Thursday, July 28, 2011


In high school, all the cool kids stood outside to smoke. My friends and I sat inside, a few tables further than the geeks and decided that smoking was for losers, by which we elevated ourselves from both parties. Just before I turned eightteen, I moved to Amsterdam and my great aunt blamed my dad for sending his only daughter to the Dutch Sodom and Gomorra. Her prediction that I would earn my money as a heroin hooker so far hasn't come true. On an incredible vague evening, just before graduating, I ate two slices of space cake and lost it in such a way that I avoided any use of drugs for years to come. When, in a belate adolescent fit, I deiced to start smoking when I was twentytwo, I always needed alcohol and other smokers to actually do it.

Since then, I only smoke when in company of others, and once in a while I can be persuaded into using soft drugs (the latter only abroad) and a few nights per week, I drink some beer, wine or whisky. Everything in moderation. In other words: I really tried, but I find it hard to get addicted to something. I can even put aside sugar, as appeared for the last couple of weeks.

There's one thing though, that makes me lose control, and puts me away as an languishing pile, longing for more, surrendered to the uncontrolable force that can be found in every cell of my body: television shows. I don't watch tv, I see them on the internet, where I - or the force in my cells - can watch them on every desirable time of day. Mostly till late at night. I surrender myself, my time and my intellect defenselessly to storylines, characters and cliffhangers. Once in a while I indulge myself with socalled 'bad series' that don't really have a plot but are lovely to watch mindlessly, like Sex and the city or Grey's Anatomy. More dangerous are the 'good series', with good acting, exciting storylines and great characters. Like Six Feet Under, Dexter or In Treatment.

And now, there is the West Wing. The last show was broadcasted in 2006 and all that time, I could resist the longing. Knowing I had to protect myself, I didn't listen to any of the stories about the show, refused to get any dvd set in my house and when the last thing did happen, I put it away in a deep closet. Untill I recently was in a cleaning mood and found it again. I blew the dust off, like an alcoholic would do with a good bottle of wine. I looked at it, held it, read the label and took the first dvd out of its cover. While crying, I put it into my computer, knowing I was lost.

Now, halfway the fifth of seven seasons, I am sleep deprived, have no social contacts because I always run home to watch more, I dream about my new friends CJ, Toby, Josh and Donna, and I try to change the subject through American politics to the series. My world exists out of the West Wing and I know it has to end soon, I have to go outside again, face reality.
Untill then, I vote: Bartlet for president!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The slope

When the ferry hit the land, the soft sound of a music beat could be heard afar. Other than that, the only other sound was the rain, that had been poring down all day. The slope was surrounded by fences, with one opening for the entrance where security guards were checking bags and visitors for hidden drugs.

The slope, where once ships went into water, this time was home to Henk on the Slope. Where on other days ordinary people shopped for bargains on a flea market, and where once a year beautiful theatre performances from Over 't IJ festival play, now there were dj sets, party tents and bars that sold beer, wine, coke and vodka. In a corner on top of the slope, a long line of people waited for the grilled vegetables, hamburgers and pasta salads to get ready.

Apart from my clothes, that were soaking wet and that made me want to go home and take a hot shower more than anything, I didn't like the dance and trance music that was typical to this festival. I wondered why I let my friend persuade me into going, or why I accepted her invitation and left my cosy and warm home for this cold and noise. My friends new boyfriend was the reason. Henk op de helling isn't only music beats and drinks, there are also art project, among which The Fisherman (Den Visscher) from Piet. Piet, who walked around in a green fishermen suit, his blond hair tied in a tail. Other people suspected him to be Henk. Piet told his story in a little boat, for which you had to climb a long ladder to enter it and that fitted seven people but only with their legs pulled in, who would listen to him. One of those people was Paul, a twenty year old who looked at me with wide open pupils and started an incoherent story about his passion,that consisted of partying, drinking and taking pills.

Next to Piets boat, there was a poetry stage, where writers and poets mumbled their thoughts into a mic, in front of a tribune that was filled with people who sought shelter from the weather and weren't really interested in poetry. "This is so tiring," the girl next to me sighed to her friend. Both of them were wearing short skirts and t-shirts, and had pulled their hair in a ponytail. they were eating some grilled vegetables. And while the wind blew the rain along the slope, they jumped up and slowly walked to the party tents. I found shelter in the little boat of Piet, where my clothes dried while we drank juttersbitter. Like you should on a boat.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Looking back at it, he probably was the first of several homo- and bisexual artists that mercilessly captured my heart. Although its impossible that none of the New Kids on the Block, whose music I loved before that, was gay, in his case it was more obvious. It wasn't as much his looks, nor his choice of clothes that did it for me. It all began with his death. My fascination started when they announced his passing, which was obviously quite intense then, and even more the vulnerable song that was released immediately after that. That was what moved my teenage feelings. Which also explains why his looks - hair, teeth, skinny body - didn't do it for me. I was thirteen years old and unable to visualize what you could do with a male body.

What did do it for me was his incredible presence. His stage behaviour, his shameless desire to be present, to express himself and to show who he was. Which he did by all the means that were possible: spandex suits, flags, fur coats, torches. And his music. Or, his bands music. Because there were three more musicians behind him, who only stood in the spotlights when he had dissappeared. On my list of 'things i wish I had done', a stadion concert of Queen is ranked pretty high.

Once in a while, I indulge myself to their exhilarating drum- and guitarsolos, and especially to Freddy's voice. In my short existence as a Queen fan, I was lucky to also listen to their less known songs, like the great Breakthru, You take my breath away, and Love of my life. But, eventually, their more well known songs are also the songs that I carry around in my mind for days: Killer Queen, Fat bottomed girls, Somebody to love and my favorite is the song below, on which I can really swing along on my bike.

Since I'm finally out of the closet about my preference for homosexual singers, I also can admit that Freddy's suits turn me on a little, that I can see how his teeth add to his extravagant persona and that I would have loved to run my hand through his hair.

RIP Freddy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Suspecting we had to go on

We gathered next to one of the large hangars on the outskirts of the festival, while eliminating the taste of vegetarian roti and beer with a peppermint. Then the sound of a voice, and the group that had gathered started to move. We passed other visitors, and left the festival behind us. The northern waterfront, the unexplored area, the new buildings that were resurrected from the sand. The group moved along between the brick offices. At the end of a parking lot, where the road just made a small bend, stood a tribune.

We sat down, put on the headphones on command. We heard nothing and looked out onto an empty street. Just as the man next to me jokingly said he really loved the music, we heard the sound of the sea. Crackling footsteps in gravel. In front of us, there was the empty street. A voice hummed softly in our ears, in the distance a car stopped at the intersection and pulled back slowly. Everyone held his breath. Was that supposed to happen? The voice sang softly, the footsteps multiplied. Two men walked. Sighed that it was too far. That they had left the sea behind them. That they did not know where they came from. The emptyness in front of us, was filled with meaningful coincidences. Cars. Walkers. Cyclists, who cycled with a surprised look on their face towards the corner, looking at a hundred people watching them.

In the distance two figures were visible, who behaved like the voices in our head had predicted. "I think I'll lie down." "Then I walk back and forth." Minimalist texts in an almost panoramic landscape. A small woman came into the picture, her clothes betrayed she belonged to the story. She moved around. The men came closer. The small woman could be heard by the presence of the men. The sea rustled in our ears.

But they had to go on. The men. So the woman stayed behind, and the men disappeared. In the silence right before the applause started, the sigh of the audience before everyone finishes the story in their head and starts clapping, two bypassers walked into the picture. Just in time to receive a huge round of applause.

Bambie, one of the best theater groups in the Netherlands, plays on the IJ Festival. Do not miss it!