Month of Music Madness

Leave a comment
Blog / Music

I’ve dubbed October as my Month of Music Madness. But it got off to a rocky start. In hindsight, starting your October Music Month on 29 September is cheating anyway, but I was so excited about First Aid Kit that I ignored my body protesting for most of the night. I had feeling less than well since the weekend before and despite a very busy Monday and Tuesday I tried to do it all anyway. I dragged myself to the First Aid Kit gig, hoping that the music would magically (madly) make me feel better. It did for a while – the gig was really excellent and I don’t regret going to it, but I had to leave before the encore to drag myself home, to a bed, and get a good night’s sleep. I wasn’t sure whether it was stress, a cold or something else but it didn’t feel good and I had resigned myself to calling in sick for work the next day.

Only, I felt better the next day and I saw out the week despite the initial symptoms of just feeling crappy evolving into a proper cold, which I’m nursing as we speak, over one week later. I’m hoping it will go away soon and I’ve been on a strict regime of early nights and mostly decent food hoping I’m recovered before the next stretch kicks off…

Continue reading at Ether Site (even though this technically isn’t a Turin Brakes blog)…

About loving a city, finding a home

Leave a comment
Blog

2014-05-10 18.15.39-2

For a long time, London has been my favourite city. I can’t really explain why. And that made me wonder whether I just like it because I’ve been there many times and thus had a chance to fall in love with it, or whether I love it for something in it.

It’s true, I have never been to supposedly beautiful cities like Valencia, Barcelona, Roma, Madrid and various other Southern-European towns. I’ve never been to Istanbul, to Vienna or to Marseille and I last visited Paris when I was just a little too old to still be collecting all the signatures from the Disney characters in the amusement park next door. And I’ve never even left Europe, though I visited the relative outskirts of Reykjavik and Rhodos (which both aren’t really big cities, but yeah, you catch my drift).

I’ve also been to cities like Amsterdam (living in The Netherlands, that makes sense), Prague, Berlin, Porto, Verona and Glasgow. And many more… And all those cities have their ‘beautiful parts of town’. But that’s not the point. Because all these cities also have ugly parts. And London definitely has those. I’ve been in truly disgusting back alleys in cities in Belgium, dodgy streets in Berlin. While a city can be aesthetically pleasing, I wouldn’t say that’s any more important than the people living in it. If a town is beautiful but dead, you can still live a sorry life there…

Some people love Paris. I might love Paris. I definitely love the idea of Paris. The idea that this city full of little streets and old buildings, where romance itself is the most prominent habitant… But Paris is no more Midnight in Paris than any other city really. I recently walked down the riverside of Nijmegen with the sun going down and it was absolutely perfect. Absolutely perfect.

What matters is not just whether a city has a rich cultural life, or must-visit museums or nice restaurants. It’s not even the people, though knowing you have great friends nearby can be the greatest feeling in the world. It’s that thing about the sum being greater than its parts. For example I love Nijmegen too and it’s way smaller than London. Despite living in Nijmegen for many years, I feel I haven’t even tried half of the things that city has to offer me.

I guess I can fall in love with a place if it feels like home. It doesn’t have to be home, but it has to be a place that I could consider home. Because it’s making me feel safe yet challenged. Surroundings to thrive, so to speak. Not every city gives me this feeling anymore. But London does. And some other cities do too. Berlin did. Amsterdam didn’t. Gent did. Reykjavik didn’t. Verona did. Venice didn’t. I loved those cities, but I didn’t fall in love with them. And perhaps I can grow to love them, like I did with Nijmegen, but for now it’s simply not the same.

Still, Nijmegen is my home, and wherever my future will take me – Nijmegen, Amsterdam or elsewhere. I hope the feeling of coming home will always be there where I live.

2014-07-23 22.24.10

 

Writing on Medium

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

This weekend I wrote my first article on Medium. Well, I say article, it’s more like an open question and some thoughts gathered in a couple of paragraphs. Still, I’ll be writing on there every now and again on topics that I’m involved with on a professional level… And perhaps some personal interests as well. Just to see whether I can reach a bigger audience that way… And because I quite like the writing editor on there.

Check out my first article here.

 

Live each day as if the next one is going to be pretty ordinary

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

Yea, yea, people say “live each day like it’s your last”. But I can’t. Maybe I’m too uptight, maybe I’m too responsible, I just can’t. If I’m going to truly live each day like it’s my last, I would do some pretty irreversible damage to my life. And I don’t even think my life is bad (my job makes me happy sometimes and I have some truly great friends). If today, however, was my last day, I’d take up most of my savings – which isn’t that much – and spend it all with those great friends on a day and night to remember (which I then won’t remember because, you know, it was my last day).

Is it a bad thing that I don’t live that way? No, because everything in the society I’m currently firmly rooted in is designed to make us live like there are still MANY days to come. We work for salary and aren’t paid at the end of each day, but at the end of each month. We pay rent/mortgages per month, we pay taxes per year. And if we’re truly going to make process as a society we’re probably going to have think bigger than the next day. And this required, I guess, for individuals to think like that too.

And yes… Sometimes that frustrates me. I guess our lives would be “richer” if we lived completely in the moment, taking each moment at face value. I can understand being mind-full and worry-free is much more satisfying than worrying you have to do “this and this and this”. But that’s not the reality for most people I know. Most people I know are right now building a career or private life like they were told to do when they were growing up. And some are doing something completely different – and that’s okay too. But nobody’s living like each day is their last.

In fact, a lot of people I know have just started their working life and feel like it’s all planned out. From here on out it’s a straight road towards career, family and retirement (if ever…). And I guess that’s not good either. Especially if you let the stress and responsibilities that come with that take over. I’ve had that, I know at least two friends who’ve had that. And I guess most of us have that at times. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether you’re able or need to buy a bigger/smaller house, I agree that much with living life like today’s your last day… But it’s unrealistic to say that these things don’t matter. Not unless you live like a true recluse in the middle of nowhere. When surviving is your daily life THAT’s when you live like it’s your last.

It may not be inspiring but the truth, I feel, is somewhere in the middle. Make the most of life, but if everything goes to plan there will be a tomorrow where you want to get a decent return on your “investments” (meaning friendships, jobs, hobbies and things like that – not so much financial ones). So make sure you can get those as well.

So what about the moments when friends urge you to “live a little”? YES! it’s good to let go and live a little. Choose the moments to go all-in and also the moments to opt-out. If you want it all, you’ll either end up tired and bitter or dead. I believe that life gets better if you do things the right way. So whenever friends tell me to live a little… I live a little. I live as if the next couple of days are pretty ordinary. They might not be. They might be awesome as well. But I don’t get disappointed if they’re not and I’m able to handle them if they are. They don’t need to be a recovery period, nor do they have to be a series of ultimate highs that come days too soon. And depending on the state of me I can still have a pretty good time.

In my life I value – outside of my personal well-being – friendship, music, family and work. After years of trying too hard to achieve everything I’m now engineering my life around those values. So yes I might be uptight and stressed out about tomorrow and next week and next year. That’s the way I roll. But when I realise that those four values are still present in my life, in the end, it feels like my life is getting better. And it only gets better.

Forecast.io is awesome

Leave a comment
Blog
2013-03-27 16.36.41

Like many Dutch people I am a weather freak. Not of the “weather station at home installed”-kind, but the type that frantically checks whether we’re gonna drown because it’s never gonna stop raining and we’re below sea level AND EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG!!!! I’ve got several weather apps on my iPhone, besides the standard Apple Weather app: Weather Pro, Buienradar (the Dutch app that shows you where it’s raining) and Haze.

None of these apps satisfy my weather needs completely… I also like a good design, and more often than not, weather apps are too detailed (and ugly) or too minimalistic to satisfy my weather nerd needs (Haze).

Cue Forecast.io, a web app that almost feels like a native app… It tells you the weather condition for your current location and the condition for the next 24 hours. But the beauty is in what it’s not immediately showing: the forecast for the next 7 days is hidden at the bottom and can be revealed by swiping upwards. Even more beautiful: clicking on “Map” in the top corner reveals an extensive map that shows you animated rain clouds for the past days and the upcoming couple of days. While I’m not sure how accurate this all is, it looks beautiful and provides just enough detail to satisfy my needs.

2013-03-27 18.56.38 2013-03-27 18.56.43 2013-03-27 18.56.56

Forecast.io works in your browser as well, but it works way better on your phone, I find. I’ve added it to my homescreen as a webapp.

How I got a broadcaster RTL5 to broadcast ‘127 Hours’ twice in 50 hours’ time

comment 1
Blog
20130224_160553_james-franco-in-127-hours

I say “How I got…” but this really is one of those social media stories. I am writing this down because I know I’ll forget the details in a couple of years and it’s nice to be able to look this up and remember. 

There’s a certain level of nostalgia and warmth to watching a film together on television as it is broadcast. When I was younger my dad and I used to watch all the James Bond films together (and to this day we go to the cinema each time a new one is released). So while I’ve used my iMac to watch tons of films since the arrival of broadband internet, I’m not totally against watching a film on commercial tv. Even if that means I have to endure several commercial breaks per hour and several pop-ups during the film promoting reality TV shows I usually have no interest in. It’s a nice activity to do with my dad and thus when I visit he usually asks me “Are there any good films on tonight?”
20130224_160553_james-franco-in-127-hours

Last Saturday night the answer was: “Yes, RTL5 is broadcasting 127 Hours, where a guy gets stuck in the middle of nowhere while canyoneering.” I had wanted to watch this film for a while, but hadn’t got round to it. So I was genuinely excited. And it was good, right up to the point – and I assume this is common knowledge – when THAT scene happened. That scene where Aron, played by James Franco, frees himself by cutting of his right arm. I assume that the fact that this happens is common knowledge, because it caused quite a stir when the film was released. And my tv guide actually announced the “moving and disturbing” scene.

Now I’m not one for gore in movies. I’ve never seen Saw. The only horror flick I ever tried to watch was The Fly 2 when I was a kid and that involved me walking away from the television whenever the (imagined?) gore became too much. But it was my choice to walk or look away. I like to have that choice.

 

(full disclosure: I did see Cabin in the Woods, but I put the volume down during the scary parts)

Read More