Tag Archive | life before internet

Children’s drawings from the seventies

22 July 2009

When I was scanning some old pictures, I found a photo of my Mum.  Behind the head of the boy I caught sight of a familiar looking drawing pinned to the wall. I knèw I still had this particular drawing somewhere in the few boxes I lug with me through my life … I searched and I found.

The painting turned out to be 39 years old. In the corner was written ‘Patricia 5 years old’.
Would Rembrand be a mediocre drawer too when he was 5 years old? Hehehe … certainly! 😉
Maybe the only unusual aspect I already had in my younger years could be the preference for non-blue skies.

One year later details start appearing; A chandelier which -looking at the back bulbs- attempted me to make a kind of perspective. A bracket for the hanging painting and a kind of anchor above the front door.
And although a perspectively correct opening fence was probably beyond me, I found a good lock important enough to draw.

Children's drawings Children's drawings Children's drawings

Blind fury

10 July 2009

Did you ever explode in anger in public?
Years ago it happened to me in the Body Shop in the Netherlands.

To save the environment they advertised to refill your plastic Body Shop shampoo bottles. I found it a totally logical idea. So I stored my empty bottle of coconut shampoo. For weeks it was waiting in the bathroom. After a while there was emptied another bottle and together they moved to the dresser in the hallway.

One day the 2 bottles finally ended up in my shopping bag and I headed to town.
In the meantime the Body Shop had launched a couple of new scents. I said to one of the shop assistants: “Hi, here are my empty bottles. Can you refill them with this and that.”
The girls took the bottles from me and checked the label. She turned off the cap of my bottle and smelled it. “This has been coconut, so it need to be filled with coconut again,” she said.
“No, this time I prefer honey.”  And I tapped my finger on the shelf with the bottles of shampoo of my choice. And in the other bottle I want conditioner with Olive,” I said.
She sniffed the other bottle too and said: “This has been conditioner with peach.”
“Yeah right, but now I want Olive,” I said again. I already digged up my wallet, indicating that I had no time for her hair analysis.
“That’s not possible,” she said.
“What … is … not … possible? I asked. “The advertisement for refills is still presented on your door!”
“We can only refill with the same product,” she said.
“Well, the original product was shampoo and conditioner and now I want shampoo and conditioner again,” I said.
“We can only refill them with exact the same scent” she said with bored tone in her voice.
“Oh … but I want to try Honey and Olive. What’s the problem?”
“The problem is that the ingredients are mixing together “
“Well, the bottles are thoroughly rinsed with boiling water. There is no drop of coconut and peach left!”
“Yes, but there still may be small particles, which affect the result.”


“Yes, but there still may be small particles, which affect the result.” she said again. I looked at her in full amazement. She probably had learned this at the Body Shop school. But now back to reality please, because I wanted to leave this shit shop, WITH my refilled bottles.
“Yeah I understand that, but that is my own responsibility, okay ?!” To underline I was done with this conversation I already did a step towards the cash register.
“No, we can’t do it.”
“Hey come on! Then do it secretly. I won’t say a word to your boss.” I ran out of patience and I felt that something began to boil in my head.
“No, we can not do it.” she said again and without showing any emotion.




At that time I grabbed the two bottles out of her hands … “THEN YOU DON’T SELL ANYTHING ALL!”

On the way to the door it flashed through my mind what to do with those empty bottles. They had cluttered my dresser for months, but I also wanted to help reducing the landfills. “That stupid girl, we are fighting the same battle!” In a new wave of seething rage I turned around and threw the bottle as far as possible into the store.
I thoroughly hoped I hit something breakable.

My first time for money

16 October 2008

Around the millennium, I had access to an office in Amsterdam, which I used as an art studio. Near the studio was a bar. I tried to visit the bar as less as possible. About once a week, mostly on Friday when everybody celebrated the start of the weekend. This local bar was run by a couple and their adult son.

One afternoon I went to the son’s apartment. He would give me 250 euro in advance of the job … Because I had designed a mural for him.
Earlier that day I had unrolled my drawing on the counter of the bar to show him my idea. All the customers were watching and meddling in. After a few minutes discussing and approvingly murmeling, the son, the customers and I unitedly toasted on the acquired agreement.

The apartment of the son was a typical men’s house. There were only the much-needed pieces of furniture of the type chrome, glass and leather-look, along with a few wilting houseplants on floor of white high gloss tiles. This kind of cold and unattractive atmosphere apparently was aware by the son too, because the idea was that my mural would change that. If he could have lured a girl into his house in the near future, at least he had to offer a piece of conversation.
My first time for moneyI worked on the mural for 1 week. If he left his appartment in the morning to work in the bar, I came in a little later with his house key and stayed untill the end of the afternoon.
For a first time I was quite satisfied about the result. A true flag on a mud barge (Dutch saying). These days probably would do it in a different style, but hey … it was 16 years ago. And the son was happy.

Soon after this first mural commission, my auntie asked me to create a mural in her kitchen. It was a small one, but it counts as an art-project anyway.

My aunty asked me to create a mural in her kitchen. It was a small one, but it counts as an art-project anyway.

Plaster art

12 August 2008

1993 Bay of Gokova, Turkey

1993 Bay of Gokova, Turkey

The ‘art related’ stuff in this post is somewhat unusual.
In 1993 I took some lessons to learn to handle a paraglider. Soaring in the flat Netherlands was possible along the dunes, but it was more fun to do it in the higher mountains of La France or Turkey.
After a few years I got an accident (my paragliding Dad bumped on me, while I was watching him on the dunes) and I needed to wear a brace of plaster for 2 months. I wasn’t an artist if I didn’t get it decorated! In the famous Dutch Delft Blue pottery style. Fragile too.

1993 Aspres-sur-Buëch, La France

1993 Aspres-sur-Buëch, La France

After 12 years my sister in law discovered that the brace was still ‘exhibited’ on top of the closet in the plaster room of the hospital!

plaster art 1995 The nurse did his best to keep the brace intact when he was sawing it off (yes, that happened with a tiny saw). The gap was meant for easier breathing and allow some room for the stomach.
1995 The physician did his best to keep the brace intact when he was sawing it off (yes, that happened with quite an ordinary saw). The gap was meant for easier breathing and allow some room for the stomach.

Good customer

30 April 2008

For some reason I prefer my hairdresser (and my gp and my car mechanic) to be older than I am. Someone who is responsible for something as important as my appearance, at least needs to act like every tiny cut is a deeply considered and wise decision. Ideally they should have low, soothing voices like they know what they are doing. Also too many questions at the start of ‘a session’ are by definition unacceptable. Males even have a better chance to make it to my favorite hairdresser (or fav gp and car mech).
Now I am not one who often goes to the hairdresser. This week it was Frank’s turn, who has been hairdresser free for a long time, but he have the same preferences as I do. Of course he has, otherwise we were no couple. Obviously this is one of the first things discussed before you start a relationship, isn’t it?!

“Do you mind if I meddle with your choice of hairdresser the rest of your life?”
“That’s okay. Do I need to dye your outgrowth every 6 weeks the rest of your life? ”
“Yes, you should. And children? ”
“Neu. And you?”
“Neu, no children”.
“Well, then we can work it out, huh?”
“Yes, we are ready then.”
“Shall we begin?”
“Yeah, let’s get started.”

One of the first serious favorite hairdressers I had in my adult life, was an old, small, ugly and skinny fellow, but he had a great ascendancy over his customers. Exactly what I was searching for. He made the impression of being quite convinced of what needed to be done. Consequently I directly think that someone is a professional.
I entered his small salon, where I only saw 1 boy waiting on the bench and another single customer sitting in the dental chair. Yes, a dental chair. I was seated next to the waiting boy. When the hairdresser turned his back to us to continue his work, I saw he was wearing a long, gray and partly red dyed braid of about 1 meter.
When a third boy wanted to enter the shop, the hairdresser didn’t allow him to come inside, before the boy in the chair was ready. The barber shouted that he would not be gaped by three people at once. For safety’s sake, I pointedly looked down to my hands clenched around the handbag on my knees.

After fifteen minutes the rosy-cheeked blonde boy in the chair was ready and he got released with a free orange-colored tin. “Oh great! Free stuff.” I thought. “Maybe I’ll get something too”. The barber beckoned me into the chair, not deigning a glance to the waiting boy beside me -who actually came in before me.
“Because she is new,” said the hairdresser to no one in general.
“Haha,” I said.
“Haha,” said the waiting boy.
“Haha,” said the barber.
“Can I come in now?” asked the boy who was waiting outside.

I made a kind of rueful grimace to the waiting boy and quickly sat down.
The boy who had waited outside was now allowed to come in and got a broom pushed into his hands. He was ordered to clean up the cutted hair of the blond boy. “Then I can work faster!” said the barber. Otherwise you sitting there doing nothing.
By now I realized the customers in this shop were not supposed to have an opinion, so with a waving gesture to the barber I said: “Do whatever you like.” I tried to look as if I was very occupied by my own very important thoughts, and now I also had a good view on that pile of orange tins. Oh, it was African straightening cream. What a matching gift for the rosy-cheeked blonde boy.

An hour later I left the chair with dark purple pointy sideburns. It looked very adventurous and I found it very beautiful. The barber himself was very pleased too and he decided that the rest of that afternoon he only wanted to do dye-jobs. Anybody who wanted something else had to go away.
To my slightly surprise, the still waiting boy and the boy with the broom, didn’t stir a finger. Not annoyed, not anxious, not excited. In a split second I tried -as unobtrusively as possible- to scan the room looking for a candid camera. Was I the one who had put herself into something weird? And was it my fault that these guys probably did not have a proper haircut that day.

good customer


13 September 2007

When I was 12 I bought my first LP, paid from 3 weeks saved allowance. I still can dream every detail of the black cover with the colored insignia of Queen. With a determined patience I manually had copied and reduced the size of the insignia and pasted on the front of my school agenda, after I first had made it completely black with a marker. Then coated with strips of transparent tape.
Those days it was important to have the thickest diary of your class mates, caused by all kind of stickers and extra pictures. The first thing girls glued inside the cover was a small mirror. You was on the right track if your school agenda needed to be held together with a post rubber within a couple of weeks.

Back in the days for pop stars it made sense to pay attention to the cover, because LP’s were large. Cover illustrator seemed to be a respectable profession to me. Although inaccessible, but something to pursue in my adolescent dreams.
By now I’m not sure if it was a real profession anyway. But it would have been such a nice preface for the glamorous coffee table book, “Life and work of Mrs. Van Lubeck”. It would have been a good story if because of that youthful career plan I would have ended up on the graphical school, and soon afterwards became a widely sought illustrator/record cover creator …
That did not happen. Because to enroll the graphics school I needed a certificate of mathematics, which I hadn’t.
And to get admitted the art school I had to show fifty (50!) … (Yes, fifty !!!) artworks to show my talent. I was seething. I had never heard such a stupid thing. You go there to learn making art, isn’t it? If you wanted go to the school for veterinarians, you also don’t need to show 50 surgeried* cats in advance?!
I think at that point I got my first major frustrated rage against society.

metaphorIn hindsight, I’m fine without art school. I became an artist anyway. And … I even became a bit of a record cover designer too! Of a Real American Progressive Rock Band, called Metaphor! Yeah! They asked me if there was a possibility to use one of my paintings for their newest cd.

*Yes I know, a non existing word. But you know what I meant, right?


25 June 2007

There is going on some kind of inspiration-challenge in blog-land, asking to write about 3 bosses you have had in your life. Or your 3 worst purchases. Or 3 holidays, or 3 shameful happenings, etc … Well, you get it.

Suddenly I realised that my first boss, as well as my latest boss, both were my fathers in law. However, these were different jobs and different fathers in law. In both cases I caught their sons earlier than the jobs. So you can say I got my jobs via the mattresses.
My first job was in the school holidays in summer at an insurance company. I had no clue what to do at that company and also my colleagues had no idea what to do with that 15 years old kid. Probably they thought: “Maybe she will disappear if we no pay attention. We are too busy to entertain her.”
I remember I got tiny chores that I had done in 10 minutes, like for example; putting stamps on 10 envelopes … And then I had to disturb the older guys again with the same question: “What needs to be done now?”. More and more I started to generate for this recurrent question and eventually I didn’t repeat it anymore. I found myself starting to hide. In the kitchenette staring to the coffee machine, or half into the office supplies storage gazing to the dust.

The best memory of that summer was the joy on my bike at the end of the last day. I can’t remember whether I ‘forced a last day’ or eventually took my bag and disappeared. Silently, quickly and too embarrassed to say goodbye.

My second job was cleaner in the hospital for a few weeks. The most intense memory was the horrible smell of centrifuged blood in the laboratories. That’s needed to separate (and then store) the ‘ingredients’ of donor blood, but since that time I disgust the smell of blood if passing a butcher.


1987: My first REAL office job. Here I’m the red one.


1983: Dishwasher in a lunchroom. I’m the blue one, between the 2 red ones.

Then I went to a cosmetics factory. Standing at the assembly line. The work consisted of freshly poured lipsticks keeping in a flame for a few seconds so they got their shine. After a few days I discovered that a large number of workers were brought with a special van from the house of the mentally challenged. Maybe that was the explanation of the difficult connection I experienced in the canteen. They didn’t allow me to sit beside them, because every seat was ‘discussed’ already, what was made clear by a pointed look.
More days later, I found out there was a separate table for temporary workers …

Snitched, but too late

30 June 2006

The only neighbour we’ve betrayed once, was the owner of a goat. The neighbours hardly looked after the animal, who was tied to a pole with a rough rope leaving a sore-looking spot on his neck. Once a week they moved the post a few meters, as far away as possible from their villa-with-lushy-lawn and within 1 day, the goat already had eaten every tuft of the poorly weeds on the edge of their property. The rest of the week he apathetically lay in the cold muddy dirt, in its own droppings.

Of course we were only sissy city people and probably did only imagine that the apple we threw over the fence every morning, was munched hyperly quick. And a nice fitting collar to remedy the deep pink gash in his neck, perhaps was also too fancy for an ordinary goat …

One morning we heard a pitiful moaning and we saw how the neighgoat had tangled himself with the rope and was laying in an impossible position, tight against the post. Frank immediately was jumping over the fence to save him. There was only a little zest for living left in the poor thing, and he didn’t want the apple anymore.

snitched too lateAfter Frank had warned the neighbour and was ‘reassured’ with the sarcastic remark that they would reanimate him soon, we have wait for 1 hour. As expected, they didn’t show up to take a look and when we went to check the goat once again on our way to work, he laid there even more lifeless in the cold wetness with panicking eyes.
We drove to the vet and explained the situation. Legally he couldn’t do much, but he promised us to drive along the place and then ‘accidentally’ hearing a plaintive goats cry … With a worried veterinarian heart he would stop to do further investigation …
If necessary, we wanted to pay the bill.

Returning home, after work, we immediately called the vet.
The goat died.
Just before the vet could give him the euthanasia injection …

Snitcher 1

21 June 2006

Sometimes people ask me if I’m influenced by animation movies because of the atmosphere in my paintings. That may be true, I love animated films. Yesterday I saw Cars from Pixar.
Cars now was finally a movie that proved that my great sorrow wasn’t so ridiculous when I had to bring my first cars to be junkyard. It’s heartbreaking! According to Frank the ‘actors’ had authentic ‘voices’. That doesn’t mean the list of famous names in the credits, but … the engine noise of a 1953 Hudson was exactly the right sound of a straight-6. Yes, there are people out there who highly appreciate these correct details. Although the engine noise of a low-rider of course can be nothing else than the voice of Cheech …
The film was full of jokes and reflections for the grown-ups too. Everything we thought about cars, they also thought at Pixar. Like that Hummers are sissies. That Porsches are girls. That a wheel clamp hurts. That biodiesel is for hippies. That accidents are very traumatic. That America is beautiful. That tractors always be bullied.

Talking about bullying, I pondered further …

In my childhood days, when one of the classmates secretly had done something bad, it could happen that we all had to stay in the classroom after school hours. “Everyone keeps sitting in ones chair until the culprit report himself!” said the teacher, with which he unleashed a small psychological war.
Possibly he considered this as a lesson in loyalty. Mainly a lesson for the guilty one, because now he or she might feel the undeserved punishment of 29 innocent fellow kids.
snitcherIf the kid was a brat, it wasn’t bothered at all. In that case, the stay after school was a lesson in betrayal.
The only thing the teacher needed to do was waiting, until one of the other kids explodes in impatience and would shout out: “Yes John, say it!!!”
But … 9 times out of 10, it was just a lesson in respect for the teacher … because he only had to look at the faces of all the children, who automatically did stealthy glances on John. It was incomprehensible to us that -after a few minutes of deadly silence- the teacher apparently had found the perpetrator and could sent home the rest of us.

We, in return, were baffled how the teacher had identified the snitcher.

Snitchers part II