Thursday, 23 June 2011

Parade alternatives

Rotterdam boasts itself as a city of festivals. And rightfully so. There are so many it's impossible to go to them all. But which ones to skip??

Next weekend do go to Metropolis - a FREE music festival where you can catch the likes of Les Savy Fav and The Vaccines, as well as tons of other bands that you never heard of but who will (possibly) be famous next year.

This weekend, June 24-26, travel South to the Wolphaertstraat to visit Bazar Bizar. Over 60 (!!) artists will sell their prints, drawings, jewelery, clothing, zines, toys and what not. Plus there will be good food and music (including from our own Geeske).

And/or you could go up North to the bustling neighborhood of Het Oude Noorden for Route du Nord. This route will take you along all the galleries, shops, cafes, restaurants and temporary art spaces that are tucked away in the narrow streets of "The Old North".

A festival you certainly should not miss (unlike me..) is the Open Dans festival. Jan Misker and our friend Janne Eraker hand picked the best, fresh and exciting dance acts that are out there in Rotterdam today. The program is just as divers as the city itself: there will be everything from modern to urban, from tap to tango, there will be video-installations and turntables, there will be more established dance makers as well as young and upcoming ones, plus workshops, live music and parties! And all this for just € 25 (3-day passepartout - separate tickets available too). Skip De Parade, I'd say!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Yellowman: Alive and Kicking

Yellowman at The Globe, Cardiff, photo by Paul Seligman.

Last Thursday I went to see Yellowman. King Yellowman that is. Dancehall legend. His appearance is what you could call remarkable: he's tall, skinny, athletic and albino. In 1986 he was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw and was told he had only 3 weeks to 6 months to live. Thanks to surgery he is still among us, but it left his face disfigured. Being raised by nuns at the Alpha Boys School orphanage in Kingston, Jamaica (it fostered many famous musicians, like Desmond Dekker and four members of the Skatalites),
you could say his life hasn't been all beer and skittles, cakes and ale or a bed of roses.

But all these misfortunes didn't stop Yellowman. On the contrary! He rose to fame after winning a toasting competition and had some big hits in the 80s. He became one of Jamaica's biggest stars and was the first dancehall artist to be signed to an American major label.

So you can understand I was very excited that this living legend was coming to my humble town. As with all artists whose heydays were decades ago the show could either be a hit or miss. Well it was no miss.
Yellowman is 54 years old, but he is very much alive and kicking, literally! And no DAT or backing track, no he had a full live band, his Sagittarius Band. There was a nice mixed crowd of old balding, slightly overweight men, who obviously have adored Yellowman since 1982 (they went nuts), and younger folks, notably from Cardiff's hip hop scene. Yellowman has been a great influence on American hip hop artists from the 80s (and later), as prove these tracks that sample two of Yellowman's greatest hits: Zungguzungguguzungguzeng and Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt:

Masters of Ceremony - Keep On Moving. Get it here (YSI).

Eazy-E (of N.W.A. fame) feat MC Ren - Nobody Move. Get it here (YSI).

BlackStar (Mos Def and Talib Kweli) - Definition. Get it here (YSI).

I'll let you go with the wise words Yellowman sent us home with and which have been my motto ever since:

"Be nice. And if you can't be nice be good. And if you can't be good be careful. And if you can't be careful.. you're on your own."

Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Blessed Mixtape

Unless you've been lying under a rock for the last few months you will know today is D-day here in the UK. And even though I have very little with royalty or the institution of marriage, I couldn't resist the whole royal wedding fever while making a new Spotify mixtape for TwentyTrackTape...

BY ROYAL (DIS)APPOINTMENT contains 20 songs that cover all aspects of marriage: courtship, persuasion, parents' disapproval, objection, going to the chapel, the punch up at the wedding, solidarity, regrets and divorce.

Of course The Dixie Cups are on it with their Chapel Of Love, as well is Morrissey's Will Never Marry. There's Hot Chip's ode to monogamy and some good advice on marriage from Jimmy Soul and Smokey Robinson's mother. As I'm not the romantic type there a quite a few songs about divorce on it, including a song by Marvin Gaye, who recorded an entire album about his split from Anna Gordy (as part of their divorce settlement Marvin had to pay an extensive percentages of royalties of his next album to his ex. Consequently he made Here, My Dear, 14 songs about the deterioration of their marriage).

Especially for those of you who don't have Spotify, I'm treating you to a couple of the 'high lights' of my mix:

The Shangri-La's - Give Us Your Blessing. Get it here (YSI).
The Shangri-La's are one of my favorite girl groups. The girls sing like their chatting to each other, and lots of their songs are a bit sinister with sound effects dramatizing the mood. Wedding bells, a thunder storm and car crash can be heard on this song about two teenagers who run away because their parents don't approve of them tying the knot and crash themselves to death.

The Five Du-Tones - Divorce Court. Get it here (YSI).
A hilarious song that reenacts a court session. Especially one of The Five Du-Tones singing the wife's lines in a high pitched voice, and the husband breaking out in tears at the end!

Barrington Levy - Quick Divorce. Get it here (YSI).
Another song set inside the court. The reggae singer begs and pleas the judge to dissolve his marriage as fast as he can.

The hardest part of making this compilation was to limit it to 20 songs. I would have loved to included a Latin version of Frank Sinatra's Love And Marriage as sung by Peggy Lee, or I Cried All The Way To The Alter by country singer Patsy Cline or any song by The Wedding Present. But alas for them! Also my beloved Mirah didn't make the cut with Til Death Do Us Part, but I will share it with you here.

Mirah and Golden Bears - Til Death Do Us Part. Get it here (YSI).

And if this song was on Spotify it would have definitely made the list. More sound effects!

Roy C - Shotgun Wedding. Get it here (YSI).

Listen to the whole BY ROYAL (DIS)APPOINTMENT playlist on Spotify by clicking HERE. Chick here to visit my Spotify profile.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Dissidents & Dancers

One of my favorite bands from Cardiff is
The Method: a five piece that sound like a Mariachi band playing Northern soul infused psychedelic garage rock. Really! Even though I think
their music is best consumed live, I am very happy they've immortalized their songs in the form of a record. If you're in the Diff come down to The Globe this Saturday April 16 to celebrate the launch of their debut album Dissidents & Dancers. Tickets are £7 including the cd (£4 without). Support comes from the ever smartly dressed youngsters Houdini Dax. You will dance, you'll feel like a dissident if you don't!!

Here's a track from the forthcoming album that is up for grabs from the
Miniature Music Press website. Buy the cd directly from their label See Monkey Do Monkey!

The Method - Fool. Get it here (YSI).

Thursday, 7 April 2011


I've been sitting in the sun all day so now I'm finally off-white and IT MAKES ME WANNA DOUGIE!

Cali Swag District - Teach Me How To Dougie. Get it here (YSI).

Cali Swag District
- Teach Me How To Dougie (Urban Mix feat. JD, B.o.B., Bow Wow & Red Cafe - Radio Edit). Get it here (YSI).

Saturday, 26 March 2011

For Gore Lovers: vintage x 3

So I've been watching scary movies again and there's some great badness that I'd like to share with you!

I: Summer Of Fear (1978)
This one stars good kid gone posessed; Linda Blair. She lives a carefree life with her parents, brothers and horse untill all is disturbed by a new house guest; niece Julia. At first she is very happy with her brand new ‘sister’, until strange things start happening around the house. Soon she discovers that there’s something very scary and disturbing about Julia and that she’s not who she says she is....

Apart from the huge perms, and the scary high-wasted pants there’s nothing really frightning about this film. The make up was quite bad and the plot was not that surprising. But I really enjoyed watching it anyway. Was it the cozy family that gets torn apart but eventually makes it because they stick together? Or was it that yellow seventies sauce? Or the tiny role of Fran Fine? I don't know, it’s just my favorite era for films and Wes Craven is still a hero. If you’re into vintage horror and don't have the need for that sadistic new skool gore.. definately one to watch!

II Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
The film starts as a bad mix of Prom Night, Halloween and Teen Wolf with girls in a shower, picking on the new girl who turns out to be pretty cool after all. So she gets invited to a Slumber Party at the popular girl’s house, which off course turns out to be a bad idea. In the mean time, we see a dude with a van that has some suspicious things going on. When the night falls all elements come together and the killing begins. Leaving very little to the imagination (meaning: wearing no mask or whatever), the ‘driller killer’ comes to business drilling holes in all the girls and the walls and also some furniture. A shame to see 100 hours of aerobics go to waste? Neeh, very entertaining!

III: Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

Terrible but crazy cool, they had me within the first 5 minutes. It’s about 4 girls that are in a band together (a cheezy version of The Runaways). The girl that plays lead guitar is a survivor of the first massacre and we can tell she’s still slightly confused. As they get together in an empty house to practise for the next show, the trouble begins. Lead guitar girl starts having horrible nightmares starring a killer that sings, dances and carries a bad ass guitar with a screw drill on the neck while he chops of hands and drills holes in everyone. Leaving the spectator with questions: is the director pulling a freddy Krueger?? Why does this guy look like John Travolta? Are these people really dead?? Why do I even like this?

Apparently there is a sixpack of Massacre films, that show us 2 films in 3 different subgroups: Slumber Parties, Sorority Row and Cheerleaders. All of them packed with a typical B-movie visual spectacle and crazy plot twists. The interesting thing about the 1982 Slumber Party Massacre part I is that it was written by feminist activist Rita Mae Brown. Who obviously got so wrapped up in the story of a dude sticking his screw drill in all these innocent half naked teenage girls, that she forgot all about her beliefs.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

About Bart Constant

Finally the wait is over. It's been a good few years, but the artist formerly known as About is back!

After working and touring extensively with Dutch band Voicst and doing production work for loads of other artists,
Berlin-based Rutger Hoedemaekers has reincarnated in the persona of Bart Constant. To give us a taste of the new album he has just released a video for one of his songs: Do Better. And it's absolutely AMAZING!!!! The song, which features Dustin O'Halloran on piano is so beautiful, and the video (well video, it's more of a mini movie) is stunning. The song and the vid just work so well together. It was directed by Mirka Duijn and produced by Nina Spiering, who collaborate under the name of Kimmo Films.

Somehow releasing an album never comes easy for Rutger. Just before his first album was supposed to come out he suffered from a collapsed lung, three (!) times. Just before he was about to master this latest record his mixer failed and he missed his flight to London and thus his appointment at Abbey Roads Studios. And then his purple Polo broke down while he was on his way from Berlin to the shoot in Rotterdam, the car he needed to sell in order to
finance the video... Insane or what?! But even though he couldn't make an appearance in the video, it's here and it's great. The album has been mastered and we are now anxiously waiting its release. Until then marvel at this:

Friday, 4 March 2011

Night at the Museum

Even more thrilling than Ben Stiller's Night at the Museum (I fell asleep while watching..) is the annual Rotterdam Museum Night. Tomorrow no less than 46 museums and galleries in Rotterdam are open till the wee hours (2.00) as they put up special installations, events, live bands en parties. A great chance to check out the Custom and Tax Museum, the Museum of Chess Pieces (huh?) or the Feyenoord Museum (located in stadium De Kuip), just to name a few.

But why not seize the opportunity to visit kids museum Villa Zebra with no kids there?! Besides their excellent current exhibition they've got workshops and performances by actors from theater company Jeugdtheater Hofplein. The festival and Villa Zebra are both celebrating their 10th birthday, so all the reasons to party twice as hard. That's why yours truly will play the best songs of the last decade. Hop on the special Museum Night bus or boat and come to Rotterdam's most fun museum! It's going to be a looooooong night!

We've got special (digital)
vouchers to give away for those of you who would like to visit Villa Zebra tomorrow. With this voucher you'll get FREE entrance!! Interested? Email us at info [@] dutchdolls [.]nl. Please note, this is for Villa Zebra only, you'll need a passe-partout to visit the other participating museums. These will be for sale at Villa Zebra (€17,50) (buy tickets in advance for €13,50 here).

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Yeah yeah I'm a fan pt II

As I was searching the web the other day for an image of a jumping spider (which must be the cutest insect on the planet) I stumbled upon the spider below and couldn't believe my eyes. As I dug deeper into the person behind this incredible piece of art I found out it was done by a girl, by the name of Aurel Schmidt.

She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada but moved to New York 6 years ago. To seek some thrills as she says, because it is hard to draw rotting corpses when your life is 'peachy'. And I am thankful she chose to live out of a suitcase because this decay is the most wonderful thing I have seen in ages. One more horrific than the other, but all wonderfully complex and soft. These days, she's also known as a New York socialite, a photographer and my new hero.

want to know more? Read an (quite old, yet cool) interview here.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New Relics

This weekend Rotterdam is all about art; museumnight is an annual event that turns the whole town upside down. Performances, live music and lots of artsy stuff all over the place!

All the established and not so established galleries, ateliers and museums make sure they have something special planned for this night. And so does Gallery Blaak 10 with their exhibition New Relics that opens this thursday at 19.00h.

This group show is all about new works of none other than Silas (Antistrot, Machinegewehr, Viper Cobra), Eelco van den Berg and newcomers Sober Industries. This will be the perfect pre-party for museumnight with music, beers, art and good company!

Check flyer for info.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Fear and Loving

Because I've mostly seen acts that were all heavy basses and synths over the past few weeks (Magnetic Man, James Blake, Nero, Chrystal Castles), the time was right to rock out again! Time to rock out properly: Les Savy Fav was in town!! A band that puts on one of the best live shows on planet earth if you ask me.

I love Les Savy Fav. They've got catchy songs, great guitar hooks and damn I wish my bum was as tight as their rhythm section. But their real trump card (joker?) is their singer
Tim Harrington:

He is fat, bald and has a very large beard. He spends more time off the stage than on doing all sorts of crazy stuff (and so he is always very sweaty). I fear him! That's why my favorite place to see them was in the late Waterfront in Rotterdam. This venue had several large pillars, so I could easily hide from him (mind you, this was back in 2001 and there were maybe 20 other people there so the chances he would come up to you and yell in your face were considerable!).

Alas, the only pillars at The Globe in Cardiff are at the back near the bar, but you wouldn't want to be watching the show from way back there. Anyway, the show was sold out so there were plenty of other possible 'victims'. A good thing because once again my fears proofed to be grounded: Tim came on stage dressed up like Gaddafi, he went through several sets of garments that all got torn to pieces, he shouted in some woman's face (she got really pissed off - she even slapped him in the face - which of course made him prolong his harassment haha), he ate some guy's hair and licked the nipples of another. He even went crowd surfing, at which point I heard somebody yell in agony: "GRAB HIM BY THE ARSE, HE'S REALLY HEAVY!!!!". My 5th Les Savy Fav concert was again a memorable one.

Les Savy Fav - Patty Lee. Get it
here (YSI).

Les Savy Fav - Tragic Monsters. Get it here (YSI).

p.s. Did you know that... Tim and his wife design patterns under the name of Deadly Squire (he went to Rhode Island School of Design after all)? This one is based on his doodles of flowers:

Makes him a lot less fearsome, doesn't it?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

How (not) to clean your vinyl

Last week a friend of mine rescued a big bag of 45s from the skip at the charity shop where she volunteers. Knowing how much I love my vinyl she invited me over to do some cherry picking over a lovely pint of Cornish ale. She would give the rest of the records to a friend, who makes bowls out of them. To be honest I thought it was going to be 99% rubbish, but I was amazed of what came out of that bag! These were all singles from the sixties, I think from a jukebox (as they had no sleeves). There were The Beatles and The Stones, there were some crooners (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Tom Jones), some rock 'n roll (Elvis Presley, Chubby Checker, Brenda Lee) and some Motown and soul (Al Green, Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina, The Supremes, The Four Tops). I also took a few with intriguing titles, like The Human Jungle/Onward, Christian Spacemen by The John Barry Seven. Lucky me!!

Now I didn't expect these records to be in mint condition (they came in a plastic carrier bag - without sleeves...). But the biggest problem was that they were disgustingly dirty! So I went on the internet and Googled for cleaning advice for vinyl. Enter Nerdworld. I found all sorts home made recipes for cleaning fluid, using various amounts of distilled water, washing up liquid, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, Triton X-100, and/or tile cleaner. There was one guy who swore by using a diaper (a cotton one that is). Big no no's are using ordinary tap water and playing your records wet. A good way of drying them is putting them on a drill and then spinning them at the highest speed! Though this might be a myth.

They probably need a good clean in one of those machines, which "will apply the record cleaning solution, properly scrub the record and finally vacuum the dirt and liquid off leaving you with a dry and pristine vinyl record". But with these records 'a blind horse couldn't do any damage' (as we say in Holland), so I thought I'd just give it a go with some water with a few drops of washing up liquid and some cotton pads. I probably broke all the golden rules of record cleaning, but it helped. Somewhat. Just look at the dirt that came off!

Ieeew!! It took me an entire evening to brush and wipe them all off, but here they are now, nicely stacked in crisp white sleeves that I ordered on eBay.

Listen to a few of the treasures I received. Luckily for you guys I don't have one of those USB record players, so these MP3s are with out the crackles, scratches and dust :-)

I am extremely happy that Fingertips I and II by Little Stevie Wonder (aged 12 at the time!) was saved from the bin. It's a live take cut in two, so the jam just continues on the B-side. "Stomp your feet, jump up and down and do anything that you wanna do!"

Little Stevie Wonder - Fingertips I & II. Get it here (YSI).

Nice bluesy swing/big band tune, until 'Raelette' Margie Hendrix rips it up after a minute and a half. Holy shit.

Ray Charles - You Are My Sunshine. Get it here (YSI).

Another gem is Al Green's beautiful Tired Of Being Alone. But the B-side Right Now, Right Now is also a great track. Very funky, very Papa-Was-A-Rolling-Stone-esk.

Al Green - Right No, Right Now. Get it here (YSI).

Worth a clean right?!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Euphoric Loops

Recently I discovered that I'm a sucker for pitched-up friendly loops of guitar, piano and violin. This revelation happened after I heard the Fuck the Money song of B.o.B. that I posted below. Of course I was sceptic at first due to that horrible song with the Paramore girl. But perhaps Kanye West's magic wand did the trick? Anyway, it made me think of some other songs that I love that have the same high-pitch loop in combination with the smooth rhymes of a male rapper... Love love love these tracks by Subtitle (currently on tour in Europe, check his myspace for dates), Lil B, B.o.B. and Taz-Man!

Subtitle - Pub Chick (txt msg follow-up).
get it here (YSI)

Lil B - Real Life (Eras rmx). get it here (YSI)

(feat. Asher Roth) - Fuck The Money. get it here (YSI)

Taz-Man - Know Dis.
get it here (YSI)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Cool. And not just by association.

DELS or Kieren Dickins as his folks named him, is really starting to make some waves here in the UK. And I must say, I love what I've heard from him so far. I guess you'd file his music under hip hop, but then outside the box of hip hop. If that makes any sense..

He has been working with some interesting people, like Micachu and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip. The latter produced
his current single Trumpalump and also made a remix of it, on which another great UK rapper named Ghostpoet joins in. Who happened to appear together with DELS before on a mixtape that Michacu made with Kwes back in 2009. You can still get this Kwesacu mixtape here! ANYWAYS (sorry about all the namedropping) his debut album, set to be released in April, surely is going to be cooler than cool. And not just by association.

DELS - Shapeshift. Get it here (YSI).

DELS - Trumpalump (Joe Goddard Quiet Remix feat. Ghostpoet). Get it here (YSI).

p.s. Did you know he
is not only a very gifted musician, but also a talented designer? He went to art school, he can draw (he made some pretty cute drawings for his first 7") and even knows how to use a sewing machine (proof here). His background as a graphic designer might explain the awesomeness of his video's. Like the one for Trumpalump. Watch closely, the 'color adjustments' weren't done in Aftereffects or whatever, but with paint!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Very welcome

Imagine getting your masters degree in Economics AND in Statistics. What are you going to do next? Get your PhD? Go corporate? Or go to Africa and start a record label? Well that's exactly what Benjamin Lebrave did. His label Akwaaba Music (Akwaaba means 'welcome' in the Ashanti language from Ghana) has been on my radar for some time now (I blogged about their Angolan kuduro compilation in 2009). Always on the look out for the best contemporary African music, they digitally release more trado stuff as well as the latest hard core dance music from countries like Ghana, Angola, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Benin and Togo. Let's listen to the good man himself telling more about his label:

Global Bass : interview with Benjamin Lebrave/Akwaaba music from Videomit on Vimeo.

This January Akwaaba Music is celebrating its 2nd birthday! And therefor they're treating us to a special compilation of 50 songs they've released so far: Chop Our Music. You can buy it for just $10 (that's just €7.35 or £6.30) over at Bandcamp! And this is one of my favorite tracks on it:

DJ Djeff - Elegom Bounsa feat. Maskarado (Main Mix). Get it here (YSI). But I really urge you to buy it as 50% of the proceeds goes directly to the artist! Yes yes, Akwaaba Music is a 'fair trade' label :-)

The cherry on top of their birthday cake is a FREE hour long supermix by
DJ Zhao
(download it by clicking on the arrow on the right). It gives you a good taste of the music that's being released by Akwaaba. I personally really enjoy the latter part where the tempo goes up hehe.

Djzhao - ChopChop Akwaaba Supermix by Akwaaba Music

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Fabulous Faces

Puberty. It seems so long ago for me, luckily I get to be in touch with that old feeling on a regular base.

These past two months I got in touch by developing and teaching a nine week 'artshot' at
Zadkine, a vocational school in Rotterdam. Which basically meant that I had to create portraits with a group of twenty reluctant teens and young adults that really don't want to be there. But they have to be, or they will not get their much needed certificate and points. Keep in mind that none of them take (or have ever taken) artclasses, and hardly anyone had ever been to a museum!!

In reality we had a really good time. We played our favorite tunes every time we got together, and they got to bring their own Ipods and Iphones and they made some really great stuff while we listened to some raggaeton, Drake,
kuduro and more reggaeton. Today was the day of the presentation and up to just now I hadn't seen their final projects. But I'm kinda proud.

I want to share with you some of the highlights, take a look!!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

New Orleans Doll

You know how you start out surfing the web with a particular goal and with in no time you're totally sidetracked and end up god knows where. This is exactly what happened to me last night. I was looking for a large but still handsome and stylish rucksack (quite a quest I can tell you) when I found some very strange and somewhat disturbing pictures on some sort of 'life style' blog...

The pictures were of New Orleans singer Ernie K-Doe. Now Ernie made some great tunes in the early '60s, with and without the legendary artist/producer/songwriter Allen Toussaint. His biggest hit was Mother In Law. Probably lots of people could relate to the lyrics "
The worst person I know / Mother-in law, mother-in law... Satan should be her name / Mother-in law, mother-in law...". Other songs, like Here Come The Girls and Certain Girl are absolute stompers! I never knew much about Ernie besides the fact that he was a great singer and I absolutely loved these songs. But after seeing these pictures I became curious. Turns out this guy was quite a character!

Ernie at the beginning of his career (please note this is not one of THE pictures I was talking about).

After his success in the '60s and some flops in the early '70s Ernie developed an alcohol problem. But he managed to turn his life around in the '80s when he got a radio show. It was pretty popular, thanks to his "explosively energetic announcements and frequent self promotion", calling himself "Emperor of The World" and “the Greatest Boy-Child ever conceived at Charity Hospital in New Orleans”.

In the '90s he and his wife opened up a bar in New Orleans and called it the Mother In Law Lounge. Ernie sang his greatest hits on Mondays and his wife Antoinette would serve soul food. Sadly Ernie died in 2001 of liver and kidney failure. Antoinette continued running the Lounge and she turned it into a shrine for her late husband. She even had a MANNEQUIN of Ernie made! It would sit in the bar somewhere and it would regularly change outfits. So here come the slightly weird pictures I was referring to:

Ernie the doll. On the last two picture with his wife.. euh widow Antoinette.
And Usher.

The doll even ran for mayor of New Orleans in 2006!

During Mardi Gras 2009 Antoinette passed away. Their daughter kept the bar going for some time, but she closed it in June last year after a car drove in and crashed the place..
What a pity!! From what I read it must have been a great place! She sold a lot of the paraphernalia and fixtures of the bar at a garage sale. I sure hope she kept the mannequin!

"The Emperor is dead. Long live the Emperor!"

Ernie K-Doe - Here Come The Girls. Get it here (YSI).

Ernie K-Doe - Certain Girl. Get it here (YSI).

Saturday, 15 January 2011

I'm at Winterwolven B*tch!

Last Saturday was the first edition of Winterwolven Performance Party in Rotterdam, an event organised by Rotterdams finest: Maatschappij voor Volksgeluk, Bond voor Wilde Dansers and last but not least: We own Rotterdam.

The whole idea was to put together a night with music and performance art that was supposed to be inspirational but most of all... FUN. And fun it was!!

We were expected at the venue (Roodkapje/Rot(t)terdam/Beatburger)at 20.00 to set everything up, have some food and get dressed. This seemed a bit early (the party started at 23.30), but this point in time miraculously happened to coincide with the first dry moment of the day. So we quickly wheeled Blanche over so she and our hairdo's would not be harmed by the rain. When we got there the place was already looking rather amazing with big inflatable objects hanging from the ceiling, projections everywhere and a lot of people carrying crazy costumes. When we finally put all the cables where they should be (this can take forever because something always seems to malfunction) we decided to take our nerves downstairs, into the dressing room. The things we saw while we were there will remain a secret....

When it was finally time to start playing it seemed like people came falling from the sky or something. All of a sudden the place was packed and outside was a line of people, HUGE! As we were not able to win this war of bass that was going on inside, we decided to take Blanche outside... to party with the queue! People had to wait for 45 minutes to get in, so our tunes were much appreciated. Pretty soon all the costumed people came outside with their megaphones and started grinding in the street, and even passer-by's (?) stopped and partied with us! Now there was a party inside as well as outside and we just kept going and dancing... till the cops came. At two o'clock. Being quite hostile and all, you know how cops get.. not recognizing the coolness of a soundsystem on a rollator. Do they ever have fun? After that we just partied some more without Blanche!

Take a look at these awesome pictures taken by Boudewijn Bollmann who documented all the fun inside.

We played everything that night; from Sidney Samson to Ms. Dynamite to Mr. Vegas. But this is the top 3 tracks that (we all love hits) made EVERYBODY dance!

3: Rihanna feat. Jeezy - Hard (Jody Den Broeder radio edit).

Get it here (YSI).

2: Das Racist - Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell (Wallpaper RMX).

Get it here (YSI).

1: LMFAO feat. Pitbull - I'm in Miami Bitch.

Get it here (YSI).

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Old North

As you may know I travel quite a bit between Cardiff and Rotterdam. Roughly once a month I fly over to the Lowlands to work together with my Dutch Dolls-colleague. I usually crash at her place, or I catsit for a friend who goes on holiday a lot. They both happen to live in what is rapidly becoming the funkiest area of Rotterdam: "Het Oude Noorden" ("The Old North").

Now I used to be a
Westside girl (for years I lived in notorious Spangen) and swore West was the best. I never liked "The Old North" very much, with its dark narrow streets and boarded up houses. But the dark days are over. Every time I take tram number 4 or 8 from Central Station towards my temporary home I notice new eateries, new shops and new artist studios. Here are just a few of the gems that spawned here recently.

☝ Mother and daughter run Lof der Zoetheid, a shop and cafe located at Noordplein 1. They serve breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, and they do catering as well. You can buy beautiful '
afternoon tea boxes', filled with yummie stuff and a special afternoon tea, for you to take home (or you can make yourself immortal by giving this to someone else).

Westerkaatje. This
traiteur is an institute in Rotterdam, and in October they opened up a new restaurant at Benthuizerstraat 60-D. A first sign of gentrification??

Cafe De Bel, Gerard Scholtenstraat 61b, is a
dive that looks like its been there for ever, but only recently it became VERY fashionable to go here. It's even been dubbed "De Rotown van Noord". It is rumored that with every wodka you order you get a free bag of crisps! Every time I arrive in Rotterdam the first thing I shout is "I want to go to De Bel!", but for some reason it never happens. But this week I want to go to De Bel FOR REAL!!!

☝ For 60s lamps and furniture, 70s ceramics, weird 80s objects and art go to Spam (Zwaanshals 243a). There are also plenty of second hand (book)/antique shops in the area, and today I even spotted a
charity shop on the Zaagmolenstraat!

☝ More and more empty stores are turned into studio spaces by artist, designers and party organizers, who double their work space as a shop. Take Maatschappij Voor Volksgeluk on the
Benthuizerstraat for example. 19 artists are united in a former fire station "Center of applied arts" Rotabs at Zaagmolenkade 46. They also host events and there's a shop.

Nice opportunities to explore the area are festivals like the Swan Market and Route du Nord. Swan Market saw its first edition last month, and another one is scheduled for
March 6! At this 'lifestyle market' designers sell their products in empty shops in the 'Zwaanshalsgebied'. Route du Nord takes place in June I believe. Artists open up their studios and all sorts of happenings, readings and shows take place.

☝ On my last ride on
tram 4 I noticed the prison complex on the Noordsingel (pictured above) has closed and is now FOR SALE. Very curious to see what will happen to this HUGE complex. Think of the opportunities! A couple of years ago two friends of mine paid homage to this prison with this ukelele version - in Dutch - of Folsom Prison Blues. I think it's utterly brilliant!

De Wisselende Contacten - Noordsingel Blues. Get it here (YSI).

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues. Get it here (YSI).

Oh and I probably missed loads of places, so please leave comments and suggestions on The Old North!