Monday, February 28, 2011


When I opened the door to the compartment and entered, I saw that there were two seats left opposite a young woman. I thought I recognized her, but in the bustle that comes along while entering a train, I figured I could better put my stuff and myself down first before I checked again. If it were her, we could talk. I put my bags on the seat, my coffee on the table and my sandwich next to it. Only after I removed the bags from my shoulder and was getting out of my coat, I saw it.

She was crying.


I didn't know her that well. But since I was in the middle of this process, I could not stop and leave. I decided to sit down. Organizing my stuff, flipping through my agenda, drinking my coffee and once in a while peeking at the girl in the mirroring window. It was her. And she was still crying. Softly. Did she recognize me? Would she even know who I was? And more important: would she want me to recognize her?
The voice inside of me yelled: Talk To Her! Ask her how she is doing! Ask if you can help! Because she's not doing ok!
But, what if she didn't want me to say anything to her? What if me saying something would force her into talking to this person she vaguely knew, to share her sorrow with? Would she feel uncomfortable? I would have asked any unknown person I would meet in this situation if I could help, if they wanted to talk about it. But now, I was afraid.

Still flipping through my agenda, I would once in a while look up, choosing a direction that wouldn't involve her in my sight, only to dive into my bok again afterwards.
Though the tears had stopped, she was still sniffing. The problem was that it felt impossible to me to turn the situation around, I couldn't just look up and suddenly recognize her now. And if she had recognized me, she'd know I'd seen her too. So now we were keeping up the appearances and we wouldn't change that anymore. At least, I had no idea how to. I tried to think of things that could have happened for her to sit here like this. But most things didn't seem adequate. It must be something really bad, like a death or someone who got really sick, or some other terrible thing that you wouldn't want to share with an almost stranger.

The sniffing turned into crying again. In the meantime, I'd accepted the situation and I just kept hoping she would get out of the train at the next station, so she could blend in with the crowd and just feel sad without being confronted with my presence.

So I kept silent, and didn't look up when she left the train. But from the moment she disappeared until now, I've been hoping that she knows that my silence was a sign of respect and sympathy, instead of disinterest. And I hope that she's feeling better. Looking back at it, I think I should have said something.
I'm so sorry, vaguely familiar woman! I wish I could have comforted you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Big Apple

It's easy to dwell in beautiful fantasies about adventures, important events or other future and maybe one day completed projects. But to actually start them, is something completely different.

So it was fairly easy for me, two years ago, to decide to live in New York a year later (2010). I imagined myself drinking coffee with friends in one of the thousand coffee shops, working in a place with a view on Manhattan, and being bored in the subway in the morning, just like all the other commuters on their way to work. After I made this decision, I floated from happiness because I was there again. Half a year earlier, I arrived for the first time, fell in love, and decided to return. On my second visit, I would become emotional every time I realized what decision I just made. This city was about to become my home!

When I returned in Amsterdam, it all wasn't as easy as I hoped. Even trying to figure out all options, cost a lot of time and effort and actually was discouraging. Although, in my mind, I still could see myself drinking coffee with new friends, I found myself biking through Amsterdam, that suddenly looked more beautiful and sunnier than ever. Over the last two years, my love for the city blossomed again, for the cafes and theatres where I drink coffee with friends, for the fact that I can go anywhere by bike, for my work and work location. Well, for the life that I'm living.

Which is always a good time to step back for a while. Not for always, not that long, but long enough to really be away and try other things. Without a job, without a goal. I'm going to drink coffee in New York. I'm going to write, film and live. And if the writing and filming won't actually happen, I'm just going to be there. Because I can. Because my fantasies have become reality, though in a smaller version, and thanks to a lot of people.

The most important lesson? keep fantasizing, but also act! Because who knows, dreams can come true.

Talking Big Apple '75

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jacob tv

Jacob ter Veldhuis is a Dutch composer who doesn't only composes beautiful modern music, but who uses projections, sound bites and other visuals. His last project is called The News, in which he uses and cuts the latest news into an unique music experience. I first heard about him through Grab it, a piece for the electrical guitar that was composed with the sound of the voices of people that were on death row.
It's no relaxing music, not while listening at home and I'm guessing it must be even more intense when you're in a concert hall, hearing their voices, listening to the guitar, and watching these huge projections.

But I really like these combinations, where music and images create a new experience, and therefor are so different from all other concerts where you can just sit back and close your eyes.

And I also like it that he expects something from his audience. Why should a pleasant evening just be easy and relaxing? What I like about evenings that might be a little tiring, is that you probably won't ever forget them. That might be just the only reason why it's actually good that not every concert is so intense. That would eventually create one big pile of unforgettable evenings, and then it'll be hard to find the difference again. So, let's cherish those exceptions and work once in a while during a pleasant evening.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I am a huge fan of the The Daily Show. For those who don't watch it daily, or on a regular base, on their computer or television: The Daily show, an American talk-show, is hosted by Jon Stewart and his crew, who discuss the - mostly Amercian - news from a left point of view with a lot of humor. The show started in 1996, Stewart hosts it since 1999. One of his reporters, part of The best F#@king News Team Ever, is Stephen Colbert, who nowadays has his own show, that is just as funny, but looks at the news from the right winged point of view in The Colbert Report. Together, both Stewart and Colbert give a funny but also critical view on the things that happen in American politics.

In the beginning, I suspected some creative editors had put together funny clips to create heir own story, but after having seen American television myself, I realized that the news that both The Daily Show and the Colbert Report show, isn't made up at all. One could conclude that a lot of (or maybe all?) the American news channels are much more creative in presenting the truth than the two late-night comedy talk shows.

One of The Daily Shows favorite subjects is FOX News, the main and most right winged news network of the States. After Fox host Glenn Beck organized the Restoring Honor Rally, Stewart and Colbert replied with the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive, held last October, with which they tried to reason both the nations media and politicians, to, well, restore sanity. About 215,000 people attended the event.

And now, there's a Dutch edition of The Daily Show that is host by Jan-Jaap van der Wal, who cannot read from autocue and who misses Stewart's timing. His reporters are Daniel Arends and Bas Hoeflaak, who pretend to be 'on location' to talk about something news worthy.
I was looking forward to it.
I've been waiting for a Dutch equivalent for a long time. A show that has a critical view, that isn't afraid and that puts certain things together to give the viewer a new perspective.
But so far - I admit, I've only seen four shows: you have to give it time to grow, all beginnings are hard, it's not fair to compare this show to it's American big brother - their jokes aren't working for me. Why not? Because Dutch news is clumsy. Because I don't want to see pieces of De Wereld Draait Door (another Dutch talk show). Because I can't help searching for Peter van de Witte, when I see his partner Bas. Because it feels like the Dutch comedy world needed a new project and look at how much fun they're having.

I'll wait and see. Maybe it will change. Or maybe mt opinion will change. It could be so great. A Dutch Daily Show.

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