This Month – January

by

Like last year, I started my year by filling in The Year Compas. On the website you can find a printable booklet with questions that can help you close off the previous year and start the next one off on the right foot. It was interesting to look back on 2017 and make a list of all the things that felt good, went well and/or could use some improvement. I then wrote down all my goals, wishes and dreams, even the ones that made me go “Naaah, never happening!”, because I have realised that even those completely unrealistic dreams give me information about myself and what I REALLY want: is it attention, peace and quiet, a cat? All of this? I really enjoyed reading what I had written in 2016 about 2017, and I am thus very curious to see how I will look back on this year in December.

For the booklovers, I have a Goodreads profile where I keep track of all the books I read, will read and have read. On this blog I will keep track of all the things I’ve seen and listened to each month, that I want to share:

Listened to – Music

“Just for Us” – Francis and the Lights. Where the last album “Farewell, Starlite!” felt like he wrote it for me (as in: me the listener, I am not bffs with Francis. Which I’m super bummed about by the way.), this album felt like he wrote it for somebody in particular, a friend, a lover, an ex-friend or an ex-lover. Strangely enough this made the album less of a BAM!-straight to the soul experience than his previous album, but it’s a wonderful album nonetheless. And not just because Francis’ voice sounds like a perfect amalgamation of Peter Gabriel and Patrick Stump.

“Rainbow” – Kesha. I don’t think I can add anything to all the things that have already been written about this album, maybe except for that it is an album that really grew on me after many listens.

“Nada” – Daan. Because of not following Daan’s output as closely as in the mid-2000s, I had completely missed his 2016 release “Nada”. Contrary to its title, it’s absolutely something. Especially recommended for fans of “Dead Man Ray”-Daan and “Profools”-Daan. And for everybody else ever.

Listened to – Podcasts

Bob. Sadly enough, non-Dutch speakers will have to miss out on this wonderful detective-like podcast series about an elderly lady, her childhood boyfriend who may or may not have existed, the search for that boyfriend and the important questions: what is true? What is not? And does it matter? Worth learning Dutch for.

Soul Music. As stated on the website: “Series about pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact.” Every episode discusses a track/piece of music in any genre from classical to reggae. The “soul” in the title should be interpreted as “for the soul”, not as in “soul-the-genre”. (This podcast was recommended to me by Kouw.)

You Must Remember This. Old Hollywood. Secrets. Forgotten histories. And all of this contextualised in its social/societal context. And on top of that, Karina Longworth has one of those “you could read me the phonebook”-voices.

The Zine Collector Podcast. A podcast about zines. On YouTube, so with visuals. What more could you want? Nothing. Even if you have no idea what a zine is.

Watched – Films and documentaries

Le sens de la fête, released in some countries under the completely meaningless title “C’est la vie”, is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a while. It’s about a catering business that is specialised in weddings, and you best believe anything that can go wrong, will. Extra extra funny if you happen to speak French.

Instant Dreams. A dreamy, slightly philosophical documentary about Polaroid photography and the people who love it. I dusted mine off immediately after the documentary and ordered some film.

Watched – TV and YouTube

Ink Master season 10. My biggest “guilty pleasure” that I don’t feel any guilt about, is watching trashy tattoo (reality) series. It started a long time ago with Miami Ink, then LA Ink (the one with Kat von D), Best Ink, Ink Master, that one series about a tattoo parlour in Venice Beach, Tattoo Nightmares, Tattoo Fixers… I’ll watch absolutely anything with “Ink” or “Tattoo” in its title, no matter how crappy. I am of course well aware of how problematic these series are, if only for the fact that apparently customers now refer to themselves as “canvas”, and believe that a full sleeve is drawn up in 20 minutes and tattooed on in 30. Why I watch it anyway? For the relaxing “zzzzzz”-sound of the tattoo machines.

All Bullet Journal videos by CreaChick, because I apparently enjoy sticking things onto other things in my diary twice as much if I watch somebody doing the same thing.

Next week there’ll be a new post up here on Featured Mag! See you on Wednesday!

Cat Art

by

According to Dutch outdoor sports store Bever Sport’s slogan, “Nobody is an indoor person”, but that’s only because they’ve never met me yet: I am the epithome of an indoor person. I have always been this way, even as a child I thought Outside Playtime was way overrated. Just give me a book and a quiet place to sit and I’m dandy. I do leave the house regularly of course, but presented with the choice between “doing something outside of my house” and “staying at home”, I prefer to stay indoors. Lately though, this had lead to some “I should have gone to that movie/exhibit/whatever”-regret, as I do admit that I gain some new perspective and think up lots of ideas after an Outside World activity. This is why I have decided for 2018 to do at least one non-necessary Outside World activity every month, which I will then chronicle here on Featured Mag.

This month I visited the exhibition “Cat Love – Nine Lives in the Arts” in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. This exhibit unfortunately has ended, but cat art pictures are coming up, so that will hopefully ease the pain a bit. Upon entering the first room, I saw this portrait titled “His Majesty”, shot by Marie Cécile Thijs in 2011:

 

 

The only thing that could have made this exhibit better was if this gorgeous cat had been there personally – and had decided to come and live with me. But seeing that that was not in the realm of the possible (I’m quite sure this wonderful cat already has a great home), this picture was the best possible opening. There was a lot more to see though:

 

poster cats (for the old national postal service PTT Post)

 

figurative cats (extreme close up of Jean Bedez – Dessin, 2015)

 

abstract cats (David Shrigley – Untitled (lost cat), 2011)

 

light cats (Marie Cécile Thijs – Cat with white collar II, 2011)

 

dark cats (Walasse Ting – Untitled, circa 1990)

 

sought after cats (part of a competition)

 

found cats (winner of the competition)

 

humans slowly morphing into cats (Leonor Fini – The Mutants, 1971)

 

shape shifting cats (Tango, 2015)

 

cats made out of cat stickers (Takako Kimura – Untitled, 2004-2005)

 

and of course activisty cats (Alain Séchas – Red Cat, 1997).

 

For those who weren’t completely out-catted after 5 rooms of cat art, there was a huge indoor playground with cat games, cat videos and other cat related activities, like a cat jungle gym. Since I was both the only person over the age of 11 and the only person not accompanied by children, I decided to not try my luck at the balance beam. During my exit through the giftshop I picked up a cat fridge magnet and the supplement to the anthology of the legendary Dutch zine De Poezenkrant (“The Cat Newspaper”), after which I left the Kunsthal completely cattified. Meow.

Next week I’ll be back with a monthly roundup of things seen, read and listened to. See you on Wednesday!

Interview with LP (that’s me!)

by

When, as an Andy Warhol-phase-d teen, I first got a hold of Interview Magazine, my life changed and was never the same again. It’s hard to explain nowadays, with 24/7 internet connections and “everything available on demand at all times” being the norm, how things were back then. Even I have a hard time reimagining how those days felt, and I lived them.

Getting a hold of a foreign magazine – from New York no less! – in 1992, in a mid-sized city in the mid-eastern part of the Netherlands was like trying to acquire a relic, like winning the jack pot, like getting a letter from NASA telling you that, yup, you’re going into space.

I paid seventeen guilders and fifty cents (which according to google would add up to about 17 dollars nowadays with inflation and such) for this out-sized magazine printed on newsprint stock. For comparison: a Penguin paperback would set you back about 10 guilders in those days. The cashier at the newsstand looked at me like I had lost my mind, but having grown up in this mid-sized city in the mid-eastern part of the country, I was used to people looking at me that way.

My obsession with magazines had started way before in 1986, when my mother’s co-worker gave me the December issue of Cosmopolitan, saying: “I think you’ll like this”. And I did. But my obsession with interviews started with Interview Magazine. I went on to do interviews for the school newspaper, the other school newspaper, zines (then referred to as “leaflets”) and finally the neighbourhood magazine. While brainstorming for categories to feature on Featured Mag, my first scribble was “Interviews!!!”.

We start off with an interview with somebody who I know quite well: me!

Who are you and why?

I am LP, writer of words, gluer of things onto other things with Mod Podge, bulk consumer of washi tape and shooter of shots (as in pictures). Why? Because it enables me to canalise my non-stop thinking into something tangible, which is immensely gratifying. These days, not much of what we do is physical anymore, everything is quite elusive, which is why I enjoy creating things that Exist. On top of that, I am extremely goal oriented, and I like having “proof” that I’m productive. And while I’ve been trying (for years!) to change my mentality in regards to this, I still haven’t quite mastered the whole “Enjoying the process”-thing. It’s like I once said during a writing workshop: “I don’t like writing, I like having written.” I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I am a huge “To do list”-freak.

What do you want to achieve?

If I, by having a conversation or writing a zine/blogpost, am able to reach people and have one person take something from that that influences/helps them in their life, I will have reached my life goal. Life to me is a quite complex and often unpleasant situation. What I do love about it is how we as people influence each other in almost subconscious ways.

Despite it having the status of a yearbook quote, Chuck Palahniuk’s “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known,” from his book “Invisible Monsters” is an absolute truth. There are so many things in my life that I do/make/think, that I consider to be completely “my own”, but that upon further introspection turn out to be completely influenced by others. It fascinates me how implicit this process is, and how every person amalgamated all the input they receive into something completely new/ “their own”, and if something I said/wrote/did ends up in somebody’s amalgamation, my existence will have been useful.

What don’t you understand?

Hatewatching. Why would you spend your time, energy and (especially nowadays with lots of content being an #ad) money on something you hate? Other things I don’t understand: all “phobias” that aren’t phobias but just sheer hatred of specific groups: racism, homophobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia. And in general, I have a hard time understanding people who get hugely upset to the point of sometimes even violence, over things that factually have zero impact on their own lives. In short: I have a hard time understanding people who have no concept of “When it’s not about you, it’s not about you” and “logical thinking”.

And on a lighter note: I don’t understand people who don’t listen to lyrics. Who LOVE the song “Africa” by Toto. Or who feel that “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran is the epitome of romance. Or who get all warm and fuzzy when listening to that monstrosity by John Mayer about how fathers need to be good to their daughters for John’s sake, because he doesn’t want his love life ruined once he inevitably dates them. I’m quite sure he’s the type of person who doesn’t grasp the concept of sometimes, things not being about you.

What do you understand?

Cats. Classical ballet. Fundamental curiosity and the quest for knowledge.

What did you discover recently?

That not everybody can reproduce an entire song including the lyrics, even backwards, after hearing it four times. I thought everybody was able to do that, and never understood those quiz segments where everybody looked all serious and focussed once they had to guess a piece of music played backwards. I always thought people did that for comedic effect.

What would you tell your younger self?

That apparently not everybody is able to play songs backwards in their heads. That the more you learn, the more you realise that there is so much more to learn. That you will never ever, no, not even “when you’re older” understand some things, but that your dream of living in a library so that you can have all the knowledge at your disposal, even at night when you can’t sleep, WILL come true. Even better: there will be a time in which you will be connected 24/7 to pretty much everything in the world through a small apparatus as big as a compact photo camera. And you can even use it as a phone!

Next Wednesday’s post will be the first in the “Get out of the house!”-series. Hope to see you then!