42 / 1.37

20.45 – 22.25. Toch fijn dat het zo lang licht is, dat je zelfs nog een tochtje kunt maken na het werk, een flinke treinreis en eten. Frisjes maar veel zon. Westenwind (draaiend? — het leek wel alsof ik steeds meewind had).

Marcusstraat – Ouderkerk – RH West – Waver – Winkel – Abcoude – Voetangel – Ouderkerk – Marcusstraat

cycling,nl | June 29, 2007 | 15:13 | comments (0) |

Jack Gallagher in the pouring rain

As promised, Serge’s footage (alas just 20 seconds) of Jack Gallagher and Oorbeek in the pouring rain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLplqeQAKJM.

en,free publicity,music | June 25, 2007 | 21:19 | comments (0) |

Merci Freddy, Merci Lucien

And, well, what do you do with dome time on your hands in a city like Leeuwarden, your students apparently not needing your help right now and the weather not so nice to sit in a park and read? You walk into this so-so-second hand bookstore. And there it is, as if it’s waiting for you, as if its specially put here for you: Merci Freddy, Merci Lucien, by the Flemish journaliste Jan Cornand and Andre Blancke, an account of the cycling season 1976. This is the first book I read about cycling and I partly ‘blame’ this book for my love of cycling. It has certainly played a role in my ongoing interest in the cycling of the seventies. They had it in the public library of Almelo and I must’ve read it three times from cover to cover. I’ve never seen it in any second hand bookstore. I buy it (5 euro’s). And while eating my dinner in the Irish pub, I read the account of the Giro of 1976, the one Johan De Muynck should’ve won, the one that the Brooklyn-squad dominated, and I enjoy every single word of it.

Interestingly: I find out that in 1976 the Giro-director had tried to come up with some ‘inventions’ to make the race more interesting, namely: putting two new cols (well, a col and a climb) on the programme that both were not paved yet. There’s nothing new under the sun. The Valjolet ( a climb somewhere around the Sella) and the Manghen. (The Manghen comes easily in the top 10 of my favorite cols: when I ‘did it’ a narrow paved road of very black asphalt and no soul to see.)

cycling,en,reading matter | June 25, 2007 | 21:08 | comments (0) |

100 / 4.12

De weersvoorspellingen zijn beroerd, maar de buienradar voorspelt in ieder geval voor het begin van de dag geen buien boven Groningen en Friesland. Ik moet naar Leeuwarden vanuit Hoogezand waar ik heb gelogeerd bij mijn zus. Tot voorbij Tolbert is het droog, er is zelfs zon. Voorbij Noordwijk gaat het regenen, bij Eastermeer verzeil ik in een zware onweersbui. Bar en boos is het. Het laatste stuk naar Leeuwarden rij ik met tegenzin (waarom rij ik ook dat hele stuk langs de provinciale weg? en het gewicht van het rugzakje – ik heb kleren en laptop bij me, ja en de Maximus Poems – dat gewicht ‘weegt ook door’). Toch, achteraf gezien een volle, welbestede dag: die begon met een echte Nederlandse zomerochtend en herinneringen aan vakantie in Drenthe, die voortging met verwensingen aan het adres van verkeersstroomontwerpers (in Roden volg ik de richting Leek en als er daarna niet aangegeven sta ga ik rechtdoor, waar bovendien ‘doorgaand verkeer’ staat aangegeven en na 2 kilometer door industriegebied rij ik recht tegen de autoweg aan, geen fietspad in zicht. Idioten, ik moet gewoon weer terug…), een verrassend mooi stuk van Boerakker tot Rottevalle, dan de zware onweersbui, recht boven me, juist als ik door open gebied rij (ja, toen kon ik ineens wel hard rijden!), en vervolgens het saaie stuk tot Leeuwarden waar de enige gebeurtenis het zien van een Japanse fietstoerist is, die de andere op gaat, met lange grijze baard, gehuld in een regencape).

Martenshoek – Midlaren – Glimmen – Eelde – Peize – Altena (jawel!) – Lieveren – Roden – Leutingewolde – Midwolde – Tolbert – Boerakker – Noordwijk – Rottevalle – Eastermeer – Kootsterstile – Leeuwarden

cycling,nl | June 25, 2007 | 21:05 | comments (0) |

60 / ??? (vergeten te checken)

Omdat ik tot en met woensdag in het ‘noorden’ zou moeten zijn, rij ik met de racefiets een rondje door de provincies Groningen en Friesland (en een stukje Drenthe). De weersvoorspellingen voor zondag zijn wat beter, maar als ik klaar sta om te vertrekken gaat het stortregenen. Een half uur later vertrek ik toch, de zon schijnt zelfs, Het is best lekker fietsweer. In de buurt van Loppersum begint het vervolgens te hozen. En ik rij het tweede deel van de rit in de regen. Best lekker, want koud ik het niet (16 graden, nou ja…). Maar zomer is iets anders.

Emmapolder – Eemshaven – Roodeschool – Zijldijk – ‘t Zandt – Wirdum – Ten Post – Lageland – Harkstede – Kolham – Kropswolde – Martenshoek

cycling,nl | June 25, 2007 | 21:05 | comments (0) |

40 / 1.30

De weersvoorspellingen waren meer dan beroerd. De buienradar liet een zwaar front langzaam nordwaarts over Drenthe trekken. Ik wilde fietsen naar Uithuizen, in Noord-Groningen – bijvoorbeeld vanuit Hoogeveen. Er was een feestje bij vrienden daar, en F. heeft er haar bouwkeet staan, die ze aan het opknappen is, het moet ons vakantiehuisje worden. Ik kocht dan maar een treinkaartje tot Groningen. In Groningen scheen de zon. Ik reed tot Uithuizen ‘droog’ – al zag ik continu achter me langzaam de donkergrijze wolken naderen.

Groningen – Middelbert – Garmerwolde – Ten Boer – St. Annen – Middelstum – Usquert – Emmapolder

cycling,nl | June 25, 2007 | 21:04 | comments (0) |

Arno Schmidt in Bargfeld

And into Schmidt again as well, as I received a little booklet as a present: Arno Schmidt in Bargfeld, from the series “Menschen und Orte” (“People and Places): http://www.atelierfischer-berlin.de/menschenorte/menschenorte_re.html. A nice little book, that brings the Schmidt-fan nothing new, nothing but an opportunity to read again an account of his life, and his work (“Arbeit, Arbeit, Arbeit”). The photographs also are well-known, but because I do not own any books on Schmidt except for the Rowolth-biography, they are very welcome. I’m always fascinated by photographs of writers desks…. I enjoyed it so much (the nearness of Schmidt’s world) that this morning I quickly picked a Schmidt-book from my shelves to read on the train to work. I re-read the ‘short story’ Schwanze and am beginning to also see the humour of the later work of ‘der Arno’ leading up to Zettel’s Traum. I left the newspapers unread today.

de,en,reading matter,writing | June 25, 2007 | 21:04 | comments (0) |

Charles Olson, The Maximus Poems

Page 120 already! Two days of reading, well, just a few hours, and I’m on page 120 of the Maximus Poems! Of course the whole thing is more than 600 pages long, but still… This is possible thanks to the style of these poems. This is not poetry to re-read. This is not poetry of precise, quotable lines, there are hardly stanzas that one would like to go over again and again, to savour all the music and meaning. (Those that stand up to this test are those one will find in the anthologies). Approach it with an expectation of finding ‘finished poems’, and one will find Olson a rather messy and careless word-smith. Olson lets the sound determine the syntax and the flow of words; this is poetry to read, line after line, ‘listening’: imagine a big man speaking aloud to you (Olson was a big man). He (Maximus, not Olson) talks on and on, makes little mistakes, comes back to the same points, repeats. Speaks sometimes in prose and at other times in verse. And slowly, while reading, the image of Gloucester takes shape, the early history and economy of it, the ‘locality’, the muthos – Olson trying to be a Herodotos to Gloucester, not a Thucydides.

Read the Maximus Poems that way, and you’ll find it fascinating. (Well, I do). And the image of Gloucester becomes becomes more and more clearer and multifaceted the further the poem progresses, the more Maximus ‘talks’.

(Of course, I write this after having read ‘only’ 120 pages…)

(Now that I finally upload this account of my reading experience – written down on a train, travelling to Groningen – I’ve progressed unto page 180).

en,reading matter,writing | June 25, 2007 | 21:02 | comments (0) |

Don DeLillo, Falling Man

Finished reading Falling Man on sunday. As I am a bit of a DeLillo-specialist (having read all of his prose and most of his plays) I guess I have to give my opinion here… Falling Man is a novel about the effects of 9/11 on the lives of a group of Americans – DeLillo-characters, all with something to hide, a secret maybe, though this ‘something to hide, this secret, might be just nothingness, a big hole. It’s a novel on the scale of Endzone or Players. It doesn’t compare badly to his earlier prose at all. I say this because his novels after Underworld seemed to be the work of a free-wheeling writer returning to his subject matter, without any urgent reason. Whereas in the earlier prose DeLillo seemed to struggle – sign of urgency. Underworld was a sort of summary of all of DeLillo’s earlier concerns and themes, which resolved most of the loose ends and problems of the earlier novels – (a reason why I never feel compelled to pick up that book a second time, yet continue to read the others. like Americana). Though sometimes praised by reviewers who discovered DeLillo through Underworld, The Body Artist, Valparaiso and Cosmopolis are simply the least interesting works from his oeuvre. The lack edge, and even seem false/fake sometimes.

Falling Man, I think, is simply the book DeLillo had to write, although he might not have longed to write it. It has to exist. Without it, there’s a lack in his oeuvre. Libra is the novel which defines the ‘postmodern age’; all of his other novels project a world that is running toward 9/11. One could even say that DeLillo’s prose pointed towards 9/11 in an eerie way.

And to be silent then, afterwards, after what for the New Yorkers signifies catastrophe, would be too much. I can imagine, that being DeLillo one feels compelled to take the impact of the catastrophe as subject matter.

Falling Man then, might not be Delillo’s best novel, but it’s all there. The characters, the short sentences, the distanced, ‘objective’ observations, the scenes that seem to be overexposed (a metaphor I’ve used for years trying to describe DeLillo’s style, and never have been able to explain in detail). Maybe a critique could be that DeLillo doesn’t delve deep enough into the post-9/11-American-soul, nor deep enough into the soul of the terrorist. (The theory was already there in Mao II, the soul I guess in Libra). Maybe a critique could be that most of what DeLillo tells, reminds one of the journalistic accounts of 9/11. But even if that is the case, it is there: descriptions of the impact of the planes, of people going down the stairs of the WTC, of the moment just before the impact. And these descriptions are precise. DeLillo-esque (which is scary enough I guess, for a writer, to describe historical scenes and then someone saying that such scenes are DeLillo-esque…)

But that said, this book is not about terrorist or terrorism, not at all about victims, not about ‘our age’ It is a novel about the soul of white, well-to-do Americans and their secrets (see above). It is also an attempt to look into the soul of an Arab terrorist, but this fails just as it fails in Mao II: it makes sense, theoretically. It shows how ‘we’ (Westerners) think terrorists think, and bringing European terrorism in, does not alter that. It shows the surface. But it might also be that there is no more. That said, not many writers go where DeLillo goes, and the prose in Falling Man doesn’t sound false or weak for one sentence. It’s ‘Delillo’ – and in the world of his characters, 9-11 was always already there.

Well, I could’ve also pointed you to Omar’s review at: http://www.cut-up.com/reviews/detail.php?id=561.

en,reading matter,writing | June 25, 2007 | 20:59 | comments (0) |

Jack Gallagher / Bodies Anonymous

Oorbeek was scheduled to play at the the Vondelpark Openluchttheater tonight – the outdoor theatre in the park, together with the dance group Bodies Anonymous of Jack Gallagher: http://www.openluchttheater.nl/ and http://www.bodiesanonymous.nl/. The weather forecast was: 90% chance for rain. We were supposed to perform on the dancefloor outside, (so not under the roof on the podium), and for that it had to be dry. To dance on it, it would have to be completely dry.

Well, we set up out equipment on the podium. Knowing the chance for rain was simply to great to put amplifiers out on the dancefloor (that had been the plan). At 6.30 it began to rain. Then it started pouring. And then: lighting and thunder. First we’d still hoped to play, now we even had to turn off all the electric equipment. It was 7.30. It kept on raining. No soundcheck. We were supposed to start at 8.30. The group after us – the much more famous dance ensemble Leine and Roebana – would play from nine on.

We heard that the dancefloor had not been used yet. Every friday since june the 3d they’d put it there, and every time they had had to cancel due to rain.

It kept on pouring. Even if the rain would stop at 8.30 there was no chance the dancefloor would be dry. There was like a few centimeters of water on top of it. The rain was torrentuous.

And then, when finally the moment came to decide what to do and everybody – and surely the people of the Vondelpark – thought the programme would be cancelled, Jack said: “I just wanna do my thing, rain or not, water or not.”

The Vondelpark people were happily surprised. The soundman was off to his booth and quickly turned on the mics for Maarten.

And at 8.30 Jach Gallagher was out there in the torrentuous rain on a horribly slippery dancefloor, and we were on stage with our instruments, and the lightmen turned on the stagelight, it seemed as if the sun was coming out to shine, we gave the sign: he danced, slided through the puddles of water – finally the dancefloor was used – and we played.

About 40 people had come out to watch.

It was wonderful.

We played for just 10 minutes, and Jack danced.

Funny to think, that one lives for such moments, those 10 minutes to do one’s thing.

Leine and Roebana had already decided to not play, but when they saw that we played, they decided to come out and do something too. Not the whole performance (the dancefloor was unusable, dangerous – what Jack did was extraordinary), just two Rennaissance songs, accompanied by theorbe and dance from their star performer.

That was beautiful. Breathtaking. (Is it allowed to exaggerate a little?)

The rain did not stop for one moment.

Serge made at least one little movie. When he’s uploaded that to Youtube I’ll post the link.

en,free publicity,music | June 23, 2007 | 0:33 | comments (0) |
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