Monthly Archives: September 2009

Picnic Day One


Too caught up in schmoozing to post anything yesterday, but I had the chance to enjoy several sessions. First off was ‘The Arab Social Web’, with the speakers Mohamed Najem, Co-founder of Social Media Exchange and Moeed Ahmad, Head of New Media at Al Jazeera, discussing how social media enable people in their region to circumvent censorship and other restricting factors.

The best session of the day was ‘Once Upon These Times: New Stories for New Audiences’ with Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher at Penguin Books, and Matt Locke, Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 Education. They presented six stories about storytelling, using successful examples to drive home key points:

1. You Suck at Photoshop, key point: hide stories in unexpected places

2. Surrender Control, key point: give yourself ridiculous restraints

3. We Tell Stories, key point: experiment outside your comfort zones

4. I am Cherry Girl, key point: invent a character without a storyline

5. Yu-Gi-Oh!, key point: give fans stuff to play with

6. Smokescreen, key point: create stories you can binge on when you want

I had the chance to sit down with Jeremy after he spoke. What was supposed to be an interview turned into a lovely discussion about books and the industry, but I’ll hopefully have the chance to catch up with him, and other speakers in the coming days.


Ik houdt van fietsen

Ik houdt van fietsen

Riding around this morning, I spotted an ‘Amsterdam houdt van fietsan’ (Amsterdam loves bikes) poster. Not that Amsterdammers need a campaign to convince them. As autumn begins, I hope this is the year I fulfill my dream: to catch a falling leaf while riding my bike. I’ll stay busy with that until the film Riding Bikes with the Dutch by Michael Wolfgang Bauch comes out.

Hello Picnic


Yea, PICNIC starts today! Three days of creative inspiration at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam and, hopefully, a chance to chat with a few of the speakers. Stay tuned…

Book Cover Archive

book archive

A good book is even better when it has an eye-catching cover. The Book Cover Archive captures some of the best of them. Unfortunately, browsing through the covers, I realized I missed the exhibition for the Best Dutch Book Design of 2008, which closed on Monday. I guess I’ll have to be content with this online collection until next year.

Fruit Tree

Autumn in Amsterdam

Wandering around Oude West, I spotted a red apple hanging in the tree. What a beautiful, perfect apple, I thought. Strange though, I never see fruit trees in Amsterdam. It did look a little too perfect though. Then I saw an orange, a banana, a pear, and a bunch of grapes. The joke was on me. Perhaps they were hung there by children in the school a few doors down. I imagine that they spend their free moments looking out the window at all the unsuspecting adults who catch a glimpse of the tree, do a double take. Then stop to take a closer look and really see.

Bon Voyage Elliott

setting sail

“He is like a mist that floats and vanishes abruptly.”

Monologism as Poetry


Art everywhere in Berlin. Monologism as Poetry, an installation by Vittorio Santoro, part of the exhibition Conflicting Tales: Subjectivity.