Do you shave your balls?
I was sitting at the bar at the Amstel Tavern; the Troubled Diva, Mike, had popped off to the toilets. A rather interesting-looking man had given me a meaningful look before sitting down next to me a few minutes earlier. When Mike got up to go to the toilet, I had another look at him.
He fist said it in Dutch before realising that I didn’t understand him.
‘No, I don’t,’ I said.
‘I’m far too lazy for that sort of thing.’
Nothing came of it, possibly because I turned away from him to chat to Mike on his return. Shortly after that we moved on to Amsterdam’s newest gay bar, ‘Prik’.
It was great having Mike here for the weekend as we got to do and see a lot. On Friday, we started off at the trendier, twinkier places before ending up at the Cockring. Saturday started off at the cheesier, less trendy places. We landed up at the Cockring again.
But it wasn’t gay bars all weekend despite Mike saying, late yesterday afternoon, that he needed a good dose of the straights after feeling all ‘gayed out’. We also did the social thing and the cultural thing.
Saturday didn’t actually start off at various gay bars as we met Caroline for lunch that afternoon. Mike and Caroline, one of the original bloggers and inventor of the ‘permalink’, have known each other for several years now. He ‘cyber-introduced’ us soon after I arrived in Amsterdam but thought a real-life introduction would be so much better. We met up at De Waag for coffee then strolled over the square to a small Chinese/Japanese ‘fusion’ restaurant. While chatting about all sorts of things, we pigged ourselves on delicious dim sum. Conversation flowed smoothly without any alcoholic lubrication. Caroline may have been suffering from a really bad migraine but you’d never have known it. I’ll have to pluck up the ‘courage’ to meet up with her again soon.
Afterwards, a brisk walk in which we were buffeted by Arctic blasts took us to the Stedelijk Museum. Both of us were equally despairing about the crap masquerading as the cutting edge of visual art. It redeemed itself with two excellent photographic projects by two photographers, Broomberg & Chanarin. One looks at apartheid ten years after the end of apartheid, the other concerns the never-ending conflict in Israel. Each consisted of powerful, disturbing images that would never have been commissioned by the respective tourist boards of the two countries. So many years after the demise of apartheid and Israel’s issues are still being portrayed alongside South Africa’s inequalities.
And yesterday, it was the Rijksmuseum. Ongoing renovations have severely restricted the exhibition space but in a way that is perfect for an infrequent museum visitor like myself. Holland’s ‘Golden Age’ was sumptuously portrayed in about 15 large rooms, enough to summarise the history of the period while showing off the creativity that flourished at the time. Had there been more to see, my tired feet and fuzzy head would have united in anguished protest.
Mike left at 7 yesterday evening – his plane back to Nottingham was leaving at 9. I was already in bed by then!