Who’s afraid…

Wanted to work a bit more on my tan but it just wasn’t sunny enough, so I spent this Saturday watching Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor battle it out in “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf”. Burton manages to look sexy in a cardigan, Taylor is driven and sensual. I don’t think any of today’s ‘actresses’ – those bland waifs they have in the movies now – would be able to conjure up such angry sadness. Kathy Bates perhaps, but she hasn’t the glamour that’s undeniably there in Taylor.

I got a phonecall during the film, one of these phone polls, I had to answer questions about Dutch railway advertising. The woman asking me the questions seemed to have a speech defect, more than once I had to just guess at what she was saying. I’m quite willing to help but always get frustrated with the people they hire to do such jobs.

A few books arrived from Amazon.com: the Xenophobe’s guide to the Dutch – funny, but not as biting as I remembered it. Also: ‘Dutch Moderne’ a gorgeous book on Dutch design of the 20’s and 30’s. I wouldn’t mind some of those old posters to put up on the wall of my house to be.

Sold 2 Gavin Friday books today, I’m really running out of copies now, I think there’s just one or two boxes left. I really do want to do a follow up. Maybe when I retire.

Comfortable

I felt quite comfortable in the house I had a look at today. It seemed familiar, slightly tatty – its interior almost exactly the way I would have decorated it. The owner never did much with it and that is probably exactly how I would have kept it… except I want to make a fresh start and get my new place done up properly. So I guess it is perfect. I have all the colours in my head. They are in fact the colours your see on this page. Khaki, terra & black.

The house had wooden floors, not the posh ones though. Two balconies, back and front, a large living and a smaller bedroom, a kitchen big enough for me to make huge meals in, and separate shower & bathroom.

The neighbours *all* work in public tv… that means they all commute to Hilversum, like I do.

The house isn’t officially on sale yet, so I was the first to see it, and the first to be interested… apart from the downstairs neighbours who are toying with the idea to expand their space.

There are lots of antique and second hand shops in the area so I can probably get all I need close by. Cooker, fridge, all that.

I’m worried about the bedroom floor, it needs work… a paintjob or carpeting. Love the 2 fireplaces (not in use… they house the gas heaters) great place to put my religious statues. Nice long walls to put up my art posters.

Strange coincidences: the owner had a Stenberg postcard on the wall (see Dag July 4) and the same plastic statue of Maria that I have.

P’raps ‘t was meant to be.

Now comes the waiting and negotiating.

Comfortable

I felt quite comfortable in the house I had a look at today. It seemed familiar, slightly tatty – its interior almost exactly the way I would have decorated it. The owner never did much with it and that is probably exactly how I would have kept it… except I want to make a fresh start and get my new place done up properly. So I guess it is perfect. I have all the colours in my head. They are in fact the colours your see on this page. Khaki, terra & black.

The house had wooden floors, not the posh ones though. Two balconies, back and front, a large living and a smaller bedroom, a kitchen big enough for me to make huge meals in, and separate shower & bathroom.

The neighbours *all* work in public tv… that means they all commute to Hilversum, like I do.

The house isn’t officially on sale yet, so I was the first to see it, and the first to be interested… apart from the downstairs neighbours who are toying with the idea to expand their space.

There are lots of antique and second hand shops in the area so I can probably get all I need close by. Cooker, fridge, all that.

I’m worried about the bedroom floor, it needs work… a paintjob or carpeting. Love the 2 fireplaces (not in use… they house the gas heaters) great place to put my religious statues. Nice long walls to put up my art posters.

Strange coincidences: the owner had a Stenberg postcard on the wall (see Dag July 4) and the same plastic statue of Maria that I have.

P’raps ‘t was meant to be.

Now comes the waiting and negotiating.

IQ check

I read through the interview with IQ to check it for mistakes – it was fine, but makes me sound pretty grumpy. I guess that’s what I am. Grumpy and too hard on myself. ‘Character traits: difficult, chaotic, not a teamworker’. That’s what I said, but it looks severe in print.

S. was in fine form, says he was thinking of doing a spoof of my journal: Thought about doing a satirical site called “Dog” (“Dog is English for dog”). 1st – “ate, slept, scratched”; 2nd – “scratched, shagged, slept”; 3rd – “ran, ate, slept”, etc. Oprah always talks about gratitude books or whatever she calls it, well I’m grateful for decent people on line. :)

Today I moved the ‘Heaven’ mailing list to the new – Dutch – host. I’m mildly excited about it – proud it’s been running 3 years, but a little weary. Hopefully it won’t be too long until Gavin gets to release his new album – it will give us something to talk about – I feel we are getting a bit repetitive at times – and I include my own posts in that assessment.

My tennis partner’s niece is selling her apartment – I’m having a look at it tomorrow. It’s very near the last one I was excited about and I do hope this is ‘the one’.

I really should get out more often, I’m much more relaxed at work after my trip to Brighton. I meet questions with a smile rather than a snarl.

IQ check

I read through the interview with IQ to check it for mistakes – it was fine, but makes me sound pretty grumpy. I guess that’s what I am. Grumpy and too hard on myself. ‘Character traits: difficult, chaotic, not a teamworker’. That’s what I said, but it looks severe in print.

S. was in fine form, says he was thinking of doing a spoof of my journal: Thought about doing a satirical site called “Dog” (“Dog is English for dog”). 1st – “ate, slept, scratched”; 2nd – “scratched, shagged, slept”; 3rd – “ran, ate, slept”, etc. Oprah always talks about gratitude books or whatever she calls it, well I’m grateful for decent people on line. :)

Today I moved the ‘Heaven’ mailing list to the new – Dutch – host. I’m mildly excited about it – proud it’s been running 3 years, but a little weary. Hopefully it won’t be too long until Gavin gets to release his new album – it will give us something to talk about – I feel we are getting a bit repetitive at times – and I include my own posts in that assessment.

My tennis partner’s niece is selling her apartment – I’m having a look at it tomorrow. It’s very near the last one I was excited about and I do hope this is ‘the one’.

I really should get out more often, I’m much more relaxed at work after my trip to Brighton. I meet questions with a smile rather than a snarl.

Chilled out

My, my, that trip was delightful. It took me a day or so to relax – still quite stressed out running around London on the first day, but I soon chilled out when I saw the view from our hotel window: the sea.

We spent most our time enjoying the sun & the sea, reading, and having fine food. We picked up 3 books for 15 pounds, a summer sale: Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love, a Bridget Jones clone called ‘The Trials of Tiffany Trott’ and Frank McCourt’s autobiographical Angela’s Ashes. (“Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood,” writes Frank McCourt in Angela’s Ashes. “Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”) That last title had me in tears by the end of the first chapter – it’s one of the best and most moving books I’ve ever read. Read it!

Brighton is quite wonderful – they call it London by the sea, it’s got a slightly french tinge to it. It was booked out, but not overcrowded – there was plenty of room on the beaches (pebble) . I got quite a tan.

We enjoyed the gay ‘Pride’ parade on the Saturday although it wasn’t half as impressive as the ones we have in Amsterdam. Took lots of pictures of trannies – and worked the whistles a friendly couple gave to us. Brighton is tolerant like Amsterdam – and the whole town seems to cater to its gay customers – shops, bars, hotels… one was called ‘The Queen’s Head’ and it had Freddie Mercury’s face painted on its signboard.

On the first night we strolled down to the (ugly) new Marina – a disgrace of a place, Virgin cinema cum multistorey parking lot blocking the view of the sea! We passed an obvious cruising spot opposite the naturist beach – very British: they’d built a pebble dike to protect the innocent. A mad, fat old man was walking up and down the promenade shouting ‘you faaaaking queer baaastaaards’.

On the Sunday we visited the town of Arundel, 25 miles to the west. The local bus took two hours getting there in the heat – but the castle was wonderful – it’s been the home of the Dukes of Norfolk for 700 years. The current Duke is Queen E.’s right hand, 83 years old and desperate to retire (not allowed!). His 30-something son and heir to the title lives in the castle, we were told by a gap-toothed drunken O.A.P. on duty in the family vault… ‘you probably saw him messing around,’ he said rolling his eyes in despise – Duke jr. apparently not in his favour.

In the town’s second hand bookshop I bought a copy of Melvyn Bragg’s book ‘Rich’, a biography of Richard Burton. Bragg’s style is leaden, repetitive, pompous and myth-making… but still the story fascinates, for Burton is such a compelling character. It is funny how male biographers cannot stop emphasizing their subject’s good looks. Bragg brings it up every 10 pages – it is as if they – the biographers – are over-compensating. ‘Look at us,’ they seem to be saying, ‘we’re not afraid to say another man is handsome, let’s say it twenty million times!’. He keeps referring to Burton’s sexual appetite as well.

I have always admired Burton as an actor, for his voice and presence, but reading this book I cannot help but be in awe of his amazing intellect Even in death, and in writing, he is the most enchanting figure. I even have come to respect and more or less admire his miss Taylor… bleeding all over the book!

Bragg claims Burton could make any woman feel he was in love with her or would soon be… within minutes. Charm oozing from his tainted pores… charm as well as alcohol. I know someone quite like that – though not quite as self destructive and not quite that erudite. They make for fascinating, impossible, adorable and utterly forgivable boy-men.

Today, at work, I was photographed for one and a half hours, for a portrait in Dutch magazine IQ, a rag for ‘young professionals’. I enjoy being photographed professionally, but can imagine it becomes a bore after a while! Later on in the day the interview took place by phone. A few simple questions… I volunteered more information myself! It will be on the shelves next month.

I enjoy my “15 minutes” once every while.

Sentimental

By chance, I came accross a site dealing with Dutch tv series of the 60’s and 70’s. Quite odd if you remember I bought a book on the Oebele series of that era only last Sunday at the book fair. The site hasn’t got round to making their Oebele pages, but Floris is there. It was a series about a dashing knight called Floris, and his Arab sidekick Sindala. It was directed by Paul Verhoeven (of Robocop, Basic Instinct and Total Recall fame) and it launched the career of the actor Rutger Hauer who was later to star in one of my favourite films: Blade Runner. He had our young girls’ hearts go pitter patter back then.

I suppose my generation was the first to get really hooked on television. Many childhood memories revolve around the series I watched. Star Trek, of course. My cousins and I used to play ‘Star Trek’ around my grandmother’s flat. I used to watch ‘Thunderbirds’ and ‘Captain Scarlet’, not fully realising I was watching puppets on a string.

I may have been a little too young for Peyton Place, but I did watch it if my mother let me. She did often enough, and I also saw a lot of the original Mission Impossible series. I clearly remember my young (english speaking) cousin teaching me not to say ‘negro’ but ‘black’ when we were discussing an episode from that series.

Can you imagine a generation grown up with Captain James Tiberius Kirk’s romantic conquests as a role model?

Dutch tv-series of the 60’s and 70’s: http://www.bubblegum.demon.nl

I’m currently reading:
Finbar’s Hotel (Dermot Bolger, Joseph O’Connor, Roddy Doyle, a.o.)