ŃŐ”‘Ň—Õ‘ŃŐ

 
     
 

A window looking out onto the canal and my bicycle locked on the sidewalk

 
 

Translated in English by M.Kitroef

 
   
     
 

WHEN I ARRIVE AT SPUI, USUALLY IN THE EVENING, AND SIT ON A BENCH OUTSIDE THE ATHENEAUM BOEKHANDEL & NIEUWSCENTRUM, I KNOW I HAVE ARRIVED IN AMSTERDAM. BUT JUST TO MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE,

 

I SPEND MY FIRST NIGHT DRINKING LOTS OF BEER, EATING GOOD FOOD AND LISTENING TO LOUD MUSIC IN THE COMPANY OF HUGE PARROTS AT RUM RUNNERS ON PRINSENGRACHT.

 

ON SATURDAY MORNING IíM BACK ON THE SAME BENCH, WATCHING THE TRAMS GO BY. AND THEY ALWAYS DO! COME RAIN OR SHINE.

 
     
   
     
 

ON THAT SUNNY SATURDAY, I FOUND MYSELF INVITED TO A WEDDING. I DIDNíT KNOW THE BRIDE OR THE GROOM, BUT NEITHER DID ANY OF THE OTHER PASSERS-BY ON SPUISTRAAT.

 
     
   
     
 

SUNNY SATURDAYS ARE IDEAL FOR STROLLING THROUGH JORDAAN.

 

JUST DONíT ASK ME WHERE JORDAAN BEGINS AND WHERE IT ENDS. IT WOULD BE LIKE ASKING A TOURIST WHERE THE CITY LIMITS BEGIN AND END.

 

WHAT COULD HE REPLY?

WHERE THE GRAFFITTI BEGINS OR ENDS?

 

AFTER ALL, IN A CITY, WHAT COUNTS IS  WHERE ONE LOOKS AS ONE WALKS ALONG

SOME LOOK UP AND SEE ONE CITY,

OTHERS LOOK DOWN AND SEE ANOTHER

 

THE FROZEN FOUNTAIN PLATFORM VOOR ONTWERPERSLEVERT MEUBELS PO MAAT INTERIEURADVIEZEN

 

I DONíT KNOW MUCH ABOUT ART, BUT I DO KNOW IMAGINATION WHEN I SEE ITÖ AND WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS CITY IS THAT THEREíS MORE THAN ENOUGH OF IT TO GO AROUND

 

IN THIS CITY I MARK MY DRIFTING WITH SURPRISES.  AND THE THINGS I NEVER IMAGINED I WOULD SEE, BECOME THE LANDMARKS.

TWO OR THREE YEARS AGO, WALKING ALONG THE PRINSENGRACHT ONE EVENING, I STOPPED AT A SMALL SHOP WINDOW. CHEESE-GRATERS STUCK ON CROOKED FORKS AND COLANDERS ATTACHED TO METAL RODS HAD BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO LIGHTING FIXTURES WHICH STOLE MY HEART. THE OTHER DAY, I WENT BACK, LOOKING FOR THE SMALL SHOP WINDOW. I HARDLY RECOGNIZED IT, IT HAD BECOME SO MUCH BIGGER AND MORE BEAUTIFUL. FORTUNATELY, IN A CORNER, I SAW THE COLORED CAKE-MOULDS WHICH HAD BEEN TURNED INTO LAMPS.

 

LETíS SAY THAT FOR YEARS YOU DISCREETLY PASS BY THAT GROUND-FLOOR WINDOW ALONG THE CANAL, BECAUSE YOU FEEL THAT THEREíS SOMEONE SITTING AT THE TABLE BEHIND THE PLATE GLASS. AT NOON ONE DAY, AS YOU PASS BY FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME, A FRIEND SAYS: "LOOK AT THAT. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!" AND HE POINTS AT THAT VERY WINDOW. YOU THEN REALIZE THAT, ALL THESE YEARS, THERE HAD BEEN NO ONE SITTING AT THAT TABLE. THE PACK OF CIGARETTES, THE BOX OF MATCHES, THE NEWSPAPER, THE TOP HAT AND THE WHITE GLOVES BELONGING TO SOMEONE YOU THOUGHT HAD STEPPED AWAY BUT WOULD BE RIGHT BACK, SINCE HIS CIGARETTE LAY BURNING IN THE ASHTRAY, WERE NOTHING MORE THAN A MAGICIANíS PROPS! EVERYTHING LYING ON THE TABLE BEHIND THE WINDOW IS A TRICK! IT IS SIMPLY THE WINDOW DRESSING OF A BEER HOUSE AND ALL YOU NEEDED WAS A FESH LOOK TO SEE IT FOR WHAT IT WAS.

 

IT IS THIS

"FRESH LOOK"

WHICH I SEEK

IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO SEE,

ALBEIT WITH TEMPORARILY UNBIASED EYES,

THOSE OBJECTS

WHICH MY FRIENDS AT HOME

CALL

KITSCH

AND WHICH PEOPLE HERE CALL

artfull decoration

 

I THINK I NEED A CUP OF COFFEE

 
     
   
     
 

I HAD ALWAYS CONSIDERED THE Café Luxembourg ON SPUI TO BE MY CAFÉ. PERHAPS BECAUSE THERE, ON SUNDAY MORNINGS, A COFFEE AND A SLICE OF APPLE PIE mit slagroom (WITH WHIPPED CREAM) HAVE OPENED DISCUSSIONS WHICH SLIDED ON THE SLIPPERY TASTE OF SWEETNESS.

 

THIS TIME, ON THE OCCASION OF A VISIT

TO THE NEDERLANDS FILM MUSEUM,

I DISCOVERED THE Café

Vertigo! AND I BELIEVE THAT

ONLY THE WORD DISCOVERY

CAN HINT AT THE CONTENT

OF A MORE DETAILED DESCRIPTION.

 

THE STEPS OF AN AMATEUR EXPLORING THE CITY OF FLOWERS WILL NOT EASILY LEAD HIM TO THE Café Vertigo. AND YET, WHATEVER THE SEASON, A TRAM CAN ALWAYS TAKE YOU THERE; UNDER THE STAIRS IN THE CANDLELIGHT WHEN ITíS COLD, OR IN THE GARDEN WHEN THE SUN BECOMES WARMER.

 

WHILE SOME PEOPLE BUY HAMMOCKS

 

TO SWING IN THEIR BACK YARDS

 

OTHERS SOAK UP THE SUN, SITTING ON THE BENCHES ON SPUI OR SHOPPING ALONG KALVERSTRAAT

 

WHILE THE TOURISTS WANDER AROUND DAM

 

AND THE KIDS ENJOY THE STREET THEATER

 

IN ONE OF THE SHOPS AROUND THE DAM I HAD ONCE BOUGHT A TEDDY BEAR WHICH TRAVELED TO GREECE WEARING ITS PURPLE CARDIGAN AND PLAID PANTS. IT HADNíT OCCURRED TO ME THAT EVERY TEDDY BEAR SHOULD HAVE A NAME, BUT WHEN SOMEONE ASKED ME "SO, WHAT DO YOU CALL HIM?", I IMMEDIATELY REPLIED "VAN PUFFELEN." DURING THAT TRIP, ONE RAINY DAY, I HAD DISCOVERED VAN PUFFELENíS ON PRINSENGRACHT. EVER SINCE THEN, EACH TIME I FIND MYSELF IN THIS CITY, I MAKE SURE I SPEND ONE LUNCHTIME SITTING AT THE ROUND TABLE, DRINKING BEER, AND ONE EVENING AT ONE OF THE TABLES NEAR THE KITCHEN, LISTENING TO SAXOPHONE MUSIC. I LOVE WATCHING THE TOWERING, FAT DUTCHMAN PREPARING THE DISHESÖ

 

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