider as logical.

The series made me think of Jordskott because there are weird circumstances and appearances: strange lights in the air and forests similar to UFO's, twin moons, electrical storms that stop cars, very loud noises that make people block their ears in agony, moss growing with great speed on buildings and structures, huge moths swarming on windows...
The unrealistic thing is that people take it in their stride, continue their lives in Kettering.
There is also contamination of the water by some unclarified pollution up on the mountain, by water run off from a blocked off area.

Meanwhile Anna gets nowhere with her Gillian trauma, her father obvious has an agenda in the local proceedings and too many people are in strained relations but never considered leaving this place.
The 8th and final episode does provide clarifications but has a weird ending, entirely in mood of the enire series.
I wasn't overly enthusiastic about The Kettering Incident, I must admit.




Shetland tv-series 4th season

It was with immense pleasure I recently concluded wathing the 4th series of the tv-series ' Shetland'.
It is a British television crime drama television series, made by ITV Studios for the BBC; first broadcasted on 10Mar2013.

Initially based upon the novels of Ann Cleeves, the series was brought to screen by David Kane, who has remained a principal writer through all four series.
The series stars Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, a detective inspector working for Shetland police. The series also stars Alison O'Donnell as Detective Sergeant Alison 'Tosh' Macintosh and Steven Robertson as Detective Constable Sandy Wilson.
Mark Bonnar (Duncan Hunter), Lewis Howden, Erin Armstrong (daughter Cassie Perez), Julie Graham and Anne Kidd are also credited as principal members of the cast.
Douglas Henshall won the 2016 BAFTA Scotland award for best actor for his role as Jimmy Perez, and the series also received the award for Best TV Drama.

Season 4 starts with the quashing of the conviction of killer Thomas Malone, who has been in prison for 23 years.
Shortly after he returns home to Shetland, a journalist is killed and suspicion falls on him again.
Malone’s new freedom force Perez and his team to reopen the murder case of Lizzie Kilmuir.
They will also be look at the fresh murder and try to establish any links between the two crimes and whether Malone is involved.

Am looking forward for the 5th series of Shetland!



Drank! - Peter van Straaten

Peter van Straaten (b.25Mar1935 - d.08Dec2016) was a Dutch cartoonist and comics artist.
He is best known for his political cartoons as well as his satirical observations of everyday people.
He also had a newspaper comic strip Vader & Zoon (EN= Father & Son), which ran in Het Parool, a Dutch daily newspaper, for almost two decades.
He has an impressive reputaion as a cartoonist as well as a writer. In 2010 he received for this double-sided talent the  Jacobus van Looy award in Sep.2010.

Drank! (EN=Drink!) contains the best stories and drawings by Van Straatens about one of his favorite subjects: alcohol and all its intoxicating effects.



Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French

When I had finished 'Blue Monday' (2011) I found myself not overly enthusiastic about the book, mainly about a lack of connection with the main character, psychotherpaist Frieda Klein. But something must have happened because I had not yet progressed 4 pages in this book ' Tuesday's Gone' (2013) and I found myself comfortably settling with the mystery at hand and the haunting considerations playing in the mind of Ms Klein!

So once more we see London psychotherapist-turned-police-consultant Frieda Klein investigating the murder of an enigmatic con man whose naked, decomposing body is found in the home of a mentally ill woman.
Yes, you may have to read that introductory line more than once! Packs a punch, doesn't it?!

The woman, Michelle, speaks in an  unintelligible sort of code and DCO Karlsson requests Frieda to speak to her and look at the crime scene to perhaps make sense of all this.
Frieda still blames herself for the death of a female student in 'Blue Monday' and has misgivings about her help to the police. But she agrees to talk to Michele and gets caught up in th einvestigation as the police is conveniently looking to Michelle as the murderer of Robert Poole, put her mental institution and close the file on this investigation.
DCI Karlsson considers her insight as invaluable due to a different perpective, but his assistent Yvette has a different opinion on Frieda's meddling. Karlsson tries to turn Frieda's role into a more official capacity, signing her a contract as a consultant, but Frieda is hesitant about the obligations and procedures she would have to follow. She is a therapist, not a detective.

Frieda also has issues closer to home. And she is increasingly convinced that it was Alan Dekker, not Dean Revve, who killed himself in 'Bule Monday'.
The ex-wife of Frieda's brother is in fact an irresposible parent and Frieda finds the energy to continue help her niece as well as finding a financial consulant to sort thinks for Olivia.

Writing under the Nicci French pseudonym, married couple Nicci Gerrard and Sean French specialize in examining the things that tear families apart.
Reading Blue Monday first isn't a prerequisite to enjoying this book, but it may be advisable; more for the character development of Frieda Klein and ties to different returning characters (Karlsson, Josef the builder, Frieda's niece and her mother) than for the murder plot.
Frieda is convinced Dean is lurking in the shadows, but it doesn't play much of a role in the book. I am sure he will reurn in Waiting for Wednesday (2013)

A fine multilayered thriller that has me totally convinced about these Frieda Klein series!

MyBlog 2018Q2


Requiem for the American Dream by Naom Chomsky

Requiem for the American Dream by Naom Chomsky

Requiem for the American Dream by Naom Chomsky

'Requiem for the American Dream' is based on a documentary of the same title (2016).
Substitled 'The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power'.
First of all: this is a lovely produced book, with fine art based on the dollar bill. Also, compared to the 2 books I've read by Mr Chomsky, the text is more clear - an obvious benefit for my lack of economic background.
The 'principles' are each followed by the sources on which the essay is based; these pages are coloured differently, they have a greenish tint.
These brief explanatory sub-articles are from recent times or from decades past or even a century or more (e.g. 1741) ago. They refer to what has been written by philosophers (e.g. Aristotle, Hume), legislative notes (e.g. 18th century), newspaper articles, economic papers, business communications, et cetera.
Chomsky melds history, philosophy and ideology into a sobering vision of a society in an accelerating decline.
The tone is neutral, no jeremiad.  It is good to see beyond recent developments in this respect for Chomsky sees this as a 40-year trend of government bent to the will of the superrich at the expense of everyone else.

Mr. Chomsky concludes that "there's a lot that can be done if people organize, struggle for their rights as they've done in the past." But one gets the feeling, though, that, given all the challenges he lists, Mr. Chomsky no longer quite believes that himself.




Crossroads exhibition in Allard Persson Museum

Crossroads exhibition in Allard Persson Museum

Crossroads exhibition in Allard Persson Museum

During 15Sep2017 to 11Feb2018, the Allard Pierson Museum hosted an exhibition entitled Crossroads. Travelling through the Middle Ages.
The exhibition features a wide variety of unique objects from all over Europe, from the period popularly known as 'The Dark Ages'. Crossroads throws new light on this misconception, presenting a fascinating image of migration, contact and exchange – of the birth of Europe.
Initially I though I had misunderstood the 'Travelling through the Middle Ages' subtitle, as I found that the exhibition opened with global migrations. While my interest was in individual travelling. Fortunately that subject was adressed to, but much less than I hoped.

In the Early Middle Ages, Europe was a place of great change and mobility. The influence of ancient civilisations continued to be felt, while at the same time, new religions from the Middle East began to take hold. We see how this is an actuality in our present days.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, entire populations were on the move. This dynamism brought a huge amount of cultural exchange and diversity.
The countless beautiful objects from every corner of the continent that can be seen in Crossroads are not only a testimony to the plural identity of Europe, but also to the mutual influence in different spheres: religious, cultural and material.

As a bonus one can see into the workplace where a restoration of a mummy is taking place!




Fargo, season 2

Fargo, season 2

Fargo, season 2

Fargo, season 2

The 2nd season of Fargo premiered on 12Oct2015 on the basic cable network FX.
It's an American anthology black comedy-crime drama television series, tough on action and deepest black of humor.
Its principal cast consists of Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart, and Ted Danson. The season had 10 episodes. As an anthology, each Fargo season possesses its own self-contained narrative, following a disparate set of characters in various settings.
Lou Solversson, the diner owner in season 1, is here a much younger Minnesota State Policeman. Lou's daughter Mollý in season 1 is a full grown woman and with the police like her father was. In this 2nd season Molly is a small child. Betsy, Molly's mother and Lou's wife is battling cancer.

A prequel to the events in its 1st season, season 2 of Fargo takes place in the Midwestern United States in March 1979. A true story of course, like season 1.
It follows the lives of a young couple-Peggy (Dunst) and Ed Blumquist (Plemons)-as they attempt to cover up the hit and run and murder of Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin), the son of Floyd Gerhardt, matriarch of the Gerhardt crime family.
During this time, Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Wilson), and Rock County sheriff Hank Larsson (Danson), investigate 3 murders linked to Rye.

Hawley and his writing team used the 2nd season to expand the scope of the show's storytelling. Season two's episodes were shot in Calgary, Alberta over an 85-day period.

Something on the story:
In March 1979, the Gerhardt family is the most powerful crime syndicate in Fargo, North Dakota. Their power is threatened by two near-simultaneous incidents. A debilitating stroke leaves patriarch Otto (Michael Hogan) incapacitated, potentially jeopardizing the dynasty's leadership. Two of his sons, Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan) and Bear (Angus Sampson), begin competing for control.
At a Waffle Hut near Luverne, an attempt by the 3rd Gerhardt son Rye (Kieran Culkin) to extort Judge Mundt (Ann Cusack) into unfreezing his business partner's assets turns deadly. Rye kills Mundt and two Waffle Hut employees.
Going outside, Rye is struck by a passing car.
The driver, beautician Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst), assumes Rye is dead and hides him in the garage. Her husband Ed (Jesse Plemons), a butcher, discovers him alive but manic, and stabs him to death after being attacked. Peggy convinces a visibly shaken Ed to keep the incident a secret, and they hide the corpse in their meat freezer.
Officer Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) and Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) begin investigating the diner shooting.
At home, Lou deals with his wife Betsy's (Cristin Milioti) progressing cancer.
Meanwhile, in light of Otto's stroke, members of a Kansas City-based syndicate make plans to move on Fargo.

Dodd bristles at his mother running the business, but acquiesces when she expresses her intent of him taking over once the current situation settles. She then demands Rye be found.
Milligan and the Kitchens Brothers also begin searching for Rye, by orders of 'Kansas City'.
In Luverne, Peggy resumes work at the beauty salon while Ed stays home to clean up the garage.

Lou travels to Fargo to meet Detective Ben Schmidt (Keir O'Donnell). They visit the Gerhardt farm and have a tense encounter with the clan.
Dodd and his Indian henchman Hanzee (Zahn McClarnon) each conduct an independent search for Rye.
Dodd's daughter Simone (Rachel Keller) tips off Hanzee about a lead on Rye.
In Luverne, Hanzee's investigation leads him to find Rye's belt buckle in the Blumquist fireplace...
Lou talks to the Blumquists regarding his suspicions that they are involved in Rye's death, but they stubbornly refuse to cooperate. He warns them of the Gerhardts' violent history.
At the Gerhardt farm, Floyd tells the family to prepare for war.

Lou is temporarily taken off the Waffle Hut murder case while working a security detail for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan (Bruce Campbell).
Peggy heeds Lou's warning and plans to leave for California, but Ed insists on staying.
Dodd and accomplices arrive at the Blumquist residence hunting Ed, while Bear fetches for Charlie. Hanzee knocks out Hank, but Peggy subdues Dodd in her basement using his stun rod.
Once Ed arrives home, he and Peggy put Dodd into the trunk of his car and hide out in a relative's hunting cabin in South Dakota. Hanzee is pursuing the Blumquists.
And so it goes on! A wonderfuk series. Normally I am not keen on American films and tv productions but Fargo is the exception to the rule!




Lucas Foglia 'Human Nature' - photography

Lucas Foglia 'Human Nature' - photography

Lucas Foglia 'Human Nature' - photography

Lucas Foglia 'Human Nature' - photography

Lucas Foglia 'Human Nature' - photography

Last week I visited this photo exhibition in Amsterdam's FOAM and was blown away by it! The message about the ever develloping relation Humans vs Nature came out strong, while the photography, on a technical level, was striking too!

Lucas Foglia (b. 1983, US) travelled the world and shot some 80.000 images, to 'compose' this message.
His photographs show people gazing at nature, touching it, submerging themselves in it, studying it, nursing it, killing it, profiting off it, and, often just barely, surviving upon it.
Foglia is a storyteller in the tradition of the great American photographers who show social commitment without losing sight of the aesthetics. His series 'Human Nature' brings together stories about nature, people, government and the science of our relationship to wilderness.

Lucas Foglia grew up on a farm in New York and lives in San Francisco.
His photographs are published, exhibited and collected internationally.
Nazraeli Press recently published his 3rd book, Human Nature.
I would have loved to bough that books, but €58,- was a little steep for me, considering I had the choice between several books at the FOAM bookshop and only wanted to buy one. Perhaps I will come across it again some time.




Putin - six more years
'After sunday, a whole new bottle!'



My Streetphotography

Last week I enjoyed a day in Amsterdam, visiting photo exhibitions and bookshops. While walking around I also took the opportunity to practice my streetphotography.


XInside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Inside China (National Geographic)

Exotic China has always attracted great photographers and its history has yielded unforgettable scenes. 'Inside China' (2007) unveils fascinating archival images rarely made public: Luminaries Henri Cartier-Bresson and Marc Riboud portray the old order and the ascendancy of Chairman Mao; Chinese news photographer Li Zhensheng gives startling new insight into the harsh Cultural Revolution.
Today's China, filled with excitement and fraught with challenge, is captured by contemporary photographers including Mark Leong, Paolo Pellegrin, and Mark Henley - who, with privileged access, depict fashionable youth and glamour, the development of mega-industry, and new materialism alongside traditional religion and rural life, revealing the rapidly changing scene in all its complexity.

Five renowned experts on China-Jonathan Spence, James Watt, James MacGregor, Elizabeth Economy, and Minxin Pei-narrate and enrich the story with informative, thought-provoking essays.

This unprecedented book, an integral part of National Geographic's initiative on China, holds great appeal for photography and history enthusiasts, as well as the wider general audience craving a deeper cultural and historical perspective of this intriguing nation.

Every year I read one or two books providing me with insights of China as a country, an economic force, about its history and its culture and indeed as a fascinating location for (street)photography!
I like to consider myself a scholar of everything Chinese, who knows what will come of this.

China's emergence as an economic and cultural giant reigns as a key international story of our time.
In a veritable visual tour de force, this book published by National Geographic, chronicles this astonishing ascent through some of the most eye-opening and extraordinary pictures.
This educational as well as fascinating book will appeal to photography and history enthusiasts, as well
as anyone craving a deeper cultural and historical perspective of this intriguing nation.

272 pages, 10 x 11cm.



Biesbosch Museum
Biesbosch Museum

Biesbosch Trail
Biesbosch Trail among the willows

Biesbosch Eendenkooi
Eendenkooi (Duck Cage)

Biesbosch tour by whisper boat
Biesbosch tour by whisper boat

Biesbosch tour by whisper boat
Goo dpractise for me and my Sony RX10M3 camera, fully extended to 600mm (cropped).

Biesbosch tour by whisper boat
Beaver Lodge

Biesbosch tour by whisper boat
A deer wading across


As one of the last extensive freshwater tidal wetlands in Northwestern Europe, De Biesbosch National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts.
Created following the St. Elizabeth flood of 1421, this marshland serves as a source of inspiration for many a photographer, birdwatcher, holidaymaker, artist and cultural institution.
The Biesbosch MuseumEiland charts the past, the present and the future of the area, and places special emphasis on how man has helped to shape and make use of the area.

A (whisper)boat ride or stroll on the trails, among birds and beaver lodges, the museum is a good place
catch your breath coffee & cakes or lunch.
The museum is very educational.
Don't skip the 'Wilgen Tuin' (EN:Willow Garden') where one can learn about past and present use for willows.

Beavers were extinct in Holland a long, long time (probably since 1826) but were reintroduced here in 1988-1992 - but not very successful at that time. A second attempt, in 2002, had positive results and maybe some 200 dwell here now. Dusk seems the best time to spot them.

It seems the word 'decoy' is derived from the Dutch word eendenkooi, which means duck-cage! Chambers Dictionary suggests Dutch 'de kooi' = 'the cage'.
'Dollar' and 'Cookies' also derive from the Dutch language ('Daalder' and 'Koekje').

en.wikipedia.org:_St._Elizabeth Flood_(1404)
My report of 2018Mar14 on MyFlickr.com (43 images)



Alex, 2017 action series

Alex, 2017 action series

Alex, 2017 action series

Alex, 2017 action series

Alex, 2017 action series

Alex, 2017 action series

When a dirty cop, Alex Lento (Dragomir Mrsic), decides to go straight after having accidentally shot his partner, he finds
he must first get dirtier than ever as the gangsters he used to work for go after his family, while his new partner, a by-the-book careerist, is out to stop him.
A man called BG controls his criminal empire from jail and sees Alex as controllable, through his criminal background and also because Alex is vulnerable through his wife Kim and son Simon.
When BG has his men kidnap Simon, Alex goes berserk and goes on a rampage. Even innocent
bystanders get killed.
Six episodes with some scenes not for the faint hearted.




Collignon carton

About the Elon Musk's, Ralph Hamers (CEO ING Group), etc. of this world
The text ballons all cry out: "they all look like ants from here, don't they"

noun 1. a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.



Mind's Eye - Hakan Nesser

Sweden's brilliant Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren solves a knotty puzzle; cocksure as he is, he books a flight to Brisbane (Australia) as a deadline.

At some point during a wild, alcohol-fueled, orgiastic night, schoolteacher Janek Mitter murdered his wife and colleague. Or so the police quickly decides.
Mitter is arrested, put on trial, convicted and sent to a mental institution.
While van Veeteren thought his one and only interview with Mitter to be sufficient to identify him as the murderer, he then becomes intrigued by Mitter's behaviour in court and realizes that things are seldom what they seem, squirms at the ease with which Mitter has been found the guilty. No other options had been considered.
And then Mitter himself is murdered.

Convinced that the two homicides are undoubtedly connected and annoyed that he ignored his
celebrated instincts, Van Veeteren launches a much deeper investigation.
It carries him back to the dark corners of some extremely complex lives and he soon finds himself on the trail of a serial killer.
He makes his flight for Brisbane and the desired sunny weather of Australia, but only barely.




Innocent - tv mini series (1)

Innocent - tv mini series (1)

Innocent - tv mini series (1)

David Collins fights to rebuild his shattered life, when, after spending 7 years in prison, his conviction
for the murder of his wife Tara is overturned. 
However, the verdict was not 'not guilty'. The community he returns to has him as the murderer who escaped conviction on a technicality.
He finds shelter with his older brother Philip (Daniel Ryan), who has been a driving force during the
past 7 years to have David acquitted. 

David Collins (Lee Ingleby) starts attempts to regain custody of his children, who are being raised by Tara's sister and husband.
The children Jack and Rosie do well with the upbringing by Alice (Hermione Norris) and Rob (Adrian Rawlins) and initially they all see David as a threat, but with findings by DI Hudson in her renewed investigation the tables get turned, Jack being the first to establish contact with David through social media. 

The police reopens the investigation under a new Detective Inspector, Cathy Hudson (Angel Coulby), since previous attempts to get David Collins convicted under the investigation led by DCI William Beech (Nigel Lindsay) failed.
Hudson and Beech have recently become partners and make plans for a future together, however DI Hudson finds serious faults in the investigation of DCI Beech; their relationship becomes strained as a result. 

Lee David Ingleby (b. 28Jan76) is a British film, television and stage actor.
He is perhaps best known for his roles as Detective Sergeant John Bacchus in the BBC drama Inspector George Gently and as Stan Shunpike in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Hermione Norris was born in February 1967 in Paddington (London) as Hermione Jane Norris. She is an actress, known a.o. for Spooks (2002), Cold Feet (1997) and Wire in the Blood (2002).




Endeavour, season 4

Timeline in this 4th series of Endeavour starts in the summer 1967 and ends in the autumn of the same year.
Joan Thursday is still away and hasn't been heard from since; her mother Winifred ('Win') sinks slowly into a depression.

Morse finds out his Sergeant's exam went 'missing', which meant automatic failure. Bright makes inquiries and tells Morse that his exam paper was the only one that went astray, claiming Morse has made enemies and suggests to Morse to make a new start somewhere else.
Morse seriously considers this when a job becomes available in Tintagel House, in London; esspecially when his house is broken into and his belongings ravaged. He's getting the message.

Morse gets a call at his home but the caller refuses to speak. Morse traces the call, coming from Leamington and since he suspects Joan was the caller he goes to Leamington and indeed finds Joan there. Joan declines any help and asks Morse not to tell her parents. She refuses to return home, that is not the life she wants.
On the way out Morse observes a man entering Joan's apartment with his own key, after he has taken off his wedding ring.
But then D.I. Fred Thursday discovers Morse's findings and also pays Joan a visit. He confronts Morse afterwards about why he did not tell him, but admits they both had a wasted journey.

Meanwhile there are murders to solve!
After averting disaster at a Nuclear Power Plant, in the 4th and last episode, Thursday is promoted to Chief Inspector and Morse is promoted to Detective Sergeant. They are both awarded the George Medal. 




Circus Europa by Michael Kvium, in Kunsthal Rotterdam

Circus Europa by Michael Kvium, in Kunsthal Rotterdam

Circus Europa by Michael Kvium, in Kunsthal Rotterdam

Michael Kvium is putting up some inconvenient questions. With mordant irony and a raw sense of humour, Kvium uncovers the absurdities of our society.
The exhibition mainly focuses on Kvium’s reflections on our blindness and therefore our lack of action towards the state of art in Europe and the world right now. For instance with issues like fake news, the refugee crisis and climate change.
According to Kvium ‘Circus Europa’ is a reality and his response to it is not nice or decorative.

I loved it!

Michael Kvium (b.1955, Horsens, Denmark) lives and works in Spain and Denmark.
After studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen he rapidly established an important position in both the Scandinavian and international art worlds.

www.kunsthal.nl/en/. . . . /michael-kvium/



Jeroen Oerlemans, Kunsthal 2018

Jeroen Oerlemans, Kunsthal 2018

Jeroen Oerlemans, Kunsthal 2018

Jeroen Oerlemans (1970-2016) was a three-time recipient of the first prize in the Silver Camera foreign news category, in the Netherlands.
In 2008, 2010 and 2011 he received this award for his photographs of the Greek-Turkish border region, Afghanistan and Libya. For a photograph made in the Lebanon he received an honourable mention in the World Press Photo’s news category in 2007.
His work has been published in numerous international media outlets such as Newsweek, Time, The Guardian and The Sunday Times.

In 2016, Knack commissioned Oerlemans to travel to Libya, where he was shot dead by an IS sniper in the Libyan city of Sirte on October 2nd. 

For the exhibition ‘Jeroen Oerlemans’, the focus of his widow Boes Hogewind’s choice lies on Oerlemans’ work as a reporter and therefore emphasizes the importance of independent reporting.
The exhibition is the more striking and moving with some of Oerleman's photos of his wife and young children. He loved his family but he also had to go out there to do his work.

www.kunsthal.nl/en/. . . . /jeroen-oerlemans/



Skater doing tricks

Walking my camera I was pleased to record this skater practising his 'tricks' somewhere in Rotterdam.

See My Streetphotography



Ties - collectables

Haven't worn a tie for decades, so they have to go.
Here are some of the 'collectables': (I think) London Terminal Control Centre (LTCC), NVLS (Schiphol Int'l Airport), Schreiner, Martinair, Lockheed Constellation and Fokker AIrcraft Indistries.



Rather Be The Devil by Ian Rankin
'A Cold Case Can Still Kill'

'Rather Be the Devil' is the 21st  Inspector Rebus crime novel, published in November 2016. It topped the bestseller charts for hardback fiction.
The title was inspired by a John Martyn song, from his 1973 album Solid Air.

The novel opens with Rebus and his girlfriend, Deborah Quant (who is the latest pathologist in Edinburgh) dining in a restaurant. Rebus is reminded of the death in 1978 of Maria Turquand in the Caledonian hotel which is adjacent to the restaurant.
DI Malcolm Fox is at Gartcosh where Police Scotland have the Scottish Crime Campus. He is repatriated to his old station when the HMRC start an investigation into Darryl Christie, the young upstart who has taken over Edinburgh from 'Big Ger' Cafferty.

One night, Christie is attacked and whilst there are many suspects, one person, a known crank and false claimant, admits to the attack.
Whilst Fox and DI Siobhan Clarke investigate Christie, the strands of their enquiries twist into those that Rebus is investigating, meaning the three get to work together again. Their cooperation is not always according official procedures: Pensioner Rebus has no problem sneaking past reception desks in places where he was a frequent visitor and the visitor cards he knicked from DI Malcolm Fox prove to be of
good use to him as well...
Rebus remains the scroundrel he's always been!

Against this backdrop is a medical complaint that Rebus has a shadow on his lung (which he has named Hank Marvin a.k.a. Brian Robson Rankin: lead guitarist of The Shadows), which leads to him quitting
the cigarettes and the alcohol. No mean feat for Rebus!
ALso, a Ukranian criminal has 'invested' money with someone in Edinburgh and a considerable sum seems to have gone missing; at a time an investment banker has either done a bunk or has been abducted.
Is Darryl Christie involved here or not?
A bouncer gets killed, shortly after Rebus interviews him in light of his Mary Turquand investigation.
While John Rebus refuses to sit still, 'Big Ger' Cafferty is ready to make a comeback.



Cardinal - season1 (Candian tv crime series)

'Cardinal' is a Canadian crime drama tv series, which premiered 25Jan2017, on CTV (in English) and Super Écran (in French).
The series stars Billy Campbell (who also played a role in the Scandinavian production of Modus, 2nd season) as John Cardinal and Karine Vanasse as Lise Delorme, detectives investigating the murder of a young girl in Algonquin Bay.

John Cardinal is a troubled (his wife is bipolar and taken into care) and brooding police officer in Algonquin Bay, who was removed from the homicide squad due to chief Noelle Dyson's (Kristen Thomson) belief that he was going overboard in his investigation of a missing Native Canadian girl.
But when the girl's body finally turns up, he is reassigned to the case with new partner Lise Delorme; what he does not know is that Delorme is being assigned to investigate him...
Soon the investigation widens, when a new missing persons case, with some similar patterns, leads Cardinal to believe that a serial killer may be active in the area.

Lise Delorme comes from a Financial Crime background and is determined to succeed as a proper detective in the field. Her determination puts a strain on her marriage. And her investigation into corruption by Cardinal (which led to the death of a policeman), she finds, is not all that it was supposed to be.

On 28Feb2017, CTV renewed Cardinal for a 2nd and 3rd season! Both are to have 6 episodes.
These series are based on books by Giles Blunt.
Giles Blunt is a Canadian novelist, poet, and screenwriter born in 1952 in Windsor, Ontario. His first novel, Cold Eye, was a psychological thriller set in the New York art world, which was made into the French movie 'Les Couleurs du diable' (Allain Jessua, 1997).
His John Cardinal novels are set in the small town of Algonquin Bay, in Northern Ontario.
Blunt grew up in North Bay, and Algonquin Bay is North Bay thinly disguised — for example, Blunt retains the names of major streets and the two lakes (Trout Lake and Lake Nipissing) that the town sits between, the physical layout of the two places is the same, and he describes Algonquin Bay as being in the same geographical location as North Bay.

I enjoyed the Ontario winter landscape in which this series was filmed. The plot was equally fascinating and I am looking forward to #2 and #3 series of ' CARDINAL'!




Breaking Bad, season 1

Breaking Bad, season 1

'Breaking Bad' is an American tv crime drama series.
The show originally aired on the AMC network for 5 seasons, from 20Jan2008 to 29Sep2013.
It tells the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a struggling high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
Together with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), White turns to a life of crime (albeit with some hesitation) by producing and selling top quality crystallized methamphetamine to secure his family's financial future before he dies..
Mr White (nice touch) has some difficulty navigating the dangers of the criminal world, but we see him learning fast!
The title comes from the Southern colloquialism 'breaking bad', meaning to 'raise hell' or turn toward crime.
'Breaking Bad' is set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Walter's family consists of his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) and children, Walter, Jr. (RJ Mitte) and Holly (Elanor Anne Wenrich).
There is also Skyler's sister Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt), and her husband Hank (Dean Norris), a DEA agent...

While 'Breaking Bad' is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time, I am not enthusiastic about it. As with most American series too many characters are 'cardboard characters', it is full of sterotypes and LOUD, LOUD, LOUD!
By the time the series finale aired, it was among the most-watched cable shows on American television, which does not convince me as a recommendation.
In spite of the many (American) awards, I will refrain from watching the other 4 seasons.




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

Sony RX10M3 (RX10 Mk.III)




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

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

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

Excellent portraits and a relevant subject.

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



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


2017 Zilveren Camera (sponsored by Canon)

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

2017 Zilveren Camera (sponsored by Canon)

2017 Zilveren Camera (sponsored by Canon)

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

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

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



The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

The Beatles - on single records (vinyl)

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

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

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




No Is Not Enough - Naomi Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Czar Peter House in Zaandam,NL (2018)

Czar Peter House in Zaandam,NL (2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

Longer Ways To Go, photo exhibition

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

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

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

See my roadtrip America Southwest 2017




Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

Wynn Bullock - 2017 Revelations exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

The Family of Man - Edward Steichen

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

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

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




Donna Leon: Uniformed Justice

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

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

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

Donna Leon (b.1942- in Montclair, New Jersey) is the American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti.
Leon has lived in Venice for over 25 years. She was a lecturer in English literature for the University of Maryland University College - Europe (UMUC-Europe) in Italy.
She stopped teaching and concentrated on writing and other cultural activities in the field of music (especially baroque music).

The Commissario Brunetti novels are all situated in or around Venice. They are written in English and translated into many foreign languages, but not into Italian, at Leon's request.
The intelligent and capable police commissioner Guido Brunetti confronts crime in and around his home town of Venice. Each case is an opportunity for the author to reveal another aspect of the seamy underside of society and another aspect of Venetian (or Italian) life.
Brunetti serves the vain and self-serving buffoon, Vice-Questore Patta, while Sergente (later Ispettore) Vianello and the all-knowing and well-connected Signorina Elettra, Patta's secretary, assist Brunetti on the ground and through research.




Fangar, tv-series crime drama (Icelandic)

Fangar, tv-series crime drama (Icelandic)

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

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




Liar - tv-series

Liar tv-series, season 1

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

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




The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

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

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

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

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




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

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

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

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

The Amsterdam Canals by Cris Toala Olivares

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

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

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




The Rain in Portugal, poetry by Billy Collins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your problem, man?'

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



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

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

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

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

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

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










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

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

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




The Loch, tv-series

The Loch, tv-series

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

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

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

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




Peaky Blinders, series 3

Peaky Blinders, series 3

Peaky Blinders is a British television crime drama based upon the exploits of the Peaky Blinders gang, and is set in Birmingham, England in the aftermath of World War I.
The (first two) series centres on stars Cillian Murphy as Thomas 'Tommy' Shelby, the gang's leader, and Sam Neill as Chester Campbell, a commissioned detective tasked with suppressing the gang.
The first series aired on BBC Two on 13Sep13 and ran for 6 episodes. The 2nd series premiered on 02Oct14.
This 3rd series premiered on 05May16.

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

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

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





The Mind's Eys - Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Mind's Eys - Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Mind's Eys - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

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





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Created: 02-Jan-2018