Uitmarkt 2006

In Amsterdam for Uitmarkt 2006 – the sort of open-access culture that Amsterdam does really well. It’s a three-day preview of the year’s forthcoming events, from classical music, through books to theatre. We had a great time at the singalong event for the year’s forthcoming musicals – a mix of Anglo and Dutch stuff ranging from Annie to a musical apparently about the Dutch navy (it wasn’t clear, but Dutch flags were a big feature).

One of the forthcoming Dutch musicals was called “Wat Zien Ik?” (What do I see?), which I remember only for its rather catchy number “Het Café van Bet”. It’s about a hooker’s life in the red light district of Amsterdam, but the musical turns out to be an adaptation of a play by Albert Mol. It was turned into a 1971 film (English title: Business is Business), directed by a young Paul Verhoeven, who later went on to direct Showgirls, Basic Instinct and RoboCop.

Travel notes: Brussels

On the way to Amsterdam, and a night in the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. By coincidence, it’s where my grandfather-in-law stayed with his new wife on their honeymoon in 1946. It’s still a five star place, though currently in the middle of renovation. Lots of excellent art nouveau stained glass and some well-preserved history among the modern comforts.

Presumably the lack of business travellers in August was the reason for the ludicrously cheap rate (about €60 for a double room).

The hotel’s address in the usual schizoid Brussels manner is “Place de Brouckère 13 Debrouckereplein”

We are holding him on a charge of possession of curly black hair and thick lips

Just to show that the Not the Nine O’Clock News sketch was merely ahead of its time, a shocking and shameful story on the BBC news site. Two Asian passengers had to be removed from a Monarch flight from Malaga to Manchester, because some of the passengers refused to fly with people who were Asian and speaking a language that might have been Arabic.

Well done, passengers! Another victory for terrorism and Daily Mail stereotypes.

PS. It won’t surprise you to learn that the Daily “Hurrah for the Blackshirts!” Mail reported this story favourably.