On the Road

On the Road: 2002

Delft Shagpijpjes and Saint Etienne
2 November 2002

Delft: Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles www.royaldelft.com
One of the most entertaining parts is going to the shop after the self-guided tour, chatting with a painter, and then admiring the outlandish prices

The dude William of Orange was executed here; can put your finger in the hole in the wall at the Prinsenhof museum where the bullet hit after passing through the guy; putting fingers in holes became a bit of a running joke, as did smoking dweebs (in nothing less than a shagpijpje), trick or treating in Amsterdam, and how some leaning buildings look like bananas

Carmen, Lee, Mary accepted my apology and I was allowed to tag along

They in turn got to stick their finger in my cream berliner bollen

Amsterdam: Melkweg, Saint Etienne performing
Signs in Amsterdam are nutty; one sign can have multiple arms pointing to Centraal Station or Leidseplein
It had been a while since I'd been to Leidseplein (and yeah, I've been through a lot since then) so I wound up circumnavigating greater Amsterdam by foot before I finally made it to Leidseplein, popped into the Hard Rock for directions to Melkweg - didn't even need to flash my All Access pass. The directions were spot on.

The lowdown from The International Herald Tribune: "Taking their name from the renowned French football team, indie pop band Saint Etienne was founded by former music journalists in 1988 and had their first brush with the mainstream UK charts in 1990 with Only Love Can Break Your Heart featuring Sarah Cracknell on vocals. Their music is often described along the lines of 'perfect pop' with its fusion of various musical genres melded into melodic, danceable music. Expect a wealth of tracks from their recently released album Finisterre tonight."

Classy blonde bird, stylish black sleeveless top and very nice, fashionable red pants; does her little dances at the front of the stage while she sings; the back-up band is truly a back up band; they're half-blocked from view by a curtain of boards (rework that!); behind them, a screen shows footage of London - black & white and color intermixed; footage relates to the content of the songs. Sarah's got her male following. One puts a bouquet of flowers in front of her, another chats her up between songs and offers to buy her a beverage. She declines, saying, "My mother taught me to never accept drinks from strangers." She was funny in her delivery; nicely done!

The woman has a fantastic voice and a lot of the songs are peppy, but with a bit much of a techno feel
Pukey cigarette smoke from the couple standing next to me; the most revolting stuff I've ever had the displeasure of consuming second-hand

Booked it back to Centraal Station directly in record time - in the rain
Night trains run every hour from 00:43 so there is little danger of being stranded in Amsterdam when the trains are up and running and not shut down by violent weather

Took the stop train - a slow, slow journey back to Den Haag Centraal; the semi-fast train takes approximately 50 minutes, this one took 80 minutes. But the beauty of it all was watching some drunk bum get forcibly removed from the station as I sauntered the few yards over to my hotel and peaceful slumber.

Thought on the train, between jolting out of naps: Do I have the winter blues? There was a bit in the paper about it last week: Some people get irritable and have the urge to sleep more in the winter. Light therapy. Different office lighting during the winter is being tested out here. It's not just the winter, but the lack of sunshine for a good part of the time because of the clouds!

Random Notes: Crappuccinos on 4th floor, better on 5th; full-blown cappuccino maker on 7th floor
En route back home in September: Full train, sitting on the steps talking to a girl from Gouda, biggest town she can live in; Transylvania boyfriend, met in med school
No wash cloths on some days, particularly weekends, in Sofitel; breakfast is better at Europa, but it requires a 20-minute tram ride; staff at Sofitel is finally warming up; Europa staff is friendly from the outset
Balance travel desires with social needs/schedule around others; have social life away from co-workers
Conversation with Neil Dobson: "develop pockets of friends" as you go along, keep working it back home; lose touch; knackered when you're home; and he's a really nice guy, to boot

Others have expressed interest in stopping the insanity in the next year or so (Rob Ward is going to grad school); at least they've got a sizeable salary to show for their efforts


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