Dutch politics & Dobby

After almost 10 months (!!) of negotiations after our elections last March we finally have a new cabinet for our coalition government. It’s the fourth cabinet with Mark Rutte as prime minister (he’s been PM for 11 years now). The new cabinet was sworn in this past Monday. The official picture with our king in the middle front with Rutte next to him on the left had all the new ministers standing in a socially distanced position, which very much signifies the times we are living in now.

This evening we had our first Corona virus press conference with our new health minister, Ernst Kuipers, accompanying PM Rutte. During this pandemic Kuipers has already been a well known face on TV here, giving updates in the news on the situation in hospitals, but now as the new health minister, I saw him in action longer. Watching him during the press conference, it suddenly struck me: Ernst Kuipers reminds me of Dobby the elf from Harry Potter (minus the ears)!

It’s not a bad thing, I liked Dobby! Don’t have the same affinity for Mr. Kuipers yet, but maybe that will grow?

Meanwhile, we learned that some lockdown restrictions will be eased here, starting tomorrow. New reported Corona cases are still on the rise but hospitalizations are down, which is why this strategy is deemed possible. This pandemic still feels far from over.

Cat movies

Last week I shared a post about cat music, this week it’s cat movies.

I recently came across these short little videos where a black cat named OwlKitty stars in some well known movie blockbusters. They are quite cleverly done, very amusing and well in cat-character too. I haven’t seen all the videos yet, but, as a cat and movie lover, I just needed to share a few of my current (purrent?) faves here. They are only about a minute long and the last few I share here are even shorter, so well worth a quick gander, I think. 🙂

Not sure my own black cat would be interested in such a lively, movie star career…

But she does look a little bit like OwlKitty, so if I squint, I can imagine I have an actual movie star living and lazing away in my house!

Movie walls

Yesterday I had a training day for the refugee organization I volunteer at. It was held in a building housing some social organizations (not ours) and we used a conference room there. The training was good but what I really got excited about was the decor of the lobby and hallways – all done up in old movie posters and stills! Yep, I took pictures (click on images to enlarge)…

Man it was great walking around there during breaks! Talking movies even became a small conversation topic. How come that any time I tell anyone I am a film fan, they ask me whether I have seen all the films on Netflix? I tell them that a lot of the things I want to see and love (especially old movies) can alas not be found on Netflix. Anyway, I loved this place. I wish that were my office to work in and I wish I could be the one to choose the posters and photographs…

Saturday music

Certain songs have been playing in my mind a lot this week.

Both Sides Now

As I already blogged about a few days ago, I loved the movie CODA and the song that Ruby (Emilia Jones) sings at the end of the film is a cover of the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now. I love this rendition. The video contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to remain completely unspoilered, maybe it’s better to watch the movie first.

Modified to add: here’s an audio only version, so no spoilers…

I don’t know Joni Mitchell well at all and the first time I became really aware of this song was during that scene in Love Actually. Emma Thompson really is amazing in this, with the song underlining the heartbreak so effectively.

Ziggy Stardust

Apparently a David Bowie shop has opened in London, on the same street where the cover of his great album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (my fave Bowie album) was photographed. I bet that, besides cool store items, the in-store music must be excellent as well.

It’s a pop up shop, which could mean it won’t be there long. I wish I could go!


Mandy Patinkin and his family are matchmaking, trying to find a girlfriend for a family friend! This just made me laugh and is so loving at the same time.

That also meant I got stuck with this song in my head:


And 2022 is going to be a great music year for us! We’ve been booking some ‘big’ concert tickets.

In January Mr Esther and I are going to a David Bowie tribute concert. It’s promising to be a big event. There will be something like this in Germany as well, I hope the Dutch version will be as good as this looks.

In May Mr E and I are going to see 2Cellos live in concert. Those guys are really good, I love how and what they play and their energy. So many videos I could link to here, but let me pick a cover they did of a great Muse song…

… but they also do heartfelt well, like this beautiful theme from The Godfather

And then in July I have tickets for the four of us to go see Ed Sheeran live. I have yet to hear any of his new songs, but I hope they will be good. Let me share here the song through which I first noticed him – I See Fire from The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. Someone made a video which of course also features Richard Armitage as Thorin. I love the build up in this song. I wonder if he ever sings this in concert.

I hope the pandemic situation in the world will allow for all of this to happen, I’m already so much looking forward to it all.

Music in a deaf world, part 2

Six years ago I briefly blogged about a French movie called La Familie Belier about a hearing girl in a deaf family who wants to spread her wings and become a singer. It was a beautiful movie, although a little uneven in deciding what it wanted to be – a comedy or a drama. There was also some criticism of the film at the time in that the couple who played the girl’s parents were hearing actors. Still, I really liked that movie (even though I haven’t seen it again since I saw it at the cinema years ago).

Yesterday I watched an American remake of the movie, called CODA (which is not only a music term but also stands for ”child of deaf adults”); it came out two months ago on Apple TV. This time the family was portrayed by deaf actors. The most well known is Marlee Matlin (Oscar winner for Children of a Lesser God) who played the mother. The father was played by Troy Kotsur whom I know as a guest actor on Sue Thomas FB Eye, starring his wife Deanne Bray. The actor playing the deaf brother, Daniel Durant, is new to me, as is the lead actress who plays the main role of the hearing daughter Ruby (Emilia Jones).

In the French movie the family were cheesemakers, here they are fishermen in Massachussets. While the story is roughly the same, this movie struck me as far less uneven. I absolutely loved it. Excellent performances from the lead family and it turns out that Emilia Jones is an English actress. She not only had to learn the American accent but she also immerseld herself in American Sign Language. She was 17 when she filmed this two years ago, absolutely amazing. I was also quite blown away by Troy Kotsur as the father, he has such depth and when he tries to understand his daughter near the end of the movie, the tears started to flow. Also Marlee Matlin and Daniel Durant show such depth, I loved them too. Like in the French movie, the end was achingly touching here as well.

Apparently Marlee Matlin was the first one cast and fought for the husband and son roles to also be filled by deaf actors. I’m glad she did that, these actors are a revelation. Here’s a trailer:

I did have some minor criticisms, like the end montage maybe wrapping things up too neatly for the family and the music teacher never quite convinced me. However, the core performance of this family of four completely made up for that and yes, I will definitely go back to this movie again.