not now


in the times today an obituary of the photographer chris killip who worked in an interesting way with the people he photographed. not sure if this is what he did with the punks at the station in gateshead in the early eighties but he produced some memorable images, like this one. the name of the band and the performer are unknown but the outfit is priceless.

love pseudonyms and delighted to discover that even maarten biesheuvel (RIP) used one, D.Blijn, possibly on only one occasion.

PRIVATE PRESS PUBLICATIONS — BLIJN, D. (ps. of M. Biesheuvel). Tussen mensen tussen dieren. Leiden, (Ter Lugt Pers), 1983. Photostat of the or. edition, on 3 leporello fold. and conjoined lvs. Sm-8°. Owrps.(!) embellished w. or. drawing by the author on front side.

Published on the occasion of Biesheuvel's 44th birthday in an edition of 44 copies, this seems to be a copy made for private use by the author. The cover is original, because it has the colophon printed on the inside of the back cover. In our catalogue 333 # 149 we offered a copy w. inscription to Ronald & Lizanne Breugelmans in which Biesheuvel explains the name Blijn: “Blijn komt van het Russische 'biliny', dat woord betekent heldenzangen uit Nova Zembla en Noord Rusland. Waar de 'D' vandaan komt weet ik niet, misschien vind ik Dirk een mooie voornaam. Maarten.”

yours for €150 (approx.) in the forthcoming auction of maarten's stuff. ga snel naar :

if the english language only had one advantage over het nederlands dan zou het zijn dat je in het engels in de liefde kunt vallen (en er ook weer uitvallen) maar in het nederlands kun je alleen verliefd worden of zijn — of niet meer zijn.
it was pointed out to me that, in dutch, you can fall on someone (op iemand vallen) which made me laugh quite a bit.

Helen Garner :

This will have to be lived. It can’t be walked away from.

if my ego was any larger than a grain of sand...

John Cage : “I went into an anechoic chamber expecting to hear nothing and, instead, heard two sounds. I spoke to the engineer in charge, thinking he could correct the situation. I said, There are two sounds in that room. And he said, Describe them. And I did. And he said The high one was your nervous system in operation. And the low one was your blood circulating. That means that silence is a change of mind. And since other people were taking care of intention, I decided to devote my life to non-intention. So that I’ve changed my responsibilities from making choices to asking questions.”

How to Get Started (1989)

Y.M.C.A. is one of the most aggravating ear worms in the entire history of music. all that is required for me is to see those four capital letters (i don't think lower case would have the same effect and perhaps the dots are needed too?) and that's it. it will be spooking around in my head and ears for days that it's fun to go to the Y.M.C.A. hey and that you can have a good meal and whatever else it is young men do there. i'll wake up with it and i'll fall asleep with it. this has been the case for forty years and i have managed to live with it. but unfortunately now there is an additional problem : it is also accompanied by the grotesque image of the alleged human who will surely soon be the ex-president of United States of Amerika dancing whilst wearing his trademark self satisfied expression which is forever engrained in my retina.

when i was learning dutch (i.e. when i was learning to talk and learning to understand what it meant when people said things to me :) there were a lot of yiddish words (and jokes) that i hardly ever hear now. when i encounter a yiddish word in an english (or more usually american) context, unless it is schlemiel, i have no clue what it means because the dutch way of rendering yiddish words is so different — example : mishegas = mesjogge. #teachyourselfdutch

dear arnon...

last night i was in some weird parallel universe in which george's father is played by someone who is not jerry stiller.

but i've seen this episode before! how could i have not noticed that!?

turns out this was the first time frank costanza appears and he was initially played by another actor but it didn't work so they cast jerry stiller who proposed a different way to play the character :

The scene started and Estelle began screaming at me, “You’re the one who ruined his life! You’re the one who wasn’t a good role model! You’re a lousy father!” Only this time I shot back, “You’re the one who made him sandwiches in bed! You’re the one who coddled him and treated him like a baby!”

larry david insisted the earlier scenes be redone with jerry. the dvd has both versions of this episode.

regelneef = fixer #teachyourselfdutch

coming around a corner there was a big grey heron, which is known as a blue heron (reiger) here. we each stood looking at the other for a full minute and then she flew off letting out a big squawk on the way. this sound is described on the english wikipedia as a loud croaking “fraaank” where the dutch version calls it a diep, rauw “schraatsj” (or “grrèngk”). #teachyourselfdutch

ok so i learned from this story on the bbc that the british royal family employs a bloke whose SOLE responsibility is to make sure all the clocks in their palaces show the correct time EXCEPT the ones in the kitchen which are always 5 minutes fast to ensure the meals are served on time — as if the people working in the kitchen wouldn't have watches of their own and/or know this?

the journalist didn't use a recorder. she recorded everything i said over two hours the old fashioned way, in a classic reporters notebook. i said, do you use steno and she said no, but it's only legible for 24 hours, as if she was using magic ink.

maar ... is daar überhaupt wel draagvlak voor, gijs?*

dit ben ik

i don't consider identity an interesting topic but then i've never been that interested in what other people think of me, except for saskia glazenburg when i was 14. she is on facebook and yes, it's her omg and she is a grandmother now, of course.

saskia was one of the holy trinity of girls i fell in love with, each in turn, well before i was fully formed. the others were irene groen and bernadette sterk. i worshipped the very ground they walked upon.

the most beautiful of the three was irene, who had a slightly mean streak. i still can't walk on the vismarkt without seeing myself desperately trying to impress her and the way her hair was lit by the particular light of the sun. it must have been late autumn. in my mind's eye the shadows were long. she agreed, albeit reluctantly, to let me buy her an ice cream and ate it quickly and greedily. no doubt she wanted the ordeal of being in the presence of her persistent young admirer to be over as soon as possible.

anyway today the NRC is coming to interview me today for a regular featurette they have called 'dit ben ik'.

continue reading here

what is not said is as telling as what is.

the series 'grote vragen' is made by the vpro — which is not what it was but hey, nothing is and none of us are — and it is presented by a really annoying man, a dutch uncle type but one who is unable to understand something and wants to tell you about it anyway. if you can ignore him, which is not easy, the rewards afforded by the episode about miranda cheng are significant.

she says many interesting things not the least of which is about silence but the thing about miranda cheng is that she can access other dimensions — and not just one or two either but 196,883 — through language, that language being mathematics, which, for her, is not complicated she says. but then she considers herself a mutant.

in 196,883 dimensions, miranda cheng encountered a beautiful object with 10 to the power of 54 symmetries.

the reviewer in the nrc writes :

Ergens moet er een niveau te bereiken zijn waarop we zien hoe alles met alles samenhangt – al moeten we honderdduizenden dimensies scheppen om het uit te dokteren.

yes well 'we' won't be able to reach it OR see it, but maybe miranda cheng can and she could tell us about it.

ok so i have the blood pressure of a um ... young god (which is about the only part of me which is still like a young god but oki'll take it) but what is considered 'high' blood pressure? this is a nice article from the NYT which explains quite clearly how it works and why it is important, at least for the statistics beloved by government central planning departments. it also contains the following mind boggling factoid : in the 1960s medical schools taught that blood pressure should rise with age to assure an adequate blood supply to the brain.

so maybe my blood pressure is insufficient in my old age to deliver an adequate blood supply to the brain and that's why i am now so stupid!

oef! that's confusing...

oef (tussenwerpsel) 1 uitroep van opluchting 2 uitroep van benauwdheid


zoals gezegd ben ik vrij huiverig over het woord 'god'. vroeger rende ik schreeuwend de kamer uit als iemand 'god' zei maar toen ik theologie studeerde bij de vrije universiteit (het is een lang verhaal) bleek dat niet erg praktisch. ik was dan wel een soort punk theoloog maar dat zou net iets te ver gegaan zijn.

on free speech

but for whom is free speech, free? is it only for the individual to say whatever it is they want to say, whenever they feel like it?

what about the listener? are they free not to listen? but what if you are yelling so loudly that no matter how hard they try, they cannot help hearing what you are saying even though they don't want to hear it for whatever reasons, eg they cannot bear it, it offends them, it hurts them, it triggers past trauma?

does the listener also have the right to be free of your speech?

continue reading here → free speech

yesterday someone tried to sell me something. because of the kind of product it is, it's important to do this subtly, without making it appear as if you're trying to sell something.

first of all you have to insert into the situation the idea that it is not possible to buy this product elsewhere, in a shop or online. to get it you have to Know someone. it is like inviting you to say, so if i want one of these i could ask you?

did they deliberately pause to give me the opportunity to say that? of course i didn't.

they did mention — i am sure this is not in the manual, it just sort of seemed to slip out when they said €400 and i said ouch — that if you someone buys one on your recommendation you get a cut, so that reduces the price you yourself have to pay.

i said : that sounds like a pyramid selling scheme. — oh no. it really isn't. it's just a way of making it a little less expensive for you.

to be continued

A.L.Snijders leest in het dagboek van Jules Renard. Op 22 september 1895 schreef hij:

‘Er bestaat geen Paradijs, maar je moet proberen te verdienen dat er wel een is.’

Dit begrijp ik niet, schrijft Snijders. Hoe kun je iets verdienen wat er niet is?

That's exactly it. It is not dissimilar to Camus's take on Sisyphus. It's a particular relation to the impossible.

vote mcgovern!

the idea that his number may be up and that some kind of relative sanity will come back into the politics of the so-called civilised world, that the day of reckoning is nigh for this crazy uncle, weirdly — or perhaps not — made me a little weepy this morning. the moment came as i read jennifer rubin's blistering column in the washington post where she puts it all into perspective following his latest TV appearance.

continue reading here → vote mcgovern!

i updated the index page. (not that it made it any more useful. but for what it's worth it does now contain some fun facts about one of the works i made for the art school graduating exhibition thirty years ago which someone was asking me about.)

A.L.Snijders afgelopen zondag over zijn varkens in de vorige eeuw die van eikels hielden “en ook van fruit en kruiden en groenten die met reusachtige vliegtuigen werden aangevoerd uit landen met exotische namen en veel armoede.”

How to be. Climb inside a dot and shut the door. Leave yourself outside. — Ivor Cutler

en nu begint het dus echt. maar eerst : piet de weerman.

Maarten Biesheuvel and Karel van het Reve sailing on the 'Marius', Oct. 11th 1981. (detail) Photograph by Gerard in 't Veld.

the original photograph could be yours for €200 (estimate) in the auction of stuff from his house. biesheuvel's old olivetti typewriter has an estimate of €50. i am tempted to bid.

here is biesheuvel's contribution to hollands dagboek from that same year.

de volkskrant has the guff on EMDR. if you hit a paywall click here

meanwhile in australia, the football is better when your team is hated than when it is loved. this is a nice piece in the age by jake niall about my favourite footy team. if you hit a paywall click here

Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder.

three day intensive, rotterdam, october 2020.

in de tussentijd, in australië pakken ze covid zó aan. mijn voormalige schoonmoeder moest door een militair aan de tand gevoeld worden (ik bedoel dit figuurlijk) voor zij naar de tandarts mocht.

lacan said a letter always arrives at its destination. i've been thinking about this for a long time — especially in the years when i was an artist. in australia in the late eighties i sent many letters to dead early modernists in europe at their last known addresses in paris (tzara, breton), hanover (schwitters), zurich (arp) etc. some of the letters came back to me with impressive stamps and markings and some of them didn't. unsurprisingly the germans and the swiss were most likely to return the letters but none ever came back from paris.

continue reading here → dead letters

for L. — even though we won't be talking about writing today, the text is always present, and i think the same idea could be just as usefully applied to therapy/analysis.

When has a piece of writing – yours – or anyone else’s – “succeeded?”

Brian Massumi : When it has succeeded in saying something that could not have been said before it was written, and when it enriches its readers’ attention in a way that enables them to perceive things in the world around them that would otherwise have passed unremarked. The new thoughts and perceptions are gifts that are also invitations. They are not obligations. If they forced particular allegiances, or prescribed particular actions, they would be tools or weapons, not gifts. Rather than obligating, they invite. They invite the receiver, through a creative activity of his or her own, in his or her own way, to ‘succeed’ another gift for others still.


in the work, the ebb and flow and the interaction and intra-action of transference and countertransference and their entanglements are endlessly fascinating and complex.

i'd be seriously worried if i was spending 70% of my time in therapy talking about my relationship with the therapist though.

the key to the time to come

so much is said and written every day but so much more is and remains unsaid. it boggles the mind. this is the shadow of everything that is said : all the things you would like to say but feel unable to and everything you don't want to say — about what you did and didn't do and think and feel and hoped for but were disappointed and are now ashamed that you allowed yourself to think. how do i make it possible for you to tell me? why would you tell me? because i have magic powers? because i have the power to forgive, to give you absolution. this power does not come from an authority or a supposed supernatural being but it has come about (dutch : is ontstaan) in the course of living and seeing and listening — by knowing and speaking and being present — and by responding, by loving, and somehow, mysteriously, acquiring the capacity to love without expecting or demanding anything in return.

every man that ever was entered the world through a woman. salaai (not alaaf!) from lampegat

the news that ronald rump, editor-in-chief of the truth of the world, has been infected with corona reached this office in the early hours of the morning. i am looking desperately for my compassion. if anyone has seen it, please get in touch.

if i had a megaphone

leeds, 1974.

not now