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.)

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?

Sometimes…

I can’t stand this place. Yesterday’s bad news has been confirmed. You cannot buy a house in Amsterdam for less than 177.000 guilders unless you work in the city or area, or have already been living in Amsterdam for at least 2 years.

It’s just maddening, the rules and regulations in this country. I feel so restricted here sometimes. Suffocated. If only we had more s p a c e .

I’d looked forward to seeing that house on Wilhelminastreet and I had a good feeling about it. Maybe I should get myself a real estate agent (like most people do) to find me a place. They at least know all the rules and can form a buffer between me and the big bad housing world out there.

I wish it was Thursday evening… me in London behind a pint of something bittersweet.

Feel free to slap me for whining.

Some good news too: a while back someone working for a Dublin magazine asked me to help them get an interview with Gavin Friday. The interview happened last Thursday & Gavin suggested the journalist give me the interview for the web site. The journalist mailed me to say he’ll have it ready around Wednesday. Nice one, Gav. It still surprises me when he shows this kind of interest in the site, and it puts a smile on my face.

I got a lot more faxes from hotels in London – I’m pleased to notice that the one I booked last week is cheaper than all these later ones.

I’ve been thinking of putting some of my childhood diaries on line – I’m sure it will be a good laugh & perhaps cathartic.

Rules and Regulations

Sometimes I can’t stand this place. Yesterday’s bad news has been confirmed. You cannot buy a house in Amsterdam for less than 177.000 guilders unless you work in the city or area, or have already been living in Amsterdam for at least 2 years.

It’s just maddening, the rules and regulations in this country. I feel so restricted here sometimes. Suffocated. If only we had more s p a c e .

I’d looked forward to seeing that house on Wilhelminastreet and I had a good feeling about it. Maybe I should get myself a real estate agent (like most people do) to find me a place. They at least know all the rules and can form a buffer between me and the big bad housing world out there.

I wish it was Thursday evening… me in London behind a pint of something bittersweet.

Feel free to slap me for whining.

Some good news too: a while back someone working for a Dublin magazine asked me to help them get an interview with Gavin Friday. The interview happened last Thursday & Gavin suggested the journalist give me the interview for the web site. The journalist mailed me to say he’ll have it ready around Wednesday. Nice one, Gav. It still surprises me when he shows this kind of interest in the site, and it puts a smile on my face.

I got a lot more faxes from hotels in London – I’m pleased to notice that the one I booked last week is cheaper than all these later ones.

I’ve been thinking of putting some of my childhood diaries on line – I’m sure it will be a good laugh & perhaps cathartic.

Bad news

Bad news

Someone at last night’s party told me that 2 years ago you couldn’t buy any house in Amsterdam below 187000 guilders if you weren’t already a resident of the city for at least five years. If that is still the case, I can forget about the house on Wilhelminastraat that I’m checking out tomorrow.

I walked past it last night before going to the party and the street looked a bit scruffy. Lots of bikes parked on the sidewalk, so that probably means lots of students. Some of the houses on the street looked dingy, others looked prim and proper. ‘Mine’ was an inbetweenie – it definitely needed a paint job on the outside. All the curtains were closed so there was no telling what the inside might be like.

The neighbourhood looked lively enough with shops and bars and only a few minutes walk to the main street & tram (Overtoom).

Books
I spent most of Sunday strolling around the city of Deventer. My dad had been invited to the authors’ lunch by his publishers. It was a typically bland Dutch lunch (the quiches were tasteless and raw) of mostly sandwiches and soup. I’ll probably gripe about Dutch food in a future edition of ‘Flat’ my column about Dutch culture.

90.000 people were expected to visit this biggest book fair of Europe. I thought it was quite enjoyable, if a bit crowded. If only I hadn’t been forced to wear my dress shoes for the occasion – I don’t know how many stalls we passed, but my feet started complaining half way through.

I found some gorgeous books from the 20’s and 30’s but they were way too expensive for me. I also dug up a more recent book on Bauhaus (the movement, not the band). My dad was interested so I held back and let him buy it so I can borrow it! My interest in Bauhaus lies mainly with graphic design and architecture – I have very little love for Kandinski’s paintings.

I’ve a bit of a throat on me… cough cough.

http://www.johnco.cc.ks.us/%7Ejjackson/bauhaus.html
http://craton.geol.brocku.ca/guest/jurgen/bau4.htm

Bad news

Someone at last night’s party told me that 2 years ago you couldn’t buy any house in Amsterdam below 187000 guilders if you weren’t already a resident of the city for at least five years. If that is still the case, I can forget about the house on Wilhelminastraat that I’m checking out tomorrow.

I walked past it last night before going to the party and the street looked a bit scruffy. Lots of bikes parked on the sidewalk, so that probably means lots of students. Some of the houses on the street looked dingy, others looked prim and proper. ‘Mine’ was an inbetweenie – it definitely needed a paint job on the outside. All the curtains were closed so there was no telling what the inside might be like.

The neighbourhood looked lively enough with shops and bars and only a few minutes walk to the main street & tram (Overtoom).

Books
I spent most of Sunday strolling around the city of Deventer. My dad had been invited to the authors’ lunch by his publishers. It was a typically bland Dutch lunch (the quiches were tasteless and raw) of mostly sandwiches and soup. I’ll probably gripe about Dutch food in a future edition of ‘Flat’ my column about Dutch culture.

90.000 people were expected to visit this biggest book fair of Europe. I thought it was quite enjoyable, if a bit crowded. If only I hadn’t been forced to wear my dress shoes for the occasion – I don’t know how many stalls we passed, but my feet started complaining half way through.

I found some gorgeous books from the 20’s and 30’s but they were way too expensive for me. I also dug up a more recent book on Bauhaus (the movement, not the band). My dad was interested so I held back and let him buy it so I can borrow it! My interest in Bauhaus lies mainly with graphic design and architecture – I have very little love for Kandinski’s paintings.

I’ve a bit of a throat on me… cough cough.