We must find a way…

So, Muse has been gripped by the political situation as well, as evidenced by their new single Dig Down that was released a few days ago. Some of the lyrics:

When hope and love has been lost
And you fall to the ground

You must find a way
When the darkness descends
And you’re told it’s the end
You must find a way
When God decides to look the other way
And a clown takes the throne
We must find a way

Face the firing squad
Against all the odds
You will find a way

The music video features model & activist Lauren Wasser, who lost her leg to toxic shock syndrome. The song reminds me a bit of a hit Muse had a few years ago called Madness. I absolutely love Madness…

… so I am very inclined to love Dig Down as well! The lines “Dig down, we must find a way” have been running around in my head in a loop ever since I first heard the song. The video was released on May 18th and is nearing 3 million views already on YouTube. I’m apparently not alone in liking this. 🙂

In an interview lead singer Matt Bellamy said that one of the reasons I wanted to put this out so quickly is because it felt quite reactive to the climate in the world right now.”  This makes me think of what Meryl Streep said during her Golden Globes speech at the beginning of the year, where she quoted Carrie Fisher, saying:” Take your broken heart, make it into art”.

It’s not the first time Muse makes an album (or in this case, a song) in reaction to what is happening in the world. Their 2nd Law album addressed the banking crisis; their last album from two years ago was called Drones and was all about the nonsense of war. So, lately I had been wondering whether Muse would also be addressing the Trump and right-wing politics issues (also prevalent over here in Europe). I got my answer the minute I heard Muse’s new single. They have a knack for taking broken hearts and making it into art, it’s one of the main reasons why I love them so much.  I’m so curious to hear more of their new material! It’ll probably be a while, though, as they have only just started their North American tour.

muse_dig_down

Oh, how I wish I could go see them!

Liebster Award #2

When I was quite new to blogging I was nominated for a Liebster Award and I dutifully answered the questions I was posed. Now Die Pö has nominated me for another Liebster Award. Thank you!

liebster-blog-award-2

The rules are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog into your post.
  2. Answer 11 questions which you have been asked by the nominating blogger.
  3. Nominate 5 to 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 1,000 followers.
  4. Add a new list of 11 questions for the nominated bloggers.
  5. Paste these rules into your post.
  6. Make sure your nominees know about your post and their nomination.

Die Pö posed her questions in German, but I’ll just translate them into English before I answer them.


1- Do you only write on your own blog or do you also write on other blogs or platforms?

For my work I have in the past written messages on our work intranet and I have written some content for a company internet page. Privately, I used to post on a few forums (parenting ones back in the day when I first became a mother and a Richard Armitage one later), I have posted some fan fiction, and I post reactions on other blogs, but basically the only place I ever really post any original content is here on my own blog.

2- Which of your posts hasn’t been clicked on enough?

Nothing really springs to mind. I don’t really evaluate the success of a post by how much it is clicked on, the value comes from my satisfaction writing it. For instance, one of my most clicked-on posts is a translation of a Dutch newspaper article on Richard Armitage but it is not my most satisfactory post – it’s just a piece of translation that actually I did not enjoy doing that much (I’m just not a translator at heart). So, I looked into my blog statistics to answer this question and I see that the least clicked-on post is this one: https://bookesther.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/where-is-my-mind/. It’s about a piano cover that I really loved in a movie I saw and that lead me to reminisce about Greta Garbo.

3- What excites you at the moment?

Besides the fact that France elected Macron as its new president (and not the extremist Le Pen), I have been very happy about Portugal winning the Eurovision song contest this past weekend! We watch the contest every year and we vote in it too, but most years you just sort of vote for the least bad song. This year was different. Well, not that different, as there were so many songs there we didn’t much like! So many songs are about effects and fireworks and being sexy, with all the women screaming out high notes. However, there was one song, the Portuguese entry, that captivated me. This song was so touching in its simplicity, differing very much from most of the other entries. It was a solo performance sung by Salvador Sobral and was written by his sister Luisa. After winning he and his sister sang the song together as a duet. Not only does Salvador have a beautiful voice, so does his sister Luisa! (The song starts at 3:55 minutes)

What excites me is that such heart-felt simplicity can triumph almost unanimously (from juries and audiences alike) over bombastic songs that all sound almost alike.  (P.S. I also liked the Belgian song, despite the young 17 year old singer’s nerves – she came in 4th)

4- Which TV-series did you love in your youth?

Without the shadow of a doubt it was Little House on the Prairie. I adored everything about that series. I loved Laura Ingalls. In hindsight it was dripping in all too Christian values, but that’s OK and I still enjoy re-watching bits today!

5- The first 4 months of the year have passed: what is the best movie you have seen during that time?

May I name two? I absolutely loved both Moonlight

… and Lion.

6- What is your current favourite catchy song?

I love Human by Rag’n’Bone Man. Can’t get enough of it…

7- If you had to summarize your past week in one word, what word would that be?

Reconnecting.

8- What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?

I was at my mother’s house yesterday and we opened a box of letters that my father had kept that had formerly belonged to my grandfather (his dad). My grandfather had been a theologian and pastor (just like my dad had been) and during the Second World War he had received many letters from parishioners, men who had been deported into forced labour for the German occupiers. In that box of letters (fascinating stuff, btw!) we also found a post-war (1946) invitation for my grandfather to attend a ceremony at Leiden University where Winston Churchill was to receive an honorary doctorate! I took a picture with my phone of that personal invitation…

Churchill invite Leiden 1946

9- Quickly: what does the word “Light” make you think of?

Candles.

10- Which book is beside your bed right now?

I’ve already finished reading it, but Michael Palin’s diaries that I received last year for my birthday is still lying there.

11- For dessert: pudding or ice cream?

Oooh, tough one! After long deliberation I will choose pudding; to be specific: crème brûlée! I hardly ever eat it because I can’t make a good one myself (and don’t have the patience for it) but when I eat a good one, I absolutely adore it!


Paying it forward

The rules state that I can now pose 11 questions myself and nominate 5-11 others to answer them. I like the questions Pö asked, so I’ll use some of them and add my own (and Pö, if you’d like to answer these as well, feel free to 🙂 )!

  1. What excites you at the moment?
  2. In one sentence: what depresses you at the moment?
  3. Cats or dogs? (Picture material appreciated!)
  4. Which TV series did you love in your youth?
  5. Who is your favourite actor or actress no longer living?
  6. What is the best movie you have seen so far in 2017?
  7. The top 3 live theatre and/or concert experiences you’ve ever had?
  8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
  9. What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?
  10. Your favourite dessert?
  11. For Armitage fans: your favourite Richard Armitage photo ever?

I am curious to hear answers to these questions but I really don’t like to obligate anyone to do anything! So, I’ll just nominate 11 people (Armitage fans one and all, who do not post exclusively about Armitage) and it’s totally up to you whether you want to do this or not!

If others reading this feel the urge to answer these questions as well, please do so, you’re more than welcome to (even if only in the comments, if you wish to)! If you’re not an Armitage fan you can substitute the name in the last question for the name of your favourite actor or actress. 🙂 I’d love to read any and all responses.

Men & DIY

My kids were ready for a little redecoration of their rooms and my daughter wanted a new bed, which we thought was a good idea. The kids have been having a two-week holiday and my husband had more time off than me, so he has started the task at hand. My daughter wanted a light grey on her walls (my husband spent the past two days painting), she has white furniture and now she also has a new white bed. The bed needs to be assembled and that is quite a job, which is still ongoing…

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I looked in on my husband just now and suddenly I found myself giggling, thinking of a certain song! This may only be interesting to German readers out there, but there’s this German folk singer called Reinhard Mey. I think his most famous song is Über den Wolken, a song I very much like (this video also has English subtitles):

A while ago I found this other song of his on YouTube called Männer im Baumarkt. He combines his signature style serious folk tune (at the end even using his famous Über den Wolken tune) with a very comical text of men who go to DIY stores…

I wish non-German speakers could understand the lyrics as well, many universal truths in there! Seeing my husband at work, and he’s been to the DIY store a few times already this week, made me think of this song! Yep, I just laughed! Inwardly till now, that may change when my husband gets around to reading this post. 🙂

Spider’s Web

I was drinking a lovely red Merlot wine and eating cheese with my husband last night while we were both reading; Mr Esther on his iPad and me on my laptop. We put on some music and for the first time in a very long time listened to Katie Melua’s 2005 album Piece By Piece. I used to love that album, I listened to it all the time until I had heard it too often and it fell out of a grace. Until last night, that is. Mr. Esther picked it as a piece of easy listening while we were reading and I was reminded again why I had loved this album so much in the past. I don’t know Katie Melua’s more recent work but I find I do still love this, full of warmth and love and perfect for a quiet evening (yep, get it if you can, lots of beautiful gentle songs on it!). I felt my heart open up to it all over again as I let Melua’s lovely voice, the beautiful music and the thoughtful lyrics wash over me.

Katie Melua

Every time I listen to that album I pick a different song as my favourite and last night the song ‘Spider’s Web’ struck a chord. Some of the lyrics…

“I could tell you to go to war,
Or I could march for peace and fighting no more,
How do I know which is right?
And I hope he does when he sends you to fight!
Because the line between wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread from a spider’s web.
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colors in your mind.”

I especially love the point she makes about the piano keys. I find that analogy so beautiful!

Melua wrote that song when she was just 18 years old apparently, it was about the Iraq war and it still feels very topical to me. This song underlines my belief that the world isn’t just black and white and that even if we don’t have all the answers, there is still always a hope of living together in peace and with the diversity of a million colours. Not too shabby for an Easter / beginning of spring message of hope, right?

Library flash mobs

A little PS to my Mach’ Was libraries post. I was looking at pictures in other library posts that Die Pö has so nicely collected for this challenge and somehow I suddenly thought of this video that I had first seen quite some time ago! It’s a choir flash mob in the public library of Valladolid (Spain), wish I had been sitting there in that library at that time! I absolutely love this:

Apparently there are more library flash mobs out there, like this one in the Manchester Central Library:

And a happy one in one of Harvard’s libraries:

In downtown Seattle library, there’s a STOMP flash mob and they use library books, book carts and bins:

And here’s a heartwarming one, made for the 60th birthday of a librarian in a Long Island library:

And ‘Halleuja’ at Wexford public library, where some singers hid their music in library books:

There are even more to be found on YouTube, just type in ‘flash mob library’ and a whole array awaits you. Aren’t libraries cool? 🙂