Saturday, October 31, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 8. Oh well (Fleetwood Mac)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #8, we find Fleetwood Mac's Oh well (#1 in 1969). This is a unique song, composed of two completely contrasted parts - in fact the song was split along those lines in the single release. The song starts out as a conventional up-tempo bluesy rock song, with some nice lyrics twists ("I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin - But don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to"). After three and a half minutes the song abruptly ends to give away to the awesome second part, a pensive guitar dominated instrumental, which clearly influenced bands like Pink Floyd and Dire Straits. It was to be their swan song in the sixties' line-up with major creative influence Peter Greene ending up in a mental institute. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Photography of China

For obvious reasons, I have been taking a special interest in China the past 16 years, and I was delighted to come across the web site Photography of China: an astonishing collection of photographs, conveniently grouped in three main time periods: before, during and after Mao.

web site

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The night cafe

It's always fun to come across a Van Gogh I have not seen before. This one, with its stunning colour scheme, was in the news recently because its owner (Yale University) was confirmed as the rightful owner in a process started by the great grandson of a Russian collector. Also, it is probably the only van Gogh painting with a clock - perfect for the winter time change we had in Europe a few hours ago. More about van Gogh in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 9. Under pressure (Queen and David Bowie)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #9, we find the unique cooperation between Queen and David Bowie, Under pressure (#1 in 1981). When Queen were in a Swiss studio recording songs for their Hot Space album, David Bowie one day strolled in, and the rest as they say is history. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Etheric imprints

American composer Steve Roach works on the interface of modern classical, new age, and ambient music - and in my opinion his work is always very much worthwhile. The covers of his albums are often great as well, as illustrated by this example, the 2015 release Etheric imprints. The cover art is credited to Tuyen Q. Nguyen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Autumn wall

Another example of my digital art, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. This is based on a picture I took three years ago outside a car park in the nearby city of Zwolle, and it is quite fitting for this time of year. The link leads to the original photograph.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 10. Memories (Earth and Fire)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #10, we find Earth and Fire with Memories (#1 in 1972). Always in the shadow of bands like Golden Earring and Focus, this excellent Dutch progressive rock group around singer Jerney Kaagman never got the international recognition they deserved. Apart from their outstanding albums, they also scored a string of top five hits in Holland, and none of these was better than this one. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Legs

Another example of my digital art, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. This is an experimental mix of art genres: the original work is a sculpture by Hans van Bentem that is currently exhibited in the local museum, which I then photographed (making a selection of what to show and how to show it), and finally transformed into digital painting-like art. The link leads to the original photograph.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 11. Bohemian rhapsody (Queen)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #11, we find Queen with Bohemian rhapsody (#1 in 1976). What more needs to be said about this song, arguably the best-known rock song in the world? I was 18 when this song was released, and later generations probably cannot imagine just how daringly different this song was for those times. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Vogue May 1920

A beautiful vintage Vogue cover from the period between Art Nouveau and Art Deco - and with an oriental theme that was really en vogue at the time.

link

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Hawaiianischer Schnee

Umse is a German underground hip hop artist who recently released his fifth album, Hawaiianischer Schnee (Hawaiian Snow). I have zero interest to explore the music, but the cover is beautiful in its vintage design.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Paintings gone missing in Tours (France)

This is the sad story how my wife lost some of her best paintings because of the city of Tours in France.

It all started so well. In 2009 the city of Tours organized a large exhibition of art by Chinese artists born in the sixties, seventies and eighties ("Exposition d'art contemporain Chinois 60 - 70 - 80"). Participation was by invitation only, and my wife (Yang Lu, also known as Lu Schaper, see picture) was one of the happy few who were selected. Three of her best works (including one diptych) were shown during the exhibition in the castle of Tours. Mayor Jean Germain (see picture) opened the exhibition, that was organized by Lise Han, one of his staff.

After the exhibition, it turned out that the organization (Lise Han) had sent our paintings together with all other art pieces to China. Of course, this was without our permission. All other artists were living in China, but my wife resided in the Netherlands, where the paintings should have been sent. My wife contacted Chi Zhang and Qingyuan Zhang, who had been responsible for the Chinese part of the organization. After a series of long drawn-out email exchanges, they had to admit that they could not find my wife's paintings in China. According to their information, the Chinese customs had sent them back to Tours (attention of Lise Han), because they were obviously not in the shipping list of art that had been sent from China to Tours in the first place. We were not successful in contacting Lise Han, but we did get hold of her assistant at the time, Lulu Zhou, who unfortunately could not help us either. We sent an email in French to the local government in Tours, explaining the problem and asking their help to bring us into contact with Lise Han. No reply. We sent a letter in French to the police in Tours reporting the paintings as missing. No reply. A French friend of ours called the police in Tours and was told that this had to be reported to the police in the Netherlands. We tried, but of course the police in our city said this was a situation for the French police.

In 2012 things started to accelerate. Via social media (facebook, twitter, blog) we spread the story and it was picked up by a reporter in Tours. His article in the local newspaper triggered a friend of ours who lives in the vicinity of Tours, and he decided to take action. His persistence results in several meetings with key players in Tours, including the elusive Lise Han. Thanks to his work, a meeting was held at the Hotel de Ville of Tours on September 20th 2012. Among the participants were François Lagière (directeur du cabinet du Maire Tours), Christian Favereau (director of the castle of Tours), Jean-François Lemarchand (directeur Office du Tourisme Tours), Lise Han, a lawyer of the city of Tours, our friend, my wife and myself. The whole story was discussed, the lack of reactions from the City of Tours and the local police were deemed shocking, but in the end we all had to conclude that the paintings had disappeared, and that the city of Tours as organizer of the exhibition was responsible. We discussed potential financial compensation and our proposal for this was well received. We were told that the city council still had to approve, but meanwhile everything was lined up so that compensation could be paid to us.

After this session, delay upon delay occurred. The subject was not put on the agendas of a number of subsequent council meetings, new elections were held, and suddenly another scandal involving Lise Han escalated. She was arrested and charged for fraud concerning the organization of Chinese weddings in Tours and its surroundings. Others were accused as well, including directeur du cabinet du Maire Lagière, and even mayor and senator Jean Germain was caught up in this - he committed suicide in April 2015. Meanwhile the city council elections of Tours had seen a surprise win by the opposition, resulting in a new mayor, Serge Babary. The new leadership of the city of Tours has told us that they did not plan to give us any financial compensation with the bizarre argument that what the previous management had done was none of their business.

So here we are. No paintings, no compensation. Perhaps we could force the City of Tours to pay us via a court case in France, but that would be a difficult, time consuming and expensive route, that we have decided not to take, It will be clear that we think the behavior of the City of Tours in this case has been scandalous. Please avoid visiting this city, especially during the festivities of Saint Martin in 2016, when mayor Babary is hoping to welcome many visitors in his city.

Finally..... if you see any of these paintings somewhere, please contact us.


Amazon

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 12. The Saints are coming (U2 and Green Day)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #12, we find U2 and Green Day with The Saints are coming (#1 in 2006). This is a song that diehard U2 fans and diehard Green Day fans often hate. I like both bands, and I love this collaboration. The story is well-known: this song dates back to the catastrophic days of Hurricane Katrina, which swept away most of New Orleans. It is a cover of a relatively obscure Skids song from 1978, which I have not been able to track down further. The new version appropriately starts with a few lines of House of the rising sun, before turning into a thrusting rocker that is among the best hits of the new century, and with a clear message to boot. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, October 02, 2015

Singing the blues

This painting by my wife dates back a few years, but it is a personal favourite of mine. I love the setting, the colour scheme and the trademark lack of facial details.

The Art of Lu Schaper