Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Blinded by the light

With Christmas approaching fast, I want to give homage to those who contribute most to the celebration of light. Those that light up the night on their 2 wheels. These vigilantes move amongst us as normal citizens during the day but at night they come out and fight the darkness with their stadium strength lights. They are the champions of the road, the real life Batmen...

...Batmen in their minds maybe. These idiots aspire to be like the sun. They are determined to blind every other road user. They use up more energy for their bike lights than Oxford Street does for their Christmas lights. I hate these people.

It's dangerous and it should be policed. I have a simple solution. If your bike lights are brighter than 20 lumen's you should receive one public lashing. Preferably in Trafalgar Square. If your bike lights are brighter than 30 lumen's you should receive 2 lashings and so on and so forth.

Bike lights are not meant to blind people, they are not meant to penetrate walls or illuminate the moon. Bike lights are there to be seen. In a city you don't need to light the ground in front of you because every street is lit up already. On dark stretches where there are no street lights you wont need bright lights because your light will seem much brighter in complete darkness.

Let Christmas be the celebration of light and not your bicycle.

Monday, 13 November 2017

T’is the season to be racist

So it’s nearly that time again, when we celebrate with family, get comfy in front of the fire, unwrap gifts we don’t need and drink and eat vulgar amounts of food and alcohol. Oh and it’s now also that time where we become massive racists! 

Tesco has been vilified for depicting a Muslim family enjoying Christmas. Oh Tesco, how very dare you?! Muslims don’t celebrate Christian holidays. Criminal that. Marks and Spencer has had to pull their advert because some dislexic, animal rights activist was convinced the thief in the advert tells Paddington Bear “Fuck you, little bear”, instead of “Thank you, little bear”. Of course the thief says fuck you. Duhh! And that’s clearly animal abuse. 

The children’s celebration of Sinterklaas back in my home country has already been earmarked by an international smear campaign as the most racist yearly event in human history. Zwarte Pieten (aka Black Pete), Saint Nicholas’ helpers, who have blackened faces due to their many trips down the chimney (which begs the question how come Santa isn’t black as night from all the chimney soot) have recently created a racist backlash to such an extent that many people re-enacting the celebration for their children now make sure that Zwarte Piet is no longer black but multicoloured. Just not black. Anything but black. Black = Racist. 

Many people will argue that black Pete isn’t black because of the chimney soot but because the age old celebration stems back to a time when the “Saint” had African American helpers (which vegetarians and gluten intolerant tree huggers like to see as slaves). And this is unacceptable of course. Especially in an age where our 13 year old transgender children shouldn’t have to choose whether they are a girl or a boy. If they want to be a fire spitting dinosaur then society should treat them like a fire spitting dinosaur! 

Next year, I guarantee, the little people (i.e. dwarves and midgets) will stand up and demand everyone boycotts Christmas because it clearly depicts little people as slaves and the animal rights activists will do the same because Rudolp and his buddies are clearly being horrendously mistreated. Working tirelessly through the night, delivering presents to all the children across the world is surely a form of animal torture! It’s an outrage!! Which all means we might be celebrating one of the last Christmases ever this year. And therefore I suggest we ignore all the xenophobes and insecure, righteous jizztrumpets and celebrate the traditional holidays in all their racist, sexist, homophobic glory. 

Veel plezier met Sinterklaas, merry Christmas to everyone (including Muslims) and a happy and healthy 2018!!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

First the worst, second the best....

...third the one with the ruinous text.

When it comes to book series that run past a minimum of 2 books, is there something to be said for the first book in the series always being the best? In the film industry this usually holds true but does it apply to the written word?

I have highlighted a number of book series that I have read and held them up against the light to test this theory...

Dan Brown's theological thrillers with your average university lecturer Robert Langdon as the likeable protagonist. Selling millions upon millions of copies world wide readers keep coming back for more of his religious adventures.

  1. Angels and Demons
  2. The Da Vinci Code
  3. The Lost Symbol
  4. Inferno
  5. Origin

Although Angels and Demons was published before the Da Vinci Code it wasn't until Brown's second instalment that the series took off so it is hard to see Angels and Demons as the first book in the series.
Of the novels the Da Vinci Code brought Brown's controversial work into the limelight. In my opinion it is also the best if not on par with Inferno. The Angels and Demons and the Lost Symbol plot lines, twists and turns and their endings were a little overkill. It seemed like they were written with Hollywood in mind. Too much.

Verdict: First the worst, second the best...

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins took the world by storm in similar dimensions to the Harry Potter craze.

The Hunger Games hit the scene like a cheap tramp. All fishnets and horrible tragedy. Impossible dilemmas and family drama. Yet the second instalment, Catching Fire, really hit home. A superb and epic surprise awaits the readers in the follow on from the first story. The third book, although grand and emotional, in my opinion doesn't appeal as much as the first two and left me a little disappointed.

    1. Hunger Games    2. Catching Fire
    3. Mockingjay

Verdict: First not the worst, but second definitely the best...

Terry Brooks has created a fantasy world equalled by only a few authors. The world of Shannara was what made me fall in love with fantasy as a young boy. The magical world of the four lands drew me in and still hasn't quite let me go. I am still working my way through the subsequent splinter stories.One of the things that
always catches me is how magically Brooks makes his fictional world come to life.

1. The Sword of Shannara
2. The Elfstones of Shannara
3. The Wishsong of Shannara

Based only on the original trilogy, the Shannara books were my first real foray into science fantasy and therefore they will always hold a special place in my heart. It reminds me of being tucked up in bed with my nightlight on and diving into the magical world of the Four Lands.

Verdict: First the best, second also very good and the third not so much...

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (WoT) is an epic fantasy series that has very strong Asian and mythological influences. The Yin and Yang of Taoism run like a thread through the main plot line.

1.The Eye of The World
2. The Great Hunt
3. The Dragon Reborn
4. The Shadow Rising
5. The Fires of Heaven
6. The Lord of Chaos
7. The Crown of Swords
8. The Path of Daggers
9........too many

For me the first book in this series stands out as it is the start of the epic journey for all three boys in the book and it sets the tone for the rest of the story. Although I did also really enjoy the Great Hunt and some of the other instalments.I have to be honest and admit that I haven't read all of the books yet but as far as I can tell the best of the writing lies in the first 4 books.

Verdict: First and the Fourth shine and the rest are too entwined...

George Martin's now infamous Game of Thrones (GoT) has taken the world by storm both in written form but especially since its depiction on our television screens. I can't imagine Martin could ever have imagined in his wildest, most fantastical dreams that it would take off the way it has. I had read his first five books before it hit the TV screens and I fell in love with it. I am convinced that the similarities between the storyline and our current society, with for example a discontent with the political system is partly responsible for the reasons so many people relate to it.

1. A Game of Thrones
2. A Clash of Kings
3. A Storm of Swords
4. A Feast for Crows
5 A Dance with Dragons

Verdict: Third the one with the bloody chest, but also the best!

Finally, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. Possibly the most recognisable young adult story ever created, Harry and his adventures with friend and foe is loved worldwide.From young little wizard to heroic magician, Harry has grabbed the imagination of almost every child born after the turn of the century. I was initially turned off by the incredible adult interest in the books and decided to read them once all the hype had died down. Which I have done and I can say I am thoroughly enjoying them (as we speak)!

 1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
 2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
 3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
 4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
 5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
 6. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
 7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Verdict: I haven't made my mind up yet! What do you think?

Monday, 2 October 2017

Surprising Dutch Sports stars

When it comes to sports the Dutch are known for their speed skating, field hockey, and making it to world cup football finals. Which we then subsequently lose.

But there is actually a lot more to to us than meets the eye. We regularly produce rare sporting talent, exceptional prodigies of their generation that excel on the world stage, proving there's more to us lanky blond cheese munchers than tulips and bicycles.

Tim Visser - the first Dutch professional rugby player was scouted while playing in the Amsterdam sevens and immediately brought over to the Newcastle Falcons academy as a teenager. There he excelled and eventually moved to Edinburgh where he recently became the all time leading try scorer in all competitions. For some reason or other he decided to become a Scottish national and play for the them instead of the mighty Orange (rugby) army.

   Marvin van Heek - The first real skiing (star) coming out of the Netherlands. Marvin caught the attention of the skiing fraternity with an 8th place in Chamonix World Cup downhill race in 2012 but was never really able to consolidate that performance since then due in part to a recurring back injury.

Dafne Schippers - Long, muscular legged Dafne has recently lit up the running track with medals at the Olympics and World Champs. She's not only smoking the Jamaicans (hihihi "smoking") and the Americans but she's also looking cool doing it. Born in my birth city, Utrecht Dafne was a very successful heptathlete before specialising in the 100 and 200 meters. 

Epke Zonderland - Epke the medical student from Lemmer has twisted and flipped onto the world stage since winning the gold medal at the London Olympic games of 2012. With his legendary triple combination air manoeuvre in the finals of the high bar he shot to fame and hasn't looked back. The Flying Dutchman was recently rumoured to be training for five air combinations...

So we are not only a uncomfortably tall nation but also a surprisingly sporty little country that every now and then throws up a surprise in the wired world of sports!

Hup Holland!!