Friday, September 30, 2005

Comfortably numbed down.

Jace sums up one of the main reasons for my antipathy towards the term 'world music' quite nicely:
"World music festivals love “fusion” groups whose members draw on diverse backgrounds to produce an anodyne sound seemingly intended to reassure the predominantly Western, middle-class festival audience: world music as foreign music with its distinctive features rubbed off, now suitable for mass consumption anywhere on the globe; difference with a jazzy backbeat you can groove to; the exotic but never the extreme."
(The full article can be read here.)

Also, the term itself is annoying. Why do we classify anything that's not Western as "world music"?

(Sorry, Putumayo, I'm sure you guys do great work in bringing not-so-well-known sounds from all over the world to our attention (kinda like Diplo and his "On Blast"-series but without the street cred.), but what's with the happy-colour coffeehouse-aesthetics album covers? To me, that speaks of the same kind of non-extreme exotism that exists in world music 'fusion' groups; an idealized version of faraway places, comfortably numbed down to paint us a picture of one happy planet. ["Look kids, this is Sri Lanka. They eat a lot of mangos there. And it's always sunny."] )

Friday, September 23, 2005

Coffee with the Devil. (chapter 2)

The next morning, I woke up at half past ten.

Then I woke up again at five to eleven. Crap. No time for shower, breakfast and such. I pulled the least smelly clothes I could find on, apologized to my cat for not having food in the house yet, and stumbled my way downstairs, around the corner and into the café.

Smoky blues wafted into my face, Robert Johnson standing on the crossroads, and the Devil sat there, in the corner near the window. She was reading a newspaper, peering through a pair of ridiculously large sunglasses. As I approached, she looked up, put her coffee down and smiled. Got up and planted a kiss on my cheek, as if we knew each other for years already.

"But we do, don't we?" she whispered in my ear.
"Don't do that," I frowned.
"Do what? " she asked, innocently. I sighed.
"Look... I know, as you being... you know, who you are, that you'd be able to, you know, do things like ... that."
"Yeah?"
"But don't do it around me, okay? Or just pretend you're not doing it, or something. It's very disconcerting. "
"Oh... all right, sorry... " She paused, looking guilty.
"...What?"
"I uhm... already ordered for you. Hope you don't mind. I'll stop now, promise. Honestly."

I gave her a suspicious glance as I sat down. My coffee arrived, and not very surprisingly, just the way I like it, with lots of milk and foam and two sugars. Stirring the cup, I lit a cigarette, taking a deep drag. Not a great way to hide your anxiety, I'll admit.

"You nervous?" she asked.
"A little."
"Why?"
I shot her a glance, over the rim of my cup. "Come off it."
She chuckled. "Hey, you asked me to not read you, so I'm not. Why are you nervous?"
"Oh, come on. I'm sitting here, drinking coffee with you."
"So I make you nervous?"
"Yes, kind of. "
"...Oh." she actually looked like she regretted that.

A silence, then, mildly uncomfortable. I smoked, sipped, and looked outside.

"Why me?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, obviously, not everyone knows who you are."
"True... well, I'm not sure. You seemed nice."
"Nice? The Devil picks his followers because he thinks they're nice?"
"You want to follow me?"
"Well, no. But still... 'nice'?"
"Like I said, I don't know. I guess you could say I just follow my instincts. More of a feely-type of person, know what I mean?"
"I suppose, yes. "

Silence again, less uncomfortable this time.

"...so... Do you think I'm evil? Root of all, etcetera?"
"I don't know, I've only just met you. You seem nice."
"Nice? You call the Devil nice?"
"Sure. You seem allright. " I grinned.
"Dude, treading thin ice here. You do not call the Devil 'nice'." She grinned back.
"Why not? Especially like the skirt. Very cute."
"Cute? Cute? Watch it now, kid."

We just sat there for a few moments, grinning stupidly.
"I like you." she said.
"You already said that. But why?"
"You're innocent. In a way. You look at things differently."
"I do?"
"Sure. It's like... a lot of times, you see things as if for the first time. Fresh eyes, like a kid. Or an animal."
"Gee, thanks. "
"It's a compliment. Also, I can't figure out if your soul is young, or old. "
"So it's true then? Reincarnation and such?"
"No comment. Anyways, you seemed less inclined to freak out, once I'd let you know."
"You could've picked some goth kid. "
"Please, they're so boring. They always want to call me "Prince of the Night" or something like that. Do I look like a prince of the night to you?"
"Well-"
"Of course not. Over the years, my image has really gone in a wrong direction, I can tell you that."
"So you're saying you're not evil at all?"
"I don't think the term 'evil' is relevant here. It's very relative. The reason you think I am the Devil, is because that's the quickest reference for you."
"I wasn't raised a Christian."
"No, but it's all over your culture. I've been known by all sorts of names, through the ages."
"Like what?"
"Iktomi, Kitsune, Loki, Eshu, Puca... But that's beside the point. "
"No,no, it's not. Those are all tricksters. Not necessarily embodiments of evil."
"Okay, name me a trickster in Christianity then."
"... well, there's you. Judas, maybe?"
"Judas wasn't a trickster. Nice guy, by the way. Bit rash in his decisions, but terribly misinterpreted, all in all."
"So what about you?"
"Think about it. First, there was Chaos. Or void, or darkness, or whatever you want to call it. Then, one bit of that became Order, because if you have infinite possibility, the possibility of Order will pop up sooner or later. So, there was Order. You may have read about that as God. Order wishes to know itself, but can't do that on it's own. Chaos is too vast to talk to, and too, ha-ha, chaotic. So, Order tries to make a smaller version of Chaos, one that he can contain, but with enough of the original Chaos in it that it remains unpredictable, able to ask questions. That's where I come in." She paused to take a sip of coffee, and steal a cigarette from my pack.
"Anyways, fast forward a few millenia. Or none, since time is such an outdated concept. Anyways. At some point, people come in. They respect Order. Write books about it, think it's the greatest thing in the world. So, automatically, anything to do with Chaos becomes the antagonist, or Evil, if you will."
"So what you're saying is-"
"What I'm saying is that people who build a system, often don't like to have to answer tricky questions about that system. Afraid that it will fall apart. You see?"
"I think I do. So it's all a question of propaganda."
"Exactly. Luckily, there's enough people who do respect the value of Chaos."
"Okay... " I checked my watch.
"You better go, you'll be late for work."
"I know... thanks for the coffee." I got up.
"See you next week?"
"Sure. Call me."
"I will."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Urban Animal. (Coffee with the Devil, 1.5)

She crouches low, in the shade between two buildings. Bony fingers, scratched hands hastily tearing open greased paper to reveal the lukewarm treasure inside. Dough, though greasy and squashed, encasing a core of vegetables which would probably look too old to sell on the market, but make excellent filling for overspiced, oversalted snack. Dinner for her. She bites into it, although not greedily, not hastily like one would expect, but slowly, taking small bites, trying to make it last.

Shade, food, non-disturbance, and warm late summer air. For now, all is good. Slowly but surely, she munches her way through the risolles. Her only focus-point now, and she is perfectly in the moment, as always, although guard-senses would never be let down. Corners of eyes still function, ears are still attuned to any sound out of the ordinary, ready to pick up anything different from the city's usual flow.

The city. All she ever knew, the different layers, from rich to poor (she considered herself neither of them, or all of them), the veins through which they move. She loves the city, loves the way it provides safe spots (like this one), excitement (like where she gets her food), beauty (nearly everywhere), contrasting ugliness. She knows that, without places where the metropolis is torn open, it's guts revealed, it's innards shown, or where it's building are crumbling, slowly dying to be inevitably replaced by something newer (or not), she could never appreciate the other parts. And, when she thought about it, even the decay itself was a beautiful thing, living (dying?) proof of the city's age and wisdom.

She loves the way the city sometimes provides gifts, for her to stumble on. Like now, as every night, she unwraps a piece of oilcloth from her pocket, carefully, so as not to break the fragile white wires, not to scratch the surface of the small white box, no larger than a pack of cigarettes, even more. She finds the ends of the wires, and holds them close to her ears. Presses the button, and that beautiful sound comes out. To her, it is the city talking, singing to her, all the traffic-noises and mumblings, whispers, shouts and yells of people warped, rearranged and composed into this piece. It tells her of the city's rhythm, that it will go on no matter what, even though that high sound will try to keep interfering, even though the beat sometimes stumbles, falters, and picks itself up again. The music she hears is an alternate take of John Coltrane's "Greensleeves", but the reference would be lost on her. To her, it is simply the sweetest fifteen minutes in a day.

When the piece finishes, she tucks the box away, as carefully as she unwrapped it, stands up, brushing crumbs from her clothing. Licks the crumbs from her fingers, rearranges the blanket-turned-scarf and jumps down. Ledge, ledge, hold on to rainpipe, pavement. A passerby looks up, bewildered at this filthy angel that fell from the sky, then prejudice kicks in and another bum is filtered out. Another one frowns, as he sees a girl that is, in his eyes, no older than sixteen, light a cigarette. He gets a feral stare in return, and the girl disappears in the comforting folds of uncharted inner-city back alleys, trailing smoke and a tiny orange glow.

She steers clear of people, knowing that they want to decide for her. All she needs is the city. The city doesn't judge, the city doesn't care, and the city cares more than all of them. Yet she knows that without those same people, the city is nothing.

Occasionally, somebody catches her interest, and she follows them for some time, taking care to remain unseen (which, by now, has become not so much second as first nature to her, making it harder for her to be noticed than not to), their lives becoming her stories, until she loses interest and moves on. Like now, there is this boy who is touched by that lady, the one that looks like a girl, but houses so much more. She recognizes a lot of herself in the lady, which is probably why she dislikes her. The lady seems to be noticed only by the people she chooses to be noticed by. Like herself, only she chooses to be seen by no-one. And, even though she is unseen by the city's life and blood, she knows this lady knows she is there. The lady knows, and she knows, and that is enough.

But this boy (or man, she isn't sure, he hovers in between) is now touched by the lady, and tomorrow, they shall meet.

She finds her spot for the night, in the street where he lives, and waits for stories to unfold.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Exciting things with beamers.

This weekend, friday the 23d and saturday the 24th of September, I'll be doing all sorts of terribly exciting things with beamers and megaphones on wheels, in the Central Library of Den Haag, together with a bunch of other people. The fest is called Today's Art, and the line-up looks promising (Jason Forrest/Donna Summer! Kevin Blechdom! Bunker! Chris Cunningham!).

Too bad Robodock is in the same weekend. Way to go on the planning, guys.

Mystery Machine.

Well, the mystery of the homeless robot is solved. Apparently, his name is Dirk and he lives at Robodock.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wet dog, damp human.

Rainy season has started, killing any hope of an indian summer in one fell swoop.

Yes, I realize that we are not somewhere around or south of the equator, so technically speaking, we do not have a rainy season. But bear with me here. Global warming will eventually level out any different types of weather we have, I suppose. Already our winters aren't any real winters anymore, only perpetual rain and wind from September until March. And no, the whole rise in temperate also doesn't seem to affect us. Summers are just getting wetter and wetter.

Who knows? Maybe in the future, we will not have any seasons anymore. Only lands with different weather. "And here, children, lies Summer. This used to be known as Egypt, but we stepped away from nationalities like that back in the late 21st century. Now, can anyone tell me where Spring lies?" And so on.

Normally, I wouldn't be so bothered by such trivialities as weather, but today, it seemed to have a devastating effect on society.

Traveling from Amsterdam to Den Haag, door to door, I haven't seen a single smiling face. It started already while waiting for the tram around my corner. A drunk bum started ranting to this girl. As usual, I didn't pay any attention, but when his volume started to rise to levels that interfered with my MP3-player, I hit the "pause"-button to eavesdrop. Apparently, the poor girl was to blame for this man's current habitat. Truly, it all was entirely her fault. I shuffled closer, still under the snug cover of my headphones, even bobbing my head a little to keep up appearances that yes, I was just listening to Radiohead, and no, I wasn't eavesdropping. The man started getting rowdier and rowdier. The girl, by now, had switched to ignoramode, which didn't help at all. Scenarios of silly heroics started flying through my head, should this spin out of control. Me jumping in (no, I'm not that much of a macho, but I daresay that youthfulness could hold a candle against drunk homelessness. Come to think of it, this assumption might well prove to be my undoing someday), saving the girl, glory, fame, pats on the shoulder etcetera. Luckily, the tram arrived, leaving the man raving against a trash can and an empty bottle.

Then, in the tram itself, things didn't improve much. Aside from that curious smell that you get in a tramful of rainy people (wet dog, damp human, foggy windows, squeaky rubber etc.), the damn thing was just too full. Same for the train. Sad faces, sad (but beautiful) music, and the current state of the world all piled up to make me as gloomy as possible.

Anyhow. My sincerest apologies. I didn't plan on posting a rant like this, and I do not plan to make a habit out of it. Really. There are enough "Dear diary"-blogs out there as it is, and I like none of them.

So, I promise, next time around, only urban peculiarities and music and such again.


P.S.: Yes, the whole Katrina-aftermath is terrible and devastating (really! no irony or sarcasm here, dammit. I live in a country below sea level; the chance that this happens here is too big to make jokes about it.). But don't tell me that there are no European leftishists secretly gloating over yet another failure of the Bush administration.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I want to be a chair.

New musical obsession: Gnawa Diffusion.

Nice mix of gnaoua, rai, reggae and other sunny things. French Algerians/ Algerian French I believe, although I might be wrong there. They've played with the likes of Nass el Ghiwane and Manu Chao, to name a few.

Of course, there's the risk of being labeled as "multicultural" or some other non-term, but frankly, I do not give a damn. The reason why they stole my heart has also a lot to do with the fact that the chorus of one of their songs translates to something like "I Want To Be A Chair In A Ladies' Hairdressing Salon". Or anyway, that's what I understood, with my somewhat limited command of the French language. Further on, he wishes to be various other inanimate objects (a belt, a shirt, perfume), all, I assume, to be closer to the object of his affection. (which is all in all quite predictable, but fun nonetheless)

Nice cure for early post-summer blues. (I will try to upload something later, maybe. I think there are also tunes to be heard on their site.)



On a side note: to anyone still consciously using the term "world music" to describe a genre, I hereby declare a personal vendetta. Seriously, I will hunt you down and eat your brain.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gracias.

A respectful nod towards Mr. Clayton for mentioning me.

Monday, September 12, 2005

For tonight, we are Gypsies.

Tough choices last night. Odd, how these things often converge. For months, there can be nothing to do, and then, one night, you suddenly have to make the gut-twisting choice between the Boban Markovic Orkestar and Ove-Naxx.

No one should have to make this choice. It's Sophie all over again. Balkan brass versus Japanese breakcore. Both are among my favorite artists/ music styles.

So, I did what any sensible person would do. I outsourced, letting someone else make the choice for me.

And gods, I'm happy for what she chose. Boban Markovic, again, rocked our gadjo asses from here to Serbia and back. This orchestra, 10 Roma strong, is amazing. They play with so much energy, so tight, so good. Trumpet solos soar over thumping basslines, intricate rhythmics mingle with highly catchy Romani melodies. Drums boom, horns blare, and for one night, we imagined ourselves on some wedding-party in the Balkans, getting drunk on homemade vodka and dancing until our poor feet begged us to stop.

The crowd was, how shall I put it, not entirely what I expected. A lot of 30-somethings, undoubtedly with semi-creative office-jobs, who justify their mildly boring lifestyles by watching what they call 'arthouse'-films; that is to say, ethnically correct non-Hollywood cinematic food. So, from Emir Kusturica to Boban Markovic is not such a big step.

Now, I might sound mildly disdainful here, but of course I'm all for more people, no matter from which background, listening to this music/ watching these films. Only thing is, if they go to a concert like this, they should at least dance. Don't stand there in the back of the hall with your arms folded, sipping your beer and nodding your head.

Of course, we youngsters, with our ever-present blatant disregard for our surroundings, started our hip-swinging and feet-shuffling from the very first notes, and soon, more followed.

Sometimes, you just have to set an example, and all will turn out right.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Automated homeless.

Weirdness. At Leidseplein, just the other day. I walk home from work, which usually means that my perceptual abilities are slightly diminished anyways. Pupils have difficulty adjusting from dark cellar kitchen to light bright sunny outside, so most of the distance is covered squinting.

I arrive at the aforementioned Leidseplein, and dodge some bum pushing a shoppingcart. Not giving him a second's thought, I walk on, until something catches my eye. He has a wooden leg, or otherwise a strangely stiff one. No second thought, but he does get a second glance, and there's something odd about this guy.

All hairyness, the back clotted together in organic dreads, a torn nondescript army coat, plastic bags hung all around the cart. Something odd. What is it?

Not the way he looks.

The way he moves. Not one, but two wooden legs. How does he walk? More people have noticed him by now. The cart had got stuck in the tramrails for a moment, but he managed. Crossing the square straight through the middle. And then I see it, as the first one it seems, and I follow, get close to get a better look. Yes: this isn't a man.

A small mechanism, hidden behind the plastic bags, in the cart, moves the legs. It's a dummy, a crude robot. Really well done. Really really well. I walk closer, circle the automaton, and then _he looks at me_.

Remote controlled. Wow. I look around to see who controls it, but I can't find anyone. By now, more people have discovered the secret, and point, and laugh. The puppet looks around him, at everyone.

I love these things. Random, unexpected. Hopefully, this will happen more often.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Makeshift wind orchestra.

Construction sites, they continue to amaze and fascinate. Even if not for the reasons planned.

Again, I stumbled upon a sonic pearl, a lump of coal with diamond-potential. No, that's not doing it credit. It is way beyond coal-status, this one.

(Dammit, I really need to start carrying some recording equipment.)

As I was walking home last night, I heard it coming a block away. All the while, I was puzzled. A low hum, a sub-dermal vibration, always staying just that bit too much out of hearing range. Something airy, fleeting, reminiscent of ancient carnivals, circuses, but then too monotone for that. Melancholy, more and more so as I closed in on it.

And then, I turned a corner, and there she stood, in all her glory: an impromptu organ, a makeshift wind orchestra.

They were building something high, and for some bizarre and probably completely sanctified construction-technical reason that's beyond my grasp, there were only floors yet. No walls. At least seven stories, and by the look of it, it's not finished yet. Seven floors, only supported by scores of metal pillars. These pillars are probably adjustable in height, since they sport a row of holes on their sides, so to pin it on one size. And these holes, they were magic.

Wind came from just the right direction, and got caught in these holes to slip into trunks, and there, was turned into music. All these pillars, must have been hundreds of them, all catching wind, all playing the same, but slightly different, note.

Haunting, beautiful, and the aforementioned melancholy, were all words that popped into my head only later, after I stood there for what seemed ages but turned out to be a mere twenty minutes.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Coffee with the Devil. (chapter 1)

Behind me, in the line at the supermarket, stood the Devil.

Admittedly, he didn't look like the Devil. He looked like a pretty girl, no fashion model or anything, but just cute. The kind of girl that you feel a bit guilty about when you think about her like that, no older than seventeen. That kind of cute.

So, no horns, no tail, no hooves, no pitchfork, but if you half-closed your eyes, and made your focus go a bit woozy, you could just pick up the smell of sulphur from the corner of your eye.

He (she?) smiled at me. I smiled back. I paid, put my groceries in my bag and for one bizarre moment, I considered actually asking her if she wanted to have coffee with me sometime. I quickly put the thought away. You don't ask the Devil if she (he?) has coffee with you, right? Weird.

Now, of course I wondered why I knew this was the devil. I'm not particularly inclined to take up religion as a hobby. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself atheist, but that's only because there's always this gently nagging thought that there might be 'something' (ooh, apostrophes!). I don't quite buy the idea that there's one Supreme Being that created all, knows all. Maybe I'm too afraid to dismiss the idea completely just in case I'm, you know, wrong. To be short: I never actually considered the idea that there might be a personification, an embodiment of all evil.

Still, there she was, trying to jam half a loaf of bread in her bag and counting her change. One last look, and I turned around, quite disconcerted. Didn't anyone else see? I still don't know why, but I was absolutely certain: this was Satan, Shaitan, the fallen angel, ruler of Inferno, the Devil.

I was almost at the exit, the automatic doors had already slid open, and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, and there she stood, smiling broadly, obviously burdened by the weight of the plastic bag full of groceries.

"Wanna go for coffee sometime?"
I blinked. "Uhm... "
"Just say yes, c'mon. Will be fun." Again, that smile. Really cute, the way she did that.
"But..." I started.
"Yeah, yeah, I know, you also read Faust."
"Yes, so..."
"Don't make such a big thing out of it. Just coffee. No strings attached. Really." She nodded, for emphasis. Then, she leaned forward, conspiring, an impish gleam in her blue eyes. "Don't believe everything they write... it's mostly propaganda anyways. " Wink.
"... no strings attached?"
"Yup. Tomorrow? You're not doing anything in the morning, right?"
"Uh, yeah, no, I'm not, right, yeah...." I didn't quite know what to do with this. This could turn out to be a very bad decision, but then again, I had to admit I was fascinated as well. This, of course, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"Good. Say.. eleven, at that place around your corner?
"How do you know where..."
But she smiled again, and said: "Great! See you then."
And she was gone, on an old noisy rickety bike.

I walked home, mildly confused. What had just happened? Was I really going to have coffee with the Devil? Could I believe her when she said "no strings attached"? Also, I found it all rather interesting. What was going to happen? Was she going to try to get my soul, in return for riches untold, fame and power? Would I get to hear juicy gossip about God? I didn't know.

Divided we stand.

T-shirt spotted at party last night at Stubnitz :

"My subculture can kick your subculture's ass."

Heh. See title.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Funky business.

I think, by now, we can all agree that Baile Funk, or Funk Carioca if you will, has taken the world by storm. Or is heavily involved in the act of doing so right now.

Now, the question is: will the sound change? I mean, surely they must make tons of money now, seeing as how the stuff's being played all over the world...

Yeah, right.

I think MP3's are largely to be credited for the sudden rise of this music. So, unless you're DJ Marlboro or something, I think it's quite hard to make an actual living from this music. But then again, I've never actually been in Rio or São Paolo, so I might be wrong there.

Also, I kinda hope it won't change. A large part of why I like this stuff is because it sounds so damn cheap. You can just hear the 486 or early Pentium humming in the background in some hot, stuffy favela backroom.

No, I think the real question we have to ask ourselves is: will the performers ever learn any actual MC-ing skills?


P.S.: Don't know what I'm talking about? Do some research, dammit, or listen. MC Galo, incidentally, does boast some skills in MC-ing, off-key as they are.

Sovereignity.

Lady Sovereign's latest single rocks. Or at least I think so. We need more retro-ska riddims.

Now, I was gonna say "Lady Sovereign's NEW single", but it was dropped about a month ago, and in internet time, that means ages. So.

Usually, I have little to no patience for star(let)s who whine about how hard their life as a celebrity is, and how much they have to work. Screw you, choose a different profession then.

But Sovvie is just charming, and she has a great sense of humour. ("Hold on, I was drunk last night!") Hell, I think you have to, being the only white girl in the grimescene. But since other (and better paid) people than me have already written tons of articles about her, I'll refrain from doing so.


Just listen to the song. You can get it here.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sad cranes.

Around the corner of where I live, they are building a new apartment-complex. Or something like that, I haven't bothered to actually look at the "artistic impression" that graces the sign in front of the site yet.

In order to do so, they had to tear down a large flat, that was abandoned and subsequently re-used by squatters. Inside, there were studios, a café/restaurant, a movie theater, a place for performances, both theatre and music, and living-spaces. This was all more than a year ago. I expect the new apartments to go for sale for an incredible amount, furthering the cause of upyuppie-ing the neighbourhood. I suppose that's what you get for squatting a big building and doing nice things in it on a top-level location (it's about 10 minutes walking from Leidseplein).

For a city that wants to promote itself as a place where a lot of creativity is happening, they sure are working hard that all the places where the really interesting stuff (i.e. the stuff that doesn't necessarily make money) happens are being forced to move or closed down.

But before I sound too bitter: this is not the point of my post.

My point is: at this construction site, there are cranes. Several huge cranes. These cranes need oiling. Badly. But I wish, I really wish, that they won't do that.

Because you see, everytime these cranes move, they make a loud noise, like only huge metal constructions that need oiling can. They moan, they groan, they howl. A beautiful hymn, a symphony of gargantuan, sad, sluggish mammals, possibly from the Pleistocene. Slow to build up, it sustains for several seconds, then fades out. Sometimes they sing together, creating a dissonant harmony. It reverberates against the walls around my house. Sometimes haunting, melancholy, then hopeful, as the younger, sorry, smaller one joins in with it's high-pitched whine. When I close my eyes, I can sometimes see these creatures, somewhere in between Woolly Mammoth and Dire Wolf, call out to each other over the span of an ancient plain, a tundra with a crack in the middle, unable to reach each other, their only comfort each other's voices.

And then the hammering starts, because Amsterdam soil is soft, and apartments need to be built, money needs to be made.

I get out of bed and get ready for work.