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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: Culture

Franka in London...

Do you know the feeling of archive aphasia after you move?

The exact thing you are looking for is always in another box. And after a while you find that half the boxes actually contain things you really didnt need in the new place you moved to…

When moving from Holland to the UK I stored all my private things in a crate.
Most of the contents of this crate I don’t really miss in London life, but one of them I miss daily…

My Franka Comic collection.

Books, art or cartoons?

It is something that is probably hard to explain to other than European comic enthusiasts…
European comics are different in several ways.

1. These comics are not the same as that moralistically silly American super hero nonsense. They are closer to graphic novels, while also including some of the fun of cartoons.

2. These comics are not only for children (Manara certainly isn’t… PG18). NB: This doesnt mean that I like blue comics, but I mean that the really good ones usually show more facets of life than simple story telling.
Compare TinTin and his political context and historically correct backdrops and cars…

Futuristic Moebius

There are too many to refer to:  Schuiten& Peeters, Jodorowsky, Moebius etc etc.
My favourite will always be Franka. (wikipedia, Franka site)

Kuijpers' poster for Lambiek...

Henk Kuijpers, the artist of Franka is really a hero in making an exciting mixture of challenging storylines and plots, one of the best drawing styles I have ever seen, impressive historical and cultural context and off course a brilliant leading lady.

When living in Amsterdam, there was nothing more wonderful than spending a rainy weekend afternoon at ‘Lambiek’ getting lost in the old bookcases or latest publications. This was so ingrained in Amsterdam culture that I find it hard to imagine elsewhere…

Over the years I grew up with Franka, starting out as a prim and sligtly shy girl into a dazzling woman of the world.

Regretfully these books still don’t come in English, so please check the links mostly to admire the artistic work and dynamic in the drawings.

Corto Maltese, a French Historically correct classic.

Britain with all its culture and wit, strangely enough does not match the  level the sophictication of ‘La Bande Dessinee’ in NL and Belgo-Franco culture. (or may be I just missed it)
It takes a special kind of imagination and visual art to really take this art to its full quality of expression.

(forgive me I could talk about this for hours…)

Grown up...

I remember walking into an alternative book shop, presenting a small pile of home produced comics in Eastern Berlin a few years ago. These had a different flavour to the Belgo-Franco work, but still all had the same amount of raw inventivity and visual charm…

So I know there are many of them out there, and I look forward to finding a quirky comic shop in the US to supply me with a regular fix of visual imagination…

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Queen Anne's Alcove

Yesterday was the first day it was light enough for me to go running after work again.
So I made my round through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, along the Palace and the Serpentine and  up to my favourite building in the park:

Queen Anne’s Alcove.

The proportions are truly lovely, it is classical yet elegant.
And with the high wooden paneling it almost becomes like a comfy chair. It is nearly impossible not to resist sitting down in its arch, take up your book and lean back.

Crowded gardens...

In its present location it suffers a bit from its surroundings, while also benefitting…
Firstly it is stuck behind a large Victorian confection (pump house for the Italian Fountain Garden) and then there is an enormous high rise office block that looms over it behind it.
Quite a pity for such a pretty and elegant design of 1705 by Christopher Wren… Originally this building was located to the south of Kensington Palace. With the present plans to change the entrance to the Palace they might consider putting it back… But then again, it would lose its marvelous views.

The view...

On weekend runs I always have a little break and sit down to listen to the water and look at the people milling round the fountains. There are children who are trying to pet the Swans (while the parents are not aware of the danger and smilingly take pictures) and I saved a Labrador once from the handsomely shaped deep ponds. Only when I dragged him out by the collar, did I find out he had only 3 legs…

Anyway I digress… I am wondering if the States will have an equivalent elegant surrounding to run and relax in. Everywhere in London there are little sites, buildings, arches and funny architecture to entertain and surprise you.  They date back from Tudor times, the elegant Regency or over the top Victoriana. (There you go Albert!) It is all these things that makes London such an inspiring place to be.

My original home town of Amsterdam also had a similar scenery, even if we called the eras differently and made everything out of bricks…

I wonder what awaits me in the States…

Same proportions...

So far I have seen very green and pretty areas of Cambridge and Boston. Including the impressive Mount Auburn Cemetery.

But what about the living and daily life?
I bet you wont see many children playing around here…

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