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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.







Fever (Koorts) by Deon Meyer

The weirdest thing: 2 days before left for holidays in South Africa, this book landed in my lap through a free exchange. For a while now I intended to buy a book by this South African author and I thought I would do that after my arrival in Johannesburg, but this was a welcome gift.
Imagine my surprise I found this book describing an apocalyptic world, caused by a mutation of...
a corona virus!
The book is situated in South Africa, where the fever has decimated the population and small communities try to survive among a degraded infrastructure, broken down communications, marauding gangs (think 'Mad Max'-film) raiding for plunder using motorcycles and pickup trucks.
Willem Storm and his young son Nico sought shelter in mountain caves and while they did suffer some sickness they survived. The internet and telephone communications have broken down, they assume Nico's mother is among the many deaths.
The Fever caused fires and a nuclear disaster.

Willem Storm is a visionary and he decides to start a new community in a small abandoned town. They meet a roving pilot in his small Cessna who supports the idea and drops leaflets in other seemingly abandoned town where people may hide and groups he sees travelling the roads.
People gather, among the first arrival is Domingo who has military skills and sets up a defense against the murderous band of looters known as the KTM. Other people also bring usefull skills to the community.
They name their town 'Amanzi'.
While Nico is the narrator of the book, written many years after the events, other people from the community have their say too: Nico quotes from research his father made, having established a historic document.
Nico also tells soon that his father was murdered, a thriller effect. We get to this late in the book and are treated on a surprising end game!

My copy of the book was in Dutch ('Koorts; SA: 'Koors'). I thought it a fantastic read; my reading may have been intensified as we read about the Corona virus Covid-19 spreading through Europe and North America. We returned home, after a fantastic holiday, just in time before many countries went in lock-down and airlines were forced to reduce their network and, in many cases, ground their planes.
'Koors' was published in 2016!

Deon Godfrey Meyer is a South African thriller novelist, writing in Afrikaans.
His books have been translated into more than 20 languages. He has also written numerous scripts for television and film.
In the 1980s he worked as a journalist at Die Volksblad, at the public relations office of the University of the Free State, and began work as advertising copy writer at Sanlam.
In 1991 he was appointed manager of Internal Communication and creative director of Sanlam's Publicity department. After leaving Sanlam he started his own business specialising in the creation and management of virtual communities on the internet. He then worked as manager of special projects at BMW motorcycles.
He currently writes full-time. Sofar he has published 11 novels and 2 collections of short stories. His novels reflect current social issues in South Africa, including that of the apartheid system.
His main characters are flawed but empathetic cops.
His hobbies include touring Southern Africa on a motorcycle.




Eddy Posthuma de Boer | Hollandse Beelden

Eddy Posthuma de Boer | Hollandse Beelden

Eddy Posthuma de Boer | Hollandse Beelden

He's a contemporary of Ed van der Elsken and Johan van der Keuken, he's also one of the most important living representatives of humanist photography in the Netherlands.
His great love of travelling has enabled him to record human life in more than 80 countries, but I loved his photography 'at home' best and that is what this A5-format book is about., the feeling of nostalgia in the streetphotography during the 1950s & 1960s.
It features work in B&W (1950s & 1960s) and colour (1960-'69) and is part of Posthuma's exhibition 'Eddy Posthuma de Boer: De eerste foto van God' in Fotomuseum Den Haag 18Jan-26Apr2020. See also the item further down this page.

His images have been published in newspapers and magazines such as Het Parool, De Volkskrant, Time-Life , Paris Match, Avenue and Holland Herald, and compiled into numerous photo books.




Celtic Castles by Martin J. Dougherty (

Celtic Castles by Martin J. Dougherty (

Celtic Castles by Martin J. Dougherty (

Celtic Castles by Martin J. Dougherty (

Celtic Castles by Martin J. Dougherty (

Some of the most fascinating castles in the world are found in the British Isles and Ireland. These remains of strongholds may now largely be ruined (stones often found new use), but here we find the tangible connection to history of many centuries ago.
The people they once protected are gone, the borders they guarded have dissolved, the wooden buildings that were built up around them have been dismantled. The curtain walls and stone structures may have been reduced to a basic outline while others seem almost intact, proof of how robustly they were constructed in the first place.

So in this book Celtic Castles we travel from the tip of southern Ireland to northern Scotland, from castles maintained, or partly restored, over the centuries to ones that are now mere ruins.
In the history they represent we find tales of religious dissent, of English Parliamentarians attacking Irish Catholic refuges, of warring Scottish clans, of the English and Scots fighting over Scottish independence.
Some have lavish exhibits, others have reconstructions on informative posts while yet other have been left in their disrepair at some abondoned location.

With 150 excellent colour photographs, often also celebrating the surrounding area in splendour, Celtic Castles is a brilliantly book of history and will guide me in future travels to many of these locations, be they in towns or out in the country.

Martin J. Dougherty is a freelance writer and editor specialising in military and historical topics. He is the author of 'Vikings', 'Celts' and 'Norse Myths'.

Over 200 castles, abbeys and other ruins have I (we!) visited in the past 40+ years, many can be found on my travel pages (look for UK, England, Wales, Scotland, Britain).




A Confession - ITV series on a true crime

A Confession - ITV series on a true crime

A Confession - ITV series on a true crime

On 2 September 2019, ITV broadcast the first episode of A Confession, a six-part drama series based on a case of a 'true crime'. Martin Freeman plays Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher and Joe Absolom in the role of the malevalent Christopher Halliwell.

Sian Emma O'Callaghan (b.03June1988 – d.(ca)19Mar2011) was a 22-year-old British woman who disappeared from Swindon in Wiltshire, UK. She was last seen at a nightclub in the town, in the early hours of 19Mar11.
Her body was found on 24Mar2011 near Uffington in Oxfordshire, by directions of Halliwell. In the field Halliwell asked Fulcher if he was interested in another body... Fulcher should have gone to the police station and for a second murder have read him his rights, but Fulcher was convinced a sollicitor would have advised him not to confess to a second murder and that body would never be found.
So the remains of a second body was found and identified as a young prostitute named Becky.

Back at the policestation Halliwell did as expected and kept answering 'no comment' on all inquiries. The police investigation revealed Sian's DNA on the seatcovers of Halliwell's cab and Halliwell's DNA on Sian's body, though she was no tto be sexually assaulted.
On19Oct2012 Christopher Halliwell pleaded guilty to O'Callaghan's murder and showed his malice towards DS Fulcher.
Finding Becky's remains in a field and a proper burial brought closure to her parents, the fact that police PACE procedures stood in the way of Halliwell's conviction by his confession out in the field (without having his rights read to him in presence of his sillicitor) brought new frustrations (warning: also among viewers of this series!) about England's police procedures.
Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher also remained convinced that in the timespan of ca.10 years between Rebecca Godden-Edwards' murder and Sian's, Chris Halliwell must have committed other murders - but his superiors were adamant to terminate the investigation.

Excellent drama portrayed, among the parents of the victims as well as DS Fulcher's investigation.

'Murder of Sian O'Callaghan' on Wikipedia



Eddy Posthuma de Boer | fotomuseum Den Haag

Eddy Posthuma de Boer | fotomuseum Den Haag

Eddy Posthuma de Boer | fotomuseum Den Haag

Eddy Posthuma de Boer | fotomuseum Den Haag

Eddy Posthuma de Boer | fotomuseum Den Haag

Eddy Posthuma de Boer, fotograaf
From: www.volkskrant.nl (NL)

Really enjoyed this visit to the Fotomuseum Den Haag (The Hague) today; on show a major exhibition of work by living legend, Eddy Posthuma de Boer (1931).

He's a contemporary of Ed van der Elsken and Johan van der Keuken and he is one of the most important living representatives of humanist photography in the Netherlands.
His great love of travelling has enabled him to record human life in more than 80 countries, but I loved his photography 'at home' best, the feeling of nostalgia in the streetphotography during the 1950s & 1960s. But there is much to enjoy, international travel, unrest in Paris and Ireland, portraits documentary type of photography of families and businesses, et cetera.

His images have been published in newspapers and magazines such as Het Parool, De Volkskrant, Time-Life , Paris Match, Avenue and Holland Herald, and compiled into numerous photo books.

More on www.flickr.com



The Bay - series one, tv crime drama (ITV)

The Bay - series one, tv crime drama (ITV)

The Bay - series one, tv crime drama (ITV)

The Bay is an ITV crime drama series that first aired in March 2019.
Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie, whom I remember from the series Grantchester) is the single mother (unexplained) of 2 teenagers and working for the (fictional) West Lancashire Police Service as a Family Liaison Officer (FLO).

She is called out on the case of 2 missing children, only to find the married stepfather of the twins is someone that she had met in a pub during a friend's hen do and with whom she had sex in an alley behind the pub on that fateful night the twins disappeared...

As a FLO, Armstrong is trained not to become emotionally involved with cases she is working on, but her sexual encounter with Sean (Jonas Armstrong), threatens to compromise the investigation.
Although she can prove that he isn't responsible for their disappearance, Armstrong deletes the CCTV footage of them having sex, rather than come clean and admit to the one-night stand and provide Sean with an alibi.
Her assistent and trainee Med stumbles on the incriminating CCTV footage and he's between a rock and a hard place!
Meanwhile Lisa don't sees her kids going off the straight-and-narrow, too much focus on her work and while her mother helps out the family comes under plenty of strain.

Series 2 was confirmed for an airdate in early-2020, a pleasant outlook!



Donna Leon - Ik Aanbid je |  Falling In Love
Ik Aanbid je | Falling In Love

Commissario Guido Brunetti returns to Teatro La Fenice ('The Phoenix'), a famous opera house in Venice, for another dramatic encounter with the diva Flavia Petrelli.
In his first appearance (Death at La Fenice, 1992), Brunetti looked into the murder of an eminent conductor, proving that Flavia wasn't the killer. A few years later, in Aqua Alta (1996), he saved her female lover's life.
Now Flavia's back in Venice and she needs Commissario Brunetti to step in once more, as here gallant knight.

Someone has been showering her with far too many yellow roses at performances around Europe and things get creepier when she finds flowers by the door of the apartment she's borrowing in her friend (and former lover) Freddy's palazzo; especially when Freddy tells her he hasn't let anyone into the building!
Then a voice student Flavia had complimented at La Fenice is pushed down the steps of a bridge and Freddy is attacked, suffering multiple stab wounds.
Brunetti needs to find Flavia's stalker (a strange word the computer-phobic detective finds mostly on English-language websites when he, yes even he Guido Brunetti, consults Google for information) before someone gets killed.

The mystery to solve here isn't one in the category 'compelling page-turner', but there are the usual pleasures of following Brunetti as he walks around the city he knows like the back of his hand; goes home for lunch (amazing tradition in modern times) with his bookish wife, Paola (who is always the one preparing the food, very conservative) and their two teenagers; outmaneuvers his dim boss, Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta; and looks the other way while Patta's supercompetent secretary, Signorina Elettra (while somewhat two-dimensional one of my favourite charaters in these books), finds the information he needs in a possibly extra-legal manner.
Soaking up the atmosphere of Venice is probably another main reason for me reading these books.




Remote Britain, by David St John Thomas
Subtitled 'Landscape, People and Books'

In Woodhall Spa (Lincolnshire) I came across this book Remote Britain, but strangely it was in a windowsill of the lunchroom rather than the bookshop (also selling secondhand books). Had a customer forgotten his purchase? But no, it was a copy owned by the bookshop-annex-lunchroom for Woodhall Spa was mentioned in the book a few times. And not for sale.
I set forth to order it online and succeeded in purchasing a secondhand copy, relinquished from the Dorset Library.

'Remote Britain' relishes the ever-changing great landscapes of England, Wales and Scotland plus the people who live there. Who realises how sharp are the contrasts to be found within the Isles of Scilly or the Isle of Wight, how remote it is possible to feel in Essex, or how extraordinary is 'Yorkshire's teardrop', Spurn Point, way out in the Humber estuary? As in his acclaimed 'Journey Through Britain', to which this is a worthy successor, Mr Thomas finds remains of railways and even active steam trains in the most unlikely of places, stays in hotels to fall in love with or to hate and is never short of people to express their own views, as he does colourfully himself in chapters such as In the Footsteps of the Queen Mother.

However I enjoyed the ramblings of Mr St John Thomas , accompanied by his wife Sheila, I am not without criticism. The travels are depicted chronological, so we see areas visited north to south, east to west and back again. From Cornwall to the Shetland Isles, to East Anglia, the Western Isles, Lincolnshire and Lake District. Without drawings or any sort of maps where the reader has landed.
The account is very personal, descriptions of roads and country sides, interviews with other people visiting or locals commenting on their living 'away from the outisde world', but interspersed with remarks on their Little Car (a Nissan Micra, parked at their Bath residence while a more sturdy car was available for travels in the north, from their home in Nairn, Scotland), Sheila's brief observations and her gallbladder & her fall, references to his previous book 'Journey', et cetera.

I did not mind the 'rambling, spoken style' of writing but rather had seen the account had travelled more systematically, clockwise or anticlockwise through Britian, and at least some drawings to know the region of visit. For the remoteness of places visited makes them less commonly known, right?
The index however, is very detailed so the book will come in handy when I am planning holiday travel through a certain area and by this book I can put something of 'Remote Britain' on my itinerary.
For we share the love of Britain in 'Landscape, People and Books'!

Format Hardback | 552 pages
Dimensions 153 x 234 x 42mm | 1,240g
Publication date 05 Aug 2010
Publisher Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd

David St John Thomas (b.30Aug1929 – d.19Aug2014) was an English publisher and writer who founded David & Charles.
The son of writer Gilbert Thomas (1891–1978) he shared his father’s enthusiasm for railways, particularly in the running of their Bassett-Lowke model railway.
On 01Apr60 he founded, with canal writer Charles Hadfield, the non-fiction publishing house of David & Charles of which he became chairman. This was run from his house at Ipplepen before moving to its better-known address at Newton Abbot railway station.
With a staff of up to 300 the firm ran Britain's second-largest book club group, Readers' Union, which had a score of specialised clubs totalling about 250,000 members.
In later years, he also published some books under his own imprint. He continued to write himself, including a series of well-illustrated books on railway topics with Patrick B. Whitehouse and others,
and more books on travel-related topics.
He was keen to encourage new writers and to this end launched the magazine Writers’ News in 1989, since sold.
Thomas died in his sleep on 19Aug2014, at the age of 84, while on a cruise in the Baltic.




In Katrina's Wake, an Unnatural Disaster, by E.Royte & C.Jordan

In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster
by Chris Jordan (Photographs), Bill McKibben & Elizabeth Royte.

Hurricane Katrina caused extensive destruction and casualties: overall, an estimated 1.245–1.836 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making Katrina the deadliest US hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane.

While many may argue whether the devastation of hurricane Katrina was the direct or indirect result of global warming, infrastructural neglect, inadequate preparation or an incompetent governmental response, nobody will deny the heartbreak it wrought, the homes, businesses and history washed away, the landscape violently torn or the lives lost.

In Katrina's Wake, this series of 50 photographs by Chris Jordan while roaming on his own, depicting the horror of ruin, catching emotion in the stillness of the aftermath of havoc and ruin.
These images show how the remnants of Mardi Gras beads to church pews, from computer stations to swings, ravages of home and shops interiors or basic elements of where once a house stood, a family lived.

Excellent essays by Bill McKibben and Susan Zakin explore the causes and effects of global warming and the uprooted effect for people driven off by forces of nature from their birthplace and culture, grieving for their lost ones.
A portion of the profits from the sale of this book is/was to be donated to organizations dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans.

Katrina made landfall near New Orleans on 29Aug2005. Wind damage extended as far as 150 miles inland. Heavy rain battered the area and the storm surge—measuring as high as 30 feet and sweeping several miles inland—breached several levees intended to protect New Orleans from the waters of Lake Pontchartrain.
Water poured through the breaks in the days following the storm, covering approximately 80% of the city with water as deep as three meters.
The American Red Cross estimates that more than 354.000 homes along the Gulf Coast were destroyed or damaged beyond repair by Katrina and, a month later, by Hurricane Rita.

Environmental Health Perspectives



Jack Irish - series one

Jack Irish - series one

Jack Irish is an Australian television drama series first broadcast on ABC1 on 14Oct12.
The series stars Guy Pearce as the title character, a former criminal lawyer turned private investigator and debt collector.
Much of the action is set in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy. Adapted from the detective novels by author Peter Temple.
It began life as three feature-length movies, before being adapted into an ongoing series, of which two six-episode blocks have been broadcast thus far.
The first series of 6 episodes broadcast from 11 February to 17 March 2016.

Jack sees his partner Linda Hillier (Marta Dusseldorp) leave for a journalist posting in Manilla, ambitious to advance her career. Their relationship has cooled quite a bit. She blames Jack for living permanently on hold and not prepared to take on a more permanent relationship.
Jack hasn't been anywhere outside Fitzroy, he doesn't have a passport, he lives a hand to mouth existence.

Jack gets involved in missing persons, accidental deaths and cannot convince the police these are murder victims. A popular pastor seems very dodgy and a secret society has a trained murder squad of ex-convicts.
Linda is shocked to find her new workplace a disappointing, chaotic environment and struggles to stay afloat. Investigating an adress on request of Jack, for the Holman-Dang Bank, they find their investigations connecting but for a long time fail to see the bigger picture.

Meanwhile, Jack gets involved with an artist named Sarah Longmore (Claudia Karvan), her sister Tina is among the disappeared.
I was also pleased to see Aaron Pedersen again, whom I recall from the excellent series Mystery Road (MyBlog 2018Q4) and Goldstone (MyBlog 2019Q1).
There is a lot of action and development in plotlines packed in a mere 6 episodes, without being rushed. And there is plenty of character development around the main characters. Great series.

MyBlog 2020Q2 for Jack Irish - series 2



Journey Through Time - icesculptures in Zwolle

Journey Through Time - icesculptures in Zwolle

Journey Through Time - icesculptures in Zwolle

Journey Through Time - icesculptures in Zwolle

Journey Through Time - icesculptures in Zwolle

Journey Through Time - icesculptures in Zwolle

Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival, from 14 December 2019 to 1 March 2020.
The best ice sculpting artists in the world have come to Zwolle where they worked in a large ice hall (De IJsselhallen) with 275,000 kilos of ice and 275,000 kilos of snow.
The artists gave shape to the theme “JOURNEY THROUGH TIME”; a magical and spectacular world of ice and snow sculptures of up to 6 metres tall.
For a visit one has to face a temperature of minus 12 Celsius!
It seems each year is better that the previous year!




Rising Tide - Kadir van Lohuizen

Rising Tide - Kadir van Lohuizen

Rising Tide - Kadir van Lohuizen

Rising Tide - Kadir van Lohuizen

RISING TIDE by Kadir van Lohuizen serves as a wake-up call that shows that climate change is an unstoppable force that can only be slowed down.
Kadir van Lohuizen uses his personal artistic vision and discipline to reflect on the consequences of the climate crisis for the rising sea levels across the world.
He travelled to locations including Greenland, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Kiribati, Fiji, Jakarta, Miami, New York, and the Netherlands to investigate and visualize the impact of rising water levels.
Van Lohuizen spoke with policymakers and ordinary people in order to highlight different perspectives on the issue.
Through photographs and films, the Rising Tide exhibition shows the human stories behind the alarming statistics and sketches a confrontational vision of the near future.
Exhibition in Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum.

More photos on www.flickr.com



National Maritime Museum, Amsterdam

National Maritime Museum, Amsterdam

National Maritime Museum, Amsterdam

Yesterday visited the National Maritime Museum ('Scheepvaartmuseum') in Amsterdam.
We explored the VOC-ship, one of the obvious attractions of this museum which is extensive: over 500 years of Dutch maritime history!
On the quay of the museum lies a replica of the VOC ship/ East Indiaman Amsterdam that was wrecked in 1749 during its first voyage.

More pics on www.flickr.com



LOOK photography by Ruud Leeuw

LOOK - photography by Ruud Leeuw

LOOK - photography by Ruud Leeuw

Vanity more than anything else...
This is Volume 3 of a series titled LOOK.
Back 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.



Berlin Noir, by Philip Kerr

The fascinating trilogy by Scottish author Philip Kerr (b.22Feb1956 – d.23Mar2018) that introduced the world to Bernie Gunther, an ordinary German soldier turned KRIPO cop, turned private detective (specializing in missing persons) who just tries to do his job and keep his wits about him amidst the rising tide of Naziism in 1930s Berlin.
Sardonic, tough-talking, and cynical, Bernie smokes too much, drinks too much, has a rough sense of humor and an even rougher sense of right and wrong. Partly that's because he's a true Berliner and partly it's the result of life experiences...

BERLIN NOIR is an omnibus edition of the first 3 Bernie Gunther novels: 'March Violets', 'The Pale Criminal' and 'A German Requiem'. They were published between 1989 and 1992.

March Violets:
Bernhard Gunther is 38 years old in 1936, a veteran of the Turkish Front and an ex-policeman ('Bull').
He's a private investigator who reminded me of  Raymond Chandler novels: hard-boiled and cynical but soft hearted when it comes to dames in distress.
A cluster of diamonds sets Bernie off on a new case-diamonds and a couple of bodies. The daughter and son-in-law of Hermann Six, industrialist millionaire and German patriot, have been shot dead in their bed and a priceless necklace stolen from the safe.
The book is discussed on my blog-2015q4.htm, when I read a single copy. I did not know of Philip Kerr, Bernie Gunther or of the Berlin Noir series. It got me hooked though.

The Pale Criminal is set in 1938, the German people await the outcome of the Munich conference, wondering if the Fuhrer will plunge Europe into another war.
is hired by a rich widow to find out who is blackmailing her, an investigation in which he finds himself exploring the crankier side of modern German medicine and psychotherapy. Meanwhile, a brutal serial killer stalks the streets of Berlin, and Kripo, embarrassed at having been caught framing an innocent Jew for the murders, is not above using a little blackmail to obtain Gunther's racially unbiased services to catch the real culprit.

A German Requiem plays in the bitter winter of 1947, as the Russian Zone closes around the ruined city, Berliners live on fear and dubiously earned PX goods. Russians rape and steal, while the Americans buy sexual favours from the German women with luxury items. We learn of the terms ' sparkler' (prostitute) and 'chocolady' ('escorts' looking for a good time).
Berlin is in ruins and Bernie finds his wife of 7 years, also performing sexual favours for Americans. So when an enigmatic Russian colonel asks Bernie to go to Vienna, where his ex-Kripo colleague Emil Becker faces a murder charge, he doesn't hesitate for long.
And Vienna is a different world: prosperous, peaceful, the gracious hostess to The Powers' proliferating bureaucracies, her buildings and consciences almost rebuilt.
Gradually, Gunther discovers that Vienna is world of smoke and mirrors, preparing for new realities in post-WW2 world.

See my review of Kerr's If The Dead Rise Not: MyBlog 2020Q3



OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink

OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink
Kromhout Hall in Amsterdam, from factory to events center, e.g. an exhibition hall

OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink
A milk factory, built in the 1950s, renovated in housing, shops, a school, day care and a carpark.

OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink
Here a farm changed into a center for treatment of people suffering from an autistic affliction.

'Oud van Toen' (roughly translates as 'vintage from the then') is a photo exhibition by Dutch photographer Lars van den Brink, documenting vintage or historic buildings (e.g. churches, factories) for their new use.
Not all initiatives worked out, there's always the matter of sufficient funding, but the majority illustrated here have resulted in a new lease of life.
I mention just two examples here: a milk factory from the 1950s turned into multi functional building including housing, shops, community area, etc. And a carpark is still a carpark but has on the top floor a restaurant in a glass house with a tremendous view over Haarlem...
This exhibition was enjoyed today in Villa Welgelegen.

More on Flickr.com



Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

'Villa Welgelegen' is a historical building in Haarlem, the Netherlands, which currently houses the offices of the provincial executives of North Holland.

It was built by Henry Hope of the famous family banking company Hope & Co. of Amsterdam, from 1785 to 1789 as a summer home to replace the already quite impressive structure that he purchased there in 1769.
From 1769 onwards, Henry Hope purchased more and more adjoining land in order to fulfill the plans he had for a great palace and picture gallery. During the five-year period that the construction took place, it was the talk of the town.

John Williams Hope sold the villa in 1808 to Napoleon's brother Louis Bonaparte who had just been named King of Holland.
Louis, or Ludwig as he called himself, loved Holland and enjoyed a good reputation among the people.
He gave the villa its current name 'Paviljoen Welgelegen'. Louis Napoleon enjoyed his stay there, but left in a hurry in 1810 when he was forced to abdicate the throne by his brother Napoleon, who felt he was being too 'nice' to his subjects.
Three years later, after the War of 1812, 'Welgelegen' became the property of the government of the Netherlands.

From 1814 to her death in 1828 Princes Wilhelmina of Prussia, who remembered the villa from her marriage, kept the villa as a summer palace and opened it to the public as a museum of modern art.
After Wilhelmina died, 'Welgelegen' housed many museums that later moved to Amsterdam or Leiden.
When the Frans Hals Museum moved to its present location on the Klein Heiligland, the "Fotografisch Museum" (1913-ca.1918) was opened here (now called Spaarnestad Photo).

Unlike Teylers Museum (also in Haarlem), that was built at the same time, 'Welgelegen' lost its museum function and has been in use since 1930 by the Provinciale Staten as the seat of government for the Province of North Holland.
Since the last restoration in 2009, the private park grounds and some of the rooms are open to the public during office hours, while the larger meeting rooms are open to the public for walking tours only one day of the year on Monumenten Dag.

More on Flickr.com



Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

The mysterious stone figures known as Inuksuit (singular: Inuksut, also spelled Inukshuk) can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Built from whatever stones are at hand, each one is unique.
Inuksuit are among the oldest and most important objects placed by humans upon the vast Arctic landscape and have become a familiar symbol of the Inuit and their homeland.
During the Hallendy’s 40 years of travels throughout the Arctic, he developed deep and lasting friendships with a number of Inuit elders. Through them, he learned that inuksuit are a nuanced, complex and vital form of communication.
Hallendy’s dramatic color photos of many different kinds of inuksuit and objects of veneration capture not only a sense of wonder and power but reveal the unfamiliar Arctic landscape in all its magical beauty.

Norman Hallendy was bestowed with the name Apirsuqti ('the inquisitive one') by the Inuit elders of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, for his insatiable curiosity to learn from them and document their stories, experiences and insights in a vanishing world as it transitioned from a life on the land to one in settled communities.
After Hallendy’s first encounter with the stone structures called inuksuit in 1958, he began travelling throughout the Arctic to learn as much as he could about the mysteries of inuksuit and the sacred sites of the Inuit.
He earned the trust of the local inhabitants, who allowed him to observe their culture firsthand speak with them about subjects usually forbidden to outsiders (such as old beliefs and shamanic ways), and to formally document the people, their lives and environment in words and images.
For Hallendy, it became both a determined scholarly undertaking and a lifelong labour of love.

This book, subtitled 'Silent Messengers of the Arctic', includes several educational essays:
¬Introduction: The Sense of Wonder
¬First Encounters
¬Silent Messengers
¬Places of Power, Objects of Veneration
¬Epilogue"In the Stillness of the Moment
The book also has an appendix of interest: 'Inuksuk types, functions and related features'.

Although most appear singly, sometimes they are arranged in sequences spanning great distances while others are grouped to mark a specific place.
They can point in a direction or mark a special place (e.g. in reverence of an event, a holy place or a hunter's cache).

Norman E. Hallendy is an internationally recognized Arctic researcher, writer and photographer.
He has been a prominent lecturer at Oxford and Cambridge including numerous universities in Canada and abroad.
In 2001, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society awarded Hallendy the Gold medal for his internationally acclaimed work on inuksuit and ethnographic work in southwest Baffin Island placing him among such outstanding contributors to geography as Michael Palin, Gilbert Grosvenor and Sir Christopher Ondaatje.

I cannot imagine a more informative, readable and inspiring book on this subject!




Photofile: Daido Moriyama

Photofile: Daido Moriyama

Photofile: Daido Moriyama

Photofile: Daido Moriyama

During vacation travel in Japan in 2018 I was on the lookout for one or two photobooks. One, about Great Hashima, was a good catch. But 'New Shinjuku' by Daido Moriyama really my heart beat faster!
For both books see MyBlog2018Q4.
On a recent outing to the Japan Museum in Leiden I came across the pocket edition of Photofile publication on Moriyama. I couldn't resist!

Daido Moriyama is a prolific Japanese artist, well-known as a photographer, graphic designer, and writer.
His photographs epitomize wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic of finding beauty in imperfection.

Moriyama was born in 1938 in Ikeda City, Osaka, Japan. He studied photography at the Takeji Iwamiya studio in Osaka before moving to Tokyo in 1961 to meet the members of VIVO.
In 1968, Moriyama produced a collection of photographs, Nippon gekijo shashincho, in high-contrast.
He began to draw the attention of many young and aggressive artists, most of them photographers, by becoming involved in the group magazine Provoke.

In the 1970s, Moriyama was plagued by personal problems and was not productive in matters of art, only regaining focus in the early 1980s, and even being awarded the Photographer of the Year Award by the Photography Society (Shashin Kyokai).

Predominantly, Moriyama's work is black and white with shades of grey and this, along with the dark and grainy style of his photographs, echoes the subject matter. However, Moriyama's complete works also include colour, Polaroids, screenprints, films, installations and silkscreens.
Moriyama has global recognition, with a record of solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including a joint retrospective with William Klein at Tate Modern, 2012. He has published a variety of photobooks and photo-essays and his work is held in multiple collections, both public and private.

en.wikipedia.org:_Daidō_Moriyama (includes a long list of his work and publications)
My trip to Tokyo (2018)



Leiden, Holland

Leiden, Holland

Leiden, Holland
In honour of Rembrandt van Rijn, famous 17th century Dutch painter, who was born in Leiden

Leiden, Holland

Leiden in the Netherlands is a typical university city, university buildings are scattered throughout the city.
It is a city with a rich cultural heritage, not only in science, but also in the arts.
One of the world's most famous painters, Rembrandt, was born and educated in Leiden. Other famous Leiden painters include Lucas van Leyden, Jan van Goyen and Jan Steen.

More images on www.flickr.com/



Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden: woodblock prints

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden: woodblock prints

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka
Remarkable to come across the name of Rembrandt van Rijn
in this context. Who, btw, was born in Leiden.

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka

When one visits the SieboldHuis museum in Leiden (the Netherlands) one is treated to beautiful objects from Japan: fascinating Japanese artifacts behind a Dutch historical facade. But I came for this temporary exhibition, which was on its last day!
Ever since I came to know about the woodblock print by Hokusai I long to see and learn more about them. One of the exhibitions, Four Seasons, was a series of such woodblock prints.
The second exhibitions really blew my mind, etchings by Ryohei Tanaka!

Ryohei Tanaka (born in Takatsuki, Japan, 1933 is a Japanese artist. He specialises in printmaking, through etching. The amount of detail, nuance in grey tones with only a rare etching with a dab of colour (equally stunning I must emphasize) is mind boggling.
In recent years I must admit that I sometimes struggled with some Japanese art and -photography, but with photography by Daido Moriyama (MyBlog 2018Q4) and these etchings by Ryohei Tanaka I am enthused with renewed energy to seek out Japanese contempory art!

The Leiden Volkenkunde museum (National Ethnology Museum) and Naturalis (the National Museum of Natural History) both participate(d) in the realization and conservation of the SieboldHuis museum on the basis of their leading Japanese collections.
The 19th century Japanese objects in these two museums are unique.

In 1822 Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold entered the service of the Dutch East Indies Army as surgeon major and was stationed in Batavia. There he caught the attention of the governor-general. Siebold had managed to learn both Dutch and Malay in a short time and took his tasks very seriously.
He seemed the ideal person to send to Japan, a country that was destined to take a central place in the rapidly changing world politics. Until then, Japan was an unknown power with strictly closed borders. Trade was only allowed through the Dutch trade post at Deshima, a small artificial island in the bay of Nagasaki. Siebold arrived in Deshima in 1823 with the assignment to collect information on the islands of Japan and its social and political structures and to investigate the possibilities of expanding the existing trade. Foreigners were not allowed to leave the trade post, but as a doctor Siebold had other opportunities.
An excellent book to read about the Dutch and Deshima is 'The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet' by David Mitchell (see MyBlog 2010Q3).

More photos of this visit Flickr.com
The catalgue of this exhibition, by Chris van Otterloo is reviewed on MyBlog 2020Q3



Fearless, tv-series

Fearless is a 6-episodes British crime thriller tv-series  dating from 2017.
The series follows human-rights lawyer Emma Banville (Helen McCrory, from starring a.o. in Peaky Blinders) as she tries to prove convicted murderer Kevin Russell innocent of the murder of schoolgirl Linda Simms 14 years earlier.
Russell asserts that he is innocent of the crime and Emma believes that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice. She goes to extreme lengths to discover the truth.

Supporting cast includes Michael Gambon as influential former Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet Office Sir Alastair McKinnon, Jonathan Forbes as Emma's colleague Dominic Truelove, Wunmi Mosaku as DCS Olivia Greenwood (whom I recognised as Holly Lawson in tv-series Vera and as a villain in Temple tv-series), the Investigating Officer on the Linda Simms case, and John Bishop as Emma's boyfriend Steve Livesey.
I had not realised John Bishop, whom I appreciated for his comedy acts, had gone into acting; he did very well.
I could see a follow up series happening but it was decided against it, in spite of the positive reviews.




De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

The Netherlands was so much different during the 17th century, labelled 'The Golden Age', than today, but still we see similarities with modern society in the Netherlands.
One of the things we would recognise is that refugees are looking for a safe home. Migrants in particular get to do the heavy work. Young people create a youth culture. Consumers want to go with fashion. People with money to invest buy shares and large shareholders start speculating dangerously. All these things persist over some 300 years! 

The story of the 17th-century Netherlands, a speck on the map, remains a tale beyond belief.
A hodgepodge of provinces rebel against the Spanish king, manage to build a new state through trial and error and this young nation grows into an experiment like the world has never seen.
A society led by the citizen themselfs, with merchants in the lead, who try to keep a reign on the warmongering, ambitious House of Orange who lead in the military struggle to free the Dutch Lowlands from Spanish occupation and other foreign adversaries interfering in developing global markets..
With unprecedented liberties and all kinds of religious beliefs mixed together.
With ships that travel the world and established trading posts from Indonesia to Brazil. With scientists who unravel the wonders of nature and painters who show reality as new and promising.
How do we consider the Golden Age of the Dutch during the 17th century, the glorious heritage, in an objective manner.

This book perceives the Golden Age as a testing ground for our own time.
It was a period in which the Netherlands, and in particular Holland and Amsterdam, becomes the laboratory where the world conducts experimental research into globalization, migration, tolerance, consumerism, stock market and media hypes and many more moderns.
Exquisitely illustrated I must add. I expect to browse it many more times or use it to reread certain chapters for historic details mirroring modern times.

WIKIPEDIA: 'The Dutch Golden Age was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world.
The first section is characterized by the Eighty Years' War, which ended in 1648.
The Golden Age continued in peacetime during the Dutch Republic until the end of the century.
The transition by the Netherlands to becoming the foremost maritime and economic power in the world has been called the 'Dutch Miracle' by historian K. W. Swart.'




Wisting, Norwegian (Scandi Noir) crime fiction drama

'Wisting' is a Norwegian police procedural tv-series, starring Sven Nordin as widower William Wisting, a senior police detective, and in the first 5 episodes, co-starring Carrie-Anne Moss as FBI Special Agent Maggie Griffin.
'Wisting' is the most expensive television drama series produced in Norway. This 10 episodes thriller is based on two Jørn Lier Horst novels, The Caveman (2012) and The Hunting Dogs (2013).

In episodes 1-5, Wisting heads a murder investigation with FBI collaboration since the suspect is a serial killer hunted in the US. Someone hiding in the identity of another (deceased) person is called a caveman.
In episodes 6-10, Wisting has to defend himself against accusations of tampering with evidence in a previous murder case.

I preferred the first series over the 2nd series, but overall again an excellent ' Nordic Noir' series.



Temple, crime fiction tv drama

'Temple' is a Sky One television series and is an adaptation of the Norwegian television Valkyrien, which first aired in 2019. It stars Mark Strong, Carice Van Houten and Daniel Mays and was commissioned on 2Aug2018.
Very strong role playing, I thought.

In a labyrinth of abandoned service tunnels near Temple Underground Station, Daniel (Mark Strong), a surgeon, runs an illegal medical clinic to treat criminals and other desperate patients who cannot or will not seek help from regular medical facilities. Daniel sets up the clinic to find a cure for his wife, Beth (Catherine McCormack), who suffers from a terminal illness.
The main plot was a bit far fetched in my opinion, but plenty of personal drama and some run-of-the-mill villains to keep us entertained!




The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

In 2007, author Ian Rankin claimed that his wife spotted Rowling "scribbling away" at a detective novel in a café. Rankin later retracted the story, claiming it was a joke. But the rumour persisted, with a report in 2012 in The Guardian speculating that Rowling's next book would be a crime novel.

In April 2013, Little Brown published 'The Cuckoo's Calling', the purported début novel of author Robert Galbraith. The novel is a detective story in which private investigator Cormoran Strike unravels the supposed suicide of a supermodel.
The 2nd Cormoran Strike novel, named 'The Silkworm', was released in 2014. Titled 'Career of Evil', this 3rd Strike novel was published in 2015.
In 2017, the BBC released a Cormoran Strike tv-series, starring Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike, which I liked very much.
While intended for a 2017 release, Rowling saw publication of 'Lethal White' delayed to September 2018.

I am not sure why I purchased this book, as I had seen it on television and the story was still too much in my head to enjoy the meandering way this book is written. It has endless dialogue and minute progress of Strike's investigation. The plot is a good one, but the book could have done with a 100 pages less, in my opinion.
I may purchase at some point 'Lethal White', for it wasn't filmed and I did like the style of writing, but if you ever come across a choice of buying the dvd boxset or the book(s), I probably would recommend the dvd's or streaming services.




Het Stadspaleis - Geert Mak

Sunday, June 7th 1652, an unprecedented fierce fire in the old medieval town hall of Amsterdam paved the way for new times. This event found Amsterdam's Town Hall to be replaced by a brand new building of unprecedented size and grandeur, a city palace that in everything reflected the Amsterdam's new found status in The Netherlands and in the world.
Building ended in 1665. It is considered to be the most important historical and cultural monument in The Netherlands during the Golden Century ('Gouden Eeuw').
Soon the exterior of the palace, sandstone of yellowish hue, turned very dark by the stench from the canals and damp discharged from city living.

In this monograph, Geert Mak describes (a.o.) the prime architect of the building, Jacob van Campen (originally a painter) who only made infrequent visits to the building site, left supervision to others (of which Daniël Stalpaert was allegedly the most important).
The design of the palace differed in size and ambition for a number of years, depending on how well the economics of Amsterdam did.
Building this city palace brought the strained relations between the governing bodies in The Hague and the merchants in Amsterdam to the surface, strained relations that continue to this very day and age.

Mak describes how this town hall became a royal palace, however its royal occupants never liked it much for it was cold by ever present draft while it also sat in the middle of the city, lacked the privacy of elaborate gardens surrounding it. It sits on The Dam, a busy trading place, transfer of goods from the harbor over centuries and these days tourists crowd it.
Most royalty stayed for brief periods, varying between weeks to a mere few days. As a result the expensive upkeep was always a point of discussion and the palace has known sad periods when it was literally crumbling, with large parts of the building falling down (inside and out).
Queen Wilhelmina was the only one who enjoyed more lengthy stays.

In the days it functioned as a City Hall convicts suffered the death penalty from the balcony or scaffolding in front of the palace.
The Germans inspected it during WW2 but decided it was not suitable for occupancy. During WW2 a Jewish doctor hid in the palace.

Geert Mak shares many interesting details on the interior, changes made over centuries, its occupants and mausing anecdotes over the years concerning this palace.
These days it serves as accommodation for State Visits and sometimes opens for exhibitions. See MyBlog 2019Q3.

Geert Ludzer Mak (b. 04Dec1946 in Vlaardingen) is a Dutch journalist and a non-fiction writer in the field of history. His ten books about Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Europe have earned him great popularity.








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Created: 01-JAN-2020