This month – April

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Despite it only being the 25th, I’ve decided to cut April short here in Featured Mag today. Partially because this post is already long enough as it is, but also because the best part of the month has already happened: I got a new editorial assistant! Her name is Willa and she’s helping me edit as we speak:

According to my Goodreads I finished one book this month, by Dodie. I didn’t know who she was before I read her book and I have no idea how this book even ended up on my to read list, but I am glad to have read it. The the writing, the layout and the drawings give the book a zine-y feel, which I like a lot. A warning though: Dodie has lived through a lot and is still having a hard time and she writes about this openly and explicitly. This is not one of those fun quick reads. The contents gave me a lot of food for thought and I had wished this book had been around when I was younger.

I also managed to read about half of “The Self Care Project”. I was looking for a non-vage, non-fluffy, non-“just take three baths a day with 10 dollar bath bombs”-type book, and I think I’ve found it. I will of course update my review as soon as I’ve finished it.

Read – Online

An article about Mike Yung, a singer who spent most of his adult life singing in the New York subway, only to go viral a couple of years ago and also be “discovered” on America’s Got Talent, and how this all (despite everybody assuming the contrary) hasn’t really made neither his life nor his career a lot easier.

How “that one photo” of James Dean came about.

Molly Ringwald wrote an excellent article on how she looks back nowadays on the movies “Pretty in Pink” and “The Breakfast Club” she made as a teenager.

Junot Diaz wrote a painful and intense article about how being sexually abused in his childhood influenced and distorted his life and relationships thoughout the rest of his life. About how hurt people hurt people.

The homelessness problem in Los Angeles is getting more and more out of hand. The LA Times covers this issue in words and images.

Levittown near Philadelphia was built to be the perfect suburb. Of course this “perfection” came with not-so-hidden awfulness.

Cosmetics company Deciem is the umpteenth cosmetics company entangled in scandals and drama. This article (Please note! There’s a picture of a dead sheep posted in this article. It’s not bloody, but you can see bones and fur) gives the entire time line. It’s almost as if people who decide to start a cosmetics company are, uh, very special *coughespeciallyawfulcough* people. To keep things positive, an interview with former co-ceo Nicola Kilner about her time in the company, being fired and her current world view. An interesting interview for anyone who’s spent an enormous amount of time, energy and love on something, but who all of a sudden ended up empty handed.

Legendary concert hall Paradiso is 50 years old! Dutch article on how this place came to be and how it evolved into the professional concert hall it is now. With film fragments from back in the day.

A Dutch article for anyone who’s ever wondered why houses are so damn expensive in The Netherlands.

Listened to – Music

Leo P, sax player extraordinaire of Too Many Zooz fame, dropped his first solo EP. Sax Star Suite Part 1 and it rules! This EP, produced by Matt Doe (also of Too Many Zooz fame) can be found here on Spotify, and on all other music platforms.

Listened to – Podcasts

Note: I’ve decided to no longer list the podcasts in Dutch in the English blogpost, as you can google translate an article/look at the pictures, but won’t be listening to a podcast in a language that sounds like “gggghhhgggtje”. If you are interested in which podcasts I listened to in Dutch, click on the Dutch flag to see the Dutch version of this blogpost. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “Dutch” this much, ever.

In this episode of the podcast series The Essay, Deborah Bull, who’s one of my favorite ballerina’s ever talks about the cultural and societal impact of Nijinsky’s revolutionary ballet “The Rites of Spring”. Tipped to me by Daphne, this month’s interviewee.

Watched – Films and Documentaries

The Problem with Apu – Comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary on Apu from The Simpsons and all things that are wrong with it. At first, The Simpsons responded to him in quite an unsympathetic way,  but today a YouTube clip from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was posted on the internet in which voice actor Hank Azaria seems to have changed his mind on this matter. Hari has replied to him on his Twitter (ps: don’t read the comments).

Watched – TV and Youtube

Fake food – You’d love to take a bite, but that would be a bad idea. Best job ever, y/y?

368 – the new YouTube series by Casey Neistat.

Miscellaneous awesomeness

The singing horses. And oldie, but goodie. Those who’ve been following me for a long time will know that I’ve been plugging them since 2004. They’re the best thing to have ever been posted on the internet, bar none.

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Next week, I’ll be opening the month of May here on Featured Mag! See you then!

“Hand lettering with chalk” workshop at Dille & Kamille in Amsterdam

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On Saturday 10 March sometime in the afternoon, I attended a workshop “Hand lettering with chalk” at the Dille & Kamille store in Amsterdam. Whereas I had already made soap before attending the soap making workshop, I had hardly ever hand lettered before. I also hadn’t used chalk since grade school, which was a very, very long time ago. On top of that, to my great sorrow, drawing is not my strongest point.

Taking the long way upstairs to the big table where the workshop would take place, I sat down and introduced myself to Rianne, the instructor. Three other people had enrolled, and while waiting for them I poured myself a glass of water and a cup of tea: I was ready!

Every participant had their own slate, granger, chalk and chalk marker waiting for them.

The chalk marker is special in that it can not only be used on black boards, but also on glass and mirrors. Once the other participants had arrived, Rianne started off by explaining that we were going to be experimenting with different kinds of chalk, and she showed us what kind of effect the various kinds of chalk had on different materials: a “dryer” or a more “wet” look for example. And since we were only going to learn hand lettering by practicing an awful lot, it was time for us to, yup, start practicing an awful lot.

Lot’s of tissues to clean our slates with. Literally.

And like with most things in life that look fun and easy, hand lettering, and more specifically handlettering with chalk, turned out to be a lot harder than it looks. Thankfully, our group was very enthusiastic and supportive of one another, and eventually I managed to not only get chalk in my hair, but also produce some actual hand lettering. I was practicing so strenuously that I totally forgot to take pictures of my letters, but I did manage to take a picture of one of the banners I drew. The “Yay!” might not be the best hand lettering I ever produced, but it does show how happy I was to finally have managed to produce this banner:

At the end of the workshop, we got to take the slate and the chalk marker home for further practice. I really enjoyed doing something completely new to me, and I will definitely continue to practice hand lettering!

The workshop “Handlettering with chalk” is taught regularly at the Dille & Kamille store in Amsterdam. I saw the announcement on the chalk board in the store, but the various activities at the stores are also posted on their activities page.

Links:
Dille & Kamille website
Instagram
Pinterest

Note: Like all my posts in the “Get out of the house!” series, this activity was booked and paid for by me, after which I got stoked and decided to write about it all by myself. #nospon

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Next week it’s time again for this month’s round up post! See you on Wednesday!

Interview with Daphne

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Who are you and why?

I am Daphne. Reader, crafter, scanner of slide frames, day dreamer and listener. Because that’s just what I do.

Words, language, and books play a big role in both your work and private life. How did this come about and what is it that attracts you to it?

Words are everything. That might sound dramatic, but without words you can’t think nor communicate. The more precise you are in your language, the clearer your message comes across. I don’t mean to say that you should take yourself super serious though, everything in moderation please.

I only became aware of the power of words when I learned to read when I was five. How, by putting letters in a certain order, words emerge and that with those words you could make sentences. And that others did this in a way that created another world, that by reading I was able to access. A moment of silence, a moment outside of the “real world”. I loved it then and I still love it now. I also feel very much connected to other people that love to read. I can’t imagine a world without words: written, spoken, or sung. They enable me to empathise with others. And I literally can’t live without Wikipedia.

You also do a lot of creative things: baking, crafts and DIY. Is that something that runs in your family of origin or is that something you discovered later? What does creativity mean to you?

Everybody in my family crafts in one way or another, but they’re mostly into the so called “soft crafts”: textiles. My grandmother had a spinning wheel and used the yarn she made to knit or crochet big sweaters; I don’t think she even used a pattern. My mother is into poking things: she embroiders. My sister makes clothes for her children.

I’m not into those things at all. I like to cut, fold and tear paper, I like to paint and glue stuff with mod podge, use chalk and then put some words on top of it, that’s what I like. Because apparently even within my crafting practice I can’t do without words.

Crafting and baking brings me a lot of joy. I mean, you could spend entire days in front of the tv, but you don’t end up with anything tangible. Not that producing things is the ultimate goal or anything. It’s more that it’s more fun doing something while relaxing. Because that’s what it does: it helps me chill out. Because despite probably loving words more than the next person, it does get tiring to have a brain that won’t stop. Especially when you’re excellent at thinking yourself into a panic attack. Other people relax when they iron or clean the bathroom, I relax when I’m up to my elbows in bread dough, when I have a ton of glitter on my face or when I’ve got clay stuck under my nails.

You have also recently started a large project: digitising your family’s photo archive. How did you become the family archivist and how do you like this role? Would you like to elaborate on your process?

Like pretty much everything in my life, this also happened by accident: After my grandmother passed away last December, I told my parents that I would scan her collection of slide frames. At that time, I figured I had a general idea of how much work that was going to be.

Oh how wrong I was! There are eight cardboard banana boxes in our living room right now, full of slide storage boxes. Each of those slide storage boxes contains two slide trays, containing a hundred slides in total. All of the boxes are filled up to capacity.

I still have to work my way through twelve thousand slides – which means I have gone through quite a lot of them already. Thankfully, I don’t have to scan them all. Landscapes, waterfalls, churches, fountains, dogs, flowers, trees, cows, sheep, geese, still lives, apples, cherries, tents, cars, streets full of tourists: all these slides go in the trash immediately. According to the local recycling rules, slide frames are considered non-recyclable waste, the slide storage boxes however are supposed to be taken to the recycling facility, where they will be recycled with other plastics.

I start off by checking what’s in a slide tray with the Agfra Diamator, and then decide if the slide is to be scanned or not. So I either throw the slide away or mark it with a piece of washi tape (by year) and put them in a new slide tray. I spend about two to three hours, four times a week on this project. I try to switch between slide frame triage and the actual scanning. If I’m lucky, I manage to scan about 50 slides in two hours. Which means that, if all goes well, I could be done with this project sometime in winter 2022. How I like this role of curator? I’ll let you know eventually.

What would you like to achieve in your life?

Except for seeing the day that I scan my final slide? I would like to be content when I close my eyes at the end of my life. To know that I have done something good somewhere along the way. It doesn’t have to be anything grand and spectacular, but just having made a difference. In a positive manner of course.

And I want to make a radio play. At least as good as “Bob”. It’s been a dream of mine for about 20 years that I haven’t managed to realise just yet.

(Photo credit: Daphne)

Links:

Instagram

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Next week’s post will be about the hand lettering workshop I did last month! See you then!