Things break.

My stepmother broke her hand last week on holiday. Dutch football player Winston Bogarde broke lots of things in his leg. And my colleague was hit in the face in a brawl during football victory ‘celebrations’ last night. Two of his teeth were chipped.

I wasted a lot of money on a 2nd hand camcorder. It arrived today and looks like it might break any moment.

I’ve been taking a break from mailing lists. My own… and others that I’m subscribed to. It’s a relief. I felt terrorised by the constant arrival of new mail.

Copyright gets broken all the time. Web theft is a hot issue. Check how stole code and design from . They even forgot to change the top left hand corner frame’s ALT tag.

Link of the Day:
Zeldman doesn’t need to break the law. He’s an original.

Past imperfect

Saturday’s probably an odd day for a museum visit. Especially when the rest of the country is getting ready for today’s match against Argentina.

I don’t go to museums often enough. The Stedelijk Museum is the most important museum of modern and contemporary art in The Netherlands – and this was only my second visit of the 90’s.

There were several interesting exhibitions. ‘From the corner of the Eye’ showcases 14 gay artists’ work. Humour seemed to dominate the installations, videos, sculptures, paintings and drawings. More serious were the photos of Boris Michailov – stark, real, sometimes sad but always powerful pictures of the USSR, a society fallen apart. Absolutely stunning was the Stenberg (‘mouseover’ to see a poster) exhibit: two brothers designing film posters in revolutionary Russia. Amazing drawings in deep blues, reds, yellows and blacks, announcing ordinary documentaries as if they were thrilling Film Noirs.

Outside, the match had started. Walking around deserted Amsterdam, we heard groups of people shouting, gathered in pubs and restaurants, looking up at the t.v. screens. We thought it would be a cool idea to go around town and photograph these people.

We kept up with the score like that, walking back to Central Station, stopping in for a coffee somewhere, gazing through windows whenever we heard them screaming. When Dennis Bergkamp scored in the 90th minute, a tremor could be felt. It gave me goosebumps.

When we got back in Utrecht, all hell had broke loose. The town was orange, people were drinking everywhere, driving around, honking horns. I can’t stand mass hysteria. I know just how quickly the milk turns sour:

When we didn’t cheer on demand, we were called ‘dykes’. (So I have short hair and wear trousers… dickhead men think I’m gay.) One car almost ran me off the road – a guy alone, waving his stupid scarf out of his window, slowing down when I gave him the finger. My friend got caught in a group of drunks playing football in the middle of the street – she almost got hit by the ball.

It was a perfect day. Almost.

PS. I bought two great books: 1. ‘the covers of Wendingen’: 216 covers of a 1918/1931 Dutch design magazine. 2. Lay In – Lay Out, an odd study of Dutch graphic design.

Links of the Day:

The ‘From the corner of the eye’ exhibition comprises part of the cultural programme accompanying the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam.:

Pet hate

A friend asked me if I could help him find a scrolling Java applet. I’ll do my best for him, but…

I don’t like Java on the web. It usually takes too long to load, and more often doesn’t add anything to either the content or the design of the site. Macs have problems with Java and I can’t say it runs too smoothly on my Windows machine either.

The other day, my colleague was asked to ‘Come up with a solution for the problems the Macs are having with that Java application’.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! :-)

Word of the Day:
Uglet. n. The ugly grey patch on a web page which occurs when a Java applet is loading.


Dutch telecom upped their prices per July 1st, and narrowed down the off peak hours. This means they’ve taken 2 hours away from my on line time. This is good, it gives me more time to read, breathe, live and listen to music.

Too often we want things to stay as they are. Music fans often don’t appreciate an artist’s change of direction. It’s understandable. When you like something… you want more of the same. You want your apple pie to taste the way your grandmother baked it.

But change is good. Good things must end, die, go away. They need to make place for the new, the young, the fresh – before they go bad. If good things go on forever, they become boring. Good things need to be unique.

A large part of Luka Bloom’s new record ‘Salty Heaven’, to me, sounds like more of the same. It’s in the way he strums his guitar, it’s in the melodies he writes and the rhythms he prefers and the way he ‘raps’ his lyrics.

When good things turn bad there’s always a little sadness. And so I’m a little sad today, playing Salty Heaven.

PS. Why is ‘abbreviation’ such a long word?

On my stereo: Luka Bloom – Salty Heaven, Imaani – Where are you


I’ve just about heard enough about football now. All around me people are obsessed… and in typically Dutch fashion, although the team are winning, everybody’s moaning about everything: the coach isn’t using the right players, the players are assholes and they probably all hate each other, the referee is an idiot, all the other countries’ fans are morons and all the other countries’ commentators are plotting against ‘us’.

The only thing people seem to be proud of is the fact that the mad Dutch fans in France aren’t violent. That makes them better than the other fans, you know. People allow themselves a very simplistic view of the world when they’re swept away by the World Cup.

“What are you all going to do after the World Cup… there’ll be a big black hole,” I joked. “No, we’ll have Wimbledon… and then the Tour de France!”


It’s only a game.

Sex sells, I seek sanctuary

Every morning I run into the newagent’s to get a magazine. And every time I walk past the women’s magazines, I’m reminded of a poem I wrote a long time ago:

Cosmo’s Catechism

Pick up the issue of Cosmo madame
See the young bodies on show
Read about multiple joy madame
aren’t you ready to go?

Rub in that feeling of fear madame
count on your fingers your loss
dip in the labours of love madame
and apply that shiny new gloss

This the flesh upon flesh they say
this is the skin upon skin
this is the time of your life they say
the only way up that is in

this is the thing we all do they say
this is the essence of us
this is achievement for you they say
this the thing that you must

these are the do’s and the don’ts they say
these are the rights and the wrongs

no! these are the men you won’t get I say
these are the women you’re not
these are statistics that suck I say
this is what we haven’t got

this is the burden of wanting it more
this is the yoke we must bear
this is the hunger that comes from within
this is the joke we can’t share

this is the age of talking I say
the age of talking too much
this is the wasting of paper I say
to answer the question of lust

this is the age of learning to walk
when all we achieve is to crawl
we do what we can to get it I say
and then we don’t get it at all

Gift of the day: Netscape 0.9, sexy software for your pleasure…
On my tv: Holland vs Yugoslavia


My mother died when I was 12 years old. I had been sent on a holiday to Indonesia because she had been ill for a while and she was in hospital. Halfway through my trip I was rushed back to the Netherlands. She died the morning of the day I arrived.

As we drove away from Schiphol airport, my uncle stopped the car on the hard shoulder. I had gathered from my relatives’ puffed up eyes that something was very wrong – I think I could guess what it was, but I denied it until they told me.

One last time I saw her. The nurse ushered me into the room where she lay on that hospital bed. I didn’t want to, but I did kiss her forehead when the nurse told me to. She was pale and cold.

I have pictures of myself on the day of her burial. I’m playing with my niece and I’m smiling. I’m wearing the black slacks I had insisted on getting made for me in Jakarta. My aunt thought that was creepy.

I don’t think I fully grasped what was going on or I wouldn’t have been smiling. I probably shut myself off from everything, protecting myself from the pain and avoiding the thought of the gaping hole in front of me. What was going to happen now? Who was going to take care of me?

It’s raining outside, it has been raining for weeks. I’m pissed off and moody. I’m 35 years old, I have learnt to take care of myself. I don’t miss my mother but I wish I knew who she really was.

On my stereo: Echo and the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain