Some days…

This morning, I bought a ticket for the second-to-last performance of Tanz der Vampire in Berlin. A Steingathering is always fun.

This afternoon, I came home and found a message in the mail, saying that my presence was requested on a family-thing, in exactly the same weekend.


Now, I have to arrange something for the ticket. I don’t think it will be much of a problem to find someone for it — in fact, there is a volunteer — but I’ll have to figure out how to do it. I arranged for a pickup at the box office, so I’ll have to see if I can get them to mail the ticket. We’ll see.

First Lines: The Light Fantastic

In Terry Pratchett’s The Light Fantastic the Discworld is on a collision course with a humongous red star, and the only one who can (and eventually does) save the planet is a cowardly wizard, last seen falling over the edge of the world.

I’m still not fully converted to the Church of Pratchettism, but I am told that the first couple of books in the Discworld series are a bit weak. We’ll see.

Terry Pratchett — The Light Fantastic
The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn’t sure it was worth the effort.

Die andere zanger met stemproblemen

Soms maken ze het mij te makkelijk: eerst hoor je op de radio in een reclame voor echte Noord-Hollandse kaas de vraag of je zin hebt om live mee te zingen tijdens de “Jantje Smit komt naar je toe deze zomer toer 2008”, en vervolgens kom je er tijdens het zoeken naar een bevestiging dat de tekst van zijn nieuwe single inderdaad zo diepzinnig is als je dacht te horen — en jawel, hij’s diep — achter dat zijn uitgestelde album “Stilte in de Storm” moet gaan heten…


I just got an email:

De voorstelling van Meat Loaf, welke in Ahoy’ te Rotterdam op 20-11-2007 zou plaatsvinden is afgelast. Dit in verband met een cyste op de stemband van de zanger. Er komt geen vervangende datum. De kaarten kunnen worden ingeleverd tot 20-12-2007 bij één van onze verkooppunten.

Or in short and understandable English, due to a cyst on his vocal chord, all remaining dates of Meat Loaf’s European tour have been cancelled, and will not be rescheduled. In a statement, Mr. Loaf said he would be back, which will probably be sometime early next year.

I can’t say I’m surprised at all. After leaving the stage halfway through a his show in Newcastle last week and the subsequent cancellation of three shows on the very last moment, this was to be expected. And I rather have a decent sounding Loaf in 2008 than another concert on par with his Amsterdam and Cologne performances earlier this year.

In my ten years of concert-going, this is only the second time a band canceled on me. The first was Savatage, who had to cancel their 1997 or ’98 performance in Baarlo due to a guitarist breaking a bone in his hand.

First Lines: Smoke & Mirrors

Although this theory has enormous gaps in it, I think that, most of the time, ‘best of’ albums are a good way of getting introduced to an artist, especially if that artist has a large back catalog. Taking an uninformed plunge into an artists repertoire can result in picking that one awful record, and stop you exploring further. A compilation should have a decent cross-section of what said artist has done, offering you a starting point to delve deeper. Nowadays that risk is reduced by the ability to go online and find some samples to educate yourself, but still, you have the risk to sample some duds, and leave it at that.

For much the same reasons, I like anthologies of short stories to get acquainted with authors. For example, I put off picking up any book by Terry Pratchett because I did not know which of his 30+ books to start with. But the thing with a collection of short stories is that it gives you the opportunity to sample the style(s) of a writer without having to dedicate yourself to a novel that might not be one of his best. Sure, this will not work for every collection, but I never claimed my theory was perfect in the first place.

Neil Gaiman has been on my list to check out for quite some time. I can’t recall how he came on the list, who recommended him or where I read something by him that sparked my interest, but there he was. So, when I was shopping around for some new books, I picked up his short story collection Smoke & Mirrors. And that book totally confirmed my theory.

In the book, you get some poetry (weird poetry with no rhyme or discernible rhythm) and stories (magnificently weird stories). Sometimes the poetry worked for me, and sometimes it did not. But almost all of the stories seemed to work. Be it the story about the woman who found the Holy Grail in a second hand shop, the tiny stories about the cards of the major arcana in a vampire tarot deck or the retelling of Snow White from the perspective of her stepmother.

Just after I started reading Smoke & Mirrors, I went to see the movie Stardust, based on Gaiman’s book of the same name. It’s on the list now.

Book read
Neil Gaiman — Smoke & Mirrors
First line
They do it with mirrors.