Skip to main content

Magazine

Vuvuzela Democracy

By Magazine

The vuvuzela is not allowed to be longer than 1 meter according to the International Football Association FIFA. This measure was introduced to limit the amount of noise in South African football stadiums. Actually, this is rather pointless because even a shortened vuvuzela makes more than enough noise. Other hooters, kuduzelas (hooters made of antelope horn), scooter helmets and loudspeakers are strictly forbidden inside each of the FIFA World Cup venues. However an exception is made for the vuvuzela.
Read More

Freud is back

By Magazine

Last week, figuratively speaking, Sarah Ferguson was on the couch with Oprah Winfrey. Oprah’s website showed a few excerpts. One of the video clips opened with a constipation remedy: ‘To enable you to be yourself again.’ A commercial with a sense of timing because it was immediately followed by a close-up of the Duchess of York, referring to herself in the third person – ‘the royal she’.
Read More

Advertising God

By Magazine

This week the Advertising Standards Authority revealed that an ad displayed on buses proclaiming the existence of God drew more complaints than any other advert. Asserting one’s belief in God antagonises people in the Western World to the same extent as the Islamic World reacts to secularism.

Read More

Boris Bear

By Magazine

Two walking mobile telephones: that was my response to a first glimpse of Wenlock and Mandeville, the mascots for the London Olympic Games. The mascot is a tricky phenomenon. Everyone wants to voice their opinion. Actually, I think a mascot works best when it emerges unprompted.
Read More

A Secretive Society

By Magazine

It could well be that you have heard of The Bullingdon Club, a secretive dinner club in Oxford University. In the eighties it counted David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson among its membership. Another high profile member was David Dimbleby, of course he joined them half a lifetime earlier, but even so The Bullingdon Club is firmly established into the centre of power.

Read More

Running in High Heels

By Magazine

‘The Queen nearly moved to London again.’
‘She stays quite often in London anyway.’
‘But I am talking about the Dutch Queen and what happened during the Remembrance of the War Dead.’

Read More

Don’t ask Pigs

By Magazine

I wasn’t familiar with Peppa Pig but it seems that this little pig, star of the British children’s television programme has at the last moment refused to take part in a Labour campaign stunt. The Daily Telegraph immediately declared her to be a Conservative, this on account of her grandfather’s boat and nice kitchen curtains. If we look to pigs to tell us how to vote, which prefer rolling in the mud and grunting sessions, then we must be in quite a pickle.

Read More

Column: Sized to Vanity

By Magazine

According to a British research survey, which questioned 1500 women, owning an iPhone makes men more attractive.  It also transpired that women think iPhone-men communicate better and are more into humour. Thirty-seven percent of the interviewees find iPhone-men more trustworthy. Well, that is a bit of a put-down for men without an iPhone. Besides, I don’t own a mobile phone at all.

Read More

Column: Ashes to Ashes

By Magazine

‘Are you also devastated about the tropical fruit salad?’
‘The tropical fruit salad?’
‘Yes, the one that is flown in three times a week from Ghana.’
‘Ah, it just reminded me of John Cleese.’

Read More

Column: Saint Messi

By Magazine

‘Lionel Messi is the new Messiah’, according to the newspaper headlines after Barcelona beat Arsenal. He did score four magnificent goals, but to crown him the Messiah is going a touch too far. Besides, this week Barcelona acquired an honorary chairman, who has made a very legitimate claim to such a title for quite a few years, Johan Cruijff, aka ‘El Salvador’ (The Redeemer).

Read More

Column: You shouldn’t have to mince your words

By Magazine

Dutch people are hospitable, friendly and tolerant, at least that is how the Dutch view themselves. Of course, the best country to live in is The Netherlands. All surveys report the same result: The Netherlands is one of the happiest countries in the world. Well, that is the Dutch opinion. However The Netherlands is not a paradise, actually sometimes it resembles hell.

Read More

Column: To Jamie Oliver’s Taste

By Magazine

I am not sure what they think about this in the USA; first the Brits sent them Borat (Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan), followed by Stephen Fry, who during a TV series answers questions such as: ‘How do I hypnotise a lobster?’ in his own inimitable fashion. As if this wasn’t enough, the Golden Globes were dominated by Ricky Gervais. Now Jamie Olivier follows hot on their heels. He doesn’t waste any time at all; he takes the bull by the horns and starts a battle against obesity in America.
Read More

Column: Beyond the X Factor

By Magazine

Philip Larkin, the ‘hermit of Hull’, is in my opinion the finest poet of the last century. The likelihood of a new Philip Larkin emerging is extremely slight. He no longer fits in with our current society. He kept himself to himself, he dressed like a proper gentleman, he adored Margaret Thatcher, wouldn’t have won any beauty contest, was shy, and moreover he turned deaf in later life. On top of this he refused to become Poet Laureate.
Read More

Column: In Bed with Sarkozy

By Magazine

The French spend more time asleep than any other nation, a full nine hours. They also eat for an additional two hours a day, another world record. This conjured up a picture of Nicolas Sarkozy nibbling on a bit of foie gras on toast while enjoying a lie in with Carla Bruni and being in control of the French nuclear arms, ‘La Force de Frappe’,  prompting Carla to utter in a sultry whisper: ‘Force de Frappe’. It seems utterly impossible that this man could find enough time to have an affair.

Read More

Column: Feisty Old Fellows

By Magazine

On the 4th of March I had a date at the Letterkundig Museum in The Hague to view my self-portrait which has been acquired by the museum for their National Writers’ Portrait Collection. Youthful writers were very thin on the ground because they hadn’t yet earned their portrait, and so the average age was around eighty.
Read More

Column: Thunderbird Brown

By Magazine

‘If only the Dutch Prime Minister was a proper bully,’ was my lament when I heard of the commotion about Gordon Brown’s behaviour. Bully Balkenende; it sounds great but doesn’t fit his utterly proper personality. Recently, the Dutch governing coalition broke up because several cabinet ministers failed to back each other in public. We don’t, however, know if there was much shouting during this process. In as far as we know, no one was pulled from their chair.
Read More

Column: On Defending a Pike

By Magazine

I am totally against putting animals on equal footing with human beings. This muddles the debate, which was something that sprung to mind this week when I read that a Swiss advocate had defended a pike in court. The defendant, an angler, was accused of having spent ten minutes landing the pike and the pike didn’t survive his ordeal.
Read More

Column: A Blessing for Elderly Ladies

By Magazine

‘Excessive internet use is linked to depression,’ according to a report produced by British scientists this week, ‘but it is not clear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are more prone to be to drawn to it.’
Read More