Thursday, April 30, 2015

Carte blanche

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Dutch singer-songwriter Boudewijn de Groot presented his new album 'Achter glas' (Behind glass, or Behind the window). He performed the song 'Witte muren" (White walls) live. A title, as he explained, referring to the walls he had been staring at, finishing this song. To work and look at the endless white walls was a decision he had made to prevend himself watching at the magnificent view he at the opposite side of the room. This is not as strange as it may sound.

Writers can suffer from writers block, once they are confronated with the pure white paper. Where to start? A question also known by painters standing in front of a new white canvas. On the other hand an overwhelming view provides an overload of information. It's hard to pick out a theme you want to use, whereas pure whiteness forces you to focus on your own thinking. And after all that's what the artist is looking for: purity of his art.

There's a magnificent painting titled 'Carte Blanche' by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte which inspired me many years ago to write a short story. You may read this story, conveniently titled 'Carte Blanche' as well..., on my website

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What lies beneath

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African refugees are drowning in the Mediterranean Sea without help of European governments. Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees have been moving to Europe in recent years, driven to desperation by war, persecution and economic stagnation in their home countries like Syria, Senegal, Eritrea, Iraq...the list seems endless.

Italy and Spain reiterated their demand that Europe should take control to avoid more deaths. Politicians put the accent on targeting the traffickers who make handsome profits from moving people north. Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said: “We cannot and we will not tolerate these criminals sacrificing human lives on a large scale out of sheer greed.” True, but it takes time to achieve.
For the moment new initiatives are made by European citizens, not politicians. Civilians are organizing search parties on private owned boats to rescue the refugees. Which may cause new tragedies as people in despair will climb on board no matter what. 
Governments have made up ten rules. Yes, that's right: 10 rules. How will that help to solve the two main problems, the reasons why people are migrating: poverty and war? Lucky for the people who manage to survive the journey across the Mediterranean Sea. European government has  stated all European countries have to cooperate in providing the refugees bed, bread and breakfast.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Bijschrift toevoegen
We hadn't seen each other for three, maybe even four years. Far too long. Today they were here to pick up some paintings which were left unsold after we closed our art gallery in 2012. Or was it 2011?.
Mino, short for Dominiq Gonseth, and her husband Rudy Alleyn. 'Blacky' we nicknamed him somewhere in 2005. Or 2006. Boy,oh boy, my memory is getting too short for the number of years  I have to remember!

The last couple of years Blacky had been training in the Swiss Alps to participate marathons. Our friends live in Switzerland so training in the mountains is not as exotic as it sounds. As he was going to participate the Rotterdam marathon both he was 'in the neighborhood' and thus able to come along and pick up Mino's oilpaintings. As some of the paintings were rather large, the car was completely stucked. I asked him where he would leave the paintings while he was joining the marathon. "You can't take them along" I said. "Why not?" he asked. Can you imagine? Athletes carrying paintings across Rotterdam during the marathon? We just created a whole new sport: marthaton.