Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘The Netherlands’

The Weeknd, live.

As I walked along the waterfront this evening, I came across this quite random chalking. “The Weeknd” looked great in yellow chalk, along the side of whatever wharf shed this was. It reminded me of Pitch, and though we’ve already mentioned how great Jessie Ware, SBTRKT and Gui Boratto were, we’ve neglected the Weeknd.

I first came across The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) when I heard a song on an NPR broadcast (Public Radio is a good thing!). The song, House of Balloons, included a sample from the Siouxsie and the Banshees song Happy House. The guitar was slowed right down, but I recognised it right away – a remnant from my mis-spent youth, appropriated from the mis-spent youth of the generation before me. I have, since then, become completely hooked.

I was lucky enough to download his three mixtapes before the release of the album Trilogy, which includes remastered versions of the tapes*. If you weren’t, it’s probably worth getting. Because it’s a m a z i n g.

Our friend and her sister are also huge fans, and at Pitch, we were all stupendously excited to see how the music we loved converted into a live experience.

We were not disappointed. It was not a flawless performance, and at times, the live sound struggled to capture the layered richness of his recordings, whilst the vocal performance was at times a little pitchy. But Tesfaye has awesome stage presence, and he had the enthusiastic Dutch crowd thrashing about in front of the stage in ecstatic rhythm.


Photos by CIA & PJD, Pitch Festival, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, July 2012.

* Mixtapes seems like an awful misnomer in the age of digital music.

From the Archives

We never did figure out why there was a giant Jenga set in the middle of Utrecht…


Photo by PJD, on PJD & CIA’s first visit to Utrecht, with PJD’s sister. We tried to play Jenga, but the rain made it less than fun. Utrecht is a great city though.

Sometimes, I cannot agree more

Earth is a whack place to be

This is a little Utrecht graffiti.


Photo by CIA, Utrecht, the Netherlands, September 2012.

Flat as far as the eye can see

The photo below is one of the last shots of the Dutch landscape I took before our departure from the Netherlands. I snapped it on my phone out the window of an intercity train from Leiden, eindbestemming Den Haag Centraal (please excuse the graininess caused by the window). It captures well the feature of the landscape in the Netherlands that makes it so completely different to what we are used to in New Zealand (and particularly in Wellington): it is flat as far as the eye can see, not a hill – or even a hint of undulation – apparent. Fences are unnecessary on farms, as the small canals act as demarcating lines, mostly straightened through human intervention. On clear days, you can see to the next – or the next after the next – city or town, its skyline popping up in the distance. That always seemed quite amazing to me. As our time living in the Netherlands passed, we became accustomed to this flatness, but it never seemed normal or natural to either PJD or me. PJD recently chatted with an Aucklander who had spent time in the Netherlands on vacation, and who found the flat nature of the land, devoid of hills or mountains, made him feel distinctly unsettled, irritable. Neither of us had such a strong reaction, but as we travelled in Europe, we always found ourselves strangely excited to land in a place where we had to climb up slight (London, for example), or even extreme inclines (Barcelona, Luxembourg). We reacted excitedly to anecdotes of being able to find hills in the Netherlands as if they had some mythical quality (yes, they do exist, but you have to travel to Limburg to find them!).

Now that we are back in Wellington, hills are on the horizon in every direction that they eye can see. In contrast to where we have been, they are a novelty; at the same time though, they are comforting and familiar (not sure if the comfort factor will remain once we start climbing them again!). They bring a drama and variation to the land which I have missed. Soon enough, I’ll get some pictures up to show you what I mean. For now though, a part of me certainly does miss the serene flat fields of the Netherlands.


Photo by CIA between Leiden and Den Haag, the Netherlands, 19 September 2012.

Goede reis


There’ll be a short break in transmission over the next few days, but don’t worry, whilst we might be moving, foldedcranes ain’t going anywhere. See you soon.


Photo by CIA, Schipol, 21 September 2012

Little moments in time

As PJD wrote yesterday, the pace of everyday life is fairly fast. So much so, that sometimes we (you, me, us) don’t really stop to catch those little moments (momentjes) in time which are hidden, not immediately apparent and which take a little more time to notice. A few weeks ago, I was reminded of this, as we slowed the pace of life down and meandered, somewhat aimlessly, enjoying the sunshine, through the cobbled streets of Amsterdam. It seemed like the whole city was out that day, enjoying the beautiful warmth, and we were just three friends, among many, our chatter and laughter melding into that around us of strangers, as the minutes, hours passed lazily by. Somewhere along the way, we caught a glimpse of this beautiful doorway out of the corner of our eyes. We’d already walked past, even though our pace was slow, yet it was so lovely in the dappled mid-afternoon light, that we just had to turn back and take another look. We all had smiles on our faces, as we walked away again. Little moments in time, spent with special people really are life’s simplest joys. As we look towards embarking on a new adventure together, it’s comforting to know that so many splendid memories will be carried with us, and as we go, remembering to relish the little moments in time, wherever we may be.


Photo by CIA, Amsterdam, August 2012.


A little Leiden graffiti

This is just around the corner from where we live, and the wall is frequently updated with new graphics. The number of surrounding bikes never cease to amaze me, and I am increasingly concerned about the stability of that wall…  The contrast of the derelict building which provides the canvas for this graffiti in the foreground stands out in stark contrast to the shiny new building in the background. I also like that whoever is behind this graffiti couldn’t contain it to the wall, can you spot what I mean?


Photos by CIA, Leiden, September 2012.

%d bloggers like this: