June 5, 2020

 

For his friends and family who do not speak Dutch Joost Nillissen wrote a book in English. He wrote an outrageous roller coaster of a story in which the author recounts the hilarious adventures of his alter ego, Mr Yosht, who inexplicably finds himself forced into a life of continual crime for which he turns out to be ill equipped.

Working as a courier for a local gang with immense aspirations Mr Yosht meets some unsavoury characters such as the one-eyed undertaker, Tiny Giant and Clean Mary. Others will become his friends and will eventually safe his life: a retired classics professor, Pierre Hubnoth, who translates Aeschylus and likes to wear women's clothes, and his friend, a Dominican monk, who likes to read Keats and quote Dante.

After the unfortunate death of Tony the Limp for Yosht is blamed, the hero of this story has to run for his life because the Limp's widow, the formidable Irish Granny O'Malley seeks revenge and has sworn that she will find you and kill you.

Yosht's flight l...

June 8, 2018

Achter mijn voordeur is het hartverscheurende verslag van huiselijk geweld dat Truusje van Zanten en haar kinderen moesten ondergaan. Het boek werd in november 2015 uitgegeven en buitengewoon goed ontvangen in kringen die met huiselijk geweld te maken hebben: de thuiszorg, politie, kinderbescherming, slachtoffers en hun familie en vrienden. Veel bibliotheken schaften het boek aan.

Het blijft helaas een onderwerp dat voortdurende aandacht verdient. Truusje zelf vertelt erover op politieacademies en geeft voordrachten waar gevraagd. Een deel van de opbrengst van het boek ging naar Fonds Slachtofferhulp.

Nu heeft Spin – Producties te Rosmalen een knappe boektrailer van “Achter mijn voordeur” gemaakt. Bekijk de trailer en koop het boek. Klik op 'bestellen' en scroll omlaag.

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PS:Nog steeds gaat een deel van de opbrengst naar Fonds Slachtofferhulp.

September 24, 2017

I've written a little book about the similarities I discovered between Bob Dylan and the eleventh century Hebrew poet: Shmuel Hanagid. Both poets are/were giants in their time, important innovators with countless followers. In this age and time it is easy to know Bob Dylan, he is all over YouTube, he still performs about a hundred shows a year and he sings and writes in English and was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature in 2016.

To know Shmuel Hanagid is a little harder; he's not on YouTube, he writes in Hebrew and he lived about a thousand years ago in Spain. How could he and Dylan have possibly anything in common?

Well, that's what my book is about.

You'd be surprised.

For centuries Jewish scholars knew that Hanagid was one of the greatest poets of the Golden Age of Hebrew poetry (950-1492), although very little of his poetry survived. He was mentioned often by his contemporaries, but there was very little proof. All that changed in the nineteen twenties when his work was discovered...

August 20, 2017

It's a cruel world today

I've been worried before and I'm worried now. I used to worry about a hard rain gonna fall, about the state of this union, about a lot of things. Today it's this cruel world that's got me occupied. In my mind's eye I see ceremonies of horsemen, I hear riders approaching my watchtower. I tell myself I will not go down under the ground, because, then as now, I want to die in my footsteps.

All my life there's been trouble all around, but today there's thunder on the mountain, fires on the moon and ruckus in the alley. As soon as the sun is up I'll go out and play music, lighten the mood. My head is full of music and its history. Saw a young singer once and she made me think of Mimi Memphis singing about Ma Rainey, how she looked for her clear through old Tennessee. I could look for Alicia Keys, too, although she wasn't born in Georgia, but in Hell's Kitchen, when I was already living down the line. Music can do that to you, make your soul expand, make you grow. If o...

August 12, 2017

A very personal interpretation

Not many people, not even Dylan, know this song is about me, way back when. And if it isn't about me, then it's about a man, who, down on his luck, sits on his porch after a long day at the steel mill and watches the evenin' haze settle over town. His body aches, his buying power has gone down, but what do you expect: low wages are a reality. He's said it before, a long time ago, that in a South American town the miners work almost for nothing. The place he loves best is now a memory, it's in the past. She is gone. She has wounded him and he is in exile, reading Ovid's exile poetry.

He'd wish she would come and sit on his knee as she is dearer to him than himself. Come see the starlight by the end of the creek. “Only if you put your cruel weapons on the shelf”, he imagines her saying, but as the steel rails hum and the hunger gets into his gut, the warrior inside of him awakens. Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind. We'll fight our best on the front line...

August 11, 2017

The world has gone black before his eyes

There is a man sitting on the railroad track. They never called him Lost John before, but now they do, because he's in trouble deep. He's about to leave the stage. The blues hit him like a hammer hits the nail. Something is out of whack. He could travel the world, he thinks, but it would only be to return to the arms of Nettie Moore. So what's the point? It is all struggle and strife and anything might go wrong. He might not even make it back home alive.

But what do you expect from the oldest son of a crazy man? Time is running out for him. While on the road he has done a lot of bad things and hiding in a cowboy band is no longer an option. The countdown has begun, there will be a prize to pay, but even as the net is closing in on him, he'll still walk through a blazing fire for his Nettie Moore.

Looking back on a long life he can tell the world has gone berserk. Like everybody else he was brought up in one religion or another, never paid any atten...

August 10, 2017

Bob Dylan in exile - like Ovid

Ain't talking reminds me of my father's house that has many mansions, plenty of room for all souls, but no one wants to live there. No one – at least on this site - has burned his fingers yet trying to comment on the song. I accepted the challenge. And did the research.

It is commonly known, among the aficionados, that Dylan nicked quite a couple of lines in this song from Ovid. So I went to the source.

In the foggy ruins of my past I must have translated parts of Metamorphoses by Publius Ovidius Naso at school, I'm certain, but I can't remember a thing. So I looked him up. Ovid was born in 43 BCE in Italy and died almost exactly 2000 years ago in the year 17 or 18 in exile. He was a tremendously popular poet, the Bob Dylan of his day, until one day he fell out of grace and emperor August had him exiled to Pontus on the Black sea which Ovid calls: “the last outback at the world's end.” That's where he wrote Tristia. The book contains letters to his wife, his...

July 28, 2017

A commentary on When the deal goes down & / Huck's Tune

When the deal goes down (Modern Times) is a pretty somber, but straightforward song, except for the last line of each verse:

I'll be with you when the deal goes down.

And it is that line that has so many people scrambling for their copy of the Old and New Testament. What deal? In this context I should mention something that Tony Attwood of bob-dylan.org.co.uk referred to in his commentary on this song. In the famous CBS 60 Minutes interview, easily found on YouTube, Dylan is asked why he is still touring so much.

Dylan: 'it's a destiny thing, I made a bargain with it, a long time ago. I'm holding up my end.

The interviewer: 'With whom?'

Dylan: (half smiling, evasively, maybe a little embarrassed): 'the chief commander.'

The interviewer: 'In this world?'

Dylan: 'In this world and the world we cannot see.'

So who is the 'you'? His wife, lover, friend, child? The chief commander? God? Jesus?

Good Lord.

Most of the lines in this song are thought...

July 24, 2017

 A deep sense of regret

Tony Attwood struggled with this song in his commentary on his illuminating and highly recommended website bob-dylan.org.co.uk and Len hit the nail on the head with his comment of November 20, 2016. It's about an ugly divorce.

When I first heard the song I was still happily married to a woman well endowed and the lyrics almost immediately inspired me to paint three large canvasses with images from the song: The pale white horse, the angel with four faces and the woman well endowed.

The paintings are now in another country, gathering dust underneath my ex wife's bed that she shares with a stranger. I wish her a long and happy life and him an erectile dysfunction 'till the end of his days.

I guess Dylan was in a similar mood when he wrote “Angelina”. Dylan can bite and kick, charm and seduce in his love songs and then say truly terrible things such as “you just kind of wasted my precious time”. He can bear a grudge for a long time, just as he can pine for his lost lov...

July 20, 2017

The song starts with one of the greatest riddles in the Hebrew Bible. I and I is one of the possible translations of “ehyeh asher ehyeh” (Ex. 3:14). Other translations are: “I am who I am”, “I am I”, “I am who I shall be”.

God speaks to Moses from the burning bush and Moses asks him how he should call him. His people will want to know. And God's answer is: ehyeh asher ehyeh. The trouble lies in the word 'asher' which can mean any number of things depending on the context, but God does not provide a context. A great number of books and essays have been written on this mysterious introduction.

I and I

In creation where one's nature neither honors nor forgives

I and I

One says to the other, no man sees my face and lives

Well, what can I say, this is God talking. He created heaven and earth, man and beast, honoring no one, for there is no one above him, and forgiving no one, for that's the kind of God he is. It's a jealous God. An invisible God. “For there shall no man see me, and live” (Ex. 33:...

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