Wednesday, 28 April 2021


First spied by Super Punch, we are referred to a nice appreciation of the recently departed, prolific Dutch artist Cor Blok (*1934), particularly well known in the Netherlands for illustrating J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (In de ban van de Ring) in the early 1960s.

Later creating a tapestry out of Middle Earth’s characters to showcase his repetoire, Blok went on to become docent of the school of modern art at the University of Utrecht from 1977 to 1999, retiring as professor emeritus at the University of Leiden.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

de twee bruidegommen

Passed by the Second Chamber (Tweede Kamer) of the States General and affirmed by the Senate during the December before, same-sex marriage (Homohuwelijk) became legal in the Netherlands on this day in 2001, the first country in modern times to sanction and recognise marriage equality. Registered partnerships were introduced on New Year’s 1998 as an alternative for homosexual couples, which under the law convey the same rights, duties and responsibilities as matrimony, and have since become nearly as popular as civil marriage among heterosexual couples as well.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

radio caroline

Named after the daughter of JFK photographed dancing in the Oval Office and interpreted by the founder and chief backer Aodogรกn Ronan O’Rahilly (*1940 - †2020) as representing the playful disruption of government business and joyful rule-breaking, the pirate broadcaster (see also) that was never actually circumventing the law as it operated from international waters aired its first regular programme set on this day in 1964—transmitting from a retrofitted passenger ferry anchored off Felixstowne, Suffolk, just beyond the jurisdiction of any one who could object to their activity. Established like its Dutch and other European counterparts to undermine the monopoly that the BBC had over the radiowaves and the pressure that record companies exerted on stations, dictating that their popular songs dominate, Radio Caroline broadcasted from five different ships through 1990 before moving to satellite radio and community AM bands in select areas, continuing today on the internet. Limiting programming to day time hours so as not to interfere with Radio Luxembourg, the station, with news reports at the top of the hour, was extremely popular with homemakers and children and left a lasting impression and alterative from mainstream commercial music. Do give them a listen.

Monday, 22 March 2021


mรธbler, belysning, rumdesign: another dip into the iconic designs of Verner Panton—see previously  

fortuitous numbers: a few sums with the rare property where a number equals its letter count multiplied together 

avondklok: a photo-essay on the curfew in Amsterdam during the heights of the pandemic  

digital only trainers: Gucci is selling a virtual sneaker for augmented reality photographs  

yoshizawa-randlett system: rocket scientists and engineers are turning to origami for inspiration 

screen-time: a comic panel from 1997 about high school in 2021 A.D., see also

in memoriam: a pair of obituaries celebrating the life and work of designer Zeev Aram from Things Magazine

Friday, 12 March 2021

portrait of the artist as a young woman

BBC Culture showcases the Flemish Renaissance painter Caterina van Hemessen (*1528 – †1565) through the lens of her 1548 self-portrait which is the first known depiction of an artist—of any gender—at work at the easel. Certainly knowing her art history, van Hemessen’s reflection, projection has a definite correspondence to Albrecht Dรผrer’s 1500 work. As in many professions at the time, the certification and apprenticeship process was biased against women joining the ranks of artists with curricula consisting of studying cadavers and vivisections and the nude male form—places where women had no access to—it was difficult to find a sponsor and teacher, making female painters exceedingly rare, though in Hemessen’s case it was her father that taught her, Jan Sanders van Hemessen—renowned as well for introducing Italian, romantic influences to the Northern Renaissance.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

impasse des deux frรจres et le moulin ร  poivre

Never loaned to a museum or displayed to the public in its hundred and thirty-year history, this Van Gogh work from his Monmartre period when the artist lived in Paris with his brother Theo has been in private hands and only now previewed ahead of its auction. Having developed an intensive interest in ukiyo-e woodblock prints in Antwerp and hoping to experiment with Japonaiserie with his new circle of acquaintances, this landscape (absolutely rustic in comparison to what the neighbourhood is today), represents a transition in style when Van Gogh started to adopt elements of pointillism and bright clash colours. Ahead of its sale, the painting is slated for short exhibitions, with due precautions, in Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Paris.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

mercenary pirate

Our gratitude to TYWKIWDBI (indeed) for reminding us about the etymology of the practise of political stonewalling wherein a parliament, congress or other legislative body obstruct a proposal by talking it to death, which ultimately comes from the old Dutch vribuyter meaning plunderer (a freer of booty) with the antiquated intermediate English term freebooter. Eventually such mendacious piracy came to refer to the unsanctioned—that is operating outside the government in a fashion similar to a soldier of fortune but strictly working for oneself—in hopes of fomenting revolution and installing a regime more amenable to one’s business or trade interest, particularly said of United States citizens acting as agent provocateurs in Latin America (previously) in the nineteenth century, but this is of course a recurring role for the USA. It passed in the vernacular as a campaign by extension to block or delay the passage of legislation with tactics to buy time (see also)—that is squander it. The procedural remedy for filibustering and taking up floor time and leaving the opposition with no recourse is cloture, but this termination of debate usually requires more than a simple majority to move on it.

Saturday, 6 March 2021


di grattacielo con le bretelle: Milan’s Brutalist Torre Velasca  

sixty songs in three and ½ minutes: the Hood Internet (previously) presents 1995  

razor banks: the rather macabre antique bathroom wall slots to dispose of dull blades in the voids between walls 

through the looking glass: vis-ร -vis the above, a tenant finds hidden rooms behind her medicine cabinet in her New York City apartment—via Super Punch  

superior mirage: walker in Cornwall spots a ship floating aloft 

in your bubble: contemplating quarantine in the Bolwonigen globes of ‘s-Hertogenbosch—see previously

Saturday, 27 February 2021

gezicht in delft

The 1652 painting A View of Delft with A Musical Instrument Seller’s Stall by Carel Fabritius (*27 February 1622 - †1654, student of Rembrandt and had his own studio in Amsterdam) typifies the painter’s style, a departure from that of the master in experimentation with foreshortening and spatial effects. The exaggerated angle of the cityscape suggests it might have been intended to be displayed on the curved surface of a perspective box (perspectiefdoos), using light, camera obscura and architectural elements (see previously) to create an illusion of depth.

Friday, 5 February 2021


The market bubble peaking, according to available records and sales ledgers, on this day in 1637 before bursting, rampant speculation (see also) and deviation from intrinsic value, with single flower bulbs selling for what a skilled artisan or trader could expect to earn in a decade in his trade drove the Dutch Tulip Craze, generally understood as the first stock market crash. With a newly liberated—no longer the Spanish Netherlands—and wealthy populace captivated by an import from the Ottoman Empire that could be cultivated and coveted unlike any other flower endemic to Europe, increased demand attracted as many professional brokers as tulip fanciers to the marketplace, complete with abstractions including short-selling and futures contracts. Once the bottom finally fell out of the trade amid distress and recrimination, those left holding flowers and bulbs in the end were left with little recourse as no court was willing to enforce the terms of a contract, declaring the debts incurred through gambling and not subject to commercial law.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021


fietsstrook: LEGO cycling lanes (see previously) on their way 

pay no attention to that man behind the curtain: Jeff Bezos to hand over the reigns of power at Amazon 

it’s a duck blur: an in depth, retrospective analysis of the 1989 Capcom video game Ducktales  

end effector: Boston Dynamics’ Spot gets an arm and gripper attachment 

nihon no shiro: abstract woodcuts of the castles and palaces of Japan—via Present /&/ Correct  

force multiplier: innovative, portable CLIP drive transforms any convention bicycle into an e-bike—via Swiss Miss

Sunday, 17 January 2021

temptation of saint anthony

Venerated on this day, itinerant and chief amongst the Desert Fathers, Saint Anthony of Alexandria, has had his enduring supernatural visitation during his sojourn through the wilderness of eastern Egypt depicted in many forms, giving way to lurid and bizarrely embellished interpretations beginning in medieval times up to the present day with greater emphasis on the mental states of individuals over demonic temptation.
One of the most iconic portrayals, aligned with the fantastic and nightmarish landscapes of Hieronymus Bosch (previously) is the 1650 work by Flemish painter Joos van Craesbeeck of Brabant, who had produced many a quick and circumspect study of the dissolute and down-and-out with his cautionary tavern scenes. A colossal screaming head—that resembles Craesbeecck’s self-portraits, spews forth an allegory of obscenities, the meanings lost to the ages and the symbolism subject to guesswork whilst Anthony calmly is seen on shore trying to keep his sanity.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

de anatomische les van dr. nicolaes tulp

Regarded as one of the early masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn (previously), the dissection (only one public viewing was permitted a year in Amsterdam, to which Dr Tulp as the city’s chief anatomist invited the artist to execute a group portrait, mise-en-scรจne) that inspired the painting occurred on this day in 1632 (possibly two weeks later, according to some sources) in the surgeon’s operating theatre. The corpse, as in all such exclusive social occasions was that of a convicted and executed criminal, laid out in Christ-like repose was called Adriaan Adriaanszoon (aka, Aris Kindt) and was sentenced to death by hanging for armed robbery. The detail of the tendons and musculature—especially in the vivisected forearm, is rather remarkable, and is significantly, displaying growing confidence in his abilities, is signed simply with his forename f[ecit] (made me) and the year rather than the monogramme RHL—Rembrandt Harmenszoon of Leiden, plus rhotic glyph seen in the body’s navel.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

to moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear

In a strange twist of fate, Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin (previously) was killed on this day (New Style, 1916) coinciding with the passing with the Aruban performer Bobby Farrell (2010), whom with the disco ensemble Boney M. produced possibly the finest musical homage in the 1978 hit single (see link above) from their album Nightflight to Venus, often dressed as the charismatic for concerts. Farrell died of heart failure whist on tour in Saint Petersburg. Here is a video from the variety show TopPop.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

home box office

We enjoyed this curated gallery featuring the minimal encapsulations of movie poster (see also) executed by graphic designer Chungkong, which served to highlight the not only the commercial blockbusters of shared experience but those certain cinematic shibboleth of obscure choices—both by the creator and collector—that yet resonate nostalgic but are still cult enough to carry distinction. Peruse through an assortment of over twelve hundred filmic properties and artefacts assiduously catalogued and distilled in an instantly recognisable fashion at the artist’s website above.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020


dry dock: a drone surveys a cruise ship graveyard  

one of these things is not like the other: match memes described as having the same energy—via Waxy 

anti-trust, anti-social: leaked documents show how viciously Facebook (previously) plans to fight regulations and its forced break-up

verticalisation: photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro has Chongqing in frame a decade after his first visit 

rephotography: vis-ร -vis, the above, staging the same photos decades later—via Things Magazine  

we bid a hasty retreat from his lair: School House Rock’s Unpack Your Adjectives  

begagnade varor: IKEA to open a second-hand outlet in Sweden—via Kottke  

space ghost coast-to-coast: a retrospective of comics illustrator Alex Toth 

even keel: a tiny, personal boat to navigate Amsterdam’s canals

Thursday, 24 September 2020


globus polski: an uncanny geopolitical representation 

hollands venetiรซ: revisiting the enchanting village of Giethoorn—previously here and here  

youtube enthusiast: Ruben Bolling (previously) illustrates a day in the life of Trump’s America  

the colour of pomegranates: Lady Gaga’s visual homage to the Armenian filmmarker Sergei Parajanov

kirie: artist Lito experiments with the ancient Japanese art ofๅˆ‡ใ‚Š็ตต, cut pictures  

flattening out: an illustration of how map projections distort our view of the world—see previously

Thursday, 17 September 2020

i know the scientific names of beings animalculous

On this day in 1683, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (*1632 – †1723) announced in a letter addressed to the Royal Society his discovery of animalcules—little animals, the adjectival form above—living in rain water and invisible to the naked eye.
Sounding quaint to modern biologists and poor van Leeuwenhoek will forever be associated with the word, the progenitor of microscopy and microbial studies of course employed Dutch terms that he readers and fellow researchers could understand dier (animal, compare Tier) with the suffix –en or –ken to express their diminutive nature rather than inventing a Latin term, as his translator, German diplomat and natural philosopher Henry Oldenburg was wont to do. van Leeuwenhoek’s record of transparency, willingness to share discoveries and open, unreserved correspondence spurred on a lot of competition in the field and advanced the field microbiology and germ-theory at pace thereafter.

Thursday, 30 July 2020


With a name nearly as awesome as our friend Ultragoth, today marks the veneration of Frisian abbot of the Benedictine order, credited with its revival in that part of the Netherlands on the occasion of his death or translation of his relics in 1183 or possibly 1198. Aside from the founding of three monasteries and being forewarned of an ambush by God and armouring himself with a cauldron, unfortunately not much else is known about the saint’s life or acts and more is known posthumously, vicariously about the fate of Hatebrand’s reliquary and relics in the centuries after his death through multiple civil and religious upheavals and who is presently scattered in various churches across Holland and Belgium

Wednesday, 1 July 2020


Meaning the chain is broken in the Sranantongo English-Dutch creole language, the annual commemoration held in Suriname, the Dutch Antilles and the Netherlands is a time for celebration and remembrance as well as education and as well as a prompt for research, reparation and reconciliation began on this day in 1863 when the institution of slavery was abolished.
Though also presently referred to Emancipation (Maspasi) Day, actual freedom for most formerly enslaved individuals would be deferred for a full decade as part of a transition period which still tethered people to their plantations, curtailing their liberties as indentured servants until this obligation was discharged. Landowners were further compensated by the government for their loss monetarily, the Dutch being one of the last of the colonial powers to end enslavement—with Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that liberated those in America’s capital city about a year earlier while across the British Empire, full emancipation came at midnight on 1 August 1838.