Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Educate the person next to you"

It only seems like in recent years a lot of people I grew up with have passed away, so young, unknowingly a huge part of my life. It's long ago but so far what really made a big impression on me was the passing away of Frank Sinatra. He was one of these people who just was immortal. Frank Sinitra was supposed to be there forever. His voice and music lives on thankfully. What a voice! And only yesterday the news reached me that Tom Bosley had passed away. Better knows at the Dad in Happy Days. He too had a respectable age of 83 but still. Happy Days was and is one of my favourite TV series, he was such a fatherly type of person, he was (not really) The Fonz' dad! It's weird.

These past years people such as Michael Jackson, Corey Haim, Antonie Kamerling (Dutch actor who played in the nation's first ever soap serie), Solomon Burke, Piet Wijn (he drew a comic in Donals Duck which I had a subscription to as a kid), Miep Gies (she found the diary of Anne Frank), Ria Brieffies (she was a singer in the biggest Dutch girl group of the 80s), Les Paul, Patrick Swayze, Stephen Gately, Brittany Murphy, Jay Retard, Arjen Grolleman (he founded the only alternative radio station in the Netherlands, Kink FM), Malcolm McLaren, Gary Coleman, a couple of the Golden Girls, I think I better stop now.

Anyway, these days we don't hear it on the radio or from friends, we got twitter now. And so I sat a little dazed at work reading a blog someone tweeted about Ari Up. Ari Up had died. That kind of had me go wow. I'll be honest with you, I was not a big fan of her band the Slits, I like their punk stuff but not their reggae stuff but I liked them for being the band that they were. Last year on my birthday they were The Very Special Guests at the Cribs' show I visited in Doncaster (I probably would have passed this small tour by if it hadn't been for my birthday). I looked them up on the net and well, I wondered why. But then, it was quite impressive and special to have such an influential and strong all female group from the late 70s, early 80s to open for the Cribs. The Slits were really something. I knew it meant the world to the band, all four feminists themselves. And at least it wasn't as bland as the other two bands who played who's names I already forgot (was it Sky Larkin and some other band?).

The Slits took the stage and just by the way how, especially Ari Up came on as a strong woman, I kind of wondered if this crowd would appreciate this. The music was reggae mixed with dance hall but also punk (the latter I really enjoyed) and they put on a great show. But not everyone agreed because they were horribly treated by a group of male chauvenists pigs, a side effect of a band growing bigger and being in an unusual large venue, it's easier for them to get in. Beers were thrown on stage, they were boo-ed and in all it was a disgrace. But the women on stage stood brave and did their set, they verbally fought the idiots and were strong. That was admirable to see (at the side of the stage stood the Cribs' bassist fuming with anger and nearly ran on stage, it should have been a treat, and this was no way to receive a treat). In all, this show was unforgettable. And this is how I remember the Slits.

It's weird to see these people die who in one way or another were part of you growing up (and I'm still growing up), it gives you a feeling of mortallity, it's like damn! when they pass away. It also makes you feel like you're growing slowly older yourself. I'm not twenty anymore, no I'm not. But musicians dying who I only have seen under a year ago? That's a whole new chapter. R.I.P. Ari Up.

The title of this is brought to you by my sister who reminded me of what Ari Up told that crowd that night. Think about it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On the train

Photography is contagious. When my sister bought her Diana F+ I bought a simple lomolitos disposable camera with red flash light. I just shot ahead, had them developped and to keep the story short, I'm now the proud owner of a Holga 35mm Pinhole camera. This sounds easier than it is. It not just takes patience and a steady hand but other skills such as removing the cap before taking a picture. I now have a gorgeous black photo, I'm sure.

I like the thrill of not having a single clue how these pictures turn out. But I also love my new freedom of not caring what anyone thinks when taking a picture. Today I was in Rotterdam (I'm writing this in the train hello technology!) and stood on the side of a tunnel in order to make a hopefully stunning picture of a sky high building Rotterdam is famous for. But I also plucked the courage to ask a funny dressed man which was for an exhibition of the city if I could take a picture of him and if he wanted to hold for at least 10 seconds, as it was a pinhole. He did not mind and showed interest which was really so very lovely of him. It was just a very nice meeting with this man in a tight red white striped catsuite, with hood, and black tie.

I really should thank my sister for this.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Someone who doesn't watch TV about TV - Modern Family

I'm not the world's biggest fan of US TV sitcoms. I know series such as Two and a half man, Seinfeld, Scrubs, Frasier, and whatever they are called are really popular but I just don't think they're funny. I don't like US comedies, I don't know if it's their (lack) of humor or something else, I usually avoid them or don't like them. The few I've enjoyed are eiher animated (The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad!, but NOT Futurama) or are in fact really funny, such as the Drew Carrey Show (I miss Mimi sometimes), The King of Queens and the flopped but amazing Get a Life about a 30-year-old paper boy living in the garage of his parents (and subsequently teaching me that REM had made records before 'Losing my Religion'). Now there's a show I'd like to see again. But considering the amount of American Sitcoms in this life, you can't say I'm a big fan, not by a long shot.

This is why I paid little attention to the announcement of a new TV series on Dutch TV, automatically assuming it's crap anyway but when it rolled on and I was being too lazy to change the channel I started to watch it with one eye as soon as I saw 'Al Bundy' (Ed O'Neill) sitting on a sofa (again) and I was actually quite charmed that they showed two episodes. Is it really? Is Modern Family one of the few sitcoms (actually it doesn't matter where they're from, I consider myself a funny person but my sense of funny does rarely match sitcom-funny) I like? Really, really? The concept is brilliant though also has all ingredients that spell fail. Nevertheless it has won some Emmy Awards. It's all about one family, the father (played by the brilliant Ed O'Neill) who has re-married a much younger woman and his two children who all have their families as well. There's a lot of stereotyping going on and typical family situations which is the successful factor. What I liked best, apart from Ed O'Neill, is the stereotypical gay behaviour of Cam Tucker, but he sure doesn't look like your stereotypical TV gay.

I hope I remember to watch more episodes. I don't watch TV but this I like. It takes a little effort to figure out the family relations but I don't mind this time. Well done.

Gras driving, forest friends and Corin Tucker

Three days into my working rhythm and I'm still not used to it. Work really needs getting used to, why can't people just take it slow and easy? Work is annoying. It always takes a while to get back into real life after a vacation but I what I really need to do is getting my act together when biking home. So far I managed to drive my bicycle into the gras every single day while I was telling myself what great music I got on my walkman. I either need to get over the fact the music is great or I should pay more attention to the road. Probably the last one.

Just before I went on vacation I noticed that the left top tile at the lady's toilets at work sort of looks like it has a Bob Ross painting on it. While looking at it I could see a forest with animals on that particular tile. Of course when you are tired you are able to see weird things so while thinking it was nice I thought I saw these things simply because I was tired. To my surprise and joy I noticed my forest friends hadn't left the tile. They are still there. The fox sitting in front of a tree which has a owl sitting in it. And there's also a bunny jumping at the right side of the tile. It's these small things that make life a little brighter or maybe I'm just a bit coockoo. I want these tiles in my own bathroom. I wish I had bought these rubber duck tile stickers now at one of Sweden's best stores, Lagerhaus.

Sometimes there are these album releases you just know must be great. Everyone tells you it's great and considering the artist and what this artist has done in the past it has a big, bright, neon THIS IS GOOD STUFF label on it (blinking of course). They ooze GOOD STUFF so much that you're actually scared to touch it, scared to be disappointed because you also read this album is not what you'd expect (but still good). Curiosity won at last and scared I put on this magical album, '1,000 years' by the Corin Tucker Band. In case you don't understand what the commotion is about, she's been in Sleater-Kinney. If that doesn't make you understand the commotion your musical interests differ from mine (but that's fine if you let me be). Still, being excited for an album just because of the name is a very big risk. Your expectations might be sky high, the music is more likely to disappoint you. There is a risk of not liking this artist so much anymore. I didn't want that to happen, even though I know Sleater-Kinney does not equal the Corin Tucker Band, I never expected that in the first place. Still, in a way you do want to like the album by this power woman.

So, I put that album on. After 10 seconds into that album I knew I was listening to something quite incredibly amazing. What a great rock album! I was thrown to many directions while listening (ditch included), she sings gracefully but powerful. The music is so 90s in the best possible way. Especially 'It's always summer' made me think of the band Kindred Spirit, and that band came up a lot of times (I love Kindred Spirit, they were pretty much overlooked and under-promoted) as were (the obvious aside) early REM and the Who. If Tucker singing The Who tickles your fancy you might want to ask the kind people of Quasi nicely if they have a copy of their NYE Who party DVD left, but this on a side note. I had no real expectations for this album, I threw them all aside, but it really amazed me. Now here's an album that shot right into my list of the best albums for 2010. Tucker might be a dedicated mother and doesn't scream out her frustrations, she's a damn good musician and songwriter. This goes right into my favourite alt rock albums shelf next to Pavement, Modest Mouse, the Minders and yes Sleater-Kinney. And so it should be.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't read the papers at work or else

I'm at work after a good two days of vacation which has been good to the extend that I have not really a clue what it is exactly what I'm doing here 5 days a week so let's say that's a good thing. It gave me some time to catch up with the domestic news. Please, someone, take me out of here!

Today the trial against Geert Wilders starts. And modern day society seems to think we have to watch this live in television and so you can. Why on earth do we have to see trials live on television?

But anyhow, what really pissed me off is that once again mister Wilders complained about how badly he's been treated, how this is an attack on freedom of speech and an insult to him and the 1,5 mln people who voted for him.

I am so sick and tired hearing him whine about him and these 1,5 mln people. I don't know who these people are but what makes them so special when there's 15,5 mln people who didn't vote for him. Freedom of speech dear Wilders, oh, and this is also this thing called democracy. Majority counts.

Which, in a slightly unrelated note, makes it totally unacceptable to be stuck with this retard right-winged government we're rapidly heading toward to. The majority of the Dutch people does NOT approve of this government. But never a word about that of course.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Feminist postcards for auction!

Just read Kate Nash' tweet about how she made a feminist postcard for an auction, which got a deserving article in the Guardian. I think it's clever. I just hope people get it...

That Kate Nash show was amazing

Kate Nash is one of these artists, I know she's great but whenever I see her live she still manages to blow me away. Her show yesterday at Tivoli in Utrecht was absolutely amazing and better than her show earlier this year in Amsterdam. I hope there will be plenty of Kate Nash in the future. Go and see her if you get the chance. (and maybe I should have posted a picture of her playing guitar but I really love this one. Sometimes my camera amazes me.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

I dare to be a FEMINIST!

It's a small start but a definite start. DARE TO BE A FEMINIST! That's for both the girls and the boys. As if this ignorant country (the once oh so very liberal and open-minded and tolerant Netherlands) will understand but I'm willing and going to fight. Like I said, small start but at least a START.