My bookcase

I don’t buy that many books. Partly it is the cost. Partly it is because i don’t read that much usually. I still have some books i haven’t read yet. They are on my list!

The bookcase in my front room has my main books in it. I’ll go through them.

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A tiny book from Remco Campert called Fabeltjes vertellen. Little stories with language games and mazes in them. Another tiny book, Faust from Goethe. Never read this, i do know its world famous, just.. too tiny letters.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. It’s been years since i read these books. I didn’t finish Ulysses, i’m ashamed to say. I did enjoy reading it till around three quarters. I know i should finish it.

Jonathan Safran Foer. Extremely loud & Incredibly close and Everything is Illuminated. These two books didn’t really stick. I enjoyed reading them, but that is about it.

Ian McEwan, Atonement. Brett Eaton Ellis, Lunar Park.

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections. I also had his book Freedom, but last year, when i was reading it, i left it on the train station.

David Foster Wallace, Everything and more, Infinite Jest. I did read Everything and more this year. I had to brighten my math knowledge, which had sunken deep since i went to school. Infinite Jest is still on my list of to read books. I did try, but it is a hard book. One day i’ll be able to read it fully.

A.S.Byatt, Possession, Babel Tower. Dom DeLillo, Underworld. John Irving, A widow for one year, A son of the circus. Vikram Seth, A suitable boy.

Salman Rushdie. A discovery in the late 80s. I first read Shame. I don’t have that book myself. Which make me think now i should actually get it. I loved it. Midnight’s Children i read after that. Wonderful. Satanic Verses i loved too. His later books i didn’t think of that much to be honest. But still.

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Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead. A borrowed book i never returned. I read this book i think when i was around 18 years old. I did reread it a couple of times.

Edwin Abbott Abbott, Flatland. A birthday present. Should reread it again. Great book.

Jung Chang, Wild Swans. I think i read this book when i was on holidays on Crete in 1993. My first acquaintance with Chinese history of the 20th century. Pretty shocking.

Paul Ford, Gary Benchley, rock star. I’ve been a fan of ftrain.com since i got to know it, i’m guessing around 1999. The main reason i bought his book yes. I do love his posts. This year his post on What is code? was published on Bloomberg.com.

Jeannette Winterson, The Power Book, Sexing the Cherry, The Passion. George Perec, Het leven een gebruiksaanwijzing, not read yet. Per Olov Enquist, Het bezoek van de lijfarts.

Umberto Eco, In de naam van de roos, Baudolino. I read the first book on holidays when i was 19 years old. Loved it then.

Thomas Mann, De Toverberg. A classic. Should reread this.

Italo Svevo, Een geslaagde grap. August Strindberg, Aan open zee. Adrienne Rich, Poems 1950-1984. Thomas Rosenboom, Publieke Werken. Harry Mulisch, De zaak 40/61. Jan Wolkers, De perzik van onsterfelijkheid. Gerard Reve, Nader tot u, Op weg naar het einde. Bob den Uyl, Quatro Primi, De bloedende trein. A.F.Th. van der Heijden, Advocaat van de hanen. Multatuli, Max Havelaar.

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Philosophy and non-fiction books.

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Youth and young adult books. Thea Beckman, Tonke Dragt, J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series, Philip Pullman and Astrid Lindgren.

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My cook books.

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My art books.

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Vinyl.

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Vinyl, singles, Tolkien, my Asterix comics and Kuifje comics.

Published on August 19, 2015 at 6:00 by

Psycho Killer

In 1980 i bought Remain in Light, the fourth album by the Talking Heads. In the months after this i bought the previous three, 77, More songs about buildings and food and Fear of music. I loved them all. Remain in Light is still one of my favourite albums ever.

Psycho Killer was on their first album 77. I never really thought much about the meaning of the song. I do know it is supposed to be about a killer. The French bits i always liked, simple enough to be understandable. There is just this great rhythm (the bass!) and strong drive running through the whole song. A great song.

My version is based on the Stop Making Sense movie, directed by Jonathan Demme. I watched this movie again last week, singing along half the songs. 🙂

Psycho Killer
Talking Heads
I can’t seem to face up to the facts
I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax
I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire
Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire

Psycho killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away

Psycho killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away

You start a conversation you can’t even finish it
You’re talkin’ a lot but you’re not sayin’ anything
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed
Say something once, why say it again?

Psycho killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away

Psycho killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away

Ce que j’ai fait ce soir-la
Ce qu’elle a dit ce soir-la
Realisant mon espoir

Je me lance vers la gloire, okay
We are vain and we are blind
I hate people when they’re not polite

Psycho killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away

Psycho killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

The Stop Making Sense version by the Talking Heads

Another great version

Published on August 18, 2015 at 6:00 by

What next?

Since last year i’ve been thinking about what direction i want my life to take, what i want to do with my life, how i want to live. I was lucky i could take that time out. I was lucky i had the money to do so.

I don’t have definitive answers. Nothing clear cut. I do know what i do not want. But i’m not sure i can live like that.

I do know i want to keep on working on ellenpronk.com. It is not always my best work, but it is still a steady stream of work, thoughts, memories. Sometimes very little stories. Sometimes big stories. I still make five updates a week, published at six AM in the morning, CET.

I’ve been through my history. Through my old work from art school. Through my old work from lfs.nl. It is a special sort of work, doing this each day.

I love the walks. I love taking photos. I love going out there and being all alone in the Dutch landscape or the Dutch city. I love going out at the beach, at the polder, at the water, at the harbour, at the river, the grasslands. Looking out and taking it all in.

I love the singing! I know, i need to learn so much! But i’m so happy i’m finally doing it. I’ve been singing for so long, but never for other people. And now i finally am able to sing. It’s sort of difficult to sing a cappella, there is no escape, nothing to hide behind. But i still love it. Even though i find it hard to listen to.

I do hope i will keep up, i do hope my best work is still to come. I do hope people will find me.

I do hope i will bring a bit of joy, for you.

Published on August 17, 2015 at 6:00 by

Lazy

  • reading Dune, in book four now
  • enjoying the warmth
  • going to see my mum tomorrow
  • will walk from the train station to her house, an hours, hour and a half walk, will take photo’s now
  • love watching the Great British Menu, in week 2
  • love the Great British Bake Off series 6!
  • still thinking about my life, what road to take, i can’t just sit here and wait for something to happen, it’s hard though, i’m not sure what to do
Published on August 14, 2015 at 6:00 by

Female orgasm – a start

This week i came across an article This just in: There’s no “mystery” about the female orgasm written by Trisha Borowicz. Last night i found myself thinking about this article while i was trying to get some sleep. I turned on the lights and read it again.

I remember reading articles on this G-spot in the 80s. I remember various articles in which it was said women can have multiple orgasms. I remember reading there are many different ways for a woman to get an orgasm.

Reading this article on Salon did make me angry yes. It went against all the muffled information which got to me over the past 35 years. No G-spot orgasms, no vaginal orgasms. They are simply fringe information people like to talk about. The science is that only one type of orgasm which has been proven, has been studied, has been shown to exist. A clitoral glans orgasm.

Orgasm is the rhythmic release of the pelvic muscle tension created during arousal, and it is caused by sufficient stimulation of the penis or the clitoral glans/vulva area. It’s the same for all sexes, all genders, trans people, gay people, straight people, intersex people, you name it, if they got something that is like a penis or a clitoral glans, it can be stimulated to orgasm. Males generally trigger ejaculation at orgasm, but orgasms and ejaculation are two different things and can be experienced separately.

This idea that this G-spot is very important, a vaginal orgasm is the ultimate orgasm for women. That idea was inside of me. Not clearly defined, not like i talk about it or anything, but yes, it was. And now i read this article in which it is very clearly stated that that is no proof, no scientific proof for a vaginal orgasm.

Of course this doesn’t mean there are many different sorts of sensations. A kiss on the mouth, on the neck, on the earlobe, on a nipple, a touch on the belly, on the thigh, on your hands, on your face, on your vulva. The whole body is a sensitive area which, with the right person, can give huge amounts of pleasure.

When i masturbate i have different intensities of orgasms. Sometimes i’m simply more into it than other times. I’ve had years of not being very interested in masturbation at all. The times that i am into it it is fantastic.

I will be doing more reading about these issues. I’ll get back to it once i know more.

More info

Published on August 13, 2015 at 6:00 by

A slightly longer musical history 2005 – 2015

My music listening habits keep changing over the years. From vinyl and cassettes to CD’s to iTunes to Spotify. I remember the playlist i made in a playlist organizer for my birthday party. I don’t remember the name of the application. I had to connect my computer to my sound system with a long wire.

I wrote a post on lfs.nl called A short incomplete musical history in 2005. I will quote the entire post here.

timelineReading the Rip it up and start again-book made me thinking back lots, as i wrote yesterday. Being a witness of this period, but from such a distance it lost its depth. It felt like a watching a movie from the backrow. Reading the book makes me see it from behind the scenes, see unexpected threads connecting.

Being born halfway the 60’s, my earliest memories are a thick LP with a red label with Dutch children’s songs on it (“In de speeltuin”, “Toen onze mop een mopje was”). I also remember a double single from the Beatles, with a booklet inbetween: Magical Mystery Tour. That was fascinating to me, i used to leaf trhough it, it had such pretty colours, enchanting. I also remember a single from the Beach Boys, Good Vibrations. These were both from my sister. Her being nice years older than me, she was the most important influence on my childhood music memories. So its twofold, on one side the music from the charts: George McCray, Rock you baby, Boney M. on the other hand my sister’s music, American westcoast music mostly: Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Loggins and Messina, Little Feat.

A memory still clear: me watching ABBA perform at the Eurovision Songfestival. Being 10 years old, it was still exciting for me to watch it, comment on every song with the family, none of the campy sentiments surrounding it today. You actyallu wanted your country to win! But in 1974, i remember being swept away by Agnetha’s blue satin trousers and white boots, the little cap on her head, the long blond hair and pretty face. Long before i bought Dancing Queen the single at age 12, ABBA was destined to win, i was sure of it! Another mention goes to Jesus hrist Superstar, the first record i remember singing along with. My favourite part ofcourse Yvonne Elliman, I don’t know how to love you. I really don’t know how doing that affected my mental state, singing Maria Magdalena’s part that young. Not raised in an overtly religious family, but the Calvinistic tendency in Dutch society was felt throughout.

Some 20 odd singles later – Tavares, Heaven must be missing an angel; Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Make me smile; Fleetwood Mac, Go your own way. Inbetween the chart singles and westcoast music, suddenly Saturday Night Fever and Grease. On holiday with my parents on Tenerife, we tried to dance John Travolta-like in our appartments on the cassette i taped before we had left. I’m not sure what i made of the movie, only when i saw it again much later i relaised it was much more mature than i probably realised at the time. Grease ofcourse was happy fluff!

Another milestone: Seeing Nina Hagen on a Dutch televisionshow presented by Sonja Barend. I was hooked. This screaming shouting Unbeschreiblich weiblich singing, beautiful woman with her black edged eyes and black lipstick, her tightfitting shiny black pants in one smash made me enter adolescence in one night. Gone were the old west coast music, the charts singles, this was something i liked. Another irreverent Dutch band from that time, Gruppo Sportivo, making fun of the record companies, exposing some of the mechanisms behind charts music made for the perfect music for a 14-year old girl.

But still, a time without internet, the only available information for me still was the radio. Not having a radio of my own, it was Madness, the Specials and the Police, the alternative pick of chart music which ruled my world. Only a couple of years later, having a bit more money, access to information through Vinyl, a Dutch early 80s postpunk magazine, getting friends, going to gigs and listening to Spleen on the radio (or go to the live transmitions broadcasted from Parkzicht on the sunday afternoons in a sunny summer 1983). This, to me, was the most exciting period of my music listening live. Going to the record store on thursday afternoons, going through the ‘new releases’, going the to public library for some back cataloguing, but not much, cuz there was always something new to discover. From the poppy end, starting from XTC Black Sea, bought when i was 16, to the dark corners of Throbbing Gristle and Test Department, almost getting to Captain Beefheart, but not quite, there was Prince in the end, with ofcourse a romantic movie and music which made you wanna dance and be happy.

And then the final blow to my music investigating days – apart from me moving out of my parents house and having no money, something i will conveniently forget for now. Summer 1985, Scritti Politti. Most importantly, it was music that made me think, that confused me. It didn’t seem to lead to a definite conclusion, it questioned itself mostly, and boy did i like that. For a time i defiantly turned against the prominent music of the time and read Smash Hits in the canteen of art school, singing along with Whitney Houston and Kylie & Jason. Guess i somehow wanted to go against the grain one way or the other. I started to like music that made me feel happy, with a little bit of irony. I tried to listen with an open mind, forget any preconceived ideas i might have. Around this time i noticed the Pet Shop Boys, who i really really liked – i remember a rather fierce argument where i defended them, i doubt with any success…

The 90s went by too fast going over into the 00s, just some standard fare, a little of Beastie Boys, Massive Attack, Portishead, Radiohead. No real interest, a bit of Beatles and Beach Boys research, some soul music. At this very moment blogs spark my interests in dance, M.I.A., Girls Aloud, and i’m actually discovering the fun in listening to new music again. Oops, its the end of the line, seeya tomorrow! lfs, Ellen

The biggest change was in 2010 when Spotify entered the Dutch market. I did first have an account myself, but in 2011 i switched to another provider which had Spotify premium as a free service. Looking through my playlists i do think one of the first ones is the office one, a public lists where all my colleagues added songs they liked. This is huge tumbler with music ranging from jazz to rap to rock to soul to heavy metal to indie to pop. It’s still in my list, but its been years since i listened to it.

Over the years i added many private playlists. I went through all my vinyl, cassettes and cd’s and added the albums i could find. I have another group of lists called albums in which i add new and old albums which are drawing my ears. There are some playlists i am subscribed to. Which i don’t listen to enough! Some greatest hits playlist: The Pitchfork 500, NME 100 tracks of the decade, Lowlands 2011, Top 2000 editie 2011, John Peel.

One playlist i have listened to this year The Needle from the user The Sounds of Spotify. You can read about these lists on this blog furialog.

So put the needle on the record. The things people are listening to far away only seem weird because “far away” used to matter. You used to have to go to Estonia to hear what people were listening to there. Estonia used to be a “there”. It’s still partly a “there” for licensing reasons, as not all of the songs in all of these lists will be available in all the other regions. Art and joy always move faster than law. But eventually we always catch up. Everywhere can be a here now. Or tomorrow, or next week.

Another site he made is Every Noise at Once, which makes me stare at it with a huge silence in my mind. And then i start clicking and listen to the fragments. Even the category ‘levenslied’ is stuck in between all the other ones.

Another user which caught my ear was Sasha Frere-Jones who listed his Perfect recordings last year which i discovered through kottke.org. I used to listen to his playlist when i was in the train headed to work last year. Nice 🙂

Lastly, i’m building my own mixtapes. I used to have quite large breaks between lists. It went from October 2010 to May 2012. A couple in 2013 and in 2014. From October 2014 till now each month i added a lists of songs i liked. Some old favourites, some new favourites, songs which i like, songs with memories, songs i love. I just made a new lists in which i copied all these songs, which is added below this post. It’s the main list i listen to right now.

I do know i miss an awful lot of music. I wish i had the time to listen to it all. I was listening to a lot of music the past year, but still the quiet is what i like the most. You gotta make choices. I’m still happy with the few playlists which have caught me and made me learn music i didn’t know yet. Curious as to what i will discover next.

Published on August 12, 2015 at 6:00 by

That’s Entertainment

That’s Entertainment is a song from The Jam‘s album Sound Affects. I think i bought this album around 1981, maybe even 1980. I liked it!

That’s Entertainment
The Jam
A police car and a screaming siren
A pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete
A baby wailing and stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

A smash of glass and a rumble of boots
An electric train and a ripped up ‘phone booth
Paint splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

Days of speed and slow time Mondays
Pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday
Watching the news and not eating your tea
A freezing cold flat and damp on the walls

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

Waking up at six am on a cool warm morning
Opening the windows and breathing in petrol
An amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard
Watching the tele and thinking about your holidays

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes
Cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume
A hot summer’s day and sticky black tarmac
Feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

Two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight
Two lovers missing the tranquillity of solitude
Getting a cab and travelling on buses
Reading the graffiti about slashed seat affairs

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

The original

Published on August 10, 2015 at 6:00 by

Coffee break

I like coffee. I don’t drink any at home at the moment, so once or twice a week i go out and drink some coffee. Usually i go to the Coffee Company, close to my house. Occasionally i go to the Urban Espresso Bar, a bit further on. Charlie’s Kitchen is close by too, but that is not my favourite.

So what makes the Coffee Company my favourite? Well, i do enjoy the coffee. I usually have a medium latte. Sometimes with cake or tart or a cookie. But what i do love is the view. Its terrace is situated at the top of the Meent. You can see the aqua color of the high rising Beurs building at the Coolsingel. People coming and going, talking, eating, checking their phone. Just doing their stuff.

I do read the newspaper when i drink my coffee. Usually the NRC Next. I had a subscription to the NRC for around twenty years. I did stop over a year ago, price being one reason. Another reason was that i didn’t read it fully each day. So all the time i get a phone call or i walk into a person on the street trying to sell me a subscription to it, i politely say no. No thanks. It’s always hard to get away from them, they are trained to make you think, make you want. But a no is a no. Usually. I do sometimes chat with them. I once had a chat with two young people with the Volkskrant, that was a lot of fun. But still, no.

Back to the Coffee Company. I love sitting there when it’s sunny and not too cold, on the terrace. You are able to look far away onto the Meent. I love listening to people on the terrace. Today there was a young mother with her baby girl and a friend. Lovely.

I feel calm, at ease. Simply looking at the people around me. Sometimes a few words are said between me and someone else, usually i just sit there quietly by myself. Easy going yes. A nice coffee break.

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Read more…

Published on August 7, 2015 at 6:00 by

Flower nails

Yesterday i started to read a bit on Rookie. It says of itself that it is an online publication for teenage girls featuring writing, photography, illustrations, videos, and more from our lovely contributors and readers. I did add the magazine to my rss feeds, but there is a whole backlog of articles to dive into. I do like the tone of voice, the style, music and beauty things. A few years back i did read the Style Rookie by Tavi Gevinson, but i stopped when she started Rookie and stopped working on her own blog.

Anyway, i found this article about painting flowers on your nails, Painted Flower. Which i loved. I went through my collection nails polishes and first tried to find all the reds (a few) and pinks (none!). I than switched to a darker theme, with a red flower with a yellow centre and a darker background. But no! i went for a green background with the yellow / pink-red flower. So i started out.

First i had to remove the old polish. Then i remembered my remarks of a week ago about my cuticles and decided to use Lemony Flutter from Lush and my Shea Butter Ultra Rich Hand Cream from L’Occitance. Then i put on the Nail repair from Trind.

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After some time thinking and picking out colours, i decided to do each nail the same with these colours. At the utmost left the Nail repair from Trind, at the right the top coat.
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I started out with the green with a golden shine as a base.
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The Mimosa yellow made a dot in the middle.
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This was a bit trickier. I did find out i couldn't wait too long to get into the red dot with my tiny brush and draw them to the yellow middle. To give the yellow a bit more shine and hide the red stripes into them, i put a little bit more yellow over them. After all this, when it was all dry, i added the top coat.
Published on August 6, 2015 at 6:00 by