The ever-present past

What to do with The Past? That’s always a good question. Whether it’s good stuff or bad stuff, it’s always right there at your fingertips, accumulating day on day. Maybe you’re pleased with this bit here and that little bit there. Or maybe you look back and shudder. I know I do. Either way, where you are right now is the only thing that really matters.

Joan Didion says it especially well: “I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”

I thought William Shatner would be a good way to illustrate all this. The actor who can never get away from his most famous role. So here stands Bill, pretending he’s not at home, Captain Kirk forever banging on the door.


I drink to the truth, and the things we said. I drink to the man that shares your bed.

I love Bob Dylan. I don’t love everything he does—some of it really makes my ears hurt—but the way he can do words. They stick to me like sand and glue.

Mark had a very wonderful dream

Another one featuring Prime Minister Rutte. This one sees him dreaming a dream in those sweet moments before awaking to begin another day running the Netherlands. The man driving the shoe is his deputy and Minister of Health and Welfare, Hugo de Jonge.

Hugo seems like a nice man, but as a buitenlander, it’s hard for me to tell what’s what when it comes to Dutch politics. I do know that he’s rich and wears funny shoes. So, who knows, maybe a millionaire with a shoe fetish is exactly what the good people of the Netherlands need when it comes to someone making life-affecting decisions on national health and welfare.

Alles gaat de goed kant op

“Alles gaat de goed kant op” (Everything’s going in the right direction).

Portrait of Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, in celebration of his decade in power, and recent re-election on the back of the ‘toeslagenaffaire’ — a scandal involving false allegations of fraud against some 26,000 Dutch families, many with immigrant backgrounds, and many of whom were left financially ruined as a result. Go Mark!

Pyongyang sunrise

The face of Kim Jong-un (Commander-in-Chief, Supreme Leader of the Nation, Leader of the Party and the People, Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Comradeship, Invincible and Triumphant General, Bright Sun of the 21st Century, Ever-Victorious, Iron-Willed Commander) is always there to greet a new morning.


“Hello mum, you alright? Yeah I’m OK thanks. Mum, is your laptop on? No? Oh, no worries. I was just wondering if you could look something up for me? Yes. Well, could you find out what the emergency number is here? That’s right, the emergency one. I can’t remember what they use here. Could you look it up and ring me back? Brilliant. No, no, everything’s fine. No really. I was just curious, that’s all. Okay. Lovely stuff. I’ll speak to you in a minute then. Thanks mum. Bye for now. Cheerio. Bye. Bye.”