Happy 1st birthday to Dutch Girl in London! In October 2013 I launched my website which is packed with travel advice for anyone visiting London. My ultimate aim was to give walking tours in Dutch around my neighbourhood, i.e. funky East London. The idea of writing a blog was a mere marketing tool to assure my website would gain a higher ranking in the search engine results. A year later I admit that I take more pleasure in writing my blog than I had ever anticipated. It brought me new friends, created many new creative possibilities and made it possible to speak to some of my heroes in the film & music industry.
In the last year I’ve been part of a documentary about the Football World Cup, following a number of people with different nationalities living in the UK. Also during the World Cup I was invited to appear in the sports programme ’14 to 1′ on the new digital TV channel London Live. I donned my patriotic Orange outfit and told people I was confident the Netherlands would finally be World Champion this time…
Recently I’ve been contacted to work on an interactive travel tool for KLM. I’m in the process for this now and the tool with travel advice to Amsterdam (my birth city) should go live on my website later this year. I have also been asked to write articles for a travel website and my first article about my trip to Nantes, France, will be published soon.
Finally, I’ve contributed to the eBook The Insider’s Guide to Walking in London which you can download for FREE here. book has been compiled by Catherine Redfern of London Hiker and features 21 walks in London suggested by London locals and bloggers. Find mine on page 16!
Here are the highlights from the last year so you can catch up on any posts you might have missed!
Last year October I went to see a variety of live music shows including a Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds concert, an opera with music written by composer and musician Ben Frost and a London show of my favourite Dutch band De Staat. After having written my post Rocktober 2013 the UK label manager for De Staat contacted me and offered me the opportunity to do an interview with the band which I happily accepted of course! You can read the interview here. I was happy to see the band return to London early this year in a packed venue filled with British fans, but also many Dutchies who flew out to London for this gig!
Imagine how excited I was to be given the chance to interview one of my favourite bands after just two weeks of writing my blog! Now imagine how shocked and thrilled I was to meet one of my ultimate heroes: Mike Patton, singer of Faith no More, the most awesome band on the planet!!! Early this year I spent a week in Sydney with my husband who was playing at the Sydney Festival. In that week I met rock legends Lee Ranaldo (guitarist and co-founder of Sonic Youth) and Mike Patton. You can read all about my Ozzy adventures here.
Music and film are two of my greatest passions. I blame my mum and brother for the film addiction: ever since I was a little girl I’ve been watching films. My mum’s favourite film genres are horror and sci-fi and I would often join them in watching those films (being 4 years old, I didn’t really have many other things to do). One of my earliest film recollections is watching zombie film Day of the Dead. My mum had an easy solution for making this horror film child proof: she just put her hands in front of my eyes during bloody scenes. However, she didn’t realise that hearing zombies wail ‘brains, brains, braaaaaaaaains…’ is far more scarier with your eyes shut without the image. I still feel traumatised by this, but am finally learning to cope with it.
Another film that made a major impression on me was The NeverEnding Story. I was about 5 or 6 years old when we rented this film from the videostore. I was completely mesmerised by this magical film and wanted to watch it over and over again. Sadly it was just a day rental, but as I couldn’t stop crying my mum rang the videostore the following the day to renew the film (yay!). I was over the moon when I heard that my local cinema was screening this film earlier this year. After 30 years I would finally see my first film crush on a big screen! I was even more excited to get to interview one of the people who had worked on the film: Oscar winning special effects maestro Brian Johnson, who’s also responsible for the special effects in one of my all-time favourite films Alien. Read all about Brian’s career, Oscar Award gossip and his work on 2001: A Space Oddysey, Alien, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back and The NeverEnding Story here.
My other film posts included a review of the great film The Double by Richard Ayoade, a 2-part interview with the owner of Genesis Cinema: an independent East End cinema where Charlie Chaplin performed in the past, a review of The Maze Runner and a Halloween-themed interview with award-winning writer and respected film critic Kim Newman.
Expect loads more film-related posts as I have enrolled in a film industry training and accreditation programme!
Living in East London and a mere 10-minute walk from Shoreditch, street art is an obvious recurring topic for my blog. My first blog post was about street art: a Brick Lane graffiti tour. Shortly afterwards I wrote the articles Street Artists Unveiled part 1 and part 2 featuring works by Alex Face, Conor Harrington, Jim Vision, Pure Evil and many other great artists.
For my post Street Artists Unveiled #3 I interviewed animator and street artist Dr Cream who told me all about his intriguing career, including working on famous animations films as Space Jam! This was one of the best interviews I have done so far and I am extremely proud of it!
Through my street art posts I also met Stuart from Inspiring City, a great blog which I highly recommend about arts & culture in London. Stuart and I have co-curated an exhibition by talented artist KEF! over the summer and did a messy yet fun joint interview with artists Sam Peacock and Roy’s People.
I have also had the pleasure of meeting Bablu, reputable street art connoisseur and writer of the blog Trapped in Zone One.
At the other side of the Atlantic I met Sami of Street Art United States who took me to an abandoned bus garage in Boston that was absolutely covered in street art and graffiti! I intend on sharing these photos with you, after I’ve edited them (there are hundreds of them!).
Closer to home I met up with Anna Stolyarova, an inspiring lady and director of Street Art Museum Amsterdam. She gave me a private tour around a lesser-known area in Amsterdam and showed me some stunning murals curated by her and her colleagues.
During the gloomy winter months I visited some fittingly dark exhibitions, including one by the Chapman brothers where I took this photo of poor Ronald McDonald. You can read all about it in my post The Macabre Trinity of Wonderful Worlds: Švankmajer, The Chapman Brothers and the Brothers Quay.
If this is too scary for you, you can admire the gorgeous designs by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier in the post The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.
Over the summer I wrote an extensive review on the exhibition A Grin Without a Cat about the multifaceted artist Chris Marker who might be best known for his re-invention of the essay films and his film La Jetée which has been adapted into the Terry Gilliam film Twelve Monkeys. I was extremely proud to find out that the official Chris Marker website added my article on there!
Did you know that Santa Claus has been modelled after Saint Nicholas whose name day is celebrated early December in the Netherlands and other European countries? Every year he brings around presents for children together with his companions Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes). You can read all about this curious Dutch tradition – which even led to debates within the UN last year – in my post Sinterklaas: about a Saint and a Castrated Rooster.
A typical British celebration is Guy Fawkes Day: on the 5th of November there are massive fireworks displays and bonfires to celebrate that Guy Fawkes and his gang failed to blow up Parliament on the 5th November in 1605. Do you remember the quote ‘Remember remember the fifth of November’ from the film V for Vendetta? Now you know where that line (and also the plot for blowing up Parliament) comes from. And what about the Anonymous mask made famous by the Occupy movement? Yep, also inspired by Guy Fawkes! Read all about Guy Fawkes Day in my post 5 November: Firework Night!
I wrote an article about an underrated festive day: National Yorkshire Pudding Day! Yorkshire puddings are part of the best meal of the week, i.e. Sunday roasts. Hmmmm… just typing this makes my tummy rumble! Read the post and learn all about the wonderful Yorkshire pudding and find many great recipes!
Finally, I flew back to the Netherlands last year to visit the annual Bock beer festival in Utrecht. The things I do for my readers! (Look at me, I look miserable!)
Thank you all for reading my blog! Please feel free to leave me comments as I appreciate all feedback.
Please keep an eye out on my blog or Facebook page for my future posts as I have a few exciting articles to be posted over the next months. My next post will be about a taxidermy class I took! I also managed to get respected street artist Mr Fahrenheit to do a rare interview with me. Furthermore, I spoke to Dutch photographer Claude Crommelin who published the popular street art book New Street Art.