July 17th, 2003


Hard Gras 33 – Faas wordt tachtig (03-025)

Hard Gras 33 – Faas wordt tachtig (03-025)

I like the Hard Gras series; they do not have to follow fashion of the day. They can really go into detail about something they like, at least once a year they have a themed number, completely dedicated to someone. This time the subject is Faas Wilkes. For the younger ones amongst you: Faas Wilkes was one of the first Dutch players to go abroad to play at a professional level, while the game in the Netherlands was still amateur based. More impressive: a little boy from Amsterdam learned to play on the street and always wanted to be Wilkes, he went on to become the best of the world: Johan Cruijff. So if Cruijff chose him as his idol, he must have been good.

According to some he was the best player the Netherlands ever had. He held the all time record for scored goals in the Dutch team until Bergkamp took that record of him. Kluivert has passed him since, which means he is still ahead of star strikers like Cruijff and Van Basten. His dribble was famous around the world, it stunned the San Siro, where he played for Inter. Until this day older Italian fans still remember him as one of them. One story is the story of his days at Inter. Another story, by one of the best sports writers at the moment Hugo Borst, tells the story of the two sons of Wilkes. One of them is a sandwich short for a picnic, the love between the two brothers says something about the family. Edwin Winkels writes about Wilkes in Spain, at Valencia and Levante. Funny coincidence that Cruijff in his late career also played for the second club from Valencia.

I like reading stories from the old days. This certainly counts. Faas Wilkes has turned 80 last year.


Dutch television just started the last series of the Royle family. Obviously I've seen it twice on the BBC before, yet I can watch that series over and over again. First episode tonight in which Denise is breastfeeding baby David and in the end they leave the house and forget to take him. What a great show!

EC Baseball

The Dutch won their last group match against Sweden easily. For the first time offense was working properly, after two innings it was 9-0 already, they took out several key players then, saving them for the knock out phase. They won 10-0 after 7 and won their group. The tournament is going to start really now with a quarter final match against Russia. The Russians are without their star pitcher, suspended after testing positive for cocain. The first 6 of the tournament qualify for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next week.

Douglas Adams – Dirk Gently’s holistic detective agency (03-026)

Douglas Adams – Dirk Gently’s holistic detective agency (03-026)

My first swap on BookCrossing gave me this book by the author of the very famous Hitchhikers galaxy. I have to admit I was reluctant to read this one, this is completely not my genre. I just do not get fantasy and sci-fi, perhaps it is my lack of imagination, though my opinion is that I’ve got too much imagination to adapt to other’s. I want the image to appear in my mind, not someone else decide for me. Thanks to Kittiwake, who I got this book from, I started anyway.

Up until now the only three books in this genre I managed to finish (and appreciate!) were 1984, Brave new world and This perfect day. The first two have proven to be classics, with a lot of predictions coming true within half a century, the last one hopefully will be proven wrong, though I’m afraid Levin was as right as Huxley and Orwell.

This time I was pleasantly surprised to notice that you can use the genre with a sense of humour as well. It took me a bit to get into it, but I immediately liked the way some conversations went. An example:

- We’ve got one of your computers down the station, buggered if I can get it to work
- Which model do you have?
- I think it’s called a Quark II
- Well, that’s simple. It doesn’t work. It never has done. The thing is a heap of shit. I suggest you use it as a paperweight.
- I wouldn’t like to do that sir, the door would keep blowing open
- What do you mean officer?
- I use it to keep the door closed, nasty drought..

I opened the book at random to find this conversation, there are dozens like these in the book. I read another book at the same time, but found myself more and more often drawn towards the adventures of Dirk. In the story Dirk is trying to solve a murder, in the meantime saving the entire human race from extinction (at no extra charge).

I enjoyed reading this, though some of the twists in the second half of the book got me frowning a bit, I think I could read more by Adams. This doesn’t mean I’m drawn towards the whole genre though.