piet mondriaan — detail from victory boogie woogie’ (1942-1944)

ok so here’s my latest money making scheme. i am going to buy dutch army surplus boiler suits for €12,50 and then i’ll put red text on the back like HUMAN, or STAY WILD or BE KIND and i’ll say that they have had a journey and have wear and tear, thus giving them character and comfort.’ and flog them off for £395! each. YES. and so soon i will be very very very r…

WAIT. what do you mean someone is already doing that?!

an old man decides to stop eating and drinking (and walks around with no clothes on). his son films him. thirteen days later he is dead. (in dutch)

watch it here

the moving het laatste beeld by his granddaughter mila, made a few years earlier, is its essential companion piece.

today there is a point of light in the form of a book i happened to come by … toeval is the right word, but there is no english equivalent. you might say by chance’ or by accident’, but the dutch word contains the idea of falling to you, and it is as if nightlines by kathleen jamie fell into my lap. this is not the sort of book i would pick up of my own accord and read but because of the way it came to me i do and … it is delightful.

nighlines is a book of essays by kathleen jamie, a scottish poet, almost my age. she writes with such care and delicate precision and uses words that are not even in the dictionary - in fact, the dictionary insists when i want to know the meaning of inscousant that i must mean insouciant. it doesn’t even ask, did you mean insouciant? it just gives me the definition of insouciant, a casual lack of concern, as if it is the same word.


on the internet the only reference to inscousant i can find is from other people who are reading the book wondering what it means or if jamie made a mistake.

in the first part of the book, she is in greenland, the wind is inscousant and there is silence.

Slowly we enter the most extraordinary silence, a radiant silence. It radiates from the mountains, and the ice and the sky, a mineral silence which presses powerfully on our bodies, coming from very far off. It’s deep and quite frightening, and makes my mind seem clamorous as a goose. I want to quell my mind, but I think it would take years. I glance at the others. Some people are looking out at the distant land and sea; others have their heads bowed, as if in church.

today my mind too is clamorous as a goose.

wow after a lifetime of thinking my surname was meaningless or possibly refers to a kind of yoghurt (clabber), in a thesaurus-like book from 1933, Het juiste woord : beteekenis-woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal by L.Brouwers, i discover that a klabber’ is a kind of gnome, in dutch, a kabouter’ or klabouter’ :

Aardmannetjes, Alfen, Alfsgedrochten, Alruin, Alruinmannetjes, Alvermannekes, Auwelen, Donker-Alfen, Druden, Duimlingen, Duimpjes, Dwergen, Elfen, Heuvelmannetjes, Holda, Hrimthursen, Hussen, IJsreuzen, Joten, Jötuns, Kabouters, Klabbers, Kobold, Laplanders, Lichtalfen, Lofar, Maren, Modsognir, Nacht-alfen, Nikkers, Oberon, Rijmreuzen, Roodmutsjes, Toovervrouwen, Troller, Vestri, Walkyren, (Zwanenmaagden), Wanen, Wiemkens, Witte Juffers, Witte Vrouwen, Witte Wijven.

Nope” starts with a cautionary text, drawn from the Old Testament Book of Nahum, which describes God’s threatened punishment on the wicked city of Nineveh: I will make a spectacle of you.” Our beloved spectacles — like most of the other artifacts of our fallen world — are built on cruelty, exploitation and erasure.

This is from the review by A.O.Scott in the NYT of Jordan Peele’s new film, Nope, which is a joy to read. He is such a great writer.

What is it to be human?
To ache?

Charlie Kaufman answers a question with a question in Anomalisa (2015), one of my favourite films on The Grauniad’s mind-boggling list of the 100 best films of the 21st century. Another list that’s urgently needed of course is the best series of the 21st century but I’m sure they’re working on it.

more lists.

how about a list of things i am not interested in talking about :

the afterlife
the beatles (paul)
cars (except if they crash spectacularly)
climate change
computer games
money (inc. the prices of things)
social media
time (inc. the past and the future)
what you want
wine/beer/other alcoholic beverages
your spiritual growth’

warning : this is just a beginning. it’s going to be a very long list. also, please don’t assume that because something is not on the list that i am interested in talking about it.

i was thinking of making a list of things i don’t know but it wouldn’t be much of a list because how would you know what to put on it? more voluminous would be, a list of things i didn’t know but i know now.

working backwards, the first item would be that not only did georges perec write a novel without using the letter e’ (which i would have also not known once but a long time ago) he also wrote one where the only vowel used is e’, les revenentes, translated into dutch by guido van de wiel as de wedergekeerden’, a fourteen year labour of, i guess, love?

the second item would be that apparently kierkegaard said that life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. at least i don’t think i knew kierkegaard said that and i am not sure what it means but i don’t believe life’ can be understood, nor do i think it is lived, either forwards or backwards. no what i think is that perhaps our lives live us. yes.

my friend catherine ringwood is dead. she was a unique human being who spoke her mind about everything and then some. we were like the merry pranksters but deadly serious when we needed to be.

goodbye old friend. you would go to heaven for sure, if only there was one.

abc news australia
sydney morning herald

what eggs do to senior brains

i wondered if it might be fun to name the chapters of my new book (coming soon i promise!) after the subjects of some of the spam emails that i receive?

do THIS if you fart after meals
lift turkey neck
sitting is DANGEROUS
We Need To Talk Urgently
How To Entirely Empty Your Bowels Every Morning — A Top Surgeon Explains
another very more

ik dacht dat alles altijd maar ik dacht dat nooit

the most beautiful poem about being old that i know (in dutch) — lamenta by remco campert.

i am pretty sure they screwed up the lines on the text version in the youtube comments but i don’t have proper version to hand. it may be something more like this.



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