Snooping around in Amsterdam.

The long-awaited Europe post is finally here, and A is for Amsterdam!

I have been to Amsterdam once a few winters before, and thought that since I was visiting in summer this time, my wardrobe can be slightly more lightweight. Little did I know that we would be experiencing slightly freakish weather – even the locals said that what we were experiencing this June was pretty much winter all over again. However, it being me, I still trotted out in the tiny shorts that N (the beautiful bride whose wedding I was attending) gave me; then proceeded to brave her wedding in a backless dress. I think I have acclimatised well. Bravo.

Since I was on bridesmaid duty this time round, I only had two days to head out – which was okay by me, largely because I had no exact agenda. I just wanted to snoop around, explore.

How lucky was I that the two days I headed out were filled with sunshine and surprises!

Along this lane I’d turn into was a pretty little vintage shop.

But guess what? I didn’t go in (Surprise, surprise!)… because I was distracted by its next door neighbour…

Now I’ve always preferred cosy, quaint, little shops over large institutions and malls. So I was absolutely delighted when I chanced upon Cine Qua Non, a film shop that is stocked and stuffed with everything film related – DVDs, photos, posters, postcards, books, calendars, collectibles…

The Fifty-Foot Woman guards the door.

The space itself, I think is most accurately described as a physical manifestation of the word ‘paradox’. It is messy yet organised; simple yet overwhelming; utilitarian and functional, yet wild and imaginative.

My dream study/workspace. Right now, I just have a mess.

Dying and going to heaven? This is pretty much my version on earth, sans the dying bit of course. I love the creaky flooring – wooden boards with chipped faded mint green/baby blue paint. I love the haphazard lighting – a few spotlights, a few fluorescents… I could camp in there until I’ve gone through everything. (Yeah. Could.)

The DVDs don’t come cheap – at least the ones that caught my eye, were around 30€ on the average. But they are pretty unique titles and many come with great features – not the sort you’ll get on discounts at megastores. I would have drawn up a list and do some research before going in for the kill, but I didn’t have the time to head back this trip, so I decided to leave with a few postcards for Bestie and other worthy recipients. A return, for sure.

Before I left, I had a chat with the lovely owner, who lamented that shops like these are closing all over Europe because of… well, the usual: high costs of operations, illegal downloading, piracy, competition from industry giants, etc. I absolutely empathise, and I truly, truly wish him well. There is something intimate and personal about these small operations that will always draw me to them. That these people who run these businesses have so much love, faith and passion for what they do is already something worth applauding; and that they will take time to share with you a little nugget of information of that postcard that you are holding, or the director of the film you were checking out just makes the experience so much more special.

Cine Qua Non is at Staalstraat 14, 1011 JL Amsterdam.

You can all them at +31(0) 20 62 555 88, email them at cine.qua.nonsense@gmail.com

Or visit them virtually at www.cine-qua-non.nl or www.cinequanonline.com

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Scenes from Sunday’s Rehearsal.

Remember that first huge combined Dream Country rehearsal last Sunday that I didn’t write about? I couldn’t find the right words then. But if a picture paints a thousand words… here’s a lot for you to think about. Sunday’s Rehearsal. … Continue reading

Three Month Mark

It’s been three months since I left work and I have…

Gone for a music festival – St Jerome’ Laneway Festival (Does Coachella over Youtube count as a second one? =D)

Gone for a concert – toe, Mosaic (I see me =D)

Attended a Butoh Workshop with Alb and Kai

Watched a play

Ironed all my darn clothes

Studied French

Watched movies – 300, Amélie, Any Given Sunday, Delicatessen, Fight Club, Infernal Affairs, L’Auberge Espagnole, La Combe Lucien, Les Petits Mouchoirs, Lost in Translation, Machuca, Melancholia, The Descendants, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish and English Versions), The Godfather I, II and III, The Iron Lady, The Lady

Read – Olivia (in French), Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Great Frustration, There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Worked out (almost) every day

Made crème brúlée (got my own blow torch), made pasta, bread, jam.

Picked up driving

Visited the museum – Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Organised the wardrobe and accessories …

Supported Soccer games…

Made new friends…

Most importantly…

Reconnected with loved ones I’ve neglected – Momo, Sis-es, Melb, K, Hui, Xiu, Shus, Bestie, SQ, B

Three months have passed.

And that feeling that time is running out sneaks up on me and teases that panic button ever so often. But it is also that sense of the inevitable end; those limits, that force us to get out there and push ourselves further and harder, so I am thankful.

No time to lament or feel sorry. Not today at least.

Loads more I’ve yet to accomplish, and loads more to come – driving examination, Arts Festival performance, N’s wedding and my long-awaited Berlin visit. (Tokyo soon, I hope!)

And oh yes. I’ve started this humble little blog. This is my 80th post.