What the Dutch Did with It ‒ Holiday, by Madonna

5. Dames met koffers bij de boot - datum onbekend

All my life, I have been amazed how fellow Dutchmen can butcher well-known songs into the most head-scratching, mind-boggling, cringing covers, translations, mixes, and renditions. Not to mention how successful they often end up being. And as last Friday marked the last day of school here in the Barren North, … Continue reading

Emilie and the Freudian Slipper

Slider Lars Freudian slipper

It is a well-known image used to illustrate the conservative atmosphere and traditional gender roles of the 1950’s: the husband of the house arrives home after a day at work, seats himself in his comfortable chair, and waits for his obedient wife to bring him his slippers. A matter of … Continue reading

Henchman on the Sofa ‒ Vyacheslav Menzhinsky: Poet and Hangman

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Bolsheviks and poetry are not the most likely combination. Lenin even quit playing the piano because he felt it distracted him too much from the revolutionary cause. When exiled in Siberia in 1897, it seems a poetic mood befell him nevertheless. He started with “In the village of Shushensk, beneath … Continue reading

About ‘Green Happiness’ and Why “Grease Is the Word” was My Favourite Song This Week

Greens

This is the life of illusion Wrapped up in trouble laced with confusion What we doing here? – Frankie Valli, “Grease is the Word” Me, a neurotic perfectionist, being honest A few years ago I started writing an article about the so-called Death of the Author. As of today, I … Continue reading

Willard Libby, Hessel de Vries, and the Poles of Saint Walburga

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The revelations of an ex-libris I think all buyers of used books know about this: finding an ex-libris or other relics in them, left there by the previous owner. I have found old receipts, notes apologizing for the late return of the book, photographs, and even devotional pictures in old … Continue reading

(A very, very late) 60(/61) Years of Eurovision: Ranking the Dutch – Part 6 (10-1): The Best

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Dear Eurovision, WHAT THE HELL?! I had been planning to start off the last part of this series with an angry rant regarding Eurovision’s incredibly stupid flag policy that restricted the waving of rainbow flags during Russia’s performance, stating that the flags were “not [to] be used as tool to … Continue reading

A Bit of Peace, a Bit of Love – Ralph Siegel: Eurovision Maniac

Slider Lars Siegel

As the 2016 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is approaching, I sometimes feel like a last Mohican: still naïvely impressed by the brotherhood of European cultures presenting themselves, smiling and waving flags. But in this era of closing borders and nationalist populism, I am not the only one still … Continue reading

About the Dutch National Book Week and the Horrors of an Oral Examination

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Yesterday marked the start of the traditional Dutch Book Week, an event to promote buying books. To start things off, all writers of a certain name and fame met for drinks and dances at “The Book Ball”, leaving the ones that were not invited grudging about why they had to … Continue reading

Cats, Old Deuteronomy, …and Sugar Coated Anti-Semitism?!

Cats, Old Deuteronomy and… Sugar Coated Antisemitism?

I have a few confessions to make… The first one being that I’m slightly intoxicated while writing this. I know it’s still only Tuesday at the moment, but my week has started off so much more hectic than I anticipated and I just really needed a drink. When I started … Continue reading

Borys Humeniuk: ‘The Tank of Ukrainian Literature’ in the Netherlands

Borys Humeniuk: 'The Tank of Ukrainian Literature' in the Netherlands

The Ukrainian poet Borys Humeniuk is angry. Angry at the Dutch media. Not because his poetry was badly received, but because he was portrayed as a member of a militia and an art-robber. “I am predominantly a writer and not a fighter,” Humeniuk stated in an interview with the Dutch … Continue reading