This Month – September


Read – Online

Tim Bergling’s 32nd birthday 

The Netherlands are A Mess in general when it comes to housing, but this year it’s been extra bad for the foreign students that pay a 15.000 euro tution (compare: Dutch students pay around € 2.000 a year), move half way around the world and then find themselves homeless. It’s an absolutely disgusting situation. Universities should take care of appropriate housing for their foreign students, definitely for the first year. And maybe also for all the other years, as Dutch students aren’t very willing to share a house with a foreign housemate. But apart from that we’re super open and liberal and tolerant and very internationally focussed. No, really.

Listened to – Music

Chandelier – Sia (Too Many Zooz Cover ft. Joshua Gawel of Lucky Chops)

| unlock it x better off alone — dj victor [no jay park] |

Tame Impala – Say It Right (Nelly Furtado Cover) – BBC Radio1 Annie Mac Session

Satie: 3 Gymnopédies | ContraPoints Live

petals by glass orange (official music video)

Listened to – Podcasts


Watched – Films and Documentaries

I watched Back to the Future for the first time in years, and I don’t know why, but all of a sudden Doc struck me as such a profoundly tragic figure. I’ll watch it again in a while, to see if it’s because of realising things I’ve never realised before, or that it was just me being a bit mentally unstable that day.

Watched – TV and Youtube

a legally blonde style analysis 🐕👙🛍

Legally Blonde: Elle Woods – The Philosophy of a Blonde

Henk & Louise Schiffmacher | My Life in Fashion | SUBTITLED | Interview

Meet the Beloved, Concert-Obsessed “Dancing Man” of L.A. | PBS Short Docs

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker Breaks Down His Favorite Drum Sounds | Under the Influences | Pitchfork

Miscellaneous awesomeness

Bierpinsel. Brilliant. The wikipedia entry is a bit confusing, but I read the original one in German, so here we go: the official name of the building was “Turmrestaurant Steglitz”, which means Towerrestaurant Steglitz, with Steglitz being the neighbourhood. The building was supposed to resemble a tree, but the people in the neighbourhood thought it looked like a paintbrush (“pinsel”), and since you could go there to have a beer, they started calling it the “Bierpinsel” (beer brush).


This month – August


Read – Online

Messer Runs to Where ‘Angels Pray’;
Lighter than Air “The members of disability arts company Kinetic Light discuss collaboration and kinship”;
A Problem: When your friend group has that one person who won’t get vaccinated
The False Promise of Anti-Racism Books About how only reading about racism isn’t going to solve anything;
Food, Race, and Power: Who gets to be an authority on ‘ethnic’ cuisines? As a half-Portugese person who had to suffer through an elevator pitch about the existence of tremoços by a very Dutch businessman who had just found out about their existence 6 months earlier and who refused to stop talking even after I repeated “I am Portugese, I’ve known about them all my life” several times, I had FEELS reading this article.

Listened to – Music

Ikson – Outside (Official)
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana (Too Many Zooz Cover)
Inner City – Good Life (Official Video)
The Shamen – Move any mountain
Soul II Soul – Back To Life (However Do You Want Me) (Official Music Video)
Messer – Roses EP visualiser Yes, it’s Mitch Grassi.

Listened to – Podcasts

None in English.

Watched – Films and Documentaries

Abstract: The Art of Design Over de inspiratie en het werkproces van diverse designers, van schoen tot gebouw;
Pretend it’s a City Fran Lebowitz heeft een mening. En wat mij betreft eigenlijk bijna altijd gelijk.

Watched – TV and Youtube

why it took me so long to come out, early signs I was QUEER + how to know if you’re LGBTQ Because there might be a plethora of reasons why it takes people longer to discover and accept who they are, and we tend to forget that that is not only a thing of older generations;
The Deadliest Trend on TikTok Yet | An analysis “About toxic tiktok, the bbl-effect, the Kardashians, and plastic surgery”;
I can’t stop comparing my life to others on social media “In this video essay we discuss toxic positivity, hustle culture, bo burnham’s inside, and why you’re always comparing your life to others on social media”;
Dale Chihuly glass baskets;
Interview with Mitch Grassi of MESSER
Henk & Louise Schiffmacher | My Life in Fashion | SUBTITLED | Interview

Miscellaneous awesomeness

Castro Smith makes amazing rings




A year and a half ago, I moved from my one person apartment next to a student flat to a roomier apartment in a dullish suburb. I had high hopes: no loud parties, no hearing people move all the time, no “I have no idea who my neighbors are, as nobody ever introduces themselves anymore and they also keep moving all the time”, no “meeting your drunk and stoned neighbors for the first time at 3 am when asking them to please be quiet, as people need to work tomorrow”. I was ready for a new, quiet, life.

Not once did it cross my mind that these days, in the type of neighborhood I would be moving to, remodeling is a near constant process.

Apparently, the big advantage of living in a rent controlled, low income apartment amidst other rent controlled, low income apartments next to a student flat turns out to be that nobody ever remodels anything. Nobody. Sure, there’s the occasional nail being hammered into a wall, or IKEA closet being assembled when somebody moves in, but that’s it. People who are eligible for these rent controlled, low income apartments obviously don’t have money lying around. And if for whatever reason (upwards mobility, inheritance, winning the lottery) they do end up with a significant amount of cash, they’re just not going to spend that money on remodeling their rental. The housing coop also never remodels anything if they don’t have to. That B-stock kitchen from 1992? “Looks fine!” they say, as you show them the doors that don’t close properly and actually never have, ever. The “You should be thankful to have a roof over your head, you Brokey McBrokerson!” is implied. Not that they manage to keep that roof non-leaky, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. #SwimmingpoolInMyLivingroom2018And2019

Things are very different in the world of those with a considerable amount of money. In the last year and a half, hundreds of thousands of euros have been spent on needlessly remodeling already perfect apartments in my tiny 10 house street alone. How I know that they were perfect already? While I claim not to have hobbies, I actually do have one (1!) hobby: Funda. It’s the biggest real estate listing site of The Netherlands, for both rentals and houses for sale. #nospon So I know exactly what all those apartments that “really needed to be remodeled” after being bought looked like. They looked perfect, because they had already been remodeled before being put up for sale.

That’s another difference between the world of people who qualify for a rent controlled, low income apartment and the world of people with considerable amounts of money: in Low Income Land, “ready to move in” means that the apartment is not filthy, that there aren’t any holes in the wall and that the walls are white. In Considerable Amounts of Money Land however, “ready to move in” means “This apartment is ready to be featured in a luxury home magazine”. The floors, kitchens and bathrooms are of the kind I have never encountered in real life. I used to always wonder why we have so many stores selling floors, kitchens, and bathrooms in this country. “I mean, at some point everyone must have a floor, a kitchen, and a bathroom? How often do you replace those anyway?” Looking back, I can’t believe how naive I was.

Recently installed floors that have been walked on by 30 people at most and that could very well have lasted for 15 years, are ripped out and thrown into a dumpster. Brand new kitchens nobody has ever really cooked in get demolished three months after they were installed to be replaced by a new kitchen that looks exactly the same to me. Interestingly enough, the fancy new bathrooms don’t get replaced that often. I guess it’s because “replace a fancy new rain shower by a fancy new rain shower” is just too weird even for these remodel-loving high earners.

Having spent a sizeable part of my life in Low Income Land, I find that I don’t have much patience for this “Remodeling perfectly perfect apartments to suit my taste better”-thing. I can’t help but think it’s privileged bullshit, and that they, well, should be thankful to have a roof over their heads. And also, once you can spend 700.000 to 800.000 euros on an apartment (which with all extra costs rounds out to about a million dollars), I’m quite sure that you’ll be able to find a place that already completely suits your style from the just-remodeled apartments currently for sale. Especially considering they all look the same anyway.

I think the need to remodel recently remodeled apartments is just the human equivalent of marking your territory by peeing on the side of the couch. The fact that a significant number of the “to suit my taste”-remodelers move quite soon after the remodeling and styling of their “was already perfect to begin with, because recently remodeled”-apartment is done, to a new recently remodeled apartment that they then start remodeling again, is proof of this theory to me. “What do you care how their spend their own money?” you might say. And while it is true that it is their own money, I find this enormous waste of money positively disgusting, especially seeing that so many people live in abject poverty.

Apart from that, it’s also a huge waste of materials and natural resources. Even if it was a prerequisite for entering Considerable Amounts of Money Land that you had to rip out and replace brand new floors and kitchens, why aren’t these materials being reused? I mean, I’m quite sure lots of people renting from the housing coop would love to replace that B-stock kitchen from 1992 they’re now stuck with. I am also quite sure that there are loads of people who would love to replace their floors. I do see a couple of kitchens and floors available on Marktplaats (basically a cross between Craigslist and Ebay – Ed.), but in this neighborhood I’ve seen most of them end up in the dumpster. It’s probably less of a hassle than to find someone to donate or sell it to, and they don’t need the money anyway, I guess? But even if that were the case, why don’t they recycle their materials? As I write this, I realise that that might be because both the floors and the kitchens are made of non-recyclable mixed materials, and that throwing them in the dumpster is the only way to dispose of them. Which then begs the question why we are still mass producing these types of materials in 2021.

If you thought the trifecta of “enormous waste of money”, “huge waste of materials/natural resources”, and “environmental pollution” was already bad enough, there is an even bigger horror that comes with the constant remodeling: chronic noise disturbance. It starts with weeks and weeks of tearing, ripping, wrecking, and hammering. Then the apartment is put up for sale, and it’s quiet for a few weeks. As soon as the apartment is sold, the tearing, ripping, wrecking, and hammering resumes.

There are times at which they start a remodel on a new apartment while the “first” apartment is still being remodeled. As a neighbor you only find out about this when the noises don’t only come from the apartment on the left, but also from the one on the right. And sometimes also from the one on the other side of the street. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be suffering from continuous noise disturbance for 5 consecutive months. And not only does nobody ever announce these big remodel projects (because fuck your neighbors apparently), there is also hardly ever anyone able or willing to answer basic questions like “How long is this going to take?”, “At what time do the workers start?”, and especially “At what time do the workers leave?”. Which is really strange, as knowing what is happening makes the process more bearable.

Now you’re just stuck with the noise, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Despite google telling me that noise disturbance caused by remodeling in particular is a huge problem here in The Netherlands, there are no laws that anyone has to adhere to. Every city can write their own local laws, and the one in Amsterdam simply states that “you’re not allowed to cause a severe disturbance”. How do you quantify that? Right, you don’t.

Not only are you completely dependent on what the remodelers decide is “not a severe disturbance”, when you complain you also often get gaslighted into thinking it’s really not that bad and that you’re overly sensitive, and should “move to a shack in the woods, far from the city”. First of all, we don’t have shacks in woods here. Actually, we don’t even really have woods here at all. And second of all, we’re 17 million people on a stretch of land that is hardly 4 car hours long and 3 car hours wide: EVEN IF WE HAD FUCKING WOODS WITH SHACKS IN THEM, THEY WOULD BE EXPENSIVE AND I’M QUITE SURE THERE WOULD BE SOMEONE BUSY REMODELING THEM. Sorry for yelling.

The other “advice” people like to give is to buy a detached home. That’s cute and all, but anyone living here knows that there’s exceptionally few of them (because again: tiny country, lots of people) and unless you’re a career criminal, an investment company, or a Boomer who profited from the housing boom, there’s no way you can afford one. Awesome.

As for now, things have quieted down again on my street: all the apartments have been remodeled, sold, and remodeled again. I’m just going to enjoy the peace and quiet until the whole damn cycle starts back up again.3

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