Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Beatles in New Jersey last Sunday

Last Sunday, the New Jersey School of Percussion at the Glenn Weber Drum Shop
featured some brilliant drummers at a half day free program for those of us interested in music and percussion in particular.
Which I will write more about another time.
Perhaps tomorrow.

Today I'll just show a shot I took of a guy who has played drums in The Beatles.
He lives around the corner from the mentioned drum shop in West Orange.
It is not an ordinary music store. It's more like a club, with a stage.
A drum shop attached to it.
(West Orange is only a few minutes from where I live.)

I don't think he was officially part of the program.
He just dropped in to listen to the other drummers I guess.
Although standing quietly in the back he was immediately recognized by them.
Glenn Weber asked the audience if they knew who Andy White was.

A teenager half whispered "Beatles first drummer". At which some in the audience laughed.
As if the lad didn't know who the Beatles were. Or who Andy is.
Everyone knowing Beatles first drummer was supposed to be Pete Best.

Those who'd laughed probably felt a bit embarrased in front of Mr. Andy White when Glenn confirmed that the gentleman standing there was in fact a Beatle.

Andy White, a Scotsman, is a drummer, best known for playing on The Beatles first single, Love Me Do. He also played drums on the "Love Me Do" B-side, "P.S. I Love You."
White was a studio drummer in the 1950s and 1960s in London, recording with artists such as Billy Fury, Marlene Dietrich, Herman's Hermits, Bert Weedon and Tom Jones.

Mr. Andy White proved he is still an amazing drummer.
With humility, great humor and skill he improvised a little lesson on how to use a snare drum.
Nothing wrong with his paradiddles, double paradiddles, strokes and rolls.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

View from the Garden

I've been to Madison Square Garden a couple of times recently as part of a project.
There's something old fashioned about the whole place, and it's surroundings with the gigantic Hotel New Yorker as the second most famous building after the garden itself.
Well, the grand old post office across 8th avenue may come in second after all.
But even so, this world famous area is one of the seedier in NY.
The bars are dingy. The restaurants lousy. The stores are mostly down market stuff.
The liquor stores keep their doors closed and the porn shops that got pushed out of Times Square resettled around here.
Home to the ugliest train station in the world as well. Pennsylvania Station. Or Penn for short.
For those who only have 15 minutes in NY, this is not the part to see.
It's not much to write home about, and probably not much to write a blog on either.
Perhaps I take some shots of the porn shops instead. They're at least color-full.


The other day I went to JFK to meet my oldest son and his girlfriend.
As the flight was arriving early evening, driving would be madness.
The roads out of Manhattan are clogged like arteries just before a heart attack
and basically have the same effect on your health.

A few years ago they introduced something called the Airtrain.
Which is nothing more than a short ride from the airport to connect to the regular subway system.

Which is sort of okay if you live here and are comfortable with the subway.
It's a long ride from central Manhattan to the Airtrain connection.
It takes about 45 minutes.
In rush hour you're not likely to get a seat before well over halfway, when the train's getting little emptier.

I can't believe the capital of the world, as the city likes to call itself, can't build a proper connection to the city.
The buses are somewhat more comfrotable but can take for ever courtesy of that traffic I mentioned.
Plus they're kind of hard to find around the side streets of Port Authority west of 8th avenue.
Signage is, as often in NY, rather sloppy. And improvised. Makes Mumbay look like a modern mecca of organization and planning.

Anyway, the subway out to Howard Beach, where you transfer to the Airtrain, is 2 dollars. Any subway ride in NY is 2 dollars.
The the last 3 minutes Airtrain ride from Howard Beach to JFK on the airtrain is 5 dollars.
You could probably walk, so close is it.

Sure, the grand total to get you to or from the airport is reasonable, even if the Airtrain bit feels like a rip-off in comparison to the subway price. Since you have to ride the subway most of the way anyway.
There's also quite a distance between the Airtrain station and the subway station.
Don't bring too much luggage.
Especially as it's rather uncomfortable to be on a crowded subway train with a bunch of suitcases people will trip over and curse you for.
The bus is 13 bucks.
Taxi about $55.00.
I love to hate this city for its inconveniences.
But well on Manhattan, few cities in the world are as rewarding to walk in.
Tokyo might come to mind as well. And Paris.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Okay, so this one wasn't the last one. Now edited. This is simply a picture from the corridors of Momentum, where I spent a great deal of the first half of 2008. Nice location in Soho. some of the best people i know work there. All hiding when I took out the camera.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

to cross or not to cross

This is the longest break between blog entries since I started.
I don't seem to have the same enthusiasm for it any longer.
Knowing that very few people actually check in.

Not that I ever offered anything unique or sensational or even interesting.
It was just a few snaps of the life that passed by where I went.
Or slices of life that I passed by.

Sometimes I was more ambitious.
More careful with which photo to enter and what to write.

In a way this blog is a reflection of who I am; Ambivalent.
Easily distracted. Quickly bored.

It's not that I'm not focused. I can focus extremely well and hard and for long periods if need be.
It's just that I find sameness so totally boring that I find it almost impossible to stick to one line if I am not forced to it..

Which means that you can't expect for example a great shot of a flower every day. Or a portrait every day. Or a landscape every day. Or a joke. Or anything consistent. So the site can't be put in a drawer, appealing to a certain interest.

Well, the only thing you can expect is that it might not be that interesting at the end of the day.
Nothing important.

I burn for honesty, and tolerance.
For decency and for openness.
For equality and peace.
Still I haven't found much to say on those topics.
Or a voice for it.
I've just posted.

My method being picking almost randomly a picture out of my almost daily catch of snaps.

Sometimes I've worked a bit on enhancing the quality of the images.
Sometimes I just posted them raw, the way they came off the chip.

After which I just started to write whatever came to mind.
And let it flow. Until I had go do something else,more lucrative.

Which thankfully most often have been sooner rather than later.
Much thanks to a guy named George.

Only rarely have my blogs been supported by facts or research on topic before writing.
I think the only time I had a true agenda was when I wrote about the guys demonstrating for decent pay at Sheraton's Four Points hotel on 25Th street.
It was also the only time I got a mail in response.
A thank you note. so somehow somebody got to my site.
Probably through search on the topic.
And the only time i had quite a few visitors was when i mentioned Eric Clapton.

To every day research and write things that are meaningful takes too much time
and energy away from my daily task of putting food on the table for my family.
So, now I'll get back to that.
I may or may not continue the blog.
Let me know.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

the yellow school bus

The yellow bus.
Operated by Jimmy's.
Printed in Old English typography on the side.
Actually, I think the service is operated by people with old italian bloodlines rather than English ones.
Jimmy who? You talking to me?
Well, I can't care less as long as they act and drive responsibly.

The bus.
Approaching the spot where my youngest son gets on.
Most mornings. The bus is there every morning.

My son isn't.
He calls it schoolistis.
Boredom, is my word for it.

So, I let him play hooky now and then.

Actually, he's great at school.
Just don't like it that much.
Kind of bored.
Pretty good though. Scores among the top 5%.
so no complaints form my side.
I was worse. Much worse.
And I still managed to make kids.

Quite pretty in that corner today.
Nice light.
Well, it's not always.

I kind of of think of it as this gray corner really.
Windy. Cold.
Oh, the last five months have been winter.

Guess it's just the bloody weather that influences me there.

Although, I was never that happy going to school. Weather or no weather.
Bad or good.
Nice light or not.
As you've aleady figured.
Which is just like the way you felt about it. I'm sure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New York is best in black and white

The train approach.
Penn station.
Ugly as hell.
But if you put on your black and white lenses and look at it
as if it was a graphic element it kind of works.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

proud dad

I couldn't resist showing this.
Yesterday Ty, my youngest son, got his green belt in karate.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The zen of an idea as seen from a view of bikes passing

Kind of makes me think of the pressure we always seem to have when having an idea.
We're kind of expected to be able to see far
into the future and explain why our ideas have enough legs to go far.
Really far.
Okay, so I'm in the ideas business.
An art director. Meaning I come up with ideas for ads or campaigns or brands.
Together with a bunch of other team mates.
It's hard to see the future of ideas through the original idea however clever it might be.
It also depends on who carries the idea forward.
The person who invented the wheel, it could have been a woman actually,
even though i know most people think of early inventors as men only, had no bloody idea of where it would take us.
A woman? Hey, men invented weapons. And hunting tools.
Women would have more time for things like wheels.
Anyway. She never thought of the motorbike that's for sure.
Neither, I'm certain, did the inventors of digital technologies think of blogs.
Ideas evolve.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

old trouts

It's bloody trout season. It brings trouts of all sorts out.
They stock the ponds.
With severely stupid fish.
Make the old trouts happy.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


They're suggesting a congestion tax in Manhattan.
$8.00 for entering from the other boroughs. By car.
I always wonder about the real motives when new taxes or fees are added.
Is it to ease traffic or is it an attempt to make more money?
I grew up in a country where only a small percentage of your income actually was yours. Untaxed.
The tax was about 70% on what I earned. Actually, it probably was more.
In addition to that tax the employer has to pay a tax on top of your salary called employer's fee. It's around 48% to be added to the cost on top of Your salary for the employer.
You earn 1000 dollars.
It costs the employer $1,480.00.
$1,480.00 leaves $300 in your pocket in other words. Confiscation is a word that is not far away.
If you want to use that money to buy something you pay another 25% in VAT.
So, now the untaxed bit appears to be $225.
But that is not true as most of what you buy have other taxes baked into the price.
Toothpaste has luxury tax!
Wine, beer and spirits are highly taxed as are cigarettes.
Not to mention gas which is at least double as expensive as in the US.
Due to taxes.
About 3-4% of what you make remains untaxed at the end of the day. If that.
So you get a pension at the end of the life?
Maybe? And if so, it's not enough to live well on.
You probably have to sell your home, if you own one, and tax away the money and find a cheaper place somewhere where nobody wants to live anyway.
Most people save extra in private pension funds.
On a scheme where you're allowed to postpone paying the tax on money set aside until the day you use the money.
Hopefully the value of the fund has grown by the time you start to use them.
Free healthcare?
Well, you still pay fees to go to the doctor and if your before tax income is high you pay a part of days at hospitals too.
So free isn't exactly the word.
Dental care is not free at all, neither is eye care.
Mass transportation isn't cheap.
This encourages people to figure out ways to earn money under the taxman's radar.
And rich people seems to get away with paying no tax at all judging form their officially declared incomes.
So what the heck did all that have to do with a picture of a bicycle against an orange wall in NY?
Or congestion fees on cars?
Maybe they will introduce bicycle tolls too?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Read NY

Something isn't good for the paint.
The Romans complain about their statues and monuments being destroyed by pollution.
New York's art is going the same way.