Saturday, April 29, 2006


Today is Queen's Day. In fact it isn't, it's the day before Queen's Day, but that's on a Sunday, the Day of the Lord, so we are pragmatic, we celebrate the queen's birthday a day earlier - or a day later, whatever costs less. In fact it is not the queen's birthday, but the late queen mother's (Juliana's) birthday. Our current queen (Beatrix) doesn't mind, her real birthday is in January, winter, unfit for public celebration. She is pragmatic too, our queen Beatrix.

A celebration it is. We all have great fun. We express our fun by wearing funny orange things, because our queen is of the House of Orange.

Great fun too, is the fact that once a year we, the people, are free to sell whatever we have failed to throw away. We don't have to pay for that right, so many of us leap at the chance.

We live in a modern country, so we play modern music for the occasion. All day long the air is filled with the steady thump thump thump of modern house music, especially in the Oude Haven, where we live.

We all love our Royal Family, of course. Business people know that, so this billboard, saying "After Eden loves..." was put up especially for the occasion. Orange sells, it would seem.

This year the German football team will win the world cup, because they organise the tournament. Holland will be beaten in the final, in spite of the Dutch supporters wearing funny German soldiers' helmets with slogans like "Aanvalluh!!!" (attack, spelled phonetically, which is great fun). The authorities consider forbidding these helmets, they might evoke unpleasant feelings about the Second World War.

Must rush now, tonight we're seeing Bonnie Raitt, supported by Foy Vance, in Utrecht.

PS We're back from the concert in Utrecht. More orange during the concert: Foy Vance started his performance wearing an orange feather boa... Fortunately it was so itchy that he took it off after a few seconds. Pics of Foy Vance on Vally P's blog.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Version 1a of GarageBand tune

As the title suggests, this piece of music features Valerie on mandolin. The working title is now Here come Mandy v1a, (1.8MB) and there is room for more versions. We have chosen a rather conventional approach for the real acoustical part, with me on my western guitar as accompaniment.
We need to do something about the timing, but that is part of the process anyway.
We are looking forward to the comments.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A new GarageBand Tune

Tonight I started a new GarageBand project, intending to include mandolin music, hence the title: Here come Mandy. This is the sketchy version, I suppose the mandolin will find a place later. I feel it is going somewhere, but exactly where I don't know yet. Maybe a comment or two will push it in some direction?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Family Affairs

Traditionally, making a living out of transport by barge in the Netherlands has always been family business. This was reflected in the names of the barges. Often the owner's wife's name was chosen, like Neeltje.

Vier Gebroeders, on the slipway this week, highlights this family orientation, as it means Four Brothers. I myself was born on a barge called Twee (two) Gebroeders.

I suggest taking a good look at the Vier Gebroeders, then compare to Pete Townshend's Dutch barge. A striking resemblance, I'd say. Indeed they are the same type: tjalk.

African beads anyone?
There's more where this came from: Grahamstown, South Africa.

Photos Koos Fernhout

Monday, April 10, 2006

Out Of Africa...

"Jo'burg at last, and the plane's touching down..."
I sang this song, inspired by Elton John, while getting off the plane in Johannesburg, South Africa. A black man in uniform saw us coming, realised that this white man was singing in public and gave me the warmest welcome smile ever seen at an airport.

It made me realise that taking pictures here was not about objects or landscapes alone, but foremost about people.

"Will you allow me to take a picture of you?", I asked these children. They jumped into formation to make the best of the photo, the container of water they had been pushing on a small trolley was forgotten for the moment.

These bars look like they are meant to keep the children in. In fact their main function is to keep unwanted elements out.

"Beautiful umbrella ma'am". She does not pose when I point the camera at it. Only we know that the camera has a super wide angle lens, which leads to totally relaxed models...

A Silent Watcher on an East Cape beach. No clue why it is there, but it offers a nice counterpoint to the incredible vegetation in the sand.
Behind me is the Indian Ocean.

This is not a cute dog, as visiting Chinese tourists found out.
The locals referred to the incident in terms of 'take away meals'.
Photos Koos Fernhout