Writer’s Block #26

We are so, so excited to present to you the first Writer’s Block of this academic year: Writer’s Block #26. This issue is all about revolution, something that has been very prominent at the UvA this year, with lots of submissions from our own editorial board as our own little rebellion! So sit back, grab your beverage of choice, and enjoy! Click the cover to see an online version of WB #26.

And don’t forget, we’re still looking for submissions for the next issue! So go, go, go, and send your work to us at submissions@writersblockmagazine.com!

Continue reading “Writer’s Block #26”

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La Ciénaga

These are hard times for an Amsterdam-based film buff like me. With the socially charged and inexplicable recent evictions of Amsterdam’s Slangenpand and Maagdenhuis, the city centre has also quickly lost two nice venues for interesting and unusual film screenings. Let’s just hope this will never happen to the alternative Filmhuis Cavia, which, in order to chase this year’s first summer vibes, I recently visited to see a remarkable Argentinean movie.  Continue reading “La Ciénaga”

Bike Eulogy

nobikenoswagTo those of you who were born and bred in the land of Nether, I imagine that the bicycle appears as everyday an object as your kettle or thumb: a precious tool, but not one that inspires the poetry of the muses. However, to a humble Londoner like myself, (whose experiences of bikes before arriving in Amsterdam can be pinpointed to some childhood japes in an urban park, my dad occasionally coming home to complain that his own bike had been squashed/stolen/weed-upon, and strong associations with an undesirable blonde-mopped mayor), forming a relationship with my two-wheeled buddy has been something of a revelation. And now, as I face an inevitable return to a country where cars and the conservatives rule the roost, the bond between me and bike gains even more intensity.
But things weren’t always this way. When I first purchased my bike nine months ago, I left it locked outside for a fortnight without so much as uttering a “hello” when I ran past it to catch a tram. Then, when I eventually girded my loins and took it for a ride, I ended up losing the key for my wheel lock and leaving it in a dubious corner of the red-light district for four days. Upon returning, armed with a bike-man who was armed with a chainsaw, I saw that not only had I locked my bike to itself but I had also, with my main lock, chained it to someone else’s bike too. This someone had, quite understandably, viciously beaten up my bike in attempt to free their own and, when failing in doing so, had left me a very aggressive note. Feeling like a terrible human being, I sat on the pavement and wept.
For some weeks after this incident, I held towards my bike equal feelings of esteem and resentment. I cared for it but I wished it would leave me alone. I couldn’t even so much as go shopping without having to find a safe and cosy place to lock it up first. Sometimes it would wheeze like a dying mouse when I rode it, sometimes it would stay obstinately quiet. When it had a punctured tire, I didn’t even notice until my thighs were so stiff that I couldn’t so much as go to the loo without the help of a friend.
“My bike doesn’t communicate very well with me”, I moaned to the mechanic who was replacing my tire.
He looked at me intensely, like a Dutch Mr. Miyagi. “Maybe you don’t communicate very well with your bike!”
I let out a nervous chuckle. “If only bikes had ears and mouths!” I said.
He rolled his eyes, as if to say, soon you’ll learn, you ignoramus.
And so I did (learn, that is).
It came to my attention that every time someone I knew complained about their bike, it would instantly get stolen. “I hope you’re not next!” I said, patting mine. It glowered at me with its lights. Then whispered its first words: Are we really stolen? Or do we just run away?
I decided I needed to change my attitude. I gave my bike a name- Becky Harrison, after a good pal of mine who I felt shared the plucky spirit of my wheeled transporter. I started making sure that my silver saddle bags were closed when I locked Becky the bike up so as to avoid puddles forming overnight. When the opportunity arose, I would always be sure to pump up its tires. Rather than treating it like a pesky child, I made it an extension of myself, like an unborn baby. Cycling became not just a means of getting from A to B but an enjoyable activity, as fundamental to my experience of Amsterdam as stroopwafels and free cheese samples.
As I prepare to leave this lovely city (and perhaps it will only be a temporary leave), I mull over the future of my bike.
“Take me with you!” It whispers to me as we whisk down canals.
“But how?” I reply. “Do I buy you a plane ticket?”
“No, you fool, cycle me home.”
“But I have too much stuff for it to fit in your saddle bags.” I don’t say this aloud, though, in case I hurt its feelings.
If I don’t manage to transport Becky Harrison home, then I hope its new owner, like me, will be suitably short of leg and long of love. I also hope that, unlike me, they’ll be willing to fix the wonky mudguard and abstain from using the saddle bags as a place to store KitKat wrappers. And if they happen to own a bell that doesn’t stop working when it’s raining then that would be excellent. If you know someone who fits this description, then point them in my direction.

 

Phoebe

Writer’s Block #25

With great pride (and a tinge of sadness) we bring to you our final Writer’s Block issue for this academic year: Writer’s Block #25. And of course, being an anniversary issue, it features a lot of cake. So go ahead, dive on in! Free cake guaranteed!*

Click here for the online version of WB #25.

As always, we’re still looking for submissions for the next issue! So go, go, go, and send your work to us at submissions@writersblockmagazine.com!

*Free cake not actually guaranteed.

Writer’s Block Happenings: April

As I write this, a delightful ray of sunlight comes streaming through my window, caressing my face with its silken warmth. It’s official: spring is finally here! This is the last bit of motivation we’ve all been waiting for to go outside and do something! Wondering what it is that you could be doing? Well, conveniently I just happen to have list for you right here with all the hottest, hippest and most happening happenings in and around Amsterdam for all of April! Check it out!

Frank 9 April in cinemas. Surrounding the lives of the music band members of The Soronprfbs, Frank takes you by the hand to show you the ultimate musical creativity. Not without a big portion of comedy, the film promises more adventure than any other music film has ever done.

Het grote Museumpleindebat 12 April, 4 pm @ De Rode Hoed. The big three of Museumplein will discuss its future. Expect a lot of discussion and art experts. Need I say more? I’ll be there. Tickets €6,50 for students.

Etcetera’s Book Club Reads Orlando 14 April, 8 pm @ Werkplaats. A new month, a new book. This time Etc.’s book club is reading Virginia Woolf’s ground-breaking gender-bending Orlando.

Crisis of History 14 April @ Tolhuistuin. Showing of the documentary From My Syrian Room (2014), in cooperation with Festival Cinéma Arabe, in the presence of director Hazem Alhamwi. How do you stay true to yourself in a dictatorship that wipes out your individuality like an eraser and fosters a culture of fear? The Syrian Hazem Alhamwi (1980) retreated to his room and found freedom in drawing. When the revolution breaks out in 2011, the filmmaker and artist does not dare to confront his inner demons directly. Instead Alhamwi explores his memories, from his childhood to the present day – and thus the desire for freedom of his people. Free admission, reservations @ reserveren@framerframed.nl.

Amsterdams Studenten Festival 16-17 April @ several locations. Talented students from Amsterdam and beyond will gather their creative powers to host a two-day festival this April. There will be theatre, film, music, art and more, accumulating in a spectacular after party by Wicked Jazz Sounds on the 17th. Tickets are €6 for students. More information can be found here www.amsterdamsstudentenfestival.nl.

Record Store Day 18 April @ Concerto. Come and support your favourite record stores today to save them from extinction! Concerto, a vinyl/CD/film lovers Valhalla on the Utrechtsestraat, has organized a daylong line-up of revered and upcoming bands that you can listen to in the cosily crowded store. A long list of new releases specially (re-)issued for this day will also be sold in Concerto and other stores from this day on.

De lange avond van het korte verhaal 22 April, 8 pm @ Tolhuistuin. Seven short stories have been chosen by writers Sanneke van Hassel and Thomas Heerma van Voss. Both have been reading all short story collections published between 2010 and 2014 and ultimately decided on seven of them to outline on this evening. An evening that focuses on the powerfulness of the short story. Tickets: €10,- students.

Weijers & Van Saarloos: Mijn geheim with Dan Hassler-Forest 22 April, 8 pm @ De Rode Hoed. An incidental benefit of keeping up with this agenda is that you’re allowed to stalk your own teachers. Especially if they’re at an interesting event as this one about the utility of secrets. Tickets €10,- for students.

Wijsgerig Festival Drift 25 April, from 19.30 @ De Brakke Grond. The philosophically savvy can eat their hearts out on this evening filled with lectures, debates, and other cultural festivities. The theme of this year “Toward Chaos” will certainly lead to lively discussion about paradoxical topics such as structure and order, chaos and destruction. Tickets are €6,50 for students (in pre-sale, €8,50 at the door).

 

Writer’s Block Happenings: March

Exam week is coming up, so we thought you all could use some good advice on what to do in those delightful free days after. Or perhaps you could use a little outing this weekend to cool your nerves a bit? Regardless, you know the drill: here’s another edition of all the grooviest happenings in and around Amsterdam for the month of March.  Continue reading “Writer’s Block Happenings: March”

Writer’s Block #24

The time is come at last: Writer’s Block #24 is here! It’s been available at several UvA locations for a little while now, and we’re happy to present you with a digital version here as well – you can find it in the link below.

We hope you enjoy it and you are encouraged to send in some work of your own! Writer’s Block is always looking for new pieces of writing, because without submissions there is no WB. We hope to read some of your writings soon!

Click here for the online version of WB #24.