And if you want to remain it to be a secret, you are not supposed to tell about it to anyone. But now there is a way to tell your secret without anyone finding out… Today I was walking in The Hague, and I couldn’t resist entering the American Book Store. My eye was caught by a really cool looking book called PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren.
“The idea of the project is simple: completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they have never before revealed. There is no restriction on what the content of the secret must be, only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams.” (Wikipedia) This book is a result of postcards people have sent in from all over the world. What started out as an art project, became a blog and now the third book is being published. The confessions were serious, funny, recognisable and even heartbreaking. But not only the confessions are interesting: most postcards have a really cool design too. If you’re wondering about the confessions and what they’re like: Frank Warren’s blog updates new secrets every Sunday.
Yesterday I was waiting for my tram when a camera crew of a local channel, AT5, asked if I wanted to give my opinion about Amsterdam and it’s hospitality. The cause: apparently Amsterdam is going down rapidly on the list of hospitable cities in Europe. That was a surprise to me, since I always hear from my foreign friends how friendly all Dutch are. I guess not all of them are… Especially tourists complain about the lack of friendliness of tram personnel, waiters, shop attendants and last but not least; bikers. Hearing about the last category made me laugh, since I also have been involved once in hitting a tourist who was walking on the bike path without noticing and didn’t move when I rang my bell.
Last weekend, I had an American friend over who I met while living in Münster, Germany (I will post pictures another time). So I’ve been doing all the tourist things you’re supposed to do when you’re in Amsterdam and I have to say that everywhere people were really nice to us. Besides the standard things (Van Gogh Museum, canal tour, visit a coffeeshop – no smoking for me, have a stroll through the Red Light District, go out at Leidseplein) we discovered a new place. It’s is a really cool place at the beach called Blijburg. It’s easy to reach (tram 26 from the Central Station, get out at the last stop) and so different from many other places in Amsterdam. Even though the weather wasn’t that great, it still had a really good vibe so I can’t wait to go back there during the summer! Their website has beautiful and cool pictures of their place and the people who visit, it’s worth checking out.
I was listening/watching to MTV this morning, and to my surprise they were playing a song by Wir Sind Helden! They are huge in Germany (best selling band the past years) and happen to be one of my favourites. Last year they toured in several European countries, and I ended up seeing them three times; twice in the Melkweg (Amsterdam) and once in Tivoli (Utrecht).
I first heard of them when living in Copenhagen, where I had a German flatmate. He asked me if I could download some songs of them for him, and after I did, I wondered why people would voluntarily wanted to listen to such music. But again, after hearing it more often and hearing other songs I started to like them a great deal. In the beginning, it was maybe just weird to listen to German lyrics, since in The Netherlands it is not always considered to be the most ‘sexy’ language :-) Every time I listen to music in German, my friends react in the same matter.
But things seem to be changing, since their new song is aired on MTV and they’re playing at a big Dutch festival called Pinkpop for the second time this weekend. Later on this year, they will be playing in the Effenaar and Paradiso as well. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go, but first I will have to get their new CD Soundso which they released yesterday. The first single I don’t like that much, but I can’t wait to get the CD and hear the other songs! If you wonder what they sound like: Nur ein Wort has a really cool video and Denkmal was the first song I liked in the beginning.
The past weekend, there was the 37th edition of the Breda Jazz Festival. It’s one of the oldest in it’s kind. Many stages are scattered around the inner city which creates a great atmosphere! With 250,000 visitors, the festival attracted more people than ever, despite the bad weather.
My music teacher in high school, who was really passionate about his job and music in general, was crazy about jazz. He tried to teach us a lot about it, but I have to say I was not really into it during high school. I’m still not as crazy about it as he is, but I’ve started to like some easy jazz. I visited the Copenhagen Jazz Festival last summer, which I really enjoyed. Therefore it was nice that, after being abroad twice during the festival, I could join my best high school friends to the Jazz Festival in Breda (this has become a tradition). It’s hard to beat the combination of good music and good friends!
This is just one line out of the song ‘Bitch’ – originally by Meredith Brooks. Recently, there has been a WE commercial using a cover of this song as background music. It was a more jazzy version by a Dutch band called Room Eleven. In the beginning, I actually found myself really disliking the cover. But yesterday I went to the movies twice (not something I would normally do) and I was ‘forced’ to listen to it while watching the commercials preceding the movies. I don’t know why, maybe it was the surroundings, but all of the sudden I could really appreciate the song. I even found myself listening to it several times today and I just wanted to share it! Hope you´ll enjoy it just as much as I do.
A funny detail is that the characters of the commercial feature in this video – in the ball room scene – and vice versa.
Yesterday I posted about the disorderliness in Christiania, a hippie free state in Copenhagen. It seems like things haven’t quited down yet. Yesterday, they found the little mermaid looking quite different since her face was covered with red paint. A poster which said av (auch) was left at the scene. It is suspected that the people responsible for the riots in Christiania are also responsible for this action.
The little mermaid is already starting to get used to this, since she was painted pink in the beginning of this year, she was decapitated and a few years ago they even used a small explosion to get her of her place. Too bad nothing like this happened when I lived there, since I saw her many times when I had to show here too my friends visiting me (which became quite boring). This picture I found in Politiken (Danish newspaper).
Today I read the news that about around 60 youngsters in Christiania got arrested. Christiania is a free state with its origins going back to the ’70s, when hippies took over an old military camp. In 1987, after years of trouble, the Danish government decided to label it as a social experiment, which gave the inhabitants some autonomy. Christiania was most known for the Pusherstreet, where people were allowed to sell/buy/smoke pot, although the true inhabitants were not too happy about that. Some of the people I talked to when I was there in 2003, hated the fact that every tourist was just coming by to smoke instead of being interested in the hippie roots.
Well, things have changed since the Danish government decided to stop the ‘experiment’ in 2004. Since then soft drugs weren’t allowed anymore, which resulted in a drugs ‘war’ all over Copenhagen. I’ve been there after the shut down of Pusherstreet and the atmosphere has truly changed. More riots took place after the shut down as well. I happened to witness one of them when the police tried to take away all the dogs that were loose (there are many), which infuriated the inhabitants.
Yesterday another riot took place apparently when the police tried to break down an old house which was damaged by a fire five years ago. The interesting thing was that the original inhabitants of Christiania asked for a civil and peaceful protest, but things got out of hand when squatters from other parts of the town came to demonstrate. It’s such a shame that Christiania somehow attracts the wrong crowd that can’t handle freedom. Despite whatever political background most Christianians might have, I really wonder how Christiania would be doing if only people who truly share the founders’ perspectives would still live there. Guess we’ll won’t find out.
This is a picture which you will see when you leave Christiania, I thought it was quite funny the first time I saw it.