DIARY

April 17th, 2014
And Amsterdam again. The city is experiencing the beginning of the tourist invasion. What in the old days were the locusts, or the Russians who were said to be coming, are now the Easter bunnies. The city's policy is to invite this plague. But the bunnies' mindless zigzagging made my biking to Boekie Woekie difficult this morning, and that will get worse now every day. However it would be arrogant to complain. Will not each Easter bunny hide an egg in our till in exchange for a postcard or a book? I only hope they won't hide their eggs too well. So well, that we won't find them.

March 29th, 2014
What a sub-Arctic pre-spring day. Ice-cold air but the promise of warmth where the sun reaches your skin. Down to the sea the mountains as a huge cake are covered in snow that fell less than a week ago. We know of the high spirit the sailor must be in whose tiny white boat cuts through in wide silence. Today is the birthday of landscape, all is dressed up. The guest will arrive any moment.
We see the flies' relentless climb up the window pane while we warm our fingers on a hot cup back inside. We say they noticed something too.

March 15th, 2014
A bit more, in the line of the last entry: Isn't it this: not the words identify my I, they belong to us all, but I become me by how I put them together. How about that?

March 14th, 2014
Tom had his birthday the other day, he got 73. Brák gets 18 today. A week ago Ţorri Hrafn was born in Atlanta, Rúna´s third grandchild. I´ll be 69 next month. I say I so that those who hear me know that I stand behind my words. I have the word I for saying that it is me who says that. I, that is the guy I recognize in the mirror. But when I hear him speak he says words which are not his, they are everybody´s words. How can he say I? Wrongly claimed identity?

March 6th, 2014
Reykjavík once again. Snow. My first snow this winter. It was snowing madly when I came out of the airport building, half an hour before midnight landing from London, a bunch of car rental papers not yet folded in my one hand, dragging with the other the trolley case like a plough through the snow the wheels far from touching the tarmac. The car rental girl had quickly wrapped herself in a coat and hurried ahead of me into the snowstorm. Then she was swiping with the sleeve some of the snow off the wind-shield. It didn't take her long to express her relief when I said I'd do the rest, a brief nod and she was fleeing back to the building. But then it took me long to find an exit from the vast, almost empty, ill lit, traceless white parking place. There must have briefly been visible a complex drawing done with the car's tires when I finally succeeded to leave the white plane and pull out into the traffic of the public road. May these words extent the memory of the drawing's short life.

January 31st, 2014
No dull moments here. I have to repeat that. Now Rúna, still limping, had a very narrow escape - 3 days ago she felt she was getting a cold, stayed home and in bed with the windows closed, while her apartment filled up with carbon monoxide, emitted by a neighbour's faulty heating system. In the evening other neighbours noticed something, called the plumber, the fire brigade, the ambulance. They found her still alive, she was rushed to the hospital and got treated with oxygen and is now badly shocked and has a depressing headache. We still can't quite grasp what happened, how lucky we were.

January 9th, 2014
Again a new round, good luck everybody. Rúna had invited us for a diner that Holy Night night. Preparing it she had dropped a frying pan on her toe, it broke - not the pan, but her toe-bone. Close to a year after I broke my shoulder, the second bone breaking Christmas. She has started to come to the shop again, foot in some protective gear. No dull moments here.

December 14th, 2013
Now Boekie Woekie has me back. I feel ready to cope with lots of customers - this is the time of the year one would expect them, isn't it. However, once again, like in all the years before, we are shown that very few of those who are now flooding the street to get prepared to perform the role in 10 days of giving presents away, have the idea to buy their presents here. These days, where you see everybody carry big bags around are rather worse in regard to Boekie Woekie's turn over than the rest of the year. I think I can see clouds come up on the foreheads of those who do come into the shop. When they look around, they get the idea they could make mistakes. I guess it is they simply don't know what (these) books are. They probably have not learned to quickly grasp their entertainment value. Is most people's Christmas obedience paired with the fear of the authority of books? We may have to keep the shop open a little longer, to change that.

November 28th, 2013
Another busy month is drawing to a close. The one day early this month I flew to Milano and came back the next day seems very long ago. I went there with mixed feelings, the occasion was the opening of a Dieter Roth and Björn Roth exhibition in a huge space known as Hangar Bicocca. I knew the title was "Islands" - island being what Dieter Roth called many of his works. I had understood that the assumption was that it would be rather difficult to fill that huge space. But to speak of islands would of course explain any space between the works. My mixed feelings were due to a presentiment of the real Dieter probably being present only in homeopathic doses. When I entered the space my first impression was that of a figure on in-line skates wearing a gas mask spraying clouds of sweetly smelling stuff all around - baby powder I was informed. I recognized the figure as one of Dieter's grandsons who recently has shown in Iceland remarkable creative and destructive energy (in a self set art context). Loosely scattered the islands, some old, others new. The new ones fairly believable related to a body of works one associates with Dieter Roth. The whole pretty fittingly to be described as an entertainment park. A new walkable structure opposite the much enlarged bar, had a sign by the authorities on either end that a maximum of 20 people were allowed to simultaneously enter it, but no pregnant women. Maybe the Roths are developing their name as a trademark for a special kind of party service I thought flying home.
Then, just a few days later, I flew to Zürich, to install my own exhibition. Since 2 days I'm back, I still have to make my mind up what to tell about it - just this much now: I felt glad it turned out the way it did. (A bit more about it is to be found on the NEWS page of this site.)

November 1st, 2013
I'm back in Boekie Woekie, everything went fine with me, only the day after I was back I got a call that my Peugeot, about 20 years old, which I leave with friends when I'm not in the country, had been lost in an accident - which luckily harmed neither the driver nor any third party. It was a fine car.
Boekie Woekie is full of books, many new titles, we are ready to help those on the other side of the counter.

October 20th, 2013
The big coming and going event continued at a speedy pace after the sewage and awning problems last month at home were solved (at least temporarily). Johannes for example - he had witnessed the great awning deformation - went back to Mainz, Hetti went to Berlin to represent BW at a book fair there, I, together with Hrafnhildur, did the same in New York. Back at the house Jo and Wesley had arrived - they had come for a few days to stop by after they had given an art course in Norway. They had fed the cat during our absence. After 2 days, almost at the time they left to go back home to Canada, I flew to Iceland, waited at the airport for 20 minutes and then Tom arrived with a plane from Copenhagen. After greeting friends in Reykjavík we drove the old Peugeot up North. Our temporary household was marked by a lot of sleeping. The weather was friendly - it can get cold in the house when it is stormy - and Tom can get bad gout attacks which usually are triggered off by cold feet, he says. Alla installed an exhibition of my books in her Alţýđuhús in Siglufjörđur - it opened on what became a great Sunday! Jón was reading, no singing, his poems in Ljóđasetur Íslands (which is, in spite of the rather official sounding name, a private initiative of a sports teacher). Then Örlygur, his wife Guđný and the sports teacher sang rímur, and later at the dinner after some more singing, Örlygur explained the origins of the specific rímur intonation as deriving from Gregorian music, and called it a medieval blues, a music of unfulfilled longing. It fitted well then that Tom could play, and that Arna could sing the blues, thanks to Alla´s piano.
Now after about 3 weeks, I brought Tom to the bus to Reykjavík and have a week left to work here for my upcoming show at Marlene´s.

September, 11th, 2013
Have gotten up earlier than usual and am now waiting for men to come in the next hour who I hope will now finish the job they began (and thought had completed and left) on Monday. The sewage system in our downstairs bath room has stopped to work properly, it's disgusting. On Monday they didn't check whether their action was successful any further than that they made sure they were paid - a lot - in cash. With the next run of the washing machine later that day the problem was back. They say on their web site 'no cure no pay'. We'll see how eager they are to fulfill that promise. Within this next hour we also expect Boekie Woekie's next exhibitor (see the NEWS page) with his wife to arrive by train. We offered them to stay with us. I don't know how inviting they'll find our dwelling place when they see a sewage car with running pumps parked in front of the door. To give the reader a more complete idea of present affairs - on Tuesday the shop's awning (I spoke of it further down, on the 18th of September, 2006) was torn off by the first autumn storm. When we returned from our pizza a mess of aluminum bars and canvas was blocking the pavement. We had to call the fire brigade to unscrew it fully to clear the way for pedestrians. Parallel to these unexpected events the preparations for our participation in the New York Art Book Fair and our participation in Miss Read in Berlin - which happen at the same weekend - continue. A lot needs to be done before I can leave next Tuesday to NY and Hetti on Wednesday to Berlin. I don't know if I have already expressed it sufficiently, but we feel that paralyzing suspense one may know from nightmares, but we are not in that state one calls sleep.
 
July 31st, 2013
Biking over Amsterdam's bridges is for bicyclists of the consequence that on the way up to the middle they have to pedal harder - bridges are our only mountains. But biking over Amsterdam's bridges grants you many vistas one could be tempted to call quite beautiful, at least when the weather is nice. I never stop to enjoy what I see, instead I use the decline to speed up, but I'm getting the feeling that recently, during those 10 days about we can call "this summer" from the corners of my eyes I notice a change. From the bridges one overlooks to the left and right for a few hundred meters, until the view is blocked by the next bridge, those waters Amsterdam is famous for, the canals, de grachten. Many of the locals traditionally have boats which they parade around in when the weather is inviting. That has always been so. What is new is that what you see now is a life boat parade. People acquire for these pleasure trips giant life boats, life boats from ocean liners. The suggestion the life boats evoke is of course that of a near by sinking big ship. Is this an unconscious dress rehearsal? Are we actually going down in a grotesque masquerade? Biking, I wonder.

July 20th, 2013
Another person asked for a book which it turned out I couldn't deliver. This time it was a black woman. At first I couldn't at all make out what she said, I wasn't sure which language I was hearing. Then I thought she might be asking for Dieter Roth's Zeitschrift Für Alles, in German, his Review for Everything. The instant I thought that I knew this wish would be really unlikely to come from her, but always expecting surprises I repeated what I was guessing she had said to allow her to say "yes, that's what I want". However she just repeated what she had said before, and ever so slowly I grasped it, she was speaking, not very fluently, but Dutch words, and the book she wanted, I began to understand, was called Strijders Voor Allah. In English Fighters For Allah. She left without seeming too surprised when I said I was sorry, but that we didn't have that book in stock.

July 13th, 2013
Hetti has returned, Rúna is still in Iceland. My 5 weeks alone are over, I'm relieved. The most remarkable few moments during my time alone were probably those when a man of about 40 stood there on the customer side of the sales desk asking whether I knew where he could buy a copy of Hitler´s "Mein Kampf". That after those endlessly many times that we of Boekie Woekie have given directions to folks asking for the way to the Anne Frank House.Certainly not here, I said. He went on to say that he thought this book was forbidden, but shouldn't one be able to get a copy somehow? I cut him short and said, pointing to the door that I had not much patience for this subject, he left, murmuring excuses. The only copy I ever saw of that book stood on the top shelf, just behind the entrance door of the house, kept as it was when George Bernhard Shaw lived in it, somewhere north of London, not far from St.Albans. Mrs. Davis had taken me there, undoubtedly to do something for my education, it must have been 1960. I wonder whether that book would still be standing there now.

June 17th, 2013
My diary, my poor forgotten diary. I hope this forgetfulness is not symptomatic for the state its writer is in. A six weeks pause, I must have a lot to tell. Where was I - the one and a half nice days early in May - well it was a false promise, summer didn't come then. It has hardly come now, though the forecast is that it may get warm today. I should say it was as it always is, Boekie Woekie first, and then again Boekie Woekie and once more: Boekie Woekie. There were variations: Mara was visiting one weekend, for a first hand report on improvised offset printing she needs for her studies. Aldo and Monika were here for a long weekend, then first Rúna took off for 2 months in Iceland, working first for one month in the hotel in Bjarnarfjörđur her friends Dísa and Einar are running and then, for the second month, she'll work in the canteen of her son's firm in Reykjavík. Hetti followed 10 days later and is now in our Northern Icelandic hide-out. When she'll return, "het kleine ding", the little thing, as her family tenderly called her and as her sisters sometimes still do now (Hetti is the by far youngest of three sisters), when she returns to Amsterdam, the little thing will be 65. As a consequence of these journeys I have to do the shop alone for weeks to come, about which, now that the first week is over, I can say I find comfort in that the remaining weeks will pass as quickly as this first one.

May 5th, 2013
It feels like summer. It was warm today. What a difference that makes. To feel summer approaching coincides with another uplifting event that took place today. Boekie Woekie, as the reader of this diary must know, has some of its roots in an ambition to print - we had, ages ago, faced self-made mountains of books piling up, blocking our way. To sell what we had printed seemed to be the right solution. Of course this didn't work out, the mountains only got higher than ever, growing faster than ever too. That was partly because we continued to print, partly because we got so excited that we asked others to allow us to (try to) sell their books too, and of course it doesn't occur to most people as something desirable at all to buy these strange books. The shop at the end was our school where we learned to accept the facts of life. We print, we sell, but only a little, the unbalance continues. It continued I have to say, we had to stop to print almost a year ago. I'm speaking of offset printing. Digital printing continued, and continues. But we came to an end of our offset printing. We ran namely out of a chemical needed to make our direct image paper offset plates water-sensitive. Our whole offset experience was based on this liquid of which we last bought 10 liter bottles, but that was in the nineties, and now the offset supply merchants don't even know anymore what this was. I phoned everyone I could hope might know, no result. The last thing was that we gave a few very last drops to a firm to chemically analyze it - no result, they talked themselves out of it, it sounded like they were afraid we wanted to do something not allowed. Leaving the house for the shop, earlier today, Hetti said she'd stay behind. Then she phoned, around dinner time, with an excited voice. She had it, she said. She had tried every substance she found in the house, she said, from vinegar, diluted with water, diluted with less waster, not diluted at all, until the not diluted toilet cleaner did it, did it beautifully! 45 cents the liter bottle! We don't have to fear any longer the erosion of our in-door alps, thanks to Hetti's intuitive initiative. What a nice day!

April 22nd, 2013
In a few hours the short weeks in Iceland's North are over for me, I'm flying back to Reykjavík, and return the day after tomorrow to Amsterdam. The question-like remark at the end of my last entry. ("let's see what happens next") is answerable now. With great relieve I can let you know nothing happened which would not be very ordinary. Snow and sunshine, several naps a day, working lightly on a few books - and luckily no bad news from the outside world. I think of myself as someone for whom the concept of having a holiday doesn't exist - as an artist you can not really be not at work - but these weeks passed without me feeling very challenged to be my real keen self.

March 30th, 2013
I'm in Iceland. It feels like I had a hard time to pull myself out of where I came from. It took me long. The plan had been to come here around the middle of December. But then Rúna was invited to visit her son and his family in the US for a month, which delayed me till after New Year, because it would have been asking too much from Hetti to run the shop alone in that month of expected increased business. And then, by breaking my collar bone around the middle of December, I knew I had to wait until that would have healed - 6 weeks was predicted, and thanks to the circumstance that the doctors did refrain from operating I now consider that broken bone as something of the past - my right arm is now somewhat reduced in its radius of movability, but the occasions I notice that are few. If they had decided to operate it, the bone would first have to be broken again - I would have been back to square one concerning the healing time. While the shop experienced a thorough slow-down since the beginning of the new year (I hope it picks now up again), other strings of activity then selling books gained automatically priority. On the one hand we produced some new printed matter - I haven't mentioned much of this project, but that will come - and on the other a section of the shop got a new face. We namely finally got rid of the old Din A3 colour copying machine and build instead a shelf/glass case which resembles, if anything, the New German National Gallery in Berlin by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Except of course that it is much smaller. As part of my planned, but delayed trip to Iceland I had seen all the while a new visit to New York - all the years of BoeWoe´s participation in the New York Art Book Fair I have been sharing the room with my host's ink jet printer. It's one of those printers which print on paper rolls which can be up to 120 cm wide. Skúta, my host, had signalled readiness to help me play a little with that machine. If the airlines had a more reasonable pricing policy I would have flown to NY, satisfied my printing desires, and on the way back interrupted my journey in Iceland for a few weeks. Since that would have been much more expensive, I flew from Amsterdam to NY, did my printing (liked it very much, would love to do more), returned to Amsterdam for one night and flew the next day again half the way back across the Atlantic Ocean, saw friends in Reykjavík and Mosfellsbćr and drove North. A light Good Friday snowfall in our fjord welcomed me. Now, after one night's sleep, the house is warm. Let's see what happens next.

February 27th, 2013
I went to another funeral in Freiburg, it was that of Monika's Manfred, 70 years old. Maybe 2 years ago he had sent me, after one of their visits to Amsterdam (traditionally coming for Hetti's birthday) S.Hessel's "Empört Euch!" because I think I had shown anger in a conversation about banks gambling with ordinary folk's savings and then turning to the tax payer when they need to be bailed out. S.Hessel, whose death is announced in today's papers. Manfred had a way of appearing balanced and involved at the same time, one could think he was a wise person.
Then we heard the day before yesterday that also Ţorvaldur died, age 52, in Antwerpen, - Ţorvaldur , the young playful genius, who became Ibbý's man after her husband Jón Yngvi, the writer with his mind stuck after reading Strindberg, had got himself killed back in the eighties. Jón Yngvi, my first Icelandic friend and Ibbý, now dead since many years too, but Sigrún, their daughter, I hope happy in Reykjavík. 40 years ago I thought I could learn Icelandic together with her. I was mistaken about my progress in this matter. Ţorvaldur who studied art in Maastricht and to whom I said back then, as his teacher, that I foresaw problems for him as an artist because of his being so very gifted.
3 in 2 months. One might rather not want to be curious what else can be expected.
Though it may look like we indulge more than necessary in the finiteness of everything, Boekie Woekie invited meanwhile to an event under the title "the end is near". Luckily Styrmir Örn Guđmundsson knew to present the nearness of the end as something very entertaining and harvested plenty of applause. However the good-bye-for-good Boekie Woekie is going to feel the most in its daily existence is still to be related. We slaughtered namely our Rolls Royce of a copying machine, the Canon CLC 700 which we were for years the proud owners of thanks to Dieter Roth. That cubic meter of high tech of the mid-nineties, had been a main object in the shop for almost 20 years. Once bought to produce Dieter's Copy Books, it had for years now been a problem, blocking the view, we hardly dared to use it anymore. Breaking down frequently and being extremely expensive to repair we had long since lost patience with it, but didn't know how to discard of it. It wouldn't fit through the front door in one piece since the enlargement of the main shop table years ago. Heiđar and me took it apart and created space for a bookshelf/showcase which Heiđar is putting together right now.

February 4th, 2013
And now I'm just back from Les's funeral in London. Some speakers in the crematorium delighted the mourners so much that they applauded - I hadn't been part of such a show of enjoyment on an occasion like this before, but am certain Les would have just loved it. Afterwards, the path along the river from the crematorium to the pub was terribly muddy. I could imagine Les saying let's re-enact that walk with all those who came (certainly more than 100 people) and have cameras ready to film that tiptoeing, jumping, splashing procession.
Throughout the last year and now again during the first month of this year our world was shaken by death, striking repeatedly. Quite recently I became aware of a twist of fate I want to relate here - one person told me he survived a deadly sickness because it was diagnosed before he had felt the symptoms of it. It was a sickness of the kind which had he felt its symptoms it would have been too late to cure it. This person almost killed me in an outburst of violence some years ago - he said later that day he had been ready to do that. Since then I did not see him again until recently. We both automatically knew we had to appear to be friendly and relaxed towards each other, not a trace of animosity was permitted. He told me of all sorts of developments in his life and among those was that he had had an accident in which he had broken his leg so many times that the nearest hospital which would be able to cope with such a thorough fracture was a helicopter flight away. He said he was in hospital for a whole year. Just because he was in the vicinity of all modern medical equipment, the doctors he said stuck him into a scanner and discovered pancreatic cancer in an early stage. Had he not already been hospitalized he said, he surly would now long be dead. Of course I did not tell him that it was me who saved his life. Hadn't it been me who had beamed him with my mind's concentration to fall into that hole in which he broke his leg?

January 27th, 2013
This time it really is bad, I went for 3 days to New York, I think it was to distract myself from what else is going on. Bernd had phoned last Monday from Berlin that he would be going to NY the next day. I got myself a ticket, phoned Tom and went along with Bernd on Tuesday. Tom arrived a short time later from Albuquerque. Saturday morning, yesterday, I was back in Amsterdam. Saturday night Hetti had invited guests - I had turned 8 years old on the return flight from America. (If you are a newcomer to this diary read the entries for the end of January 2005 below.) Today I think everybody except me has a hangover. Over there in New York we were among those who attended the continuation of the Roth story which took place as the first exhibition of a grand new gallery in Chelsea, installed by Björn. The gallery emphasizes Björn as a collaborator of his father and an article in the New York Times, for the first time to my knowledge, pays explicit attention to this. (If you paste this address into your browser window you should get to that article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/arts/design/dieter-roths-works-live-on-as-a-family-business.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytimesarts)
13 Days ago Rúna came back from visiting for a month the Atlanta branch of her family, 12 days ago I heard to my relief that my collar bone wouldn't need to be fixed with screws, but then 10 days ago came the news that Les had died.

January 14th, 2013
To have committed myself to keep a public diary makes me sometimes aware of how I become inventive not to tell certain things. What I tell instead usually has the quality of a cloud of dust, only those trained to read between the lines may gather what they read is only there to distract from something else. I could for instance compare my situation to that of a typical book publisher, with a form at hand which he uses more often than that he publishes a book, a form for those manuscripts offered to him which deem him best to reject. Or I may refer to the oulipo technique of writing according to the self-imposed rule of omitting certain letters or words, and then point to the effect those restrictions have: don't things get more interesting by writing around them? Or claim according to common ideology that one anyhow is free to choose ones subjects. Or that not all is fit to print.
Am I talking fiction or am I interested in reality, here, in my diary?
By the way, on Wednesday I'll hear if the doctor really thinks it's better to break my collar bone again, in order to fix it then with screws ...

December 14th, 2012
Family and friends of Martin gather today in Derby to commemorate the painter, carpenter, sculptor and publisher - and organizer of the Small Publishers Fair in London I want to add because we of Boekie Woekie have so very much enjoyed to participate in this yearly event - wasn't it for the last 10 years?
Since it's digital it's not recognizable but I'm writing this with my left hand. If I would write with a pen and scan and reproduce an image of my hand writing here, one would see that I am someone using his unaccustomed hand for writing. I had an accident, fell off my bike on the way to a dinner party at Rúna's the other day. By chance I realize now I commemorated then (unknowingly and not quite well timed), Albert Hofmann's "Bicycle Day". I was passing something big colourful and changing shape in the night sky and looked up to it in wonder instead of down in front of me and broke my collar bone. I don't know how Albert Hofmann got home, almost 60 years ago, but my appetite was gone. In the hospital they said this will take six weeks.
Diary Phantom of the Opera
Hetti went yesterday to see if what I saw was still there and came back with this picture. It shows in the background Amsterdam's opera and in front its phantom.
Also yesterday, Rúna flew for a month to her son and his family to the US.

December 7th, 2012
Before too many layers of reports of other, newer events, cover what I have wanted to mention here since a week I better relate it now. You see on last entry's photograph Kamala's cat Tikety (I newer knew how to spell her name). Ticketty (?) has been in the service of Boekie Woekie since a bit more than two year's - Kamala moved abroad, BoeWoe was at that time haunted by mice, it was a good match. We didn't know that Tick would speak fluently Japanese - when ever Japanese girls are in the shop they will soon talk excitedly together. We like her. Ticko never jumps onto the books, is a well behaving cat lady through and through. Has never had to vomit. Doesn't even seem to see the gold fish Boekie Woekie keeps since a long time for Hrafnhildur. Two weeks ago, that Saturday of the picture below, Kamala was for a brief visit in Amsterdam and her visit coincided with her birthday. She always when coming to town (around every two months) also visits her cat, but this time we had her birthday celebration in the shop. For that we thought it was a funny idea to tie that balloon to Tickety's diamond necklace - it made us laugh. Maybe Dylan (Kamala's husband's son) felt something, he untied the balloon soon. After a few days up against the BW kitchen ceiling, the balloon began to deflate and sank to the floor, were Rúna found it when she opened the shop about a week ago with Ticky's piss and shit all over it. 

November 26th, 2012
Diary 26.11.12.jpg
This was to be seen Saturday night in Boekie Woekie.

November 11th, 2012
Early Sunday midday, I sold one postcard so far. A man and a woman left the shop without completing their mission, to buy a book to read aloud for children. I suppressed the suggestion to consider to buy

Page, Robin

Bluebeard  Junior Fluxus Happenings And Events For Kids

irony? revenge? at least very amusing to read and now available again in form of a reprint by Boekie Woekie of the first edition of the Edition Hundertmark booklet from 1995, stapled, 16 pages, 21 x 14,5 cm, Amsterdam 2010

EUR 12,00

Page Junior Fluxus.jpg

- the couple didn't look like they would like to read a suggestion like this aloud to a child:

FIND A DEAD CAT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. TAKE IT HOME AND PUT IT IN YOUR SISTER'S VIOLIN CASE. TAKE THE VIOLIN OUTSIDE AND BURY IT IN THE GARDEN.

Oct.21st, 2012
Waking up before eight, I see it begin to dawn from the window of the apartment on the 6th floor which Arnar was so kind to let me sleep in during the last few nights in Aarhus, Denmark. I have come here from Amsterdam in a rented car together with Martyn, to attend the 13th yearly conference of the Dieter Roth Academy. Today it is time to drive back home. I'll fetch Martyn in a moment for the 800 km motorway. There is no view from the window, it is more that I know what is down there. It was daylight when I got up here before: recreation meadows are there, sports' fields. But what I see now I can't quite make out. It's almost what one could expect to see when one looks up at night, lots of white dots in a vast darkness. Stars deep down under me? I like that idea. With my bag shouldered I press the down button of the elevator, but before I go to the car I have to take a closer look at those white dots I saw from above. When I get to the field the sudden simultaneous flapping of hundreds of wings are the phonetics of a great hasty departure and the visuals are that of a quickly dissolving white cloud of birds. I realize I have abruptly ended an academy meeting of a different kind.
 
Oct. 2nd, 2012
If I or someone in my direct vicinity had taken photographs of the night sky as it appears here where I'm now, no aurora borealis would have been visible. I have come last week to New York from Iceland, where I caught a second cod and slept and slept a lot. Hetti left Iceland the same day as I for Amsterdam. Here in New York the city lights would, shall I say overshadow - if it would occur at all - even the strongest northern lights. I made this trip to attend the New York Art Book Fair for Boekie Woekie as an exhibitor. Hrafnhildur helped me as last year. She had brought with her the first few copies of The Speed Reading Book into which she incorporated for me my rhymery (if this word does not exist in the English language, I mean a rhyming text for which the word poem would be assuming) - into which she has incorporated letter by letter my rhymery which goes under the name Square One. That was my new thing for this year's fair. The fair went well. To see, even if only briefly, friends and acquaintances from many parts of the world felt reassuring - they are still there, some still go on. That feels good, after all that crumbling (the true extent of which I don't want to mention here.)
 
September 4th, 2012
Hetti is just now taking pictures from her window of the night sky. This is one of them:
noorderlicht 4-9-12.
Yesterday I caught a cod, for the rest I'm sleeping. Gođa nótt!

August 12th, 2012
Jo, as an intercontinental caller reminded me that for a month no word had been added to this diary. Her call came when Rúna had just returned from a 3 months stay in her home country. The next day it was Hetti's turn to go there for a holiday. She made it, she is there now. My time will come in September. But also I had just been moving around, I was just back from 2 nights in Edinburgh, I had attended, at the Fruitmarket Gallery, the opening of the Dieter Roth "Diaries" exhibition. The catalogue of that exhibition contains a short text by me. Flying along Great Britain's east cost I had sorted out memories and did some calculation and came to the conclusion that the only earlier night I had spent in Edinburgh had been exactly, to the month, 50 years ago. I was seventeen, exploring the world, beautiful Alisah lived then in London, to see her and Scotland I had set out from Duisburg. Though hitchhiking, I had miscalculated my fortune. Without money I saw myself forced to knock on the door of the police. Whether they could put me up in a cell. Which they very kindly did. In the morning at 6 they woke me up with a cup of tea and a cracker and let me go. Though it had worked fine I never repeated that anywhere. This time I stayed in some kind of youth hostel, together with Aldo and Frank who had also come for the occasion. Björn and Tóta where there, Helen showed up, Barry and friend and Dirk and Karin and the fellow, can't think now of his name now, who used to work for Bookworks, but now has moved to Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a strange place, the contrast of the castle and the faked Greek temple ruins. To eat fish in Leith, Aldo, Frank and me took a taxi there. We explored the harbour on foot and suddenly a long magical moment ensued. Leaning on a fence we overlooked a vast water surface with on the horizon the silhouette of big new residential buildings put on what looked like a sandbank. The view had something very surrealistic about it. Unnoticed at first but near us, to the side, sailors moved on and from a moored navy vessel. Subdued sounds from wind instruments became audible, the sailors had lined up and tried various horns and trumpets, not playing anything intentionally, just making erratic sounds. Neither of us 3 mentioned anything, but when we left I think it was because of the goose pimples this forlornness had given us. - Of course I'm telling this in order to remain silent about the rest. But that is only normal, isn't it.

July 11th, 2012
I'm sitting in the back of the shop with a cup of canal water (the synonym the boewoes use for thin instant coffee) and talk with Henk about the booklet we plan to do with him, when the shop door opens and a well fed mother with 2 well fed daughters come in. The older daughter, a girl of maybe 12, comes in the furthest, and asks when she is close to us whether we sell Anne Frank's diaries in English. No I say, sorry, we don't. Mama, who stayed close to the door, raises her voice now and asks where the nearest McDonalds is. I say I don't know. When they are gone Henk and me are silent for a moment, should we laugh or should we cry?
 
June 24th, 2012
It wasn't all that late when I biked home to my bed last night, just after midnight. Biking through the city centre at that hour can leave one with the impression that one is witnessing a mini rehearsal for the big going down of everything. For a not-drunk on a bike the danger level is much more noticeable than during daytime, when the hordes of confused tourists that crowd Amsterdam's narrow streets already put ones attention to a high alert. Anyhow, I got home alright, slept 8 hours but woke up on this rainy Sunday morning at a time too early to expect visitors to Boekie Woekie. I have 3 hours for unplanned activities at home! A rare occasion. Waiting for my coffee water to boil, my glance falls on the roof below which covers the bathroom. The gutter is clogged, it has caused an artificial lake, I should do something about that. If the level of the lake gets higher than 2 or so centimetres, the water will bathe the bathroom. It has done that often before. Shall I wait for the water to boil, or to rise? I go, still on socks, down the stairs and to the back house, grab a broom on the way, open the back house window, from where I can reach the gutter with the broom. I can clean it, the lake empties itself. Back in the kitchen, the water boils. Now, with my coffee and at the pc I want to find words for the feeling which since years overcomes me when I'm in our back house. The back house, we belief, is from 1614. Rembrandt and Spinoza lived around the corner when it was built. When we came to live here in 1983 it was just after the death of my mother, I had inherited her library, German and world literature. I put her books into the back house. Three or 4 years later I got her brothers library too: the history and theory of socialism in many facets. Books on two floors. Since then it has rained many times. Many times the old structure didn't proof watertight. There is a specific smell there, a smell of decay. The pages of the book Oswald Spengler got famous for have begun to stick to each other, nobody will read it any more. Why should anyone want to, aren't they all out there at midnight, practicing in the narrow streets of Amsterdam what its title says?

June 11th, 2012
The engine which drags us three from Boekie Woekie through all this, was again dragging as good as ever.
Rúna went to Iceland, to install our show at Safnasafnid (see the NEWS page) and is now taking it easy before she'll work for a month in the kitchen of her son's firm.
I am just back from a few days in Switzerland, Genčva, Zürich, Basel. Got home with a cold. The morning after my return, Jesper arrived from Copenhagen. He hung up, better, he stuck to the walls of Boekie Woekie, in long rows, with double sided sticky tape, hundreds of stamp sized "Heroes of the Sexual Revolution". That are the heads of those he cuts out from old pornographic magazines. See the NEWS page of this site. Only a handful of guests came for the opening. We had ingeniously timed it to coincide with the life broadcast of the soccer match Holland against Denmark - Denmark won - that had to be Jesper's comfort.
Hetti has been doing the shop alone during my and Rúna's absence.
I hope to soon get organized enough to build that piece of shop furniture I have in mind since some months.
Death seems to straighten and to shorten the way from the graveyard back into buzzing life.

May 9th, 2012
We were in Hamburg for the opening of an exhibition of drawings Andrea had still appointed with Melike. If we had not beforehand prepared for the Hamburg trip we would have gone that day to Roland's cremation. Meanwhile life continues for those who still are alive. Today Erwin and Solla dropped in with 2 prams with 2 small children we haven't seen before. They left Amsterdam a few years ago for Norway, had the kids, and are now planning to move to Iceland. It's only normal, movement, and a gradual exchange of the players.

April 30th, 2012
And now Roland too. On the 28th one shouldn't say the month has passed.

April 28th, 2012
A month has passed which brought sad news twice, first Andrea, today David.

April 4th, 2012
A brief bit of our "Blue Diamonds-Black Souls"-event with Fredie Beckmans, some 2 weeks ago (see the NEWS page), was filmed and put on YouTube by the notorious Rob, who probably was so thoughtful not to mention where he filmed, I guess, because he did not want to be told he invited the wrong guests to come and take a too close look at Fredie's souvenirs from South Africa at a not appointed time. For the remote look Rob offers, one can click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlmMISqOEdg. But (during shop hours) you are welcome to drop by these days in person and contemplate the diamonds. Three of them, in a folder, accompanied by a text in Dutch and English, are EUR 75.- (in case you want them). In case you can't come - mail order is possible too.

March 22nd, 2012
Almost every morning, when I begin to wake up, my first, really only half conscious action is to start the tv with the remote control, the sound on very low. I don't even open my eyes. I believe the almost not audible, certainly not understandable noise helps me to drift off again, enables me to catch another eyeful of sleep. It can happen that the television broadcast then mixes with my own brain activity, the sleep being very thin. Today I wasn't surprised to see parading soldiers when I finally did open my eyes. Moments before I had tried to avoid rhythmically snapping traps, it was as if I had had to rescue myself to the awake side. But the nightmare wasn't over. The soldiers were making their robot movements between lots of short caskets, it began to dawn on me that what I saw was the funeral ritual for the 20 or so children who died in a terrible traffic accident in a Swiss tunnel, on a school trip, a mixed bus load full from Holland and Belgium. I thought what do soldiers have to do on a funeral of children, it felt cynical, like a bad dream. And then all the politicians came, presidents, the king, with the television cameras on them putting white ribbons into their button holes for the occasion. They didn't really think, did they, that their presence would comfort anybody? That was when I remembered the remote control still in my hand.

March 1st, 2012
The "Pamflets" I have been mentioning before and which are now 20 in number, and displayed for sale in Boekie Woekie, but not yet officially released, are rolling off the conveyor belt these days thanks to Vera's input. Les came from London for a few days to bring more books and to fetch his drawings from the exhibition last November and the money for the drawings which were sold. Plans for the summer are being made, meaning who goes to Iceland when. There is, very tentatively, a bit of spring air around, the birds react strongly on it. Biking home in the early hours I could hardly belief what I heard.
 
February 13th, 2012
Wouldn't it be difficult to distinguish between the thorns - or does a cactus have needles, or barbs, or spikes? - and the nails needed to crucify it? If one would see a crucified cactus wouldn't one assume, it's a cactus which suffered this lot because the sight of all its thorns, needles, barbs or spikes would dilute as it were the painful presence of the 4 nails? Earlier today I jotted down a sentence which ran like this: If I were asked for a list of my achievements, wouldn't I write down the fanciful names I keep giving to my constant failure? Today's earlier notion came back to me as I saw again the image I drew here a few days ago. Somehow they seem related.

February 2nd, 2012
The need I felt to add to this text 2 weeks ago quickly vanished. But just now there was again an impulse, an impulse making me find the long gaps between the entries to this diary a pity, a sort of shame. I heard myself think, I should begin to write, no matter what. After a while I would know in what direction my words would be taking me. - But I don't even know if there are words to appear next! (Could it not be that something else appears than words?) - Maybe not written words, but thought words have always sooner or later reoccurred. Consider these words not written, just thought.
Or how about some words on how it is going in Boekie Woekie? A little complaining perhaps, about the turn over being too low and little, January is such a dead month!
Or shall I get funny and fantasize about Günther Uecker? Remember the artist who got famous at a time when one would see a child's tricycle packed in not quite transparent plastic by Christo next to an object covered with nails, neatly nailed nails, nail next to nail, there on the art gallery floor? In January and still under the impression of Christmas, I thought of a multiple I could make, a Jesus on the Cross (as one would find for sale in a church supply shop) peppered densely with Christmas tree needles, standing on end like on the branches of a Christmas tree, as if foreman Uecker had nailed them all over with a tiny little hammer - or would they have been the work of an overactive cupid, playing a variation on Hiding the Needle in the Haystack?
Is what I see a
      Christmas tree?Or shall I reveal my plans for a new piece of shop furniture, a shelf/showcase combination? How about I attempt to explain my assumption-generated thoughts on the state of the world? (Are there only assumptions left to generate thought from? Does nobody know anything for sure anymore? What has happened to careful, neutral, scientific consideration? To the knowledge accumulated as a collective effort of all generations? Who has today the hope to arrive at thoughts on the state of something as encompassing as the state of the world?)
Or how about a few words by somebody who just turned 7? Seven years and 7 days. Count back and scroll down for my death/rebirth report. My second birthday the other day drew some guests to the house. With 7 I was not the youngest and with 66 not the oldest. I congratulated Dr.Ineke for my birthday, drank a lot of lemonade and received an awful lot of chocolate for my birthday. As an exception I was allowed to stay up long till most of them were singing.
I Am 7
The I am 7-badge I got from Les in the mail.

January 17th, 2012
Hectic days on this page! The link of the last entry will still function, but the piece of text I was commenting on has been modified.

January 15th, 2012
This diary, 2 days ago declared "practically abandoned", has found its way back into usefulness quicker than I could expect. My spirit was sharpened by a visitor's text, a visitor to last Saturday's performance by Toine Horvers in Boekie Woekie (see the announcement on our NEWS page). This text, published on the writers website http://wiewiewie.nl/nieuwe/lopende-zaken/ deals mainly with the event, but begins with a brief description of the circumstances of the event's location: Boekie Woekie and the shopping street it is situated in. It states, that luckily closing time had caused the shoppers to give up their greed when he, the writer, arrived on his bike. Then he says about Boekie Woekie that for more than 25 years it puts the neighbourhood's inclination to big city glamour into perspective with art which would feel more at ease in a squat. Here I have to interfere. The art Boekie Woekie stands for, or which is lived here, that what the 3 artists who run this shop show and how they show it would in a squat be totally misplaced. The landscape we are embedded in gets rich in contrast, that it can be experienced as multidimensional is to a good extent thanks to us. In a squat we would challenge no one.

January 13th, 2012
I think I have practically abandoned this diary. I can't think of anything I could tell here. It's like I've been shifted into a different gear. It's not like nothing would be happening but more that I lack the concentration to put it in words. As if I was tired of grammatically correct sentences, as if I had taken a dislike to correctness, as if my patience had run out. - Why do I say as if?

December 23rd, 2011
And again another busy month has passed.

November 25th, 2011
A month later, the time described below seems long ago. That is probably due to all that which has happened since - a long list could follow here. I'll try to compile a quick version of it: 1) an event-less journey back from Iceland to Amsterdam, 2) after 2 days on to Maastricht, participation in some kind of a conference taking place at The Jan van Eyck Academie, the implications of which I failed to see. However the introduction to their work six students gave me made me think things were okay. However I got shocked to hear the academy (were I have taught for brief occasional spells during more than 30 years) is going to be closed for good thanks to the gang of madmen which run this country. 3) Back for a week to Amsterdam at the end of which Nico presented the issue 40 of his Trashtown Magazine. He has the gift to not need to show off any talent, a rare thing among artists. 4) London's Small Publishers Fair calling (the 10th edition of it). Tunnel train, Tooting Broadway, Les, his new book "Afterthunks" Boekie Woekie is the publisher, Conway Hall with Martin, Simon and Erica, Jo, Wesley, Malcolm, Martha, Tony, John, Clive (sorry if you don't see you name here, I can't think of it at the moment). Sunday, a free day, gone with Les to the large car boot sale in his neighbourhood, a day like a warm spring day. 5) With the train back to Amsterdam, Les traveled the same route but on other services - he was in Amsterdam before me, and also Jo and Wesley had arrived , but by plane - they went to a hotel, Les stayed with us. Jo had brought a manuscript for a booklet she printed in Boekie Woekie. Wesley did a lot of printer cleaning before Jo could get going and he got engaged in repairing the model Rietveld chair he had left in BoeWoe a year ago after a visit to the Rietveld house in Utrecht, but when Ernie was hiding behind its leaning so the birds he was watching wouldn't see him, a few months ago, the chair had collapsed - the scene had looked like this:
Rietveld chair
      collapsed under Ernie
Jo's booklet in an edition of 150 copies got ready in time before their departure to Vancouver on Friday, Friday night we had a dinner with the other Henriëtte, her husband and their daughter - first timers to what we call Gelderse Kade, meaning our home there.The Icelandic lamb leg brought back by me found its end that night. 6) Presentation of the new book by Les, with his reading and a small happy crowd. Ineke had come for it, and a cold heavier than the one in October struck that day. I'm getting better now, but Hetti and Rúna are in the middle of it. We rehearse the coughing and nose blowing concert as if we plan to make our living with it.

October 27th, 2011
That cough went over (writing this I'm coughing), more storm, rain, snow came, but also days of sunshine and 10  degrees on the Celsius scale. Next to our place, on Hetti's and my side of it, the building of a new house began, it will be big and near my window from which I look South. Also a new floating pier was put into the harbour. Hamsun would have had his fun describing the stirring sense of the villagers to show off their modest means. The stretch of maybe 15 meters from the house to the shore line which once was grass with a track for a vehicle to the harbour bridge has now fully been asphalted. The relation of the locals to asphalt is totally unbroken. The more of it the less mud pools or dust. I tell myself it's time for another lesson of learning to see the beauty in the ugly. Visiting Gústi's show in the art museum of the place at the bottom of the fjord provided surprisingly a long not felt notion of sense in art. Then my thoughts deviated strongly form their course because I got, childless young old man that I am, the visit of an 18 years old girl for some 10 days - till the day before yesterday when we drove back together to Reykjavík. It was Pétur's youngest daughter, who is herself on a visit from Amsterdam to her father for a few months. I put her up in what is called since Rainer's visit last year "the presidential suite" downstairs. She printed a little for me (till the toner's end) and read an originally Flemish comic book in an Icelandic translation with the help of a dictionary translating it back to Dutch. She is half Icelandic after all. And now it's today and the air plane leaves early tomorrow morning, to bring me back to Amsterdam.

October 15th, 2011
Sick with a cold in the throat in the house in the North. Getting so tired from coughing I could sleep the whole day if I had not to wake up to cough more to get even more tired.

October 8th, 2011
A stormy rainy morning after a stormy rainy night. I'm sitting under a roof window. The grey window pane above me with the ever changing op-art effects of running drops and the howling allows no doubt, if there was any, I am in Iceland, in Pétur's place in Reykjavík. (See the brief description of April 10th.) I'll see people I have known for long and then comes the last part of this journey northwards on Monday. My nose is running, I follow suite, still 400 km.
 
October 5th, 2011
These lines are written while I await Hrafnhildur's Skype call or ring of the doorbell, we appointed to have breakfast together. I'm reclining on Skúta's guest bed, every flat horizontal surface in the vicinity is occupied with stuff, so I have my lap top on my lap. The gondolieros of Canal Street honk their lorry horns as happily as ever. Through the split of the drawn curtains a bit of blue sky shows and the wall opposite is bright from the sun. If I move my head I read "ME", I know what it is, a huge billboard with a clever advertisement for TI"ME" MAGAZINE on a roof next to the Sheraton. Nearer, in this room, next to me stands, big as a sofa, Skúta's new plotter. Things are big here. The book fair is over, the mission completed, the Foam Books shipped back. At the very end a cold took hold of me, I soaked yesterday meters of crumbled up tissue bits I stuck into my nostrils, with the free flow from the cavities behind. I hope to not be a nuisance to my neighbours when I fly to Iceland tonight. Alla skyped before, Eyjafjördur, my destination for the next 3 weeks, is all snow white.

October 1st, 2011
The local time is 7:15 in the morning - to find myself diary writing at this hour hasn't happened often before. It's because I'm in New York since a few days, my system hasn't yet accustomed to the different day/night rhythm. I woke up at 5 ready to bike to Boekie Woekie. But BW is far away, I'm here for the New York Art Book Fair. I take care of the table Boekie Woekie rents here and the book case with 107 Foam Books next to it. I have asked Hrafnhildur to make those Foam Books for me. She has been working on them next to her studies for months. To ship them here was quite something - not because of their weight, but their volume. I have explained to some visitors of the fair what is in the make there, spoke of the foam as the froth on the soup I'm cooking and used other metaphors. I showed the books the Foam Books are primarily based on, Square One and Square One Deluxe, and the Speed Reading Book too, Hrafnhildur, who accompanies me on this trip is working on now. - The Boekie Woekie presence certainly has a different quality from anything else on the fair. The outstanding quality I become aware of when I look around on the fair, the denominator I can't help noticing under which most publishers gather, is slick printing, printing which only money can buy, 

September 26th, 2011
A not too unusual hour for me to be sitting by the table - three in the morning. The difference to most other times of working in the early hours is that now I have an almost full sleep behind me. A summer is ending which weather wise hardly had any summer days. The failure of the sun to shine and the rain to stop was only matched by the customers to not show up. Boekie Woekie has been doing unusually badly. I went to bed early last night because I was exhausted, the preparation of the coming trip to New York, the finishing of several new pamphlets (more about them in the near future), the working on an all new set of computers (new soft and hard ware), with a lot of old work still not finished, meant little sleep for many weeks. And tomorrow is take off day. Back to Amsterdam I'll only come in one month - after the New York Art Book Fair I'll be in clinch with the polar bear in Northern Iceland for three weeks.
  
September 8th, 2011
Such a long gap between entries to this "diary" I don't think occurred before. Five weeks! I must have a lot to tell now. Well, I'm just returning from a concert of Arnljótur's band in the basement of "Bitterzout" on Spuistraat, my first concert in years, maybe the first since Stillupsteypa played in Stúdentakjallarinn in Reykjavík. There I went because of Helgi Thorsson. Mayby that was six or seven years ago. The music is what Iceland is famous for nowadays, Hrafnhildur had explained. But in my days I never even sat on the back of an Icelandic horse. I left the basement after the last song and returned to BoeWoe, to the new computer scene. Ten days ago I poured a cup of coffee over the one on the front desk, luckily the hard drive was saved. I still don't have an FTP programm installed, it won't be tonight that I can upload this piece. Before that coffee cup I have been briefly to Switzerland, three days in 35 degrees, before and after in Amsterdam: rain, rain, rain. Heide and Jörg were here, for the first time in many years. They wanted to drive on to visit places along the German North Sea coast. I urged them to visit Neuharlingersiel, and the little chapel, were I in 1949 visited as a four year old my first church service without knowing in the least what that was. The man in the long gown had said that the Glaube (belief) would make it to the end of the world. For me Glaube was the name of that passenger boat in the harbour that had crossed in better times the intertidal mudflats to Spiekeroog, but now was moored since the war because of mines still expected to float there freely.
While writing these lines it comes back to me that I related the same story already before, further down (Sept.9th, 07).
What else? Rúna came back early August after two months at home in Iceland. Hrafnhildur worked a lot for me and finished a series of pseudo books I want to show at the New York Art Book Fair at the end of this month. The books were shipped some weeks ago, I hope they get there alright.
 
July 30th, 2011
A month, another month went by. Hardly able to cope with the work as it comes to the desk every day, friends staying with us, parties, a cold, an exhibition, - I hesitate, but I think I have to call it too much of everything. But it can not really be too much, can it?
This question in the disguise of a rhetorical question reminds me of two moments with a somewhat related bottom line during two recent conversations. A few days ago one person agreed with me a bit reluctantly that the sum of the ongoing destruction which we humans inflict - just already because we are so many - on the planet we are stuck with, would necessarily lead to some grand catastrophe. That person saw as the only consequence possible for herself that she would try even harder to be of good influence in her direct surroundings. I thought I felt it made her uncomfortable that I raised the question whether that would be enough, whether it would not be necessary to do more. The subject of too much or too little was soon discontinued. The other conversation took place on one of those rainy, cold, autumn like summer days we had this month so many of. No, this person I hadn't met before said, when we shared half an hour in a car, climate change, man made climate change, no, he didn't believe in it. Stronger, he thought it was arrogant, assuming talk, mankind, he didn't think, was capable of changing the climate. - Now that I write these lines the paradox I felt during the two conversations is back. What my two partners meant was probably that we can not be held responsible, we don't know better, we just have to live. That we cannot be otherwise than of the happy-go-lucky sort.
Do I want this then to be read as the howling of sirens? For whom to hear? Am I not writing with a pen without ink? Or is my writing an attempt to delay what has to come? Will it only come after the pen which writes is put aside? Like Svejk's not stopping torrent of words before the firing squad waiting for the command to pull the trigger? And how about these being rhetorical questions in the disguise of real questions?

June 30th, 2011
The Netherlands undergo big self-inflicted changes. They are  dismissing a whole sector of society, trashing big parts of their places of art. The word here for culture is beschaving, my German ears understand that as meaning the sum of everything, as it is being smoothened. Or as the ongoing combined effort of everybody to ease or balance him- or herself in accordance with the others, the working away of sharp edges. In German the word is to be understood between schaben and schaffen, in English I should say the Dutch barber shaves, but does one call a landscape of destruction shaped? Right now he shapes with an ax, leaving wounds which will be scars. Shaping with an ax disturbs any smoothing process enormously. The secondary world of art gets dealt destructive blows. I suppose artists will go on as artists, but many of the art workers' positions and salaries, many projects which need financing will be shaved off. It is the government which does this, elected by the people. And seriously, going on right now is institutionalized iconoclasm. The people dismember at least their spiritual body, they hack off their concert halls and theaters, their art academies. The message is: the decoration department is welcome to close down. Now many vote for someone many others are so tired to hear the name of that they call him that Blondie from Venlo. There are some choices but an effective opposition does not exist. As boringly audible and seriously disturbing the noise is the populists are making, the more discomforting is the silence of those who should realize what is happening. Shortly after we began with Boekie Woekie, in the middle of the second half of the eighties, the Christian Democrats ran this country and had a team in power which passed the cold breath of Thatcher especially on to one group: the artists. Then the artists, now the art world. Seeking power one could now and then gain votes by being seen preventing future music, imagery, really anything of which it is easy to nourish the misconception that it doesn't pay off immediately. By pointing at the art people as parasites, power seekers don't run the risk of getting one vote less but maybe a few more. As long as art is per definition useless it's easy to persuade most people not to buy it. Those who buy it are rich enough to afford to buy useless things. I find this cynical. To deny art the status of being useful discredits contemplation, thought, dreams, discussions. Politicians which don't do their utmost best to protect these areas for their voters are automatically under the suspicion of holding the people hostage, forcing their own perspective on them. I'm afraid of that perspective.

June 16th, 2011
There is more that needs to be done in Boekie Woekie than we who run it can achieve. But there is hardly enough left over at the end of the month for us three to pay the bills from, we can't afford salaries for a forth or even fifth person.  I can't really write this, I should  be writing  other things, invoices, a new "More Books!"- list is long overdue.  After the reshuffle of the shop a few shelves need to be made - it looks like I'm the one who will make them, but when?

June 5th, 2011
Tomorrow Hetti is to return to Amsterdam from her time up North. Rúna is there since 8, 9 days, she'll stay altogether for more than 2 months - we are at mid-term of the Boekie Woekie summer. With the help of four young people three big furniture pieces were reshuffled the other day, giving the shop a new, more spacious interior, a great improvement, I find. And we have, reluctantly, arrived in the present times. Boekie Woekie can accept payment now with the help of a gadget which reads chips in credit cards.
 
May 27th, 2011
Boekie Woekie, Boekoe Woekie, Boekie Woejhoe, Boekie Woehjoe, Bopekie Woekoe, Boekie Woejhoie, Boekie Woejou, Boekie Woekie Boekoe Woekie, Boelie Woekie. Boekioer Woekier, Boekie Woekier, NoekiW WoekiRF.

May 7th, 2011
The new generation of grass is springing from the ground these days and the different sorts of birds are arriving punctually. The promise is holding, how could one ever doubt it. My time is as good as over, on Tuesday I'll leave from here, to return to Amsterdam on Wednesday.  Hetti is taking over from me, she has arrived a week ago, she'll stay on for a while.

April 26th, 2011
The following I tell in the light of my having come to Iceland for 40 years each year, often more than once, usually each time for a month or more. In the early years I often dug myself into an abandoned house, often for 3, 4 months in a row. During those years I have slowly picked up some Icelandic, it's really not much, nothing to be proud of, just enough for simple occasions. - Now ten days or so ago, before we all would go to the birthday party of a member of the band called "Norđan Piltar" (the boys from the North) Jón (also one of that band), Alla, Brák, Brandur (band member as well) and Matthildur came with a big pot of fish soup. The women heated it up in my house and we all ate. I had the night before played with the scan of an egg box from the supermarket, digitally manipulating it and stumbling over what I thought was quite a pun. During the night, when the idea had been brand new, I had mailed this image
frá Kíkir Ríki
with the double headed rooster to Alla, with a face looking out from its plumage and my inserted three words "frá kíkir ríki". The image was accompanied by a brief text by me, the written encouragement to market the egg production of her (for me new) few chicken based on my design. I thought "frá kíkir ríki" (something like: from the empire, so big, one needs binoculars to overlook it) as a sort of a brand name could only be a big laugh and a great success. With the steaming fish soup in front of us I asked Alla what she thought of my suggestion, but got disappointed. She showed no sign of having noticed the pun. Instead her chicken became the topic of the dinner table conversation. Instead of me, Alla harvested laughter from Brandur and Matthildur (who hadn't seen the chicken either before) for having chosen Jan as the name for her rooster and Hetti for the name of one of her hens. The red light, burning day and night in the chicken coop, was quickly seen as a reference to Amsterdam's Red Light District, close to which the real Hetti and the real me are living. That caused more laughter, though Alla insisted she had put that light up so that our not quite virtual avatars would not get it cold in their coop. I had silently blamed my friends for not being very bright, not grasping a good joke but had to acknowledge that my kíkeríki had failed. - Then came today. Rúna skyped. Icelandic by birth but living in the Netherlands since before 1980 Rúna is a Boekie Woekie partner since the beginning. Now there was some computer trouble. While it took time to solve this we began to speak of different things. I mentioned the kíkiríki story, and there it came: Icelandic roosters do not at all say kíkiríki! People here quote them as saying something totally different, something I haven't seen written yet but this row of letters would sound probably right: cookelecoo! No wonder that in the realm of Icelandic eggs kíkiríki had no chance. An Icelandic rooster can of course not advertise his mate's eggs in some foreign language. - I tell myself now that instead of launching big time egg sales I could put together a world dictionary of the one-word-vocabulary of roosters. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

April 14th, 2011
My recent gloomy world view got a surrealistic charge when I left the house door for the first time in days to drive to town to get some food. I had delayed to go out because of the gout in my feet, and I had not seen a single person for these days. Not through the windows either, certainly no pedestrians, at the most the upper half of a few drivers, through the car windows of their very occasional vehicles on the hillside road I can see from the kitchen. But now I'm out there on the landing of the few outdoor steps, and there comes walking, slapatsh, slapatsh, a fully dressed diver! I wondered if the future had arrived and if we were not already living at the bottom of the sea. For a long moment I stood still in amazement while the diver walked by in his rubber suit with all that head gear. I think he had nodded in my direction but I didn't get the idea to nod back. I had to get to know more about this and stopped at Alla´s and Jón´s. They knew there was something going on in the sea, research, but with the idea to exploit it for sightseeing tourists. In the fjord, just in front of our place, I heard they found in quite some depth a hot spring, which in the course of time has build around it a very tall chimney like thing from sediments. Submarines with spectators are envisaged. - For me that is a very Icelandic story.

April 10th, 2011
There was an intercontinental call (not a free Skype call) by someone who worried what the last 2 sentences of my last diary entry meant. I had to explain the apocalyptic bell tolling, our overplayed hand, the bandwidth of damaging behaviour. The caller was afraid my words referred to something in our close vicinity, regarding Boekie Woekie directly, a health problem of one of us or so. I however had had the nuclear catastrophe in Japan in mind; underlined by the more or less unanimous decision a few days later by many of the nuclear states to bomb the Sahara (if only in the conventional way), for some good reason of course it is said, but with 10´000 dead in the first month as the papers say. Seeing no reason to doubt the sanity of all this with a nuclear meltdown 200 km from a city of 30 million (I think I heard) our politicians rather hide behind a smoke curtain they quickly create in the desert. The news of the possible evacuation of an extended area around that destructed-by-its-own-power plant suggests future maps of the world with ever growing numbers of no-go zones; a return of white spots on the world map. (Could be turned into a time lapse animation video. I bet some satellite is up there taking meanwhile pictures of the melting ice caps.) Didn't they call one of their more recent military actions "Desert Storm"? Maybe this one should be the "Desert Tsunami". For all of us, we are exceeding now 7 billion as I read, that means then: it is better me then the two of you (or of course you but not the 2 of us). Let us see our common progress as our still clumsy attempt to reduce our numbers. The earth can only cope in the long run with 2 billion (as I have read). The consequence of our mass existence, namely that we really could ruin the planet for good becomes less unthinkable. Experiment mankind flopped, over in 20 minutes, say 50 years. Guided by unreasonable behaviour, as if blind, with ever increasing singing and dancing straight into an abyss. Me too, I follow suit, wouldn't I live a different life if I was reasonable, and if I was, would it help? We all live in our pictures. I have in the meantime moved from the old brick house picture in Amsterdam to the wooden one close to the Arctic Circle, at the moment it squeaks and moans in a southwesterly storm. It stands on a sand bank in one of Iceland's northern fjords, the mountains around are cream cakes, only last scattered, fast shrinking puddles of snow down here by the shore. Everyday huge trucks with big rocks are coming down the hillside road behind me and dump them with a well audible thunder some 300 meters from here, near the old herring factory. Our sand bank is being prepared for the future: to hold the sea at bay a rock wall is laid all around it. One seems also here to have heard the knocking of future doom and is prepared to tackle the problem rolling up the good old-fashioned sleeves. (I think the coming of the stone wall has been subject of earlier entries further down.) - I left Amsterdam having gotten done only one of the 2 tasks I had set myself. That one was finished at 3 that Sunday morning on which at 6 (that morning) the clock rang to get me in time to Schiphol for a flight at nine to Copenhagen, where I spent a long tired day in the departure lounge. Then to Iceland where Pétur met me at midnight in Kef., being so nice to fetch me with a car, saying I start to look like Hrein. It is my first time in his flat, it is a flat of the kind very common in old Reykjavik, but I haven't been to one for years. Everybody I know has moved to the new earthquake proof concrete blocks. In the seventies all of Reykjavík´s intellectuals smoked pipe in these old flats. I think their interiors were for a great deal responsible for my being lured into this country. - I was unusually tired when I got here. Amsterdam and Boekie Woekie had been heavy on me for too long. I think now here in the north I sleep 10, 12, 14 hours every day.

March 14th, 2011
I have been saying since around Christmas that I would go to Iceland right after my return from Switzerland. Tomorrow I am back since one week but I still don't see how I could succeed pulling myself out of Boekie Woekie and Amsterdam. I have to complete two tasks before I can think of buying a ticket. The one will allow us to know instantaneously how much we owe to all those we owe money to, those whose books we sell.  It's necessary to collect and verify a lot of data before this will work. I'm ready arranging this for all creditors from A to R and until Dec. 31st, 2009. Now has to come the rest. And the other task is due to sales tax changes - the Exel-sheet of our book keeping has to be adjusted. However in the week I'm back now I haven't worked on this at all. We had guests from England, I was half sick when I arrived, and besides the bigger things, there are endlessly many small things which need to be done too.  And being tied up in all those daily bells and whistles a long predicted apocalyptic tolling is unmistakably to be heard.  Something is coming to an end these days. An era maybe. We have overplayed our hand, the bandwidth of our damaging behaviour is too much.

February 13th, 2011
I'm busy preparing a show of my art works in Zürich early next month, again at Galerie & Edition Marlene Frei. Old and new things, different media. I'm rather absent minded, things of too different nature want to be attended to. I'm sleeping late and often little. Luckily the girls give me free from the shop most of the time. But like now, for specific things I go to Boekie Woekie. Last time I left from here it was towards 5 in the morning. When I almost had reached the front door of where I live, turning with the bike between parked cars to the side walk, I heard a voice from 30, 40 meters off, "Sir, Sir!", in Dutch. I hadn't seen anybody, and we don't live in a part of town where you trust automatically everybody and seen the time of the day I went in haste for my keys and was halfway in the door with my bike, when the voice became a person directly behind me. A big black guy of maybe 35 years in tears. Words poured out of his mouth from which I understood that the police was looking for him to deport him - he named a country in Africa, I forget which it was. I had my bike inside now. And had nothing but to say that it was too late and not now please! and closed the door into his face. - I found that a very tough situation.

January 16th, 2011
I've crashed now twice in a row for a few hours sleep in the mornings on a mattress I improvised on the floor of the shop because it had gotten too late to bike home to catch some sleep there. The cat greatly enjoyed that decision, and made it a point that we would sleep together.

January 6th, 2011
Christmas is over, we count a new year, the political constellation which runs The Netherlands since a few month has imposed a sales tax increase from 6% to 19% on art, effective on January the 1st. For Boekie Woekie this means in the first place a lot of additional work - the prices are up, we have to see to get back from our customers what the government demands more from us. But what really makes this increase taste bitter is the atmosphere in which it takes place, are the words which accompany it. This country is now run by a gang of cheapies, populists, which have figured out it brings them votes when they call art a "leftist hobby", and then show to the working part of the population how they deal with us "lefties". Shall we lefties then let those stultificators walk, hand in hand with their style of democracy, into the setting sun?

December 19th, 2010
Boekie Woekie harvests compliments, many people who look around express their appreciation in different intonations. One of the sentences we are likely to get to hear is "I could spend hours here!" To this I have often been saying "Oh, that's nothing" which can cause a look of surprise on the face of the visitor. When I then add "I'm spending already 25 years here, long enough to get grey bearded and bald" the surprise usually vanishes in a smile. But the other day I had somebody correcting me. "You would after 25 years be anyhow grey bearded and bald, that happens to everyone." I think she was right.

November 17th, 2010
Still out of breath from running around, but I made it. Am back in BoeWoe Amsterdam. Here I find myself out of touch with our computers. The days before leaving we had a computer reshuffle, and before any getting familiar sank in with what is where, what still needs to be installed and what is new, I was off to America, and a week later to London, and Hetti for 10 days to Sicily. But I see there is Core, the FTP program, I'll try to cope with it. Wesley is now staying with us, from Canada's distant side. I should work on the series of booklets by people we know I began half a year ago, there is a number of manuscripts which I should now print. The ones by Malcolm, Andrea, Tom, Gerrit Jan, Bram, Fredie, Skúta, Nico and Donald are ready. I have received the manuscripts of Anton, Kamala, Oliver, Wilbert and Martyn. Either here, or if I go to Iceland soon, then there. There also is some tuning necessary in our book keeping - we should at any moment be able to see at the first glance how much we owe to those whose books we are selling here. Their wish to be paid usually triggers off some hectic calculations, which occasionally aren't conducted correctly. I have been thinking up a system which should deliver what we want, but to get each author/publisher's current state means many, many hours of patient work. We'll see how it develops.

October 30th, 2010
Ten years of this diary.  If one goes all the way down in this mine, one reads in the first entry that Boekie Woekie is just back from the Frankfurt Book Fair.  Now I'm about to leave for the New York Art Book Fair. There, in the first bit, Michael is referred to, he has installed the diary page. That diary page has outlived him, Michael died almost a year ago. I died soon 6 years ago myself, for very briefly. It is more likely that ten years have a crucial impact on the lives of people my age than on that of younger folks. It goes as long as it goes and it's still going. New York, then London, then Iceland, I hope. These days it's two years that I stopped to drink alcohol. In two months it will be 25 years that the shop is open for which this diary wants to be something like an orientation help for those who are interested in it. It goes, as said, as long as it doesn't stop. And when it stops it also may be resumed. We'll see.

September 28th, 2010
Meanwhile Boekie Woekie has prospered to such a degree, that it could employ a helping tongue in the kitchen. Ticketee enjoys to perfectly clean all dishes and especially those with a lot of stuff on them. It can never get enough. This picture shows her at work.
Boekie Woekie's first employee
However if you think it's Ticketee's idea of a career to proceed from dishwashing to becoming a billionaire look at the next picture. Isn't she heading straight for the higher ranks of the clergy as St.Ticketee?
Boekie Woekie's first employee with halo

September 19th, 2010
Julia, the driver, turned out to be from Moscow, not from Belorussia. And Saturday a week ago turned out to be a beautiful day. Now, a rainy week later, one has reason to fear it may have been the last nice day of the year. Upon entering the Cultural Centre where our exhibition was to be opened Julia remarked she felt at home right away - just like entering the same thing in a small town in the Sowjet Union, if the picture of her Majesty Beatrix would be replaced by one of Comrade Vladimir Ilyich, and the Dutch flags for those with hammer and reaping hook. Up the stairs we met. Most of the artists had come, some with their partners, some had brought friends, there were 2 or 3 people from the house, I didn't meet anyone who came because of interest in the exhibited art works, but a few may have been there for that reason. Let it have been altogether 25 people. I'll link a video here which the Centre put on its site which made me laugh when Martyn first made me aware of it a few days ago. (Click this link and start the video you find a bit down on the page which will open.) It is filmed (I don't know by whom), I think, to document my performance, but it shows with great prominence also the monitor with a video of Cigdem Türek which was standing near my desk. My waste paper basket however is not to be seen - it looks like I throw my crumbled up A4s just to the ground. Later we artists and our folks were the guests of a couple Henk knows who own some wooded ground with a few shacks. We ate there the remains of a deer they had found which had been killed by a car.

September 11th, 2010
Later today I'll go with Henk (the Andy-Warhol-look-alike) in a car which Julia from Belorussia will drive (I'm told I've seen her, but my memory doesn't support that) to a small place in Brabant, the Southern Dutch province. Henk, Martyn and Bülent have installed a group show there. I was invited to be one of that group and  my contribution to the show is what will be left of a performance I'm going to give at the opening - I think at 4 pm, in 13 hours. I'll sit by a desk (already put there by Henk and co.) and I'll write, and read what I wrote, and frown upon it and crumble up the paper with the writing and throw it in the direction of a wastepaper basket which also is already put there. There should hang on the wall behind the desk a framed open Icelandic newspaper. It shows a colourful print the newspaper invited me back in the early 80ties to make on one of its pages. Now I expect the print to mirror my performance in a different light or be a commentary it. I'll draw for the readers a quick look alike of that newspaper print because I lack a scan or photograph of it:
2000 miles from home
You see someone sitting, sailing in an open suitcase wearing several layers of clothes. Does he maybe wear all the clothes which were in the suitcase before it became his vessel? Was he naked when he carried his full suitcase down to the shore? Did he put all the clothes on to make space for himself? Could he steer the suitcase by blowing from different directions into its hinged lid?

August 29th, 2010
Only briefly lasting, passing in quick succession, with the high speed of change, seventeen days are gone in a rush.

Of short last
is the play of this cast.
Passing in quick succession
are those of this graveward progression.
The speed of change
changes all in its range
there is nothing which doesn't look strange.

Is it only this ryhme which is now left?

August 12th, 2010
There is art for the space above the sofa and art to be put up in a museum. One goes on and is ready to discern, here art, there kitsch. Kitsch should however, as a German noun, be spelled with a big "K" one says with an undertone of irony. Don't we like to reflect on ideas and does art not serve well for mental exercise? At times one can get carried away and thinks one sees the whole. To spin on the yarn I say I usually find it hard to detect any art above sofas or in a museum and neither in books. I hear myself say, it is more likely I find it on trash piles. In order to create contradiction from those who still think of art in terms of nicely framed pictures I say that just as little as the tv pictures of devastating floods in Pakistan have to do with the reality they show, are spaces above sofas or musea, or sheets of paper, places where art is more likely to occur than elsewhere. Also trash piles are no better place for art than any other. But in our times they are a more sophisticated backdrop for awe, and awe I say is arts' only relation.
 
July 17th, 2010
I just had a puff from the pipe and now see me writing this: That which finds its way from the upper quarters down to and through the fingertip, the written and drawn stuff, the morse keyboard drumming results, that is of course only there to not allow anything else to be in its place. To say something is to avoid to say something else instead. To make a detour around something central, to play safe. That what one would want to say but doesn't should for some reason not be described. For some reason it is disturbing to think of it. After realizing this everything is somehow double. The content concealed by the package. The package the new content. The possibility to go back and forth, to and from any opposite position is necessarily included in each and all statements made at any moment of each process. Both are beaux arts and yes in German "bösartig"! 2 times truth is one lie, 2 lies are one truth. How crazy do you want to have it? We letters are really only here as a smoke curtain for what really is going on.

June 22nd, 2010
It's too tempting, I have to tell the story of the picture below - not  the true story, I don't know it. I didn't take the picture (Martyn did), nor was I on the spot when it was taken.
download bear
Martyn was waiting in front of Boekie Woekie, a few hours ago, when I, 5 past 12, arrived to open it. He wanted me to have copies of the few hundred pics he took on our trip to Iceland - I burnt them on 2 CDs. The picture above is one of them. I know where it is taken. I can recognize who is on it. Martyn told me when he took it. What thrills me is that it is so obviously the unexpected, but almost symmetrical prolongation of that moment I shared with you in my last entry. There they upload the one bear, here they download another. The one who is being downloaded here is called bear in Icelandic and it was him I thought of when I wrote metaphorically about that bear showing some art criticism.
In my second piece from almost now 10 years ago this diary makes mention of Ulises Carrión and Martha - Martha is in town, again on a Ulises mission. Other guests made the shop stop: Brandur and Karónlína, Arnkatla, Hrafnkatla and their parents Ívar and Bryndís plus their youngest child, and then Raul, in old shape, it was closing time before we could sit down for work.

June 5th, 2010
It seems since some days that the returning of the ashes of the money the punctual Icelanders have burned for us other Europeans has been completed: the volcanic activity has come to a stop. Unhindered Martijn and I flew North to Keflavík for this year's Dieter Roth Academy conference, the eleventh including the founding conference. Eggert let us use his beautiful Subaru to drive the same (bright) night to the gathering - it takes for the first time place in the tiny village the reader of this diary has often followed me to. The weather is beautiful. I'm just waking up after a second time sleeping for a few hours. There is no more day/night rhythm. I hear laughter and voices down stairs. In 2 hours the exhibition is to open which we installed in the old herring factory. I share the recent moment with you in which Eggert uploads Alla´s polar bear to the exhibition floor with the fork lift.
upload bear
A little later old furniture came flying out of that hole in the wall. Was the bear expressing some art criticism? 

May 22nd, 2010
It comes quite late, but one could finally be tempted to belief there might be something to nature's promise to come up with a summer. In order not to freeze to the chair in the shop a thick sweater was necessary and the hearing had to be on until the day before yesterday. The change comes just in time for Whitsun. And promptly the street swarms with people, even now, at 2 in the night, they buzz by the window. A couple buzzed in after regular hours - after 6 that is, the shop often stays open much longer when we are still busy. This couple looked around with interest for quite a while, then he approached me with a book he wanted to buy. Payment method, his credit card. My litany is then that we have to add 5%, since that is the share, the card company withholds from us. Well, a dispute ensued. He was a publisher and used to a discount in bookshops and not a surcharge. He found me being not very friendly. Meanwhile she kept looking at books. I stayed firm and charged finally, with his grudging consent, the additional 1,60. I had expected it to be over now and saw myself left alone slightly frustrated yet stubbornly triumphant but that was having not counted her in. She began to pile up one of the bigger piles of the day and, yes, pulled out her credit card not leaving a doubt she expected not to be charged anything extra. She won. Congratulations. - Hetti is now in Iceland and Rúna is back. The volcano is still active and the flying conditions are changing from day to day.

May 3rd, 2010
In spite of the ashes in the air Rúna was lucky and could fly to Iceland and from there to Mexico where she is now. I went the day she left with a car loaded with some boxes of books to Hanover where a collector of works of Dieter Roth who runs an exhibition space was opening a Dieter Roth show. The collector had invited many of those who were part of Dieter's world, and he had invited Boekie Woekie to open on his premises a small book display.
Back in Amsterdam our shop has me back - a bit more intensely since Rúna once again isn't here. Hetti is in the last stages of producing quite a lot of letter books, as we call them, those books which are listed like this on the "A"-page:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z , " :   ? ! .
by Cornelia Hoedeman + Jan Voss, 33 different titles, each letter or punctuation mark printed big once on all pages throughout each book in black, all pages have different backgrounds in colour, about 15 x 10,5 cm, no copy quite alike, differently many pages (the books are about 1,5 cm thick), separately available, all books signed by both, paperback, Amsterdam since 1992
EUR 12.- each
 
With an increasing number of letters and punctuation marks sold out one of the reoccurring jokes in Boekie Woekie during the last few months has been to answer a customer's request for a specific letter with a sentence like "Sorry, but R's are out today."

April 15th, 2010
It is not only the weather and it does not only change fast in Iceland but here, in Holland, too. My last entry is only from 2 weeks ago but seems almost not true anymore. However, today Iceland reemerged into the picture. It is busy sending back the ashes of the money it burned to those countries it lent the money from or would you call it sending a greeting card, that large cloud of volcanic ashes? I see the interruption of the routine of our world - planes can't fly over large parts of North-Western Europe - with some sort of devilish delight. It is as if the reminder was overdue that nature can easily unsettle the practicing of our autocratic belief that we, that man, has everything in his hand, and things only go wrong in far away places like Haiti or Thailand. This reminder is like the echo of an inner voice, which doubts since long the self-assuredness in our culture and wants to call it presumptuous. - I hope of course this is not the beginning of an attempt of the forces of nature to see how easily I with my devilish delight can be unsettled! Moralbigmouthrabbitheartme.

April 2nd, 2010
A cloudless bright day (or hours of this day, it can change fast here). Snow all over, the white distant mountains, deep at the bottom of the fjord, stand sharply against the blue sky. The near mountains on the fjord's other side create an image of a gigantic cake overloaded with cream. Yesterday, looking out through the same window, the snowflakes were dancing on the outside and on the inside, in their endless plight the flies were doing almost the same. Tomorrow I'll have to see to get to Reykjavík. Monday back to Amsterdam.

March 23rd, 2010
After 4 days and nights in the East Tom and me returned to the North. There we had friendly weather - at first it was really warm for the time of the year, then, though it snowed every now and then, it stayed above zero on the Celsius scale, and what was more, hardly any wind blew - it is that wind which can make it difficult to keep the house warm. I had been afraid that Tom, who needs it warmer than most people, might get it cold. Though we hadn't seen much of each other for many years our contact was never seriously interrupted. We didn't come to speak of, those last 3 months which Tom stayed with us, that we might have reason to work on some sort of retrospective. In the first few years we knew each other, mainly in upstate NY, we drew together, in 77 I lured Tom to Holland fore a teaching bit Pieter had arranged for us. There existed for a while a rubber stamp with our names we used for signing works. We'll have known each other since 40 years next summer, my American friend and me. A couple of weeks ago he became (for the first) time grand father from his daughter with Salomé. The two met on the beautiful island of Flatey some 30 years ago, were Tom and Johannes stayed with me for the summer. Mara and Igor had come for a visit from Switzerland, there are some unforgettable stories from that time. During the last 3 months I sometimes thought how some features have intensified, and how others seem to have ebbed away. We did not warm up the working together of old. I encouraged him though to get a text ready for what I dream of could become one in a series of booklets by those who make up my world. Tom did knit from many threads a patch of 17 pages of daily experience and recollections. A while ago I wished him a good trip on the phone -Eggert and he were just getting his suit case out of the car at the bus terminal. After near 8 months in Europe, Tom is now on his way back to the States.
He wrote 2 more pieces for us to publish, two book reviews. The one is on a posthumous big thing of many voices for Al Hansen, published severeal years ago in Cologne. Unfortunately we only had that copy he reviewed, you wont find it for sale on our list. But that would be no good reason to not publish the text. The other review is on a book of drawings by Hildur Margrétardóttir. Go on the left to the REVIEW page.

March 8th, 2010
Before, in what they call here the South when they speak of Reykjavík and surroundings, Tom and me were Gunnar and Gulla´s guests. The two are planning new things in Greenland and their kitchen, they are an enterprising couple. Their kitchen will become a small restaurant and in Greenland they are involved in mining for gold and zinc. They accepted with a smile my souvenir for them: a roll of toilet paper with images of bills of 50 euros. I thought the smile was a little sour though. We dropped in on Eggert, Veiga, Kristján, Salomé, Birta, Magnús Reynir. We had to get new sim cards for the telephones, new dongles (aren't they called that?) to connect the computers to the internet, the car needed a new start engine before we could leave the South. But now Tom and me have made in 2 days the more than 700 km from Reykjavík to Seyđisfjörđur in what once was Pétur´s old Peugeot. First day to the house in the North, starting electricity and water, then the rest of the way to the East yesterday. Tom has never been here. We arrived for the occasion of an exhibition opening at Menningarmiđstöđ Skaftfell of works by students of the Dieter Roth Academy who are also students of the Reykjavík Art Academy. Björn is leading a yearly course. The two Péturs, Tumi, lots of known faces between the snow flakes - Seyđisfjörđur has become in the course of time sort of a familiar backdrop for meetings with local friends and friends from other places. I heard someone say there is something cosmopolitan about Seyđisfjörđur. Somehow that seems true. One night one of the Péturs took me on a long philosophical discourse. I felt his urge to argue, his wish to explain his stance. Arguments to resist a superficial fixing of problems were looked for and found. Now that I write this it is night, a night after several of those long nights which are not the same anymore since I don't drink.

February 28th, 2010
Still on the same note as last time, airily said words (are in German leichtfertig dahingesagte Worte which) can have serious consequences. My sitting daily under that of what there is a picture below must have influenced me, because tomorrow, I'm counted on going to Iceland.
vanzelfsprekened in fram for website
Tom, my old friend, comes along. We hear it's snow all over there, which means that the white colour of the speech bubble in the shape of Iceland in the picture above is not remarkable because of words which are not there, but the white explains, that the words are snowed under. I wish linguists fun with this, and hope that I can send occasional reports from under the snow in the next weeks.

February 14th, 2010
Still in the memory supermarket. Really, there is no escape from that market, there is a branch at every corner - branch? Zweigstelle, Niederlassung, my whole German thing is on the shelves there. And all other words too. Don't we live in a picture shop (which - at least when we speak or write about it - is a wordshop)? Every morning I open up my picture shop. There I take pictures, I make pictures into pictures. And sometimes I feel I am a picture. In  the German language exists the word HINSEHEN. One could say: "Das habe ich da hingesehen." The English: "I saw to it that it is there." rings maybe a similar bell but isn't as straight foreward as the German. All we see is our projection. However we can get surprised by what we see. Still we insist we can only see what we want to see - until we hit our head on a lantern pole. We don't easily think of  lantern poles or other light sources when we do our projecting job, which is probably due to our projector being the only light source strictly necessary. But of course one should learn to build a variety of light sources into ones projections. How would we otherwise be able to see dogs return the stick rather to God than to us! Though dogs love lantern poles (and must think they are there because we put them there) we didn't give them the trees which they love even better. - Today I project into, or buy from (am I not producer and customer at the same time?) the kitsch department of my memory super market chain a little figurine, a mini sculpture from china-ware for on the window sill which reminds me of God's open hand stretched out downwards through a  layer of clouds ready to receive the twig back from the dog. And look there: my memory is a projection too.
dog returning twig to god
 
February 6th, 2010
Queen and her sister 1 The entry to June 9th, 2006 tells the story of how the Queen fell to her knees in front of me. Today my eyes fell on this picture of two ladies dressed much like the actresses I encountered back then only they were not in an open coach but had stepped out of a Rolls Royce.
It's night in Boekie Woekie. Thin instant coffee, 2 small puffs from the pipe. The dark shop window is six or so meters in front of me, when my eyes move up from the monitor. It has developed into a routine that I work at night at the same computer as during daytime. At night it is a bike an interval a car occasional voices. I don't feel the passers-bye take notice of me, and me not much of them, but I have later heard from some people, when they came into the shop at day time, that they had seen me, and mostly more than once, sit there deep in the night. "But don't you then really live here?" Maybe it is not such a common picture, a closed shop with someone in it working at 4 in the morning. If the passers-bye knew the shop's real hours are those of the night! That the business that counts happens now! That when they tell me they have seen me they tell me that talking to me in my sleep. The real shopping hours are at night.Queen and her sister 2 Picture shopping. Memory shopping. My mother's first post WWII job in 1947, I was told later was that of secretary of an art gallery. This was Galerie Oberstenfeld, situated in one of the few houses which had not been ruined during the war in what I call my hometown, Duisburg. My mother staged exhibitions there - I remember the names Levin and Radziwil from my earliest youth - which nobody came to see during daytime. But at night the true purpose of the gallery became apparent: It's basement served as an important hub for the black marketing of potatoes. I think one can talk about this 60 years later without revealing any living person's dark side. Anyhow this story has often been useful to me when I wanted to point at a certain quality of what we call art, art's being an organization form to disguise reality. - Well I don't know if anyone will buy this, not even me.

January 28th, 2010
Again between a million of things which need to be dealt with. Even though I make it my main task in relation to most of those things to find a way to forget them, they don't seem to get fewer. With all those piles of stuff to be swept under carpets I think I should be concerned about arranging for being invited to do an art exhibition: let with my big brush, my broom, the carpets build up from underneath to form mountainous landscapes.

January 16th, 2010
Rúna is back from 5 months in Iceland, Tom is staying with us since 3 weeks, Michael would have been 61 and we ate together with Eva and David and the girls. I should book my flight to Iceland - I have been saying since long I would leave when Rúna is back. But I'm a bit lame. I feel I have first to get a few things going, before going myself. There is the production of 2 books I would want to have triggered off before withdrawing, at least I would feel more at ease if I saw that one of the 2 would be worked on. But there is such a lot of  small stuff which needs to be done, that the time feels not right to begin a production.

January 1st, 2010
A confrontation with the inevitable marked the end of the year: our friend Michael died finally after a long sickness knowing there was no chance to get good again. Michael appears in the first entry to this diary and in quite many which followed. Hetti and me knew him since 1975. We will not forget our friend and we are proud of having known him as a main mentor of Boekie Woekie. This very web site wouldn't exist without him. Michael, with his full name Michael Gibbs, was a serious artist and writer on art matters. He became 60 years old and leaves behind him his wife Eva, his little daughter June, her sister Lonneke, his sons David and Neil and in England his mother Brenda. 2009 ended in sadness. I wonder how this new year will be called - twenty ten? It will hardly be twenty hundred and ten, two thousand ten maybe?

December 19th, 2009
It happens always and again that the thought strikes me that something would be a good subject for my diary. Mostly of course that is the case when I'm busy with something else than writing the diary - during shop hours for example. When it happens that I come to think of something which would be worthwhile to make a topic of in the diary I usually have just said to myself: Okay! That would be a way of bringing this to a point of truth! And then: I must pack this into a few compact sentences! Moments like that can create a feeling of triumph, like if one played pool and had succeeded putting the balls in a position that with the next kick one would be sure to sink more than one. But as it usually goes, that, what for a moment looked like a promising subject for a literary exercise is almost always forgotten when the opportunity to write something has arrived. I mean it is the hardest to get going. - Well, then I shouldn't stop now, since this is the first time in some 20 days, that something on this level moves. (Here ensued nevertheless a pause in my writing. Then:) There is a fraction left of one of those recent moments of thought - I'll try my luck to recall it - I remember solid structures dissolved. I think it began early this midday in BoeWoe with a customer I had. He wanted among other things to buy a picture postcard which I realized was from a set of several cards. I had to ask him to choose another card, one which would be separately available. He soon found and bought the card with a photograph of a multiple by Oey Tjeng Sit which shows a fist big pebble, or maybe an egg-sized and -shaped stone with an (almost closed) zip fastener.
Oey kei met rits (Here it is.)
We recently (recently? a few months ago!) happened to find a small stack of these cards in the shelf space Sit's things occupy in our storage. (This is not a spot in the Boekie Woekie universe which we frequent much.) These cards hadn't been for sale in BoeWoe for years. We had known and enjoyed a lot the sample of the real thing at Sit's home. Sit who died 1988. It stood on top of a chest of drawers in their living room above his pharmacy on Prinsengracht back in 1984 or 5.  (I think it's understandable that the card doesn't really sell, the round thing in the photograph doesn't look enough like a stone (and the zip should be zipper)). But Sit's simple suggestion of interest in the contents of a stone have always been with us as a piece of visual poetry. How elegantly it shows the oneness of all and nothing! It is a thrill to imagine that to look into an open stone makes it possible to see whatever there is one wants to see, with the inclusion of that there isn't anything to be seen. - I think this midday I was once again looking into that stone when I saw a scene at a pool table with balls rolling reflecting clicking and disappearing in the nets at the corners. And didn't those pool balls all have zippers! Of course they had. After witnessing the state of solid aggregation change to a multiple direction movement that moment of triumph described above ended. I'm proud of the writer in me who has demanded and got from the brains what was necessary to tell this little story which nearly would have evaporated without trace.
And once set a-go, the good old brain just came up with this: would it be a very far fetched assumption that Sit's stone with the zip fastener was triggered off in Sit's head by Sticky Fingers from way back, the Stones album cover with the zipper?

November 29th, 2009
I came back from Stuttgart not so long ago and before that visit sinks into that great grey pool in which everything disappears, I'll tie a few memories together. The reason for going was this year's Dieter Roth Academy meeting. Martyn came along. We traveled by rented car. A car was necessary for the transportation of  pictures - to install a Dieter Roth Academy exhibition was one of the missions. We picked Malcolm up in Heidelberg. To Stuttgart we got shortly after nightfall Wednesday 10 days ago. Rainer and Agnes and Björn had already arrived. Gertrud housed us. The exhibition was installed smoothly on Thursday and Friday in the office of Gertrud's architect sons. Friday night was the opening - by then some more academy members had arrived. Together with the friends of the 2 architects it became a full house. The next day brought the opening of the "Dieter Roth Souvenirs" exhibition at the Staatsgalerie. It is superfluous to say "the works in the exhibition are great", it is bound to be that. Anyhow, most of what is to be seen there were given by DR to people he knew, which makes those things for most other people unseen before. And that alone makes a visit really worthwhile. For the occasion of the opening a number of talks were scheduled - one of them was by me. I include here what I said - it is in German. Maybe I get a chance to translate it into English. In that case you'll find it here as well.

Liebe Gastgeber hier in Stuttgart, liebe Kollegen von der Dieter Roth Akademie, liebe Gäste, fast hätte ich gesagt: 

Liebe Freunde! Gefürchtete Feinde!

Es hat sich mir aufgedrängt, bei diesem Anlass dies Dieter Roth Zitat aus der Mottenkiste zu holen. (Mottenkiste: gemeint ist die Kiste, wo die Mottos drin sind.)

Die von Dieters Mut zur Polarisierung, vielleicht auch von seinem Übermut zeugende Anrede fällt mir vor dem Hintergrund einer Ausstellung ein, für die sich die D.R.A., die Dieter Roth Akademie, mitverantwortlich fühlt und für die ich hier ein paar Worte sagen soll. Nur habe ich diesen Hintergrund noch gar nicht gesehen. Ich schreibe dies heute, am 7.11., in Amsterdam auf, damit ich nicht, wenn´s so weit ist, allzu sehr in´s Stottern gerate. In Bezug auf die Souvenirs Ausstellung hören Sie mich also über mein Vorgefühl sprechen.

Ob da in Stuttgart wohl etwas von der ursprünglichen Idee übrig geblieben sein wird, ausser dem Titel natürlich „Dieter Roth Souvenirs“? Als es nach Gertrud Otterbecks Anregung vor einem guten Jahr mit der Souveniridee losging, hatte ich mir unter Souvenirs jedenfalls eher kleine Dinge vorgestellt, etwas, das sich von Reisen mitbringen lässt, Dinge mit einer persönlichen, in den meisten Fällen wohl erklärungsbedürftigen Bedeutung. Ich hatte an das Zusammentragen von Erinnerungsstücken gedacht, bei denen nicht notwendigerweise gleich von Kunstwerken die Rede sein müsste, ich hatte an Dinge gedacht, die Dieters Bild in einem noch unbekannten Licht hätten erscheinen lassen. Das hätten gern auch immaterielle Mitbringsel sein dürfen, zum Beispiel in der Form von Anekdoten oder stories.

Falls diese Ausstellung, hier in der Staatsgalerie und dort im Kunstmuseum, nun doch wieder auf eher traditionelle Weise zeigen sollte, was für ein toller Künstler er war, verdanken wir das dann der Dieter Roth Akademie, die das eine bewirken wollte, aber das andere schaffte? Oder ist es nicht einfach so, dass Kunstmuseën sich überhaupt mit nichts andrem als mit Kunst füllen lassen?

Momentchen mal! Stelle ich mir etwa vor, dass ich nicht glücklich über diese Ausstellung sein werde? Das darf nicht sein. Ich stelle mir vor, dass ich Geschenke Dieter Roths sehen werde, grosse wie kleine. Diese Spielregel, sage ich mir fast heimlich, werden doch hoffentlich alle Leihgeber beherzigt haben? Geschenke müssen es doch sein, Souvenirs lassen sich doch nur als Geschenke verstehen?

Sehr lange dauert es nicht, bis mir klar wird, dass selbst im Falle, dass doch Geld bei dieser oder jener Sache eine Rolle gespielt haben sollte, Dieter für mich auf einer Stufe verkehrt, wo es ihm eigentlich gar nicht möglich war, etwas anderes als Geschenke zu machen. Selbst wenn diese oder jene Sache viel Geld oder Arbeit gekostet haben sollte, ist sie doch Geschenk, weil sie eigentlich unbezahlbar ist. Ich erwarte jedenfalls, dass ich bei der gleichzeitigen Anwesenheit seiner Geschenke in reicher Zahl und allen Dimensionen an einen Dieter Roth denken werde als den Gönner (diesmal mit G, nicht mit K), an den, der uns all diese Sensationen gönnt.

Mir ist hier in Amsterdam schon klar, und ich denke für die gesamte Akademie sagen zu können: wir sind alle glücklich, dass diese Ausstellung möglich wurde und herzliche Gratulation und vielen Dank denen, die diese Ausstellung Dieters möglich gemacht haben!

Man hat mich hier als einen von der Dieter Roth Akademie hingestellt (nun gut, ich hab´ mich freiwillig melden müssen), um etwas über sie zu sagen. Sie erlauben mir, dass ich die Akademie kurz bekannt mache. Wir sind ein ziemlich bunter Haufen und sprechen verschiedene Sprachen – Englisch ist meistens die Brücke auf der wir uns treffen, dabei ist Englisch nur für drei der Mitglieder Muttersprache. Die meisten von uns sind Künstler, aber einige haben auch andere Berufe. Ein paar von uns sind angereist, Uwe Lohrer und Gertrud Otterbeck leben hier in Stuttgart. Wir zählen ungefähr 25 bis 30 Leute, die Dieter Roth recht gut gekannt haben. Was uns verbindet sind zum Teil lange Freundschaften, zum Teil ist es aber auch nur, dass wir von einander wissen, grosse Verehrung für Dieter Roth zu fühlen, sowohl für den Menschen, wie wir ihn kannten, als auch für den Künstler, was sich aber häufig so vermischt hat, dass der eine der andere war. Mehrere von uns haben mit ihm auf verschiedenen Ebenen zusammengearbeitet. Zudem besteht die DRA aus etwa noch mal so vielen, die sich von Dieter Roth über Mittelsmänner haben faszinieren lassen. Die Mittelsmänner waren dann meistens wir.

Eine erste Gruppe dieser Freunde Dieter Roths hat sich also im Jahr 2000 auf Dietersohn Björn und mein Betreiben hin getroffen. Seither sind wir jährlich zusammengekommen. Unterschiedlich viele Mitglieder sind in den vergangenen Jahren dem Aufruf zum Treffen gefolgt – die grösste Zahl ist wohl zur 7. Konferenz nach China gereist – da waren es um die 50 Leute. Es ist zur Gewohnheit geworden, dass bei dem jährlichen Treffen der Ort des nächsten Treffens verabredet wird. Ausserdem stellen die D.R.A.ler aus Anlass ihres jährlichen Treffens gern ihre Werke aus. Das ist auch diesmal wieder der Fall. Wen´s interessiert, der gehe während der Bürozeiten zu den Otterbeck Architekten an den Oberen Haldenweg 9 in Ostfildern. Um es für die im Saale reizvoll zu machen, die beim eigentlichen Thema bleiben wollen, da gibt es auch einiges Dieter Roth Relevantes zu sehen.

Die Akademie wurde zuerst diskutiert als eine mögliche Lösung des Personalproblems der durch Dieters Tod verwaisten Büroskulptur. Dieter hatte sein Büro in seinen letzten grossen Ausstellungen in der Wiener Secession und im MAC Marseille eingerichtet und in ihm während der Dauer der Ausstellungen als sei er zuhause, oder im Atelier, tatsächlich auf Pantoffeln, gearbeitet. Die Vorbereitungen zur Roth Retrospektive waren damals im Gespräch und damit auch, welche von Dieters Linien es sein würden, die weitergezogen werden könnten. Diese erste Ausrichtung, obwohl so direkt nie ausgeführt, zeigt aber schon, dass es uns darauf ankam, den nicht leicht einzuordnenden, zu kommerziellen Zwecken kaum brauchbaren Teil seiner Äusserungen nicht aus den Augen zu verlieren. Mir scheint heute, dass uns vor 10 Jahren schien, dass wir für uns eine Form finden wollten in Bezug auf das überaus lebendige Werk Dieters. Dessen Einlagerung in den Mottenkisten der anderen Art, die nun bevorstand, schien uns bedrohlich für wesentliche Aspekte seines Werks. Schliesslich gab es ja ein ganzes Bündel von Massnahmen seinerseits, die dem Wort „endgültig“ nur einem Platz im Vokabular für Fiktionales liessen. Wir wussten aus vielen Gesprächen mit ihm, dass er seine Ausstellungen dreidimensionaler Gegenstände als eine Art „Road Show“ sah, als einen wandernden Entertainment Park. Es machte ihm Spass „Kulturschrottwaten für alle“ zu sagen. Auf dem Einladungsposter zur Secessionsausstellung heissen die Grossskulpturen übrigens „Apparate“, auf englisch schreibt er „gadgets“. Da wo er mit seiner Kunst angekommen war, bedurfte sie des Personals.

Roth, als Dieters Nachname, und das englische Wort für Weg oder Strasse, das seinem Namen so ähnlich klingt, klar, das lässt einen schmunzeln.

Es sieht mir heute so aus als hätten wir damals gedacht, wir könnten uns vornehmen zu nennen, zu bewahren, zu praktizieren, das Bewusstsein zu hüten von dem, was uns an Techniken und Einsichten bei Dieter Roth aufgefallen war. Seine Kunstwerke schienen nur eine Seite der Medaille zu sein, die nicht ohne ihre andere Seite sein konnte. Die andere Seite war uns Dieters Haltung in und zur Kunst. Als Beispiel: er konnte leicht über seine Bilder als süsslich sprechen. Was da wie Selbstironie klang, war aber zumindest auch wahr. Von seinen Tischmatten sagte er sie seien mit Tränen getränkt. Sprachliche Konditionen stellten sich ihm in den Weg auf seiner Suche nach einem „realistischen Stil“, wie er ihn nannte. Es gab für ihn nur den erzählten Traum. Seine Haltung in der Kunst war also die Beschreibung eines paradoxen Dilemmas. Mein zweites Beispiel liegt in der Verlängerung des ersten, enthält aber den Geniestreich des Triumphes über die Konditionierung. Hier ist die story die, dass er dem Galeristen zeigt, wofür er die wiederholt dringend angeforderten 5 Tausend Mark nötig hat, nämlich für die Musiker im dem Restaurant, in dem man sich endlich zur Geldübergabe getroffen hat.

Diese andere Seite der Medaille fanden wir also ebenso wichtig wie die Bilder selbst und so erhellend, dass der Gedanke, die Kunstwelt schicke sich an, Dieter Roth unter Weglassung dieses Wissen zu kanonisieren, uns schlimm erschrecken liess. Aus Erfahrung mit Dieter Roth´s Widerspenstigkeit gegenüber allem was meinte zu wissen oder mit seiner ironischen Distanz zu postulierter Endgültigkeit käme das Weglassen von all diesem einer posthumen Entschärfung nahe, gegen die wir uns stemmen wollten.

Inwieweit uns da etwas gelungen sein mag möchte ich nicht beurteilen. Doch bin ich froh, dass sich hier, 10 Jahre später, noch mal die Möglichkeit geboten hat, an all dieses zu denken.

Wer das Glück hatte, Dieter Roth zu kennen, konnte bei ihm Mut und Orientierungshilfe finden. Für den, der ihn liest, gibt es immerhin Zeilen, die ungefähr so lauten können: „ich nehme mich bei der Hand und führe mich dahin, gradewegs wo ich schon bin“. Dass er viele Jahre lang seine Lebensschwierigkeiten thematisierte, sich zum Beispiel in einem für die Öffentlichkeit bestimmten Brief als einen „Bediener von Lebensproblemen“ hinstellte, kann der Dieter Roth Akademie eine holperige Reise in Aussicht stellen. Und wenn es denn mal nicht holprig sein sollte, vergesse man das Aquaplaning nicht! Ich hatte meinen Vortrag hier abschliessen und das Wort an Sebastian Boyle geben wollen. Der freute sich darauf, uns die Geschichte zu erzählen, wie sein Vater Marc Boyle und Dieter Roth sich kennengelernt haben. In seiner Geschichte geht es um eine gehobene Art des Aquaplaning. Gestern hat Sohn Sebastian leider absagen müssen, er lebt in London und Umstände dort verhindern sein Herkommen. Desto dringender scheint mir wird es, dass die Souvenir Ausstellungen nachträglich von einem Buch begleitet werden. Immerhin darf man wohl sagen, dass Bücher Dieters liebstes Medium waren, welches er immer wieder bespielte und grade in dieser Stadt sind viele von ihnen entstanden. Ich würde es jedenfalls toll finden, wenn ein Buch die Souvenirs begleiten würde, in welchem die Souvenirempfänger ihre Geschichten erzählt hätten. Ich hoffe, dass es für so ein Buch noch nicht zu spät ist. Und so hoffe ich denn auch, dass in dem Buch auch Sebastian Boyles Geschichte ihren Platz finden wird, die er uns nun doch nicht erzählt hat.

Vielen Dank für Ihre Geduld und dann noch dieses: Nach dem letzten Punkt des gedruckten Programms für heute, dem „Dieter Roth Puzzle“-Film von Hilmar Oddson, kann gern, wer möchte, mit kommen ins Restaurant der Kunsthalle. Die Kunsthalle ist das Gebäude gegenüber der Oper mit dem goldenen Hirschen auf dem Dach, wenn man die Staatsgalerie verlässt schräg links gegenüber. Das Restaurant ist im Obergeschoss.

Johannes spoke about Dieter's Scheisse series of books and had some plausible and new points. I found the long version of Hilmar's "Dieter Roth Puzzle" movie less wrong than what I had seen on Icelandic Television about eleven months ago. Then many of us met in that restaurant I had been asked to announce at the end of my speech. Hard walls were echoing our noise, it was tough. Sunday came, the Kunstmuseum had its day of talks. Cooperation with DR, and how to keep his things was discussed. I think we were lucky the dead usually don't directly interfere in events on earth. And then, on Monday, the thing was over and everybody went home. Alla and her son Arnar accompanied Martyn and me to Amsterdam.

November 22nd, 2009
Isn't it time that I redefine what I intent with my diary writing? Instead of desperately trying to make it look like me telling more or less coherently what's going on in my life, and failing to do so, I should call this activity an attempt to hide what's going on behind an irregular and sporadic flow of words.

November 11th, 2009
The Dieter Roth Academy is going to meet in Stuttgart in a few days. I'll go there too. The academy has been around now for 10 years. We have more of a platform this time since two Stuttgart Musea are somehow with us in the game. (Find more information on the NEWS page.) Johannes and Maren were leaving again after a brief visit and I started Google Earth on the computer in Boekie Woekie's back room and stared at the screen for a long time crossing some part of the Sahara at a pace of 5 km per hour. Brion Gysin's The Process was lying open but face down next to me.

October 24th, 2009
There are awful lots to be done here. Can't afford to get lost in diary writing. Am back from New York via Reykjavík, 3 short days, just enough to say hello. Rúna is washing the dishes in her son's firm, Gunnar is into gold mining in Greenland. The Living Art Museum, of which we are members, is going to move again. My Lada is sold to a person who really plans to take good care of it. Gulla helped me through some money matters, and the Dutch system wants me to fill in forms so it can calculate some old age pension for me, it seems. I thought that system wouldn't include me, but who knows, maybe I'm wrong. The Germans have announced I'd get about some 75 euros a month when I turn 65. If the Dutch let me have, say, 12,50, I could return to having an occasional beer - it would be enough for 2 bottles a day, roughly. In about 10 days, fasten your seat belt, I'll have completed a full year without a drop of alcohol!

October 5th, 2009
This is your correspondent writing from New York. The visit here is almost over. What can I say? Let me mention the customer who had fallen asleep fully visible for passers-by of the window of Starbucks in Spring Street. Skúta mumbled one could come to a conclusion about the coffee quality they serve there. Just because it is another restaurant bit: Nikkel who kindly had fetched me from JFK after taking my stuff to Skúta and Sharon's went with me to a nearby Chinese place where we had "shredded eel", only to reassemble it.
At the home of Skúta and Sharon one lives like in a house on a protruding rock over the sea exposed to the never abating storms and waves of  traffic regulated by lights and into which the honking of the horns mixes like the cries of seabirds. (Skúta is an Icelander. That probably helps this comparison to suggest itself to me.)
For my reason to come to NY please see the NEWS page of this site. Our participation  in "The NY Art Book Fair" didn't result however in anything near of what was anticipated in the announcement. I'm just a bit older and more stuffed with books then I was when I set off.
I hope now to get some refreshment in Iceland where I'll stop for 3 days on my way back across the Atlantic.

September 23rd, 2009
Sunny autumn days, still quite warm. Fewer foreigners, more Dutch are visiting the shop. There is very much to do in the shop, I haven't been home before 2 or often 3. When I go to bed I share it with a mountain of cushions. I'm sleeping as it were among the foothills of that Mt. Cushion. Cushions are of course no peas as I'm no prince, but too many cushions are quite uncomfortable. Each time I go to bed I tell myself I have to remember to speak to Hetti about that mountain. It is her mountain, she reclines against it watching out for me coming home each night her eyes fixed on the television set. By the time I indulge in the imagination of her expecting me to appear via the telly I've nestled myself between the cushions and are ready for my own dreams.

September 12th, 2009
It is high time to continue my diary but I still feel I can do it only halfheartedly. Well, it was that sewage flood which came down in our storage space which was a big discouragement and subject number one during the last four weeks. I really don't feel like writing much about that.  We have resorted to the help of a lawyer. If you want to know more ask Martijn or Henk or Hetti. They have been with me in the shit. Now, almost four weeks later, I bike every other day to the storage basement to empty buckets of water the dehydrating machine collects. For the first time in what is now almost 25 years I felt Boekie Woekie not being worth the while. We just had opened Michael's exhibition, Les had come over from London and then on a Monday, having to fetch some books I found myself confronted with the disaster.
Rudolf whom I know from Academy days in Düsseldorf around 1970 came for a visit for a few days but the disaster plus the ongoing Boekie Woekie meant that I hardly could pay attention to him. A trip of two days to Slovenia last weekend has been a distraction though. In the rather small plane to Ljubljana (2 rows of 2 seats on either side of the aisle) a lady who travelled as part of a group of elderly holiday makers (they had been checking in together with me) introduced herself when I sat down next to her saying she assumed I belonged to that group too. A bit later I learned her husband had only a few months before died. She woke me up from my pretended sleep so that I could also enjoy the view from the window over the Alps and in Ljubljana. I took care I got into the bus to the terminal building through an other door than she. In the evening after delivering my talk and after a big meat meal in a Serbian place I found myself in a group of young people discussing strategies for the revolution. I as Westerner was their laughing stock because of the great success of my generation's revolution of 68. Such sounds I hadn't heard for a long time. On my way back to Amsterdam this time a young woman taught me another lesson, but as I said, I don't really want to speak of it.

August 12th, 2009
I have taken two trips, if "trip" is the right word when one doesn't travel all the way to other continents? Frank had gotten curious about Rainer and Agnes, he wanted to visit them but somehow had felt it better to ask if I wouldn't want to come along. That became trip 1, to South Hungary, where the hills were greener than on earlier occasions. It had recently rained a lot. The nearby city of Pecz was looking more than before occupied by big firms from Western Europe. Before I had only been to an even bigger shopping centre in Iceland. And in Iceland at least it had a name a newcomer to the country had not encountered elsewhere before, whereas the one in Pecz was a branch of Tesco. This time we didn't drive by the open Uranium pit, the site only barely covered with earth, where the prisoners were put to work in the times of the Iron Curtain. I just knew it was there, on the other side of that healthy looking green hill. These images contrast of course with that of Rainer watering the plants with a beak spouted ewer in the shadow of his veranda in his dressing gown at 11 in the morning. An idyllic picture radiates beautifully the most sad vibes when it is seen against a background of troubled hope. That is not really different from what I felt was true when I think of trip 2. Trip 2 was to Zürich and because I ended up in Basel as a suspected burglar in the hands of the police with bullet proof vests, Basel helped to form my general feeling as well. I had come to Marlene's gallery, presented my new book "Square One deluxe" and met many - among them Tom who had that day come to us from the US. The next day we went to Aarau, to visit the show of Andreas as collector, the Memorizer exhibition (which included also a few pictures by me). See the entry of June 12th. Now as I write I remember neither a scene which would illustrate the pastoral qualities nor the specific Swiss backgrounds of endangered hope, but I'm sure the story is the same there as in Hungary, it all felt beautifully sad. All seemed, for as long as it lasted, a never ending good bye.

July 27th, 2009
It's getting bright out in the street, I worked the night through. On one of my in between missions to the kitchen for coffee I observed 2 snails (slugs) on one of the mouse traps (BW has mice, and now snails too!) each trying to get away with the bit of cheese without that the thing snapped. I was most perplex. I took a picture of it. One snail won.
snails on mouse trap

July 16th, 2009
I'm surprised. I had forgotten that thought, let alone that I had written it down.
I'm reading the latest entry to the diary and immediately begin to write this:
It is again a moment around midnight after another day of a million details most of them part of the chain of events the necessities of our small book shop provide us with. I just had given in to my wish to do something quite different, namely to turn to the diary as that often results in some fun. I had permitted myself to open Netscape Composer. I was a bit curious what I would find I had written last time. This last time felt to be long ago. As I was longing to stop to add more books to our stock list I gave more and more in to the idea to produce something with a thoughtful feel to it rather than go on functioning in a predictable way. Though of course a diary, even one as irregularly kept as this, lets one also function in a scheme. But anyhow, that I wrote that bit on July the 13th, I only rediscovered just now, opening this page in Netscape composer, reading it with a still faint feeling of recognition, in surprise, thinking it must have been some weeks since I last wrote some lines, but this, only 3 days ago - am I really so far gone that I don't know anymore what I do? Now I think I gave maybe up on that thought 3 days ago, it ends a bit abruptly. I must have anyhow been pretty absent minded already then when I "put the pen down" that night of the 13th. I have namely just now checked the published diary page which anybody can go to: the entry of the 13th is not there! (I'll publish it together with today's piece right after this,  - if I don't forget.) I forgot to publish the newly written bit the night from the 13th to the 14th. And with it I forgot the first rule and the challenge number one of this hole diary idea: publish without delay, no real second thought. First surfaced words only as a literary recipe!
Are computer documents organisms, am I saying that? Are they maybe still a bit clumsy replica's of ourselves? Is life a slice of cheese packed into a sandwich of 2 virtual slices of bread? Our projections of  heaven and hell and we as a sort of sticky stuff between them? I haven't read the article, but the on-line edition of Der Spiegel promises on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of men's first visit to the moon undeniable proof of the fact that that visit took really place and wasn't filmed in Hollywood. Wasn't his name Hal, who pleaded in Kubrick's "2001" for his life? - I think I might try in future not to notice likeness but rather what helps to tell thinks apart.

July 13th, 2009
I stumbled on a likeness of computer documents and people. Doesn't it look like we have in common that we are masterminded by authorities without which we wouldn't exist? And that at the end we can be saved - or not? This idea contains a blasphemous aspect. How can "we" be compared to surly lifeless documents where there is talk of  higher beings and salvation, matters of believe?

June 27th, 2009
I just have returned to Boekie Woekie from a mission which remained uncompleted. The first part of the mission was: go by bike to an address on Prinseneiland. I didn't know the house before but found it easily. A note at the door said that those who were coming for a midsummer night "of the spoken words and chamber music" should call a certain number or ring the door bell. Since I belong to those few left who usually don't have a phone on them, I was happy about the doorbell. I pressed it once and waited, and again and again, but nothing happened. When I had been invited for this evening, maybe a week ago, I had heard something about a roof terrace. I obviously had come too late, they probably were hearing different bells up there but not the profane door bell. So I returned back to were I had come from with my bottle of lemonade and the book which I had thought I would read to them. The book was my Square One - I had been told I could expect an English speaking crowd. When biking back it was sort of comforting to think that Square One would have told them a story of going away from Amsterdam and returning there without much happening along the way, that staying at home, on square one, was just as good.

June 21st, 2009
Today was the longest day of the year which means that now, the darkness, is that of the shortest night. Biking to the shop this morning I came to be aware of this big cycle in my head while my feet were doing the usual pedaling. I took it as a relief to realize that head and feet were still working on the same project when that cosmic thought shrunk to one of mere global dimension. I came to think of that it will soon be 23 years I bike to and from Boekie Woekie every day. I followed the impulse and did an estimate calculation of the total length of the way I biked between home and the shop in those years - one leg of the trip being about 3 kilometers, therefore every day 6, times 365, which is of course a bit difficult when you have to pay attention to sleepwalking pedestrians and escape the dangers resulting from cars which as a rule never use their blinkers to announce a turn - to just mention one of the thousand things the board computer has to be busy with. But, okay that are about 2200 km a year, times 23, that's more than once around the globe!
Of course I have often been away. For years, the shop wasn't open on Sundays. I think in the beginning it even stayed closed Mondays - maybe I haven't made the full circle yet. But when I locked my bone shaker I gave the saddle a friendly slap.

June 12th, 2009
The visit I brought to the Aarau museum where I went for the opening of the exhibition of  the collection of Andreas was greatly refreshing. I have since long been weary of art that is displayed in the assumption that I can be convinced to find it more interesting because someone else than the artist has selected it and/or that it was put into a context of arguments which are supposed to open my eyes. Andreas' way of collecting was quite erratic, one can feel how every item has kindled anew his congenial pleasure - and that today is a pleasure to share. No "democratic" decision, but one person's fun. - I really had only hours with Marlene, Beat, Frank, André, Erika and even more brief encounters with David, Paul, Rolf, Franciska, Peter and was then off again and back in Amsterdam. Hetti took off to Iceland the day after my return. Now it is BoeWoe again, the exhibition of Rick will open tomorrow.

May 26th, 2009
Am off tomorrow to Basel and the next day to Zürich and Aarau. The first copies of the deluxe version of my book Square One are ready, appropriately called, I think, Square One deluxe.
Kristján and Solveig were visiting Amsterdam for a few days, K.'s brother Siggi opened a show at the gallery of Kees. It had been Siggi's idea to attend his own opening reception in the state of hypnosis and the gallerist had paid a professional hypnotizer to put his artist into trance. Then the gallerist walked coram populo with the artist through his exhibition, talking with him about his works. In the state Siggi was in he believed to never have seen these works. I heard witnesses claim he found his works were making him sick. (I had maintained BoeWoe's opening hours, Siggi was himself again when I arrived at the opening.)
I was relieved that I had hadn't gotten deeper into the subject than calling my show at Marlene's last year "tour de trance".

May 17th, 2009
Yesterday 1 of 2 young English speaking women who had been browsing around for a while asked me when this shop would be open tomorrow? She asked me as the sales clerk of Boekie Woekie. I have answered the same question often with a "we are open from 12 to 6 seven days a week" and did so again. At the moment the words left my mouth I realised that she was asking for the opening hours of a Sunday, the day we permit ourselves often to oversleep a little. I tried in my best English to sound a bit funny "assuming they wouldn't queue up by  the door at 12 o'clock sharp". The following moment was a bit stretched then she said "Sorry I don't speak Dutch". I was lightly touched by consternation. It took me even a bit longer to find my words: "I thought I had spoken English!" The 3rd moment was the longest. It was ended by the 2nd woman, the companion of the one with the query. Now she spoke over the shoulder of her friend: "He has just explained to you, that on Sundays, he opens a bit later". I lowered my glance and looked at my computer screen but heard of course how the 1st woman directly responded to her friend's words: "Yes, yes, I got that. I just thought I would really like to speak Dutch". Now I wasn't in the picture anymore, the trance had moved to another level. The 2 left speaking lively to each other. They didn't come back today.
Something of this incident has let me think of the boomerang of Ringelnatz, for which the public was waiting for hours.

May 14th, 2009
The images I announced I would show here a few days ago:
Kunstenaarsboeken? Het oude paar
      1 Het oude paar 2 Het ideale paar

May 11th, 2009
We three of Boekie Woekie are using the shop premises for the production of a book the first copies of which I want to take to Switzerland later this month. This demands some improvised logistics. While the manuscript pages are being printed out by me (giving me the opportunity for last changes) Hetti runs busily between the two copying machines feeding them with the manuscript pages paying attention to sequence and position. 250 pages of text, 40 of which with a picture in colour. Outside in the garden we call our sculpture park, under the balcony of the upstairs neighbour - thus protected in case of rain - Rúna "prints" in a slow process the dust jackets for the book to be. One jacket takes 3 to 4 days. It wasn't mentioned between us but I think Rúna is happy with that job since it allows her an occasional cigarette. Only she of us smokes, has returned to smoking after maybe 4 years of not smoking. I smoke too, very occasionally, but inside and not tobacco. I smoke the water pipe I got from Eva for my 4 year's birthday in January. Attending to what grows in our mini park (don't get wrong ideas, totally unsmokable plants) Rúna found between the flowerpots the broken off hand holding a book which once belonged to a porcelain sculpture of an old guy with on old woman sitting next to him. The sculpture had been made to look like he was reading for her from the book he had held - but then, one day, in a storm, the little sculpture had blown over and his hand with the book was broken off and gone. Rúna was quite happy to have found it back. Me too in a way but only now that I come to think of it again, hours later, I become aware of a sort of biographical perspective: BW in its very first years, when it still was an enterprise of six people, used a poster to announce itself which showed a guy with a beer holding with his other hand a girl by her hand who in her other hand held a book. He asks that ominous Dutch word "Kunstenaarsboeken?" And she answers, "yes, yes, Gasthuismolensteeg" (our then address) and the opening times of Boekie Woekie. The image of the poster and that of the sculpture somehow now seem to me to be lying in one line. However the image of a couple in regard to Boekie Woekie has always been wrong. The constellation is a little more complex.
I shall try to think of it tomorrow, to take pictures and place them here of the poster, the sculpture and of a third couple, represented on a postcard we sell here.

April 30th, 2009
It's unusually late for me to write a diary bit, it's 5.30 in the morning and I haven't slept yet. (These lines are often written late at night, like at one or two after midnight but seldom this late.) I won't have to be in time (at 12) in the shop today, it's going to be a mad day, it's Queen's Day. Two black men have secured themselves the space on the sidewalk in front of our neigbours, a shop for women's underwear. There, with the some sexy dolls behind then, they will of all things offer books on art for sale in this giant one day flea market. I feel they show a sense of mercantilism, those two.
(This is a monarchy and once a year most of those monarchists get drunk dressed in orange, her Majesty is an offspring of the House of Orange. It begins with a flea market in all streets. People pile up stuff to sell, then the alcohol takes over. What is not sold at the end of the day is left behind and collected as finally real trash during the night.)
Anyhow there will be madness in the streets and to open up the shop would by far be to confusing.
Rúna is back from the States, she has the nerves, she even eagerly made plans for her participation in the party of later today. I will bike home after this and sleep most of the day.
The "this" of "I'll go after this" is: The newest issue of JAB, Brad's Journal of Artists' Books, number 25, is out. It has on its outer and inner cover what he printed from the transparencies he got from Tony who took them along last November. (If you (re-)read the entry to this diary of Nov.5th, 2008 you'll be (back) in tune.) Brad's colour creation, the mixing of the ink of the 29 printed layers, lets one forget that those are the stains hands left behind handling the magazine before it even existed. The stains have turned under his hands into a blossoming wetland, a lively colourful organization, hasn't an offset garden risen from the mud?
Jab 25 colour cover

April 22nd, 2009
Rúna is for a few days more in the US, visiting her son and his family. During the Easter week the shop was very busy, now we are back to normal. Martha is visiting Amsterdam (and us), and Armin will be here tomorrow, and from Friday on for the weekend we'll have Frank and a friend over - life is a good school for learning to appreciate all the time something new.

April 7th, 2009
Some 40 to 50 journalists were shown around in our corner of Amsterdam on behalf of an American shoe factory with ambitions for its brand in Europe. The journalists were brought to a few shops which the shoe maker had booked for the day. Boekie Woekie was among those shops. The shoe maker's men had placed 4 single leisure shoes on our shelves plus one pair into our shop window. The journalists, split up in 4 groups, were guided from shop to shop during the afternoon and shown those shoes. In Boekie Woekie the shoe maker's representatives told the journalists something about the firm they work for, its loong history, and how they began with making galoshes from rubber to be worn by city folks to protect their Sunday footwear. Then the journalists were shown a label attached to the shoes'  inside. It showed that the rubber shoe maker from the old days had fused with Americas oldest firm for woolen products, dating right back to the days of the Industrial Revolution, soon 200 years ago. The resulting shoes are a combination of wool and rubber, some sort of sneakers with class. The journalists took notes of this and pictures of the 4 shoes, each in an open shoe box surrounded by our books.
Those who know us a little might ask now how it could happen that we were ready to lend our shelves for the purpose of advertising products which we don't sell. Aren't our links with the commercial world notoriously tense? (Aren't we proud to be old-fashioned artists? )
I think it had to be like this since otherwise I couldn't tell this story. Rubber and wool. A recipe for warm, dry feet.
I think each shop keeper was supposed to offer something special to the journalists. What it was they received in the other shops I don't know, but I had prepared for them something to look at, a picture in the make. I called it a red carpet when I spoke to them about it. I had covered with kraft paper from a roll, as if with a table cloth, the top surface of the glass case in the back room, a surface of about 60 x 220 cm. However different from a table cloth, there were the paper reached the edge of the table top it didn't hang down but stood up. More than 30 of my shoes (I have quite a collection of shoes since I never have thrown them away) were standing on that length of paper, and they stood there in a colourful puddle of a watery paint broth like in a low bath tub. I had poured the content of 6 tubes of each 75 ml of acrylic paint of different colour diluted in 12 glasses of water into that "bath tub". One of the shoes was appropriately a rubber boot. I told the journalists (who were mostly still quite young) about my shoe collecting tick, and, referring to the many long dried up paint stains on them, mentioned the many pictures I have made with my shoes before. I linked this process to Gutenberg's invention of moveable types and tried to charm them by mentioning the advantage for the artist - that the artist's work consisted mainly in waiting for the picture to get ready. Ready in this case meaning dry. Enjoy life, talk to people, while your picture develops.
I think hardly anyone took notice of a smaller table by the wall, with Alla's flock of sheep on it, the sheep Alla carved from potatoes (see the entries of Jan. 30th and Feb. the 1st) for her exhibition here in January. Hetti had put them on that table to photograph them. As much as they are shrinking they started recently to sprout! Anyhow we promised Alla to document occasionally their process of drying up.
When I think back, I see the journalists step this afternoon from Boekie Woekie's front room into our back room like into a witch's kitchen, or at least into a laboratory where experiments are carried out. I wonder if any of the journalists noticed that the ingredients used here in the back room experiments were showing concern for the same material (sheep and what grows on their skin) and qualities (the achievement of dryness) as they had seen presented as a successful combination before by the American shoe maker in our front room. I showed them so to say afterwards something from before, but as I say, I wonder whether anyone got that. After all it only came to my own mind now, hours later.
Alla's sheep 7.4.09 Jan's shoes
      7.4.09

March 21st, 2009
The spells between my diary bits get longer and longer. Isn't it funny how quickly the most recent years have passed? Doesn't it feel like earlier years lasted longer? I don't remember when it was, the early eighties probably, that I heard the words "Time based Arts" first - they were the words of Aart and Ulises, the name they gave to their artists' video club or what it was. They didn't mean, I reckon, games of patience, or puzzles or any other favorite pastime. I understood TbA then as in one line with Filliou's sentence which goes about like this "Art is what makes life more interesting than art." Of this, one can only become aware in time. One intense moment of fusion of art and life has put everything to a standstill in my head as I realize that soon 3 weeks ago I wrote about "an accelerated loss frequency of  functioning bicycles". That tendency has fully swung around. We gained 3 bikes in those 3 weeks. One came from Amstelveen and one from Wijhe, the third was assembled from parts found around the house. The one from Wijhe runs easily and has a steer like the horns of a cow. The baggage rack of the one from Amstelveen gives it a speedy silhouette, but when you actually pedal it, it's more the lack of any brake when you back pedall it than that it runs with little resistance. My assembled bike is mainly the bike Hanneke had brought for Hetti from Zwolle with the front wheel of the bike I bought after aunt Marchjen's funeral last fall. All 3 are girls' bikes. Let's see how much mileage we'll get out of them. A fusion of bikes, stories, viewpoints, a bicycle salad with generation sauce.
As the Pyramids remind of the times of the Pharaohs, the Bicycle Ball will remind of these times. For long, as the historians found out, the Bicycle Ball was called a "bowl of bicycle salad". But the bowl disappeared and was forgotten under what emerged more and more as a ball. An ever-growing number of bicycles chained together. The bicycle, symbol for the ease of muscle work with help of the brain. To immobilize bikes by chaining them one to the other in an 4ever growing knot, a knot rounding itself into a ball as it grows, as a ball only needing an impulse to be rolling and inventing a giiigaaantic golf player for that purpose who hits our Ball of Bikes out of its bowl and lets it roll into a hole.
And then ask: where has time gone.

March 3rd, 2009
There has been an accelerated loss frequency of  functioning bicycles around Boekie Woekie recently. The first one in this row of 3 to give up on us was last fall, when the back wheel of the bike Hetti half a year or so earlier had bought new for herself, was melting like butter with me on the pedals and Hrafnhildur on the luggage rack. I had taken Hetti's bike over, since she had got another one via Hanneke which ran more easily. Hrafnhildur got the  wreck as a present and somehow knew how to get it fixed. I bought a stately second hand bike returning from the funeral of Hetti's aunt Marchjen in Zwolle shortly before the gout times kept me away from all knee bending around the middle of November. Back in January and testing how far the gout had retreated I started to use this bike again. I didn't find it very easy going, but thought I had suffered some muscle loss. I couldn't make some of the steeper bridges over the canals. Then, about 2 weeks ago, going with difficulty up on one of those bridges, the bike with quite some crunching noise could no longer be pedalled. The repairman advised to throw the thing away, because, he could see it, the frame was bent. Now we were down to one bike again. Hetti likes to walk to BoeWoe and really needs her bike only when doing more serious shopping. I was allowed to use her easy going bike, the one Hanneke had come with. On one of the first days I used H.'s bike I had stalled it near the curb in front of the shop. There someone by accident pushed it, I heard it fall - and after that one pedal banged with every turn against the chain box. A few night ago the front brake broke and since then the front wheel totters. The repairman says it's dangerous and expensive. Hetti says we'll have to buy a another one, or two.

February 13th, 2009
I just read over yesterday's entry and stumble. I use the word pavement. Only a few days ago on the phone with Tom, we used the word sidewalk. I didn't know I knew the word pavement. More than 30 years ago, more than half our lives ago, Tom and I were drawing and writing something in several chapters we called "the sidewalk sailors". Now we were coming to speak of the idea of maybe finding a published form for it. But as always, first things first. We would need to find the manuscript(s). I don't even really recall how many chapters were made. Tom is convinced I keep all this. But I wouldn't even know where to begin to look. Anyhow we have ever since been writing more chapters by sailing the sidewalks separately, though occasionally we met and never were quite without knowing where the other would be about. By virtue of  the length of this sailing trip and the resulting size of the imminent publication we might be entitled to sign  this work with "the captains of the road".

February 12th, 2009
Nothing I could write about comes to my mind during the first 10 seconds I have opened the diary page. The anger when opening the shop about the 2 cars parked on the pavement close to our shop window and the refusal of the workmen they belonged to, busy on the opposite digging a whole, to park them elsewhere, has evaporated. The disappointment about practically no business for days if not weeks in a row isn't really inspiring to speculate about. Bad weather, not many international guests (usually we recruit a good part of our customers from that group), maybe that crisis, who would know. Rúna has been printing for some days, I have been working on the web site. Hetti rounds up last year's book keeping. Actually this strikes me now as a generally valid description of our activities.

February 1st, 2009
I have the whole day been looking forward to tell what happened to me last night in my dreams. I came, like in real life, on my bike to open Boekie Woekie to find a crowd waiting in front of the shop. (Quite unlike real life.) There was a dark mass of people filling Berenstraat to the corner of Prinsengracht. I knew the queue was stretching far beyond the corner. I knew it was the reversed daily queue of people wanting to visit Amsterdam's great tourist attraction, the Anne Frank House. I opened the shop and the masses promptly invaded it. Up to here one could think this was wishful dreaming. But to cope with the crowd became a nightmare. It was night outside when I closed the door behind the last shadowy figure. I realized that all shelves and tabletops were now empty, there wasn't one book left. And then, of course, the door is opened again and in comes a little pale girl and wants an empty book.
I took the following 3 pictures today of Alla's sheep installation which I refer to in the entry to this diary from the day before yesterday. The potatoes the sheep with the match legs are carved from were fresh some 10 days ago. They have started to dry out and shrink noticeably.
Allas sheep 2 potatoes Allas sheep one head Allas sheep overview
January 30th, 2009
I got four the other day. Reason for a party. If I hadn't been given a water pipe as a birthday present the only thing I would be able to report to have done in excess that night would have been the drinking of tea. But with that pipe some clouds were blown and in a way the alcohollessness didn't feel that strange. For the rest it is Boekie Woekie again, from right after getting up to the last moment before going to sleep. Alla put up an impressive little show with a row of sheep carved from big potatoes walking on their legs from matches in a row under in comparison huge sheep heads assembled from random bits and pieces of wood which hover on the wall over them as clouds resembling their ancestors.

January 19th, 2009
Am back in Boekie Woekie. Went to the doctor today asking him whether he had a leg for sale. He didn't but he is going to look into what's wrong with mine He seemed confident that he could fix it. Michael had guests on Saturday, he got 60. I enjoyed myself with the other guests but had no drinks. I seem to be able not to drink. I never knew that. Drinking or not drinking seem just to be habits. It's after midnight, I don't want to make it much later. But this needs to be recorded: rain  drips leaking through the ceiling to the kitchen floor and Boekie Woekie did on this miserable day not have one customer. Fredie came in for a moment and knew that the Brits have proclaimed the 19th of January to be the worst day of the year. Still long till springtime, usually bad weather, and everybody realizing by now that they gave up on their good intentions of New Years Eve.

January 5th, 2009
A stack of  pieces of paper with words and drawings, one painting, a few computer files remain from my time out from Boekie Woekie. The day after tomorrow the return to the populated world will begin. Some 5 weeks are over. I'm afraid I also will take the gout back with me back to Holland.
the foot-header taking flying lesson
This is my foot-header taking flying lesson.

December 27th, 2008
Bending my knee was less painful today. I think after 5 weeks Mr.Gout may be moving out. Today was a day of rhymes. Our media mogul Raul (rhyme!) who appears often in this page had asked me, inspired by me reading my book "Square One" 2 weeks ago via Skype in BoeWoe to read it again for the audience of his local television program "de Hoeksteen live". When I was finished and not on the air anymore he told me it had been great (I'm sure he says that to all contributors to his show) and if I could read the thing again in about one hour. His program takes 4 hours, he needs stuff to bridge the time. Flattered, of course, I said yes, but then, alone again, I began to think hectically I should read something else, but what. Well, in that hour (it really became an hour and a half), I wrote this:

To expect much of 2008
is now, I'm sorry, a little late.
 
But there, in Newcastle upon Tyne,
are some with hopes for 2009.
 
One hears of optimists from a remote glen
who expect that something will happen in 2010.
 
But our brethren in heaven
will turn up the heat in 2011.
 
That the ice shelf
melts is scheduled for 2012.
 
The director may close the curtain
as early as 2013.
 
Nobody really is keen
to find out about 2014.
 
It remains to be seen
if it happens at all, that year 2015.
 
There are those who mean
things will change in 2016.
 
Times will still be lean
when we write the year 2017.
 
Where will we have been
those 12 months of 2018?
 
Who will polish the sheen
of that distant year 2019?
 
I hope we'll wake up in the 2020ties
with the firm plan to finally end this.

This I read to those in Amsterdam who had the nerves to follow Raul´s usually quite chaotic night program. - One wouldn't think I'm one of those optimists from a remote glen, would one. I wanted today's poem to be the opposite of last year's ironic positive poem. Here is that one again (written on the day a year ago):

10 exclamation marks

We only had fun in 2001!
The sky was so blue in 2002!
How easy it was to be, in 2003!
We hardly touched the floor dancing through 2004!
We loved life in 2005!
Had only great gigs in 2006!
Were all the way in heaven in 2007!
Can't wait for 2008!
2009 will be just as fine!
I'm now already a fan of 2010!

Assuming this is the last entry for 2008, of course an as happy as possible 2009 to us all.

December 23rd, 2008
If I ask myself what objects I have most often quoted in my doings as an artist I think I would have to come up with shoes and speech bubbles, shoes and speech or thought balloons. I think I may have invented a special kind of head-footer, namely the talking head-footer. My work could be a comic strip with this fellow the main character:
the talking head-footer
and who claims that I photo shopped away the legs of the white bird, is wrong

December 11th, 2008
I go through days now which would be sufficiently described if I'd mention the weather, is it freezing or not, storm or still. Because nothing much else really seems to happen. Except maybe the gout, subjects like health and the weather are left when everything else is too elusive. I'm doing what I came for - to sit by the table and not work strictly for Boekie Woekie only. And I came to this place because I know there is little disturbance to be expected.
I could boast: 5 weeks no booze. Two observations belong to my booze subject: I had been told and I trusted it was true that gout comes from living too good (equivalent for me with too many drinks). But I got the most painful and long lasting gout attack for several years after 2 sober weeks. (Read the entry of March 16th, 2006.) No.2: I have come to Iceland for ages (for 37 years), all alcohol has always been enormously expensive. But now, after they (the Icelanders) overplayed their hand economically and their Króna isn't worth much anymore, I for the first time in this long time would not overplay my hand if I bought a drink.
I can still get charmed by what I see looking out the window. See: the Great Icelandic Canon just fired a shot!
Icelandic Canon

December 1st, 2008
Am in Iceland now. Snow all around the house, no sane reason to leave it. That fits well with my intention to tell this and that about the past 2 weeks. I don´t need to go outside, though much of what happened happened while I was on the move. The Great Dramatizer had taken care that I was struck by an attack of gout which nearly let me cancel my going to Zurich. I couldn't put my shoes on and (this time the pain went into the knee) I couldn't bike. But since I wouldn't bike there anyhow, I went (by plane and train). The appointment was that I would stay at the house of Marlene (I still have to get used to refer to her as my gallerist). But in either of the roles she plays for me: the person I have known for more than 30 years and the person who recently has exhibited my art works, I felt I could ask her help with my shoes (as long as my socks would be okay). That a gallerist helps an artist to put his shoes on has even a touch of metaphorical value. A busy brief 3 days ensued. Iwan showed me what he recorded in August at the opening of the exhibition. There are plans for a DVD. We agreed on an idea I trust will result in something very useful. The next day Peter and Mara came to Marlene´s gallery with a movie camera and lights, some of my works were quickly hung up again and I was placed amongst them as if my exhibition was still on the walls. The idea was to speak to me about Andreas, Mara´s father, who died too young a few years ago. Andreas has been visiting me here with  his daughter back in 1986 when she was a young teenager. Twelve years later Andreas came again to Iceland, we went together to Dieter Roth´s funeral. Andreas combined in his personality the scientist and the artist. He was quite an unusual man. There were 2 main events marking the 3rd day of my journey. The first was a side trip with Iwan to Luzern. He wanted to see Sugimoto´s photographs at the museum there. I got some years ago fascinated by his movie house pictures. But it was probably more the idea I liked than the pictures themselves. Then I hobbled behind Iwan to the office of Periferia, a publisher of carefully made books, among them is

(Roth, Dieter) The Rings Of Dieter Roth on the occasion of exhibitions, a boxed ring file (33 x 30,5 x 9 cm) with 80 facsimile reproductions of the correspondence and all other drawn and written material the artist sent to Hans Langenbacher, his old friend and the goldsmith with whom he realized many finger rings, very beautifully executed publication, contains a book with photographic reproductions of these rings and texts by Jean-Christophe Ammann, Peter Noever, Adalsteinn Ingolfsson and photographs by H.L. of Iceland as it was when the artist and the goldsmith first began to work together in Reykjavík in the late fifties and an interview with him, this is the English version, soft cover, 144 pages, 20 x 14 cm, Luzern 2006 EUR 210,00

(Boekie Woekie also lists the German version: Roth, Dieter Die Ringe Des Dieter Roth.)


Iwan had to return to Zurich. I couldn't suppress a sentimental memory walk across the river passing the Hotel Schiff, taking the few painful steps through Metzgerrainle to Mühlenplatz, glancing across to the Fischerstube being reminded of many glasses of Kaffee Fertig and of Pablo, how he dropped one coin after the other into gambling machines.
In this neighbourhood lasting changes in my life began. About 35 years ago my life as an exhibiting artist took off here and here, around that time, I first met Hetti.
I don't remember to have been to Luzern since what I think was 1974.
An hour or so later I was back in Zurich for event no.2 of this day: Anton´s opening at Marlene´s. Brilliantly executed landscape paintings from Hungary followed by a long night in the restaurant at the corner in the company of Frank, Karola, Emil, and Kurt and his wife.
After a short night and a few hours with likewise worn looking Marlene and André I flew back to Amsterdam.
Hetti and Rúna fetched me in good mood from the airport and took me to our Chinese restaurant. Monday, my last day before leaving Amsterdam for 6 weeks, was filled with a million details. I did not get to bed at all and couldn't sleep in the plane to Iceland either.
On arrival in town Eggert was there to take me to Mosfellsbćr. Quite exhausted now and after a meal at Gunnar and Gulla´s I fell into their guest bed at eight fifteen. 15 hours later I still wasn't really fit again. But fit enough to go the few steps up to Björn´s studio where Birta, Magnús Reynir and Eggert work since a few months on 2 copies of Dieter´s "Reykjavík Slides". They have bought copying, developing and framing machines for those many thousands of slides which show all the houses of Iceland's capital. Björn himself had left for the East with some of the younger folks, to hunt the Christmas Dinner. I had spotted in a remote corner, on the outside of the building, my good old Lada Niva, waiting for repair. Not far from it had stood the Peugeot of which Gunnar had said it was in driving condition. Only the clutch wouldn't grip fully anymore. Óli, Gunnar´s friend and car repairman, thought it was safe to drive it to town. I went to see Ívar Kristjánsson who when he was 2 and swinging a hammer hit me very painfully between the legs. That is now 37 years ago and Ívar nowadays is the financial caretaker of the firm which stuns us from the parent generation since years with its global success. CCP is the name, theirs is the self developed internet game "Eve On Line". It is the brainchild of Rúna´s son Reynir and played regular for money by some hundreds of thousands of subscribers. I had knocked on their door by telephone from Amsterdam and asked Ívar for help finding an internet capable computer for my time alone in the North. He did some phoning and I ended up with a shopping list. What was more Ívar would give me a ride to the North! Also he would go to hunt the Christmas Dinner, a bird called Rjúpa. He new a spot near Góđafoss and therefore could drop me off at my destination. Only the weather forecast put a question mark behind this plan for the coming day. I had originally planned to fly North. Because of Alla´s offer to use her son Arnar´s car I wouldn't have to drive long distance, neither in the Lada nor in the Peugeot. Arnar now studies in London. He came to see me a bit more than a month ago when I was at the Small Publishers Fair.
When I came to Mosfellsbćr I unpacked my new computer but had to stop to assemble it  because the package contained an electric wire with a not fitting plug. Birta, Eggert and Magnús Reynir found that unanimously "typical Icelandic".
Another dinner and another long sleep and then the day was there which would bring me almost to the spot were I am now. It began with my drive to town. Get the right electric cord. Words with Solveig, Ívar´s mother and main cook at CCP about the Peugeot (she drives it when no one of Boekie Woekie is in Iceland), and her famous cold germs killing broth. Too early for Kristján. When he'll get up he'll play chess with Pétur. Back in Mosfellsbćr the computer was working - also the internet connection. Ívar came around 6.30 with a friend he would hunt with and we set off in his comfortable big car. After 20 km the tempest forced us to drive not faster than 15km/h. But later we encountered little hindrance on our way. Only blowing snow forced us to slow down at times. At almost midnight I was dropped off at Jón and Alla´s, to fetch the key. Jón had put for the first time they live in their big house his books up in shelves - a few thousand books really make quite an impression. I asked for a bed - the idea to start heating up my place in the middle of the night seemed too much. The bed was no problem and when it was getting a bit brighter, after half past ten the next morning, I drove in Alla´s car to our place to start electricity and water. The temperature inside the building was minus 6 degrees on the Celsius scale. I didn't stay long. I needed to buy food. When I returned to the house it was getting already reasonably warm. Saturday and Sunday I spent in solitude getting to know my new computer. Of course I downloaded Skype right away to go on the nerves of Hetti and Rúna in Amsterdam. Yesterday I bought a few fringe devices: an USB hub, a card reader and an external floppy disk drive to be able to exchange at least small files between the new to the old computer to which a scanner and a printer are attached. That I hope that this diary entry can soon be published on the Boekie Woekie web site is due to my downloading the older version of Netscape which still has included the Composer bit. I also downloaded the same FTP program we use in Amsterdam. Michael's assistance by telephone strengthens my hope that it will work - and end years of not being able to update our web site from here. Soon it will become clear whether that hope is justified.
 
November 17th, 2008
We (Hetti, Rúna and me) are pulling ourselves unusually much together these days in order to work more efficiently. We think we are lagging behind on many levels of our enterprise. The need that each of us knows all the processes of filing and announcing new books and of processing them through the bookkeeping has been obvious to us for a long time. But the devil is in the detail, as they say. Who doesn't know how the ftp program works can't renew the web site, and so on. This urgency to learn has something to do with my impending weeks in Iceland. I'm looking forward to the change - to a period of selfdetermination which is not ruled by shop hours. But before I leave next week Tuesday for Iceland comes a short spree to Zürich. That means tomorrow and next week Monday are the only days I have left in Boekie Woekie this year ...

November 5th, 2008
The Small Publishers Fair - I liked it there. Arnar and Maggie showed up. I had an evening, a night and a morning with Eggert and Veiga who are presently spending time with the kids in Isleworth. The morning (rather the midday) was sunny and as far as I remember the first time this year which I spent sitting outside. Seeing that it is late in autumn it most likely was the last time too. At first I felt a little weak from the night before. But somehow the constant and precise flow of low flying aircraft preparing to land in Heathrow of which each single one disappeared exactly behind the same roof tile, restored my well being. A busy and very mixed week in Amsterdam followed. Rúna had 5 Icelandic ladies as guests, Jo and Wesley from Vancouver and Les from London stayed with Hetti and me. In between all this Hetti's 97 years old aunt Marchjen died and had to be buried in Zwolle. She was born in the same year as my father who died less than half her age back in 1956. The day after the funeral Boekie Woekie launched the Hell Passports of Perro Verlag. Tony, for an art librarian conference in The Netherlands, had asked me a while ago to make the cover for the next issue of JAB, the American "Journal of Artists' Books" magazine. He visited the launch with a few colleagues and I seized the occasion to have the visitors make the transparencies for the cover. Here one sees one of those transparency in the make.
Jab Cover

October 23rd, 2008
This is most likely the last entry to this diary before it has covered eight years. I don't think it ever was meant to run for that long. How difficult it is to stop habits (not to mention addictions)!
I'll take the train to London tomorrow. Boekie Woekie participates there in the Small Publishers Fair (see the NEWS page of this site). There will be Les, Erica, Malcolm, Martin, Simon, Jo and Wesley, Cralan will show up, Colin, Tony, and many others with faces I'll recognize. I look forward to see that sentence which fascinates me since I saw it first: To thine own self be true. It hovers there above the stage which is part of Conway Hall where this event takes place. I am one of the cast which is going to perform in London a new act of the play with that title.

October 5th, 2008
A rainy day. The neighbors had fought a leakage into the shop beneath them which they said was caused by the flat roof over the storage of Boekie Woekie. The drainage pipe from that roof had been clogged they said with leaves and twigs. With leafs and twigs our neighbor pointed out the autumn storms had blown off the 3 trees which grow in our back garden. If it wasn't time to do something about those trees?! A few weeks ago the very same pipe, closed with very similar things, had led to water leaking into our own storage space, luckily without causing damage. I had then thought about putting a strainer around the opening of the pipe, but as so many things I forgot to make or get one. Also the idea, that the landlord should be taking care of this helped to delay this security measure. I didn't get myself to alert him to the problem. And now it is suggested to chop those trees down. Those trees didn't exist when Boekie Woekie began its activities at this address back in 1991. A derelict wooden garden house was rotting away there. I remember a Sunday during what must have been our first summer in Berenstraat when we dismantled this ruin, Hetti, Rúna, Cornelia, Marc and me. All this wet wood made our back garden to a paradise for many many slaters, sow bugs or wood louses, which occasionally ventured into the shop and at least at one occasion caused a customer to flee. Remains of the garden house are still today leaning against the fence, now densely overgrown by poison ivy. And there where the garden house once stood stand now 3 trees, 15 or so meters high, baddies altogether, aren't they shedding their naughty twigs and leaves into our drainage pipes?

September 29th, 2008
Today one of Boekie Woekie's visitors mentioned that it had been the last day that the Stedelijk Museum had been open. Amsterdam does not any longer have a  museum for contemporary art. The actual museum has been closed already for some years - it was the temporary branch of the Stedelijk which closed its doors for good today. This is in accordance with more of those prestigious plans with which Amsterdam's authorities are trying hard to rob the city of its inherited qualities. There is endless money thrown into the wide open mouths of contractors. For that they dig a subway tunnel right through the city centre. And we are getting used to the idea that the baroque city is no more than a technological challenge. A third prestigious plan is the closing down of the "walletjes", the red light district. That also the Rijksmuseum has been closed for years seems to me to show that those who run Amsterdam have not understood a thing of what is valuable and needs to be cherished. - It feels ridiculously good to know that thanks to Simon Boekie Woekie is the caretaker of the wedge which we are convinced kept for a long time the front door of the Stedelijk Museum open. (See the entry of January 7th, 2008 for more on this.)

September 24th, 2008
Three books are in the make, one by Martyn, one by Dieter and one by me. It's busy here every day but though things go well and much is accomplished, there is still more and more of the regular daily work piling up. The mountain of books which needs to be written into our stocklist continues to get higher and higher. I feel embarrassment towards their makers when I realize we are not offering those books for sale but just seem to store them. I haven't found the time for weeks to put a new e-mail flyer together announcing new books. But every now and then the one or other of us begins to hum or sing "the lion sleeps tonight". Kommissar Hjuler and his wife Mamma Bär performed that catchy tune last Friday night in Boekie Woekie at great length. Maybe when the lion wakes up we won't have to worry about work done or not.

September 14th, 2008
I'm sitting up late once again, thinking it's time to add a bit to the diary. But as so often before, I have no clue what to write. I would better go to sleep. It is 2 in the morning, really of the 15th, not the 14th of September. But I still have some beer. I could try to tell a story of what happened recently. Parties, visitors, the weather, a dream. If the storytelling went well I could maybe think of embellishing it with inventions.
But I also could drink the beer without taking the trouble of writing. I could just gaze at the ceiling, take sips, and wait for the thoughts to come by.

September 5th, 2008
Remko is hanging up pictures he had machines draw, machines he constructed and programmed. There is a DVD showing such a machine at work. The results are amazing. Some of the drawings could be enlarged details of  images by Hercules Seghers. Others, one might think show meditative multi dimension patterns of a person stoned on pot. Tomorrow Remko Scha and Jochem van der Spek will open their exhibition in our back room. (See the NEWS page.) I'm printing the rest of the edition of my catalogue for the Zürich exhibition, another 70 copies. It has been a rainy day, autumn is in the air.

August 31st, 2008
Exhausted back from Zürich. In a quick succession many impressions followed one the other. My impression digestion apparatus is still fully busy to deal with what feels like an overdose. But it wasn't necessary, for example, to take the big painting off its frame to get it into the exhibition space. There were plenty of beers and enough of Kalbsbratwürste to keep the motor running. There were occasions when glimpses of a vision of truth underlying all this art-for-sale stuff were verbalized. There was an enormous hospitality. And there also was that bucket of water I got all over me because I peed in the wrong place. At the end there was my loosing the key to the apartment of which I was a guest.

August 17th, 2008
Tomorrow I'll fly to Zürich. Hetti will follow the day after. Rúna is taking the shop. My forty years thing will be installed. I haven't done a proper show since 1995. I was proud of having gotten myself out of that. You may guess the reason for my return to that world. The painting I was afraid wouldn't fit through the front door of Boekie Woekie now doesn't fit into the gallery in Zürich. I write this in a pause I permit myself from binding the catalogue I made for the event.

August 14th, 2008
It is almost midnight and I promised to go to sleep early. The reason for that promise being several extraordinary short nights in a row, nights of 3, 4 hours sleep. And sleep, not in my bed but on a mattress on the BoeWoe floor. The matter is that urgent things pile up.
Yesterday was great. I had phoned and was phoned and faxes were sent by the art transporting company which today between 8 and 9 (in the morning) would come to fetch the 40 works from my 40 years of producing such things and which Marlene is going to exhibit in her Zürich gallery (see the NEWS page). In the middle of all this phoning, the fuses blew. Not only ours, but those of the whole street. I didn't know that the telephone doesn't work anymore when the lights go out. It took an hour and a half for the lights and the telephone to be back. The delay on the phone with the transporting firm made the next moves very hectic. I gave a hard time to the French art book dealer with the hard eyes who went on with his requests for books by all the famous people but only got to hear "we don't have that", while I was booking a car on the internet to transport the pieces of wood I would need to construct a box like thing to protect that painting of which I put a picture on this page on July 29th, 2007. Except that the wood store ripped me off, all worked out all right. Hetti helped to make the crate, Rúna, back from hanging up the Boekie Woekie contribution to the exhibition in Iceland's North, was printing more flower pictures. Philippe came and shared an improvised dinner and Hetti glued numbers on the pieces which would be fetched this morning. I was half listening to Hetti and Philippe's conversation, half thinking of the catalogue which is in the make, half distracted from exhaustion, and half I don't know what when with that peculiar mixture of presence of mind I realized that the crate we had made for the painting would be to big to get it out of the front door in the morning when the truck would come. To make a long story short, wasn't I preparing a contribution to an art exhibition in Schilda? (That is the town in Germany the stories wants that the inhabitants forgot to put windows into their new buildings and such things, the town with the most foolishly acting inhabitants). But with Philipps help a way was found to get the boxed painting out into the street without having to dismantle the box. Good to know this in the morning!

July 30th, 2008
Two days ago Rúna went  to Iceland on the mission of installing the Boekie Woekie contribution to a first exhibition in a brand new art venue in Iceland's North. I have the habit in this page not to specify the name of the place. I have called it my hide out. Until now I fared well with  the technique to conceal  the whereabouts of this place, but it is getting difficult. I may have to reconsider, and spell out its real name. Everybody who knows me personally knows the name of the place I always go to when in Iceland anyhow. I thought by not publishing it a low profile could be maintained, anyhow one not connected to the arts. But that is not going to be so any longer. The artists of the vicinity have begun to make "my" spot their playground.
I'm tempted to tell a story which if I remember right took place in October 1991. I had been for some weeks alone in the house, in a week I would return back to Reykjavík and then to Amsterdam. I had been sitting by my table, writing and drawing. It was so quiet that almost all the time I hadn't really dressed except when going to the small shop up in the village, which Bára then was running (and which has been closed since many years). From my window I see the road coming down from the village, and that day actually a car is coming down. That was quite a sensational thing in itself, but then I got sort of shocked when I heard the car stop and its door slam in front of the house, and somebody knocking on my door. I couldn't get myself to go down. After a while of knocking, the car left again. A day or 2 later I had to go to the shop and there Bára said she had a message for me, and gave me a folded bit of paper: in English somebody had written he was a photographer working for Paris Match wanting to prepare a feature on the artist colony - artist colony? I never rang the phone number at the bottom of the note. The only artists who at that time occasionally spent time here were Kristján, Hetti, Rúna and me. I had never seen us as a colony. And an article in Paris Match would bring next summer hundreds of French tourists to disturb our peace - no thanks. Then my day of departure came. To the obligations of the one of us who would lock the house for the winter it belonged that he would dig out the end of the shit pipe which then still ended 20, 30 centimeters deep in the gravel of the beach. (Since years now it ends in a buried container.) This quite unpleasant job of digging shitty gravel away, standing in rubber boots in a puddle of shitty water, flushing the pipe clean and putting a pipe over its end before shoveling the pebbles back to cover the end of the pipe this time was interrupted by the arrival of the same car as a week before. A guy stepped out, a camera in his hand, but he didn't have enough presence of mind to take pictures of at least one artist at work. Still today I think we were lucky that there never appeared an article on us in Paris Match.

July 23rd, 2008
Rúna stumbled and fell a few nights ago into an earth ware bowl in which she was mixing yellow paint. The bowl broke and she got a long cut in her knee. She called the ambulance and the wound was stitched. Now she is to keep her leg straight for some days. She is on paracetamol but wants to come somehow to Boekie Woekie tomorrow - there are many details to be taken care of because on the 27th Rúna is to go to Iceland with a Boekie Woekie exhibition in her luggage. My hiding place in the North, as I have called that corner through the years in this diary takes a new turn. I will soon be no longer in a position to keep its name secret. Luckily there live around there, as everywhere, a number of artists. They have proposed in the recent months to the local authorities that they'd be given space in the defunct herring factory to open a cultural centre. They did get a lot of space, a space something like 50 meters long, 30 meters wide, partly on 2 floors. The opening of the first exhibition in this former herring factory is early in August. It includes Boekie Woekie. Rúna will install our part.
.
July 19th, 2008
Still as part of Hetti's birthday party in a way, Michael and Eva invited us to their home for dinner. We were Rúna, Hetti, me, Michael, Eva, Lonneke and June. At one point June was hopping around with a map of the world holding it upside down. One of the first pictures in this diary (from early January 05) shows June on the arm of her father. Now she was pointing to the continents of Asia-Europe-Africa calling them a dog, and to the American  continent, calling it a hare. I can see it. Look for yourself:
June's world

July 11th, 2008
Hetti became 60 since the last entry. Another big wave went over the house.
I don't remember much of it. But a picture of the late following morning stayed with me. After a brief sleep, I sit in the kitchen with a beer. Jos is there as well. The party isn't really over, it is just preparing for the next round. But I'll have to bike to open up Boekie Woekie very soon. The cat comes in wanting breakfast. On the way to check his bowl, Puk, after each step shakes his paws. I see he has to make an effort to pull them off the floor.

June 27th, 2008
I was just thinking "it is of no importance what I think - most likely I forget what it was right away, or, possibly, if something reminds me of it later, I can think about it again".
Now, a little later, because it takes time to write and read, after reading what I wrote I'm reminded of me thinking that it is of no importance what I think. It becomes a bit more unlikely that I shall forget this thought as easily as so many other thoughts which I did not write down. This is an obvious conclusion. Thoughts come by themselves, don't they. But when it comes to reading one has a choice to read this or that. But of course one doesn't know what this or that might be before one has read both. One thought might remind of another thought one had before. Thinking, in combination with writing, is a difficult thing.
Okay, how about this: writing reminds one of one's thoughts.

June 23rd, 2008
Chronology is difficult to deal with when one feels one has forgotten to tell essential things earlier on. I'll have to spice the continuation of my report of the meeting of the Dieter Roth Academy with at least one flashback.
We ate and drank a lot and had fun. Some of the fun couldn't be shared by some others, but fun it was meant to be. Gertrud suggested we would meet in Stuttgart next year. We all thought that was a good idea. I had felt a discontent rise within myself throughout the last years of DRA "conferences", call them meetings or parties. I found it difficult to settle with nothing more than a place to meet "next time" as the result of those conferences. I thought we would owe the old man more than show our will to meet wherever in his name and then do nothing than fool around - at the most exhibiting our own work. I had always hoped we would be capable of telling what we witnessed, the story of Dieter's singular stance in the world of art. It took me long to learn to understand the inherent beauty of doing just that in the typically non-academic style the DRA is capable of. What helped me to learn this was seeing a boat on our conference ground obviously standing there since long, a boat called Glađur. Glađur is Glad in English. I'll ask Ann if she permits me to insert here 2 of her pictures she has sent to Boekie Woekie to illustrate what I'm saying. -  She said yes. -  The one picture is of Glađur, the other of me. The one is what it is because it shows something which was for too long on dry land, the other shows someone too long soaked.
Glađur from the side Jan drunk
Gunnar had opened wide both backdoors of  the van he had come in - he sat there on a chair, next to an improvised table with lots of bottles on it. Behind him a mattress. This was immediately called Gunnar's Ferđabar og Hótel, Gunnars Traveling Bar and Hotel. Then someone said Ferđaskrifstofa lika, Traveling Agency too! Didda threw in Ferđaskrifstofa "Hier Bleiben!" - that was in German,  Traveling  Agency "Stay Where You Are". I think we all loved that one. I'll add 3 of Ann's pictures here of how I start to paint a sign for Gunnar's Bar, and another one of how the sign looked a few days later.
Hier bleiben 1

Hier Bleiben 2
Hier bleiben 3

Hier bleiben 4

After 2 nights we traveled on in 2 cars - Ann, Martijn, Frank, Herrmann, Hetti and me - to the house in the North of Iceland which often has been playing a role in these pages. Martijn and Ann stayed for a few days more with Hetti while the trip continued for me after 2 days. I was drinking beer on the back seat while being driven around Iceland by Frank and Herrmann. They had never before been to this country and since we were lucky with the weather there were many great views. We enjoyed ourselves in Mývatn, Seyđisfjörđur and south of Vatnajökull. We found Gullfoss and Geysir to be the first real victims of mass tourism which sadly has arrived now in Iceland too. In Seyđisfjörđr Pétur and Ţóra fed us, he showed us around in his museum and towed our car up a steep hill when we had gone too far sight seeing. Arriving back in Mosfellsbaer we saw the friends there. Then Frank and Herrmann took the car to their hotel in Reykjavík. The next day they fetched me and I took them to see Kjarval paintings. By coincidence we arrived in Kjarvalstađir when a small orchestra played a Stockhausen piece. I don't know why but that mixture made me cry. Frank and Herrmann spent their last evening on their own - I drove the 400 km back to join Hetti who by now was in the company of  Rod and Liesbeth. They are old Iceland goers. Though he appreciated its charm, Rod found our way of boiling water unhealthy. He bought for us an electric kettle. The aluminum pot and the immersion boiling device are now out. One evening 15 to 20 French caravans came down the slope and parked in a row for the night. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of this white village on wheels. After 3 days Rod and Liesbeth came back with me to Reykjavík. My last evening before the departure early in the morning I spent with Kristján and Solveig. Solveig retired around 2 in the morning, but when my taxi came at a quarter past 5 neither Kristján nor me had closed our eyes for a minute. You may guess what kept us awake. The taxi was at the beginning of the conveyor belt of which the train from Schiphol was the end. Now I'm back to the Boekie Woekie reality for 4 days. The visits of friends here have occupied most of my time. I'll have to get myself soon to pick up again my work.

June 20th, 2008
I'm back in Amsterdam. The report of June 16th does only tell the beginning of how the days were spend after May 24th. I'll update my diary with this beginning because it is 2.30 in the night now and I hope to be back soon with the rest.

June 16th, 2008
I left my readers possibly never before without news for as long as this time. I don't really remember when the last time was that I updated this diary. I'm writing this without an internet connection nearby. I think the last time was before the Japanese exhibition in Boekie Woekie. Shortly after that I went to Iceland, where I'm now,. but soon I'll be back in Amsterdam. The many events just before my departure and what happened being here have created a situation in reality which I have liked to play a literary game with in many of my earlier pieces. Now I really don't know where to begin and what to tell. (And that is not because I have waited until I'm so tired that I can't think straight anymore.)
I could of course try to give a chronological report, the most in tune with a diary anyhow. I think shortly after my last bit Rúna returned after seven months in Iceland the day before Hetti would go there for one month. At about the same time as Hetti took off Hiroshi and his girlfriend arrived from Tokyo to install a group show of Japanese artists in our first back room. Hectic days ensued. Rúna needed to be informed about changes in the shop. Restaurant meals needed to be consumed. Pictures needed to be taken down, new ones hung up. Beer needed to be drunk at accelerated speed. Temper needed to be constrained. An exhibition opening needed to be celebrated. Thoughts needed to be straightened out. A suitcase needed to be packed. Pictures needed to be selected. More people needed to be received: Frank and Herrmann. Martijn needed to be met at the gate to the flight that Frank, Herrmann, Martijn and me needed to take to Iceland. Alcohol needed to be bought at the airport in Iceland and we needed to be fetched by Gulla. We then needed to buy more alcohol and join the others who had gathered in Mosfellsbaer on the evening of the day before the day on which Dieter died 10 years ago. The next day we drove to Hellnar on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Lots of people were gathering for this year's meeting of the Dieter Roth Academy: Eggert, Gunnar, Gulla, Birta, Magnús Reynir, Didda, Reynir, Tóta, Oddur, Einar and in the middle of the night also Björn just back from the Basel Art Fair. Also from abroad had come Rainer, Agnes, Gertrud, Malcolm, Martijn, Ann, Herrmann and Frank and Heide and me. Kristján and Hetti, Jón, Alla and Arnar, the other Alla and Siffi and their daughter, Kalli, Magga, Lára and (son) joined us the next day in Hellnar on Snaefellsnes were Dieter is buried.
The main result of our last meeting, in Amsterdam, August last year - see further down for the report - had been to meet this year in Basel. That plan needed to be changed when we needed to learn about some international soccer competition to take place there at the time of our meeting. We found it would be too difficult to find hotels and probably all beer would be drunk up by those soccer fans. Therefore we said we would go to Iceland instead. We had good weather. A lively eat and drink and quack quack party ensued. It continued the next day, after the drive to Snaefellsnes, on the grass between 3 houses - Dieter's old house, the house of Karl and the barn, Magnús Reynir is turning into a house.

May 24th, 2008
Last night Hetti and me were invited by Michael and Eva, we ate, drank, talked and watched Janis Joplin sing on the occasion of a train ride through Canada together with The Band and The Grateful Dead. Michael said her singing would send shivers down his spine. He also remarked that he didn't get (something about) my second last diary entry. Was it that he didn't see the red dot in the picture straight down from the A of Amsterdam as the running mouse/mouth? I may have to ask him again. By the time the diary was mentioned I had had plenty of beer and snaps and don't know whether I remember everything well.

May 19th, 2008
The museum is the place where we store those pictures we don't want to see all day long.

May 12th, 2008
Before I can start to press down the letters of the keyboard for a new diary entry I need to think harder and harder to come up with something to tell. A few years ago I would have been much quicker. To write these forty seven words has taken me half an hour at least, no lie. I think I am in a state of not knowing what to write. If I wasn't the writer but the reader of these first five sentences I'd probably get too impatient to read on. Something has to happen here soon, otherwise it will get boring. I'm staring straight ahead, thinking that what is going to pep this up has to be something I come to think of. Thinking this I see a mouse run, no lie. It hesitates, then it runs again along what will be shown in the picture I now intent to take and paste here (to show where the mouse was running). I have seen a mouth there before, a few nights ago. While writing about that running mouth and the picture I want to take to paste in here to show where the mouth?, I hesitate, yes: the mouth! was running, haha: the mouth is running! The mouth has taken over the running from the mouse.
Where The Mouth Ran 
I could well imagine this as the cover for a printed version of this diary. Amazing what a result a little incident plus a little mistake can have. A whole new identity, my writer's name: Lips, Two Lips, my magnum opus Where the Mouth Ran. Thank you, little mouse!

May 5th, 2008
The Queen's birthday was celebrated in the streets by her people. The telly told afterwards that in Amsterdam her people produced 400 tons of litter. While many locals leave the city, loads of folks from out of town visit for the day. Supermarkets may only sell one can of beer per person at a time. Bottles are not sold, too dangerous. If 400'000 people participated in this annual fair, each of them added a kilogram of stuff to a huge collage on the ground which instead of being swept away could have been glued down and kept as a birthday gift.

April 22nd, 2008
A few days ago during an afternoon with Raul, but with just a few beers and not that litre bottle of whiskey he is in the habit of coming with, one of us quoted Warhol's sentence about everybody going to be famous for 10 minutes. Suddenly it seemed a challenge to calculate for how long each individual person on earth could be the only one to attract world attention. In the midst of calculating this Raul thought that Warhol had meant that each of his factory workers would get those famous 10 minutes of fame, and not every individual on earth, and that Warhol's sentence had nothing in common with that much detested postulation of Beuys that "jeder Mensch ist ein Künstler". But his considerations didn't stop us from figuring out for how long each human can be famous without anybody competing with him. We set our average lifespan to 75 years, we assumed that there are 6 billion people alive. 75 years consist of 230'530'000 seconds. If everybody gets the same length of time to be that only really famous person he'll be it for a trifle longer than 26 seconds. The newspapers could print around 3000 names of those who really were famous that day. Raul threatened to get depressed from this. In our language that means he would after all have to go and get that bottle of whiskey.

April 18th, 2008
Mailmen deliver daily parcels to Boekie Woekie. I hardly ever take the time to read a return address, let alone that I check them for their contents. I know it will be more books. I'm having fun piling up a wall of those brown brick-like things, immuring with unpacked real books a good part already of Andrea's drawing of the Philoars Library bookcase (see the NEWS page).
Andrea, when ready installing her exhibition, had asked Hetti - who had helped her - to put the boxes back. She meant those brown bricks which Hetti had automatically brought to the back room before they began to mount Andrea's stuff to the wall. We have gotten accustomed to the idea that an exhibiting artist would, at least during the opening of his exhibition, rather not like our piles underneath his works of art. Andrea was the first exception. She incorporated an unavoidable feature, the daily mess creation of Boekie Woekie into her show. I like to think that's a delicate fusion of the poetic and the practical.

April 14th, 2008
We were greatly relieved tonight when we heard that the tumor in the lung of one of our friends turned out to be with great probability a harmless scar.

April 8th, 2008
If I want to say something that's true I should probably swear not to know whether what I write here is true or not. (That comes after a hole week of sleeping over this question. Or shall I admit I forgot this question for a whole week, for a six-pack of days and then Monday too?)
It is once again easy to point to a confusing multitude of events, dreamt or real, but it is not easy to tell them apart. If this sounds like I'm trying to find excuses for my possible lies I like to mention that in literature excuses have a great entertainment value.
Those confusing events culminated on Saturday. On Wednesday they began and on Friday we had a near real dress rehearsal with a liter bottle of whiskey. I fell asleep at the dinner table in the restaurant on Saturday night but didn't dream that dream then, but only last night. I was walking home. Approaching the house, I saw that a great lot of debris, bricks and pieces of wood, were piling up to the height of my chest along the horizontal length of the gable. I had to climb over this rubble to reach the entrance. The door wasn't there anymore, the interior completely devastated. There wasn't the time to become very surprised or shocked but I got alarmed when I saw figures making their way into the ruin and I began to try to chase them away. Thinking about the developments in this scenery I'm surprised the dream didn't fully turn into a nightmare. Chasing the intruders I encountered one which was a girl and I soon forgot my self set task. The girl faded out and I fell into a state of being more or less awake pondering this dream. I have experienced through the years that my system developed ways which would make nightmares become less horrible. I lay there and thought that likewise "the system" had diminished my ability to enjoy.

April 2nd, 2008
Missed the chance to tell a nice lie by a mere hour.
I'm a bit bored, always to tell the truth. I long for a chance to mislead my readers, to fascinate and abduct them.
If I can think of something to tell interestingly, they will probably follow me. I should lie, but how could I? I can only write what I think. A thought can not be a lie. What else could one write than what one thinks? Even if one copied the writing of someone one would have to read that person's text first. What one reads, one has to think, read and thought words happen in the head. Reading is like turning the wheel to get the motor running. To do that can't be called lying either. A lie must be something preconceived, a scheme applied to achieve an evil purpose. You think I can be confident that these few lines were enough to shake my readers of?
ps to keep a diary is something preconceived - must everything written in a diary therefore be a lie?
I'll sleep over that question.

March 29th, 2008
A soliloquy, an entertainment of the self in the imagined presence of others.
I Great effort is pumped into the belief that communication is desirable.
II A soliloquist speaks in many voices.
III Are words needed for in-house communication?
IV Who asks has the answer.
V But what to think of silent soliloquists?

These are title and headlines of chapters of another book I'll write with white ink on white paper.

March 21st, 2008
Since 20 minutes it's spring time, but it doesn't look like that it would feel like spring if one was out there in the street in front of the Boekie Woekie's shop window. It looks like it is snowing there. - It has gotten late because the deadline for an artist's contribution to a newspaper/magazine I was invited to make was approaching fast. I had difficulties to resist the temptation to make an advertisement for BoeWoe out of it. I'll put here what finally I told myself to choose from. In the grey picture it says in Dutch something like "this is of course not at all an advertisement for Boekie Woekie". - I submitted that grey version.
Geen Advertentie 6 Geen Advertentie
      7
Now I think the other version, directly taken from that famous Magritte picture, would make a good cover for a book of which the first page would read: but. This is not an advertisement for Boekie Woekie, but ... but an attempt to argue its cause. That could become an interesting book. To describe something by excluding what it is not. Only I won't write this book tonight. It still seems to be sort of snowing, but I'll bike home nevertheless.

March 10th, 2008
A book launch must have taken place in Reykjavík today. (I can't be sure, I haven't heard anybody on the phone who said he attended it.) Last week each of us 3 of Boekie Woekie got a card inviting for it. Only Rúna had the opportunity to go since she is there. Magnús, though he is not mentioned on the card, was behind the launch, it has been his ambition that a box with 20 or so volumes of the literary works of Steinar Sigurjónsson could be printed.
Steinar was from my early times in Iceland on to his death some 15 years ago the person I thought the highest of in that country. I haven't read his writing, I never could, my Icelandic is not good enough. It was the person I found so extraordinary and what he said in our English. He would become 80 now. He wasn't a popular writer at all while he was alive. He was somewhat of an underground figure, if one can speak of an underground in Iceland, taking into account how few people live there. Steinar had something very nervous about himself. His nervosity seemed to me an expression of his permanent alertness of forces which would attempt to tame him.
I'm happy that Magnús knew how to move what must have been quite a big sum of money. To put an example of non-conformity into the center of attention seems to me to be very, very worthwhile.

March 2nd, 2008
What can we do
but stand there and look too?
I stand here and look at you
which is the same as what you do.
There are those who look at me.
All we do is see.

Rhythm and rhymes, like for the kindergarten. Greatly attractive. The stuff the awe machines run on.
Writing, writing, writing. Why is it there, this everlasting word production? Are we not all sick, don't we instead of that we look at each other, do we not pull the curtain down? Don't we present the other with an audible or otherwise readable equivalence of our fever chart rather then to have to face him directly?
This medium, couldn't it be called "The Chatter Chart"? The Chatter Chart, the carpet to let our eyeballs roll on! Something is between us, an audible cloud, a piece of paper, something good for hiding.
The noise the rolling eyeballs make I hear with my Segelohren - that is how Germans call those ears which on ships would be sails.
Dear reader, I'm sure you're having your own fun.
"The Chatter Charts" - would the German version be: "Fliegende Blätter mit Segelohren"?
To go from one thing to the next in the tapestry like a cow reading the meadow from one to the next grass leaf. Is there spoken, thought or written chatter, or just the mere chattering of teeth? And does the desire for a leaf of grass or a potato, does hunger, not just derive from the wish to not give away ones whereabouts, to silence even that chattering of teeth by putting cushions in between them? Maybe we eat in order not to appear hungry? Or let me invent the theory which wants to explain the origin of speech with hunger, the belief that something immaterial can be food. A lot to do tonight.

February 25th, 2008
I'm back in Amsterdam and Boekie Woekie. Though only short (2 weeks) my time in the North of Iceland was not without result. It is a welcome feeling to notice that under the right circumstances the old head still can let loose and get inventive.
I could tell the story of my closing the house and my attempt of driving back to Reykjavík (at the end I was flying). It would read adventurous and in parts funny. I would mention the key, forgotten in Amsterdam, for the basement door. That meant I had to empty the 300 liter hot water tank bucket by bucket, climbing with each bucketful through the manhole in the kitchen floor of Kristján, my absent neighbour, and carrying it upstairs to the first window which would open in a way that buckets could be emptied through it. (I couldn't pour the water down Kristján's kitchen sink because I had finished the 2 liters of antifreeze I had bought in my sinks, shower and toilet. My hot water would eventually get cold and freeze and burst the S shaped part of Kristján's kitchen sink drainage pipe.) Anyhow that took long and felt like a very tiring slow motion slapstick action. Delayed I left for the South, but hadn't crossed the first mountain pass when my anyhow noisy Lada all of a sudden became even much noisier. I assumed that a hole had opened in the exhaust pipe of my car. Coming down on the southwestern side of the mountain my glance fell on the fuel meter - my tank was almost empty! Finally the car stopped with an empty tank after I had driven only 70 or so kilometers, much sooner than I had reason to count on, since I had left with a tank more than half full - normally good for some 200 km. I saw the exhaust pipe had come off at the end near the motor. I imagined the tail of sparks it must have been making sliding over the asphalt while the gasoline was dripping away ... . An hour later Alla was there to fetch me. The next morning I heard from the towing service in a village some 40 km away from where the Lada had given up that probably a stone had knocked the exhaust pipe off and most likely also had damaged the fuel pipe. I was by then booked on a flight to Reykjavík. My belongings were my suitcase (which I checked in), my computer satchel, and a plastic bag full of beer cans. The pilot parked the plane rather far away from the arrival hall. I was walking there when one of the plastic bag handles tore of from the weight of the beer. I had to put an arm under the bag to not have 18 beer cans roll over the runway. Once my suitcase arrived on the conveyor belt I emptied (with difficulties, I had to squeeze the lid hard) the remains of the plastic bag into it, forced to make 2 of the 3 pieces of luggage I had started out with. The satchel over my shoulder, I would have needed 2 hands to hold the beer bag safely, rolling the suitcase would have been impossible. But now, everything organized, I set off for a taxi when I heard someone behind me say "Farangur ţinn lekur" - your suitcase leaks. I heard a "pssss" sound, and yes, forcing the lid I had made 2 cans leak into my papers and clothing. To stop them spraying their ray I held my fingers on the holes looking for the nearest trash can. Enough of that.
Then I saw Rúna, Solveig, Ívar, Mundi, Kristján, Ólafur, Arnar, Óli, Birta, Reynir, Gunnar, Eggert, Pétur, Veiga, Ómar, Magga, Tóta and Hörđur Valur who is now one year and three months and does look a little like his grandmother, Rúna.
In Amsterdam I found Hetti relieved that her long shift was over.

February 10th, 2008
For the first time in a long time I have no daily access to the internet. I left Amsterdam two weeks ago for Iceland, and am since one week in my hiding place in the North of the country. In the recent years the connection was provided via the telephone line as a customer service by a bank free of charge. But that service has been discontinued. I never had organized the Boekie Woekie internet presence in a way that allowed me to update www.boekiewoekie.com from here. But at least I could directly email to Amsterdam what I wanted to add. Now I’ll have to use the computer of Alla and Jón to whom it is a few minutes drive.
That my computer was partly disabled wasn’t the only set back. It is the task of those who come to this house, after that it has been standing not lived in for a while, to reconnect it to electricity and water. The fuses for light and heat were quickly switched on, but this time the water became a problem. I had arrived on the evening of a day with temperatures just under the freezing point. To my knowledge there hadn’t recently been any extreme lows. Yet I held the handle of the first tap I tried to open in my hand: it broke off without me being aware of having used any additional force. None of the other faucets could be turned either, allowing only the conclusion that they were frozen. It meant I had no running water till yesterday, when a plumber came. (Luckily, Gunnar in Mosfellsbaer knew this man and made the connection to him.) This plumber proofed to be competent. Besides exchanging the broken tap he also fixed in no time the toilet flushing. Since many years those in my part of this house had to help themselves pouring buckets of water down the toilet, but thanks to Elli we may consider ourselves again members of our era of the automated WC. That broken tap prompted thus unexpected progress.
I have been unusually long away from Iceland – a little over a year. After landing on the international airport we passengers were not allowed to disembark the plane for three quarters of an hour, the pilot broadcast the message that the winds were too violent. My seat was in the rear of the plane, and I noticed I wasn’t the only one who felt getting seasick waiting. A ferocious tempest also marked the night before last night. I was watching from the upstairs window of the house which only stands a few meters from the shore line, how enormous breakers were lashing about. At one point a gigantic wave carried a beam of wood and smashed it against the lower part, the stone base of our wooden house. I was getting scared. It seemed to be safer in bed. Looking again out of the window the next morning I would have been tempted to think I had only dreamt that storm had it not been for all the debris. Later that day one of the locals came with a bulldozer and piled the debris up to an impressive sculpture. It was my first time to think that a bulldozer could be used creating a work of art.
Last night it was again blowing badly (though much less, compared to the night before). I was invited to a dinner at Jón’s and Alla’s place. Most other guests were Jón’s and Alla’s kids with their spouses and a bunch of little ones from the next generation. The wild storm of the night before was hardly mentioned. I had been ready to put my serious face on and speak about the rising sea level and big unwanted changes, not only for this fjord. But of course I was in this round the only one who had witnessed the unleashed forces from a position practically on sea level next to the sea. I put my serious face away and laughed at the funny faces everybody was making trying to let an elastic band slide down over their lips and chin moving facial muscles one seldom has reason to use. When it was my turn I was allowed to cheat, because of my beard. I had left the bag of cans of beer I had brought with me outside the house next to the front door where they would stay nicely cool. I went regularly to fetch a new one. When I went for the 5th or 6th can, the wind blew the glasses from my forehead. Though I thought the wind had taken quite appropriate action I was not so happy that I would never see my glasses again. They were on their way straight to the North Pole. Luckily I usually have a spare pair with me. But today Alla phoned. Her daughter Brák had found them by the side of the house, stuck in a box of stuff.
My year long absence from Iceland is at least partly due to the long pause Rúna is taking from Boekie Woekie. (She left Amsterdam early last November and we expect her back there early in May, a sabbatical of half a year.) Boekie Woekie has proportions which don’t really allow that it is run for longer than a few days by only one of the three of us. Two is not enough either. To Boekie Woekie belongs a small print shop – at least there a third person is needed. Hetti, now alone in the shop for almost four weeks, must feel like Boekie Woekie’s guinea-pig. Are we testing how long it will take before she throws in the towel? I’m in daily telephone contact with her. To cope with the customers walking in over the threshold and the e-mail correspondence is more than a day’s work. And that though we choose for our “experiment” a time of the year of which our experience tells us it is a rather quiet time! Though I’m happy to be here, I’m not quite without a bad conscience about it.
I’ll end this scattered report which resembles somehow the sculpture the bulldozer made on a note which may show me as a somewhat sentimental person. I can’t reread it now (because of no internet access), but in the summer of 2005 I’m sure I have written about “Ögn”, the boat I found for sale in Kópavogur which Kristján, Reynir, Ivar and me finally bought. I see it now for the first time on the sea. It is tied to the bridge onto which I look from my window. I didn’t recognize it at first, it looks so small. But wouldn’t everybody agree that when the house shakes on its foundations and the boat becomes the plaything in the turmoil of the sea one should be near?

January 20th, 2008
I'm back from four days in Basel and one in Zurich. The days were marked by the people I saw again: Marlene, Frank, Magnús Reynir, Gunnar, Oddur and Björn, Beat, Hans Peter, Sascha, Annelies, Theodora, Dadi and Krassimira, and by the person I got to know a little, Martin. In a way the days also became what they were through the absence of Erika and Erwin and an awful lot to drink.

January 7th, 2008
Since the end of October, for more than two months, much longer than planned, Simon's and Erica's work is on display on the two walls which are our "gallery". Hetti has begun to let their things get overgrown by putting up a few things by herself in between theirs. But more never came of the idea that we would invite to an exhibition of Hetti's work in December. We haven't had the time to do that, the running of the shop's daily affairs is a priority. But as I said she added a few things on spots on the walls S.&E. had left vacant. Especially Simon's strategy to install what he installed in such a way that the central wall space stayed empty allows the thought that the poet was concerned about some kind of openness. That is in a different way also his subject when one looks at the work which marks the lower side of the empty middle space of the wall his things are on. There are hanging, quite close to the floor, nine small framed drawings. One doesn't need long to identify them as representations of the outlines of a wedge once one has knelt down. That these drawings are outlines of a wedge and not just some triangles and squares and a single straight line is immediately clear because the object represented by the drawings is lying on the floor just in front of them.
There is a story to this wedge which needs to be told. This wedge we are inclined to belief, has played a special role maybe for years or even decades in Amsterdam's art world. We are convinced it has kept the door open of the Stedelijk Museum, the door which now has been closed for such a long time already! Simon and Erica, visiting Amsterdam early February eleven months ago, had made an appointment with a local Amsterdamer "at the Stedelijk", as we say here. For that someone it was clear that the Stedelijk at present has found temporary refuge elsewhere in town, while the city is going to renovate with a lot of money the old museum building. Simon and Erica, unaware of this at the time, had gone to and waited in vain in front of the closed doors of the old place. Beginning to realize to be in the wrong place they noticed this wedge at their feet, next to the door in front of which they stood, on the ground. The thought, that this wedge from hardwood may have kept the museum door open for years gave the inconspicuous thing right away the status of a relic. Consequently Boekie Woekie has become a relic dealer, which makes us smile.
Simon's Stedelijk wedge 

January 2nd, 2008
Both Hetti and me are coughing boisterously from when we wake up till that we fall asleep. We are quite a duet of seldom heard sounds. This might be good material for another sound file.

December 29th, 2007
For a few hours, from 12 till after 3,  the day before yesterday, the day after Christmas, the only thing Boekie Woekie had sold was one postcard. I had sold it to a customer who must live somewhere near by, I often see her in the street. Two or three times a year she comes in and buys one postcard. She stands out from all our other customers because she is the smallest (except the occasional child which may buy also a card). She is so small because something is wrong with her back, she stands and walks instead of upright folded forward, in an almost 90 degree angle. She maybe is my age, or a bit older. Her voice is very cheerful, what she says is more than polite. It sounds to me like she is celebrating the ritual of politeness. Sometimes when I boast about BoeWoe being such a great place I refer to her. This poor crippled lady, feeling comfortable in what deems us is the most art conscious place in town. She celebrates and we celebrate. Her occasional postcard is worth a lot to us.

December 20th, 2007
The longest night of the year. Here a seasonal lament of the gloom. The motto (for the Germans among my readers) "tu's sausend".

Did we have fun in 2001?
What did we do in 2002?
How hard it was to be in 2003!
Were we down on the floor in 2004?
How did we stay alive in 2005?
What a mix, this 2006!
Were we in heaven in 2007?
We shall be too late for 2008!
A further decline in 2009?
2010 - need more ink in the pen.

December 10th, 2007
I feel it is time to let my readership know I'm still active. But what shall I write?

Instead of scoring with brevity in the Félix Fénéon style, should I not imitate Charles Dickens who was paid for each word he wrote? The difference between Dickens and Fénéon and me is of course that I'm not paid at all. Neither for writing few nor for writing many words. I write my words because I'm drunk enough to believe in them at least for the time it takes me to write them. Maybe F. and D. believed also in the words they wrote. I need an argument for the superiority of my writing compared to theirs.

December 2nd, 2007
Frank visited. His intonation of our common language, German, let me hear again the chimes of my childhood in Duisburg. He is from Essen.

November 29th, 2007
With Eva's help it worked. Boekie Woekie proudly presents its first sound file:

Thanks, Eva, for the html source coding ! And thanks, Saemundur, for the words, and the music, Arnljotur! Thanks for letting me experience the feeling something was achieved today.

November 28th, 2007
There was a snail mail letter from Heide without sign of reconciliation. Tom e-mailed his ideas. I would be desperate by now if the following had not taken place meanwhile: an attachment to an e-mail from Saemundur cheered me and BoeWoe up, (BW consisted at that moment of Hetti and Dorothy too). I'll try to place it here - try, because I haven't before inserted a sound file. Saemundur and Arnljótur's Boekie Woekie advertisment - which you should be able to hear if you click the blue bit - is spoken by the voice build into Saemundur's computer. He just typed the text. Arnljótur made the music. Saemundur calls the thing "awesome". Me it cheers up because to feel desperate about only one thing is less entertaining, 2 are better. To be able to choose which button to play with to create the apocalyptic degree appropriate for the moment is what the old romantic yearns for.

Quite a while of playing with  those buttons later I am so thoroughly desperate that I have to give up. I can't get the sound file to play. And tonight it's too late to call for help.

November 22nd, 2007
It is more than long ago, it was in a life before this life, that Heide played the number one role in my life. One can find her mentioned here and there in this diary, but without much profile. She was my first girl friend, we thought we could make it together for 9 years (the last years were troubled by the recognition that that might not work). But somehow we stayed friends. We occasionally phone and sometimes we visit. Heide lives with Jörg and I'm happy that that is so. He is as open and intelligent as she. When, after a long call 2 days ago, I put the receiver down, I had to think of this, and much more. Heide had called to express her worries about me. It bewildered her what I'm writing here. How could I say I hated myself? It didn't help me much to try to laugh it off. I tried to explain why I find it an irresistible thrill to publish something on the spot, but she didn't go for it. I see myself in the same meat mill with Hetti and Rúna, but that is more like having a private swimming pool - others swim simply in their private meat mill. I fancy to write outrageous words and publish them before consideration can stop me.

November 18th, 2007
I just read the lines of 3 days ago now for the first time again. They seem not to be by me. I think I smoked some grass that night. Isn't that known to give you ideas which you are likely to forget again very soon? The only thing I recognize is that reoccurring trick I notice I use to let what I write end in contradiction, in a paradoxical standstill. (In this case: to hide away deeper by dancing in the light.)  Although I think we humans with our brains are irreversibly entangled in that paradox I wish I wouldn't like so much to show how much I feel at home in its embrace. Doesn't my writing want an opinion from me?

November 15th, 2007
I doubt many people can understand what I wanted to say 5 days ago. Even I don't quite get it. Probably I meant that rushing through the making of a book, or rather something like a magazine, in a few days, with people none of which acquainted with ideas of publishing, was asking too much of me by making me give too little.
If there was something wrong with last week's teaching, it was its short time frame.

(Give me a minute.) I still doubt that anybody understands anything. That includes me. The one who can't understand is the likely one to blame others for having left him alone. My voice is the voice of a man guilty of blaming, mostly of myself, but sometimes I have left myself alone. (Check that tomorrow.) I'm a man who thinks he has to suffer for the superiority he feels. Mine is the voice of a man for whom arrogance is the weapon with which he has to torture himself. This irresolvable knot is only pulled tighter by me hating myself so much that I have to hide deeper and deeper away by dancing in the sunlight.

It doesn't get any better by thinking about it. That's the flat truth.

November 10th, 2007
The art academy of Groningen invited me for last Monday, Tuesday and Friday as a guest teacher. The students didn't have time enough to ask "why" too often. A book had to be produced in a week, several reproduction techniques were to play a role. I have felt before a not adequate preparation of art students for what the world will demand from them as serious artists. A great width of technical tools and all the assistance to learn to use them but little time to discuss any implications. Well, one more book got ready.

November 2nd, 2007
Les, Martin and Lindsay from England are staying with us, Wilbert has come from Romania. Simon and Erica where here for their exhibition in Boekie Woekie. And a few days before they came, Rúna had left for Iceland. The conditions to tackle the self set task of catching up with what we are lagging behind in regard to the shop are not the best with all those distractors. 

October 26th, 2007
Emmett, Thorbergur, Lugo and now Birgir, this year. 53 or so years old. Big, with a wild shyness, or child whyness, or shy wildness. His parents were blind and Iceland was his poetic subject. A major personality in Reykjavík, from The Westman Islands. A member of a club to which Rúna belongs too, and Kristján and Magnús and Ólafur. The club is called by the name of one of the saga figures, Hreiđar Heimski I think it is spelled, the stupid Hreiđar. Don't the club members meet once a year? The club's greatest deed I became aware of was the invitation to Iceland of a driver of a city bus in Moscow, Russia. This driver had written - in an Icelandic he had taught himself from books - a letter to an Icelandic magazine for women, that he longed to come for a visit. His letter appeared in the magazine and Birgir and the other's made it their club's task to organize the bus driver's visa, get him an airplane ticket. Once he had arrived, they drove him around on the island. I don't know whether he met any readers of that magazine. After two weeks he had to go again.
They practice poetry in Iceland, almost by nature.
Since some years there is a postcard in Boekie Woekie, not for sale, but as one of those pinned up images which make the till area a little personal. The one with the cigarette is Birgir, on his left side sits his friend Bjarni. Also a much loved guy and prominent part of the Icelandic art intelligentsia. The post card is not sponsored by Beck's Beer but it is called "True Icelandic Happiness". Birgir published it.
Andrésson True Icelandic Happiness

October 17th, 2007
Reading (and trying to improve a little) what I wrote last time I become aware of the big steps with which the one in me who says "I" advances. But writing slows down thinking, when happening at the same time as thinking. The story teller's invention is stenography. Shall I think or shall I tell stories? Or both? I think I was in London. At the "Small Publisher's Fair" in Conway Hall and in Tooting, chatting with Les and Peter. The trip became finally quite a sentimental journey when I saw from the train on the way to the plane the complanate grounds on which London's chickest ramshackle hut had stood till not very long ago. The place where last year I had had for the last time that thrilling pleasure ground feeling of art and adventure: Coppermill was demolished and gone. A mammoth is buried there, I know.
(The "Small Publishers Fair" and "Conway Hall" and "Coppermill" have been mentioned in this diary often before. See for example the entries of Oct. 29th  2003, of Oct. 25th 2004, of Oct. 24th 2005 and see Oct. 24th and 30th and Nov. 1st 2006. "Coppermill" features in many entries between June 2nd to September 1st 2006.)

October 5th, 2007
Yesterday morning I came back from New York. Today I don't know whether I dreamt those days. The reality of BoeWoe has me back as if I had never left. That what I can tell of my days in NY should therefore be read as no more than me relating a dream.
More than the first (see the entry of Nov. 21st, 2006), this year's, the second, NEW YORK ART BOOK FAIR was clearly split into 3 sections. There was a downstairs of  exhibitors who showed more established stuff, and a two folded upstairs. In one section the exhibitors there had to pay (but less than downstairs) and those in the other were invited by the organizers, i.e. Printed Matter. Printed Matter is BoeWoe's long and well established, but since our beginning distant colleague in the field of artists' books distribution.
During the three days of the fair I saw many known and many more unknown faces. Of course I didn't know the names of most of the faces, but suddenly there was Uli's, I hadn't seen hers since about 1974 in Düsseldorf, but I immediately knew I knew it. However that Uli was Uli she had to remind me of. Long ago I have heard but had forgotten that she runs, or owns, a bar in Ludlow Street. For most of the time I was in the company of Skúta, Scott, Wesley and Jo. But also Sharon, Theodora, Robbin, András, and Barbara were often around. Robbin had organized two appearances for me in front of a different public than the fair's. The one took place in the Center For Book Arts, the other in the Pratt Institute. When András drove Robbin and me to the Pratt, on some big, complicated road cross in Brooklyn (a road cross like a complex landscape of access road situations to and from several highways) maybe eight or ten men in orthodox Jewish outfits were hitchhiking, one on almost each of the swinging lanes. They stood there, with their big hats, like watercolour figures in an oriental garden. Another picture which got stuck inside me I had seen the night before on 10th Ave.: I was returning from fetching some Pilsner Urquell for those who closed down the D.A.P. stand at the fair and was on my way form 23rd to 22nd Street. There, in front of a diner with tables on the sidewalk on the East side of 10th Avenue, two dogs were getting acquainted by sniffing around each other's behinds. The one was black, the other white. Both were held on leashes, the white dog by a black, and the black dog by a white man. Both men were decidedly uninterested in each other.
Rúna was taking care of BW and held telephone contact with Hetti on a holiday with Ineke and Ulla in Sicily. I stayed with Skúta, Sharon and little Theodora. Their kitchen computer (usually only used by Skúta who is Icelandic to listen to the Reykjavík radio station) allowed me to hear what was new in Amsterdam and San Stefano di Camastra. One morning the news came that Lugo had died. We knew he would when we said good bye to him in Hamburg a month ago, but not so soon.
I wrote a short piece for Rúna's newest book and made around one hundred small drawings.
I only realize now how tiring dreaming is.

September 22nd, 2007
Early this morning I heard Hetti's feet move around upstairs. I came from far away and it took some time before I realized that this were her first steps she was setting in the direction of Palermo. Hetti then called for Ineke and also I got up, if only to announce that I didn't think to accompany them to the airport seemed as good an idea now as a few hours earlier, when, with a beer, that had felt the most natural thing to do. I waved them good bye and went back to bed and was sooner far away than those travelers in reality. Now it is early afternoon, I have returned to Boekie Woekie. Rúna is finishing the binding of the letterbooks she has produced during the last 2 weeks. Thanks to the new paper cutting machine we are again fully functional as book producers. I have to prepare my trip to New York. I'll leave Tuesday morning. Until now I haven't done more about it than that I made the announcement yesterday for the NEWS page of this site. I looked again at this announcement just now and find it suggests something I didn't intend to imply, it could be read as saying we received Dutch financial support to participate in the New York Art Book Fair. Well, we didn't, for the simple reason that we didn't ask for it.
Dutch Wind Generator

September 16th, 2007
When I'm ready to write (when words have formed in my mind which I tell myself to write) I often loose those words in a sudden fog before I can physically write them down. The question, which then arises, the question of what-was-it-again-I-was-going-to-write is of course the core question all artists are dealing with, day and night. Artists are the people who make a living by selling their cover up of having a bad memory. - But that is not what I wanted to write.
A diary is of course an attempt to cope with your memories. Nobody ever can write down a true history of his thoughts. They are too fast. (It took me a long time - some minutes - to filter the last four words out of the many, many more words which went through my mind after I mentioned the "true history of thoughts".) A diary is a preselected slalom around words one would never write. It is some kind of an Oulipo game. A monologue, an appointed behaviour. The quintessence: I write for you, dear reader, even if you choose not to read me.
I must have heard that so often before that I couldn't forget it.

September 15th, 2007
This morning at half past seven I called Martijn and then Cralan, to make sure they wouldn't oversleep. They had said they were ready to help to remove the old and bring in the new paper cutting machine which would be delivered by a second hand merchant from whom we had arranged to buy the tool via the internet. Such a thing weighs 265 kilograms (the merchant knew) and our front door is really just wide enough to let it just go through. They came, the machine came, and it was beginning to be one of the few friendly days of this summer. Now it is midnight of this day and there are still unusually many people in the street. Many sang now some shout. They are getting louder during the last few hours. I took the postcards in and closed the shop a while ago, afraid of the common drunkenness I sense. It could well be that today was the last (Satur)day of summer. People seem to feel the the imminent change of seasons.

September 9th, 2007
Hetti and me are just back from a two days trip to Hamburg. We met old friends there and saw 2 exhibitions, a Misch- und Trennkunst exhibition by Roth/Rainer and another one by Ludwig. We had hoped to see a third show by Tomas but that turned out to be impossible. On the early afternoon of the second day after a walk with Lugo (Ludwig), his wife and daughter, Manfred, Hetti and Andrea through the streets of St.Georg, where we passed houses with stone tablets reminding of Hans Albers and Hans Leip, I gave in to a sentimental memory tour. Maybe it was the latter's story of Jan Himp which made me mention to Hetti and Andrea, after we had said good bye to the others, that as a child of 11 and 12 I had spend two summers at the house of a friend of my father which stood as one of the neat little villas directly down by the river with a full view of the busy harbour in that street for pedestrians only Hamburgers know as Oevelgönne. I had had as a child my first paid job there, renting out for half hours or hours rowing boats which were tied to the pontoon of the Lührs family, the neighbours of my father's friend. I had experienced those vacations with the excitement of one who realizes he has come close to the gate to the world. There was a tiny beach there and before you would step onto the pontoon you passed a few tables where on weekends promenaders could have a snack or something to drink. The empty Sinalco bottles had a great attraction for wasps. If the snack bar people didn't promptly clean the tables, after a short while 7, 8, or 10 wasps found their way down through the bottleneck but not out again. I remember I found that picture contrasting strangely with my feelings of an opening world.
When we got there yesterday I found the outside of the house unchanged, I saw the window behind which I slept as a child. The pontoon was gone. The house of the Lührs family had become a museum. Having gone down the few steps to the river there were more tables than before but no wasps (no Sinalco), and the river smelled as ever. We shared a hot dog with potatoe salad. I got into my past and dug out lots of bits of stories. At the table next to us sat people with 2 big dogs. The one dog was busy burying the ball he had been playing with and dug a hole under their table - the sand was flying. We couldn't easily tell apart the mustard for our sausage from the sand. I got quite high on these memories and the sand. When we had driven Andrea to her Hamburg home and began our return to Amsterdam I persuaded Hetti not to protest against a visit to another place from even longer ago.
In 1949 and 1950 my mother had taken me to what were my first holidays. I was 4 and 5, the destination was a small harbour village at the East Frisian Northsea coast, Neuharlingersiel. Though it was quite a bit of a detour Hetti and me got there still in day light. A lot had changed, of course. Me more than whatever else most likely. I noticed right away that the passenger boat to the holiday island Spiekeroog, maybe 20 kilometers out in the sea north of Neuharlingersiel, was not called anylonger "Glaube". This made me tell Hetti the story which always has made everyone laugh when my mother told it. It goes like this: one day, 58 years ago, I had followed a group of boys who had put up a big tent by the dike close to the house of Frau Meinerts where my mother was renting our room. The boys where led to what had seemed to me to be a not lived in house, maybe a little castle. Everyone sat down on benches, me too. A man appeared and began to talk. I didn't get much, except when he said "der Glaube gelangt bis ans Ende der Welt" - that news was so important that I got up and ran home shouting to my mother from afar what I just had heard. I had no idea that I just had attended a church service. I hadn't noticed that the man had said "der Glaube" and not "die Glaube". In German one would have to say "die Glaube" speaking of a ship. Glaube for me was that white thing in the harbour. The gray brown shrimp cutters which also lay there, okay, they then were only good for the wadden sea, but die Glaube, it would sail all the way, to the end of the world. I think that preacher scored a success with me by laying with his misunderstood words the basis for that twisted religiousness I sometimes still today can feel.
By the way, in 1949 the Glaube sailed nowhere - the wadden sea was still not cleaned of floating mines. The shrimp cutters hardly dared to go out either.
Yesterday, on my sentimental memory tour, I found without difficulty the little castle - which indeed it is. It was were I rembered it to be. A restaurant now, of course, and the most pretentious in the still charming, still small village. The door to a small side wing stood open. And there they were, those chapel benches I sat on in the summer of 1949 when I was told about a ship called "Belief".

September 4th, 2007
Andrea reminds me in an e-mail today that the same thing which happened to Alla happened to Ann too (see the last entry). Nobody seems to have had his/her wits enough together to mention that Ann had been fully acknowledged as belonging to this group for years. Anyhow, I don't remember this, it must have happened while I was gesticulating to get a beer from the kitchen. But Andrea reminds me too that Ann is also missing from that list of August 28th, with the names of those present at the events. I find that more serious. Probably an unconscious inner barrier withheld me from naming her too because of my shame of me being so drunk and disorganized that I caused her to have to spend a night in the streets in front of the house in which we live. We had invited her to be our guest but forgotten to give her a key and not mentioned that the door bell doesn't work and forgotten to take care that the string which operates a mechanical bell really was hanging out of the letter box slit. That aren't the things one likes very much to be reminded of ....

September 2nd, 2007
I still think of last week's events. Besides deciding on Basel as the meeting place for next year's conference we declared Alla "professor" of the DRA.  On Saturday came the opening of the postcard exhibition (announced on the NEWS page of this site). Afterwards we went to the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten to party. To do the party there was Siggi's idea. He teaches there for a salary. He says that the director of this post graduate school wants to change the image of his institution. Siggi says he finds it too tame. Siggi also says the director has become his DRA student. I feel we should consider to rename the DRA and maybe call it in future SGA.

August 28th, 2007
I don't know how to tell the story of last week. It was a wild and very drunk week. It was the The-Dieter-Roth-Academy-meets-in-Amsterdam week. Quite many people were involved. Boekie Woekie knew most of them, many of them we consider our friends. I shall make a list of the names as I remember them now: Hetti, Rúna and me of course, Solla and Erwin, Ineke and Siggi, Solveig and Kristjän, Alla, Jón and Brák, Thora and Pétur, Siffi  and the other Alla and their daughter, from Mosfellsbaer had come Tóta, Björn and Oddur, Didda, Svala and Ásgeir, the other Tóta from Reykjavík. From Switzerland came Erika and Beat. Andrea and Malcolm and Gertrud came from Germany, Rainer and Agnes from Hungary. The longest trip made Corky, Stevens and Rodney (and a young man from Denmark), they live in China. Corky, Stevens and Rodney are friends of Siggi and were last year's hosts of the Dieter Roth Academy meeting there in China which Siggi had organized. But also more people from Holland mixed into this week: Eva, Michael, Mia, Martijn, Rod fell sick, but Eric was there. Raul filmed a lot of the gatherings. Probably I forget a few. - As I look at my list of names, I see it is only me of Boekie Woekie who didn't know everybody. I took care of the shop last year when Rúna and Hetti went to China where they of course got to know Corky, Stevens and Rodney. I had seen Stevens on a video tape Hetti had brought back. He was there performing a foam act on the heads of some of his guests on the DRA occasion. He was liked by some of his visitors. Those who felt they had to thank him for his hospitality or maybe felt that partying with him was much fun declared him "professor" of the Dieter Roth Academy. On that ground the three joined us, Stevens with his friend and his brother. I clashed with Stevens almost immediately. That was on Wednesday night. I had been sitting together with a lot of the people I named above in the small Turkish pizzeria not far from the shop where the BoeWoe people often eat. We were having some after dinner drinks when Stevens, Rodney, Corky and Siggi came in. From the first moment on that Stevens had entered the restaurant his loud voice determined everything in that small space and that first moment got very long. Many minutes, 10 or more. I was being interrupted, I couldn't return to my conversation. Then I heard myself say I have to stop this and got up and took the 3 steps over to were this noisy person stood and said something like could you please lower your voice I'm quite disturbed by it and since he was surprised maybe he didn't say anything for as long as it took me to utter my words, so it was fairly silent, an audible silence for me at least, when my hand landed with a light smack on his cheek. I turned around and walked back to my chair and waited for the crescendo. Wonderful peace, great silence, several minutes. Then I'm thrown on a table which breaks under me and with it break what later were 18 glasses. A culmination of the operetta the Dieter Roth Academy is performing. Later Stevens told me he could have killed me. Well, he nearly did. I, and he, were lucky nothing really bad happened. I'll pay for the table and the glasses. - That was for me the main event of this year's meeting of the DRA. -

August 21st, 2007
The mailman brings quite many postcards to Boekie Woekie these days. He has noticed that something is going on here (see for what that is the NEWS page of this site). A few days ago he came swaying between two fingers a girls underpants with a stamp and our address on it. Somewhat disgusted ("I hope they are clean"), but with a smile, he dropped them on the shop table. Today  he pretended to be sweating under the weight of another "card" - a postcard sized thing originally probably a computer module. He said he thought this was not a postcard, this was much too heavy for a postcard. It had stamps for 660 Icelandic Crowns on it. I'm  familiar with the Icelandic currency. The one who sent it paid something like 6 euros for it, about 10 times more than a card from thin board would cost. I told him. He muttered something I couldn't understand. I said I had seen mailmen with little trailers, he should get one too, because the imminent Roth Academy meeting could bring down on him unexpected loads to transport. His eyes became two question marks. I left it at that. But I'll have the camera ready when he comes again tomorrow.

August 11th, 2007
I don't know whether this time I'll succeed to utter more conclusive presumptions than 8 days ago. Again it is late after a long day. Writing may again become something happening in a state of tired trance. But this foggy stuff is rather boring, I find rereading the last entry. One can't really know whether it is meant to mean something at all. - Now I was for a while (for 3 or 4 minutes maybe) hoping a sentence would formulate in my mind so that I could continue to write, when the telephone had mercy on me and rang. In a few moments I'll have wrung some juice out of this ringing of the telephone and who reads this will be puzzled by the following: I, quite happy to be interrupted, picked the phone up and said "ja, hallo", thinking it would be Hetti, telling me to call it day. But what I heard at the other end of the wire was the indistinct noise of a bad connection or that of a microphone transmitting a storm. This wouldn't be the typical call from home. The voice which I then heard proofed that, but what it said didn't reveal its speaker's identity either. On the contrary "Who is this" it said. On which I answered "Jan Voss is my name", expecting to at least now hear the name of the caller. But instead of words the storm, or the bad connection, took on audible proportions of a discernible format, it sounded very much like somebody was vomiting several times, before I hung up, not quite believing that this had really been vomiting, what I had heard. But it had stunned me enough to not ask what all this was.
he wrings the telephone(wringing the telephone)

August 3rd, 2007
What could I write this time? I could dive into the memory pool and come up with something. Or I could tell of plans for the future. Of course I could just call what I'm about to do "write words" because that is what it really is I aim at doing, what I have now already started to do. Doesn't one simply have to live with the words as they come? Of course I am not just poking blindly around on the keyboard. But it has often surprised me to read what I just wrote before. It seems that a remotely controlled system is at work which lets the poking on the keyboard result in words which can represent (at least in part ) what I was just thinking. (I must think a little bit more than that I can poke it seems.) Or is this poking around on the keyboard just an attempt to pretend I have some thoughts at all? That I for example could pretend to be some kind of a bird hunter, that I see them flutter, those thoughts, and that I try to catch them?
Here we go, I like that about the fluttering thoughts of the moment: didn't my writing stimulate me to think this?  I'm trying to grab. I'm were past and future fuse, in the now, at the melting point of old and new, where everything can be anything. In this state to write is to dream.
I hardly need to open half an eye to see that everybody is now deep asleep. Is it a  flashback of an earlier memory, haven't I thought before that on the way through times it is difficult to remain conscious?
Good manners demand that I say: good night, everybody!

July 29th, 2007
Half past midnight. After I uploaded my last entry I heard from Monika that she is curious to get to see my "defamed" painting. But she can't come to Amsterdam to look at it herself now, she has much to do and lives 3 train hours from here. She suggested that I publish a photograph. And why don't I just do that. Here it is.
2 Eier im Schnee - The lost peanut
When I took this picture of my picture a few hours ago, expecting already that I would decide to publish it here, most daylight had already fainted.
This painting, called "2 Eier im Schnee" is a few years old.
This is its history: it is a late offspring of a drawing which at least dates back to 1996. But I think there must exist an older version, a small drawing I made on the occasion of one of the 2 or 3 times Boekie Woekie participated in the Frankfurt Art Fair - all 2 or 3 took place a few years before 1996. This time Boekie Woekie would share a booth with Barbara, then our quite close colleague from Berlin. In the mutual interest of keeping costs low we rented that booth together. As participant of such a fair one is requested to transmit to its organizer something he can print as ones entry to the catalogue of the fair. Barbara would deal with lay out and dead line, I would send her a drawing to put on one side of the double page reserved for us. I drew two people on a sofa caught in what looks like a picture just having fallen from the nail in the wall behind them. The drawing was accompanied by a few words. The one on the sofa, sticking out from the back side of the fallen picture, one would think was saying to the other: "Shouldn't we have better invested our money in books by artists?" Barbara for some reason didn't want to have the drawing published in that catalogue.
This was brewing for some years until I began that painting. It took me 3 or 4 years to accomplish it. The actual moving about of paint happened in Iceland. (Read the 2 entries of the 17th and 24th of March 2002 and maybe also those around the end of May 2002.) I exhibited it at the occasion of the conference in Seydisfjördur of the Dieter Roth Academy in 2002 in Álafoss in Mosfellsbaer. I had brought the rolled up canvas from  the North and Gunnar had made a beautiful  wedge frame for it. (The frame the canvas had been stretched on for painting at my hiding place had been my very improvised construction. The frame is 2.20 x 1.50 m and it still exists, now again without a canvas. I hope someone someday will make an exhibition just of stretchers, calling it possibly "Keilrahmen, so wie Gott sie schuf, - die Kunst der Ikonoklasten" - stretchers as god wanted them, - the art of the iconoclasts. I think my frame should be shown there.)
After the exhibition in Álafoss the picture became a bit of a nuisance, it stood face to the wall in Björn's Álafoss studio for almost 2 years. Then Eggert had mercy on it. After taking it off Gunnar's stretcher and disassembling the stretcher in May 2004 and rolling the picture around the disassembled stretcher, he brought both, stretcher and painting, to Amsterdam. At the time he was due to arrive we (Hetti, Rúna, Jan) were in Boekie Woekie, expecting Eggeret to join us there from the airport. But he didn't come. When after some hours of waiting we were getting worried, I biked home as the only place I could think of checking. Home is quite much nearer to the railway station from where Eggert would have to come if he didn't take a taxi from the airport, than BoeWoe. And there he was, fast asleep on the door stone of the house, with his beautiful painted blue suitcase and my rolled up painting on his lap.
The painting stayed rolled up from May 2004 to a few days ago. I have since 2004 come up with a triptych in which "2 Eier im Schnee" is explained, as it were. On the first panel one sees two people on the sofa staring so to say out of the picture at, who knows, the television, and above them on the wall is the painting, its picture side showing a monkey like creature climbing around in some jungle. The second panel shows the two people unchanged, staring at who who looks at them, but the monkey has started to use the painting as a swing. The third panel is a photograph of "2 Eier im Schnee", the monkey has hit the road, he is no longer the prisoner of a picture.
Now, a few days ago, I opened my "Peanut of a Monday" exhibition (see the NEWS page). Peanuts are small things and though BoeWoe's exhibition space isn't big either, I felt I needed something dominant. Under the sofa, invisible in the dim reproduction above, but visible to the visitor of my exhibition if he looks carefully enough, lies a peanut. "2 Eier im Schnee" got for the occasion a new name. It is called now "The lost peanut".

July 23rd, 2007
In my last entry, when I read it today, I seem to see a stretching factor, or see myself glued to extremes with an ever growing distance of the one extreme to the other (which threatens to, and one day may rip me apart). Today I see myself more like being squeezed to pulp between two fingers. All ingredients smashed. The omelet of life. With the difficulty to tell up from down. The usual state of bored excitement. Take a snapshot. Or a schnapps shot. I heighten my fully or diminish my half being aware of life. Or something in-between. At this moment of pondering I welcome Monika's e-mail which just arrived. It is the 2nd mail I get from her tonight.

Lieber Jan,

bitte schicke doch noch zwei kleine Blindbe mit, so etwa im Taschenbuchformat.

 

Wie war denn deine Peanuts-Ausstellungs-Er?ung

 

Liebe Gr?SPAN>

Monika

.................................

Monika ordered, as the first person till now to react on my newsletter, a copy of my little new book, Fifty Four Peanuts. I had just announced it to those which Boekie Woekie imagines enjoy to get our letters. A few minutes later came her order which I confirmed. Now she says she likes us to send her two empty books too, and hopes that I describe to her how my Peanut-Exhibition-Opening has been. And that is something I think I owe you all, my omelet public, since this event was announced on the world-wide-web by boekiewoekiedotcom's NEWS page.
I had felt some excitement last Saturday a week ago. I haven't done the art exhibition routine for quite some years. To have an opening filled me with expectations. Especially I thought a large painting which I show would create commotion. The only comment on it till now came at the opening. One of the few who were present asked me jokingly whether this was not a youthful misdeed. - To be an artist can be quite difficult. To choke on the pulp and sing songs of great taste is not always easy. To try to is anyhow quite a challenge I say snapping my fingers.

July 17th, 2007
Stretched out more and more between furious disappointment about horrible injustice and the moving on of time. They bury the young man today.

July 13th, 2007
I had to learn something this week. Into the preparations of my peanut show (see the NEWS page) burst some terrible news. The by far worst was that of the death of a 23 years young son of close friends of ours. Why the fuck am I doing something with peanuts when such things happen. What consolation is in peanuts when such things happen.

July 3rd, 2007
It's Hetti's birthday the day after tomorrow. She'll be 59. I'm 62. Rúna is still quite a bit younger, only 53. I have heard myself hum an old German carnival song recently, the words of which go: "Am dreissigsten Mai ist der Weltuntergang, der Weltuntergang! Wir leben nicht mehr lang, wir leben nicht mehr lang!" (The 30th of May will be the last day of the world, the last day of the world! Our days are counted, - if "counted" would rhyme on "world".)  I have already died once (see for some details almost two and a half years below (ago)). Words like "it's getting late" or "an autumn leaf", "the muezzin calls", or, the more I think of it, all words are words before the last word. The scene when the brave soldier Schweijk saves his life when he is about to be shot by a firing squad by not stopping to talk comes to mind. The nervousness causing background of the dark end creates the wish to paint as many pictures as possible. In this situation it doesn't come as a surprise when another song pops up, modulated, according to need: "Painting in the morning, painting in the evening, painting all the time." This painting is sung with words. The story is sung painting. The song is painted with words. A kind of media mix,  the one is the other. I'm writing down bits of those bits which have managed to achieve the status of verbalization and have last as long as it takes to get rid of them through my fingertip. If also those bits were forgotten, the key I would press next would be a different one. But nobody would know, me included because I would have forgotten. If one day somebody reading this will think this is a clever construction, that I meant to write this, I say to him now I am only playing with the stamps I have at hand.
"Use instead of stamp the word suction cup." I hear myself say and see the walls of a vacuum from the inside of it. I'm just about there where the molecules of the stamp's ink separate from their likes left on the paper when after the big bang the stamp is lifted again.
Anyhow, nobody gets younger, but the 30th of May is not tomorrow.

June 27th, 2007
None of my readers has pointed out to me what the answer is or might be to the question I was pondering on last week: what is the difference between a diary and a blog? I'm afraid, once again, I have no readers. But I continued to ponder a bit more after I published last week's question and came up with this: what makes a diary a blog must be that it is published (for example on a web site) shortly after it is written. If I'm right a diary would then be something kept secret from others for a long time, a book with a lock. And a blog would be meant to be read right away.
Maybe then I should have done this writing under the headline Blog instead of Diary. But if nobody reads this anyway it is the paradogs who shall get me.
pair o'dogs

June 20th, 2007
I have begun to distinguish from the general murmur something spelled "blog". I understand it seems to mean something different than "diary", but what that difference is, I don't know.

June 12th, 2007
It amazes me how capable we are as time fillers. With no second shop to run this summer, wouldn't you think we would be quite at ease here? Far from it. With an inventive mind all sorts of shortcomings of BoeWoe are discovered, and tackled. Instead of two of us enjoying the weather with a beer on a terrace while the third does the shop, the one works for weeks in a dark basement where we have our storage, the other makes a bookkeeping marathon, we take in more books than ever and have started a few months ago to send out a weekly e-mail introducing new books. If you would like to receive these announcements too please let us know at boewoe@xs4all.nl! Apropos the beer on the terrace - it is not the same, but to sit with a beer in front of your computer addressing readers all over the globe has for me some of that terrace sitting quality, a certain mixture of being excited and relaxed at the same time. Excited on the terrace one might be about the lively theater around one, and relaxed because oneself can play such a passive role. Excited while writing something for an internet page one might be because of the challenge a public discourse naturally poses. The relaxing thing is maybe the feeling that one can do everything at one's own pace. "Thinly and thickly filled time, my life on terraces" could be the title of this diary.

June 5th, 2007
Is nobody coming by? Nobody to talk to? Am I my only company? I'm having only me for a visit?
Sometimes I have taken the trouble (or enjoyed the pleasures) and made long/short journeys to visit myself. There have been occasions when I was on my way to visit others. But mostly I thought the right word for the reason of me traveling was my wish to visit myself, or wanting to be alone.
Is my company more entertaining than the company of others? Why do I plan to put my soliloquy on the internet? I must be thinking what entertains me may entertain others too.
Or do I mean with being alone the possibility of paying a higher attention to those split seconds, which happen just before words form in ones mind? Those split seconds in history when the buffalo grazes, with the Rocky Mountains on the horizon. When the delegation sent from India hasn't crossed Bering Street yet to meet Columbus who in a few thousand years will set sail to be met halfway attempting to find a shortcut to India. When no one could have an idea of that ensuing endless trouble which both detours would cause the two parties coming from either side. Those split seconds before any first word was ever spoken here on the Great Plains. On such a still day, when one of the buffs with his head low saw his mirror image just before his tongue would dip into the water surface to shatter it by the resulting interference of waves, a first Indian may have jumped from stone to stone as now my finger jump from key to key. 

May 27th, 2007
It rains outside. The bed I usually sleep in - the one at home - is only to be reached by submarine, or by biking Amsterdam canal bottoms in a diving attire. - I'm not up for that. I'll sleep on the mattress we have for such occasions. I'll put it on the floor in the first back room, or the gallery, or the packing room, or the room were the table stands on which almost all our hundreds of beer mats were drawn on, the table around which the chairs stand on which those sat who spoke the words which have marinated the walls in a way that every picture which comes to hang on them looks great, I mean the back section of the shop space.
In the course of the years this back section became a public room for a small circle of people. But now I'm alone in the shop. I'm sitting at the pc in the front room, the shop window allows me a view of the world. What I see is not much different from what a captain would see from his bridge at night when he his not expecting anything troublesome. I see the back room in this constellation as my brain. But then there arrives a signal on the bridge, something blue. I see it since 20 years but I don't think I ever paid attention to it in this connotation, it is that neon word the graphic designers from across the street have on their wall, STORM. - Aye aye, sir, says the captain to himself, time to strike the sails.
Storm 1 Storm 5 Storm 6 Storm 7 Storm 8 Storm 9

May 24th, 2007
I can not write this date without being reminded that this is the day of the death of my father. He died 51 years ago. Much of what I think today I am I think I became thanks to this premature event.
This is very complex and speculative of course.
To imagine what would be if something hadn't happened belongs to man's favorite pastime in the hours were little happens. Besides the occasional bike or car or pedestrian and my finger over the keyboard nothing much moves. The shop was closed hours ago, I long have dimmed the lights, someone out in the street was just gaping a little song. What would I do now had my father lived to an old age? Everything would be different. I wouldn't have been put into that boarding school for eight years to begin with. Would I have become an artist? (Because my father was already an artist, but one who by no means had had time enough to do what artists do. He could develop hardly any form of self-determination. From being 28 to 34 he was sent to fight the Russians in a uniform, with a gun. With 45, he died.) Didn't I have to complete what he begun. (What would I mean speaking of self-determination, where is mine? If I had to complete what he begun?)
A lively palette of thoughts could result from squeezing a few paint tubes I see lying around here.

May 18th, 2007
I often feel dissatisfied with what I write. It isn't making clear enough what I expect of me. I often hint at being critical about this and that but usually I end my stories with as a quintessence a mental stalemate. As if it is my delight to point to the paradox. Am I not just too lazy to sort things really out?

May 11th, 2007
I want to breach my selfset rules. Please skip this entry if you don't read German. I spun a few days ago a German yarn. It has resulted in something of which I can't make appropriate English. It goes like this:

Etwas über Dieter’s Zeichnen. Ein Blick durch die Röhre, was das lange Loch im Bleistift wäre, zöge man die Mine raus.
 

Nach Einsatz einiger Linsen und Spiegel und dem Ehrgeiz auch aus nichts etwas zu machen.


Vor mehr als einem Jahr bin ich gefragt worden einen Text zu schreiben, der sich mit jenen Zeichnungsserien Dieter Roths befassen sollte, die er als Originalbücher selber gebunden und als Kopiebücher in Kleinstauflagen herausgegeben hat. In diesem Text sollte Dieter Roths andere Serie von Originalbüchern, seine Tagebücher, die ja auch als Kopiebücher erschienen sind, daraufhin untersucht werden, was sie zu seinen Zeichnungsserien sagen.
Obwohl ich anfangs glaubte, zu diesem Thema einen sinnvollen Aufsatz schreiben zu können, merkte ich doch bald, dass ich die Aufgabe vor mir herschob. Das ging monatelang so. Ich hatte bereits im Kopf angefangen, Gründe zu formulieren, warum ich absagen müsste. Doch das in Aussicht gestellte Honorar führte dann doch dazu, dass ich aufs Neue während dreier Dezemberwochen viel in Rothschen Tagebüchern las. (Vor einigen Jahren kam ich mir wie der einzige Mensch vor, der Dieter Roths Tagebücher komplett gelesen hatte und ich weiss nicht, ob das jetzt anders ist.) Dieses aufs Neue Lesen im Dezember bestätigte aber nur, was ich schon gemeint hatte zu wissen: Dieter Roth schreibt in seinen Tagebüchern nicht über seine Zeichnerei.

Ich sagte ab. Meine Auftraggeberin hat diese Absage bis heute nicht kommentiert, obwohl ich meine Absage mit dem Vorschlag verbunden hatte, über das Thema noch mal neu zu sprechen. Ich fürchte sie hat mir die Absage übel genommen. Mit Björn Roth, der mich ihr für diesen Job vorgeschlagen hatte, kam es deshalb seit Januar mehrmals zum kurzen Wörteraustausch. Die ihm eigenen Beharrlichkeit hat mich schliesslich doch aufs Neue animiert, ich nahm noch mal einen Anlauf, “etwas über Dieters Zeichnen“ zu schreiben.   

Das war vor etwa 10 Tagen. Weiter als bis zu dieser Stelle in meinem Text bin ich aber bislang nicht gekommen. Heute ist der 7.Mai. Der Katalog, für den dieser Text gedacht ist, geht sicher bald in Druck. Ich glaube, die Ausstellung, zu der der Katalog erscheinen soll, beginnt früh im Juni. Es scheint mir höchste Eisenbahn, ich glaube ich sollte das Gummiband nicht weiter zu dehnen versuchen, das hinter meine Bereitschaft, einen Beitrag zu diesem Katalog zu schreiben, ein Fragezeichen setzt. Ich sollte hier und jetzt alles, und zwar gebündelt, schreiben, was ich über Dieter Roths Zeichnen zu wissen glaube. Dann sollte ich schnell dies so Geschriebene Björn schicken, dass der vielleicht noch eine Chance hat, zu veranlassen, dass es in den Katalog mitaufgenommen wird.
Während ich mir so schön ausmale, wie dies gehen könnte, tickt nicht nur die Uhr (es ist 10 nach 2 in der Nacht), die Gläser ticken auch. Unter solchen Umständen ist es mir schon öfters unterlaufen, dass sich mir der Kopf abgeschraubt hat.
Ich kann nicht sagen, dass ich die Technik beherrsche, betrunken und bekifft, beim Thema zu bleiben. Oft verliere ich mich. Doch scheinen die betr. und bek. zustande gekommenen Sätze die meist geputzten, die Glänzendsten, zu sein.
Während die Abendglocken bimmeln, mit der Aussicht auf den Hohen Blutdruck, schaut ich als Waidmann gedankenverloren zum Fenster hinaus. Manch ein später Schlitten huscht herum. Dieter konnte schön zeichnen.

I have understood now that this text will not appear in the book I wrote it for, therefore I  publish it here.

May 7th, 2007
I don't think there was a day with this date.

May 1st, 2007
My thoughts return frequently to peanuts these days. On all Mondays since 14 weeks I have made something "with a peanut". I sign and number those "peanuts of a monday" as I call the results. There will be peanuts of 54 Mondays if I manage to fulfill my goal. 40 more weeks to go...
I think I went on this peanut trip 14 weeks ago in order to keep fit. Peanuts are proverbially unimportant. I think I'm trying to learn to evacuate my brains. Since last Friday I feel it was unusually necessary to do that. I have scanned my 14th of 54 "peanut of a monday" - here it is:
Poam 14
A big strong muscle man trying his utmost to crack a peanut. There are small things which experts can have a difficult time to deal with. As happened last Friday. Then 7 experts of artists' books met. "We" were 2 publishers, 2 dealers (I count myself as one of those two, though I don't know how to separate the artist/publisher within me from the one who is supposed to talk about BoeWoe), a museum collection care taker and a Research Fellow for artists' books at the Centre for Fine Print Research at an university, and finally a member of a club of bibliophiles, plus our host of course. We were people from 4 countries. I felt I told my story clumsily but the ensuing exchange wasn't any better. I had been hired as the main talker. Most of the other persons of this round I think have an automatic salary at the end of the month. The ones with a salary - if they had anything at all to say - for example attested Boekie Woekie not to be a bookshop, but something between a bookshop and an archive. What a big role ideology played! The tenor of much which was said was how to patronize artists. Of course it wasn't called patronizing. The denominator was "quality". I participated in a round of "experts" of which the outspoken ones confessed openly their desire to be creative. Creative I thought in fiddling around with what artists might have wanted to say. I felt my coexperts saw their role in taming artists or in constructing theories about their doings. - Was this now peanuts or not?.

April 24th, 2007
There was an e-mail today in my mail box with the schedule of a meeting of a few (6 or 7) people concerned about, or players in, the arena of artists' books. The meeting will be held here in Holland on Friday. I am one of those invited. The others who are invited come from the UK, B, NL and D. The e-mail also contained brief self portrayals of those who'll meet. I have met most of them before. The aim of the meeting is to exchange ideas of how to promote artists' books better ("artists' books in general and their distribution and marketing in particular").
Of course I have often thought about such things.

What I now know I'll be able to say then is brief. What counts for me, is the doing. Doing does it. You wouldn't know what you are doing if you didn't do it, if you only talked about it. Quite flatly: how could distribution and marketing be dealt with better than Boekie Woekie does deal with them? It couldn't. It is only a pity that BW is alone in it. If there was an international network of shops like ours I'm sure artists' books, after some time, many more people would be interested in them.

Looking a little longer at what I'm writing here I feel I get afraid. The theme of that conference makes the nervous artist within me feel criticized. Does it not suggest we don't do our job good enough? Do artists' books really need a better promotion?

In Boekie Woekie we say that we are not sure whether we run one of the bigger waste paper baskets, and then we laugh. And I find that laughing looks good (compared to the sour face we make when it comes to paying the rent).

Since we are concerned about books, we know about front and back sides, we enjoy the stories they generate. There are no books thinkable without the front and back sides of their pages. A lesson to learn from books is that each front side has a back side.

April 15th, 2007
I had a reason today to try to check out  the web site of a certain firm of jewelers. I could not get further than the title page. I don't know why but no clicking helped. After a while of getting angry once again about modern times I began to find it funny that a jeweler would lock his web site like a safe. Wouldn't one think a web site is a shop window without any risk for a jeweler?

April 10th, 2007
Instead of writing my diary I should be working on a card game I sort of invented for Carlheinz and his son. I think they are impatiently waiting to at least see a first dummy. They were visiting me in Amsterdam - was it in January, or early Feb.? They were planning a new enterprise, and I said I would do something for it. This something became a card game without rules. Or maybe a card game of which the clue is that whenever it is played new sets of rules, new purposes should be invented. It will consists out of 4 times 26 cards.
Card 1
I hope Carlheinz doesn't mind my publishing the first card of the set here. Almost half of the cards are ready. Carlheinz, please don't give up hope yet!

April 5th, 2007
I think I'll crack that nut. - These words just went through my mind. I was thinking of  something I can't remember now. My slow typing speed is not compatible with the fastness of thought. If I have to pull open the memory drawer, the memories pop out and I stumble all over them. It is not easy to say what I want to say.

April 1st, 2007
This is the day of the year were one is not only allowed but supposed to tell lies. I wouldn't know how to get better than that graffiti on the wall which I mentioned in the entry of August 17th last year. As children we would point out that someone's shoelaces were untied, though they weren't, and when we succeeded fooling that someone we laughed. What could I claim today as true though I know it isn't? I would like to have something to laugh about. I'll say, I finally know what is the matter with art. That is a subject for big books. I'll write a few profound big books and then give as a publishing date april 1st.
When we were children we actually were a little embarrassed to fool others with such cheap and often played tricks. A trifle of reluctance was mixed into our lying jokes when we were small. Today I and other entertainment yearners have lost that sensitivity.
Shouldn't I wait till after midnight publishing this?

March 22nd, 2007
I just felt I could comprehend the being-in-transit of the being alive. I feel I just came back to my senses from feeling the eternal Now. In a way I know of course we can only hear echoes of the Now, there always being some reflections, but what I just now felt was very immediate. Words fail.
How close is immediate, and close to what really? What am I talking about?
There is a vast world, one inside and one outside of me. Between them is a fence on which I sit.. Sometimes with my legs on this and then on the other side. I can listen to the songs my choir sings and I register the moaning from all around me. I will have to come down from that fence one day, I know. But  for the time being I'm sitting on it.
My excitement has abated. Instead of a passage of transition I want now to speak of  a dead-end road.

March 21st, 2007
I just thought how would it be to walk through Berenstraat, after Boekie Woekie eventually had been closed down for good.
After 21 years nobody in this street has grown close to us. Maria, I only know her first name, but remember that Sit and Thomas already new her in 83 or so, Maria, who was the wife of that rather known German painter whose name I don't remember, Maria we see every day walk by the shop window. Sometimes we wave and smile. But we have not gotten to know her much better than that once we established that she and we had been to Sit's funeral in 87. For the rest we know some of the faces which walk this street. No stories make you invent stories. Some faces became persons. Like children make dolls their friends. I think if I was given the chance to walk Berenstraat after BW had ceased to exist - meaning if I don't die in the coal mine - Berenstraat would be pretty meaningless to me.
It would be if there was not a strange echo from much earlier times. Besides all non-stories of this street, there is this early story, from Ash Wednesday 77, were Hetti lost what she had except her life, her rabbit, and what she was wearing. The 3rd house from where I'm writing this now burnt down that night, it is thirty years ago. That fire prooved to become a fateful event. The Boekie Woekie fans have to know: without that fire, no Boekie Woekie. We are convinced it was a criminal fire. No action was ever taken to proof that.
Thanks to Michael, Hetti within weeks had a new flat, and with that empty hollow space locked behind us, we were off to Iceland immedeately.
Berenstraat was the launching pad. In a way the books have emerged from the fire. Art historians of the future will note that I gave Berenstraat a longer life than Boekie Woekie in the first sentence of this entry. Boekie Woekie closed, Berenstraat open to walk through. Berenstraat is very short, but it's story is long.
I think Björn from Iceland feels much at home here, for him this street is named after him.

March 15th, 2007
I have one beer left for today. I could buy more across the street in the expensive night shop, it is only half past midnight and they are open till 1 o'clock, but I'm drinking myself down from excess, I'll just see how far I'll get writing this with only half a litre of beer. - The excitement which culminated today was about having paid our dues (VAT) to the authorities in time but them not having received our specifications in regard to this payment. (The February 1st entry to this diary tells about computer trouble. That the tax authorities didn't get our specifications must have been because of that.) When Hetti and I were in Berlin a letter had come from the tax office which Rúna had opened but didn't quite grasp. She had left it for us assuming we would automatically see it. However, it took days before we did. That letter put an estimation and a fine and a dead line on us. The dead line was today. The office wanted 666 Euros more than we had already paid. Our tax consultant was quite at ease when I, alarmed after finding the letter, phoned her a few days ago. She said this would happen often, we shouldn't worry, she would write to the office to set it straight. Yesterday I read more carefully what the tax people had written, and started to worry after all. They sounded determined to fine us much more seriously if they wouldn't get the money today (yesterday, the 14th). A speed transfer seemed needed. Hetti would carry that out. It had to be done from the post office and not later than one thirty. At five past one she came with hurried steps and cursing (which one doen't often hear her do) into the shop. In order to make a speed transfer she had just been told she needed papers she didn't have with her. She had to find them quickly, and be back with them at the post office right away. While friend Franz, the Kafka, I imagine, would have found this a proof of his theories Hetti was wet from sweat when finally she was back in the shop. - I got 40 minutes out of half a litre of beer.

March 11th, 2007
We had visitors in succession, no pause till today, practically a hole month of talk talk talk going together with drink drink drink. It was a lot of (serious) fun. The muscles of my mouth and those I need to lift the drinks with should be in better shape than ever. However I feel rather exhausted.

March 4th, 2006
We had a visitor in Boekie Woekie who had come in order to prepare a meeting of artist book interested people into the round of which she counts me too. At one point I'm explaining that we never have applied for any kind of subsidy for our shop, that the idea of what we are doing is a reality test. A while after I had spoken proudly like this I thought that what once was a reality test has long since changed into an endurance test which we still may loose. Again a little later another thought crossed my mind. If we stubbornly continue to refuse to be subsidized, we wouldn't mind though subsidized customers, customers buying books from us with money they got from the authorities or a firm for the purpose of spending it in our shop.

February 26th, 2007
I'm happy we went to Emmett's memorial celebration. The chapel on Berlin's famous Chausseestrasse churchyard was crowded with friends of the artist poet. Many were standing. The speakers (Wolfgang Hainke, Jaroslaw Kozlowski, one of Emmett's granddaughters and Gary Williams for Malcolm Green who could not come himself being sick) and performers (Emmett's daughter Laura and the group Die Maulwerker) touched to tears. The party afterwards was a quite happy affair. Emmett would have loved it too, one can be sure. The very noticeable thing was the absence of all art world crap. It was good to meet many of the people present. Some I hadn't seen in quite many years. Tom had come from Albuquerque. Lugo I met last on Dieter's memorial gathering in Basel soon nine years ago. Inge was there. I hadn't seen her since the early seventies. And others - too many to name. Hetti and Tom and I went on Saturday to visit Dorothy in her great place. Slowly she succeeds in taking the impression away that she lives in her own mausoleum. There were all sorts of beers drunk during daytime and plenty of great Jever beers in the evenings. We fetched them from Andrea's balcony. The Jever crates stand there amidst a sea of bird seeds. The birds and we took turns there helping ourselves to what we find good.. And then there was bockwurst with potatoesalat as one can only get it in Berlin. Bockwurst with potatoesalat one definitely can not get in Holland. Before we were to take off for the drive home we visited Ann's gallery exhibition in Berlin Mitte. She has really found a form for her diaries. They get pictures.
Okay, then it was time to start the drive back. A taxi to the car, Hetti goes on with Andrea to her place to fetch the luggage. Tom, coming with us to Amsterdam and me are to follow the taxi to wait in front of the door for Hetti to come down from Andrea's apartment with our (few pieces of) luggage. But when I turn the ignition key there is no sound. Not only Emmett, also the car is dead. Tom with an attack of gout in his foot is unable to walk. He is sitting next to me equally unable to think what to do next. Our car is parked (were it costs nothing) a few hundred meters away from were Andrea lives. Our diagnosis for the car not starting is an empty battery. The car is new - it had less than 200 km on the meter when Hetti and me left in it from Amsterdam. When we had parked it on Thursday night we had been unable to switch the modern design radio off, even after reading the manual. Modern man had gotten himself into a modern problem by making a modern radio which he can't switch off. That had given us on Thursday the feeling of being historically at a crucial point. Our trust in modernity had persuaded us then to think that a non playing radio would use up so little electricity that a modern car's battery wouldn't be affected by it. Now on Sunday we thought differently about it. With a faint memory of the possibility in my mind that a solution could be to connect the charged battery of another car with our car's battery I walked to were Andrea lives. Hetti and she were just coming out of the front door with the luggage. I explained. Andrea suggested a car supply shop near by on Kantstrasse (open on Sundays?) were I could probably buy the necessary cable. I could. Returning to the two in front of the house Andrea phoned her brother in law Carsten who came with his car to provide the source battery. Modern men, unable to switch the radio off, were showing how to cope with technical problems and were soon free to drive away.

February  21st, 2007
This turns out to be a bottomless bottle of whisky plus a cocktail of many other drinks. Emmett dead, Martyn's exhibition opening, a three day visit of Nini, Björn and Malcolm. For later today Renate has announced herself. We haven't seen her in years. But I think she doesn't drink. Tomorrow we drive a rented car to Berlin. I better see to get the cork back into the bottle by then.

February 14th, 2007
The poet Emmett Williams died last night. I happen to have the bigger part of a liter bottle of whisky. Raul came with it but was called home for dinner. Bye bye Emmett.

February 5th, 2007
Who is who? Are my words me?
I was getting a bit tired of the day, I was slowing down and opened the internet site of the German magazine "Der Spiegel". Scrolling down the news, a headline reminded me of a call Boekie Woekie got today. It was me who had answered the phone. The call had been in Dutch and quite brief. Here, even a bit more brief, it comes in English: Yes, Jan Voss here, in Boekie Woekie. The caller doesn't mention his name but says: Do you sell comic books?/ No, not really. But there are some books here which sort of could be looked at as comic books. The books we sell are full of images and text. Into this last bit of what I'm saying comes the voice of the caller: Do you sell Donald Duck? I'm puzzled by the caller's pertinence. No. I hear the fading voice of someone who by now speaks to himself, hanging up: has a comic bookshop and doesn't sell Donald Duck. I didn't know what to make of this. I had clearly said we were no comic bookstore, hadn't I? This was just a misunderstanding. And as such it was unimportant and right away forgotten.
Isn't it good to forget sometimes the unimportant things!

But then I was reminded of it opening the "Spiegel" where, what it said copies here like this:

SUPERBONUS FÜR DISNEY- MANAGER

Kopfsprung in den Geldspeicher

Die Umsätze explodieren, der Kurs steigt unaufhaltsam, der Anschluss an die digitale Revolution scheint geschafft - Bob Iger, Disneys neuer CEO, hat das Steuer bei dem angeschlagenen Entertainment-Konzern herumgerissen. Dafür kassiert er jetzt einen Rekordbonus. Von Marc Pitzke, New York mehr...

This translates: Head first into the money container...more...Disney: quack, quack, quack

Why doesn't Boekie Woekie stock Donald Duck if our criteria for accepting books are text and images?
There are of course many other books with text and images in many categories we don't stock either.
It is this art word which plays a role here.

February 1st, 2007
Boekie Woekie has me back. As Cervantes' hero fought enemies he couldn't quite make out, I have been busy most of the days since my return from Iceland to cope with problems I don't understand much of. The email program of Boekie Woekie's main pc had broken down at the end of November. Since then nobody has been able to gain access to what I think must be a correspondence of several years of a few thousand mails in maybe 200 mailboxes. An important part of the documentation of our enterprise has since then been at risk (I still don't want to believe it's lost.). At the same time, in November, the computer had slowed down a lot. Soon after my return a little more than 2 weeks ago it didn't start up anymore. Well it was time for a new one. Since 2 days I'm trying to learn and get accustomed to it. Tonight to my great relieve Michael found a new ftp program which turned out to be (almost) understandable and I'll try to send this entry now to our web site server as a test.

January 14th, 2007
I'm back in Amsterdam. All went well and according to the schedule of the last entry. But I arrived at a scene of dramatic impact an hour or so after leaving my hiding place in the North of Iceland. When I came down Öxnardalsheiđi (the mountain pass between Eyja- and Skagafjörđur), after taking one of the last sharp bends of the winding road before it fuses with the straighter lines of the valley there was a car that had come to an unstable stand-still on the edge of the road. Two of its wheels were in the air. The car was hanging over an abyss, not very deep, but much deeper than anyone would want to fall into. The travelers, two people, had saved themselves and stood now swaying on the road, waving to me to, to slow down and stop. I did, or my car did, without much difficulty. When I got out of it to fetch a rope the two had asked me for, I knew what it was: the road was icy like frozen hell! - Finally their car was on the road again. I drove off more carefully than before and found myself a few hours later in Mosfellsbaer.

The weeks in the North had passed in a jiffy. I fell out of them and luckily onto that cushion the friends in Mo. had prepared there for me. On that cushion the spell of more than four weeks of me not drinking alcohol ended. Then I fell further down "South" as they say in Iceland, to land on the cushion of Reykjavík. Reykjavík is very well cushioned indeed. I had agreed to teach there for three days at what is the LHÍ, or The Icelandic Academy of Arts. It meant I had to get up early. One has to be there at eight thirty. Those who run the institution however don't ask how tired, nervous and shaky those may be who come to work. Teaching, in regard to earning ones money, I felt was much easier than running a bookshop. But on both days when I left the school I pitied the students. (The first of the three days I had left it after a lecture about myself and Boekie Woekie and I had not really met any students.) The students I then talked with will soon be let loose into the world of art as artists. That seemed to me terribly unfair. Some hoped to continue to study abroad (all in Berlin, for some reason). But none I felt was prepared for what is waiting for him. Why doesn't the world of art have at least mercy on their artists and forgets about them? The inhabitants of the world of art should be academy teachers, gallery owners, museum directors or writers on art and not artists. The art world inhabitants should know they are pimps providing art for middle class incompetence, something called art for art lovers. The art world inhabitants wouldn't even need to have a too bad conscience because most of the art lovers only need art to put them into the mood to masturbate (for my German readers: need art as a Wichsvorlage). No harm done, just a few spots in some pants. And in a way academy teachers, gallery owners,  museum directors or writers on art are anyhow excused because they are victims too. Bigger, less middle class, more clever pimps provide them, the academy teachers, gallery owners, museum directors and writers on art to be fucked by big money. The choir of the art world inhabitants sings we love Picasso and Kippenberger but not many claim to have been raped or express their dilemma. Shame and confusion. Whatever thought, it runs into a dead end. And artists: god may know what is the matter with them. - In the mean time, I have landed on something hard, it is in Amsterdam, a third cushion, but of a different kind - I hope it was the last fall for a while.

January 1st, 2007
My weeks in the North are almost over, I have a few more days here, than I´ll drive to Reykjavík, be there for a week, and than it is back to Amsterdam. On the 13th I'm booked on planes to get there. What a running around it is! Not only my life, the life of many people is spend for a good part running around, on foot, bike, car, train, plane. I would like to see statistics. How many km on foot, bike, car and so on, per person, worldwide, per day. Sometimes one sees swarms of mosquitoes, or some sorts of birds, as they fly kinetic patterns. I wonder from which position our swarming forms a flow of kinetic patterns.
Do these words read like an elegy on the coming end to my rather static times here, or are they an expression of anticipation of soon belonging to that group again which swarms? The advantage of an at least seemingly static viewpoint for observing kinetic patterns as opposed to the viewpoint of those who carry out that dance in time and space? Maybe it is neither an elegy nor a song of anticipation. Maybe there is a viewpoint from which standstill and speedy movement look the same.

December 23rd, 2006
I have had these days an inner position from which I have been skeptically observing my reaction to living for some weeks again as that kind of an artist who sleeps long, determines alone the full scale of all his whats, whens and hows, and stays up late. In Amsterdam there is that self inflicted Boekie Woekie which determines a good part of every day for the three of us. It is self inflicted, but whether we knew at the beginning what we were inflicting on us is quite doubtable. (Regardless though, whether one would see me here or there, I would most likely be seen sitting or standing by a desk.) Of course I would neither like to see my reaction to being again such an artist, now after half a month here (quite far away from BoeWoe), as an expression of relief (from my Amsterdam duties), nor as an expression of fear to not feel inspired enough to use my time well. Luckily I have registered since I'm here each day on paper or digitally a few small thoughtful entities. I made a design for a book cover and worked on a manuscript for a book (see the entry of Dec.19th). And of course there are several phone calls a day to and fro with my bosses. That saves my self esteem. I find I react to this change of daily conditions like an old professional.  (Which of course should not come as a surprise.)

December 19th, 2006
Until a moment ago I was reading the first few pages of H.Mann’s “Professor Unrat” with growing fascination. All those special words, and how he uses them! It is a text one now can feel which identifies an era! I saw the movie long ago this novel was turned into. But I've never read “Professor Unrat” before and can't remember to have read any other books by H.M.. Much of what I once “knew” about the “Manns” I think I have forgotten. Only Thomas Mann would fare a little better. The tail of his popularity made me read a few of his books when I was young. I even once sat still through a public reading of T.M. in Duisburg. I had come there on the hand of my mother who saw in him a great, great writer. What I remember of the movie is that it also had this era-describing quality. Emil Jannings wasn’t it, and Marlene Dietrich. – I also just became aware of aspects of symmetry in the plot of the Unrat-story. I thought of the writings of E.T.A.Hoffmann. Maybe that is very far fetched. I should consider it better.

Realizing I have the names of writers and actors and the fictional character of the title of the book I read on my mind determined me to put the book aside, get up and begin to write myself.

My reading “Unrat” happened namely at the end of a day I have spent writing names. I’m working on the manuscript of a book. Therefore I’ve been writing, in a special way, lots of names of people I know or knew in what we call real life. It is a book the recipe of which as been on my mind the last two years, occasionally dominantly. There were 3 earlier periods in which I did a lot of memory digging for this recipe. Memory digging meant I played the movie of my life. My goal was to try, while shoveling or watching, to recall the names of the people who played in its various acts (- watching a movie with actors creates a less frightening comparison than unearthing those who were buried). I came up with around 770 names. Watching this movie I had seen myself (or the guy I made play my role) develop in a big cultural spectrum. But I didn’t add to the long list of names of real people those of my respective spiritus rector of the moment (unless this person was my acquaintance).

I have lived out in books I carried around with me an autobiographical interest in the form of diaries since I was young. A diary one sees as a description almost simultaneous to what is going on. It can serve as training and source material if one wants to get and give an overview over a big part of one’s life. But who aspires to writing his autobiography has to know he is in the foothills of a monstrous task. He is heading for a monstrous task who hopes he is going to recognize and tell a story of reason and purpose, if only for some aspects of his existence, in the face, and with the excuse, of time bound futility. My recipe for an autobiographical book tackles this task sort of subversively. It is still a monstrous undertaking. It will result in a book of some 1540 pages. It is based on an idea which derives from a formal aspect of books and at the same time it conveys a simple truth valid for everybody’s name and person. I’m looking forward to get it published. But first things first, first I’ll have to write a few hundred more names.

This leaves unanswered why I haven’t listed the names of those of whom I know they influenced me without me knowing them personally. The difference to the real people is that not only I know/knew them but they also know/knew me. They could write their autobiography in the same way as I am writing mine. But Professor Unrat or E.T.A. Hoffman never knew me. My recipe for an autobiography is more a recipe for living people. Especially for those with short names.

Wait till you see the book. Then this will no longer seem a riddle.

December 10th, 2006
For the first time since early June, and in June only for a week, I’m sitting again in what some people have called my masonite palace. Masonite I think is the English word for that building material which is much cheaper than hardboard and has hardly more than cardboard quality, smooth on one side and with a cloth-like structure on the other. 26 years ago I bought a lot of that stuff and made the walls of 3 small rooms in Hetti’s and my part of the upstairs of the wooden building we had “found” a year before. "We" were Kristján, Solveig, Hetti and I. Our Icelandic friends had lived for 10 years in Amsterdam and felt it was time to return home. I had then spent some months each year for 8 years in another part of Iceland but also my situation there was coming to an end. I’ll skip the details of how we found that house though it is quite a story. Now I got here a day later than I at first had planned. The journey from the capital is expected to last 5 to 6 hours, but it took me 7. That was because I had forgotten that cars need gas. I was reminded of that on top of the mountain pass which separates the South from the North. The car stood still surrounded by a cold cloud in the middle of a landscape of snow and ice, many kilometers in both directions from the nearest house, let alone gas station. But after a few minutes a car with friendly people appeared and gave me a ride down the north side of the mountain and with a few liters of gas a lady on her way to Reykjavík later brought me back up again. Finally I arrived in my cold house – the last one who leaves it disconnects water and electricity, it is safer and we save money. It takes a day to become comfortable, the warmest place is under the blankets – I slept for 14 hours. Reykjavík had been exhausting.

December 5th, 2006
Since a few days the air I breathe is cold and fresh. It’s once again Iceland for me. I intend to drive to my place in the North tomorrow if the weather and my health will permit it. I’m less afraid of the weather. I worry more that I could be too exhausted to drive.

November 21st, 2006
That I returned this morning from New York comes unexpectedly here. Only the readers of the NEWS page could know about our engagement there. Last Sunday afternoon the New York Art Book Fair was over. Some moving moments, plenty of imported beer, some American beer. The New York Times brought an article (friendly, almost as if it had been written on request of the organizers) which was accompanied by a picture somebody had photoshopped quite neatly. I'll reproduce it here (it is the version the New York Times had on its web site - essentially not different from the one which appeared in the actual paper). The second photograph shows a reconstruction by me of what this photograph must have looked like before it was fiddled around with.

NY Art Book Fair
      (without beer)

NY
      Art Book Fair with beer

You have guessed it right - the blue blur in the foreground is me.

November 7th, 2006
I just realize: six years of diary. A year or so ago I thought five years were enough, I even began to print a few copies of this tall tower of text and a few pictures with the idea of selling them. I would then take the diary off the web site and only the pages with the books and prints and audio/video stuff would remain. That is of course a business trick for which it never is too late. Those who keep returning to read the new contributions to this long page may better print their own copy as long as it is freely available.
Recommending that, I come to think of what  and Erica related when they were new to the world of computers and the internet. They had found this diary, and, used to read from a sheet of paper rather than from a sheet of glass, they began to print this diary out. They described themselves when the printer went on and on to print as the magician's apprentice - how please was this thing to be stopped!?

October 30th, 2006
Francis sent today the picture on the left below. Seeing it brought me back to London, to the Small Publishers Fair. I hadn't been able to find my own camera when I was visited by that four legged customer. Francis quickly helped out. Without the picture as a reminder the moment with the dog would be forgotten. The dog on its hind legs put its paws on Rúnas book "Chasing the Rainbow" and I delighted in the sight of this creature's unexpected interest in my merchandise. In this picture it is Emmett's flexible history of Fluxus facts and fictions the animal's focus is on. A moment later he or she was actually sitting on the books on the Boekie Woekie table, but Francis had already turned around and his camera was put away.
The other photograph I brought back from London myself. More or less opposite where Brick Lane ends, on Bethnal Green, stands this derelict gloomy building which, if one believes the sign, once was the book shop. Erica, Simon, Reginald and I were getting a taxi at that corner to go to another bar, but we had stopped on the way from the last bar to look at the Büchler/Coppermill exhibition of Hauser and Wirth. Seeing this ex-book shop and still thinking of the piles of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in a recent edition in Arabic which were on display in that Coppermill corner were the Boekie Woekie bookshop had been from May to almost September gave my slight drunkenness something of a nightmarish undertone.

Small
      Publishers Fair dog 2006 Book Shop on
      Bethnal Green near Brick Lane

October 26th, 2006
It is early morning after a long day after a long week. What shall I say? London was fun? My trousers were torn? Standing was tiring but why could I hardly get myself to sit? Was the beer different?
There are lots of stories behind these (and many more) question marks. It feels I dreamt more than that I lived. In the waking up department of my falling asleep system I can only stick my finger up to point at something very indistinct. That indistinct thing could for example be that hot salt meat halo of a bagel for 2 pounds thirty from a shop on Brick Lane which Björn knew never had closed a minute for 37 years.

October 18th, 2006
Later today I'll take the boat to England. But first I'll have to bike home and sleep. It's time for this year's Small Publishers Fair in London. Just before beginning to write this I bought (online) a ticket to New York. But there I'll go only in about a month.
While these words run out of the tip of my right forefinger a little bit of thinking makes itself felt. I should probably say I feel it at the other end of that forefinger. This thinking is more a registration of an observation. The observation of how small the role is the "now" plays, compared to the overwhelming lot of quotations of all that which was or will be. Why don't I say I'm tired? That would be honest. But of course not as exciting as London and New York. To be tired has simply no great entertainment value.
More from this theater next week, when back from London.
No, briefly one act more. A few aristocrats were sitting together at Emmett's book launch the day before yesterday. Raul and Truus and Phillipe, Michael, Hetti and her sister Jana and me. The conversation had shown intense engagement with difficult developments this world is undergoing. And then we suddenly found ourselves speaking of blue genes.

October 10th, 2006
The amount of work which Boekie Woekie has shouldered is considerable. The maintenance of the web site alone could be a full job for one person. The daily shop stuff, the printing/binding, the bookkeeping, the acquisition and description of new books, the planning of events, the cleaning (that things get dirty by themselves is a wrong assumption), the attempt to appear as people who know what they are doing but to be truly foolish is quite a task. Not to mention activities more traditional for artists like drawing, poem writing, painting, sculpture making.

October 2nd, 2006
This was a first autumn day, with lots of rain and wind. It is raining now too. And though it is almost midnight, I rather wait for the rain to stop than bike home and get wet. I hear the rain in the street and see an occasional passer-by with an umbrella. The change from late summer to autumn was noticeable last night already. When I left Boekie Woekie then (it was already almost 4 in the morning) I took my plastic poncho-like raincoat along, as a precaution, but I didn't need to put it on. At half past eleven today when I returned on my bike to Boekie Woekie to open up the shop I took the rain poncho with me, in order to be prepared. Again it wasn't raining, but heavy clouds made it easy to predict what kind of day this would turn out to be. I hadn't gotten far when I met by chance Rúna who these days is working in our printshop. The printshop is in the home of Hetti and me. Rúna was therefore heading for where I came from. We stopped and exchanged quickly our plans for the day. I realized that a technical aspect of our offset machine (how to change the location of the printed image on the paper it was going to be printed on) was going to trouble Rúna. I would better return home with her to show her how to adjust the machine. That was done quickly. I took off again for the shop, but now I forgot my poncho. That is why I'm sitting here busy with banalities. I think I stop now with this and see that I get home quickly. If one bikes fast, does one get as wet on the same length of way as one gets biking with normal speed assuming that the rainfall is constant?  It is more of a thrill to think one is conducting scientific research, than to just get wet.

October 1st, 2006
The mailman brought an envelope with birthday greetings on a napkin. Marc sent it. I'll reproduce it here.

Schulz BW
      Birthday pigs

It is a pity it comes too late to be included in our birthday book. (Look under T in the alphabetical list of this website for: Twenty Years Of Boekie Woekie.)

September 21st, 2006
I was getting an idea how science came about. I thought it flowed forth from fear: to be involved directly in this confusing world might be dangerous. Good that there are safe laboratories, binoculars and long arm tweezers.

September 18th, 2006
A long break, due to too much to do.
Back with the 3 of us in Amsterdam the first thing we did was make an effort to get our Twenty-Years-of-Boekie-Woekie-book out. It has been for 10 month in our system. And it still would be, hadn't Jo and Wesley visited BoeWoe for a few days. They helped us to bind the edition. But now the book is there. Take a look at the NEWS or/and the NEW ITEMS page of this site.
On another note: last week some guy was sent to go from door to door in our street to deliver stacks of postcards published by the local authorities on the occasion of the completion of what Boekie Woekie has eyed from the beginning on with some suspicion. Our, and some surrounding streets, have undergone a facelift earlier this summer. The picture side of the postcard shows 2 images - I reproduce it here.

Berenstraat
      before and after

The picture on the top shows our street as it was, the lower one as it is now. The text in the middle says something like "keep the pavement clear of bicycles, park them in the racks at the bridge" (meant are the bridges over the canals at either end of Berenstraat - quite a short street, hardly 150 meters).
Boekie Woekie in the top picture is the first shop on the left, the one with the red awning which has turned mossy. The facelift happened because of the work of a club of shopkeepers Boekie Woekie is not a member of. When we were approached to join several years ago we realized we were simply unable to contribute to the payment of decorative Christmas street lights. We had learnt at an early stage (at art school) that to our profession belongs a certain degree of anarchistic denial of some rules. Anyhow, there are ideas we simply can't betray. On top of that, we know we don't sell more books because of Christmas or because the street looks somehow "better". We are selling art to our customers and not some commodity which tries to appeal by virtue of some town officials' aesthetic ideas.
I'm a little disappointed now by the shopkeepers' club to picture a non-member prominently to illustrate the "bad old times". All these terrible bicycles standing around under this awning on which a cow could graze. It was their idea to promote the removal of what Amsterdam for many years has called lovingly "Amsterdamertjes" and the photographer of the lower picture just happened to take his shot with no car taking advantage of the newly gained opportunities to park. Away with the bikes! In with the cars! And thanks for maintaining the good old tradition of pointing at others when you are trying to hide that you are cooking your own soup.
The lower picture is recently taken from the other end of the street. On this picture only a thin blue line is visible of Boekie Woekie (now on the right side). The blue line is our new awning, we had it installed in May last year. This may help to find it: it is a little up and to the right from there where on the pavement the 2 bikes stand: mine or Hetti's or Rúna's.
The red canvas of  our former awning, by the way, we keep exposed to wind and weather and bird shit in our back garden. We feel one day it will have marinated in its history long enough to make that postcard by the local authorities a valuable document of its progress. Here is a photograph of how it looks now.

Boekie
      Woekie's old awning

September 1st, 2006
Of Boekie Woekie London not much is left. The shelves are empty, the books are packed.
Rúna and I will fly back to Amsterdam tonight. We are a little sad that these 3 months in London are over – in retrospect it feels like we spent here an intense time. I want to mention a last visitor to the exhibition. I was in the exhibition hall, together with Martin who had come down from Derby. We were in the Dieter Roth part of the exhibition. I was speaking about the 2 floors and the big table ruin to Martin when another visitor overheard what I was saying. He began to comment on what he saw. He said he was completely overwhelmed by the great liveliness of it. I thought of the article in the Guardian under the headline “Dust to dust” which I mentioned on the 17th of June. What a different voice I was now listening to!

August 22nd, 2006
In my function as the bookshop caretaker of Boekie Woekie at Coppermill I was called to the door today by the ringing of the doorbell. “A customer”, I thought and opened the door. A young man with behind him a young woman was standing there. He said: “Is the pub open?” and expecting nothing but a “yes” took a step forward. I said: “What pub?” He said, pointing with his finger: “That pub.” I said: “There is no pub.” “What is it then?” he asked. “There is a bookshop there and an exhibition.” “What exhibition?” he asked. “An art exhibition, but it is closed. It will only be open on Thursday again. The bookshop is open.” He knew enough and turned around, saying to the woman “It was an art exhibition.” I closed the door.

August 17th, 2006
I thought I should put a few pictures together to give a visual impression of how it looks where we have been busy the last 3 months. In ten days from now at this time (7pm) we will begin to pack Boekie Woekie London in order to send it back to Amsterdam.
When, let's say you would come from an errand to buy let's say beer at the supermarket on Bethnal Green this is about the first of Coppermill you would see.

1a%20outside%20coppermill.jpg

There is a classical graffiti on the wall I want to point your attention to, just a little left of the middle of the picture. It reads NOTHING IS TRUE. Someone else (I think) comprehended that fully and added in white the word TRUE.
Further to the right one sees a window, a white door under the Hauser & Wirth banner, another window and a small gray door. Boekie Woekie is behind the two windows (they are closed with some plate material) and the white door which only is opened if someone in a wheelchair wants to visit the shop or the gallery. One enters the gallery and the bookshop through the narrow gray door which from close by looks like this:

door to BW London

One has to ring the bell to be let in. Lara will welcome the visitors from Thursdays to Sundays when also the gallery is open. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays it was either Hetti or Rúna who opened the door and now  mthat'sy job. On entering the shop this is about what one sees:

entering bw

5a London Shop+Tables+Shelves

4a London Shop+Tables+Shelves

3a London Shop+Tables+Shelves

The numbered boxes under the tables and shelves are our storage for second and third copies.

7a London Shop + Tables + Shelves

8a London Shop + Tables + Shelves

9a London Shop + Tables + Shelves

10a London Shop Audio Video Department

11a
      Hetti et Shop Table London

Before coming to the end of this virtual tour of Boekie Woekie London, one has to pass the shop table. The virtual visitor approaches Hetti in her function as the virtual till girl who just drinks from her third virtual cup of coffee. He is ready to pay for the virtual books he has picked up on his round through the shop. He can consider now on which spot of the table top he chooses to put his money down. Three of many possibilities are shown below.

13a London
      Shop Table Top

14a London
      Shop Table Top

12a London
      Shop Table Top

The origin of parts of this till table dates back to 1997 when Boekie Woekie accompanied Dieter Roth’s last big exhibition in an art institution, the MAC in Marseille. Through the years it got the Hetti/Rúna/Jan treatment. All other bookshop furniture has always been made on the spot. After the seller and the buyer have finalized their deal, the visitor is free to leave – from Thursdays to Sundays if he likes through the big door into the exhibition of the Roths and Martin Kippenberger, or through the narrow door he came in through, back to the street.

exit Boe Woe

Leaving Boe Woe

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays he has to leave through the narrow door back to the street, the exhibition is closed.

Coppermill Shoppers
      Big  

And this is (once again) how Boekie Woekie imagines the visitor to look like after his tour of the shop: with big bags full of books happily going home in the shadow or the sunshine, just up to his liking.
 
August 16th, 2006
Charles was beginning to watch (on my invitation) Edith’s Dieter Roth documentary movie while I was still working on the pc in our London branch. After not too long he withdrew. Not without having said he found Dieter a very elegant man. At least I think that's what he said, because his English is not very easy for me to follow. Charles is from Nigeria. He himself has a very elegant appearance. He comes 3 nights a week around 9pm. He has the job of a night watch man and I noticed he likes to laugh. When he withdrew he withdrew as usual to the tiny room next to our Coppermill bookstore, during daytime it's the doorman's office. At an earlier occasion I asked him how he spends his nights here and laughingly he said “I read the bible.” Since I'm working usually (having nothing better to do) till after he arrives, I happened, when fetching another beer from the fridge upstairs, to see him sit in his small room with in front of him really a book which might well be the bible. If it is the bible, and if he really reads in it, then he is the first man I ever meet who does.

August 7th, 2006
It's Monday night, tomorrow morning I'll fly to London. Hetti just sent me this picture - one sees Cheshire Street, Coppermill, the building where our temporary shop is, full of shoppers who seem to come from Boekie Woekie with big bags full of books. Wow, doesn't this look like we had a good day?!

Coppermill with
      shoppers

The detective among the readers may find the date in the lower left corner of the picture disturbing. The 7th of the 8th month, today, when the picture was taken is a Monday. Boekie Woekie London is closed on Mondays! Maybe these shoppers are friends of Hetti whom she asked to pose to lure me in? Another inconsistency is that very thin tall fellow with the pointed brown cap on the left pavement. What's he doing there, just standing there to be looked at?

August 6th, 2006
It's Sunday night. On Tuesday morning I'll fly to London to take over from Hetti who now takes care of or shop there. Mine will be the last shift, the London shop will close on August 27th, Rúna will come to help me pack our books. And then that episode will be over. Upsetting news about the health of several people close to us has marked the last days and weeks - after a period in which I had almost forgotten again that the game we play here is of temporary nature there came those strong reminders.

July 31st, 2006
Rereading the last entry, I think: if I would write in German, this diary would be a very different diary. Who scrolls a few years down in this page will find this reason for my writing in English: I felt my readers would forgive more easily the mistakes I make in English than the ones I would make in German. Of course I always attempted to not make all that many mistakes. These attempts included that I ran often the check-the-spelling function of my pc. Nevertheless it has begun to dawn on me that the way I use the English language (at least when I write it) is an expression of my fear that I don't write it understandably (enough). Otherwise I couldn't explain the style of these pages. They seem to me to be written to create an impression of mechanical precision. Pieces anxiously written to be on the safe side. But how would my diary read in German? I store almost 20 years of handwritten diaries. They are in German. They cover pre-Boekie Woekie times. Is there a big task waiting for me (and my scanner)?

July 19th, 2006
I saw a car the other day while biking to Boekie Woekie which made me turn my head. I had to reassure myself that what I had seen was really there. The car was standing still, or was it moving? The confused perception was due to the car's turning hub cabs. They were an irritating thing to see. An impression was created of wheels turning though the car was really standing still. Whether gasoline consumption and mileage counter supported the illusion of movement I couldn't see of course.

July 15th, 2006
I have had the picture I'll place here now, scanned and ready, since early June. I didn't include it earlier - maybe because I felt that would show too little respect for Kippenberger's work. I saw and saved "The Independent" newspaper page the image appeared on shortly after the opening in London at Hauser and Wirth of the exhibitions of Dieter Roth and Martin Kippenberger - I was leafing through the newspaper hoping to find an article about the exhibition and when I came across this picture it reminded me of Kippenberger's Birkenwald (Birch tree forest), the biggest of his works on display. I had to laugh, I hadn't looked the paper through in vain. I thought right away of publishing it in this context but then shied away from it. Why I'm now less afraid to be seen as respectless I don't know. But you see I made the picture quite small.

headachepillgolfing

(Maybe I dare after all to show it because I just remembered how I unscrewed several of those golf ball pills in order to prevent them from getting wet - see this diary of the recent June 13th.)

July 11th, 2006
The liberty of the cat of Hetti and me to move around is reduced to one room these days. We have put him into this room only to open the door to give the animal to eat and drink and when Hetti turns in at night. She hasn't often during the 23 years we live now in our house slept in this room - it is my office. The reason for these changes is that Gunnar, Pétur and Garđar have come more than a week ago to work on our windows. Scaffoldings were put up in the front and in the back of the building. They have found what we were afraid of: that much of the wooden frames has turned into mould. I'm happy we have friends who know how to fix this. Because otherwise chances would be that our window frames would have disintegrated totally before us - what an uncomfortable thought! People in the autumn of their lives exposed by the lack of windows to the storms of the season. I'm not sure Puk the cat can follow this thought, he is not yet 2 years old.

June 25th, 2006
It is very quiet outside. There are no cars, no bikes and no pedestrians passing by the shop window of Boekie Woekie. It is a quarter to 10pm and the Dutch football team is playing in the world championship tournament. I don't think it is going too good for them. There hasn't been one uproar from all those which are now in front of all those television sets.
I feel it as a relief that at least in this country the football carnival (half the population dressing up in "funny" orange cloth stuff since many days) may be over tomorrow. Earlier today I saw that half round of five journalists and one talk master discuss seriously on German television (as always on Sunday's) some political matter. This time the subject was the question whether the success (so far) of the German team (and the enthusiasm about that of the German people) would be of influence for the state of the German economy (which I understand is felt since long to be bad). The journalists didn't only joke about the financial success of breweries during these football weeks but were serious when they meant they could advise the politicians and economical leaders to apply similarly unorthodox strategies as the current football team. One of them compared the coach of that team with Gorbatschow. I have to admit that I was watching this programme from my bed. After a while I thought why not be a good old fashioned German for once: turn around and try to sleep a little more! But then I couldn't. I got up and fed the cat. Feeding him I imagined it in red, black and golden colours. Or orange! Let the cats go to the football arenas and watch the balls as mice disappear in the mouse holes. New strategies for the old game but a little more sleep for me please.

June 17th, 2006
Right, the “Dust to Dust”-article I announced I would comment on. Before other devices of distraction are found in the neighbourhood: this article prolongs a view of the artist Dieter Roth which I have repeatedly noticed in spoken and written words by many, the view that Dieter once was a brilliant artist, but then he got confused and that being confused is less than being brilliant. I think that view is taken by people who instinctively or after thorough consideration are themselves afraid of confusion, take confusion as a state which needs to be overcome by all means and not at all as a state which if art is the highest form of organization, art could want to show. This one sided view separates the ideologists (those who are convinced or show conviction that things are the way they think they are) from the poets (those who are convinced or show conviction that our brains are not enough to ever solve the ambiguity of things – nor that that would be something to wish for).  – Sorry, Adrian that I use your article for showing what I find is a misrepresentation of D.R. without quoting from it but it is 12, opening time for Boekie Woekie (and the exhibition). Welcome you who are curious and you, loaded with money. We'll take care of you in spite of some confusion.

June 16th, 2006
This is just to mention that yesterday morning a bomb from W.W.II was found next to Coppermill, the police cordoned off the street in front of us. Nothing happened and later the street was opened again. The next shock was that the pc image on the monitor stood suddenly upside down on its head but also that was back on its feet after some time. Hetti came in the evening. The end of my time, my first round, is in sight.

June 13th, 2006
I had in mind to comment on an article in The Guardian which appeared about two weeks ago under the headline “Dust to Dust” by Adrian Searle. But as the day developed I had to think about questions Rúna asked me on the phone and soon it was afternoon and I hadn't written a line. Michael had brought ventilators for the shop as well as for upstairs. That was a great relief, because the heat was getting too much. A bit later when Michael had just begun to take me on a tour through the exhibition to show me the spots rain might be expected to drip into the hall ( - rain had been forecast and I had promised to let the night watchman know about these not tight spots) I felt a drop falling on my head. And soon the roof of the hall resounded from a downpour of the bigger kind. And then (of course, otherwise I wouldn't have begun the story) rainwater was gushing into the exhibition. That meant a big change for the plans of the rest of the day. Anyhow it ended with me being in bed at nine tired from the attempt to save Kippenbergers and Roths from getting wet. I promised Michael to let him see the video Hetti took in the MAC of Marseille where something similar, but worse, happened 11 years ago. Adrian Searle will have to wait.

June 12th, 2006
I notice these days a similarity in regard to Dieter Roth’s last exhibition he installed himself, at Gallery Hauser & Wirth in Zurich during the last weeks of May 1998 and his first exhibition at this gallery now in London. Those days in May were hot and now, later this year, the heat is back. Dieter I remember was raising hell to urge the gallery to get the temperatures down in the spaces he had to work in. Those who experience the heat now sigh. Some of the staff have mentioned fans might be bought. I don't doubt that will eventually happen. Let's see if we still see that.
 
June 9th, 2006
The archives of the BBC will contain from today on a filmed fraction of a funny moment. Michael (this is not the usual Michael of this diary but what I believe is the main technician of Hauser & Wirth Gallery) came to the book store and asked where on the outside of the front door I wanted the Boekie Woekie sign to be fastened – above the Hauser & Wirth sign (where till now our improvised sign was) or below it. I said I would quickly walk with him to decide – remarking, while taking the few steps to the door, that above would probably be the best position to let the interested person in the street get an idea of what goes on inside of Coppermill. (The sign said that Boekie Woekie is also open from 12-7 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while the gallery is then closed.) We had reached the door before Michael could answer and I was half a step behind him when he pulled the door open – to let a lady of whom at first I thought it was her Majesty the Queen stumble into the hall way so that she almost fell to her knees. Die Queen auf ihren Knien! She had obviously at the moment that Michael pulled open the door from the inside tried to push it open from the outside. Behind her was a team of men who filmed her – and now we were in the picture too. A bit later I learned they were from the BBC, filming for a cultural program. I had thought of the Queen because this lady was dressed in a pink dress with a pink hat the way I have seen pictures of Her Majesty but of course she was an actress. A parody. There was another actress in a blue dress with a blue hat. I saw the two ladies a little later on my way to the loo as they were looking at the back and then around the shoulders at the face of that Kippenberger portrait figure which is exhibited facing a corner of the hall in his section of the exhibition. That I found, was another funny moment and my feeling is the BBC will broadcast that, but not the earlier funny moment. - Finally Michael got a chance to fasten the Boekie Woekie sign. I had reconsidered and asked him to put our sign, that of the guests, below the sign of the hosts.

June 7th, 2006
Back in London, back in Boekie Woekie London. Flew yesterday, very tired after an exhaustive week. A most juicy cold, a cold immune against high quantities of the remedy called alcohol marked most of this week. The week began with me registering in the duty free store upon arrival that a disappointing change had taken place since my last visit to Iceland. The label of my favorite beer had been thoroughly uglified. It used to be decent, now it is lousy. To be seen drinking this will give me a feeling of shame. At the state liquor store in the North a few days later, I found my beer still packed in the old way.

Egills Gull
      before and after
(Egils Gull after and before its looks were changed photographed against the background of Gunar's office)

Kristján with whom I had been driving to the North and with whom I was filling up the supply of medicine joked: “Up here, everything always happens a little later.” He said that a week ago and big patches of snow covered much of the ground down to the sea in Iceland’s North. The people, the grass, the birds here were still waiting for spring. Jón however we had met Wednesday sitting outside his house smoking a cigarette. To smoke cigarettes in front of your door seems a very tanning activity, not at all only for your fingertips. He looked like people look after spending a full holiday on the Canary Islands. When Kristján and I stopped by again on Saturday, beginning our drive back to the South, Jón was again sitting on the bench in front of his door, his in comparison rather pale wife Alla sat next to him. We said goodbye. I added waving to them “and have it good in - what could one call it? - in your paradise”. Stepping into the car of which Kristján had already started the engine I couldn’t quite hear what Jón shouted in reply. I thought he said there was no resemblance to paradise at all.
Where in hell was he getting his tan then?

June 2nd, 2006
These were two extremely busy weeks. The main goal was the installation of the Boekie Woekie branch at the London branch of the Hauser & Wirth Gallery at the Coppermill building in London´s East End, just off Brick Lane. See the NEWS page for more information. Boekie Woekie will be present there for three months, until the end of August alongside two big exhibitions, one of Dieter Roth and one of Martin Kippenberger. With much help from the people of the house and the trained know-how in book shop building matters of Gunnar and Björn, the shop’s furniture quickly took shape and Hetti and I could arrange the books. We felt the timing was perfect until the electricity of the building gave up and couldn’t be repaired right away. The two days with hours in candle lit darkness which we spent at Oddur’s bar waiting for something to happen made me think we were playing an improvised variation on a play by Samuel Beckett. But with the light back that play was over and the opening of the exhibition took place as planned. Björn had very beautifully arranged Dieter's part. The eight days of preparations for the shop could be put aside labeled “mission completed” - had it not been unusually cold in London (and had I not gone there dressed too lightly). I felt the first signs of a cold before I left London for Iceland last Monday. Now I’m sitting in my hideout and my nose is running incredibly. Nothing has come of the boat launch for which I really made this trip. (See the entry of September 1st, 2005.) A damaged part in the gear box of “Ögn” was only found after I had booked my flight. That part will have to come as a sparepart from Copenhagen, the boat will only be ready to be put into the sea in about two weeks, when I’ll be back in London or again in Amsterdam. Reestablishing the sailing tradition of the two first decades we have had in this house, proofs not to be very easy.

May 16th, 2006
Once in twenty years, a few years ago, Boekie Woekie was visited by a customer who put on white gloves before he began taking books into his hands to look at them. A few days ago I was made to put on white gloves by the maker of the book you see me looking at in the photography below. I never wore white gloves before in my life but don't they look remarkable especially in contrast to the Oshkosh I'm wearing? 

white gloves

I think my aversion for white gloves derives from an experience I made at the funeral of my mother, soon 23 years ago. I had already build up a dislike of the rules which the coffin carriers obeyed to. I had namely applied to be one of them to help to carry my mother to her grave. But I was told that the trade union of coffin carriers forbade others than professional coffin carriers to carry coffins. When the six coffin carriers had then lowered my mother's coffin into the grave they stood still for a moment and then took off their white gloves which they had worn to carry her coffin and dropped them onto my mother's coffin into her grave. I thought that was terrible. My symbolic handful of earth fell on top of what I felt were their dirty white gloves. I think since then I think white gloves are anyhow dirty.
I'm off to London tomorrow to install our temporary shop there.

May 10th, 2006
This is just to say: don't worry if you get nothing new to read for days. Boekie Woekie is terribly busy with with getting its act together for a three months presence in London. More about it soon - or when time allows.

May 2nd, 2006
Hetti and Rúna are back from China, both say they lost some weight on the way. Since I know her, Rúna was likely to object when a dinner at an Amsterdam Chinese restaurant was suggested. Now she is eager to go there. Both are thrilled by their experience, that is obvious. Before Hetti and Rúna came back, and together with them, several groups of Icelanders returning from the same event, the 7th Dieter Roth Conference and Exhibition, flooded back through Amsterdam on their way to Iceland. I accommodated most of them. Among them were quite many young men (for example Dieter Roth's grandsons). From them I heard stories about eating rats and dogs.

April 18th, 2006
These days calls from and to China are nothing special for Boekie Woekie. I even put the receiver down the other day while selling someone some postcards, asking Hetti at the other far away end to wait a moment. The world we live in now makes China a place around the corner. I get only occasionally surprised. That happened for example when I heard "The trees have hair here." I hadn't detected that on the pictures I found of Xiamen and the Gulangju Island on the internet. Twice I heard Icelandic singing behind Hetti's and Rúna's voice as they talked to me. That didn't surprise me. Many Icelanders like to sing, at home and especially abroad. The only Chinese voice I have heard on the phone till now was the one which is recorded and becomes audible when one phones a switched off mobile phone. It said what it had to say not only in Chinese but also in English: "The subscriber you phone is power off."
My power was off earlier today. That happened shortly after I had sold postcards to 3 female customers - one some years older than the other 2, the older one Dutch, the 2 very young ones English. The Dutch girl bought some flower cards by Rúna, the first of the English girls bought a handful of rabbit cards by Hetti, and the other, to my surprise had maybe 5 of my cards - and among them not the ever so popular "two lips from Amsterdam" card but a selection of really seldomly bought cards - one for example depicting a man's head with a fried egg on top of it, sunny side up, and a bird flying away. The 3 girls left and I turned back to my computer. I didn't quite remember what I had been busy with before helping the girls. It was one of those nervous/confused moments which often result in me laying a game of patience. It is maybe a minute or two later - really: an eternity later - when the girl who bought my cards is back. I only become aware of her because she bursts out laughing seeing what I'm busy with, and then she is out of the shop a second time.

April 12th, 2006
Last night Rúna and Hetti left for China. They traveled in company of Kristjän and Solveig who had come from Iceland a few days earlier. I hope they have arrived now in Xiamen and joined the others who also followed the call of the Dieter Roth Academy. The long trip took: Sigurđur (who has triggered of this event in its distant location and anyhow is often there), Björn, Pétur, Eggert, Gunnar (who will get 50 during his stay there) and Erika and Malcolm. Erwin and Solla, Ditta, Sandra and a long row of what could be called junior members of the academy are also there, as well as family members of  some of the staff. I have heard that altogether 50 people flew to China because of Dieter. A pity one only can imagine the face he would make hearing this.
Since the last entry I have been for 2 days to London. There plans were made for another temporary branch office of Boekie Woekie alongside another Dieter Roth exhibition from late May to late August.
Magnús and Frances accommodated me for the night. To talk with them was fun - as ever. At one point after Frances had left Magnús said he found I was worshipping Dieter. Why wasn't I emphasizing my own qualities? I had a ready reply, but it didn't come out of my mouth. I thought of saying that one of the qualities I'm proud of was my ability to recognize at least in some cases the qualities of other artists and to be not too arrogant to acknowledge that. But instead we touched many other equally interesting subjects.

April 1st, 2006
Thanks to the altogether 12 pills I took the last 2 days, those pills which were supposed to be better than the pain pills I had been on before, I know now there is a comparative form of diary. It is diarrhoea. But the feet are better.

March 31st, 2006
I hope my feet are getting better - I have been to see a doctor again yesterday and it seems he has understood that I need something which heals rather than pain pills.
Since the last entry I have been in Basel for a week, looking for texts and series of drawings of Dieter I expect I'll need for a contribution to a book I'm asked to write. Björn came from Iceland the day that Erwin (mentioned in the entry of January 11th, last year) had his sixtieth birthday. We went to a nearby Chinese restaurant by taxi. That was like during Dieter's times. He used to take a cab wherever he went. But now it was because of my painful walking. In the restaurant we came to speak of the journey which many members of the Dieter Roth Academy are soon to make. The 7th conference and exhibition are this time planned to take place in Xiamen in China. I'll stay in Amsterdam to run Boekie Woekie, but Hetti and Rúna are leaving in less than 2 weeks. Also Björn is going and I asked where he will be staying. He named a hotel and then remembered a funny story which lead to his booking that hotel. He had found a hotel web site in Xiamen which was also in Icelandic. That was of course most peculiar and he phoned that hotel. He asked the lady how it came that the web site was also in Icelandic and she replied it was for the many Icelanders who live in China. Björn was getting more surprised and asked how many she thought that would be. The lady answered they were around 10 million. (For those who read this and don't find this funny I add that recently the population of Iceland reached the landmark of 300 thousand.)  Björn said he had booked that hotel to meet that unexpected large part of fellow countrymen he had always wondered.where they were.

March 16th, 2006
I'm torn between telling the story of the night before last night, when I wanted to bike home after Boekie Woekie at around one, to find that some shameless crook had stolen the valve of my back wheel tyre. If  I would tell that story I could paint the picture of me pushing the bike as a sort of crutch while limping through the night on that sick foot. I'm sure I could tell that story in a way that you readers would sympathize with me. That would have some entertainment value. For you who will read this and for me who could think that I was pitied. That poor man I would think you would think, he had to walk on his aching foot for 20 minutes! A prospect which excites me! I think it calls for the plan of a public memorial, something like this:

sick foot 16.3.06

If this sketch should ever be turned into a real statue I insist that the light marking the sick foot blinks.
- I read this bit over, and what do you say, I don't remember the alternative story I must have had in mind just a couple of minutes ago.

March 11th, 2006
Usually, ones feet are for walking. In my case that stopped to be so a few days ago. Instead of them walking some bad pain walks around in one of them. And since for walking one needs both feet I have now been sitting, respectively lying down a lot paying attention to the pain moving from the one side to the toes, and back again and to the other side and to just above the ankle, where it is now. When I measured last I had a light fever and asked Hetti to phone Ineke, my second mama (see the entry of  January 30th, 2005). On her advice I'm swallowing now pain killer pills which also work on infections. If I'm not better after the weekend, it is time for antibiotics, I heard. - I ask myself, do I write a diary because I find those new events or insights important enough to convey or do I, by conveying banalities, want to create the impression that I believe there isn't anything of importance to be told? Or is it just the dripping of a vosset (to end with a pun my surname allows me to make)?

March 1st, 2006
Emmett, coming home today from the Berlin hospital he had been brought to, walked unaided up the several flights of stairs to their apartment. Three weeks which also felt uncomfortable to us have come to a good end. Ann phoned telling us these news. - That was the important thing of today. For the rest Hetti was bookkeeping, Rúna was continuing to print our "Twenty Years of Boekie Woekie" - book and I was trying to get accustomed to the new camera we bought and to the handling of its results. My goal was to learn to illustrate this web site with images of books and things we offer, taken with this new tool. The new camera boasts 4'000'000 pixels. In comparison I think the old one had none at all. I'll insert here a picture of the new camera taken with the old camera and one of the old camera taken with the new one.

New Camera picture of old camera

The reasons for buying a new camera weren't all those buttons to play with but the monitor the old camera didn't have. It was a time taking enterprise to get a frame filling shot of what one wanted the frame to be filled with with the old camera.
The pictures taken with the new camera need to be reduced much. To achieve that I was trying the programs Paint and Photoshop. Also I had to figure out a sequence of steps to not get confused. I ended up doing it like this: 1) take pictures of books newly added to our stock 2) download them to the pc 3) open each picture in Paint and erase the margins and give it its name, safe this lighter version 4) open each of the thus manipulated pictures in Photoshop, change their 300 to 72 pixels per inch, adjust the image size, safe 2 times in different locations: in the file which contains all web-site relevant documents and on a floppy disc for safety 5) insert the pictures at the appropriate spot into the web-site files stored in Netscape Composer: in the New Items-page as well as in the page according to alphabetical order 6) use the FTP program to load the serving computer with the altered Composer pages 7) insert the images for in-house use into our stocklist. Incidentally, this ever growing Boekie Woekie Stocklist which is kept in 12 pt Courier New, in Word, counted for the first time in the shop's history 1'000 pages today.

February 24th, 2006
When Hetti and I arrived at the hospital shortly before 10 this morning to wave Emm and Ann good-bye, they had already left. An ambulance was taking them to Berlin. Rúna who was there before us had caught a glimpse of Emmett when he was brought to the car. We ran into her when she was leaving the long hall of the hospital. Though we didn't mention it I knew also Hetti blamed our being late on our behaviour of last night. We were far from being proud of ourselves. But last night had been fun. Here, as an example, a story Hetti told of her aunt who at the time was 94 years old. Once, Hetti wore something on her head when she came on a visit, something the aunt liked and put on her own head and went to the mirror with it. Seeing herself she exclaimed: "How horrible! I look like an old woman of eighty!". - Emm and Ann must have arrived in Berlin now.

February 18th, 2006
Emm, as Ann calls him sometimes, is getting better. The often deadly illness, also called "old peoples' friend", seems defeated. The pipe down Emm's throat was removed today. For the first time in a week he could talk again and Ann says he did so the full half hour she was allowed to spend with him tonight. He is still in the intensive care ward. But when Ann returned to BW we all shared her great relief.

February 14th, 2006
Those two people we expected arrived in Amsterdam and we had a long night. But Ann woke me up early in the morning of that day because Emm needed help she wasn't strong enough to give him. It became clear that he was not okay. The opening of the announced exhibition on Saturday (see the NEWS page) took place without him or her. Ann stayed with Emm the whole day and had him taken to hospital later that night. There a pneumonia was diagnosed. Now we only hope that this goes good.

February 8th, 2006
Andrea is not coming to Amsterdam this weekend, she is sick. Beat asked whether his contribution for our 20 years Boekie Woekie book, now in pdf format, has arrived. Another day passed without any Cecilia phoning. Donald was reading in the Sugar Factory but I came too late to hear him. I forgot to return Eggert's call because I was afraid that he would want to persuade me to also come to China in April. I wrote the draft of a letter to Franz in which I offer him a job in Boekie Woekie as the man with the oil can. Gerhard will come to Amsterdam this weekend to stay with us. I haven't heard a thing of Hubert in a long time. Ineke phoned, she'll come with her daughter tomorrow to stay for one night. Johannes called off his visit to Amsterdam coming weekend. Konrad, sprach die Frau Mama, ich geh fort und du bleibst da - that happened a long, long time ago. It is always a moment of joy to hear Lonneke´s voice answering the phone when I want to speak to Michael. No Norbert, Otto or Peter showed up today. I never new anyone who wrote his name Qurt. Rod mailed a great story about a spider today. Salome reacted to the invitation for the coming opening of an exhibition in Boekie Woekie I had mailed her. Tom called, he had conquered some problem with his phone which had made it impossible for me to reach him for some time - he blamed the problem on Homeland Security. Ulla didn't come for my birthday the other day, though she had said she wanted to. Victor lives around the corner but I never see him. I can't think of anything in relation to any Werner or Xaver. I also can't right now remember all the people I know whose first names begin with Y and Z. The reason for this run through the alphabet is that we expect 2 people for the weekend which one can hear calling each other Ann and Emm.

February 2st, 2006
Boekie Woekie got yesterday a postcard. It was a business mail, or an advertisement really, from a shop selling alcohol. I would scan it and show it here but I don't have a working scanner. We plan to buy one, together with a new computer. But a new work desk will first have to be installed in the back room. The postcard shows in a orange/red/black/grey typographical solution the attempt of someone who was hired to help to increase the sale of whisky. The biggest letters read "Wilde Whisky Dagen", wild whisky days. Those three words form an appropriate headline for the spell of time this bit of diary tries to cover. Last Saturday, the 28th of January, my getting one year old for a second time was celebrated in a party. (Read the entry to this diary of January 30th, 2005.) My second mother Ineke stayed on and we drank ourselves into another heaven on Sunday. Monday she left but Tuesday Matthew came. He left early this morning. The last Johnnie Walker Blue Label I drank with Hetti 5 hours ago. I'm less drunk now than I have been during the last 6 days but I guess my blood pressure is higher than it has been for a while.

January 26th, 2006
A few days ago a person belonging to the circle which is much in and out of Boekie Woekie related a conversation she had had at a party with someone hitherto unknown to her. The two found they had something in common to talk about when one of them mentioned Boekie Woekie. And then she said I became their topic. She knows me from a time that is soon 20 years ago. For her I was always busy with Boekie Woekie. He knows me from around 1980, from before that time. She said he told her that back then I was a very gifted artist and that he couldn't understand how I could throw my life away for this bookshop.
I got very disappointed when I heard that. I thought his blunt rejection of Boekie Woekie showed he doesn't want to see the qualities of our effort. It is a writer who mowed down (my ambition which becomes evident in) Boekie Woekie by calling it a waste of time and a negligence of a gift. I'm tempted to include his view as an unasked for contribution to the book we have in the make to mark the 20 years of our existence as a shop for books by artists. 

January 19th, 2006
I never liked to throw things away. Therefore I'm surrounded, at home and in the storage spaces of Boekie Woekie, by piles of stuff kept for reasons which I have no clear idea about. Since about 10 years that landscape is growingly marked by a new feature: a mountain of computers, printers and other computer related devices. These machines are not all broken down, many were replaced by something more modern before they gave up. As someone who has known Dieter I might consider to rent a hangar (to not mention large museum spaces) and put emphasis on that landscape by working on a display of it. Four and a half years ago (in July 2001) I related in these pages the founding of the "Tropfen Museum" (drop museum) - a mountain lake into which rivers run. A forest of postcard mills or postcard stands (if I ever knew what these things are called in English, I have forgotten again) would invite for a walk. A glacier of unused paper. I have to stop to dream about it, it is half past two, I have to go to sleep.

January 9th, 2006
I was in Berlin for two days and besides seeing some others I went to visit Dorothy. It has been more than a year that I saw her last but we have known each other for almost 40 years. We touched many subjects during the 4 hours I stayed with her. One was that ongoing interview she was busy with. She read a question put to her: whether she felt to have been part of a revolution (sexual, artistic, hippy or whatever)? It showed on her face that she wouldn't answer that very easily. The amount of beer I had within me was just right to make me say “Oh, I would know an answer to that!” but already when I heard myself say those words I doubted that I knew what I was saying. But that I didn't tell Dorothy and today I found a fax where she asks me not to forget, bitte, to answer that question, and, dankeschön!
Now I have to. And therefore then this: Dorothy has been for all the time I've known her an incarnation of all revolutionaries. She determined herself which hierarchy she would acknowledge and which to laugh away.
But that she was part of a revolution, one with a name (sexual, artistic, hippy or whatever), would be wrong to say. Unless one would think of that big and permanent one which the better of us engage in so that we all can shed ballast from out minds.

December 27th, 2005
I followed the media reports of the last few weeks in regard to that German woman kidnapped in Iraq and set free again after 3 weeks captivity maybe now 10 days ago. Her kidnappers were said to threaten to kill her if Germany wouldn't act in a certain way. One could hear from the authorities that everything possible was done to save the woman's life. As many have heard on the radio or seen on telly or read on the internet or in the papers this woman is thinking of staying in Iraq - against all advice especially of those German authorities who say to have done everything to free her. This woman one hears has lived for a long time in Iraq, she speaks Arabian, she is helping with great engagement to ease the tensions in that country, tensions of which I would think she must have a good, first hand judgment. Today I read that the financial support she had gotten from the state of Germany to erect a German cultural centre had been stopped. A member of the German parliament, a social democrat, is quoted saying the German tax payer would not easily be persuaded to finance another release campaign. I don't understand the world anymore. Is it not common ground to assume that each of us does what he has to do, risky or not? If this woman sees her task there and she is doing something good, are we not to support her? Are we so afraid that we give up common ground because the desperados in Iraq now all might focus on her to grab her again because of her increased media value? I don't get it anymore.

December 24th, 2005
Here I sit with a beer, fully visible from the street side of the shop window, about to write down and publish my latest pondering on our diary page of the world wide web. I still have to ponder on what I would want my pondering to be about. Anyhow, no one is right now flattening his nose on our window pane. I can lean back in my chair and am for the moment quite unobserved. I feel when leaning back how the back of my head gets into an air stream going ceiling-wards from the gas stove behind me. That feels pleasant. The keyboard in front of me becomes less of an attraction. You can read what is written here as my second best option of spending my time.

December 23rd, 2005
It is 10 past 1 o'clock in the morning. Hetti is trying to get me to bike home with her. Think of yourself, she says, don't make another long night out of it. We have been working all day, little disturbed by customers or visiting friends. Books have to be written into the stocklist, our bookkeeping is no small chapter. The artists who run this enterprise have choosen to find a path rarely marked by a red carpet. Now it is 1.30, till next time.

December 11th, 2005
I biked to take a look at the "Kleine Uitgevers Beurs" (the small publishers fair) which took place today, as a yearly event, in Paradiso, the multi-purpose building (formerly a church) near the city's liveliest square. I would guess there were 60 publishers who had displayed their products on tables behind which they sat. As one of many I was populating the customers' side of the tables. My being penniless didn't annoy me too often. I haven't often been to the Paradiso. I was there twice I think around 15 years ago for the same reason as I went for today. But back then I operated from the other side of the table - Boekie Woekie was an exhibitor. (It ended both times similarly penniless as I was today - I remember nobody bought anything. That in a way was worse than not being able to buy anything.) More than 15 years before that I also came there, I think it was late in 1970 or early 1971, years before living in Amsterdam became an option for me (before I met Hetti). I had come here from Düsseldorf, with Emil and Johannes, in my gray Volkswagen. We ended up in Paradiso after talking to the brothers Kristján and Siggi. They were living here and especially Siggi was then making arrangements for an exhibition in Fodor, the then branch office of the Stedelijk Museum. He had proposed a group show of artists affiliated with the Reykjavík gallery Súm, the brothers' home base so to say. Johannes, Emil and me belonged to the invited because again two years earlier, Dieter had  taken things of Johannes, Emil and me to Iceland to be exhibited with that Súm group, as they were called. That exhibition (catalogue not available in Boekie Woekie) had made us one of them. After the talks with Kristján and Siggi who both were young fathers and couldn't maybe sneak out too easily from under their home obligations we 3 düsseldorfian dandies went to the Paradiso. There I saw a slide show of slides which had a drop of oil and water between the glass plates. The heat of the light bulb of the projector brought oil and water to a boil. That made the slide projector a movie projector. Fodder for our expanded perception. That was I think what the effects were called of what we were smoking.

December 1st, 2005
I was reminded of a lack of congruency of my perception of the Dieter Roth Academy and - I think Pétur's idea of it. In the speech Rannveig gave on the occasion of the opening of Rúna's exhibition in Seyđisfjörđur, last Saturday, she said that we (Hetti, Rúna and me) are professors of the DRA in Skaftfell, the Cultural Centre of Seyđisfjörđur. I'm convinced that back in May of the year 2000 the founding committee of the DRA made the point of  locating the DRA there were its members would be to avoid to have one address. - Writing those few words, I have come to a full stop. What if Pétur and Rannveig don't claim the DRA for Seyđisfjörđur but just are a bit more charming in welcoming friends?

November 23rd, 2005
Magnús, Kolbein and Frances are back in London. They were here on the occasion of the opening of  that exhibition which goes together with the book referred to in last week's entry (see also the NEWS page). Rúna has left yesterday for Iceland. Next Saturday she'll open an exhibition at Skaftfell, the Cultural Centre in Seyđisfjörđur on the east cost of Iceland. "Postcards to Iceland" is the title of what she will show. The postcards are enlargements (each quite big, more than a meter by around 80 cm) made on our colour copying machine of more than 50 postcards by Rúna which Boekie Woekie actually sells (you see samples when you choose "Flowers" after clicking "Postcards" in the main menu of this web site). Those cards show flowers, or leaves. Postcards to Iceland one can obviously only send from abroad. In Iceland it is winter now. The cards and even more so, their enlargements are attempts of representing nature's thrive to grow, they suggest that that thrive is something pleasant. They seem to say it is good there were those leaves and flowers grow. Good tidings: it's good there where those postcards were sent from. I think Rúna hopes the (around 600) people of Seyđisfjörđur will get a positive impulse, an encouragement, from her exhibition. A reminder of life.
At the same time I can't help to think that the leaves and flowers of her "Postcards to Iceland" show what grows inside of Rúna, but not so much what grows in Holland, where she lives. They are her projections more than that they are reports of what she finds in these low countries. Rúna is a good Icelander who lives with her dream, abroad or at home, she is like one of those as Halldór Kiljan Laxness portrayed them in his novels.

November 18th, 2005
In brief: The computer used the most for maintaining this web site, for e-mailing, but also for the daily business with stocklist and bookkeeping, got terribly sick: a bloodhound virus and loads of spyware were diagnosed. It didn´t function at all anymore and I was afraid it was irreparable. For 9 days we had to do without. During that time Gunnar, Pétur and the rest of the guys who work for Gunnar visited Amsterdam from Iceland for what was planned a short weekend but since most of them missed their return flight it became almost a week they were here. Björn and Malcolm came to Amsterdam too - the house was full, the computer kaput. But the production of the books by Magnús continued. It is the first book I ever participated in making which has an isbn number. And since the computer came back from the repairshop a few hours ago it also has become the first book to be represented on our web site with an image - with what some people would call a not too good image - I just took it with my toy camera (bought in a toy shop). I hope this will be the beginning of  more books being illustrated. It is this I'm speaking of:

Pálsson, Magnús
The Skinned Rabbit And Other Dreams

dreams told to M.P. by 25 people, soft cover, dustjacket, 52 pages, 20,5 x 14,5 cm, contains a CD with a recording of almost 41 minutes by M.P., sound processing: Steinţór Birgisson and Rod Summers, cover image for CD and book by Rod Summers, ed/250, Amsterdam 2005
EUR 28.-

Pálsson Skinned Rabbit

November 7th, 2005
Boekie Woekie took a day off yesterday. The three of us went to Dortmund by train. At 5 past eight in the morning I opened my first beer (that's when the train left the station). In Arnhem 2 people we knew entered our coach - they didn't see us at first, but when I said loudly, them being about to take their seats a few rows away from us, "Also going to Dortmund?" they looked up and recognized us, and yes, they also were going to Dortmund. In Duisburg we had to change trains. Only there we saw that Kees was walking with the help of a cane. The story was he had suffered heavy blows to his health. It is 7 years since we saw them last. For the first time I could tell the story of my death (see the entry of January 30th this year) without the feeling that what I had experienced had to sound like boasting to the listener. We arrived in Dortmund when I had emptied the first 6 pack, shortly after 11. In the Dortmund museum a small exhibition of Emmett's works was being opened. Emmett and Ann where there. Ann showed us photographs of the ceremony in which Emmett was made doctor honoris causa recently in Poland. The genuine lightness which Emmett radiates is really enjoyable. After the obligatory restaurant session Boekie Woekie started on its way home. We arrived back in Duisburg. Here my parents lie buried. My urge to show off some intimate knowledge of  my home town resulted in my claim that nowhere one can get better Bratwurst than here. To proof it I bought 3, one for Hetti, one for Rúna, one for me. Such a Bratwurst is quickly eaten, and there were still a few minutes for the train to Amsterdam to arrive. In order to underline how really good at least I found the Duisburgian Bratwursts I ran to get 3 more. The Bratwurstgirl had to serve first another customer. She wasn't all that quick with my sausages and the change - I was starting to get nervous: I must not miss the train. Finally I jumped up the stairs to the platform, 3 wursts in my hand, to realize that the signal for departure was just now given. There was no time to consider, I just managed to jump on board, and the train left the station. 2 Seconds later I found out that I was on a train to Berlin, or Hamburg, but not to Amsterdam. So I took my 3 sausages to Essen and back again to Duisburg. The sausages I felt were not so hot anymore. Half an hour later back in Duisburg, I sensed no temperature in them at all. Walking back to the platform I left from, I hoped I would find my friends there. I hoped they hadn't left for Amsterdam with that train I missed. Hetti had my ticket! I knew there'd come another train to Holland 1 hour after the one I missed. I passed the wurst stand and saw the girl had closed it and was gone. But they were there on the platform, Hetti and Rúna! They sat now on a bench. They couldn't figure out what had happened. I was an idiot and I shouldn't try to charm them with those sausages! Never have they had anything as bad as cold Duisburgian Bratwurst. Then came the train the 3 of us took. The 2nd 6 pack was finished in Amsterdam. We were starting to find the detour funny. The Boekie Woekie business outing ended in a jazz club.

November 1st, 2005
I'm returning in my thoughts to my recent visit to the Small Publishers Fair in London. I often felt there my limitations when speaking English. Geraldine, the poet, sensed that and tried to teach me some English pronunciation (besides that she told me I should not drink beer from early in the day on. But I took her as being just as drunk as myself). The other born English speakers had a technique of  playing along with me. If they thought I had understood what they had said they offered the end of the conversation. For me to conclude: what friendly folks! Should I not be thankful to them not to test my English further.
In my Amsterdam (and Icelandic) existence (and those are the two existences I have) I speak more English than any other language. Not many of those in Holland or Iceland I talk to are born into the English language. This special English we speak here is like a bridge out from our personal, national backgrounds, we speak it as a sort of Esperanto. That English must make me a clown in London as for example our books had to make us clowns at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
A little later I think a clown in this sense is a fitting description for an artist.

October 26th, 2005
I have been writing this diary now for 5 years. Soon a year ago when in Iceland, I began to print out its entries in a small edition. I didn't continue that when back in Amsterdam. As a matter of fact I don't know now where those print outs are. But I'll try to find them and hope I can pull myself together and continue printing the rest to make a printed version of these pages. Until that is done I intend to continue this diary.

October 24th, 2005
Back from a weekend in London. Two days at the Small Publishers Fair. Still a little tired from an exhaustive time which was fun to spend. Michael's new book "All or Nothing" had gotten ready in time for the fair - soon more about it on these pages. Also Boekie Woekie was in time with the first copies of a book for which Magnús has collected and arranged the material. And and and. And yesterday I took the tube from Les's home in Tooting to Pick a Lilly Square, or how it is called or spelled nowadays. From there I walked to Cork Street were many art galleries are. I tried to look into one through the window. The rooms were dark but I could make out 2 pictures of that kind as they had also been on display in Hafnarhús in Reykjavík (see the entries further down from May to August for details). They were Hansjörg´s Dieters. In the door a Dieter exhibition was announced to open the 26th. If the gallery had been open already I would have said to the gallery owner that I thought he was walking on thin ice.

October 18th, 2005
These lines are written during that time of the year, and in a place with trees and dogs, when those who walk better look at what is small and brown in front of their feet to be sure it is only an autumn leaf, before they put a foot on it. I can give this good advice because I belong to the walking class again (see a little further down) and speak from experience. Considering this newly regained insight into brown matter makes me think of a kind of wise crack which popped up inside me many years ago. It was formulated in German and can't be translated without some explanation. I'll quote that German sentence: Nachts ins Schwarze zielen und es zu treffen, ist nicht so schwer. To aim at scoring the bull's-eye at night, and to hit it, is not all that difficult. The bull's-eye in German is "das Schwarze", the blackness. To step into brownies of whatever kind, in autumn, is quite likely.

October 11th, 2005
In about 2 weeks it will be 5 years ago that I began this diary. When I was in Iceland, soon a year ago, I began to print it. My intention was to produce a small edition of books (see the entry of December 15th, 2004). After being back in Holland the turbulent times meant the printing was discontinued. Was it only postponed? I actually would not know now where to look for the packages of printed sheets I then brought back with me.

October 6th, 2005
Yesterday afternoon I read aloud yesterday's diary entry to Hetti and Rúna. Rúna commented that with the words "You have a bleeding heart". I thought I just was hangovered. Or is that maybe the same?
 
October 5th, 2005
I just arrived in Boekie Woekie, opened the shop. (Usually I write these diary bits at the end of the day, long after closing the shop.) Getting up today meant to hurry into my clothes and to Boekie Woekie, it was already 10 to 12. (The shop says it is open at 12.) I left the battlefield of last night's dinner party behind - trusting Hetti, to take care of it. I feel how the abrupt stop of the alcohol flow at an early morning hour changes my perception of the new day. It is extremely bright and clear. I'm moving in it with senseless steps: every bit of sense being explicitly determined long before I can begin to move. My senselessness is restless, I have to move but I can't make sense. I can only mess up the sense there is. So I open  the web page of Der Spiegel, and read a piece there about small children being taught in several languages. As often before tears run down my cheeks. The whole big machine, how it works. How trifle my contribution to it: a few tears, the least possible sideline into an ocean of water, not tears. The tearishness of the water lost behind the first bend, I hope.

September 30th, 2005
Hetti has returned from her brief holiday in the North of Iceland. Now we share her bicycle, I bike on it on my way to the shop, she uses it to get back home in the evenings. At first I thought I wouldn't like that solution, but now, after a week, I'm looking forward to my walk home after finishing this bit of writing. It is actually more fun to walk, one sees more. But that doctors have advised both Hetti and me to walk more must have helped to start to like to walk.
Autumn has come to Amsterdam.

September 16th, 2005
Off I biked into a rainy night last night, and  had a small accident on the way home. A car ignored my right of way at a corner and we collided, resulting in my front wheel getting quite bent. Of course I had no lights on my bike. But the poor car driver was terribly sorry and confused and it did not occur to me that I should not accept the 50 Euros he was offering me. Walking my bike home I realized that to repair it would become an expensive thing: my bike has a brake system one doesn't see often. I won't be able to just exchange the front wheel. This morning, only half an hour ago, I took Hetti's bike to return to Boekie Woekie. There I opened an e-mail by Peter in which he points out that the mountains between France and Spain are the Pyrenees (in German: die Pyrenäen).

September 15th, 2005
Our books are back from Iceland. All went well on the way back. (I don't remember whether I mentioned it here, but some of the cardboard boxes got soaked in water on their way to Iceland. Books worth close to 2000 Euros got destroyed. Listasafn Reykjavikur, the museum which housed Boekie Woekie from May till August assures us that there is an insurance case going. But having not heard of any progress we are starting to get impatient.)  I haven't seen Fredie since my return to Amsterdam. I think he is the only one of the regular visitors to this shop who hasn't shown up. Today Armin came in. He is not really a "regular", he lives on one of those islands in the Atlantic which are situated to the west of Northern Africa. That is too far away, he can't get here frequently. He brought books which Boekie Woekie will try to sell for him and Boekie Woekie paid him his share of the money for those books it has sold  for him last year. Armin drank 2 cups of coffee and told us (Runa and me) about people on his island living in caves (of course with television). Yesterday Pieter visited. He is not a "regular" either, he spends most his time in his house in the foothills on the French side of the mountains between France and Spain. (Writing this I wanted to use the English word for those mountains. But I spend in vain more than a minute trying to find the spelling of the name of those mountains. Since my internet dictionary "Leo" refused to help me, here is at least the German for those mountains: they are called "die Pyrinäen".) Pieter has been before a player on these pages. May 5th, 2004 talks about him and earlier than that there are other pages. It is always good to see Pieter. Since I know him (for 30 years about) he has been able with his personal as well as his pictures' presence, to convey something of the mind's elegantly clumsy effort to cope with all of this called "world" or "life". Charmingly unpretentious, I always found. But before I get lost in the foothills of the Pyrines (wouldn´t that be their English name?)  I return to my wristwatch and see it is 10 past 2  - I'm off.
 
September 11th, 2005
After a few, anyhow wheatherwise, very beautiful days in the North of Iceland with Hetti I returned on Monday by plane to the country's capital. Kristján fetched me from the airport. We ate at Solveig's. She had prepared slátur (liver paté and blood sausage from lambs). I was happy they didn't urge me to eat more. Solveig said with consideration this food was maybe not the best for people with heart problems. She gave me some jam and juice of berries she had collected recently there in the North where I had just returned from to take to Amsterdam. Then a few beers with Kristján at his place next-door and then a taxi to town with him, more beers and also schnappses there. Lots of words to lots of people if I remember right. Kristján is 65 and I, 60, was briefly dead not long ago: for how long do we think can we continue this style? At around 3, I was in bed and up again before 5 to be in time for the plane to Amsterdam. I forgot Solveig's jam and juice in the fridge. In Amsterdam they drink Grolsch. That is what I'm doing now. Cheers!

September 1st, 2005
The period Boekie Woekie manifested itself in Hafnarhús in Reykjavík along with the Dieter Roth exhibition is over. Our books are packed into 112 cardboard boxes. The container into which those boxes are put is sealed and will soon be sent to Amsterdam. Hetti came a few days before the exhibition ended from Holland. That enabled us to take shifts being present in the shop. I found time to write a few pages on Dieter Roth. Hetti took the opportunity to see the other 2 Dieter Roth exhibitions.
My beautiful old Lada Sport needed a new start motor. Kristján towed me for a few meters so that I could drive the car myself and he continued then to drive in front of me, showing me the way to the repair shop in Kópavogur. After we left the Lada behind Kristján was going to show me his contribution to a museum exhibition in the vicinity. But my exclamation: “There! Look! That’s what we are looking for!” changed the rest of the day. I had spotted a boat outside a row of industrial buildings. When we came near it, it looked really charming. We immediately liked its nice proud shape. We measured that it was a little more than 5 meters long and about 2 meters wide. The space of the front half of it is taken by a cabin with two berths and a small stove, the back half is open. It proofed to be made from plastic, which had been our precondition if we were ever to buy a boat again. The boat would be steered with a tiller. It stood there on a trailer and it had a small sign on it: “Til sölu”, for sale, and a telephone number. Kristján phoned the number and heard that the small diesel engine would produce 10 horse powers. The price would include the trailer. We knew we would have to buy the boat. This was the possibility we had been waiting for ever since we bought a boat last time (read something about that in the entry for June 17th, 2001) and sold it half a year later with considerable loss because we failed to ever get its engine trustworthily running. Kristján informed his son Ívar, Ívar informed his friend and partner in business, Reynir (the son of Rúna). We are 4 in our longing for a boat for the inhabitants/visitors of the house I call my hideout in the North of Iceland. The young men Reynir and Ívar have partly grown up here and return every year. The next morning Ívar bought the boat. Next summer, after its engine is overhauled, we want to tow it to the North. We won’t change the name, the boat is called “Ögn”, which means “a little bit”.
The day before the last day of the exhibition was Saturday the 21st of August. That was the day the cultural institutions start the new season. They call it “Menningar Nótt”, Cultural Night, in Reykjavík, and it attracts some tenth of thousands of visitors who come downtown. It culminates in a grand fireworks, and long queues in front of all the bars. I was joking, the night should be called the Dark Ages of Culture, but nobody laughed. Early in the afternoon of that day, when people were still sober, the Reykjavík Art Museum had invited for me giving a talk on Dieter Roth and for Malcolm reading English texts by Dieter.
I’ll close this entry with what I read:

Dear people present, thank you for coming. Dear people of the Reykjavík Art Museum, thanks for making it possible to speak here.
I have prepared a short text I want to read to you today. The title of this text is

“Patience, Tolerance and Irony”.

These words are for me key words in an attempt to understand the person Dieter Roth and what he may mean to us.

I dedicate my words here to Dieter’s great friend Ira Wool who will turn 80 tomorrow.

The talks I gave before on Dieter Roth were concerned with Diter Rot, and Dieter Roth, as he spelled his name later.

Now I’ll try it again, with another version of his name in mind: Diëter (the one who is on a diët) (and the one who has to:) rot.

Diëter! Diëter, rot!

Some years ago I have seen (and I think I have at home in Amsterdam a copy of) the recording of a Swiss television talk-show, which was broadcast life, shortly after Christmas, maybe 15 years ago. There Dieter finds himself sitting at the same table together with I think 5, fairly straight Swiss characters.
If seen from a slightly shifted point of view, fairly straight means of course quite crazy.
The people at this table were invited to talk about the subject: “Should we get rid of the Christmas kilos if we could, and if yes, how can we?”
Dieter was the most voluminous person at the table.
It is quite difficult for Germans to understand the Swiss-German dialect. I am German and it was of course Swiss-German the people at this table spoke. But the bits I did understood and the body language,  isn't it called body language?: the involuntary gestures of the people at this table suggested that none of the invited talkers was at ease with himself or the others, they all seemed to suffer from a constipated mind and sat stiff in their chairs.
All were constipated except one: Dieter Roth. He was lively and he talks in private and in his private version of Swiss-German into which he was not born, but which was one of the many languages he had to learn. He kept whispering more than speaking to his neighbor but one got the idea he was having fun. At a given moment he got up to go to pee. He asked the  talk master where the toilets were.

After this unheard of incident, after television etiquette had come under this monstrous attack the Swiss daily paper “Blick” shoveled for I think 10 subsequent days front page shit at Dieter Roth. The tone was: “We’ll expose this drunk, dirty man to the public, this man who calls himself an artist and who can not even behave himself. We shall teach him manners.”

It was an altogether totally absurd nothing turned into a scandal. The  talk master lost his job over the affair. I met him in Basel a few years after Dieter's death, around 10 years after the talk-show. He asked to be shown around in Dieters studio. I did show him around in the cave of the dragon by which he had been slain. The simple, unpretentious, self-made, at least self-designed interior of Dieter’s studio made the ex-talk-master sigh. I think the sigh was a sigh of recognition that his defeat was final.

Later it went through my mind that I should have asked the ex-talk-master whether it was customary before the show to apply make-up on the faces of the participants in his show. I’m certain I could have added another Dieter story to my repertoire if someone had tried to put rouge on his cheeks.

I remember one time when Dieter related laughingly what he had just read in one of the classical German or Austrian composer’s autobiographies. I think it was Brahms’. Brahms would leave his composer’s office an hour earlier than his wife thought. When he was expected at home for dinner at 7 he would go at 6 to eat at a restaurant, and then go home and declare to be hungry as a wolf and to be happy to finally get something to eat.

There is a poem by Dieter Roth which can serve as a key to how he saw eating, (or, of course, how he ate seeing). I have made for this occasion a translation of the poem into English:

my eye is a mouth
my eyelids are the mouth’s lips
my eyelashes are the mouth’s teeth
my eyeball is the mouth’s tongue
my iris is the mouth’s tip of the tongue
my pupil is the mouth’s kiss
my eye socket is the mouth’s palate
my optic nerve is the mouth’s gullet
my brain is the mouth’s stomach
my pictures are the mouth’s digestion
my life is the mouth’s excrement

my excrement is the eye’s life
my digestion is the eye’s pictures
my stomach is the eye’s brain
my gullet is the eye’s optic nerve
my palate is the eye’s socket
my kiss is the pupil
my tip of the tongue is the iris
my tongue is the eye’s ball
my teeth are the eye’s lashes
my lips are the eye’s lids
my mouth is an eye

Maybe not only the eye, but also the ear is a mouth if one considers aspects of the following observation:
Around 1970 Dieter was a frequent guest at Daniel Spoerri’s, his old friend’s and competitor’s “Eat Art”-restaurant in Düsseldorf. I remember feasts there with both Daniel and Dieter deeply engaged in their work, the one as host and the other as guest. Daniel was serving for example sliced elephant trunks with a filling of steamed nightingale tongues and Dieter was stuffing his ears with spaghetti.


I think it is possible to describe Dieter Roth as a man who made his living by newly explaining the processes of participation in life. He researches himself. He researches his dependence on and the interaction with the others and with that which surrounds him. Eating and seeing, the eating of substantial and unsubstantial food and digesting it make him tick. The poem I just read shows he discovered a scientific as well as poetic formula which allowed him to call equal those processes which take place in the body as well as in the mind. This discovery gained him a powerful superiority over other people and for quite a while granted him a great ease of mind.

Instead of “he discovered a formula” I should probably say “he rediscovered a formula”, a formula hidden under a thick layer of cultural waste as Dieter Roth would have called it. Identical mouth/eye processes as Dieter knows them, must long ago have been common knowledge. In this sense Dieter would be a person with a better memory than others. Or he would be one who was sort of lucky not getting his brains washed. Or he kept a sense for the oneness of the whole in spite of the whole being scattered into endlessly many facets.

Anyhow, what he rediscovered and expressed in that poem is the likeness of two physiological processes. Those processes happen on behalf of that nature which man until now has not yet learnt how to fiddle around with. Man has a mouth through which his food has to go and he has eyes through which he must see. The rediscovery of the likeness of the processes of seeing and eating allow Dieter, so to say, to lean back in his chair. He knows he can trust nature. Therefore he can quite patiently participate in whatever there is - the digestive processes of eye and mouth are there to feed him. For the time being he doesn’t need to struggle for his existence. Instead, he gains time – time in paradise so to say. It becomes easy for him to be tolerant – everything is good the way it is.

But the time gained needs to be spent. As one was able to see in Reykjavík during the last 3 months, Dieter accomplished an enormous body of work. That one man who only lived for 68 years could have done all this has astounded many. In my eyes this became possible because the working formula gained time for him. There is a gigantic factory at work. The digestive processes work so well, that only the tops of the funny red hats of the little workmen stick out of the brown massa they produce.

Of course the time comes when only irony helps him to cope with the experience of how well the digestive processes are taking care of themselves and everything around them: being visible is being eaten. Not only Dieter Roth digests, others digest him too. The struggle for existence is back on the menu card.

Coincidence wants it that to rot is understood in the English language as a digestive process. Therefore: whether he is on a diët or whether he is an eater, Dieter will rot.

Dieter’s (re)discovery of the sameness and the naturalness of the digestive processes of mind and body also point at the fact that he laid bare the bone structure of what seems a basic truth. He got rid of the thick layer of the before mentioned cultural waste which had grown like meat on this bone. Men can’t help it, they develop habits of perception. We like to call our eating habits “grand cuisine”. We forget that we only see what we can recognize and that we only eat what we have learnt to recognize as food. We are convinced we really see what in reality we only imagine.

Dieter, to round things up and to come to an end, has carried out work on the inner relation of life processes. He could show us that things work by themselves. His patiently inquisitive mind was rewarded with tolerance. His discovery gave him time to play with and test his ideas. Irony was needed to cope with the insight that you see and you eat means you are seen and you are eaten.

At last I want to point to a moral quintessence which can be of far-reaching importance. Dieter Roth triggered it off as a result of his discovery. I think namely that the works by Dieter which now hang on the walls of other people produce time too. Whatever Dieter did, it had become of independent quality. Had he not invented the perpetuum mobile? As the better machines are, once they work, they don’t need their inventor. This invention we have learnt to recognize as Dieter’s art. Each of his art works had to be itself so to say a branch office of the big factory. The endless number of small factories, called pictures, which Dieter has put on the walls of the homes of an endless number of people can now produce time for those who see (or eat) them. That is it what I think of when I say “moral quintessence”: that now, since these branch offices produce time for us, did we think about how we will spend it?
Thank you.

August 13th, 2005
My month of taking care of the Boekie Woekie, temporarily in Reykjavík, is almost over. On the 21st of August the Dieter Roth exhibitions are closing, and our shop will be packed up once again. Hetti will arrive to Reykjavík tomorrow from Amsterdam. This will allow us to take shifts running the shop for the last week the exhibitions are on. I look forward to finally get a chance to see the 3rd exhibition with Dieter’s early works, which is on display in the grand new building of the power supplying company in the outskirts of Reykjavík. When Gunnar invited me the other day to a grill party at his home east of Reykjavík I drove a short detour to be sure I would find my way to this grand new building. Coming closer to it I was reminded of the text “2 tvöfaldir & 4 einfaldir” by Hreggviđur Hlynur (the pseudonym for Vigfús Björnsson) which Dieter translated word by word into German. Volume 15 of Dieter’s collected works begins with this translation. “Das Grossgehäuse des Werkwissenschaftszusammengusses zündete, eins einem Riesengestirn, über das Hohe der Stadt Rauchbucht, an einem Kurztag.” Though this story begins on a winter day, I could imagine all what Hreggviđur told, and what Dieter made out of what he told, to happen here in this building of Orkuveita Reykjavíkur.

In May already during the days after installing Boekie Woekie in Hafnarhús I had a chance to see the other downtown Reykjavík exhibition because Rúna and I could then take shifts for a few days. 

During many years I haven’t spend so much time in Reykjavík as now. The last longer spell I think was in 1978, when I was teaching here for a month at the art school. During my stay now I could not really leave my bookshop during the opening hours of the museum, from 10am - 5pm, 7 days a week. Of course I looked for reasons to run small errands since book interested people did not always keep me fully engaged. I went for example a few times during shop hours to the post office, etc. “Etc” on 2nd thought more specifically has until now meant an occasional quick visit (2 or 3 times) to the State Liquor Store in Austurstraeti. On top of that, when Björn visited once, he showed me the shortest way from Hafnarhús (where “I run Boekie Woekie”) to a bar almost directly next to that liquor store. We took a quick drink there.  We deserved it because we had saved some time by making use of that shortcut. The short cut had consisted of entering KB bank’s backdoor and leaving the bank through the front door. After the drink, we split. I bought next door a few beers for my long hours in the shop, and intended to use Björn’s shortcut on my way back to the museum again but got stuck in the bank not finding my way out of it again. The clerks began to notice me so that I preferred to rather take the longer way home via the front door.
But I had the evenings to look around. I can’t say how much I find Reykjavík changed.

August 8th, 2005
I saw a book at Björn’s studio the other day which has a foreword by me, but in his copy my name under the foreword was spelled incorrectly. The book is listed on our website with the following words:

(Roth, Dieter) Ađ Gera the pages of this book are reproductions of sheets of paper Gunnar Helgason, Dieter Roth’s Icelandic carpenter on many occasions, has kept in a ring file. The file, labelled “Ađ Gera” (Icelandic for “to be done”), contains not only bills and sheets of calculations, but also many examples of the overt commitment Dieter Roth showed to every single detail of the things he wanted to have built, repaired or altered, and how this was done, produced in Dieter Roth’s own Copy Book tradition, “Ađ Gera” shows the artist who brought decay into art as a man who at the same time had a keen interest in construction, reproduced in colour, with a foreword by Jan Voss, hard cover, 136 not numbered pages plus 1 fold out plate, 29,6 x 21 cm, ed/30 copies in Roth’s Verlag, Basel and Mosfellsbćr, 2004 (six additional copies exist numbered from I - VI for the private use of the owner of the manuscript and the publisher)
EUR 125.-

In Björns copy my name is spelled with F, Jan Foss. The history of the coming into existence of this book was marked by several detours, one of them was that Rúna and Hetti during their respective spell of taking care of the Reykjavík Boekie Woekie had to exchange the foreword because of the F instead of the V.
Björn laughed a little at my astonishment seeing an uncorrected copy of this book. He said he was sure I actually liked the misspelling.
The way Germans pronounce the name Voss would have to be spelled in Icelandic Foss to sound the same. Foss is Icelandic word for waterfall. Reading Voss aloud they would have to say Woss – a meaningless syllable.
In my first years in Iceland, back in the early seventies, I was befriended with Einar who long since has moved abroad. He started to nickname me Gull Foss, after the landmark waterfall of this country. (Gull is the word for gold.) He started to do this partly due to the fact that the Icelandic authorities then demanded from foreigners applying for Icelandic nationality to change their names into something sounding Icelandic. Though I never in earnest thought of an Icelandic passport, I spend so much time in this country that this prospect became a possibility to tease me. Einar however could have no idea that at the end of the eighties when the beer ban fell Egill, one of the country’s biggest brewers, would name his top brand of beer after my nickname – Egils Gull (Foss), obliging me to become and stay his best customer. I don’t remember whether it was before or after beer being allowed in Iceland, but long ago when on a drive and visiting the waterfall I insisted a picture was taken of me (by whom?)  peeing into Gullfoss. Back in Amsterdam I hope I’ll remember to try to locate the picture and if I can, I’ll collage it in a way showing me holding an Egils Gull can to my lips to show how essentially I’m build into one of the country’s greatest wonders.
Another reason for Einar to give me a nickname was probably the fact that I at the time we got to know each other I had adopted an artist’s name, I signed my works with Young Voss. I don’t remember when I returned to my real name, maybe in 1974 or 75, and I don’t remember when I first gave it up (1970?).
The whole process of name changing (in my case) was triggered off by stumbling as it were over a book on sale at a Düsseldorf department store, with a cover which would survive a treatment in a washing machine. The title was something like Neue Kunst aus Norddeutschland (new art from Northern Germany). I opened it rather absent mindedly, but was flashed into urgent presence when my glance fell on my name under a picture which wasn’t mine. I did not buy the book – I was too shocked. Today I regret that a little. But I told the people of my then world about my discovery of the fact that I wasn’t the only artist with the name Jan Voss. Robert Filliou, then living in Düsseldorf, got to hear that story too – and knew my namesake from his times in Paris. With his incomparable laughter he suggested – seen the circumstance of my namesake being my older – I’d call myself Young Voss. It was his laughter which won me for that idea and of course the phonetics of Jan and Young being so similar.
It remains to tell what made me return to my original name. That was in the early times of courting Hetti. From 1974 on I was a frequent train passenger between Düsseldorf and Amsterdam. On one of those trips when as usually one had to show ones passport, it happened that the passport controller, the custom officer, went into the breast pocket of his uniform and pulled out his own passport and handed it to me, while he was still studying mine. His name too was Jan Voss and he was born the same day as I. We looked briefly at each other – and without a word exchanged our passports back again. After that I dropped the Young and my consciousness allowed me for many years to point out the advantage to be gained for art if all artists would write Jan Voss into the lower right corner of their pictures. That remark never earned me many laughs, I confess, and I hardly make it any more.
I felt I had to relate this history of  nick- and assumed names since Björn thought I would like the little alteration from V to F. I do, but I can’t let it stand. It is Jan Voss for me because of all the namesakes I don’t want to disappoint.

July 25th, 2005
Finna comes everyday at 1 pm with around 20 kids of 16 years of age. She shows them around in the exhibition and has me introduce Boekie Woekie to them. I grab then a few books from the shop tables – books of which I think a 16 year old can get the quintessence without too much reading or explaining. I show them usually

Voss, Jan Hin + Her many small blank pages and a handdrawn figure on the fore edge which seems to move back and forth when one handles the book, signed, adhesively bound, since 1978 EUR 16,00

Voss, Jan Detour one long pen drawing from the front via all the 358 pages to the back cover or, if one looks at the closed book, a short drawing from the front cover via the fore edge to the back cover (the lines of the long version of the drawing cross the fore edge in a way that a recognizable short drawing results), numbered/1000, signed, 24 x 17 cm, adhesive binding, slip case, Amsterdam Köln London Recife Stuttgart Zürich 1989 EUR 55,00

Gibbs, Michael Pages pages from different books arranged by their page numbers, numbered/100, Kontexts Publications, Amsterdam 1976 EUR 125,00

Gibbs, Michael Pages 2 numbered/20, signed, DaCosta Amsterdam 1983 EUR 218,00

(Roth, Dieter) Dieter Roth In America with interviews in English with people who knew D.R. in the early sixties in America taken by P.Buse and D.Dobke and photographs by P.Becker, richly illustrated with works by D.R. from that time, soft cover, 152 pages, 31 x 24 cm, dust jacket, London 2004 EUR 29,00

(Roth, Dieter) Dieter Roth In Greenland compiled by J.Voss, richly illustrated with almost all pages entirely blank, soft cover, number of pages not counted since obviously differently many in each copy, 31 x 24 cm, (Amsterdam) 2005 EUR 290,00

The kids are patient and I think happy that what I say doesn’t take too long.

July 24th, 2005
Next to this diary, published without almost any delay I should keep another diary. One which no one would get to read until everyone mentioned in it is dead.

July 23rd, 2005
It is 10 past 4, another 50 minutes to go before the museum closes, in the hall of which I wait for people interested to look at and consider to buy the thousands of books Boekie Woekie has had brought to Reykjavík. I would be taking once again a lesson in patience if I hadn’t decided to write the remaining 45 minutes away. Is this decision maybe inspired by the circumstance that I know a Johannes who kept writing without a pause, I think until he fell asleep? Boekie Woekie is about to publish his text, probably under the title “Ähm”, the syllable Germans pronounce while they are looking for words with which to continue what they have begun to say.
Now only 30 minutes are left. I wasn’t writing my time away and it wasn’t a customer who took my time, but Hetti phoned.
It is obviously easier to let words stream out of ones mouth than out of ones finger – the 10 minutes of conversation with her seem now to have consisted out of many more words than I wrote words down in the last 20 or so minutes – because now it is 8 to 5, and only about the last 80 words appeared in this time on the screen before me.
But I have a short while ago opened a 3rd can of beer today. There is still so much beer left in this can, I’ll have a hard time emptying it in the remaining 4 minutes. The museum people are closing the doors. It is 2 to 5. I have to shut down the pc. Is pc at all standing for panic?

July 20th, 2005
The most beautiful summer weather in Reykjavík. I can see the sun shine on Tryggvagata and on the parked cars on the other side of the street through the glass door of the entrance hall of Hafnarhús. It is my first day alone taking care of the temporary Boekie Woekie branch Rúna and me installed in May and which first Rúna and then Hetti took care of until now. Hetti left early this morning for Amsterdam.
Boekie Woekie is placed in the entrance hall on close to 100 square meters. It is bigger than its Amsterdam mother.
The walls, the ceiling and the thick pillars are from rather rough concrete where they are not covered (wouldn’t that be for beauty reasons?) with metal sheet plates more than a centimetre thick.
The furniture of Boekie Woekie was this time made by Oddur (Dieter’s oldest grandson). Again according to the old recipe I developed for our temporary shop along the Dieter and Björn Roth exhibition at the Vienna Secession building in early 1995. But Oddur refined the tables a bit. They are altogether a little more stable now. The table for the shopkeeper though, the table with the computer and the till has travelled from the MAC Marseille exhibition for which it was build in 1997 to the Basel Schaulager in 2003 and now to Iceland being all the while more and more drawn and painted on by us 3 who sat at it, becoming quite an art work in itself.
I’m sitting here without much company – I tell myself one can’t blame people for not visiting art exhibitions or special bookshops on a day like this.

July 13th, 2005
Back from a few days in Ireland. Simon and Erica had invited me. They have staged an exhibition in the Christian Brothers School of Cork (see the NEWS page of this web-site). The book room there is a bookshop with many publications one rarely has a chance to see (and consider to buy) and on its doors are vinyl pictures which Simon had made from the drawing which those see first who type in our web address (but not those who come to this web-site via a search engine). Many poets read from their works to the public. During my stay there it was very lively, a good place to be, and I didn't succeed to finish the beer though I tried and had good helpers. Here as a proof is a picture of the car full of empty bottles we drove to the bottle dump:

empty bottles in car .

Cralan and I went together to Cork by plane. Simon and Erica have just published a little poetry book by him which is described in our list like this:

Kelder, Cralan Lemon Red poems, sewn, 28 pages, 17,5 x 13,5 cm, numbered/300, Clonmel 2005 EUR 8.-

On the NEWS page we announce his recent reading in Boekie Woekie from this book.
On the next picture one sees Cralan in a pose I asked him to assume because I had observed a little boy who had been playing football all by himself and without a football on the schoolyard of the Christian Brothers School at a moment when my camera was not ready. There are two goals and a crowd painted on the wall. Observing the little boy I saw he heard the crowd cheer when he was performing his football kicking dance.

goalkeeper Cralan

It was so hot when we were at the countryside home of Simon and Erica that their dog Emily Dickinson and her boyfriend from a farm nearby stayed in the shadow under the garden table. We who were sitting by that table speculated Ireland had become one of the Canary Islands. My shadow shows I'm wearing Simon's Shaker hat.

Emily under the table me with Shaker hat


July 5th, 2005
Rereading my last entry I think I stumbled over an idea. An Oldendenburgian idea, a soft sculpture: a soft nail, a picture of which its soft- or hardness does not matter, and a soft sockle. A picture of modern art and the attempts to place it in this world.
attempt to place art

July 2nd, 2005
It is not very likely that we, the 3 people who "do" Boekie Woekie will find much recognition as artists for what we are doing. Those I hear who speak in the tone of the ones who think they know what they are talking about when they are talking about art and artists don't even get the idea to include us in their speech.
Artists, I keep hearing are those who make things which dangle from nails and are put on a sockle. (That often only imagined sockle supports what the nail may have gotten too soft for).
No, unless it is bought for a lot of money, Boekie Woekie is so to say out of the picture.
 
June 27th, 2005
Rúna has returned from what became 2 months in Iceland. My spell of  being so to say a bachelor is over.
Am back to having to acknowledge a different temperament than my own. It is of course good that the patience muscle stays well trained.

June 19th, 2005
Magnús has asked me a long time ago to contribute a picture for the cover of one of the books he wants to publish. He signaled recently that he would like to get the picture soon. I asked for the the size of his planned books. He told me that and that he would like the cover to be in colour. It is a series of 5 books of writings by Steinar he is planning. For some days now I have been playing in my mind with images I could suggest to Magnús. First I thought of an image of a maybe 200 meter long electric prolongation cable. Steinar I remember had put such a thing into the meadow between the deserted cottage he was staying in for the summer (which had been disconnected from electricity quite many years earlier) and the nearest house with electricity: the farm Krákuvör on Flatey in Breiđafjörđur, Iceland. Steinar needed the electricity for his electrical typewriter only. The nights were bright, he shaved with foam, he cooked on oil. But to make a 200 meter long prolongation cable visually striking on a DIN A5 size cover seemed bound to be not successful. Late tonight I told myself for the first time to give more real attention to this matter. It meant that I reclined my head and encouraged my inner eye to create and follow a parade of my times with Steinar. Should I reconstruct (paint?) the image Steinar presented me with when we were sharing what was left of the farm Hof, 30 kilometers from Reykjavík, in the summer of '73, I think it was? The image was that of a huge dead seal, hunted for its skin. He had known to get hold of it during the weekend while I had been in Reykjavík. The skinless body had been put into a derelict bathtub which stood, being disconnected from water supply since a long time in one of the dark (but cool) store rooms of the farm. Proudly Steinar cut meat from the chest of the animal with his hand with the knife disappearing in the blubber. Alas again, also this image would be difficult to present in a striking way on Din A5. It would be difficult to make it transport the various layers of disgust I felt. I don't even know anymore whether the animal's eyes where still there - how could I paint the scene?
Steinar was good for extremes, from the funny and from the sad department. You don't meet people like him often. As an artist he was madly into Irish folk tales and Greek mythology, into Brahms and Beethoven. The specialist of his inner murmur. Though much of his writing was published he never became a popular writer. Now he is dead for about 15 years and the fact that Magnús (and I think some others) are working on publishing him anew makes me happy.
I think I know now what image will go on the cover. It is a photograph I took in Iceland some years after Steinar's death of the facade of the State run alcohol shop of which I have been a good customer for many years. The problem now is that I am not sure where to look for that photograph. I'll insert it here if or when I do.

Atvr Akuryri

(Picture inserted June 22nd, and I feel I should highlight here the book by Steinar Boekie Woekie produced years ago together with Fundatie Amsterdam:

Sigurjónsson, Steinar Sádmenn 7 booklets with the 7 chapters of an Icelandic novel, with covers by v.Egten, K.Gudmundsson, Holstein, Bakker, D.Roth, Thorkelsdóttir, v.Harreveld, in printed on slip case, ed/500, Amsterdam 1989 EUR 36,50)


June 15th, 2005
Hetti flew to Reykjavík today to take over from Rúna the temporary Boekie Woekie branch office in the museum there. Hetti's arrival will give Rúna a chance to go for a few days to the north of the country with the family of her son and Kristján and Solveig before she will return to Amsterdam. Which means I'm going to be alone in Amsterdam for a week or so. For the next two days though I have company - Pétur came some days ago to stay with us, see his daughters, and fix some of the things which need to be fixed. He came on a similar mission earlier this year, I think it was in March. 
What could I do I wouldn't do if Hetti or Rúna or both were here?
I hear myself  putting this question and feel reminded on my younger years when trying to get out from under the authority of my mother. I think back then, 45 years ago, I cooked up naughty plans. But I don't think the old pattern still exists Now I'll feed the cat and keep Boekie Woekie open. Hetti and Rúna don't embody authority, I want to believe we are a team.

June 7th, 2005
It had been for a day or two seriously hot in Amsterdam - then it became seriously cold here. I didn't accustom quickly enough and caught, in my short sleeve shirt, a serious cough. Having to be a bajazzo for several days isn't easy. The clowns of the cacophonic operetta which life is work harder than the other voices.

May 28th, 2005
Once again back in Amsterdam, where it is seriously hot.
Iceland is 2000 km up there somewhere.
The day I returned to Reykjavík with Kristján in his Lada from Iceland's North summer was in the air there too. The iceberg may have started to sweat. On the radio they said the iceberg was sticking out of the sea for more than 70 meters. Jón had compared its size and shape with Hallgríms Church in Reykjavík, the landmark of the capital. The calculation whether the rocks which possibly could be derived from this big thing could be enough for the drinks likely to be drunk by the people in this fjord during the summer was seriously contemplated. I took some photographs of "this thing" - they still need to be developed - and I'll try to find a picture of Hallgríms Kirkja to insert that here too.

iceberg in Eyjafjörđur       Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík (pictures inserted on June 18th)

I still owe words to my readers of  my earlier Reykjavík days. Saturday, the opening day, was marked by a milling mass of people, many of whom had come from abroad. The air lines had sold many tickets. Many known faces appeared, many mostly brief conversations happened. A lot of Dieter's atmosphere lay in the air which made it enjoyable. Boekie Woekie was possibly bigger and more prominently placed than ever before on such an occasion. When the opening storm abated it only seemed to abate. Most of the foreign guest flew early on Sunday to visit another Dieter exhibition and a dinner party at the east coast. They were back on Monday when another party  was staged - it was fun, and some business for the enterprise I stand for. Rúna will stay in Reykjavík to continues to take care of our branch office.

May 20th, 2005
The first hours of quietness after I left Amsterdam, tomorrow a fortnight ago. I'm sitting in what I find is the cozy office in my hide out in the North of Iceland. Outside snow falls lightly if there doesn't happen to be a sunny spell. The mountains on the other side of the fjord are white down to the sea. But springtime has been here already, the first tips of green grass appear in the brown grass of last year, and also the shrubs show a touch of green. I have been spending those hours making a list of the names of people I have known. The list is in more or less chronological order. I let the events of my life pass in review and write down the names of those who appear in this review. I have advanced to my early student years - the last names I jotted down are of people I got to know in Düsseldorf. I don't think that part of the list is complete yet. Maybe it will never be. I notice I have difficulties remembering many names of people though I still see their faces in front of me. Old address books might help. I keep them in Amsterdam. Each of the names could render one or more stories. More autobiographical text may come from this.
The idea for the list popped up in my head at probably 5 in the morning when I was sitting with Kristján, my friend and neighbour, drinking beer and brennivín after the day we had been driving here from Reykjavík.
Another book project turned up a little later that night. Kristján and I would produce a book with many pages. But our mental powers were not sufficient for more than the title. I don't think much will come of the plan. But we agreed that the title would be “art is sexy”.
Yesterday, or the day after that long night, our house got visitors who stayed until a few hours ago. Ira and Barbara came, stopping on their way around the country. Ira has been here through the years several times but for Barbara all was new. An unusual surprise for them (and us) was that quite monstrous iceberg, undoubtedly calved from a Greenland glacier which had drifted deeply into our fjord and seemed now run aground 5 or 6 km north of the house I'm in.
The presence of this Iceberg triggered off a thought I'll try to tell.
In the days before going to Iceland this time I finished the first few copies of a new book. Please see for it this diary's last entry from May 6th.
The appearance in quick succession in the few years after Dieter's death of Unique Pieces and Graphic Works and Books + Multiples and Dieter Roth In America, all big and very colourful books with texts attempting to explain the phenomenal Dieter Roth, had made me feel he needed to be done justice: that it was time to bring out something unexplained.
And now that iceberg from Greenland shows up, a once in a life time occurrence according to local people.
A berg is a mountain for those who don't know. When a mountain shows up somewhere, the proverb wants, it has come to meet a prophet. For those who don't know, Dieter Roth has never been to Greenland.
Between arriving in Iceland on May 8th, and driving North with Kristján on May 19th lay days in Reykjavík. I shouldn't be writing about icebergs but report about the first Dieter Roth exhibitions there with as curator his son Björn. But I won't. I'll also skip now to write about the Boekie Woekie presence on the occasion of this exhibition. Maybe next time.

May 6th, 2005
Hetti opened the shop today. I had two tasks at home - the one was binding a few copies of a new book. I have had in mind to make a persiflage since last fall when I first saw the then new book

(Roth, Dieter)
Dieter Roth In America
with interviews in English with people who knew D.R. in the early sixties in America taken by P.Buse and D.Dobke and photographs by P.Becker, richly illustrated with works by D.R. from that time, soft cover, 152 pages, 31 x 24 cm, dust jacket, London 2004
EUR 29.-

Now that persiflage is there:

(Roth, Dieter)
Dieter Roth In Greenland
compiled by J.Voss, richly illustrated with almost all pages entirely blank, soft cover, number of pages not counted since obviously differently many in each copy, 31 x 24 cm, Amsterdam 2005
EUR 290.-

I'm now in high esteem with myself because of its completion.

The other task became more time taking than I thought. I had to replace a window pane I had broken a few days ago while trying to keep my balance making my way back over a part of the roof difficult to pass returning from opening up a leave clogged drain. In order to replace the broken pane I had of course to remove the old, hard putty. To do that I had to assume a quite uncomfortable position. My knees began to tremble and later I became unusually thirsty. I began quenching that thirst with the leftovers of my birthday party.
During a telephone call with Rúna in Reykjavík I had to hear that several of the 137 boxes full of books we have sent there some 3 weeks ago have to be considered lost - they got soaking wet on the way. I'll be flown to Reykjavík in 2 days, on Sunday. Special delivery. Maybe I'll become an insurance case as well, a cardboard box, having gotten wet. (See the entry of  April 12th to know about the Boekie Woekie Reykjavík plans.)

April 27th, 2005
Once again turbulent days. I had my birthday. A party, many guests. Those who had come from afar stayed on over several nights. That prolonged the party. It lasted from Saturday to yesterday, Tuesday. I told to all who wanted to hear it that I intended to stop thinking of my birthday as being on April 25th. Next time I said the invitation would be for January 25th 2006, then I would get 1 year of age. How could I continue to count the years after having been dead, if only for 5 minutes?

April 17th, 2005
I have no idea what to write. I'm tired of thinking I have to think of what to write before I begin to write.
I'll just write what comes to my mind.

After some minutes of writing nothing and sipping my beer I think whatever it was which came to my mind, it was so vague that it dissolved before it allowed itself to be squeezed into a sentence. Should I maybe write unconnected words? Or descriptions of sounds?
That is not really my cup of tea, not to mention my glass of beer. I know myself as someone who likes (to tell) stories. And now I think of one! The word beer triggers it off.
The last 2 days Birgir was drinking beer with us in Boekie Woekie. He came with Baldur from Reykjavík, they are staying with Rúna and will go tomorrow to Mönchengladbach where Birgir is to install an exhibition in the Museum am Abteiberg, Baldur is coming along to help him do that.
The first syllable "bir" of the Icelandic name Birgir is pronouced like "beer". The pronunciation is more or less the same as for that same stuff which is spelled "Bier" in German. The phonetics of the second syllable "gir" sound like the German word "Gier" which stands for "greed" or "lust" or "craving". I never could help it, I always  understood the name Birgir as "greed for beer".
Then there is this other word in Icelandic: vaengir. It means wings or in German "Flügel". Whereas on the phonetic track it functions perfectly as "greed for wine".

I'm not so sure this is much of a story after all.

April 12th, 2005
Rúna was the one who mainly filled during the last weeks 137 cardboard boxes with those books of which Boekie Woekie has more than one copy and what is almost more, she also made the list which is necessary to accompany those boxed books through the customs. She paid especial attention to Dieter's books and packed also almost 30 framed prints by him. Tomorrow, or very soon after that, all this will be fetched to be shipped to Iceland. Boekie Woekie is expected to run once again a temporary shop, this time in a Reykjavík museum, from May till August, alongside or as part of a Dieter Roth exhibition. A small section of the 137 boxes is to be seen on the picture below.

Boxes full of
      books for Boekie Woekie Reykjavík

For those who know, this picture shows almost nothing of the exhibition which Boekie Woekie has invited for and which began on March 26th. It is an exhibition by Erwin and Solla. They installed it when Rúna was in the early stages of packing but already then there was not enough space for simultaneous installing and packing. That problem was then solved by Erwin and Solla working on their installation in the mornings before Rúna would come at twelve to open the shop and fill our boxes. Few people have had a chance to see what Erwin and Solla did to our walls except on the afternoon their exhibition  opened and during the Boekie Woekie party of Emmet's birthday last Monday night. For those occasions Boekie Woekie stowed away everything it had packed in the backroom. For the rest of the time (for more than 2 weeks) we hid the exhibition well behind our towering boxes. From tomorrow on, that changes. At ten a truck will come to fetch what is packed, and Erwin and Solla will come to help to load it.

April 7th, 2005
On Monday morning Simon and Erica came from Ireland for a visit. On Monday evening Boekie Woekie had invited for a birthday party - Emmett, in Berlin, was getting eighty. In order not to party entirely without him we read aloud from Emmett's texts. Martha from Mexico happened to be in town and had been able to borrow from one of her children a digital movie camera and began to film what happened. Simon read some lines by Ernst Jandl. Wilbert had prepared 2 acts in Emmett's honour and Michael followed Emmett's old recipe of balancing a glass on the head while reading a certain text, stopping only to read when the glass finally fell. The glass - not according to the recipe - was empty, because "this is a bookstore" as thoughtful Michael had said. This being a bookstore didn't prevent a little later an argument which turned into anger and screaming but by then the filming had stopped. The idea was that Emmett would get a copy of the film. He'll get to hear a lot of laughter. Though to laugh didn't turn out to be the only thing we did that night it is the part I suppose we all like to remember the best.
Today our guests flew home again.

April 1st, 2005
An aunt of Hetti has died, 92 years old. She was buried the day before yesterday. We rented a car and drove with Hetti's eldest sister to her funeral. It had been arranged that a man referring to himself as "freelance pastor" would do the ceremony. He wore a beige gown with the woven-in image of a sun and a moon in one circle. - What does not feel like kitsch when it comes to funerals? An even older aunt (and sister and lifelong close partner of the one lying there dead) showed an example of straightforwardness though. When one of the guests tried to comfort her by saying something like "She is lying there so still." the old aunt replied "What else could she do?"
This even older aunt suffered a stroke which left one half of her lame more than 20 years ago. She is in a wheelchair since then. She sobbed seeing her sister and said "see you later".
Me, dead if only for 5 minutes 2 months ago, and steering free of that, had that car for another day. A lively car, I drove it for more than a thousand kilometers on German highways.
Today, back on my bike, I thought I was being put on when I posted a parcel to Athens. The post office clerk said that the Greek post demanded the telephone number of the recipient to be mentioned together with the address. I asked him whether he was putting me on, but he said no. He said the chance was that the parcel would be returned as undeliverable. I biked back to Boekie Woekie to get the telephone number of our customer - the clerk was friendly and took care of the parcel while I was away. I returned, wrote the number on the address label, was asked to pay what I had thought the parcel would cost and said thanks with the feeling that the men in the room behind the counter roared with laughter when I walked out.

March 24th, 2005
While I was still considering to fetch them in Stuttgart next week, eight quite big and heavy cardboard boxes were delivered today to Boekie Woekie, full of copies of

(Dieter Roth) Da Drinnen Vor Dem Auge an anthology of poems and prose which draws from previously published writings by D.R. and is edited by Jan Voss, Beat Keusch, Johannes Ullmaier and Björn Roth, soft cover, 304 pages, 17,5 x 11 cm, Frankfurt 2005 EUR 10.-

These books are the result of what has been cooking for more than a year now. But for me they are much more. I'm relieved they finally exist. I hope I find the right mood to tell their story one day.

March 22nd, 2005
After renting our storage basement for several years it now for the first time is in an useful shape. Pétur did a very good shelf-making job. And what is more, he also made a picture harp - a construction from strings cleverly designed to put standing pictures between them. We rented a van on Sunday and took there lots of art works from Boekie Woekie. Ólafur and Sigrún helped us - they were staying with Rúna on a visit from Iceland. On his last working day Pétur had brought back a bag with tools to Boekie Woekie and when I put the tools back into their places I found an alarm clock among them. Does Pétur works being asleep?

March 19th, 2005
Pétur is back in Iceland after nearly 2 weeks in Amsterdam. Before he left he said he had made much shelf space in our storage room. Rúna confirms it, she has begun to put the books we had piled up there in boxes on the floor into those shelves in alphabetical order. Tomorrow I'll go there too, I'm curious. I'm not only curious to see the shelves but also will be on the look out for bottles.

March 11th, 2005
The biggest difficulty Boekie Woekie had to deal with today was the request of a new neighbour whether we could provide garden space for two bunnies from China. Two garden-like open spaces belong to our shop. The sun never shines in either of them, but Hetti and Rúna make since years something colourfull of  the garden which is visible from the shop, the other garden, behind the storage extension is rather neglected. We have given up to be able to use the door which leads to it, boxes and stuff are piled up high blocking the way. The bunnies would need to be fed twice a day, they would have to cope with many cats who I suppose wouldn't mind a bunny for a change and wouldn't the bunnies dig themselves tunnels and disappear into other gardens? The flowers in the front garden, we call it patio, would not be safe if bunnies were running around there. The neigbour suggested a fenced in area, the concern was that the legs of the bunnies would get too weak if they couldn't run around. But I was getting impatient and said something like "we are paying rent for this and your bunnies are not our problem".

March 3rd, 2005
The Boekie Woekie diary writer  is being convinced that because he keeps a diary all this unlikely stuff happens to him. Doesn't it serve him right to have something to write about, isn't he asking for it? One day he drops dead, the next day his flight to England is canceled because of too much snow. Since he is a civilized guy and tries to hide what he calls his annoyance behind what he calls his joviality or at the worst, behind what he calls his irony, he makes things worse. Instead of saying "shit, I'll stop with it" he battles on with grammar and a lacking vocabulary and other hurdles of straightforwardness.

March 2nd, 2005
Ingveldur and Gunnar came over from Iceland. Ingveldur is Rúna's sister and Gunnar is Ingveldur´s husband. They were visiting Rúna for a few days and came each day to Boekie Woekie. The day they arrived, last Saturday, they also came to the party at Hetti's and my home. We gave that party for Ineke - see for her merits the entry of  January the 30th. Ineke came with Hans. Diet, Hetti's sister was also there. If I remember right we all were dancing till long after 4 in the morning - the geriatric ward was on the loose. - It took me some days to realize what I saw looking at Ingveldur. I was distracted because of her family likeness to our Icelandic Rúna until I saw that she is a lookalike of Beatrix, the Queen of the Dutch.

Ingveldur +
      Gunnar

On the wall in the back of Gunnar's head one of the 18 drawers with "beetles" is visible which form the current exhibition Jan Beumelburg has installed in Boekie Woekie under the title "Evolution does what it wants". The opening was on the 19th of February and if Jan hadn't had a heavy asthma attack it would have been sheer fun.
Tomorrow I'm off to Newcastle in England, where Graeme Walker is in charge of "Bookville" a space temporarily used to present artists' books. He has invited me to do something there coming Saturday. Graeme himself is an artist. Currently Boekie Woekie stocks these 2 books by him:

Walker, Graeme Crisis! the best of crisis: headlines, articles & and previously unreleased material compiled by G.W., 1st ed., (Newcastle) 2002 EUR 16.-

Walker, Graeme The Drift Book funny collages in colour of a author who calls the first chapter "hopelessness and its merits", (Newcastle 2003?) EUR 16.-

When I'm back from Newcastle, Pétur will have arrived in Amsterdam.

February 27th, 2005
Pétur will visit Amsterdam in a few days. He has 2 young daughters here and many years of his life. When he left Amsterdam a few years ago he stored much of his stuff in that basement which Boekie Woekie rents as a storage space. Pétur comes to see his daughters and to make shelves in this basement as a way of paying off his share of the rent. I thought about this today. I saw myself accompanying him to tell him where and how the shelves should be. Then I thought of the fact that there is no toilet down there and that we would better have some bottles to pee into. Since one doesn't buy empty bottles I saw us buy full bottles the contents of which we would drink in order to make space. Thinking that I couldn't help but chuckle and thought you might do that too.

February 24th, 2005
Am tempted to write: "am still alive!" to disperse possible worries of those whose habit it is to return to this page. An 11 days silence for them may be a reason to fear that that has happened again which (almost) happened a month ago.
Before I give in to this temptation I think I should in future make an automatic daily entry of those 3 words "am still alive" and then occasionally be more explicit.
While I give in to this temptation (now) I think what an interesting thing that would be, a diary of daily this same entry.
 
February 13th, 2005
Dorothy phoned, saying that my second day of birth almost again made me a rooster according to the Chinese horoscope. My revival had just happened a couple of days too early. Since the Chinese horoscope goes in circles of 12 years that was a neglectably short time she said. I think she told me that in order to make me happy, to be born a rooster seems something good in her eyes. And to be born a rooster twice (if only almost) is then maybe twice as good. She is a rooster too.
Dorothy also phoned about 10 days ago, when I was newly home from hospital. She had heard what had happened, but wanted me to tell her again. I made a mistake when I did that. I said I had all of a sudden dropped dead, much like Dieter did. I should have known that I had made an impossible comparison. Of course nobody could ever drop dead like Dieter.
This maybe sounds as if I want to ironize Dorothy's esteem of Dieter. That is not entirely wrong.
However I know there is a distinctive difference between his dropping dead and mine. I know he had enough of life but I hadn't quite.

February 8th, 2005
After recent days I find it a great relief to have nothing to tell to my readers. I feel that is the state of how things should be. Everything at ease. Nothing else to mention than that the birds are early making their springtime noises.
Somehow appropriately, fitting to the state I'm in, Michael came the other day with an essay he has written on blank books.

February 6th, 2005
Later that evening of that Friday on which I took the tram home from a few days in hospital, Hetti and me took the train to the airport to fetch Rúna who after a month in Iceland was returning - I almost wrote home, but I know better. She wouldn't call Holland her home herself. I hadn't seen her for 2 and a half month, and felt happy when on Sunday the staff of three of BoeWoe (Hetti, Rúna and me) was united on the premises of the shop. I must have been so happy, that I didn't notice I was getting cold. On Monday I knew I had caught a cold. Since then I don't need to see us three together to be happy to still be alive, I can get a full dose of joy each time I sneeze or cough. My ribcage reminds me then vehemently of Ineke's action which allowed me to make that narrow escape in the early minutes of January 25th.
Several factors were responsible for the long delay in updating the lists of books and things which Boekie Woekie offers for sale in these pages. From today on this activity is being resumed. Keep an eye on the NEW ITEMS - page.

January 31st, 2005
The conclusions of the events described in the entry of yesterday I learnt so to say officially by the doctors the next day, Tuesday last week. I had suffered a cardiac arrest. Due to an insufficiency of oxygen around my heart it had lost all its rhythm of beating. Thanks to Ineke and the ambulance men, I was saved from being really dead, or possibly revived but brain dead. Now the doctors found it was time to sort out what really had caused the oxygen insufficiency. Therefore, I was told, a catheter would be brought to my heart through an artery. A contrasting fluid would make those clogged parts visible which the oxygen rich blood couldn't pass through, then one would know better how to proceed. I was given a folder and read that there were 3 options to deal with blocked coronary arteries: medication, percutaneous angioplasty (thanks Michael, and independently Dorothy, for finding this technical term, the Dutch call it "dotteren", it seems to be "hjartaţrćđing" in Icelandic, the German term I still don't know). The 3rd option mentioned was a bypass operation. On Wednesday I followed on a TV screen how a doctor and her team poked around my heart as it were with a flexible wire inserted through my right wrist. No pain involved in that, just a feeling unfelt before. Maybe it was the easy accessibility reducing a little the awe always felt for this seat of the soul or at least central organ. When finished I asked the doctor whether she could tell me what she found and what consequences I was to expect. To my horror she predicted an open heart operation. Those I had on the phone that day spoke with a worried man. This new blow hit me badly, I was getting scared that I would be a too soggy old bastard to face an operation which takes months to recuperate from. The next morning that doctor appeared who 3 years ago had established the first file of facts about failures of my heart and who had prescribed the 3 sorts of pills which I swallowed since then daily (see the entry of Nov. 16th, 2002). Imagine my surge of hope when he suggested that I would follow him, he wanted to try to perform percutaneous angioplasty on me. Well, he did, and it worked. I think I was for a second time in a short time very, very lucky. Less than 90 hours after my heart had stopped to beat I took the tram home. I was then and am still quite confused about the whole thing.

January 30th, 2005
At midnight of the day of my last entry that event occurred which would have put a definite end to this diary if not... . I'll have to tell this step by step.
Hetti had left Boekie Woekie around 9 in the evening to be home in time to receive Ineke. Ineke is mentioned here before in the entry of November 29th, 2001, and those who read that entry now will get a premonition of what is about to come. (This Ineke is also mentioned June 18th, 2004, but the one from December 14th, 2002 is another Ineke.) At half past eleven Hetti phones me to Boekie Woekie, if I want to say hello to Ineke, I should come home now. Ineke wants to catch an early morning flight to her parents in Ireland. Ineke is a general practitioner in the North-East of the Netherlands. At 5 to 12 I mount my bike and am home a few minutes later. The 2 women are sitting there, Hetti with a fruit juice (she is dry since September) and Ineke with a glass of wine. I kiss her and wish her a happy New Year - it is about half a year ago that I saw her last. I'm looking forward to sit down for a short while with the women and go to take the bottle of Grolsch out of the fridge which I drank a glass from the night before. I take it out and close the door of the fridge, but from then on I can't recollect a thing. When I'm back to life again I look up many legs in dark uniform trousers, hear many voices I don't know, tell them to go away and leave me in peace. I realize I'm lying on the kitchen floor. I'm being put on a stretcher and am convinced I'm dreaming when I'm flying out of  the front room window. I notice several flashing blue lights, and begin to understand it is not a dream when I'm driven away in an ambulance. I have seen Hetti in the window before the ambulance door closes and understood that she will follow. Hectic minutes in the emergency department. I begin to understand that my heart stopped to beat for 5 minutes, our a little longer. That I had dropped down with my beer bottle and fell against the stove. That the noise of that called the women to the kitchen. That the professional Ineke found no pulse and that she didn't hesitate a second with attempting to revive me, working on my ribcage and giving me artificial respiration and telling Hetti to phone the ambulance and only say "reanimation" and the address. Ineke succeeded and became the second woman to bring me into the world. I began in the emergency room to understand that I had been absolutely in-cre-di-bly lucky. I learnt that I had shitted into my pants while lying there on the kitchen floor. And that the well founded fear existed that my brains would have given up if I were to be revived. Finally I was put into a bed and attached to many sensors. My first night in a hospital since the first nights of my first life, almost 60 years ago. - I think this first part of the story of last week is enough for today. The rest, as you guess since I'm writing here, continued to take a turn to the better. I'll come with it the next time - if there is a next time, as I should add if I want to have learnt something of what happened in the night from Monday to Tuesday. - Rereading the above, I see I have to explain the sentence with "am convinced I'm dreaming when I'm flying out of the front room window." Some ambulances in Amsterdam are equipped with some sort of pulley. Because stretchers are difficult to carry up and down the notoriously steep and narrow stairs of the baroque buildings of the old city patients can be lowered from the windows their stretchers hanging on a rope.

January 24th, 2005
I'm a bit late taking the season's greeting cards out of sight. They have for too long decorated the lid of the CLC 700, our colour copying machine. We forgot the cards there because we didn't use the machine in more than a month. But that will change tomorrow. The texts on the cards are similar in tone, they were sent by wellwishers, by friends of Boekie Woekie. Only the one which I reproduce here reads differently. 

season's greetings

The editor came himself and handed these wishes to us together with the latest 2 issues of his magazine.

Trashtown Magazine 6  The Legendary Concert magazine with a Dutch and an English text by Nico Lootsma, with a fold-out page, sewn, 20 not numbered pages, ed/20, 10 x 14,5 cm, 2004 EUR 5.-

Trashtown Magazine 7  The Separate Parts a tourist guide as it where of trashtown with images and English text by Nico Lootsma, with a fold-out map, sewn, 20 not numbered pages, ed/20, 10 x 14,5 cm, 2004 EUR 5.-

One man, one magazine. Not so different from my Boekie Woekie diary.

January 22nd, 2005
This entry will show what I can do with a last bottle of beer. I'll make myself to think quickly of something to write. Of course that what I will write can turn later out to be something I wish I hadn't written. I ask myself: shouldn't I make the unhappiness I feel subject of these lines - or better the happiness? Or could I deliver both, mingled and and not to be separated? That would be the best of course, I could score with that high on my own scale of values. But should I write about my ambition to score high on my scale of values? Wouldn't I give away the believability of my sorrow or my luck, or both, if I would write about them in the light of my ambition? Am I a sportsman? How many words can I get out of a bottle? - I'll stop now. There is more than half a bottle left. I'll drink it happily on my own and you'll have to guess the rest.

January 11th, 2005
I smell at the moment something I haven't smelled in maybe twenty years. Then I smelled it in Curt's and Mara's house near a village up in the mountains high up above a lake. I visited them often during more than a decade. Now Mara is alone there – if she still is there.
The nostril perception triggering off these memories and turning them into words also takes place in a house in Switzerland. This time the house stands hardly elevated near by the shore of another lake at the edge of a city. I'm puzzled. This pleasant, clean smell (if a smell can be clean) I used to think was the smell of clean mountain air, the smell of the rural high Alps unfolding when the air stands still. Now I think I may have been wrong. Is (and was) it not maybe the smell of some detergent? I hope not, it would be a disappointment.
I'm coming to the end of a 5 days trip. I can stay now with Hans Peter, Maja and their daughter Anouk. Tonight we'll eat together, only Maja not, she has something else to do. After a few hours of sleep I'll take an early morning flight back to Amsterdam.
First I was in Basel for 2 days. Once again in formerly Dieter's, and now Björn’s place. The reason was a last round of work with Beat and Johannes. We worked a few times together during the last year but I stayed cryptic about what we were doing in these pages. I feel that it will soon be time to break the silence.
One night I had a few beers on the house with Erwin and Scott. Erwin runs the bistro downstairs and Scott was his waiter for a while. They were both preparing for big changes to happen independently to their lives. After separating from his partner the Australian Scott lost his staying permit, he goes back home after years in Europe. Erwin sees some reality in his dreams to continue life in Egypt, or Israel. He declares his time running a small restaurant and taking care of a gigantic house will soon end. Earlier that night Erika had joined Beat and me for a pizza after Johannes took the train home. She has had to train herself well to cope with difficulties for a long time and now feels additionally burdened with another big problem.
I came yesterday via Baden to Zürich, seeing Brigitte and then Marlene and Andre. Both women run art exhibition places. Since we know each other for a long time it was easy and nice to talk. I spoke about hopes to realize an exhibition and both responded constructively. Earlier today I went to see Andy. He also runs a gallery. Also he supported my ideas – I'm curious what will become of them.

January 5th, 2005
An art academy engaged me I think 25 years ago as a guest teacher. On my first visit I was taken on a tour through the school by those students who had suggested to the school master to invite me. I remember Ingólfur was one of them. They showed me around and soon we were in a then very new department. I had been alerted that we were entering something special. All along the walls of this room were switchboards, or control desks, desks with uncountable many buttons. I had come to the video editing department. I learnt that all this and more equipment, not visible in the editing room, like cameras, had been given to the school for free by Sony, Tokyo, Japan. I saw in front of an inner eye generations of students having to buy expensive tools from Sony for themselves after their graduation. What would those students be practicing in their later lives if not that which they were made hot to learn at school, I thought. - When we stepped into that room 2 men dressed in blue were there, on their knees half under the desks. I thought they were trying to fix something. I made the mistake of saying my next thought aloud. I said "Is this an altar and are they praying?". - After the midday break I was to introduce myself to all of the students who were interested. There were maybe 30 students waiting. I had prepared myself with a box of slides of my works. In the hall where we assembled I found set up and seemingly ready the slide projector I had asked for. It stood as it should about 8 meters away from the screen onto which it would project my pictures. I began telling the students about myself and then wanted to show the slides. It turned out the projector had not enough light. After some puzzlement I had to move it so close to the screen that the projected image couldn't be made big enough for the students to see it. I had to tell them what it was they would see if they could see. I enjoyed that. The men in blue which were taking their revenge but had actually helped me. (I later checked: 3 of the 4 lightbulbs were missing from the projector.)
This is a leaky bucket I pulled out of the memory well.
Michael came by today with little June. He showed me how to put pictures into this text. At one moment he and his daughter looked like this:

Michael + June
      5.1.05

Good pictures hardly need any words.
Sushi, our not yet one year old cat was incurably sick. Hetti at the veterinarian for the first time in her life had to decide about (a little longer) life (in pain) or (immediate) death. Now, a few days later she is not far away from tears because of "putting him to sleep".

January 1st, 2005
Amsterdam. Boekie Woekie. Thousands of things to do. Rúna flew on the 28th of Dec. from London to Iceland with the same plane I had come to London in returning from Iceland. We had planned to meet at the airport but the plan failed.
And no end to animal stories: Sushi, our not yet one year old Tomcat is very sick. And: when Alla drove off with me to the airport on the 26th, a few days ago, taking the bend to drive up the slope all 6 white geese appeared in the car's lights beam lined up on the road side in the snow flapping their wings. Alla said they were waving good bye to me.

December 26th, 2004
I'm packed and wait for Alla to fetch me. She'll take me to the early evening plane to Reykjavík. Six weeks are over, the time to leave has come.
I can't drive my car. It won't start after quite a heavy snowstorm during the last days. Even the church services in the whole fjord were called off yesterday and the day before. When the storm calmed down last night I checked the car: the cabin was filled up with snow. The snow reached up above the sittings of the front chairs and the back bench. They probably don't know snowstorms in Siberia I thought and doors closing tightly are therefore unnecessary there. It's a Lada I'm writing about. A bit of shoveling, and then I attempted to start the engine. The attempt resulted in a strangely muffled sound but not in a running motor. Opening the motor hood, I only saw white. Gusti, the artist from up on the hillside came with jumper cables, but no, no go. We came to the conclusion that some electric device was wet.
Writing this after closing down the house and waiting for being fetched I saw 2 of the once 6 geese swimming on the sea. The other 4 haven't survived Christmas? Where is my fly? I haven't seen my fly for days. Anyhow the heating is switched off, spring time is over.
My mouse has drowned. Yes, I had a mouse too, but didn't mention it here, trying to avoid the impression I lived with vermin. But it was a charming field mouse, not too afraid of me. I could count for days on finding it sitting on the bench by the dining table, no, not with knife and fork its paws but with its behind pressed against the warm radiator until I would be quite close. Then it would quickly jump off the bench and hide under the fridge.
I have often sat on that same bench in the same position when trying to cure my lumbago back with warmth.
My mouse fed itself with what it found in the trash can in the kitchen – which prompted me to change the location of the plastic shopping bag with a colourful image of Father Christmas on it. F.Chrms was to be seen there reading to a boy and a girl from a big book. His left pointer finger was stuck up in the air. It was clear he was reading a lesson-to-remember. I must have been driven by the idea that I should not feed a mouse in my house when I hung that Christmas trash (formerly shopping) sack rather high up on the handle of a drawer of the kitchen cupboard. There my mouse would not be able to reach it. Hiding all edibles in the fridge and doing dishes promptly I thought to make the house as unattractive to mice as possible. Some days ago I entered on a scene of recent carnage when I arrived at the kitchen table. My only lemon had been slaughtered by my mouse. I had believed a lemon to be safe from a mouse's hunger but was mistaken. The remains of the lemon and the number of the tiny black things mice seem frequently to leave behind indicated that quite a meal had taken place. And fewer than some days ago my mouse was dead in the bucket in which that garbage sack had been placed until I had hung it higher up. My mouse had drowned in a few centimeters of water I had forgotten to pour out. I realized I had driven it into desperation and couldn't feel proud at all.
 
December 22nd, 2004
Rereading the last entry from 3 days ago, I'm happy I can announce a new business idea which is by far not as appalling as its predecessor.
And it would be absurd to install it only in 80 or so years.
This new idea is the electrically heated shower curtain.
Under a hot shower the skin of the person who takes this shower only too often comes into contact with the plastic curtain which the rising hot air sucks towards the shower taker. The touch of the curtain feels uncomfortably cold. Probably many of those who are in the habit of taking showers and can't afford or don't have the patience to install a shower cabin with glass doors, people like me, would spend some extra money to avoid being touched by their cold shower curtains.
To exploit this and after consulting Eggert for technical advice, it seems to be the best to proceed by installing a silk screening workshop, for the different designs the shower curtains should have in order to appeal to the customers. (About silk screening: look elsewhere for more explicit advice. Think of employing artists.) The next thing needed is that transparent plastic material which car windshield manufactures would know more about. I hear from Eggert there exists a material which is one of the gadgets used to defrost windshields). This is to be attached, surface to surface, back to back, square meter after square meter, to the silk screened plastic material. (About plastic gluing or -welding: look elsewhere for more explicit advice.)
And who knows, but the said-to-to-be-thin front window film could maybe be printed on directly?  This would need further research.
(In very small print: The diary page of the Boekie Woekie website should become a pay page.) 
The material which can defrost the windshields of cars I hear is fed by a 12V current and will develop the same degree of pleasant warmth all over its surface. No danger of shocks for body or soul!
There is this advantage:
Electrically heated shower curtains allow savings on heating the bathroom.
Technically approved by Eggert, provided a maximum of 12V is not exceeded.
(In small print: Batteries not included.)
Guarantee: Better ideas welcome!

December 19th, 2004
Rereading yesterday's entry, I think I'm speaking there about a churchyard with grave stones with an inbuilt audio system playing again and again and forever the first cry of who lies buried there. That could be a business concept: Make it known that you build an audio library with recordings of the 1st cry of newly born. Promise the parents of those newly born that one day, most likely long after they have sunk into oblivion, the first cry of their child will never cease to be audible. Strike a deal with the parents to pay you money for that and either run away with the money before you can't carry it anymore, or invest it well to fulfill your promise. Cemeteries as delivery rooms. Somewhere in the back of my head an image is stored of a woman giving birth over an open grave.

December 18th, 2004
This text is written and then published without delay. I don't know in how far that procedure keeps the writer in the grip of the fear that he might go too far in what he writes. He has to perform restraint, some sort of self censorship, if he does not want to risk the anger of possible readers. And he has to do that at the moment of writing, when his mind is full of something it wants to convey.
I feel I have finally arrived at the most fundamental subject a text meant to be published can have: to be polite to the readers. Politeness underlies all such texts, in various degrees. The offer of politeness is of course on offer to surrender, and that makes politeness the most straightforward conquering technique. The reader of a polite writer accepts the writer's conditions. The conditions of a self restrained writer are rather even more polite than those of a writer whose text will only be published in a distant future. With a little luck they can be happily acceptable for their readers. This writer's stuff at least does not harm them as it could.
The first texts published without delay by man in history are of course speeches – if one does not want to go as far back in history where the first immediately published texts would be the first cries of the new born. (Or, if one wants to go even further back, before the history of mankind: the blowing of the winds?) To publish without delay seems deeply rooted, in nature and certainly mankind.
When text is to appear in books, the step between writing the text and it being readable in the ready book possibly takes the longest. If one does not think of the making of inscriptions on grave stones. (Usually there aren't so many words there but it takes time to write them.) And as often as one sees a grave stone which reads “in this hole is stuck the greatest scoundrel of his time” may one expect to find polite texts in books. The writers of texts published in books are allowed to be much more impolite than the writers of immediately published texts. Writing in the heat of the moment or with hardly the remotest of remote control is even their task - if they wouldn't, their books wouldn't sell. Immediately published diaries better report either an even flow of events, or in order not to upset the readers, reports of turbulence should be dealt with in generalizing terms.
When our writing was invented in what is now Iraq one of the effects was that writing as a conquering technique can be applied to victims the writer would never see. The circle is round. The wind blowing before the history of mankind began and all that is published by man, whether immediately or with much delay are here in one breath. The machine runs and it makes some noise.
Now, 5 minutes later, there seems to be one way around the conclusion that a diary writer who publishes his diary immediately has to be so very polite. The writer who doesn't seem to talk about himself, don't you think he may also be a little impolite? That he would then not be in the danger of scaring off the one or other of his readers?

December 15th, 2004
I have started to print this diary in an edition of 18 copies, only recto, and not more than one entry per page. At this stage I want to look at this small edition as an enticement for a “real” publication. Of course anybody who opens this internet page could print this.
Simon and Erica printed it by mistake – they were new to the world of computers and didn't know how to stop the printing.
I like the idea though to let this text turn into a “real” thing. A book to me is more real than a glass window. Maybe one day, and if god has turned me into an angel and I'm shown to my stool and my lyre to sit forever on a digital cloud, this window would be real enough. I should make a drawing of this unlikely event, scan it and ask Michael to include it here.
But for the time being I could maybe better only speak of those pictures, drawn or photographed or both, and announce them as part of the printed edition in order to create some curiosity for it. And on this diary page only the occasional image, as the worm on the hook. The future use of the small edition I have started to print here I see in that that the books could be carrots dangling in front of the donkeys, pulling publishers’ carts. That also would make a picture.
When I began to write this entry, I imagined the “real” thing, the book from paper resulting from this publishing to be something modest – a pocket book with a number of entries selected from the total – to appear maybe next fall, when I will have kept the diary for 5 years.
During the few minutes writing about this plan the book grew in my imagination and has taken on much further going proportions, and dimensions. I saw the book becoming a many volumed something. It fused for a moment with my “Tägliche Einfalt”. The diary could turn into an illustrated newsletter. The recipients would choose in what form they would want to receive the letter. I realized money making ideas had entered my thoughts. Suddenly a digital version seemed again to be something I liked. And then I remembered an idea I have carried with me for a while, an idea which I began to work on several times, but though there exist a few proofs of my attempts, the thing never really took shape. The title is what makes this idea an idea. It is German and has 2 meanings. “Mein Geschick” stands for “my fate” or “my activity of sending”.
I think Ill ponder on the whole thing a bit longer.

December 10th - 11th, 2004
I'm drinking beer here as you can imagine. Mostly from cans, Egils Gull, not bad at all. When I put my can away after the last sip I thought I saw the face of a baby crying because of a bad tooth ache, drawn by Wilhelm Busch. I thought I saw the baby's crying mouth in the shape of the opening to drink from in the lid of the can and the features of the face in the lines pressed into the tin around it. – Maybe I should take a photograph? - That done and looked at, the open end of the beer can does not so much remind me now of a crying baby, but rather of another scream by Munch, or even of Adolf, bad man Hitler, with his moustache. I'm ashamed to keep drinking from their lips. – Mentioning shame, and Munch’s scream bring back a memory.  Something I saw before this diary was begun. A museum shop had for sale an inflatable plastic doll with a device built into the darkness of the mouth which would extract semen from a man's lid if that was put there. The doll was shaped like and printed on in the colours of Munch’s screaming figure.

December 10th, 2004
While flies run over mice, hearts get scarred. Some readers may remember that I was worried a few weeks ago, just before I left Amsterdam for Iceland. It took till now to learn the results of the test. Hetti has scars of a coronary thrombosis in or on her heart. Her liver looks (after 2 month of no alcohol at all) okay, hurrah.

December 4th - 5th, 2004
I haven't seen any fly do before quite that what my fly did just now.
The reader remembers my fly from a few days ago.
Just now before my fly landed on the mouse of my computer and kept running around on it. It wouldn't let itself be scared away however much I wiggled my right hand pointer finger. My fly barred me for a minute or so from continuing my work. There was the danger that I might crush my fly with my finger.
I have occasionally mentioned my wish to illustrate this page. Once, less than 2 months down below, a picture was really included, thanks to Michael's know-how. 
Now, in this story, when I could not press my keys as normal because I had to spare a life, I qualified as a modern man by looking for other buttons to press. I choose to click the picture taking button of my cam. The cam was lying next to me, attached via another wire to the same computer as the mouse, on which my fly was running around.
Cam is a camera for me and not one of those things which exert pressure when their time has come, when the turning of the camshaft they sit on has brought them into the right position. Some cam though, on some shaft, carrying out impulses of which the usefulness for the hole is not clear to me at the moment caused me to repeatedly release the picture taking mechanism of my cam.
The result is a series of 10 photographs of the actions of my fly. It was by the time I held the camera in my hand not running over the mouse anymore but over the actual keyboard and then it went up, north as it were, across the screen and finally it took off from the upper screen edge for a flight which I could not follow with the camera. I think you and me would like those photos to be published here.

my pc fly

(This and the next 2 sentences in brackets and the picture above I finally inserted on January the 5th. My fly would be recognizable on the F10 key if the picture was clearer. More about unclear pictures can be read in the entry for January 5th, 2005.)

By the way, the house in which all this happens has a history in regard to flies. I'm making here a copy of a multiple which involves flies:
 
Voss, Jan Fleiss transparent plastic bag with the yearly harvest of those dead flies JV collects in the house he occasionally goes to in order to work, numbered, signed, since 1994 EUR 318.-

“Fleiss”, the German word meaning “industriousness” is phonetically quite close to the English “flies”. I think behind this is my wish to connect the attempt to be funny with being practical – of course those awfully many dead flies on the window sills had to be cleaned up – I regard them still as good  artist's material.


December 2nd, 2004
Jón and Alla haven't moved to their new place yet but soon they will. The snow has not molten completely yet but soon it will. Ice has formed on the stretch of dirt road I see from my window. Six white geese walk across the road several times a day to the seam of the sea from where they take a flight of a few meters to land on the water and splash around in it. To see them slip on the icy road is great fun – and I have the feeling the geese enjoy it too. At least they could start their flight before crossing the road if they didn't like slipping on it. Six white geese enjoying it but I have a premonition that before this month ends they wont.

November 29th, 2004
Eggert came for the weekend from “the South” as they say here when they talk about the Reykjavík area. His plan was to finish work on my pc – he had thoroughly cleaned and rearranged it, he had newly installed programs and updated others in the time of my absence from Iceland, but when I fetched the computer to take it with me to “the North” 11 days ago, the test run showed some missing features. The mission he was on though while staying here with me was a mixed bag – he worked equally hard on the pc as on the emptying of bottles and cans. At least that part of the work I could help him with.
We saw Jón and Alla, both here and where they are moving to – they found and bought and rebuilt in the course of this year a house only a few kilometers away from our place. They actually added several rooms to the building. The big day, the day they say they'll move in, is on Wednesday, the day after tomorrow. Though they are very busy Alla found the time to pull off one of the actions she by now is famous for with me: she bought and gave me “for Christmas” another suit. She buys those suits, new or as good as new, at the Salvation Army for incredibly little money. Her triumph seems to me that she can show that she can estimate what will fit me. Show off her sense of proportion. I like those suits. My triumph is that I can appear elegantly dressed without loosing my sense of self-irony.

November 24th, 2004
Holy Night in one month. Das Kristkind kommt bald. Or would I have to write “das Christkind”? (I collect indications that tell me I loose my German. The biggest chunk in that collection is this diary.) Here, in that part of Iceland where I'm now, and where I have been at this time of the year during the last few years I have seen when driving at night in the vicinity, north or south by car, a growing fashion to outline the edges of walls and roofs of farm houses with chained electric lights in colour. I have had to laugh about this fashion, how the one wants to outdo the other participants. There is a good deal more done here to decorate houses at this time of the year than just to highlight their edges, but driving a car in the country side, those enhanced outlines are what one sees. And they make in the pitch darkness of the nights a very surrealistic impression. I may have come to mention this urge of Eyjafjörđur people for Christmas decoration before, but only today I came to think of  the circumstance that at Christmas, as I remember it, the building mainly commemorated was a stable. I have not seen one cow- or sheephouse decorated in the way described above.

November 23rd, 2004
To not have to follow a daily bookshop routine feels very good. My fly from 5 days ago is still with me. At least I haven't seen more than one fly at a time. And it takes off for 20 cm flights now, as a change from running around long distances. I observe this well because the creature wants to be on what I consider to be my table. But it seems that I have put the 3 lamps so that they shine their light and warmth onto this table top for both our advantage. 

November 18th, 2004
It is dark outside. In the distance lights of Iceland's second biggest town are flickering. Now very low over the snow on the hillside which makes my horizon from the window I look through into the world, a partly clouded half-moon will soon set in the southwest. I have a good hour ago arrived in our house which Hetti was the last to leave early in September. I found a beer in the disconnected fridge. We always disconnect all electricity and the water when we leave the house for longer periods. I'm now drinking the beer after putting the water and the electricity back on. I started the heating – the temperature in the small room I'm in is now up from minus 4 degrees on the Celsius scale to plus 8. I hope I don't find exploded cans or bottles in the kitchen – I haven't checked that yet. I found for myself a pair of long johns and plan to disappear in bed soon. The trip from near Reykjavík in my Lada Sport took more than 6 hours, 2 hours longer than usually, due to many kilometers I had to drive in dense snowfall. I feel tired. – While I write these lines I notice a fly which has taken the sudden increase of temperature as a sign for the beginning of the active season and walks around on the table. I intend to get the message, I’ll warm up and get active.

November 11th, 2004
Another train trip recently, this time to Mainz. Johannes lives and teaches there. Caroline is at his side. They invited Beat and me. The reason was a last round of work at a project for which we have met several times before in Frankfurt where Johannes has a second job. Our visit coincided with the 2nd round of a seminar on the writings of Dieter Roth which Johannes is holding at the faculty of German studies. He invited us to be present and speak to his students as living witnesses of Dieter. To see Dieter Roth become fodder for philologists strengthens my awareness of the wide interest in him and that my feeling of sharing the knowledge of his genius of his writings with relatively few people only will not last for much longer. Returning to Amsterdam guests had arrived at our home: Manfred and Monika. To see old friends is nice. We sat up till almost 5 in the morning, telling stories of (shared sea-) adventures. While the story telling was going on I disentangled and rolled up (from 11pm until 4.30am) a ball of thread which I had picked up from the floor, totally muddled. In order to explain to the reader how it had got there I have to introduce a new player in these pages, his name is Sushi. Sushi has already told the mice to stay away by catching 2 of them. Sushi is our new cat. A young ex-male. At times very speedy and not at all afraid and terribly elegant, of course. While one story followed the other the mess got less. Manfred remarked cleverly that that must have been seamen's yarn. Our guests left on Monday. We'll get to know in a few days the outcome of the tests which Hetti underwent. But: planned since many months, however not mentioned before in these pages: another spell of time, 6 weeks are ahead of me in Iceland. Your diary writer will leave tomorrow.

November 2nd, 2004
Knowing from experience that the real waking up time in the house I live in is usually around half past ten (when Hetti starts to make breakfast) I got a long time ago into the habit of lying more or less awake from around nine o'clock on with my right arm sticking out from under the blanket holding the remote television control in my hand which I can play blindly. I usually begin with the tele text news summaries, they are more friendly for the still sensitive eyes than the moving pictures, on top of that they make sense with the sound switched off. A head, just waking up, doesn't like noise too much. Usually I check the pages of the 2 German stations, the official Dutch page, the one of the BBC World and those of the 2 local stations. This is what I did this morning. I had just finished this round by taking a quick look at the headlines of the older of the 2 local stations. One third of their headlines usually is concerned with the soccer club, another with (traffic) accidents, the third with passed judgments. I was just about to close my eyes again in the hope of a bit more sleep, when there was a movement: a new headline had appeared in position one. It announced that a person had just been murdered which I think at least all city dwellers of the Netherlands have an idea of who he is, or was: Theo van Gogh. My impression of him is that of a media person. His game: to be in business by being publicly controversial. I noticed how he kept himself in the picture by shoveling insults into the direction of the Islam and the people who believe in it and who have come to live here. I think his thing was to encourage prejudice instead of discourage it. I didn't think of sleeping more. Instead I followed the news as they emerged. During the day in Boekie Woekie small groups of friends and random visitors were forming again and again and we were discussing quite passionately this newest turn of events several times. Strangely, we paid no attention to the elections in the U.S. with their potential outcome of turning the world into an even madder mad house - and likewise, or even more strangely, we almost only saw Hetti's visit to the hospital today in the light of that the entrance to the hospital which is quite close to the scene of the murder, might be difficult to reach because of rubbernecks. Though she is undergoing there tests the outcome of which we have reason to fear.

October 25th, 2004
Returning from London late last night, I came for the first time in several days to BoeWoe today. I looked at the mail, and among it was an envelope sent by Malcolm. It contained the photograph which has become the first image in this diary. I did not ask his permission yet, I hope he doesn't mind. Shortly after I had opened the envelope Michael came into the shop. My occasionally before expressed hope that I could learn to illustrate the diary got a certain urgency. Michael quite quickly succeeded in getting the picture on the web site but I don't think I would now be able to repeat that myself. The proof is there that it can be done without further programs or hardware. Thanks Michael, once again. I'm so happy because this is the picture which I described in the entry of  October 7th, where I talk about the Lodz Biennale with this sentence: In one corner, behind a door, there stood a chair, beside it was an empty wine bottle and in front of it an empty pair of shoes, and nowhere a sign with the name of an artist.

lodz  

I remember that Malcolm and I smiled about it, but I had forgotten that he took a photograph of it.
The Small Publishers Fair in London made me see again a lot of people and drink a lot of beer and sell a few books and cards. The people were Les, Martin, Steve, John, Tanya, Tony, Marc, Clive, Neill, Colin, Alec, Simon, Erica, Stuart, Alastair, Chris, Helen, Caspar, Christoph, Magnús, Kolbein, Frances and Ana and the beers were bitter and lager and the books I won't list. Coming home I felt exhausted.

October 16th, 2004
Four years ago the first entry to this diary was begun with an account of what went on when Boekie Woekie returned from its presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair. This year's Frankfurt Book Fair we did not participate in. From I think 1988 to 2002 we never missed once the occasion of the world's foremost gathering of people around their books. That we dropped out last year was due to the fact that we simply couldn't attend. Our presence with a second shop during the Dieter Roth retrospective exhibition at the Schaulager in Basel and the option that we might be asked to do the same at the second staging of that show in Cologne made our participation in the Book Fair impossible. This year, I think it was late in May, I wondered were the book fair booth application forms were. For years they were sent to us without that we had to ask for them and they had to be filled in and be back at the fair's office late in March. I phoned and heard it was too late to participate, and yes, the fair administration does not automatically continue to invite a publisher who paused once. I thought that was not very clever, business wise, from their side (forgetting that it wasn't clever either to think only in May of something due in March from my side). The same being too late counted for Roth's Verlag. That is why in this diary entry I regret I can only report that I went a week ago, last Sunday, as a visitor by train to Frankfurt. I returned on Monday with a terribly heavy suitcase full of new books and the conviction that Boekie Woekie has to re-enter that platform of book concern. There is no better place for Boekie Woekie than this gigantic madhouse to show were it stands. We tried to show our stance at a few art fairs too in the early nineties, but to ironize them turned out impossible. The art fairs ask for stronger display of concern, someone for example should walk through the alleys with a lawn mower to cut down the hairy carpets. But unless you arrange that as an art event you might go to jail for it. The Frankfurt Book Fair has the thinnest carpet ever made. To achieve your goal, it is enough to feel at ease, provided you can suppress the lusty glitter of your eyes.
A week in BoeWoe has passed since then. The ongoing performance of Boekie Woekie with its customers and guests reminded me again of that wild dance which needs a lot of expertise to do without falling and tearing others down with you. It was no coincidence that we gave what we began in 1986 a name sounding much like this dance. It was, with good foresight, a program.
I have prepared for my next train trip - to the Small Publishers Fair in London. Michael has put the fair flyer on top of the NEWS section of this web site.

October 7th, 2004
It will be difficult to grasp the last 9 days in a short piece of writing. - Okay, I'll see, and you too, where this will lead to. - I took off from Amsterdam by train, again to Berlin. There I went to Andrea. Andrea's sister Carola runs an ambitious restaurant down the street where Andrea lives. We went there for dinner. In case someone wants to follow in my steps: you are there when you see on the sidewalk of Leibnizstrasse a bicycle stand (for maybe 6 bicycles) which says "Europa" - the name of the restaurant. I don't think many of Carola's guests come biking, but the stand shows the level of the thoughtful service and it is a beautiful object in itself. The next day I was to take 2 trains to get to Lodz. The first one was the Berlin - Warsaw Express. I settled in the dining car, trying the Polish beer brands writing my travel journals. At the next table I overheard 2 ladies talking (in German) about art matters - "stretcher" and "canvas" were words mentioned. I understood I was not alone when a person I slightly know from former times in Berlin appeared. A whole group of art involved people was traveling to the same destination as I was, namely to the Lodz Biennale. They were on their way as observers, I as participant. In the 2nd train from Kutno to Lodz the exchange rate for Euros and Zlotys was only an approximation and in the advantage of the fellow who sold the beers. Arrival in darkness, no currency exchange to be found at the station, a taxi, the driver of which nodded yes to Euros, the Savoy Hotel, in front of it: Malcolm and Brigitte, waiting with the information were the dinner would be. Room 325 had a very high ceiling, maybe 4 meters or more. A framed picture smaller than a Din A4 sheet of paper with faded colours was hanging high above the bed. I couldn't make out what was on it even when I stood on the bed - and I'm 1 m 90 of length. Poland remained a mystery for me. I'll just relate one other impression, from the premises of the exhibition this time. The exhibition took place in abandoned factory halls of a former weaving mill, if I got it right. The machines were gone, the walls were white and art was all over. In one corner, behind a door, there stood a chair, beside it was an empty wine bottle and in front of it an empty pair of shoes, and nowhere a sign with the name of an artist. After 3 days, many beers and little sleep, I took a cab for the 6.30 am. service to Kutno, but I missed it. A few hours followed waiting for the next train during which I worked on myself to learn to appreciate the style of the architecture of this station. For Lodz Kaliska I had no ready recipe. At the end of that day I was in Berlin again, found Andrea in her sister's restaurant, we were sitting at the bar and laughed and laughed when Carola did "the grandma" with her fist wrapped in a napkin. The next day with Radeberger beer in the dining car to Amsterdam writing. Across from me a pretty Polish miss with very high, heels drinking sparkling wine and smoking one cigarette after the other all the way to Osnabrück. Well, I never had been to Poland before, and I don't know whether I will return. I hope I will. But for this first experience I have to thank Emmett, he caused that I was invited to go there.

September 28th, 2004
Have returned contrary to my planning for 3 days to Amsterdam after a few days in Berlin and another few in Frankfurt. I arrived in Berlin to attend the opening of the much disputed grand exhibition in the Museum Hamburger Bahnhof. My Icelandic friends, Björn with his son Oddur, Eggert and Gunnar, had for the last time in a long time to come, and maybe forever, installed Dieter's Garden Sculpture. We soon were sitting at one of the tables belonging to the Garden Sculpture and drank Doppelkorn. My brief stroll through the exhibition left me once again dissatisfied. I blamed it on the arbitrariness of art works which I often before found difficult to cope with. But faces of friends and their words and the alcohol encouraged mood made the night and the next 2 days quite enjoyable. Aldo had come from Frankfurt, Erwin from Basel, Andrea was there and Dorothy had pulled herself together, and though exhausted, showed up, I saw David briefly, and I saw Jes for the first time in many years. The staff, or actually the owners of a bar/restaurant fashionable for many years still looked pretty much the same. Marinated in what they sell, I suppose. I also visited Dizy and his young family. Dizy ran with his then wife Gudrun the pub I used to go to as a student. Now Boekie Woekie intends to make a book with Dizy. I went to see Dorothy in her brand new and not yet fully furnished big apartment, and stayed in Andrea's guest room. Then Frankfurt: Beat and Johannes and me met to talk for 2 days and for the 3rd time in half a year about a project I suppose I will write more about once it is accomplished - in March next year if all goes well. My going to Basel with Beat turned out to be not necessary, and instead of returning to Berlin, where I knew I would not have much to do, I returned to Amsterdam to desoak myself. This change of plan resulted in that I was present when Hetti returned from hearing the results of a health check she had undergone a few days earlier. The results were confusing, more checks are to follow, but I was happy that I hadn't gone to Berlin.  

September 19th, 2004
There will come a pause, I won't be able for 2 weeks to add to this diary. I'll be zigzagging central Europe by train. If things go as planned I'll get to Berlin, Frankfurt, possibly Basel, and Lodz in Poland before returning to Amsterdam. (I assume I announce this so that you readers can wish me a safe trip. Thanks.)

September 14th, 2004
Hetti came back Monday a week ago and during her first night at home Pietje our 19 year old cat and comrade died. She had slowed down a lot and I had been afraid Pietje might give up before Hetti's return. But the two seeing each other again resulted in that both were purring each in her own way. 19 years are also for humans a long time and Pietje's death we felt with more than a sigh, marks the passing of a period of our lives during which we practiced far reaching changes. We slipped in 86 into the guise of shop keepers. That was the year Boekie Woekie was begun. We lured back then the not full grown Pietje with a dotted line of ham from under her miserable shelter of parked cars into the house. She never left it after that because she wanted to. Pietje never came to either of the shop spaces which we have rented for BoeWoe, but she was waiting to be fed when we came home from BW and we fed her before we went there. One half of our self-inflicted obligations has ceased to be one.

September 5th, 2004
There has been a coming and going of guests. The result was that more often pieces of ducks were eaten in the evenings, and even more beers than normally were drunk all day long. A proper account becomes impossible, too many short-lived excitements. Through all this turbulence I was clinging to my task of completing the bookkeeping of which Hetti has done what is necessary to pay the VAT. The last month she did was June. But I haven't been able to get further than March. Hetti drove yesterday the 400 km from were our place is in the north of Iceland down to near Reykjavík where the Lada will be stalled. After one month up there she is coming back to Amsterdam tomorrow.

August 28th, 2004
Rúna was cutting a cardboard box down to postcard size pieces. It was the box in which she had brought 6 bottles of  red wine to BoeWoe. She was busy with replenishing our stock of 

Voss, Jan Ansichtssache by Jan Voss & Co PICTURE POSTCARDS cut-outs from all sorts of printed matter pasted as pictures on postcards, since 1989 EUR 1.-

She cut the corrugated cardboard to size with the printed-on side facing down. The images of the postcards-to-be where therefore random results. She held a few cards up and they looked great to me. I said something like she should become a designer. Rúna was joking, she could open a firm under the name "Rúna's blind design".  She got 19 beautiful cards out of the box (which, shopkeepers have to calculate, will have lowered the price for the 6 bottles of wine to 2 euros something, once the cards will be sold). We were impressed by our business mindedness. But the best was still to come. It struck us a little later that this procedure (postcard making from packing material) must entitle Boekie Woekie to do all shoppings, provided the goods are packed in printed-on wrappings, and declare them to the tax office as the buying of raw material for more merchandise. It felt like a pretty genial solution, we had given a twist to something. Only why did it take 15 years to think of this?

August 22nd, 2004
Sunday again, but now it is dark out there. Dark after a day during which I had a shirt on with short sleeves. The sleeves were short because guests had been sleeping on the bed in the room where my wardrobe is - I did not want to trouble them to get a warmer shirt. I put the same shirt on again as I wore the last few days though the temperatures have gone down. I, as so often before, did not think of any other measure to cope with a change than to keep myself soaked. The guests left before midday, but an afternoon which became an evening in the shop followed. I thought my hope was to have a chance to not get a cold if I would not stop too abruptly to drink. Raul dropped in and stayed for a lively while. Rúna offered to go and get more beer (and also brought then wine for herself). Raul, puffing away on his enriched cigarettes, switched over to her wine sparing my beer on which I'm still thriving. We compared recollections. I thought that Raul got in the course of the years into a position not entirely unsimilar to mine. As an artist he has dealt for long with the complex situation of running a life television program, often with an all night long air time. Though Raul can talk of himself as being merely the "koffiejuff" of this program everyone knows who the motor is. And am I not that for Boekie Woekie? And isn't Boekie Woekie an ongoing performance? Ongoing for soon 20 years? As a "koffiejuff" in Holland one takes care that staff and visitors have something in their cups. Anyhow, on the way to the refrigerator, pinned up on the side of a shelf since years, Boekie Woekie keeps the German version of a sentence by Robert Filliou which I showed and translated for Raul during our talk. These lines of verbal gymnastics were not meant to get me any further than to be able to quote Robert. "Kunst ist, was das Leben interessanter als Kunst macht. - Art is what makes life more interesting than art." - I have never heard anyone beat that one.

August 15th, 2004
I should be working on some shop matters, but for that I would have to use the pc in the back room. The pc I write the diary on is in the front of Boekie Woekie, the actual shop room. From here I have a view out onto the sun bathed street with its lightly dressed people on their summer Sunday strolls. I'm having a beer and look more out of the window than that I write. It is as near as I get these days to a summer holiday. Or a few lazy hours on a terrace. I might say luckily my tranquility is hardly disturbed by customers. But now I see and hear Rúna locking her bicycle chain in front of the shop. Things are changing. She brings in the results of her printing - she spend the last few afternoons in our printery from where she couldn't see anything of the nice weather nor of the people enjoying it, she was printing waste paper. This may sound like all she did went wrong, or like a joke. One of the details of Boekie Woekie is however that postcard customers get since many years their cards in envelops we glue ourselves. Originally they were made from misprints of our other printing efforts. Later, when we we were selling more postcards than that we had misprints we began to imitate them. Now we need up to 10000 "misprints" a year. We scramble printing plates which originally had nothing to do with each other and use random inks to print them. Our customers love the results - at least we get lots of that kind of comment. Hetti phoned from Iceland where she is since 10 days with her friend Ina, she had before not answered my call. She had been sitting in the sun on the south end of the house reading a German version of H.K.Laxness "Heimsljós". On sunny summer days who sits at that south end which usually is in the wind shadow of the house shares his place with many many fish flies, and may listen to their buzzing noise. Rúna is warming up some Chili con Carne she made yesterday. I'll ride my bike home tonight. Sturla has fixed it, with spokes and all.

August 11th, 2004
What do I choose to tell in this diary? What becomes topic of those few occasional lines? I think this diary has never been "the diary of a bookshop", or "my" diary. I'm not conscious of ever having made a plan what to tell and what not. It is curious what "makes" it and why. Today, just now before I began to hit the keys I thought of 2 possibilities: I could ponder in writing on an observation I made while peeing last night. Without paying at first attention to what my glance had fastened on I got alarmed when I became aware of a small bug taking off from the top spare roll of toilet paper. Our spare rolls are stuck on a stick which is inserted into a circular wooden platform so that it stands. The stick can hold 5 rolls (it is 50 or so cm high). I became alarmed because I noticed the bug or moth or what it was took off at the same moment that the whole tower of toilet rolls on a stick began to lean, to lean more and then to tumble over. I was puzzled by the physics of this event. Did the bug push itself so forcefully off "the ground" when it jumped off that tower that the tower fell? Or did the bug maybe feel the tower falling before I saw that that was about to happen and did it prefer to be airborne than to go down with it? Would I ever find out? - The other option of a "story" to tell I felt I had just before would have gone about like this: Today I phoned a friend on his mobile phone. He said he was sitting on a bench outside an Esso station in a small village on the shore of a fjord which was densely packed with fog, so densely that he couldn't see for 6 meters. He said he was blowing smoke out (he had found his way to the Esso station to buy cigarettes). While we spoke I began to imagine that his smoke was meant to thin down the fog. - I don't know which of the 2 possibilities would have "made it" to these pages had I not started to be puzzled about just that. With only a tiny prolongation of this awareness: in the case of doubt all sides have to be heard.

August 7th, 2004
Often when a strain of daydreaming ends it does so with me thinking that which just passed through my head should become the subject of a next diary entry. Then when the chance to write has come I almost as often don't remember what it was I wanted to write about. I suppose many people know this frustrating lack of brain power. Probably there are techniques with which one can learn to remember better. I used to carry notebooks around with me for scribbling down such things at the moment that they occurred. Years ago I  began to reproduce those note books, thinking I couldn't catch the moment of inspiration better than that.

Voss, Jan
Notizen Vom 28. 9. 1990 Bis Zum 13. 12. 1991 Band 1
reproduced notes (drawings and text), volume 1, hard cover, 360 pages, 29,5 21 cm, numbered/111, signed, Amsterdam 1992
EUR 91.-

Voss, Jan
Notizen Vom 6. 5. 1990 Bis Zum 24. 9. 1990 Band 2
reproduced notes (drawings and text), volume 2, hard cover, 360 pages, 29,5 21 cm, numbered/111, signed, Amsterdam 1993
EUR 91.-

Voss, Jan
Notizen Vom 23. 12. 1991 Bis Zum 21. 7. 1993 Band 3
reproduced notes (drawings and text), volume 3, hard cover, 360 pages, 29,5 21 cm, numbered/111, signed, Amsterdam 1994
EUR 91.-

Voss, Jan
Notizen Vom 11. 11. 1989 Bis Zum 5. 5. 1990 Band 4
reproduced notes (drawings and text), volume 4, hard cover, 360 pages, 29,5 21 cm, numbered/111, signed, Amsterdam 1996
EUR 91.-

Voss, Jan
Notizen Vom 5. 1. 1988 Bis Zum 7. 11. 1989 Band 5
reproduced notes (drawings and text), volume 5, hard cover, 360 pages, 29,5 21 cm, numbered/111, signed, Amsterdam 1997
EUR 91.-

I think I have given up on this project in spite of the many note books with which I could prolong this series. The caught moments of inspiration don´t seem to be enough to make a desirable book. At least in this case. Handwriting and sketchy drawings and recognizably no editing at all stretch the patience of readers too far I think to have learnt in the process of self-publishing those books. These not illustrated, machine written texts, not scribbled away but - could I say "edited"? - at least written quite slowly because of my selfimposed restriction to a language he did not grow up with have become the next stage in my history of more than 30 years of diary keeping. I hope I have found a way at least some readers enjoy. 

July 31st, 2004 
It is holiday time and we experience hot days. When we get to the shop (we bike) we need a towel. Actually inside Boekie Woekie it is still bearable, especially when we create a draft by leaving the door open to the backyard. There are fewer people in the streets than normally, half of Amsterdam must be with its feet in the Mediterranean. There are (as always) many foreign visitors to be seen (and heard), but they don't move as much as usually. They sit on the terraces in front of restaurants and bars. Accordingly, the business of Boekie Woekie once again is slow. That is not all that bad - things which on busy days would hardly get a chance to be registered become important. For example this: I said we bike to the shop. Since 2 days that is not true for me. My bike got a flat tyre. Besides fixing the punctuated tube some spokes would better be fixed too. Yesterday Hetti walked my bike to the nearest repairman. He refused to fix it, but wanted to sell her an entire back wheel. Hetti took the bike to the next repairman. He also didn't want to fix it. Now my bike is standing in front of Boekie Woekie on the pavement, not even attractive for the thieves.
Rúna is back from Porto. She liked the food and the people. Her reports of the book fair were less enthousiastic.

July 26th, 2004
I rented a car to run a few errands during the weekend. Before returning the car this morning I first had to fill it up with gasoline. When I wanted to pay the gasoline I had to use a few more (Dutch) words than strictly necessary to tell the man at the till which car I wanted to pay for (I hadn't thought of memorizing the tap number). It took him no time to understand me but he told me the amount I owed him in German. The brief transaction which followed was carried out by him in German and by me in Dutch. I have often before in this country been in the situation that my accent was recognized, and then referred to by answering me in German. I always felt some of the Dutch try this in order to let us Germans not forget where we belong. I don't doubt the good reasons many must have for that reminder. Special in the case of this morning however was that the man at the till was black which in Holland usually means that such a someone is from Surinam. Thinking of his probable age (he may have been close to thirty) he could as well be born here to Surinamese parents. Anyhow, I told myself, if I had asked him he might have told me he was just trying to be polite - to make life for a foreigner easier. Then, when I drove off it crossed my mind that I could have asked him whether he was a German. But at the end I couldn't help it that I thought his reason for talking back to me in German was a result of his attempt to assimilate fully the role of being a member of the Dutch nation, by even trying to share its history. I felt a desperation there which made me a little sad.

July 19th, 2004
While we were preparing for Rúna’s trip to Porto tomorrow – she will represent Boekie Woekie there on the occasion of an artists’ book fair which Guy is inviting for on behalf of the Library of the Museum Serralves (see also the NEWS page of this web site) – Hetti saw a blackbird land on the head of one of Ađalheiđur’s ravens which are on our patio. Quick! The web cam! Too late. The blackbird was gone before the camera was found. I begin to understand that and why words are necessary.

July 17th, 2004
Wow, what a sudden storm!  7 to 8 hundred of our postcards were flying through the street, west to east, for 80 or more meters. The postcard rack in front of the shop window had been gripped by a sudden gush of wind and thrown to the ground.
We were lucky to be able to collect the cards with the help of passers-by and the guys from the night shop across the street before a tremendous rain burst loose.
It happened towards the end of an anyhow turbulent day. Juan Pablo had been spending a few more hours working now at a hectic pace on our computers, because tomorrow he’ll have to fly back to Bogota. I know it will take me days to get acquainted with all the new or updated programmes. The latest thing plugged into one of the computers is a web cam. It would have thrilled me to be able to illustrate this, my report of the storm, with pictures the web cam had taken. But, alas, it wasn’t switched on at that moment.

July 15th, 2004
Days which brought lots of new features to our computer possibilities have passed, and I'm trying out whether I have understood how to continue my way with the machine. If this new entry will in a few minutes appear on our diary page, I'll be confident to handle it in future. The changes were possible thanks to Juan Pablo from Bogota, Raul´s nephew.

July 1st, 2004
I was on the phone with Tom on Sunday afternoon, while Hetti was tidying up Boekie Woekie after the opening of the night before. Tom had not slept at all and it was early morning for him in Albuquerque. He was in quite an elevated state and I enjoyed his conversation when Fredie came into Boekie Woekie bringing back with him from his trip to Berlin newly released records by Emmett:

Williams, Emmett
Poems 1950-2003
"this tiny sampling of my poetic oeuvre is a very mixed bag …" the artist reads some of his poems, LP record with a picture on both sides, Berlin 2004
EUR 19.-

Tom ordered one by phone, I'm happy that Hetti kept her record player.
Later in the week Pieter appeared. I had hoped I could persuade him to sell me the Rotaprint R30 he bought several years ago and took with him to his house in the South of France. But Pieter said that he would have to break down walls if he ever wanted to get that machine out of his house again. Since years Pieter reports endless construction efforts - he keeps enlarging his property there. My offset printery is in no good state. I will have to do something about it.
Yesterday Raul and his before mentioned nephew, 18 years old Juan Paul, were in BoeWoe. As it happens, the young man is quite a computer wizard. BoeWoe is lucky. Helgi showed up with a poster announcing a party on July 4th at the Gallery where he currently shows. He joined in the pre-party which happened to be going on in BoeWoe. Then unexpectedly Helmut and his wife appeared. The party pre to the party on Sunday took till 5 in the morning. Today Hetti had to open up Boekie Woekie.

June 27th, 2004
Dizy came for a 3 day visit with Katharina and their daughter Clara (6). The 2 females were new to me, but Dizy I recognized very much as the one he always has been since I got to know him  in 66. Straight forward, unpretentious and enjoying it. Dizy ran bars in the neighbourhood of the Düsseldorf art academy at the time that I was enlisted there as a student and I lost my innocence in matters of alcohol there. Now he is a musician and has a job as a stage actor.
Then (on Tuesday night last week) Jos brought Hetti back, and all the books and works from Lübeck. One of the things Hetti reported was when she closed our temporary shop in the church and when she counted the money in the cashbox she noticed there was not one Euro coin in it from another country than Germany. 50% of the coins in our Amsterdam cashbox usually are not Dutch. That much about Lübeck.
The pile of book boxes Jos had brought back together with Hetti were at first put into the Boekie Woekie gallery space but there they could not remain for long, because Boekie Woekie had announced for Saturday the opening of Michael's exhibition and the presentation of his book "Legend".

Gibbs, Michael Legend a selection of previously unpublished texts produced between 1966 and 1984, including the author's first ever concrete poem, language poems, text drawings and other inbetween genres, soft cover, 44 not numbered pages, 21 x 16 cm, numbered/200, Amsterdam 2004 EUR 15.-

This book we conjured up during the last weeks as a combined effort of the artist and Boekie Woekie. Raul and his visiting nephew Juan Paul (?) from Bogota helped to take the boxes into the storage room in the back of BoeWoe. It will be quite a job to put them back into the storage's alphabetical order. Michael's opening of text works brought people together who hadn't met in a long time. I think everybody liked it.

June 18th, 2004
Raul did not wait till all his pictures would have fallen off the Boekie Woekie walls, but took them off by hand when it was time for it. He was busy with that when a seldom guest came, Helmut from Cologne. He was busy with it the next day, when Martha came to say good bye. Two evenings I spend with Michael. We walked around a big table. Since  Rúna is in Iceland, I almost daily hear from her on the phone. Now while I write this, she must be in the car with Kristján, driving from our hide out in the North back to Reykjavík - on Sunday her father gets 70. Rúna who has her own place not far from where Kristján's and mine is got as a present from her 30 (31?) year old son Reynir the promise that he will contribute considerably to the maintenance and fixing of that place. Back to Amsterdam and Lübeck. Hetti and Ineke just phoned. Ineke visits Hetti for the weekend. It will not be me who, on Tuesday, will fetch Boekie Woekie and the exhibited works but Jos. I must not forget when I bike home now to take with me the pieces of beef heart I bought for Pietje, our 19 years old cat.

June 16th, 2004
What I began to tell in the last diary entry was this: It was announced for the evening of the second Saturday after the opening of the Dieter Roth Academy exhibition in St.Petri in Lübeck that writers of literature would read from their works to an audience of "a few hundred people" - I had heard a woman employed by the church predict. A big event it would be. And I think one with some tradition. In order to be able to arrange rows of chairs, our exhibition would not be open to the public on that Saturday and the Friday before. The invitation card had already announced that. But during the opening of the DRA exhibition that Björn who is the one of the church had said that Boekie Woekie should be open that evening of the reading, and I did not forget that remark, because it had begun to dawn on me that very few people would come to see our show. The literature reading would be the only occasion where we could expect people with antennas for books to show up. Therefore it was an unexpected blow when Hetti heard that Boekie Woekie could not be open during that evening. The pastor said "don't be angry", a member of a board I had not been aware of existed said our books had anyhow nothing to do with literature, we should understand that, or something similar. I heard this during 2, 3 days from Hetti when I phoned her. I involved Malcolm, who has been the DRA spokesman in our dealings with "the church". He phoned that Björn, who said he would see what he could do. Malcolm expected to be phoned back. After hearing from Malcolm during 2 days that he had not been phoned back (I phoned him several times to inquire) my patience ran out. I faxed a letter to Lübeck saying that I was disappointed to the extend that I would fetch the bookshop as soon as I could. And for that matter would take the displayed items Hetti, Rúna and me contributed to the exhibition back at the same time since a 3rd trip to Lübeck would be out of the question. We had or were about to spend quite a sum of money to add that bookshop to the exhibition (renting vans, paying for accommodation before the beginning of the show and for the the time it lasts). Next morning, Friday, when I opened BoeWoe, there was an answer to my fax, expressing the hope that a solution could be found. I did not yet order the van but expected to hear whether the hope was justified. However the obvious unwillingness of "the church" to consider not only their but also our situation resulted again in stress. At 2pm on Saturday with the reading starting at 7pm I still did not know what the outcome of this hope was. I faxed again. And promptly got the answer that Boekie Woekie could be open to the public that night. Phew. Hetti reported on Sunday that Boekie Woekie had been quite a centre of attraction for the people who had come for the reading.

June 11th, 2004
Eggert has returned to Iceland  in a more or less dry state. Martha has come from England with a big heavy suitcase full of books which she is to take with her to Mexico in a few days. Raul seems a bit disappointed that not more of his pictures keep falling off the wall. He likes to stick them back on I think. This sounds like all was okay, doesn't it? Well, it isn't. I'm seriously troubled about our participation in the Dieter Roth Academy exhibition in St.Petri in Lübeck. I feel sorry for Hetti to have to be there. I'm too tired now, but will come with the details soon.

June 8th, 2004
Busy days are behind me. I'll try to recall.
Hetti and me started our train trip to Lübeck early last Friday morning. But differently from how it was scheduled we got there with a 2 hours delay because somehow they don't know how to run trains anymore. After 9 hours we arrived in Lübeck. The back and forth car trips from only a few days before had taken 5 hours each.
In the church the building up of the exhibition was well advanced, but far from ready. Most of Boekie Woekie's books were still in the boxes we had brought them in. At 7pm, when it was announced that the opening of the exhibition would be, the shop looked okay, though it wasn't.
The exhibition was what it was. More could not be done. Björn (the Björn who usually is the Björn in these pages) was the last to get into position. He began at 6pm to paint a still life on a  partition wall as his contribution to the exhibition. The sexton, or another church employee came up to him and said he hoped the paint could be washed off again. Björn said he had said to the sexton that it should be considered to sell this piece. The sexton (or one of his colleagues) Björn said had found that an interesting option. Two speeches had been announced on the invitation card, one speech by the other Björn, the Björn of the church, who has been Malcolm's partner in preparing this show, the other speech by me. Björn the other had to cope with reverberation of a serious kind, but somehow he more or less managed to tell the audience (around, I guess, 100 people, one third of them "us") what an acclaimed artist Dieter had been. On my previous visit a few days before he had proposed this: he on Dieter, I on the Dieter Roth Academy. While he spoke it occurred to me that pastors had to cope for centuries with acoustics which would make much of what they said ununderstandable. That may count for many churches - could those pastors have made use of that? Next on stage (in no pulpit, but with a microphone in some sort on a tripod, elevated just one step up of the 3 or 4 to the altar area:) me. I read my first few words and was interrupted and advised to speak more close to the microphone. I continued, thinking I was doing that, speaking more closely to the microphone. What I myself heard of my voice sounded very much okay, but shortly before I had reached the end unrest ensued, it seemed most people had listened for more than 10 minutes without understanding a word. Therefore I want to paste in here the text I had prepared. On 3 occasions I took a little detour from this text in my speech. I changed the manuscript by hand during that prolonged train ride in the morning. I can't include those alterations here because the printed out text with the alterations is still in Lübeck and I don't exactly remember what the alterations were. I wrote in German of course, but to the English only readers I say: don't go away, but scroll down, more is to come.
 

DRA Lübeck 4.6.04

Zum öffentlich Worte vortragen gehören gute Nerven. Und was merke ich da? Ist es Lampenfieber, das in mir aufkommt? Man sähe es mir hoffentlich nicht an, aber ich würde Lampenfieber natürlich weggespült haben.

Oder ist es der Umstand in einer Kirche sprechen zu sollen? Nein, das kann auch nicht sein. Als Untertertianer hatte ich eine kurze Phase in der ich Pastor werden wollte. Da sehe ich in dieser Gelegenheit bloss die ironische Verwirklichung einer meistens schamvoll verschwiegenen Idee.

Nach dieser geflüsterten Beichte geht es mit normaler Stimme weiter.

Verehrte Anwesende, liebe Leute, dear friends and what ever else you may be for me: es soll mir eine Freude sein, mich namens der Dieter Roth Akademie dafür zu bedanken, dass wir hier in Lübeck diesen Landeplatz haben finden können.

Für die, die uns noch nicht kennen, will ich zudem einwenig über die Dieter Roth Academy erzählen.

Als erster, dem Dank gebührt, muss da einer aus unseren Reihen genannt werden. "Lübeck" ist Rainer Pretzells Idee. Er hat hier früher schon Erfahrungen von der Art gemacht, wie er sie auch uns wünscht.

Dann ist es natürlich die Leitung der St.Petri Kirche und namentlich Herr Engholm. Ihnen gebührt unser herzlicher Dank dafür, dass Sie sich auf uns eingelassen haben.

Jetzt ist Malcolm Green dran, thanks Malcolm, for organizing and coordinating this occasion of the traditionally quite chaotic Dieter Roth Academy events. (Dass ich mich bei ihm dafür bedanke, dass er mir diesen Redeauftritt zugeschoben hat, will ich nicht behaupten, aber dies gibt mir Gelegenheit mich kurz vorzustellen. Ich heisse Jan Voss. Da drüben hängt ein 3-teiliges Bild von mir, und ich bin mit Rúna Thorkelsdóttir und Henriëtte van Egten verantwortlich für diese, dort, Zweigstelle unseres Buchladens für Künstlerbücher den wir in Amsterdam führen, und der Boekie Woekie heisst, dorthinten ist die Zweigstelle. Henriëtte wird für die Dauer der Ausstellung in Lübeck bleiben und den St.Petri Laden geöffnet halten.)

Und natürlich gilt Dank Euch, die Ihr mit Euren Sachen hier hergekommen seid. Thanks to you all for coming with your things to Lübeck! Auch denen, die nicht haben kommen können, aber doch zur Ausstellung beitrugen, ebenfalls Dank.

Und last, aber allerwenigst least, sind wir Ihnen dankbar, Ihnen, den Gästen und Besuchern dieser Ausstellung, dass Sie sich unseren Sachen stellen wollen.

Da man von gewährter Freude auch dankbar wird, gehört hier noch ein herzliches Dankeschön hin. Es gilt Emmett Williams. Über dessen aktive Teilnahme ist die Roth Akademie riesig froh. Thanks Emmett, very much, for coming to Lübeck.

Nun will ich die Roth Akademie kurz denen vorstellen, die sie noch nicht kennen.

Diese Ausstellung, in der Sie sich befinden, ist in dem Fall wohl das erste, was sie von unserer Akademie wahrnehmen. Da müssen Sie unbedingt sofort wissen, dass diese Ausstellung eigentlich ein Nebenprodukt ist. Sie ist das Nebenprodukt der Konferenz, zu der wir uns morgen treffen.

In diesem Licht könnte es Ihnen ein "Warum?" entlocken, wenn Sie bedenken, dass eine Ausstellung teurer ist, und viel komplizierter zu realisieren, als nur eine Konferenz. Warum sollten wir uns das gemeinsame Ausstellen soviel Geld und Mühe kosten lassen, wenn wir eigentlich nur miteinander reden wollen?

Wir treffen uns nicht oft, und wenn wir uns treffen möchten wir das nicht im Verborgenen tun, zudem sind wir vorzeigefreudige Naturen. Und: obwohl sie nur ein Nebenprodukt ist, weist diese Ausstellung doch auf einen der Kerne der Sache, gleich kommt mehr darüber.

Wenn Sie sich hier umsehen, merken Sie bald, dass wir mit unserer Vorzeigefreudigkeit keine Künstlergruppe mit formalen Übereinstimmungen sind. Es sollte Sie nicht überraschen, dass sich Ihnen kein rechter Roter Faden entwickelt. Die, die hier ausstellen haben sich nicht über gemeinsame Parameter, oder eine gewisse Haltung in der Kunst geeinigt.

Wir wollen das, was wir hier machen darum nur einen Erkundungsversuch nennen. In all unsrer Unterschiedlichkeit geht es um das Ausloten von Möglichkeiten für zukünftige Ausstellungen. Motiviert zu unseren Erkundungen fühlen wir uns von Gedanken Dieter Roths zu etwas, was er auf deutsch "Wanderzirkus" nannte und auf englisch "Road Show". (Die Möglichkeit zur schnellen Verballhornung von Road Show zur Roth Show ist uns ein lustiger Nebeneffekt.) Wir erkunden Möglichkeiten für Ausstellungen mit unterhaltendem Charakter an für Kunstausstellungen nicht sehr wahrscheinlichen Orten, wie Turnhallen, Kirchen, Hotels etc. Die Ausstellung anlässlich der Gründungskonferenz der Akademie z.B. fand in einer Basler Druckerei statt.

Die Orte, die der Bilder-Vorzeige-Freude üblicherweise offen stehen, die Galerien und Museen, brauchen wegen uns nicht zu zumachen. Aber aus unserem Verständnis heraus bieten sie nicht immer die adäquaten Voraussetzungen, um mit Bildern bei ihren Beschauern das zu erwecken, was ihre Hersteller von ihnen erwarten.

Die Hauptsache ist also die seit dem Jahr 2000 jährlich stattfindende Konferenz, zu der sich alte Freunde, Mitarbeiter, Kollegen und Familie des morgen vor 6 Jahren gestorbenen Künstlers treffen. Die erste, wie schon gesagt, war in Basel, die 2. in Südungarn, die 3. an der Ostküste Islands, die 4. wieder in Basel, aus Anlass der Eröffnung der ersten Station der Dieter Roth Retrospektive im Schaulager dort. Zu diesen Konferenzen gab es jeweils eine Ausstellung. Einzige Ausnahme im vorigen Jahr. Zum Ereignis der Roth Retrospektive meinten wir nichts hinzufügen zu sollen.

Sie wollen wissen, wie es zur Dieter Roth Akademie kam.

Zu Dieter Roths grossen Skulptur Ausstellungen während seiner letzten Lebensjahre, die er mit seinem Sohn Björn veranstaltete, gehörte jeweils eine Installation, die sein Büro war, und in der er auch tatsächlich während der Dauer der Ausstellung sass und schrieb und wo er ihm Bekannte Besucher empfing. Mit Dieters Tod war diese Installation verwaist. In Gedanken bei der kommenden Retrospektive, gab es Überlegungen zwischen Björn und mir für ein neues Büro, das während Ausstellungen bemannt sein sollte. Für dieses Büro wussten wir sofort den Namen: es würde Dieter Roth Akademie heissen.

Die Vorbereitungen der Roth Retrospektive verzögerten sich. Dagegen nahmen die der Akademie an Fahrt zu und wuchsen sich unter der Hand zu einem vielumfassenden Plan aus. Bei der Gründungskonferenz erzählten Björn, Sigurđur, Kristján und Pétur von Dieters Vorstellungen von einer Akademie, wie sie ihm 2 Jahre vor seinem Tod vorschwebten. Da war Sprache von einer Akademie als einem Lehrinstitut. Dieter habe ein eigenes Gebäude für eine Akademie für verkehrt gehalten, eine Kunstakademie müsse dort sein, wo die an ihr Lehrenden sich aufhalten, in möglichst verschiedenen Welten. Schon im Reisen der Studenten von einem Lehrer zum anderen, und natürlich in der jeweiligen vor Ort vorgefundenen Realität läge das, was sich vermitteln liesse. Wir Gründungskonferenzler stellten uns ein auf einen Strom von auf unsren Sofas übernachten wollenden jungen Leuten. Die hat es bislang aber nur vereinzelt gegeben.

Die auf der Einladungskarte "Freunde" der D.R.A. genannten Mitaussteller sind zum grössten Teil Studenten an den Kunsthochschulen von Hamburg und Reykjavík und dort in den Klassen von Andrea Tippel und Björn Roth, einige sind schon zum 2. Mal dabei.

Das vorhin schon erwähnte Rothsche Ausstellungskonzept, der Wanderzirkus, blieb bei den folgenden Konferenzen weiter im Gespräch. Hinzu kamen andere Aspekte der Akademie. Sie soll jetzt eine Sammelstelle des Wissens bezüglich Dieter Roth sein. Die Verleihung eines Dieter Roth Preises wird diskutiert. Die Akademie hat inzwischen fünf Bücher herausgegeben.

Vielleicht kann ich abkürzend sagen, dass die Mitglieder der Akademie ihre Erinnerung an Dieter Roth als so bedeutend empfinden, dass sie gemeinsam versuchen wollen von ihm ausgegangene Impulse wach zu halten. Wachhalten, daraus folgt Beschreiben und Vermitteln. Dies ist der innere Grund für die Aktivitäten dieser Akademie.

Da die D.R.A. nicht ihre eigenen Pforten öffnen kann, die sie ja nicht haben will, vergewissert sie sich durch Gastspiele dieser Art für ein paar Tage ihrer Existenz. Dabei helfen Sie, liebe Besucher, uns. Als Gegenleistung bieten wir Ihnen dieses Kurzseminar, bzw. diese Gasthörerschaft an.

Sie haben längst gemerkt, dass die Dieter Roth Akademie ein völlig unakademisches Institut ist, jedenfalls wenn man unter akademisch wissenschaftlich versteht. Auch wer akademisch als formal oder blutleer versteht wird sich kaum in der Dieter Roth Akademie zurechtfinden.

Wenn aber jemand den Eindruck bekommen hat, dass er in der D.R.A. was lernen kann, dann liegt er schon besser. Und falls wer lernen wollte wahrheitsgetreu und zugleich erfindungsreich zu sein, wäre dies für die Akademie eine überwältigende Bestätigung ihres Erfolges.

Kurze Zusammenfassung: Die Mitglieder der Dieter Roth Akademie verbindet ein grosser Eindruck. Das ist der, den Dieter Roth auf sie gemacht hat mit seinem poetischen Künstlersein und seiner daraus resultierenden Haltung zu sich selbst, zur Kunst, zur Kunstwelt und zu den anderen Menschen, und von diesem Eindruck haben wir gelernt. Wir gehören zu denen, die die Roth Akademie besuchten, als sie noch nicht so hiess.

Jedes Akademie Mitglied hat natürlich seine eigene Roth-Erfahrung. Die mag teilweise überlappen mit der von anderen, aber kongruënt sind diese Erfahrungen sicher nicht. Während der 360 von den 365 Tagen des Jahres, an denen die Mitglieder einander kaum sehen oder sprechen, macht jeder was er will. Doch haben alle Mitglieder, sozusagen unsichtbar an ihren Türklingeln den Zusatz "Dieter Roth Akademie" stehen. Jeder hat den Anderen nötig, um das Roth Bild zu erweitern und zu vertiefen. Dabei wissen alle von einander, dass keiner den Rahmen zu sprengen vermöchte in den er sich gemeinsam mit den anderen begeben hat. Dieses Wissen hängt mit der Grösse des Bildes zusammen, um das es geht.

Ihre geduldige Aufmerksamkeit war wohltuend. Ich wünsche einen interessanten Rundgang.
 

Only those with their ears close to the loud speakers could follow my talk. I felt disappointed, I had been speaking, and preparing myself to speak to everyone present. A moment later Agnes took me aside to tell me how I should have done my speech better. Anyhow, that had been that. Than came Emmetts music performance with the children's instruments. (Or is it childrens' instruments? I fear a hard time to look that up, Emmett, Malcolm, Dorothy, Tom please help me.) Emmett ended it with a version of this performance which would have put the Tele-Tubbies to shame. His directing the bye bye choir got me sentimental, I cried a little. (Washed my face, that is, for those who remember a long ago entry to this diary.)
There were a lot of beautiful things to be seen and felt in this exhibition, and the mood was good of those involved. A lively party generously supplied with the necessary party ingredients made it one of those unforgettable nights of which nothing is left but that the feeling was good.
Was it that night or the next that Hetti, Rúna and me sort of lost the others and went with Annie and Emmett to Ali Baba and continued till 5 in the morning in their place?
Anyhow, there was that other day, that of the conference. That was more difficult than the day of the opening of the exhibition. The DRA should be spelled dra I say when I look on that event.
And then Sunday, soaked, trying to keep the balance with Rúna and Eggert in the train back to Amsterdam. Hetti would run the shop in Lübeck.
Little did I know that on Monday something would happen which almost made Hetti want to run away from the shop in that church. A nut started to shout that day in the corner where our shop is that all this should be burnt and those who made it should be brought to Dachau. - There was also somebody else that day who bought one postcard.
I was in charge on Monday of Boekie Woekie in Amsterdam. Raul came to paste back on to the walls those of his pictures which had fallen off from them during the time our shop stayed closed because all 3 of us were in Lübeck (from Friday to Sunday). Michael (our good old Michael) was active on a mission in BW only to be talked more about after it has been completed. While this was going on I heard from Hetti on the phone about the Dachau idiot.
I think it was that afternoon that those friends of Rúna who were aware of that she would get 50 the next day came to celebrate in Boekie Woekie with drinks and snacks and good vibrations. Later we ate a Turkish pizza at a place I want to make a little advertising for: the name is Abagonda or Gobanda or something with those vowels. It is on the corner of the prolongation of Hazenstraat (which starts northwards from Elandsgracht) where it meets Rozenzij- or Rozendwarsstraat. Anyhow it is the same street parallel to Rozengracht the branch office of the Stedelijk Museum is on, I think called Bureaux Amsterdam. But since the SM is right now, for those who follow it, only a branch office of itself it makes the bureaux at its best a branch of a branch office. A bit further west on that street, at Agonda or how is it called they make fresh and tasty tasting pizzas.
And then: Rúna flew today, on her 50th birthday to her home country Iceland. She has no return ticket but says she will only stay for one month. Raul has arrived for sticking back to the walls those of his pictures of his exhibition which fell off in the meantime. Michael is active. Eggert tries to dry up a little. Eva comes with June. We go to eat at a Thai nearby and June's nappy leaks on Michaels trousers. Eggert needs just a few glasses of schnapps to unsoak himself. I buy myself across the street at the former Lindeman supermarket (now despicable AH) at the last minute a few more Grolsch, but then, alone in BoeWoe I can not get high on them and finally bike home to sleep.

June 3rd, 2004
Rúna, Eggert and me drove yesterday an almost full rented van of 5 cubic meters loading space to Lübeck, unloaded its contents - that what we want to show there - into the church where the exhibition is to take place (see the last entry), and tried to get a first impression of how the exhibition, at least how our parts of the exhibition could be installed. The main concern being how our Boekie Woekie branch office will look. Rainer, Agnes, Erika and Malcolm where already there and busy working on their things. Later half of Iceland arrived - well, 8 people,  by train from Copenhagen. And Dadi came with Krassimira. Then a wave of beer in which there was a bit of a leg of lamb swept us away. A brief visit to the church in the morning, a handshake with another Björn than the one this name refers usually to in these pages and his explanations about smoking and off I went on a drive of 530 km back to Amsterdam to return the car. Since then I have been preparing the talk I'm supposed to give tomorrow at the opening in Lübeck. The train which is to take Hetti and me (back) there leaves at 7.13 in the morning. Now it is almost midnight. I think I'm excused, and may go home to catch some sleep now.

May 30th, 2004
Raul's exhibition is now hidden behind towers of cardboard boxes. Boekie Woekie is preparing to be present during the 4th exhibition on the occasion of the 5th conference of the Dieter Roth Academy in the St.Petri church in Lübeck. BW piles up stuff it intends to take there. Raul's stuff on our walls will only become visible again on Tuesday when we have left with our piles in a van. We: that is Rúna, me and Eggert (who came from Iceland to Amsterdam to weld the electrical engine back into the sculptur he exhibited in Boekie Woekie a few years ago and which he wants now to show in Lübeck). Hetti will keep Boekie Woekie open until I'm back sometime on Wednesday. On Friday Hetti and me will go (again) to Lübeck by train to be there for the opening of the exhibition. After the conference on Saturday Hetti will stay on in Lübeck and Rúna and Eggert and me plan to return to Amsterdam. In two and a half weeks time from then the exhibition closes and I'll fetch Hetti and the bookshop. - This all sounds okay, doesn't it? People who know how to organize are at work, aren't they? Don't be fooled, dear reader. The writer has just discovered the reason for all lies. It is too complicated to tell the truth.

May 25th, 2004
I'm writing this surrounded by "Instant & Low Resolution Portraits, Sketches, Studies and Snapshots" by Raul. Raul's opening in Boekie Woekie was on Saturday. Many photographs, drawings and a 12 hour video recording on 4 tapes of a newspaper picture of Simone de Beauvoir plus a book which he and his wife Truus worked on hard to get ready for the exhibition constitute what is on display here. Many of "Raul's people" showed up for the opening. Raul has a history of having a way with some prominent people, prominent in politics, they like him. Normally, ministers of state or lord mayors ignore Boekie Woekie, but in his tow some of this for us rare species occasionally show up. I drank them, and all the others away and as a captain of a ship I stayed on board to wait for the storm to abate. In the early hours I slept a little on an improvised bed in what is our gallery. I was up before ten with a desperation I hadn't been able to sleep away. The desperation was so bad that I had to do something about it. I took a saw and tried to reduce the poison ivy growth which originates on the backside of the Boekie Woekie back house. The poison ivy has spread over the flat roof of the back house and begins to grow its way down on the front side. I had to give up to cut it away. I was itching on my hands and coughing from the dust and was only more desperate. I had no beer, but just a few steps separated me from buying it. It wasn't easy. Then Hetti and Rúna came, after one, with Hanneke and Jos from Zwolle (I had heard through the phone they would come) and they brought some smoked eels. It was amazing what a smoked eel can repair.

May 21st, 2004
We had a great time with Carlheinz, his firm and his family. They provided a stage for our exhibition which couldn't have been better. The stage is an insurance broker's office, an office where I think Carlheinz said 30 people work. The opening was a business party for those who work there I think. For Carlheinz one of the reasons to let this exhibition happen probably was the possibility to meet (potential) customers in a relaxed, - or in an atmosphere differently excited from usual. Beate and Lisa, the wife and one of the daughters of Carlheinz, made an elegant effort to keep all guests happy. And Boekie Woekie which had been looking forward to show pictures without all ado enjoyed to see that the pictures worked. - And I had a special reason for joy - some people I hadn't seen for years showed up. Düsseldorf is in the area where my roots lie.

May 15th, 2004
Now that Hetti, Rúna and me have returned to Amsterdam from Düsseldorf (the mission there is completed and we had a lot of fun) we don't need to restrict the satisfaction of our thirst to tea! - Rereading this opening sentence for the new diary entry I must admit we didn't restrict that satisfaction to tea before we went to Düdo either, and not while we were there. This forces me, with a sigh, to ask the question what I'm talking about? I at least seem to drink alcohol all the time. Recognizing this, it helps that there was this e-mail today:

>jokes on the wall
>
>folgende inschrift  las ich vor 20 jahren  an der toilettenwand eines "autonomen kulturzentrums"
>
>" Haschisch macht gleichgueltig "
>
>darunter hatte ein anderer geschrieben >
>
>" ist mir doch egal ".
>
>biergruesse,
>peter
>
Thank you, Peter. Is it the alcohol which makes me thankful?
 
May 11th, 2004
Besides to entertain with speculative and detour seeking considerations this diary also intends of course to inform its readers about what goes on in the world's ....... bookshop. (The reader may fill in the dotted spot with a superlative form of an adjective of his choice.) - We were working intensely on getting a grip on a body of work which has played for about 8 years a prominent role in Boekie Woekie. A possibly final version of our beer mats, sometimes called beer coasters, is due on the walls of Mikosch and Partner in Düsseldorf, opening the day after tomorrow.

May 5th, 2004
Some, but hardly more than 10 years ago, I noticed a then brand-new inscription on one of the walls of the toilet of the house I inhabit with Hetti since more than 20 years. (When we moved into this house, the walls of this toilet were already covered with inscriptions. We liked that and didn't paint them over (actually if I remember right we liked the whole house). In the years we have lived there the latrine inscriptions only got more dense.) This new inscription I noticed during a dinner party. I recognized the hand of the writer: it was Pieter's and he was among our guests that night. I returned to the table where also he was sitting and told him I had found funny what he had written there. I thought his reaction showed he was a little embarrassed his writing had been noticed so soon or that I found it funny. At least, when I had to pee next time I noticed he had been there again to change his inscription by cleverly overwriting it. It was now almost impossible to read what had stood there first. What stood there now was: "Geen gitaar is niet zo erg dan helemaal geen gitaar". What had stood there first had been: "Geen zin is niet zo erg dan helemaal geen zin".
It was in Dutch. I'll try to translate. The inscription made first was an ambiguous one. It could be "No sense is not as bad as no sense at all" or: "No sentence is not as bad as no sentence at all" or: "To not be in the mood isn't as bad as not to be in the mood at all." The "corrected" version, quite unambiguously reads in English: "No guitar is not as bad as no guitar at all".
It did puzzle me, I even was a little worried back then that and how Pieter overwrote his inscription.
Pieter still comes to Boekie Woekie and my home occasionally. But I have not mentioned to him that the pen he used in his second round of writing fades faster than the pen he used first. On the wall stands again "Geen zin is niet zo erg dan helemaal geen zin". I'm happy about that. But it is the detour via the guitar which doesn't fade from my mind.

April 27th, 2004
The disemboweled computer is a problem. Michael has started to pay attention to this situation, although as a Mac man, much of this is foreign to him too. I can write this on the pc that I emptied by mistake of a lot of useful functions. It luckily performs its tasks necessary for maintaining the Boekie Woekie site. - Something else. - I had a few days recently running around (by car) in our corner of Europe - Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt and back home. Sitting here thinking about how I could relate aspects of that trip I gaze about without focus. I expect to "get an idea what to write". Before an idea comes I notice something which moves in what is indistinct in front of me. This movement forces me to focus. I see it is a tiny beetle, maybe a millimeter and a half long, running around on a piece of paper which hangs 25 cm before my eyes. On that paper are the Alt codes for special, mostly Icelandic letters which aren't on the keyboard. I like this little fellow who runs there and say to him, jaja, you and me we take long detours to avoid those specialists of the German language (that shows how far I was, trying to get an idea). The little fellow is too short of breath to answer, he is just now performing the acrobatics necessary to get himself around the edge to the backside of the paper, and now he is gone. I sigh, and that's my story for today.

April 16th, 2004
I blundered. I had the Norton's Space Wizard practically disembowel my computer. The Unerase Wizard brought a lot back, but Exel and Internet Explorer don't work properly. The purpose of writing this is that I want to test the FTP program. If this entry can be read in a few minutes by those who may open www.boekiewoekie.com (I intend to do it via Netscape) the diary readers I hope won't notice that in the near future another computer will maintain this site. If the FTP fails, there might come a pause before this text can be continued.

April 10th, 2004
Amsterdam is packed with Easter bunnies, lots of them German, many English and from other countries. They seem to move around quite randomly. Those who happen to find themselves in Boekie Woekie usually mumble an excuse - oops, not my warren - and are out again. Some like to sniff around a little. Often they leave after having made quite a mess on the shelves and tables. Very few ever hide any eggs in our till.

April 6th, 2004
Here follows one of the funnier of the twothousandandfour Boekie Woekie details.
The following confusion occurred: are the breathing holes of seals their nostrils, their "nasal vents" or their "respiratorial orifices" as it was considered or are they those holes seals keep open in the ceiling of ice above them? That confusion occurred because Rúna had written a brief text in Icelandic based on some mythological story of the Greenlanders, the Inuits. She wanted it, in English, to accompany what is listed as

Thorkelsdóttir, Rúna Untitled ORIGINAL series of small paintings of a dark blue "sky" with "stars", numbered/20, signed, 1988/94 EUR 91.-

in the MULTIPLES section of this web site.
In her text the stars are compared to the breathing holes of seals. A fire rages in the holes which the stars really are, to keep them open to maintain a connection, at least for the Inuit people, to a world beyond. The breathing holes, the seals' nostrils or their extensions keep the seals connected to some other side. Contemplating this I was reminded of the last real seal I saw. That was early December 03 from the window of our den (thanks, Elsa, for this, for me new word). I had to get the binoculars to convince myself that it wasn't a bottle I saw there drifting in the sea 7 meters from the shore (the den, or the house I was looking from, isn't further away from the other side of the shore line). I know now it was the idea of a bottle inhaling air which was getting me confused.

March 31st, 2004
A week ago at this time I was drinking Becks beers at JFK between flights. Los Angeles was then just behind me. The Pacific Ocean, into which I had inserted some toes. The tailless cat on the still hot hood of the motor of my beautiful Ford rented from Hertz. The cat Elsa said she and Bill just had had to put asleep. Elsa and her den. But the arrogant dentist. Alexandra's laughter. The Hungarian liking to speak German better than English. The German speaking mother on Venice Beach I overheard saying to her child "wenn das Wasser nicht wäre, wäre da Japan" while her child splashed around in that water. My talk. My local and therefore free of charge calls with Simona who knows she wants to be good to her 87 years old father. My not phoning the only other LA number in my address book. My getting disgusted by what I was offered to watch on my hotel room television. My fantasizing about the porcelain faced lady customers of my dentist. The feeling not to say what those listening were expecting to hear. All that (and more) was then just behind me. And in front of me was the flight into the morning across the Atlantic, the lights of Ireland at daybreak, a Boekie Woekie week with onethousandandone details.

March 29th, 2004
I don't remember whether I mentioned before, and I am to lazy now to check, and it is anyhow better if I mention it here again, that Elsa had invited me to come to the Santa Monica Museum of Art to talk to a public her museum would invite. Subject: Dieter Roth and Boekie Woekie. There were almost 2 weeks between the opening of the retrospective exhibition of Dieter Roth in New York and my talk in California. I took the opportunity to use a few of the extra days to visit Tom in Albuquerque. Tom and me have a history of more than 30 years. The last time I saw him was almost 4 years ago in Switzerland/Holland/Germany. I never before met him in New Mexico where he settled maybe 7 years ago. He has chosen to live on one of the vaster car parks, I sometimes thought when we were driving around in Albuquerque. Cars he said last longer in NM because of no snow/no salt on the roads. Tom took me to Acoma, the Indian settlement on top of a steep rock, also called Sky City. There I heard that until a few decades ago cars could not get up there. Even John Wayne (is the name of the western movie actor spelled like this?) in the 50ties, for the movie he was starring in, had to climb up. But we came from Albuquerque and were driven to the top in a mini bus. Orlando, a local and maybe 45, took us mini bus passengers around on a walking tour through the old village on the table top mountain. We learnt that Ancoma is the place which has been inhabited continuously for a longer period than any other place in North America, namely for 1100 years. And Orlando explained his name. His mother, he said, got a chance to travel and came to Florida. He said he was happy that she did not call him Mickey or Goofy. He knew to make that 2 finger gesture on his cheek, away from his nose: never surrender. Down the road, at route 66, the Indians by special law run gambling halls. Orlando's gesture would look comical here.
The Albuquerque restaurant food was one of the other things for the memory box. And the houses too - nothing really tall, hardly anything tallish and most of them ground floor only and with what seemed to me a lot of space granted for improvisation.

March 28th, 2004
I came to New York, earlier this month, to see the 3rd stage of the Dieter Roth retrospective exhibition at the MoMA and at PS1. The MoMA is temporarily housed in Queens. Those things of Dieter too big for the MoMA Björn installed at PS1 - which also is in Queens. There I went first with Hetti and Skúta. I knew we would meet Eggert, Gunnar and Gulla, Björn and Oddur. I got happy seeing the installation of the Garden Sculpture, the Floor, the Flat Scrap, the Marseilles Catalogue pages, the Solo Szenen. The Garden Sculpture functioned better than ever though its library was detached and placed in an adjoining room. The proportions of the big space were just right for this version of Noah's Arc. I got seasick seeing it. After a few beers we followed Björn when he had to go over to the MoMA. Looking around there the adjective which came to my mind was compact. The exhibition of Dieter's older works seemed to me to be compact and with intelligently written, though much too big text labels for those who don't know Dieter. I thought: finally America is giving Dieter a good chance. But I got so seasick that I missed the opening 2 days later. Doctors wanted to be sure I hadn't suffered a stroke and kept me for the opening day in hospital. I thought I would have to call off visiting Tom in Albuquerque and my engagement for a lecture at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. But I got better. That, first of all allowed me to go for another visit to MoMA and PS1, now to say good bye to works which I won't have a chance to soon see again.

March 25th, 2004
Back in Amsterdam since this morning (and in Boekie Woekie) and back from New York (and from Albuquerque and Los Angeles). I would like to call what I experienced on my way too much to write about. It certainly amounts to more than I could tell. But I slept some on the planes, plus a little at home.
Okay, let's see how far this gets.
The last image I saw 18 days ago in Amsterdam, just before taking off for New York was that of a man in a gray work uniform. The uniform defined him as to belong to the air port cleaning personnel. I was, when I saw him, returning from sparing my air line some drops of kerosene. I had been ridding myself of the weight of what remains, once it is swallowed down, of Heineken. It is a pity one can't get anything better to get rid of on Schiphol. Anyhow I saw the man in the cleaners uniform checking in passing, with 2 of his fingers, the coin return box of one of the public telephones. Was there something to clean? No. It was already clean. Though there were 4 telephones assembled around a pole, only one had a coin return box. The 3 others were card operated phones. The gray man didn't seem to think those phones could collect something worthwhile to clean. Not many years ago all telephones had a coin return box. Poor man, I thought. There is hardly a place left for you to clean.
Not mentioning quite a few stories for the sake of this story, the next thing I remember is an emergency visit (the day before yesterday) at a dentist's in Beverly Hills. He had to pull out my last wisdom tooth. As a consequence I have less to clean now too.

March 6th, 2004
It seems definite, it will be New York tomorrow. Hard to believe. I haven't been there for some years. And I have never gone that far for the opening of any exhibition. Actually after last night, I wouldn't have to go, because I dreamt then, that I was at the opening. I saw the exhibition, I remember details of it, I met people in my dream I may meet there in reality, I even took the shuttle bus to PS1, where the other part of the exhibition is going to be shown. To have entered the shuttle bus though is where my dream ends, somehow I didn't arrive at PS1. But in that part of the exhibition which I had seen I had felt very well. I had recognized Dieter's collection of small glass and porcelain figures of human likes, expressing vividly all sorts of emotions. I knew he had taken them home from the knick-knack departments of supermarkets in the rural areas of Iceland or the Chinese quarter of Amsterdam. I knew that in my dream. When I was awake again, I knew I had dreamt.

February 28th, 2004
The tickets for New York were in the mail today. Hetti and me will leave, together with Andrea (of the mink coat story, on Feb.12th, 04 in this diary) in 8 days. Rúna will do Boekie Woekie for one week, then Hetti (and Andrea) will be back in Holland. I'll stay on in the U.S. and get a chance to visit Tom for a few days in New Mexico and will then appear in front of people who will have followed an invitation of the Santa Monica Museum of Art. I'm supposed to talk about Dieter Roth. Elsa, in charge of the museum, ran formerly the Galleries of the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. In that function she invited me some years ago, but not long before this diary was begun, to give a talk there. That talk has been published by the Galleries at the Moore College web site, one can find it under: http://www.thegalleriesatmoore.org/publications/voss.shtml.

February 23rd, 2004
I'm hoping to be soon drunk enough to realize that to continue writing will deliver only crap. That it will be better to bike home. I have been writing all day long - apart from those brief times during which I deleted what I wrote during the much longer times of writing. During a short spell of deleting it crossed my mind that the fact that a trash can manufacturer could get so desperate as to approach us, Boekie Woekie, to buy trash cans from him (see the entry of Feb. 19th, 2004) could result from the fact that trash which used to be disposed off in trash cans nowadays lands in virtual trash cans. Those trash can makers of real trash cans experience of course dire straits! Nobody throws anything substantial away anymore except an occasional banana peel and that by traditional preference not into a trash can but onto the pavement! It was not a cynical approach by a mean joker that we should throw all our merchandise into the garbage and close our shop! - I think I'm learning the lesson: Do trust your own hysteria. Otherwise: Keep a diary of blank pages. One last beernana, to slide on its peel to bed.

February 19th, 2004
Only one business proposal was made today to the most serious shop for books by artists I am aware of (which of course is Boekie Woekie): a manufacturer of trash cans tried to get us interested in his services.

February 13th, 2004
Boekie Woekie is a lot on the phone these days. To the U.S., to Switzerland, to Iceland, to Germany. Boekie Woekie is in the process of tackling the logistics of a trip across the Atlantic to the 3rd and last station of the Dieter Roth Retrospective in New York in less than a month's time.

February 12th, 2004
I'm sitting up to my neck in a beer bath (not really, but so it feels). A tooth aches, and aches now less because of the bath. That tooth used to have a crown but that crown broke off when I was chewing raisins in Iceland a year and a half ago. I became aware of that it had broken off because I bit on the loose crown, thinking at first a stone was among the raisins. Of course I knew after taking the lump out of my mouth and putting it into a match box that this would not be the end of it. I also knew I would skip, as long as possible to visit a dentist. I have turned to beer now but I doubt I can delay visiting the dentist much longer.
I wouldn't be surprised if some thought I would often be in pain. Beer drinking and diary writing go for me quite well together. Maybe this diary wants to convey a variety of screams of pain modulated by beer. Could I aspire anything higher than another aspirin? The best medicines are in words. Read those:

diary addition by andrea tippel, berlin, germany   9.1.2004
on my way to a sunday afternoon outing with Renate the 4th of january in this new year i was sitting in the first compartment of the underground n° 1, destination KRUMME LANKE         ( remembering Claire Waldorff: koof mer sand und schipp de krumme lanke zu…. ). at the Hohenzollernplatz station a woman about my age or younger in a big mink got in and threw herself  in a corner of the bench diagonally opposite me.
that would have been o.k. if the big mink would then have exploded on her body, breaking up  into innumerable living minks, scattering  away in all directions, as it once did on the body of the magician X on a stage as my sister Carola told me.
but it did not. so i pointedly did not pay any attention to her but sent telepathic antipathetic lightenings over. though whenever I meet a very old woman in a mink, i imagine her in a raving youth and join her in my fantasy.
as arranged Renate got on at Heidelberger Platz. we ate as a precaution her gummibärchen ( coloured gumdrops formed like tiny bears. very famous)  because the sun was shining brightly and it is said to decay vitamin D or E which on the other hand gummibärchen contain.
we then walked down the Fischerhüttenstrasse to the  Krumme Lanke pond, a lake so small that it takes only 45 minutes to walk around. it was cold, about 5 degrees celsius below zero.
a stream of people moved in both directions on the path through the pale wood around the pond  and we joined those who turned towards the sunny side of the bank. the lake lay under a white plane of ice, lightly covered with snow and glittering untouched in the sun.
suddenly I seemed to recognize the very same lady about 8 steps in front of us and just at the moment when I was sure that it was she, the mink fell on its belly down into the dirt.
it had stumbled, probably over a root. a little cloud of dust swirled from the frozen path up around it and I dashed ahead,  pushed my right hand under its left arm ( it was surprisingly rough ) trying to lift it but in vain because it was confusingly heavy (why was it so heavy? I thought at this moment, the lady was young, must have been a serious drop). now Renate was on the spot and with difficulty we put the mink back on its feet and in it the lady with her distorted face. “everything ok?” “yes thank you” “nothing serious happened?” „no, thanks, i just had an operation, i got two new hips, i have to take care“ „ my goodness, poor you, but you are alright now, arent’you?“ “yes, I’m alright so far” “and you’ll make it alone now?” “yes thank you” “so goodbye and all the best” “ for you too, bye-bye”.
we then overtook the dusty and rumpled mink and I told Renate about what had happened not even half an hour ago in the underground.

I find Andrea can soothe pain with words.
The Boekie Woekie diary quotes her because in a telephone conversation a few weeks ago the idea came up between her and me that a section of diary notes, or remarks by others, or some sort of guest book, should become one of the clickable possibilities of the main menu of the BW site. As a first entry for that new section she e-mailed the above text. But the new section isn't there yet. Before it thaws, and before mink coats will be forbidden by law, the new clickability may not be installed.

January 31st, 2004
Peter, in a way a colleague from Germany, was in Boekie Woekie today, soaking wet from walking in the rain, and with photographic pictures he had managed to keep dry which he brought me as a gift. Two pictures show Dieter and me, in Düsseldorf on the occasion of the Freunde/Friends/Fruend exhibition being installed. Johannes is also on one of 2 the pictures. Peter was shown these pictures by an Inge, who took them back then as a fellow student of mine at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf. Her name rings a distant bell to me, but I can't remember the person. Peter convinced her I would be very happy to get the pictures, and I am.
Two books are still available from Boekie Woekie which appeared on the occasion of the Friends exhibition:

Freunde + Freunde  Friends + Fruend by Karl Gerstner, Diter Rot, Daniel Spoerri, André Thomkins + friends, on the occasion of an exhibition, Bern Düsseldorf 1969 EUR 85.-

and

Iannone, Dorothy The Story Of Bern on the occasion of an exhibition, numbered/500, signed, Düsseldorf 1970 EUR 165.-

I mention them here because I find both books for very different reasons very remarkable.

January 23rd, 2004
Back in Amsterdam since soon 2 weeks. I find Boekie Woekie is a not much frequented place - not much frequented by customers anyhow. I hear we comfort ourselves by calling this lack the Christmas hangover. But I checked how business was in the weeks before Christmas. There really is no reason for a hangover, business was slow then too.

Rúna has returned as well from Iceland, the crew is back on board. Now some water under the keel please.

Guđrún Hrönn from Helsinki and Eggert (another Eggert than the one usually called Eggert in these pages but also) from Reykjavík stayed with us briefly. They were on their way to Maastricht where they studied art more than 20 years ago (and where I have been their occasional teacher). They and others were invited to come back to their school after all those years to be interviewed about the books they then did there. Johan organized that. He is doing research on that bit of the past of this educational institution. During the last few years I took occasionally notice of the peculiar name applied to the (post graduate only) art students of the Jan van Eyck Academy, they are called researchers. They call an art student a researcher. Is detective or scientist a synonym for artist? Johan must have gotten well acquainted with this terminology.

Dieter (another Dieter than the usual Dieter of these pages) called in an e-mail of yesterday for more to read, I quote:

Subject: 16

"... already 16 time ..."
already 16 days without diary, we all are waiting!
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>16</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<FONT SIZE="5"><FONT FACE="Times">&quot;... already 16 time ...&quot;<BR>
already 16 days without diary, we all are waiting!</FONT></FONT>
</BODY>
</HTML>
 
Dieter's e-mail helped me to pick up the thread, but I got enthusiastic when Eggert's e-mail came. (It is an e-mail by the very Eggert who usually is the Eggert of this diary). Here it is:

Subject: Gaa gaa ga

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 19:54:35 -0000
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1165
X-VortexISP-MailScanner-Information: Please contact the ISP for more information
X-VortexISP-MailScanner: Found to be clean

Sćll og blessađur.

Ég var ađ tala viđ Kalla á jórunnarstöđum og
spurđi hann um hćnurnar.
Ţćr verpa eins og brjálćđar.  Út og suđur.
Ađ međaltali 4 egg á sólarhring.  Ţađ er
meira en eitt egg pr. hćnu.
Ţeim líđur greinilega mjög vel.
Ţú ćttir ađ hringja í Kalla og fá lýsingu
frá fyrstu hendi.  Ég get ekki endurtekiđ
ţađ sem Kalli sagđi.  Ţađ var eitthvađ
međ Gaa gaa ga.
---
Eggert
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<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Sćll og blessađur.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Ég var ađ tala viđ Kalla á jórunnarstöđum og
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>spurđi hann um hćnurnar.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Ţćr verpa eins og brjálćđar.&nbsp; Út og
suđur.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Ađ međaltali 4 egg á sólarhring.&nbsp; Ţađ er
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>meira en eitt egg pr. hćnu. </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Ţeim líđur greinilega mjög vel.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Ţú ćttir ađ hringja í Kalla og&nbsp;fá
lýsingu</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>frá fyrstu hendi.&nbsp; Ég get ekki endurtekiđ
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>ţađ sem Kalli </FONT><FONT face=Arial
size=2>sagđi.&nbsp; Ţađ var eitthvađ </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>međ Gaa gaa ga.</FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
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That was good news. A relief. The reader remembers my chicken from the exhibition at Alla's Kompan. (Entries: November 20th and December 4th, 2003) They continue their lives at Kalli's and Sigga's farm - and Eggert says they lay eggs like mad. The 3 of them 4 a day! I would call this a happy end.

January 6th, 2004
My time in Iceland comes to an end. Next week at this time I should be back in Amsterdam. 2 months flew by. I prolonged my stay for 2 or so weeks. When I came here I said I intended to be back in Holland before the end of the year. But as I stayed on the hitherto only once before experienced situation (back in 72) occurred that I was ”alone” during the feast days of this season. I enjoyed my Holy Night dinner. I had a few 2 days before boiled delicious Icelandic cold potatoes with my left hand, while continuing to work with my right hand. Too lazy for cooking and nobody disappointed. What a luxury! - I can top this maybe prosaic seeming dinner story if I relate how I became aware that the New Year was there. I had been working at my computer the whole day. The days are very short now (there is some sort of daylight from just before 11 to 3). But I was still busy working when it had been dark outside already for many hours. It was a different kind of diary I was working on, which meant I frequently had to write dates of days of what now is last year – and those who also work on computers know one only needs to write the number of the day and the number of the month and then the computer completes the date by adding the year automatically. There then came that moment when I thought something was wrong. A bit later I scrolled up on my page and saw that I had missed it said 2004 instead of 2003 already 16 times!

December 30th, 2003
I'm writing this diary in the English language, not in the language I'm born into, German. I tell myself I’m fairly capable of English and since the internet is a world-wide publication platform, I may expect to reach more readers of English, than of German text. But how would it be if my real reason to write English is to have an acceptable excuse for my mistakes, something I wouldn't have if I wrote in German?

December 24th, 2003
Rúna is in Reykjavík since 10 days, staying with her son and his family. Reynir, that is her son, got thirty the other day and for that occasion, an accordion. When Rúna phones, or I her, there has now been at times a background of noises which only a homesickness compressor can produce.
”Heimwehkompressor” was a word Curt used for this thing many years ago. Curt is home now. Home, if I quote how Stephan called it where his mother went to, when she had died. Ludwig also has left. If they continue like this I’ll end up with a big address book, with all the names blackened.
Writing that makes me think of a scene I became witness of in County Donegal, in Ireland. I had gone there, around 1990, to visit Hetti who was taking care for a few weeks of the ”Cliff House” which her friend Joanne and what was he called again, her husband, had bought. But at the now of that time they were away from it for a while. First morning after I got there Hetti sent me to the shop, for breakfast. A walk of maybe 2 or 3 km one way, ”in that direction. You’ll see it, it is opposite a monastery”. The shopkeeper, an old woman, was just helping a couple with what they where buying. The customers must have been tourists too, because I overheard the old woman say ”No, no, there are no old people here! When I came here, 65 years ago, there were lots of old people here. But they all have died, they all have died.” I assume that if I come to her shop another time, she’ll be telling the same story.

December 21st, 2003
A few weeks ago I walked with Hetti to the centre of Akureyri from where we had left the car to be repaired. Not many pedestrians would walk the road we were on. It’s in an industrial area. However, the road, busy with car traffic, had one sidewalk. Walking that we came to a spot were some tools were lying on the asphalt. Quite a heavy hammer, something like a crowbar and a red and white plastic road work marker (I don’t have a proper name for this thing, not even in German, can’t look it up in the dictionary but trust one knows what I mean. The shape of a Walt Disney witch hat). There was a chalk line and there were a few loose asphalt pieces, broken out of the pavement surface. Somebody had just started to work, and would be back in a minute to continue his job, that’s how it looked. I remember this well because it coincided with Hetti counting our steps. We had deliberately not phoned Alla to ask her to fetch us from the car repair shop, because of a newspaper article about the benefits of walking. You’ll probably stay okay, if you take 10’000 steps a day, it had said there. We had come to onethousandonehundredeighteen (or so) when we saw what I described above. To interrupt the counting by pointing to what we saw there on the ground would have meant the end of the counting. And we would never have known how many steps too little we take every day to stay okay. Therefore we passed that spot without remark. Actually I think later we never mentioned it.
Hetti counted steps to twothousandsomething, and then gave up. We anyhow knew we never would stay okay.
Then this whole thing was forgotten.
And comes back like this: I once more drive the car to the same repair place, a few days ago. Hetti is in Holland by now. The seatbelt for the back seat (not for me but for the vehicle inspection). The repair man says be back in an hour. I go for a walk. Everything is now under a layer of snow. But the red/white road work marker is still sticking out. The snow only hides the foot (or if you want the brim) of this witch head. And yes, I feel with my shoe, the hammer is there, the crowbar too. Road work ahead, to be resumed when springtime comes.

December 20th, 2003
Kristján phoned today, wanted to know how I was. Upon my asking, I heard it was Friday today (yesterday. I’m writing after midnight). That means I’ll have to get out of here and to the liquor store tomorrow (or rather today) before it closes for the weekend on Saturday at 4 o’clock.
My days here are very comfortable. I had lost track of time. It could have been any day.
I forgot to tell K. that I saw at the book/stationary shop in the town nearby, where they sell computer stuff too, as a proof for the great performance of a printer, a photographic image of the small boat harbour, with prominently in the foreground, newly painted and slightly changed, the boat we gave up on. (See the entry of June 17th, 2001.) I should have asked for the picture, to keep it as an ironic souvenir. (That boat we finally sold for much less than we had bought it for. The new owners, contrary to us, obviously knew how to deal with the engine troubles.)

December 7th, 2003
I took Hetti to the bus today which goes to Reykjavík. She is to fly back tomorrow to Holland. Overnight she will stay with Solveig. Solveig’s father has just died, he is not buried yet. He was from a generation of Icelanders who seemed to me to be patient and thoughtful.
Two days ago finally Hetti’s driving license matter came to a good end – I’ll pick up from the office her 2nd and now permanently valid license, before I leave for Holland. When that will be is not decided yet, in 2 or 3 weeks or so, I think.

I sat down to write this entry with on my mind something more about my visit last weekend to Seyđisfjörđur. The time before last weekend that I had been there was in May 2002 when attending the Dieter Roth Academy conference (read the entry of May 26th, 2002). Something ”big” was then going on in Seyđisfjörđur. We heard a new quay was being built for the new ferry which would be a gigantic ship and was at that time under construction in Lübeck. Seyđisfjörđur is the port of call for a ferry which operates since some 25 years between Denmark and Iceland during the summer months. (I would have a few stories to tell about the time Hetti and me undertook that voyage 23 years ago.) The ever growing ferries of this line bring those Italian, French, German all-terrain cars to Iceland whose owners – their number must be growing - need a far fetched justification to have bought them and therefore dream about Icelandic desert roads – read the entry of August 9th, 2002.
Now this quay is ready. It looks like it will not be an easy lesson to learn to appreciate its existence. What made Seyđisfjörđur serenely beautiful, its houses around the pool by the mouth of the river surrounded by those awesome mountains of more than a thousand meters in height has become now the backdrop of a parking lot for a thousand cars.

December 4th, 2003
My exhibition at Kompan Gallery of Ađalheiđur is over. We were taking down the urinals and stuffed the hay from the floor, mixed with feathers and shit, into a plastic sack – I began this work but had to stop, because my nose began to tickle. I took that for the warning signs of an approaching hay fever attack. Hetti continued stuffing the sack. Closer inspection brought into light that the painted concrete floor had not been acid-resistant. There must be some acid in chicken shit. Alla thought the thick chicken stench would not go away soon. She would buy joss sticks to make the upcoming use of Kompan, as a shop for self made Christmas accessories and other art works by herself and Jón, acceptable for the customers. The chickens by now were back in the cardboard box they had already traveled in for 400 km, 3 weeks ago. Only one tenth of the length of their first trip was waiting for them now. Sigga and Kalli from up in the valley will give them a new home in the hope they will eventually resume their egg-laying. That they had namely stopped the day after they had become art hens. Chicken-wise people had declared that to be the result of a culture shock. The hens never sat (on their eggs) in the urinals. To suggest that image I had to buy eggs to put them on the hay in the urinals as if the hens had laid them there. I had thought when I put the eggs there it was funny how much art and an ”as if” situation still go together. Inspecting Kompan further we found small splashes of blood low on the walls. Alla had reported an increased liveliness of the animals (in spite of their egg laying strike). They were spreading their wings, more jumping than flying, they rolled in the hay – and they hit at each other with their beaks. In the featherless patches of one of them were fresh wounds. The image I had intended to reconstruct had been a different one. Hens breeding peacefully in a rather unusual place. This was my first exhibition in some years and different in a number of aspects from what I have shown, and how I have shown, my things before. Certainly there never were any bloodstains on the walls of my earlier exhibitions. What a person with too much imagination might possibly have seen as a bloodstain would have, if looked at from nearer by, been the marking of a work sold.

December 3rd, 2003
Hetti, Eggert and me, and Jón, Ađalheiđur and Brák, their 7 years old daughter, went to the opening of an exhibition in Seyđisfjörđur in 2 cars on Saturday. Yesterday, Monday, we returned to our fjord. It was Fredie’s exhibition. Fredie is often mentioned in this diary as a visitor to Boekie Woekie in Amsterdam. The exhibition took place in the building called Skaftfell. Björn and his wife and children had come too, and of course Pétur and Garđar and other local residents with familiar, and many with unfamiliar faces were there. Predictably a dive into a long row of alcoholic beverages was taken by some. A girl was singing known songs beautifully in what would have been the morning hours of Sunday if the mornings were not so very, very late at this time of the year. A guy was told by a lady he had been struggling with, to stay were he was, and were she had gotten him, namely under the table. A few writers on a promotional tour for their new books had been reading from their works. I had conversations with two of them. It was snowing thick flakes when we took the few steps to the house we had been assigned to. On Sunday we paid a visit to Eyţór. He put marinated herrings and brennivín on the table and would have wanted us to stay for dinner, but we were invited to the house of Pétur and Ţora. Their child, Avanti Ósk, and Brák, tried to take my socks off while I was taking a nap. Later Eyţór intercepted Eggert, Hetti and me when we were on the way to our beds. More brennivín and more singing. Eggert and Eyţór began to sing, but they improvised. Their singing sounded as if they could not talk normally anymore, as if they had to sing, they were so emotional. On Monday afternoon we crossed the highland to get back. A short distance from where the road to Vopnafjörđur branches of, a herd of 60 or 70 reindeer (but does one call a group of animals a herd, though it is not accompagnied by a shepherd?) were busy to look with a front hoof for something edible under the snow, and crossed the road freely from the one to the other side. Eggert explained their being at ease with the hunting season to be over. I never before had seen these animals from so close by. Their movement when running looks very funny. For the later part of the way, when it was dark again, I was in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel. Not good, and not at all on a slippery road. Eggert had actually slept during part of the way back. That sleep did him good. Once back in the house he very decidedly went at fixing my computer. Successfully so, now both the printer and my back-up system work again. Relieved I phoned Rúna in Amsterdam. She had been to Pieter and Marianne and spoke happily about their hours together. I then slept for ten hours.

November 23rd, 2003
I remember I refused until 1991 to ever have my desk topped by a computer. Then I gave in. And since then I even have become a bit of a web man.
By being busy with my website diary within the website of Boekie Woekie my understanding of websites grows. This makes me want to have my own website.
The diary follows a simple linear rule: when I write something new, it always appears on top of what there already is. In that imagined website of my own, branches could grow out from all 4 sides of each page, and more than one. A treelike structure would emerge. The site would be alike what I feel the internet is. Just as with this diary, the most recently added piece would be the portal to the whole site. Spontaneous publishing. In a way similar to the side entrances to offset printing Boekie Woekie found some 20 years ago.

November 22nd, 2003
I dreamt I knew that what I saw had taken its shape and colours and sounded as it did, though it really was pizza dough.

November 20th, 2003
In Iceland again, since 10 days. We (Hetti is with me) got the car legal and onto the road again and drove north on the 3rd day after our arrival. Eggert came with us, and three living hens and a 40 kilo sack of chicken fodder. We had bought the hens from a chicken farmer near Reykjavík for ISKR 2000.- each. The farmer had said we could get cheaper ones, but they would not be as beautiful. Those we got were ugly enough with their big featherless patches. We did not mention to the farmer we bought them for art purposes. All this because Ađalheiđur in Akureyri had invited me to put up an exhibition in what she calls Kompan, a small room inside her and her husband’s studio. (His name is Jón. I first saw him at the opening of an exhibition I had in Akureyri in July of 1979 together with Hetti, Eli and Kristján. Jón sat in the beginning separated a little from the crowd and was reading Nietzsche on the steps of the stairwell to the gallery. Then the crowd joined him, as it were. There were big windows to the north and to the east, as it were. The stairs had been bright from the midnight sun pouring in from the northern window, and from what seemed an endless supply of Chinese red wine which was stored on the stairs.) I had asked Alla, short for Ađalheiđur, to somehow get hold of 3 urinals. She had succeeded, and with the help of Eggert they were put up on the walls of Kompan. My installation intended to recreate the men’s room of a defunct freezing plant I once happened to come across. When I opened its door, white hens were sitting in the urinals, I presumed on their eggs, in the bright light of a strong bulb. Alla, Jón and their friends took my installation and the red wine Alla served gracefully. Only Ţröstur with a glass in his hand said something with a question mark about live animals in art. Once the party was over (late last Sunday) normality wanted to establish itself. But we found that a few things in the house do not work. The computer does not recognize the zip drive anymore. The knob to regulate the size of the flames on our gas stove is broken, we can not turn down the gas. To get that okay again, plus Hetti practicing driving, is what keeps us busy now.
 
November 9th, 2003
Off to Iceland tomorrow!

November 6th, 2003
This time I'm just back from Vienna.
I had gone there because Felicitas had invited me to present myself to students of the art academy. For her sadly, she could not be with us, but had to stay for a few days in hospital.
Having left Vienna on an airplane yesterday afternoon, having changed from plane to train in Düsseldorf, I come closer to the story I really want to tell.
My story takes place in Emmerich. Emmerich, for ages, has been the border stop for trains going to Holland on the German side. Locomotives were exchanged here. But Emmerich is not a stop anymore for those modern trains as I was on. They skip to stop at Emmerich. However, for a reason unknown to me, this time my train stopped at Emmerich rail station. I sat sufficiently supplied with Radeberger beer in what is left in those modern trains of dining cars. I had been writing, or listening in writing pauses to three funny Dutchmen at the table across the aisle. I didn't think the halt of the train to be of any importance, until there was a knock on my window. Like from a key, or coin, or ring on the pane. I was surprised and looked up at what could have caused the sound, but at first could not see what it was. It was night outside, most of the surface of the window reflected the interior of the dining car. Details of the dark station outside were difficult to distinguish. But then I saw moving lips in the dark! They were lips in the face of a black woman. The black woman's face expressed her wish to board the train. I knew she saw me more easily than I could see her. I made a gesture of not knowing how to help her. Her reply was not a reply to my gesture. She showed she had given up, the train had started to move. For me she slit out of the window.

October 29th, 2003
I went to London the other day, to the Small Publishers Fair. It took place in Conway Hall, at Red Lion Square. I enjoyed this mini book fair, especially after BoeWoe skipped the recent big fair in Frankfurt. That which was left of a night of many pints, I spent on and under a blanket improvised by Simon and Erica alongside their hotel room bed. The hotel knew nothing of it, and since I was there at the breakfast table, I even nibbled away a slice of toast on the expenses of the house. If I have got it right Conway Hall is the base of the Ethical Society. The hall consists mainly of a stage and an auditorium. Above the stage was to be read something like "to thine self be true", which I only noticed on the second day I was there. After pint-I-don't-remember-the-how- maniest, that motto, imagined to hover over actors, seemed funny.

October 27th, 2003
3 years ago I began this diary. It follows after a break of 15 years, a period during which I kept no diary. Before that I did keep a daily diary from about 1970 to 1985. That was of course a time when writing and publishing were not dreamt about as simultaneously possible. I wrote that early diary with 0,2 mm Rotring pens into agendas, or empty books I had made myself. Nobody ever read them, me included. But they still exist. I don't know why I kept a diary then, and I'm surprised that I do it now. What thrills me nowadays is maybe that the diary is directly published.

October 20th, 2003
"Dieter Roth Time" number 2 was opened in Cologne last Friday, the 2nd leg of the Roth Retrospective. I remember I was shocked when I first heard, a bit more than a year ago, that these 3 words had been decided on as the title for this enterprise. Dieter's time is put ad acta with those 3 words, as if his work wouldn't bear consequences for now and the future.
Anyhow, Rúna and I went to Cologne (Hetti took care of BoeWoe in Amsterdam). We attended the opening and saw the exhibition. Björn had taken care of drinks at Dieter's bar. Monika gave us a place to sleep, and all was good. Many refreshing situations with smart people. We stayed till Sunday, but only in the train home I felt I had drunk enough. My habit of drinking large quantities may have a number of reasons. As far as I remember the reason in this case was that I wanted to forget the exhibition. It is always wonderful for me to see Dieter Roth's pictures, therefore I dislike it when they are not displayed to their advantage.

October 15th, 2003
I'm trying to drink not too much beer, but enough to not feel too much of the effects of the overdose I had last night. About 2 weeks ago, Garđar Rúnar and his partner Arnbjörg where in Amsterdam on the occasion of the concert the Rolling Stones gave here. They had brought us a leg of lamb. A leg of lamb is a feast, and the feast was last night. Hetti and Rúna had invited Ţórunn. Ţórunn came with another young woman, a friend of hers from The Hague, and likewise Icelandic. Later 2 young men also from Ţórunn's horizon, joined us - one of which told he had come to the continent from Iceland to watch the soccer match Iceland versus Germany, the other day, in Hamburg. Maybe because I felt some insignificance of reasons to travel great distances I got enticed and carried away. I took on the guests in a competition of arguments about  their and my views of the future of Iceland. They had soon spotted me as a colonialist. It became a hot discussion. I don't think I was entirely fair. But those Reykjavík people didn't even know of the existence of Möđrudalur. They don't turn vehemently enough against a government which floods large parts of the East of the country to generate electricity for making aluminum. A whole fjord will be unhinged under the pretext that something good is done for the economy. The thought lies very near that the members of the governing party mean their own economy and not the one of the country. Today I have to conclude that the pressure in Reykjavík is great. There the hope to continue to live is not fed by the believe that the rock in the North Atlantic will grant the necessary livelihood to those who sit on it without that they interfere in far reaching ways. The fulfillment of the hope to continue to live is rather expected to be found abroad or from tourists, or from foreign investors, or from a life in Hollywood, or from actors who pretend for tourists that they live the life of locals. Those options would be for those with a longer breath. And aluminum factories for those who can't get out of Iceland quick enough. And a lot which I don't remember. A hot discussion, and a lot of beer.

October 6th, 2003
Lots of things are going on simultaneously, as of course always. Hail, rain, sunshine and thunder. Rúna, only back from Barcelona last night where she spent the weekend in the company of all those who work in her son's company in Reykjavík (they are more than 20, and most of them had been there with their partners), Rúna was just vacuum cleaning Boekie Woekie, now she closes another computer. Kristján, on a weeks visit from Iceland to Amsterdam has just left - we'll see him and his brother Sigurdur later tonight. We are invited to eat "speklapjes met boerenkool" (curly kale with a side of fat bacon) at Sigurdur's home. Kristján and me compared half shyly notes on the state of the blood vessels around our hearts. "Speklapjes" are said to be especially good for clogging them with cholesterol. The brothers, especially Kristján delights in traditional food. Hetti is in a meeting with her two sisters, but will join us soon. I have asked whether there will be snaps after dinner, to help digest the stuff, but there won't be, since "one anyhow would only get drunk from it". That is a new tone from Kristján. Today for the first time we kept the shop door closed and put the heat on. Summer is over. And tomorrow begins in Frankfurt this year's Book Fair - without us for the first time since 1987. We skipped to register for the Book Fair in March because we estimated the 4 months engagement on the occasion of the Roth Retrospective in Basel would exhaust our energy. Back then, in March, we still saw as possible our participation in the second leg of the Retrospective in Cologne. If that had turned out to be the case the Book Fair would for sure have been too much for us, especially also because we wouldn't find the time to produce new books. After all the showing of new books is the purpose of the fair. Now it is no new books, no Book Fair, and no Cologne.

September 27th, 2003
I'm too busy to even think of this diary.
But it happens that I wish I would pay more attention to it.
I'll give that a try now.
The Dutch have a saying which goes "He took too much hay on his hay fork - hij heeft teveel hooi op zijn fork genomen". They say that when they want to express that someone attempted to deliver more than it turned out he was able to. I know that life, me living mine, is by far more than I could describe in this diary context. Here I note down random fragments of what I become aware of. The straw which stings me now and makes me write is usually not the straw which stung me when I wrote the former entry. I'm afraid the Dutch saying may apply to me because the last, the September 8th entry calls for a few additional words. I was in Cologne the other day where Björn, Gunnar, Eggert and Oddur were in an advanced state busy to once more erect Dieter's Garden Sculpture. I saw the space where the exhibition will be held. Of the 7000 square meters in Basel only about 1/10 is left in Cologne. Whether this situation will work as a platform to let Dieter Roth's star rise further or whether it is calculated to continue the relatively obscured way of how he is perceived - I can't know the answer but I can't overcome my suspicions. However when I saw in Cologne how Björn, his near 20 years old son Oddur, Eggert and Gunnar, the Garden Sculpture specialists, where happily working, and developing ideas how to present this and the Floor, big sculptures in unseen before postures, I got ashamed of my fears.

September 8th, 2003
The end of the first staging of the Dieter Roth Retrospective is in sight. Next Sunday (the 14th) is the last day one can visit it. I'll go to Basel on the 11th, next Thursday, to prepare our getting the stuff back home. Meanwhile our hope to be present with Boekie Woekie at the next station of the Dieter Roth Retrospective, in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, beginning in October, has been destroyed, we will not be there. This gives us time to do other things. To ponder a little, for example. The director of that Cologne museum had been visiting the Roth Retrospective in Basel in June, when Hetti and I were there and had also strolled into our shop. We had greeted and talked for a moment but then his telephone had rung. He had stepped into the elevator with his phone at his ear and was gone. The words I remember he spoke during this brief encounter were that "all this must become much less" - dies alles muss stark reduziert werden. He had made a sweeping gesture with one arm. The news now are that the plan is to reduce the really broad Dieter Roth Retrospective (I almost wrote Redrotspective) as it is still to be seen in Basel. In Cologne they want to show only the years Dieter sort of lived in the Rhineland. I can't say I'm surprised. My esteem of this director who no doubt is deeply involved in the arts, has long been troubled by a suspicion. His ability to see what really is great in art may well exist, but his ability to express that first ability seems to me hampered by something. As a director he seems to have to make sure he is in a superior position. And that, to me, he seems to think he can achieve by reducing DR! Less of Dieter Roth is better than more. The artist's concept would not sustain that.
My suspicion is the director might feel that the life work of DR is a 1000 times more meaningful than what ever else he has shown. And that therefore now when he shows it, he has to reduce it.
Alive, Dieter was hard to get at. How it is with the dead one remains to be seen.

August 28th, 2003
I'll go to Düsseldorf and Cologne tomorrow - Robert Filliou's exhibition in Düsseldorf is the immediate reason. Aldo, Monika and me will meet to walk around among Robert's things in what was once the old Ehrenhof. There the exhibition takes place now. At my time in Düsseldorf, the 2nd half of the sixties and through the seventies, in the Ehrenhof then, the yearly Winter Exhibitions were held, hundreds of local artists contributed, the diversity of works was great fun. Maybe these exhibitions still go on, I don't know, but the Ehrenhof complex of buildings by the Rhine I heard has undergone thorough renewal. I write about what I think will come and mix it with history bits because I can't think of anything that happened the last few days which I would want to tie together in a few sentences. Well, Joost has come by. Joost has avoided us for some years, so the visit he payed us now was a special visit. Reportedly he stayed away because he wanted to avoid to have to drink beer with us. Therefore when I saw him come in I said, it was save for him to do so, I had no beer. Too bad he said and that he really wanted one, and he turned on his heel to get two from the shop across the street. He really had had to come, he is a friend of Fredie's. I fetched a few more beers after the first two, but not many, two for each I think. Joost was in troubles with his mobile phone, but when the troubles were sorted out he was in a hurry to leave. While fumbling around with his phone, and in-between sips, Joost was intensely busy to express how close we all have come (we: the Western World, and the rest of the world with us) to a collapse of all our systems. Not only that of telephony. The build up of lies he said will soon not hold anymore. And once it will break it will serve us right when we go down with the tidal wave it will set free. I saw Joost as a man excitedly speaking truth. His claim was he could see through that enormous pile of lies which keeps us spell bound. But Robert's tool box with its two tools, that of innocence and that of imagination, was far away in Düsseldorf. It seemed not compatible with the picture of the sledge hammer Joost painted.

August 26th, 2003
Malcolm came last Friday for a weekend visit from Heidelberg. He brought with him more copies of

(Roth, Dieter) Die Letzte Lesung about 45 minutes VIDEO TAPE VHS of the reading of his texts D.R. gave in Heidelberg on 6.12.96, with a brief text by M.Green, (Heidelberg Amsterdam 2003) EUR 30.-

which Malcolm and Boekie Woekie publish together. Then we talked and drank and ate. The night came and finally we slept. I half woke up by a call of nature which I would have answered without fully waking up, but being half awake was enough to hear another call. When I opened the door of the room I had slept in, and because the kitchen door was open, I felt a warmth and a smell and then I heard water running, and all that was most unusual. That brought me to my senses. Instead of taking the 2 steps more or less in my sleep to the toilet, I hurried to the kitchen sink. From 5 steps away I could see the water running. Then I heard the gas burning - we heat the houses here and get our hot water by burning gas. When I was close enough I saw a very unlikely sight. In the sink, under the stream of hot water pouring down, the wireless hand set of the telephone was standing. I closed the tap and went to pee - luckily no telephone in the toilet bowl. The smell of burned gas and the heat meant that the water had been running for hours over the telephone. Later that day neither I nor Malcolm or Rúna have been able to explain this situation. There are other telephones in the house which still work (3 now of the 4 extensions), except that numbers with a 5 in them can not be dialed anymore from one of them. It is the telephone in the basement where our printery is. Owen gave it to us when he moved back from Amsterdam to Edinburgh soon 10 years ago.

August 15th, 2003
Last Saturday Boekie Woekie opened Fredie's exhibition. I was the only one of the 3 BoeWoes present at the occasion. Only few guests came. The heat and the holidays were probably the reason for most to stay away. Hetti traveled at that time on her train to Basel, to take over the responsibility for our temporary shop there from Rúna. Rúna has returned to Amsterdam in the meantime and stays with me, since her flat is used by Ívar and Bryndís and their 2 little girls. Ívar was 9 years old when his parents, and he with them, moved in 1978 from Amsterdam back to Iceland, and has only 4 times in those 25 years visited Holland, and each time only briefly, but he kept a close to perfect Dutch, at least for my (German) ears. Ívar's parents are my friends Kristján and Solveig. Kristján, Ívar, and Rúna's son Reynir and me have bought 2 years ago a boat which we had to sell with quite a loss soon afterwards - I think I reported about the events in this diary. We have never given up hope to find after all the appropriate vessel for our nautical ambitions, but we haven't gotten much further. When we talk about it, as it now happened with Ívar, we are almost a little shy.

August 1st, 2003
Today my mother would have become 95, but she died a few weeks more than 20 years ago. We had quite a focused relation since I was her only child and my father, her husband, had died already back in 56, 27 years before her. August 1st is therefore a date I notice. - I would like to know today, if this diary is going to continue for another 3 years, whether I then, in 3 years time, will make a point of the 50th anniversary of my father's death. Speculations into the future are of course not the usual subject of diaries, but today I thought these thoughts, and now that I am writing them down, I think them again in a way. Something which is maybe to come in 3 years time is becoming now already a piece of history. After a puzzled moment I say: in those cases where I try to grasp queries of this sort, I usually can't. But I am fairly foot sure when I walk my way without being concerned with the (for me) unfathomable. And then, after being happy for another moment in which it seemed that the solution to problems could be to forget them, there is another problem: forget what? The solved solution.

July 30th, 2003
Michael walked into BoeWoe today, he had read the recent diary entries, and didn't think it was necessary to worry about the length of time it takes this page to open. Fredie, who like Michael has appeared in this diary every now and then,  was present in the shop when Michael came. He was copying the invitation flyers for his coming Boekie Woekie exhibition. I was bookkeeping and thinking about a diary entry I have somewhere in my sleeve about the implications of the fact that most books in Boekie Woekie are here on consignment. We talked for a while, Fredie who had slept badly felt a pressure behind his eyes and went home tired, Michael had to make it to the library, I spoke as everyday to Rúna in Basel, heard when phoning Hetti that her printing was going well - though I had discovered a serious defect in our offset machine only yesterday - and forgot to think more about my diary subject. Now, at 23:30, the bookkeeping of the month of March is finally done. The exercise in thoughtfulness I had hoped for must be for an other day.

July 27th, 2003
I worry about the length of what I have been writing here. I see the text of this diary of nearly 3 years as a point to worry about in regard to how long it takes an internet connected computer to open it. Telephone bill conscious readers might not want to wait before they can begin to read. Should I ask Michael to split up this diary into separately clickable sections?

July 21st, 2003
About the weatherstick once more. (Further down I think, it is mentioned as hanging on the fence of the tiny patio/backyard of BoeWoe.) Hetti and me disputed what would cause its reaction. It is erect when the sun shines and looks limp when it rains. I thought I could show that a glass of water would make it go limp too, but I couldn't because it didn't. Hetti had not liked this demystifying idea and that I tested it, though the result relieved her. A glass of beer later she had an idea for a series of photographs, of the weatherstick, taken with a huge time lapse, maybe one shot a day. She looked forward to when viewed with the speed of movie succession the stick would most likely look like going up and down madly. I saw something in that too.

July 16th, 2003
A year ago I mentioned in this diary changes which had taken place in regard to our web site. Those changes were changed again recently, in early May, I think. Michael is once more the one who made that possible. Among other changes he added a photographic picture, which is almost a movie, since it shows Hetti when one scrolls through it, in 2 places. There was an e-mail by Owen yesterday who had visited our web site and seen the picture but had looked in vain for an introduction to who the Boekie Woekie people are. (He knows us, but feels our web-site should have a page with a picture of each of us three, and our cvs.) The regular reader (I still doubt he exists) of this diary knows our names as Hetti, Jan and Rúna. It is clear that Jan is writing, and he has made his age known, that he is a German and some more biographical details. Hetti, which stands for Henriëtte, is Dutch. She turned 55 recently. Rúna, really Guđrún, Icelandic, is 49. On pictures we usually look good, impossible to distinguish from other good lookers. A page as Owen has suggested could be fun to make. For irony's sake I'll consider to ask Michael to put it into our site for us. I say for irony's sake because I feel it is ironical how I represent me and us and Boekie Woekie in this diary. To elaborate on that idea: Is Boekie Woekie a business, or is it a chatting club? Why don't I publish our bookkeeping, -  for whom those whimsical words?

July 10th, 2003
I am in Amsterdam again. To have gone to, and come back from Basel was like turning the first 2 pages of an alphabet book twice: from A to B and back again. Never making it to Z(ürich), though I always intended to. I had made for the last weekend I was in B an appointment with Marlene who lives and works in Zürich, but I couldn't get myself to go there. That's why I also missed Dieter's print show at a big gallery in Zürich. It was probably the B of beer which kept me in Basel. I had already advanced, on Friday and Saturday into the direction of Z and gotten as far as the C, the C of colloquium. A number of people, invited by the Schaulager, were giving then speeches with insights into their ideas about Dieter Roth. This step from B to C I had soon found difficult. There is a German poet from after the first big war of the last century, Ringelnatz by name, whose poem about the 2 ants which decide to travel to Australia comes to my mind. The ants wisely as the poem says give up their plan while they walk on Hamburg's Elbchaussee because their feet ache. The Elbchaussee leads right into Hamburg's harbour. Once the ants would have boarded the ship to Z(australia to remind of my picture) they could have put their troubled feet at rest. However the relatively short distance to that ship was to long for them. As a wise ant (to stay in the picture of Ringelnatz) I had to quit the rest of my trip to Z. In an attempt to step out of the picture I'm stuck in, with the intention to say something about the Dieter Roth colloquium, or really symposium, as it was called: I don't think I was the only ant which gave up before ever getting anywhere.

June 29th, 2003
3 weeks since I wrote last, I'm surprised how fast they passed. I'm almost at the end of my shift to take care of Boekie Woekie at the Schaulager. Rúna is coming in a few days to take over from me. The main thing happening were the Basel Art Fair days. They were very busy. Hetti had come from Amsterdam to help me through the expected madness and we functioned well as a team explaining to the public where the toilets are (in Amsterdam it occasionally seems our main job is to point out where the Anne Frank House is) - but in between we did sell books and cards and had many conversations which we enjoyed. On top of it I have stopped to swear. My health at least offers no acute reasons for it any longer.

June 8th,  2003
My foot is less painful, I limp less. But I have added to the few recent minor ailments a tearing swollen red eye which secrets at night so that I have to pull it open in the morning with my fingers. The good old meat sack may have difficulties to cope with the difference between the artificially climatized exhibition space and the heat in the world outside. This idea however is hardly good for practical use: who would change the heat outside, the climate inside or my reaction possibilities? - At least this idea has made me mention the exhibition, and I hope it brings me away from what I might feel is the matter with me, to what I can say the matter is with the exhibition. I'm afraid the  lower floor lacks to show sufficiently Dieter's intentions. The powerful accumulations as DR has shown them in his own installations are not matched - intentionally I would think. (The available space in the Schaulager would have allowed a large scale denseness of intertwining sculptures.) To those who have neither seen Holderbank, Vienna nor Marseille it must remain quite unclear what Dieter Roth wanted us to see and feel. It concerns the work of the artist of whom it is known that he was a man of many means. It is the work from a period which all earlier periods amount to, the work of his last stage and therefore his most accomplished work. Most visitors to this lower floor wouldn't say they recognize that they are wading through shit resulting from mankind's unrelenting drift to start all sorts of processes, would they? (If they would, it would probably not be without a little irony, since the floor one walks on seems spick and span.) But walking around in Dieter´s self installed exhibitions made the idea quite clear that one is anyhow wading through cultural waste (if that is a good enough translation of his German word "Kulturschrott"). Omitting to recreate that sensation could unbalance the paradox in which Dieter Roth has placed his works.

June 5th, 2003
I'm back in Dieter's studio, and I'm alone. Björn has 3 days ago returned to Iceland with his family. It is hot in Basel and one recent night I slept with the windows open enjoying while falling asleep, the light draught. I have to pay now a price for that joy. It got me a pain in my right foot which I don't only feel when I set a step with it, but which is permanently annoying. If my recent indisposition had occurred together with this new handicap the exhibition and shop public would have potentially been in for some awkward scenes. But now in lack of heat (from for example a hot water bottle) I seek refuge in saying words like fuck and god damn it and other words of curse when no one is near. The director and her attaché came by, we exchanged a few friendly words, but I forgot to remind them that today 5 years ago Dieter died, and they didn't mention it to me either. I did though mention this to someone I got to know 30 years ago and with whom I entered into a sort of friendship for some years, which has decidedly come to an end long ago. He seemed taken by surprise when he saw me but couldn't but come over and shake my hand and ask how I was. I pointed to my foot and said "rheumatism" and remarked what anniversary it was which made him hesitate and then say "that's just by coincidence". I thought that showed he felt to be on the defensive, but who knows maybe I over interpret.

June 1st, 2003
My most recent days are somewhat shaded by being sick with what overcame Hetti just before she left last Monday. It also took her some days, I know from phone calls, to get better. I'm taking pills, and just hope I won't have to run away from the shop at inappropriate moments.

May 28th, 2003
The Schaulager is best reached by tram. Coming from Erika's who is my host since before the weekend (and was during the weekend the host too of Rúna and Hetti) I have to change trams once to get to Schaulager. I'm amazed about the number of lines, the frequency of service, the length of the trains. Basel isn't really a big city but all this tram traffic lets it seem to be a very busy place. On my ride my glance gets caught by a spray can inscription on the wall of a small building, part of which houses the newspaper stand, at tram stop Aeschenplatz. It goes: Welcome to the edge of civilization where war is the only declaration of fuckin love.

May 27th, 2003
The storm abates. Hetti and Rúna left yesterday with the train. During the last minutes before departure Hetti got sick ű not a comfortable start for a journey of nine hours. Also the other visitors left one after the other. Kristján, Siggi, Andrea, Bernd and me kept the longest the glasses in our hands, until also they took off .(Rereading the last sentence: did I want to say the glasses took off? Since that can not have been so, maybe I wanted to write: the glasses took us off, or them. But I know I really wanted to write that I was the last one from that group of 5 holding my glass in my hand. Whether I wanted to say that I still knew were I was I don't remember.)  Kristján and Siggi had invited Hetti and Rúna (all four heading for Amsterdam, but the men by plane) for that night to Kristjáns favorite Dutch dinner: speklapjes, but seen Hetti's condition when leaving I doubted that her dinner would go through with the 3 others. - I forget to report that several new Dieter Roth Academy books are out: Rainer brought finally the Pécs report on the exhibitions there, with many photographs. Eggert's effort, the book for which I mainly collected the material, and which he put together, the report of last year's Seydisfjördur conference, plus many contributions by staff members got ready just in time. And Boekie Woekie's photo book about the DRA exhibition last year in Iceland, though we listed that already late last April in our stock list. Then Uwe has a book out about Dieter in Stuttgart including a text by Björn. There is the Schaulager catalogue for the retrospective. - Today I took for the first time care of Boekie Woekie Basel. It went well. Most of the Schaulager visitors recognize the Boekie Woekie installation as a shop, which is for us of course most important. The shop is in the area were Dieter's art is exhibited, much of the art has the don't-come-too-near-chains in front of it (if Dieter would see that)!  Some people ask whether they may touch the books. One asked whether this was Dieter Roth's library? - There is a lot of background noise here. Exposed to it for a month or so may become a strain on the nerves. The temperature and humidity of the place are totally controlled, good for the art as the leaflets of the house say, but also for me?

May 25th, 2003
Unable to be at Schaulager at 10, therefore thankful that Hetti and Rúna went. When I arrived in the afternoon, it was very crowded. The first page of our sales booklet was almost filled with reports of transactions, cards and books against Swiss Franks or Euros. (Later  we noticed that things had happened in confusion, customers had been asked to pay in Euros instead of Franks or the other way round, or the transaction was written down without making clear what the currency had been.) The 4th Dieter Roth Academy conference, which for months had been scheduled to take place in the afternoon could not begin before 7pm. The tapes needed for Björn's tape recorder couldn't be found. I had been on a last minute taxi errant to Dieter's other studio, to look for tapes there. When I came back without them, Erika was standing in front of the house crying. I asked why, and heard that she had said something wrong to Edith, and Edith had walked out. She wasn't too far away yet, so I ran after her, she too was crying, and not to be persuaded  to return to the conference table. The first Academy tears, as far as I know. Luckily Malcolm had a recording tool with him. I hope it did its job, because now the conference began in earnest. One unfinished topic of last year's conference had been the Dieter Roth award - now we talked once more about the procedure, and then held the lottery to find the person we would approach with the request to accept the price. Klein Moritz picked the name, not out of Bernd's hat who had forgotten it, but out of Malcolm's cap. The outcome is kept secret for the time being. I'll keep secret too what happened for the rest of the evening and the night. Or shall I keep secret that I don't really remember a thing?

May 24th, 2003
Opening day, the lenders were invited for a preview which began at 11am. Boekie Woekie was not ready installing the shop, but we could make it look like we were. The lenders were invited for a performance of Edith's film, the Schaulager closed until the evening. Hetti and I went to fetch Rúna from the train. There had been many faces all through the day, amongst them quite a few I knew, but I loose track whom I saw, I'll just mention I was happy to see Ira and Barbara. The evening was made special by a dinner at the Kunsthalle Restaurant: 450 people were invited, Björn knew. A last drink we had at Erwin's backroom, where 3 years ago the Dieter Roth Academy was founded. At 4 or 5 in the morning we had the very last last drink.

May 22nd, 2003
One table was added to the shop furniture by our Icelandic carpenter and his team, and it hadn't been in its place for long when the director came and said that this table made the store too much protrude into the big space, and that she had not been consulted. I said it was needed, she didn't insist that it would be removed. I was a little puzzled at this, but saw that the bookshop was taking shape, just the panels at the narrow end of our niche were needed, and they were promised to be brought. Those panels I want to lean against the wall with a few horizontally attached slats so that books and records can be placed on them without falling off. In the history of the itinerant Boekie Woekie stores this will be a new feature. The panels didn't arrive until late on Friday. And no electricity for the pc yet. But a first screening of the movie Edith had been working on for the three or so last years had been announced, and that was to shorten the waiting time for what was still missing in the Schaulager. I was quite curious to see the movie. The project of her documentary had been a topic of many conversations in my circle of  people who have outlasted Dieter. The topic had been dealt with in high expectations as well as in the fear that such a posthumous portrait would possibly not work. But I was, once in the movie house, too drunk to really watch it, couldn't keep my mind on it, found this and that, but nothing coherent stayed with me. The voices of those with whom I walked away from the cinema were mixed. Too much about Dieter being a drinker some found, others said it was a beautiful movie.

May 20th, 2003
The books went through the customs without ever being looked at, not even were they glimpsed at by those feared because how their profession is called: custom officers! They were content with looking at and stamping that fat stack of Din A4 papers we had brought with from Holland, stamped there already by their Dutch colleagues. When we were through with the books, it began to worry inside me that since it had been easy to get the books into Switzerland, the thick end (as the Germans say: "das dicke Ende") is likely to come when we will, in about four months time, try to leave again. To the Schaulager - Dieter's exhibition on two huge floors is as good as ready. The ground floor is really the upper floor and shows an abundance of works of all periods of Dieter's life, and is breathtakingly impressive. Luckily I ran at this moment of high excitement into the director, and I think I convincingly intonated my praise. From the balcony of the ground floor one looks either up into a trickily designed air shaft if one wants to call it that, or one looks down onto the floor of the basement. There the "Garden Sculpture", and the "Grosses Ringgebilde" look like a child's toys on the vast space. The sculptures are placed quite far away from each other, and appear disentangled, which to my knowledge they did never do before. From that view point also that corner is visible in the distance where our store situation will be. Björn and Gunnar had placed 3 tables there. They had been kept since Marseille in 1997 together with that piece of furniture, much drawn and painted on, which had served in Marseille as a shop counter. It all looked quite much smaller than I had expected. Too few tables to lay down the books anyhow. Helgi helped unpacking the car. Hetti began to put the books on the tables. A beginning is made.

May 19th, 2003
Rúna will keep Boekie Woekie Amsterdam open until she takes the train on Saturday to join us in Basel, whereto Hetti and me left this morning in a Mercedes van after some time and money taking obstacles, to be called custom formalities. The firm which provided the first temporary export clearance was situated on the cargo side of the Amsterdam airport. It was surrounded by meadows, the sun was shining, the pollen was flying, I began to sneeze. Later it began to rain, and I could again forget about the first attack of hay fever of this season. Because of the delayed start Hetti, Helgi (who had agreed to drive the van back to the Amsterdam rental station) and me and some 2500 books arrived late in Basel. We left the books in the car. We went into that house where Dieter had his last living and working space, and where 3 years ago the Dieter Roth Academy was founded. There in the basement, we joined those who were frame making: Gunnar, Björn, Magnús Reynir, Gunnar's son Garđar, his wife Gulla, his mother Unnur (Unnur and Gulla working more in the sandwich/coffe/beer department of the frame making efforts). The Ishamar HF from Mosfellsbaer in Iceland has put down one of its feet in this big basement and opened a temporary workshop, building frames for the upcoming Dieter Roth exhibitions in Basel and Zürich. This is similar to what Boekie Woekie intends to do in the Schaulager, the newly to open museum/art collection storage space, which will open on Saturday the 24th of May with the first staging of the Dieter Roth Retrospective. We intend to open a branch office as part of the retrospective. I'll copy (or rewrite) my diary notes which I now write by hand once the pc we brought with us is installed. Then I'll send them by e-mail to Amsterdam, so that they can be published there.

May 18th, 2003
We are packed. I'm sitting amidst more than 60 cardboard boxes full of books. All books are neatly listed for the customs. Tomorrow at 8 in the morning I'll go with Helgi to fetch the car to drive the books with him and Hetti to Basel to install a branch shop of Boekie Woekie in the Schaulager of Basel on the occasion of the first staging of the Dieter Roth retrospective. Boekie Woekie will be there as part of the DR exhibition. The opening on May 24th will at the same time be the first opening of the Schaulager. I don't think I have mentioned this plan in this diary. I was probably afraid to have to report the collapse of this plan - after the recent collapse of the plans regarding my Dieter Roth Reader my capacity of admitting set backs may have suffered a set back. There were days only a week ago, when the cardboard boxes were already piling up, when I thought the plan might not go through - it seemed for a while futile to get for Hetti, Rúna and me a working permit. The forms which needed to be filled in were somehow not made for Boekie Woekie. But that is settled. The firms which are to guide us through the customs sound confident on the phone. It be. Boekie Woekie goes to Basel. Hetti, Rúna and me intend to take shifts of a bit more than one month each - Dieter's Retrospective is to last to the middle of September. Computer wise we are not fully equipped there - but I have anyhow not spoiled my readers with too frequent entries during the last weeks. Until next time - whenever that will be.

May 5th, 2003
I had a phone call yesterday by a person I knew when I was a child. She said she was in Amsterdam and announced her visit. She is a now 64 years old daughter of a father which I remember my mother respected a lot, a school teacher who was locked up by the Nazis like my mother for being regarded as dangerous. They were thought of as communists. Her father is dead since 40, and my mother since 20 years. My guest has lived from my 3rd to my 11th year with her brother and her parents around the corner from where I lived with my parents. The age difference of 6 years took care that as kids we lived in rather separate worlds. But we more than knew of each other. When she came into the shop today I didn't immediately recognize her, but her present picture soon fused with the one I had in my memory, she was of course Eva. She stayed with me for maybe 3 hours. We did not try to find out whether we have ever met again since 1956, when my days in that corner of Duisburg ended because I had to move to a boarding school. Here in Boekie Woekie Eva did most of the talking, and I heard many words and names and was reminded of circumstances which I hadn't thought of in years, and maybe would have never again thought of. I see her brother who lives near Frankfurt usually once a year at the book fair, but we never indulge in memories, probably because the fair is such a hectic affair and one focusses on what is new. It was only after Eva had left that I realized she, and her brother Gert, are the living people I have known the longest in my life, since about 55 years.

April 24th, 2003
I told again the story today of how it came that Boekie Woekie was begun - more than 17 years ago. I wouldn't know how many times I have told it before. But I noticed that my inbuilt record player made a new noise this time. I hadn't heard it say at earlier occasions that Boekie Woekie was seeking a balance of presenting artists' books and at the same time not overexposing them to the spotlight of public attention. The sound the record had hitherto made was more that BW was seeking simply to be a platform on which those books were present. But now I heard my words say something different. That it was part of the BW task to prevent a too much of attention. I heard that different sound while I was making it and probably got a bit afraid: a faulty record player or a new scratch on the record! Anyhow I hurried to deliver a short speech which I hoped would be understood as sane reasoning by the people in front of me. In retrospect, now, a few hours later, I find my quick fix attempt quite interesting: Too much attention kills. It provokes awe. Awe isolates what it deals with, suffocates it and puts something else in the place of it. The object is replaced by itself plus the awe factor. That mechanism, I went on had worked as the marketing story of what has been called art. It has increased the sturdiness of the nails from which this art would dangle. Then I pointed to our book shelves, and how some of them bend upwards as if the books standing on them were helium filled balloons. I pointed at the weatherstick Simon and Erica came with when they were visiting in January, as an ideal gadget to hang art works on. I said that living art does not need the awe factor, that books anyhow want to be read and not admired. I talked like a book, but I didn't know whether I was read.

April 18th, 2003
The first person after me who came today into Boekie Woekie was also a German, he one of the 850'000 expected for the Easter weekend, while I of course have been here before and intend to stay on. I recognized him as a German not because of what or how he said what he said, he said namely nothing at all, but because of his face. It was the face of a famous German television personality. It was the face of the man who is the nestor of all German talk shows. He came in to buy a card. As a German I am inclined to look at German tv. Thanks to modern times it belongs to the possibilities in Amsterdam to watch German tv. Just a few days ago I had noticed my first customer talk to Johannes from Wuppertal and his wife, the presidential couple of  the Federal Republic of Germany. Now the nestor stood there, with the card by Hetti showing Pietje our cat in his hand. Obviously he wanted to pay for it. It flashed through my mind to address him in German but I said in Dutch "One card? That is 80 cents please." He held out his other hand with a few coins in it but said nothing. There was a one Euro coin there. I took that and also the card from his other hand, saying again in Dutch, "You want an envelope?" and "Here are 20 cents back." When the talk master had left Boekie Woekie without a word, this little scene made me more keenly aware of something I had felt to know all along. At least I think I express here for the first time that Germans, anyhow the older ones, abroad, are somehow likely to be automatically speechless. They somehow don't like to be recognized as Germans. Do I with my English diary differ so very much from that group?

April 17th, 2003
It was time again for my electric heat pad the other day. Hlynur did give me this electric device when my back had gone lumbago in Iceland a few years ago. I have had reason to use it on several occasions since then each year: it helps to relax the muscle cramp which makes all my movements painful. The night after I was hit by the most recent cramp I slept on it after having put it on "3", the hottest it can get. I wouldn't have believed the results would be possible. They remind me of the situation when the police stopped me for speeding with my Lada last summer. They doubted their measurement: Ladas the police thought couldn't reach 117 km. I didn't think one could grill oneself on an electric heat pad, but one can. The backache is now more or less gone, but I still have big blisters all over the small of my back.

April 10th, 2003
On the way back from Basel to Holland two days ago I had to change trains and found a seat in the "board bistro" next to a woman I estimated to be quite a bit older than myself, easily seventy. I had asked if that seat was vacant and then fetched myself a beer. When I was sitting down she remarked "Ah, das gute Radeberger", - the good Radeberger brand of beer. I was quick enough to reply that, yes, Radeberger has always been a good reason for taking a ride on the train. It is a East German brand, and also nowadays not easily found in the west of the country, except in trains. One also ordered Radeberger in those trains which connected former West Berlin with  former West Germany. That was in a time when a "board bistro" was still called a "Speisewagen", or dining car. It was a nationalized company which used to operated those dining cars, and Radeberger must have been nationalized as well. Anyhow, it surly helped to make many a trip to and fro Berlin a special time and kept the believe up that there would be something to agree to if one day the east Germans would take over us in the other part. Now for good with all of us in the west I have to mention what else the woman next to me said, in order to get a little more juice out of this story than this drop of nostalgic memory. We were approaching Cologne. I had fetched one or two beers more by then. She had been reading a pocket book with some sort of American Indian ornaments on the cover. The (English) title referred to some "wonder woman". Then a pretty girl sitting opposite the aisle got up, turned around and by that showed her backside. Upon which my neighbour looking up from her book, said quite audibly: "Was für ein schöner Hintern, don't you think!", - what a nice ass. She was right, but this time I was not quick minded enough to reply. Later I thought I could have said that a nice ass has been a good cushion on many a train ride. But I was happy that I had said nothing. How comes that I do now? I will wait if I get an afterthought to that question.

March 24th, 2003
I lately did not feel much of an urge to recapitulate events. Those recent days have had a rare quality. It was one which made me want to close my eyes on them. A first symptom of things going wrong can be read in the first 3 sentences of the last entry of 20 days ago. The parcel with my work since August last year, the manuscript of the Dieter Roth reader, got stuck at the customs in Bangkok. My publisher, who was there at the time to prepare 2 other books, plus mine for printing said he was presented with a bill of 600 pound sterling if he wanted to get my manuscript handed over to him. He refused to pay. The sending back process took the world wide operating parcel service which I think prides itself to deliver nearly anywhere on this globe within 48 hours, 13 days. I had begun to seriously take into account that the manuscript would be declared lost. But many phone calls later, on March 19th it was brought back. The same day I forwarded the manuscript to London, but with an other parcel service than Federal Express. The parcel got to my publisher within a day. - Now the moment has come in this story that, when I mention my publisher, I have to write "my publisher". The next thing namely which was to be heard from "my publisher" was that he refused to publish my book. We, "my publisher" and me, know each other through Dieter. First we met in Stuttgart almost 30 years ago. Dieter had put a book of mine on their printing and publishing schedule. I felt through the years there was reason to respect "my publisher" for what his contribution had been to a series of books by Dieter. He never gave me any reason to think he thought much of me. However another book of mine was printed and co-published by him, many years later, and not anymore under the auspices of Dieter. Dieter had then broken up with "my publisher" already for years. When Boekie Woekie started to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair some 15 years ago, we settled with our booth without thinking twice near the booth of "my publisher". For a few years we nearly fused, for the fun of it we traded (during book fair days only) under the name UNITED UNTIED, together with him and a number of other small publishers. With this brief historical overview I hope to have sketched the backdrop in front of which I feel awfully disappointed, worse: betrayed. "My publisher" had taken me aside in the fall of 2001 and proposed that he would like to publish the book I had begun to advocate shortly after Dieter had died: a DR anthology, a reader, or, German, eine Fibel, ein Lesebuch. He persuaded me: 10'000 Marks and carte blanche, no interference from his, the publisher's side with the manuscript. I would put the manuscript together and write a foreword and deliver the whole thing before the end of 2002. His part would be to try to find a co-publisher in the literary field to get the book also into the literary bookshops. "My publisher" does not get his books into the literary book stores since he distributes via a (visual) art book chain of shops. The first let down occurred during the book fair 2002. "My publisher" regarded reluctantly the ring file I had brought with as the result of my work from August and September. The 80 pages of transcribed handwriting were from diary pages, Dieter had published himself as Copy Books and were not taken from books he, "my publisher" had published. A little later coming back from Porto, from the occasion of the opening of the Dieter Roth / Richard Hamilton exhibition, Björn, stopped over in Amsterdam on his way to Iceland, and told me he was more than surprised when he heard "my publisher" who had gone to Porto too, say to him loudly and so that others who know who I am had to hear it too, that I had shown him nix, nothing, a couple of days back at the book fair. He found it nix that I had read about 3'000 pages of Dieter's handwritten diaries (I belief I am the only person who ever has done that), and as I said transcribed some 80 of them for the reader. When about to tackle the task of the reader I had thought Dieter's diaries and other texts published as they were, handwritten, were my biggest challenge. Dieter published them himself in editions of usually 12 copies only. I know most of the owners, they keep them as trophies, but they hardly would read them. "My publisher" had asked me earlier (still in August) to send him the cover image for "our" reader. Then he disregarded what we had sent (Björn who had passed by my hideout in Iceland and I had made a series of photographs of all the books I was working with). Instead "my publisher" had himself made a cover. He explained this with the imminent deadline for a flyer for all the new Dieter Roth books "my publisher" was, and partly is still in the process of making. Our pictures he said were delayed in the mail, but luckily he had made his own cover because once our pictures had arrived it was clear that they were not good at all. His cover, as it was printed in the flyer, shows volume 1 - 20 of Dieter Roth's collected works - all of course published by "my publisher". By no means was I going to draw from all these books, simply because most of them are picture and not text books. I saw in "my publisher's" choice that he expected me to represent mainly the Dieter Roth as he had been known until about 1979. It felt like I was asked to cut short, if not cut out, that stretch of 18 years during which the poet succeeded in overcoming his gift to appear to others as just wonderfully gifted or to be a genius as he was spoken of by some. Dieter acquired in this phase of his life a technique with which he could redefine the state he found himself in. He learnt how to accomplish what he had worked on for long: to noticeably contrast his flying high by expressing believably his misery. With that he entered the state of a true poet. This technique helped him to let himself appear in the eyes of others, but also in his own eyes, as a self determined, and not as a happy go lucky man of genius. That he did not refrain from inventing his new reality by boldly putting at disposal his reputation as the successful art world charmer, that he did not stay harmless, but challenged, both himself, and all others, that he carried his honesty that far and was able to melt together all ingredients with the result of an existence showing him both tormented and ecstatic, rational and intuitive, - for the sake of brevity: that he decided to live the paradox, is what I felt I would have had to omit if I restricted my Dieter Roth reader more or less to what he had published until he, let's say got 50 in 1980. (Though many of his early writings contain more than the roots of the later achievements.) Anyhow "my publisher" who has been Dieter's publisher and whose name is Hansjörg, was not at all happy with my manuscript. First it was nix, than it was my foreword. He criticized the length of my sentences, but would not have the book printed because I claimed that Dieter had told me and others many times that he made his pictures in order to get the money to have his books printed. Hansjörg claimed he had never received a single Mark and demanded that I would leave out that paragraph. Luckily Beat whom I had told about this calamity pointed out in this situation that Hansjörg had already quoted Dieter (in several of the interviews of the Dieter Roth interview book recently published by Hansjörg) as saying what I had written in my foreword - even including sums he had paid to Hansjörg. With no co-publisher in sight, with Hansjörg being more than reluctant to support me as his editor, I have felt lousy for several months, when my thoughts turned to this subject. Hansjörg explains this last refusal of my manuscript with that he finds it too confusing. Instead of blaming me (to deliver something confusing) I think it is time that he sees that he is fairly confused. His rejection comes 2 months before what was the scheduled day of publication, the date of the opening of the retrospective Dieter Roth exhibition on the 24th of May in Basel. It comes 5 weeks after Hansjörg agreed firmly to publish the book, with a definite yes to Björn, after the row because of the foreword. I tell my readers I still feel lousy, but at least I feel free to admit it now.

March 4th, 2003
My manuscript has been sent to the printers in the far away country 5 days ago. I engaged a firm for that which promises to deliver world wide within the shortest possible time, but the manuscript has not arrived at its destination yet. I feel I could squeeze some angry words out of that. But I have something better. Two books we had ordered were delivered to us, the one is the English version of the other, I shall refer to this English version. One finds it listed on this site like this:

Perrée, Rob Cover To Cover The Artist's Book In Perspective on the occasion of an exhibition, as well a historic overview as a closer look at artist's books from the collection Frits Becht, many photographs, also available in Dutch, Rotterdam 2002 EUR 26.-

It is a book I disliked at first sight. One can't open it well. It is bound so tightly, one has to force the book open to read the right ends of the lines on the left pages and the beginnings of the lines on the left of the right pages because the right margins of the left pages and the left margins of the right pages are much too narrow, whereas the outer margins of the left and the right pages are much too wide (three times the inner margins). There are more lay out aspects I think make the opposite of sense, but I want to come to the core of my personal rejection of this book. I have met its author in Boekie Woekie several months ago, when he was preparing for this book. He talked a bit about his task, he bought I think 2 books of secondary literature, later he sort of interviewed Hettie by phone in this context and I answered a list of questions from Iceland he had sent by e-mail. I remembered that I had seen his name before: he contributed a text to the book on the occasion of the exhibition to commemorate the work of Ulises who then had recently died. Ulises (he is mentioned elsewhere in this diary) ran the first shop for books by artists on this side of the Atlantic as far as I know. He opened it probably around, possibly before the time that "Printed Matter" began in New York. And it was a great place. Ulises had called his shop "Other Books an So". It was a one man enterprise, at the same time loved and co-inspired by involved people around it. It did not understand itself as a prolongation piece for more worshipping of what already was being worshipped in the arts. I felt it then to be genuinely new. It is Rob's comparison of "Other Books..." with "Boekie Woekie,..." which I can not leave without comment. Therefore I quote now from his book: "In 1975 ...Ulises Carrión established 'Other Books and So'. ... (It) was intended to be a centre where all kinds of attention could be focussed on independent publications by artists." He speaks of the many events taking place in Other Books and writes "'becoming acquainted with' was equivalent of being 'enthusiastically informed about' these alternative art media. ... In 1978, Ulises Carrión closed  "Other Books". It was no longer financially feasible, and it appeared impossible to convince government institutions to help support it." In the 2nd next paragraph it is the turn of our "Boekie Woekie, books by artists": "Boekie Woekie was established in 1986, and would seem the natural successor to Other Books and So. ..., but it has never succeeded in generating the energy of its predecessor. ... because it conforms to the rigid principle of independently published artists' books, it does not reach a new public, or does so only rarely." Rob does not seem to take into account that there is a considerably longer stretch of time between 1986 and 2003 (and we aren't finished yet) than there was between 1975 and 1978. The dosage of energy which we are able to generate might be more in tune with the title Rob gave to the chapter which I have quoted from: A Persistent Presence  The Dutch Artist's Book. If Rob had wanted to convey understanding of his subject, he missed a chance here. He seems to me to romanticize the past by showing disregard for the presence. He might have pointed out that BoeWoe refused from its beginning to apply for any subsidies, stipends, financial support from government or other institutions or firms. If the generating of energy of our predecessor could be brought to a halt by the denial of subsidies, it is maybe worthwhile to know that for many years now 2 people are living from the gains of what is sold in Boekie Woekie - and that lots of artists can count on a contribution to their income through our "never succeeding in generating the energy of our predecessor." That Rob than has the nerve to say he knows why we "do not or only rarely reach a new public" puts the stink on the shit he passes around on his ill designed platter. If we were to follow the inherent advice of this know all, namely to not "conform the rigid principle of independently published artists' books" we would rob our understanding of the term "books by artists" of its very core. BoeWoe would first of all loose its self-esteem and then surely its energy if it were to follow Rob's advice. Stocking mainly books by those artists who can trust to be published anyhow because those who publish them know they will make money we can't see as our task. We have with Boekie Woekie established and maintained a platform we are proud of. It shows and sells a wide range of books by artists - even by a few famous ones, even some which were not independently published, but very many by not famous artists who have published independently and even against the advice of the know alls. - I had expected to find Boekie Woekie mentioned in Rob's book. I looked it up in the index. The rest of the book I haven't read (yet), except a bit in the last chapter: A Collage Preview  The Future of the Artist's Book. I found quite sensible sentences there. I think Rob just wanted to clout us one - but why? To make us clout him one?

February 23rd, 2003
It is 20 to 8 in the evening, these days I'm finishing my work on the Dieter Roth reader. The manuscript has to be send to the printers in Thailand soon. But at the moment I can not go on. The obstacle is a Boekie Woekie full of beer drinking people: Helgi, Magga, Jos, Gunnhildur, Rúna and last not least me. Correction: Gunnhildur drinks water. But we sit here and talk, and it becomes difficult for me to concentrate on the manuscript. My general intention is to do things really in need to be done. If the opportunity to work on the reader is not there, is it then not maybe time for a new entry to the Boekie Woekie diary? Giving this a moment of thought I feel a challenge: I want to write this new diary entry as the secretary of what I hear of what is going on around me. I think it is exciting to instantaneously publish what I catch of what is reaching my ear. -  But alas, while writing the introduction lines above for what I intend to do, those, whose words I prepared to quote decided to leave. I'm now the only one left, the only one I can quote. That is the situation out of which this diary has been written all along, I can therefore better return to the work on my reader.

February 17th, 2003
I perceived with my hearing the other day a remark by an occasional reader of this diary that I should watch out to not reveal too much. I acted like I had not heard it. But I have, I'm making that clear here. However I don't know what to make of it. The easy way out would be to search refuge in old knowledge: to claim that to reveal is to conceal. That is always true, of course. But turning something into a paradox does not necessarily satisfy the maze of the mind. Some real thinking work might do better. Am I  too honest? Too loose mouthed? Could I possibly give away something which would be to someone's disadvantage? Am I not the carrier of innocence I think I am? Or could I damage myself - by opening my mouth more widely (through publishing here a fraction of my flow of thoughts) than that it may befit me? - The maze of the mind should be happy to have something to figure out. "Ample food for stupid thought" - coming to mind is good old Robert, saving me out of this.

February 11th, 2003
There are several options for stories to tell of what I was involved with or noticed since the last diary entry. I was again in Switzerland, I'm under dead line pressure to deliver the Dieter Roth reader manuscript to be printed in Bangkok. Luckily that is not Baghdad. But I think I should be more explicit about a few seconds I experienced some days ago looking out of the Boekie Woekie shop window into the street. From the right, or from west going east, passed a person, a man, hard to say how old, pushing a modern looking wheelchair. He was pushing the wheelchair in which he should have been sitting himself to be pushed by a helper. The man was terribly crippled. He moved on with steps so painfully awkward! On the seat of his wheelchair there was a bulging garbage sack. I could of course not see what really was in it, but it was the type of sack the Dutch deposit their garbage in.

February 4th, 2003
My first girl friend, back from teen age times, got 59 today. On the phone because of the occasion we ended up taking a preview of a review of our lives. She expressed satisfaction with hers. She would not wish to be any younger. She is a teacher for problematic children, and states proudly she feels that she is still in tune with them. During more than 30 years of school teaching she did not ask for a "promotion" into the administration of school teaching but had her job in front of the class, and wants to continue it. I was happy for her to be able to say this.

January 29th, 2003
These are days of turbulence and friction. I went to a meeting in Basel which made me sick for a day and a half. When sick, one can die or get better. Now again in Boekie Woekie I have reemerged to the surface, if the word recover means that. Sick, almost dead and buried, but back again. Words are anyhow the best plasters - a comfort. But of course they are the best wound makers too.

January 15th, 2003
Andrea has opened an exhibition of pages of her latest book in Boekie Woekie. The book is described under BOOKS/T as follows:

Tippel, Andrea The Thin King colour laser copies of 117 drawings, partly improved by hand, numbered/5, signed, selfpublished, Berlin 2000 EUR 681.-

There are some more books by her listed under BOOKS/T. She came for the hanging of the pictures and the opening of her show from Germany and stayed with us from Friday to Sunday. We had more guests recently - Monika from Cologne, Simon and Erica from Ireland. Monika, an old friend, had sent out, as New Year greetings to all her friends and business relations hundreds of our picture postcards - a set of 5 or 6 cards to each of the recipients. (The cards are listed on this site under PRINTS in this way:

Boekie Woekie Picture Postcards by BW & friends, PICTURE POSTCARDs presently available around 150 different cards in editions of up to 200 copies, Amsterdam since 1986 EUR 0,80 size 10,5 x 15cm, or EUR 1,60 double this size)

Recently Moritz made a deal with us and is going to link images of some of our cards to his site. If you want to see them now already, you can do so at: www.drivedrive.com/products/boekiewoekie where on can also turn the cards around with a click, and there is even the real shopping cart for ordering them... Monika reported that she had had quite a few favorable responses to her mailing. She impressed me by having 2 digital cameras with her. I got another attack of fantasies about images on this site. Simon and Erica brought us a woodman's weatherstick. Once it is hung up outside one will observe it points upwards when it is dry, and down when it is humid. In order to make space for Andrea, the exhibition shown before in Boekie Woekie needed to be taken down. An invitation flyer had announced that exhibition as a "A Cozy Afternoon". It had shown works by 23 different people. The youngest was June. Her parents, Michael and Eva, exhibited her hand print (or handshake, the Dutch "handdruk" does not allow to know which). June will turn 1 year old shortly before I, the oldest participant will get 58 in April. Rúna, the main curator had included 3 works of mine. 1 of the 3 works bears a certain resemblance to the weatherstick when the weather is dry, and to our picture postcards too, at least to those in the 2 mills standing on the pavement in front of the shop as long as the rain does not get at them. Writing this I feel I wish I would not have to make all those words. If I could scan in at least a few quickly made polaroids and publish them it would automatically shorten the text. But as so often, the pleasure of turning deficiency into virtue consists of a lot of work. It be. Here comes a story, describing pictures, events and emotions and complete with a moral at the end and a price tag. While sitting at the computer I'm sitting on now, a couple of months ago, I heard something fall into the tiny backyard behind me. It turned out to be a toy a small child would drag around like a dog on a leash. Pink plastic, more looking like a cat than a dog, and no leash, but a ring for tying one on. Yellow wheels and a tail towering boldly above the end of the back. I took it into BoeWoe to return it to (the parents of) the owner. It was clear it had fallen off one of the balconies of the apartments above, and there is a couple with a baby up there, but I neither know their name, nor on what floor they live. I would see them come in or go out of the house. Before that happened I found out that the head of the pink cat could be turned. With the head backwards the cat became a different being, its entire suggestion of anatomy changed. It looked like a young boy now, young because old boys would have lost their gymnastic abilities needed to perform a crab as this small plastic thing was showing. Pelvis and shoulders on equal high, the tail in this position an erection towering boldly at the right spot! The former cat, now boy, looking at himself in selfadmiration and anticipation. I could not withhold myself and drew with a permanent marker a few black lines to enhance this new appearance of the toy which had the side effect that it became unreturnable. I think I have led the reader far enough to feel my nostalgia. The work with the title prototype of former self was not sold. On an attached tag it is signed (guess by whom) and the right for further use of the image is reserved. But this original, the prototype, you would not want to miss, would you. It is still available for EUR 400.- from Boekie Woekie. (T+F: +31-(0)20-6390507, e-mail: boewoe@xs4all.nl)

Monika, Erica, Andrea, Simon, they all have left again - allowing me to find this bit of time for what anyhow always were my favorite gymnastics.

January 5th, 2003
Am currently currentless. Just enough to wish you all the best for the New Year. I almost would not have gotten the idea to see this entry as a possibility to say thanks to all of you who read this and who have accompanied us through the year now past. There was a moment between I wrote those thanks after all in the last sentence and then looked whether I wasn't forgetting maybe to write something more when I became like hypnotized by, or was forced briefly to belief in the saying which went through my mind (how came it did?) that claims that hunger comes while eating. It motivated me to get up, or should I say it made me nervous and I got up and walked from the pc in the back of Boekie Woekie to the shop window through which I looked out into the night or more precisely into Berenstraat void of people, street lantern lit, wet. There were flickering reflections of lantern light in some drops hanging from my bike which reminded me on a) to feel relief to see the bike was still there (and not stolen) and b) on how the day had begun with a tiny snowfall rendering the peculiar sensation of a view of a world in black and white and c) how black and gray everything now was. On Mondays before noon the trash is picked up in this street, and duly, and less than a meter from my bike, the melancholy causing, typical black trash sacks of city nights lay piled up on the pavement visible by their dim shine. I wasn't hit by the extra sad absurdity of what I had just seen until after I had taken a few steps back into the direction of the pc where I thought I would now end this entry after the first 3, brief sentences with which it begins. But then I hurried back to my chair and began to fulfill the prediction of the above saying about getting hungry. I had to write the story of what I really had seen! I had seen the second giving out of Christmas presents, or seen a reverse picture of Christmas! The picture of giving presents in colorful parcels under the flickering reflections of candle light beams in the lametta of Christmas kitsch trees was repeated in that still life, only to live into the morning hours just in front of the door. The trash sacks had been grouped like presents around a discarded fir. Dimly shining trash sacks and a fir tree, soon to become a present to the ash making process.

December 21st, 2002
I'm re-reading what I wrote a week ago. I mention there some of the glasses with drinks which then came my way. Other readers of the lines of last week, I think would most likely assume the drinks are part of a constant undercurrent or of a current which surfaces only exceptionally. Such an assumption would be right. I feel I need that current to know that I'm swimming against it.

December 14th, 2002
Am in Amsterdam again, but without sleep since the last entry written about 24 hours ago, and then my day was already 8 or 9 hours old. While I was writing it last night Halldór, Gunnar's friend and colleague, walked into Björn's Studio, which adjoins Gunnar's carpentry as readers of this diary may remember from my descriptions of the third Dieter Roth Academy Exhibition early in May of this year. Halldór offered to take me to the airport in the morning. The airline takes off to European destinations at an early hour, one has to get up before 5 to get there in time. Halldór was being very very nice. I asked him to then also take Sigurdur and Ari whom I knew were booked on the same flight as me. Then I drove to town to pay a late visit to a party which another Halldór was giving, one who recently had returned from exhibiting in Japan via Amsterdam, and I had heard on the phone from Rúna, with whom he had stayed during his stop over, in my hideout about the stories he had had to tell from there. Kristján and Solveig were among the party guests, snaps and beer were there but we didn't shake hands, and Siggi (Sigurdur) came too. Siggi and I left shortly after midnight with the first guests, thinking of the early hour we would have to rise. I had a set of keys to Solveig's apartment in my pocket, where I would catch an eyeful of sleep. However, when at her house door, I could not open it. I had to give up trying and walked back to what was left of the party. At 3 those who had stayed on were in the mood to go to the Piano Bar where one dances to music played very loudly. I thought it was becoming a night as so often before when I took off from this country - a night with no sleep at all. But Solveig felt a kind of compassion with me, and she made the taxi to Piano Bar take us to her house first and wait until she had opened the doors and only then she went on to the disco. So I was laying down for 2 hours, but couldn't sleep. After 4 Solveig was back, and at 5 Halldór was there. He hadn't driven the car for 200 meters when he was stopped by the police to control his blood alcohol - which he luckily did not have. We fetched Siggi, and Ari, and after 55 km said good bye to Halldór, underwent the weapon control, and bought food for Christmas dinners (raw and smoked leg of lamb) and since then - I have been drinking many beers. First while waiting, then while flying, and  now in Boekie Woekie while writing this. In a little while I intent to have a few more at the gallery of Kees and Thora, where Ari will show the portrait film he made of Sigurdur. Sigurdur is by the way taking his legs of lamb to China, where he is visiting his wife Ineke who is running "her" Chinese-European Cultural Center, or exhibition space. I shall go to look at the film together with Hetti and her sister Ditte who has recently moved to Amsterdam, after living for decades in the States, and Rúna and Ineke (another one than the former) who now are sitting here too with a glass, will go there as well.

December 13th, 2002
Until now nobody complained about my calling the capital of Iceland the car park for the international airport. And tomorrow after leaving my beautiful Lada behind, and after take off, I'll be out of reach for those who might find this description degrading, and if I return one day I hope they have forgotten, or better still, forgiven, that I employed those words for their lively city.

December 9th, 2002
It is 2 in the morning. I have just closed the D.R. files. The main thing later today is to buy anti freeze for the water system of my part of this house. On Tuesday, tomorrow, I want to go South as they call a trip in this country with the destination Reyjavík. Reyjavík is the parking lot for Keflavík International Airport. (I hope my Reykjavík friends won't read this last sentence before I have left the country from KEF to AMS on Saturday.)

December 1st, 2002
I'm coming to the end of my days here. In a week or so I'll return to Holland. I missed an opening of an exhibition yesterday in Boekie Woekie. The telephone reports speak of it as a happy affair. I'm still not ready with my work. Shall I blame it on the cheeping of the excavators which were digging ditches for hot water pipes for the heating of the nearby houses during many of the days of the last few weeks? Excavators cheep like birds when moving around in reverse gear, and they did a lot of that. I can't blame it on them, I wouldn't think of blaming it on the cheeping of real birds. I'm still not ready because it is just so much which D.R. wrote.

November 25th, 2002
D.R. is keeping me busy. As a young poet he evokes in me an image of a brainy romantic discoverer, with his early Ideograms, and into the 60ties, with his Der Ich, man, ein Jemand und ich in Basel am Rhein for example. This changes with the Notizbuch 1966. He doesn't want so much to show anymore the cuts he makes with the sharp edge of his brain, or he is making his brain cuts inside a cloud he simultaneously produces. Or maybe: he is now cutting his cloud. Anyhow, I hear the swish of a knife but I see a cloud. (Appropriately for this cloud cutting picture, there are his various little cloud books, but the Scheisse series of books, as well as the 70ties with the Weinen series, and the Bastelnovellen belong here too.} He has become a romantic cloud cutter who writes a fictional report from the foreign parts in his own inside, he, D.R., the Swiss in the foreign territories which are inside of  him. And after training hard the writing of a diary in the seventies, he renders in the 80ties and 90ties a realistic and, yes, romantic survey and monitoring of his inner and outer landscapes. 5 minutes have passed, I made a note in a different context, and reading the upper part find: Okay, so D.R. may have developed somehow like this. But interested in myself now I realize I have violated the rules for wise monkeys: I saw something (I say an image is evoked in me) and I hear (heard the knife swish in the fog) and I speak about it.

November 16th, 2002
The sun has just come up over the mountains where they are about 600 meters high on the other side of the fjord, to the southeast of where I am. It is just before eleven, I'm having a second coffee. I ate some oat meal with a little banana and raisins, had my cod liver oil and pills (against too high blood pressure, too high cholesterol level and to prevent blood clods) and while I was writing the first sentence and a half of this new diary bit, begun only partly because I feel the time lapses between the entries are too long, thinking about how and what to write to explain my true motive, the telephone rang, first Amsterdam, then London came on the line. Rúna had opened Boekie Woekie and I got the Dutch weather report. Hetti briefed me on what is going on at the London Artists' Book Fair, whereto she went to hold up the Boekie Woekie flag with many of our books and in the hope of finding interest for them. The fair happens as an initiative of Simon and with the help of Martin, in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall, if I have it right. - But about my true motive to start the work of the day with diary writing: it delays the return to the work on the Dieter Roth reader for a little while. I left that work late last night, after being carried away for hours writing a section of my accompanying text for that book. I'm now a bit tense.  I hope when I see it again, in a few moments, I can still like it. On second thought, I see a chance to let the excitement grow for a bit longer. Isn't it Saturday, aren't the shops, half an hour drive from here, closing early, but don't I need some refrigerator filling? I think I do.

November 6th, 2002
For the first few months of our lives we very well know how to communicate with others. Then we let ourselves be lured into the language those others have in common, which for us, being newly born and therefore the new men, is the language of the old men, the language of former times. It may take us many years before we realize that we made a mistake adopting the old language. Like old, half broken tools it doesn't really work, we have to be prepared to engage in tiring discussions, and then still may not get what we want. Before we know it, we have become the old men, and if we don't soon by means of sighing maybe, or cursing or crying regain early lost possibilities we run the chance of never having a lasagna again which is understood.
 

October 31st, 2002
And again in Iceland, in the north, in the snow, after 1 month on the continent (3 weeks in Amsterdam, 1 week in Frankfurt). It was the annual Frankfurt Book Fair and Boekie Woekie's traditional presence there which made me interrupt my work on the Dieter Roth reader. It is the evening of my third day here. Hetti just phoned from home, she has an unexpected visitor: Aldo, overnight in Amsterdam. He is on a 2-day-business trip. They are having a beer together with Pétur who for the last few days has finished off with what far going general decay had left of the kitchen workbench/sink of Hetti and me. This big piece of furniture had visibly lost during the last few months its structural consistency. That probably happened because it had been exposed to permanent wetness for how shall one know how many decades. Being mainly made from chipboard badly disguised as plastic it would be sensitive to such a treatment. Earlier today I heard on the phone, Pétur had finished installing the replacement, and now that they had just put out as trash on the pavement the debris of the demolished, former kitchen workbench, when Aldo arrived. I spoke after Hetti also with Aldo. Various subjects, we came to speak of the observation that we found funny that the recent Moscow theater production got more media covering than most likely any stage play ever, and that gave us the shivers. That the involvement of the audience could make one think of modern theater of the sixties sent down at least my back another shiver wave - and made me let a chuckle get out of my throat. We quit this spooky subject quickly, and Aldo began to report what at that moment Hetti and Pétur were doing: painting green the doors of the new kitchen workbench. The old one had had a green front too. And the new one is also from plastified chipboard. Therefore the chances are that for quite a few decades Hetti's and my kitchen workbench will get no more media coverage.
 

October 15th, 2002
The intervals between the entries to this diary have during the last 3 month gotten much longer than they used to be for the 2 years I kept, and instantaneously published it on the internet. I think it is because there is an acceleration of what happens around me which occupies most of my time. Only rarely short opportunities occur which allow a bit of pondering upon what went on. Now I feel one of those moments has come. I see a possibility to ponder by listing the names of other "actors" of the "play" of the last 18 days (since the last entry) as it went on "on my stage". As far as I can remember (it is midnight, and I want to be quick in order to get some sleep, and the actors were many) there were (in real life and in my vicinity): dear Hetti and Rúna, Magga, Fredie, Pietje the cat and almost person, Guido, Michael, Eric, Aldo, Barbara, Pablo, Hansjörg, Malcolm, Walther, another Michael, Johannes, Phillip (or is this name in his case spelled Philipp?), Marc, Sharon, Paulina, and yet another Michael, Bernd, Karin, Dorian, Werner, Gerhard, Emmett, Ann and luckily also Simon who saved me from getting too drunk because in his presence I somehow can laugh off what otherwise would drag me down. Of course in comparison to all those who were not there, those who were are not so many. But it felt like the stage was permanently very crowded. Thanks to all for this joyful time, and for now, Good Night.

September 27th, 2002
Am back in Boekie Woekie, with the unfinished Dieter Roth reader manuscript with me and much work ahead for the three of us in the next 10 days to feel ready to go to the Frankfurt Book fair. The main bookwork we want to present, a catalogue of more than 800 colour drawings on beer mats, or coasters, as they are called in America, or Bierdeckel where I come from, or viltjes, where we are the greatest consumers of what stands on them still needs to get its text part printed, the whole edition (small, only 13 copies, but each copy in 5 volumes) needs to be bound, the slip cases to be made. A publishers list for Roth's Verlag, Seedy CDs, Vossforlag and good old Boekie Woekie needs still to be put together and printed and bound. The trip to Frankfurt needs to be organized. I stop to write because I have other things to do.

September 4th, 2002
I let my return flight to Amsterdam yesterday fly without me. The 4 weeks I have been in Iceland now have passed very quickly especially seeing what I accomplished during this period in regard to the Dieter Roth reader. Longer than another 3 weeks more I can't stay. I'll have to cut this diary short.
 
August 29th, 2002
Michael has been, and fixed what had gone wrong.

August 26th, 2002
I'm living in a period of days with something like a long swing to them. Maybe I'm in some sort of time tunnel between what was and what is to come. Images flash by. An image of washed up drift wood on a lonely shore. It was a drive of 30 km (and 30 back) through a landscape out of the ordinary. Kristján and Solveig were in the one Lada, Brandur and me in the other. Unbridged rivers needed to be crossed in this uninhabited valley to get to lots of sea salted tree trunks as washed up reminders (reminding me) of the pens of great poets. An Italian hiker had not returned from this area a while ago (more than 2 weeks). We were not alone on the track, big jeeps of rescue teams were there too, the teams searching for the man. Brandur remembered someone he said wrote an appreciated biography. He had lived in 2 places in this fjord, early last century. The book is appreciated for its writing: unbeautifying, matter of fact. We saw no remains of the ruins of houses there, but one can still see where they once stood by the grass being greener there, from the shit as Brandur knew. That, after a visit to Dóri's opening of an art exhibition at what Niels operates in our vicinity, on the other side of our fjord. Dóri showed in a chessboard like arrangement 2 walls of white plates(-to-eat-from) with on them drops of lava. He has a history of melting drops out of lava lumps with a welding torch. The drops run cold in most irregular forms. Alternately sheets of paper with print outs of letters from many alphabets were put up on the walls. Round and rectangular and agreed on as to be meaningful and the others not. Another image that flashes by is that of the tiny spider running around on the sheet of paper I'm then writing on, a spider small like a dot. When it came to a ball-point pen line I just had made, I saw it couldn't cross it. I imagined a horrible stench coming from the river of ink of my pen molesting the nose of the tiny spider. It ran a little way along the shore of my line, and than away from it. I could not suppress the temptation to research this phenomenon a bit closer, though the experiment may have felt a tormenting experience for the tiny spider: I followed it close on its heels with my pen, cutting its way off, if it attempted to dart sideways, me and the animal creating in this way quite a special drawing. I remember I found it fascinating to think what it implies when the steering of the pen in ones hand is not directly controlled by the one whose hand holds the pen. For a while the tiny spider overpowered my authority.

August 25th, 2002
I'm sad or disappointed that the last few entries to this diary page have appeared to be messily published, now since about 2 weeks. The first mistake was made when posting them (we made the text public in a too early version). Secondly, another mistake was made attempting to correct mistake No.1, it only became worse. For the time being we can't add to or change at all our web site. We need Michael.

August 14th, 2002
It is a quarter to 3 in the morning, I have stopped for now to transcribe from those texts DR has published in handwritten form. I'm working on the before mentioned Dieter Roth reader, now seriously.

August 9th, 2002
The last time I crossed the uninhabited Icelandic highlands was on my first visit to this country in 1971, from north to south via the Sprengisand route. I drove then, also early in August, together with Emil in Dieter's Russian 4 wheel drive mini bus. The crossing resulted in a repertoire of stories ready to be called for. The point of most of the stories from that time long ago is how it felt to be alone on the vast highlands. The contrast to the 400 km now from south to north, via the Kjölur route and with Magnús next to me couldn't be sharper. It felt like joining the slowly moving promenade of luxurious cross country vehicles with a variety of international license numbers on a winding catwalk. Not the vastness of the desert was breathtaking but the tools to conquer it. If in another 30 years time I'm going to cross the highlands again I predict crowds of spectators will line the track to applaud the parade.

August 4th, 2002
I had come to Basel for a meeting with people and was lucky that that coincided with an event which Brigitta, whom I know for 30 years, and Eva had organized to take place in Zurich last night. They had invited for it with a postcard of which the one side showed a reproduction of a painting by me from more than 20 years ago. The painting is called "Der Aussteiger". The other side of the card said that Peter K. ("K" being the abbreviation of the 2nd of his first names) would be reading from his "Katalog von Allem", plus that there would be good food and drinks. It was a happy coincidence that allowed me to attend this event. I hadn't spent a night in Zurich for some years. P.K. was reading words I liked - he has found them for detailed observations and detailed reactions to his observations. I felt sort of safe in the presence of the brightness of the words. Teddy and Mario where also
there. They took me in their car to the place I would sleep at the other end of town. I saw my hosts for the night only for an hour at breakfast, then I had to leave for Amsterdam, where from tomorrow it is to Iceland once again.

July 29th, 2002
I was challenged by a visitor to BW to give my view of what currently happens in the field of artists' books. I found it appropriate to say that as far as I could oversee it, I hadn't recently been impressed too much. I almost would have continued saying BW reminded me quite much of a full waste paper basket, but luckily I got another idea before uttering that sentence which of course would have been unjust to the efforts and achievements of many good men and women. The idea which saved me was that I remembered in time that our shop does not want to show a beautified picture of what is going on in any field. Our understanding of beauty demands that. Something beautiful is something which can show the complexity of what is real, we would say. (I say it now, but if I check this with Hetti and Rúna tomorrow I trust they'll endorse what I say here.) Or: isn't reality beautiful and art which is beautified, kitsch? Wouldn't we kitschify the field of artists' books if we selected the books according to any of their qualities? If nothing else makes them beautiful then at least their variety does. My challenger got to hear all this and more, and then said quite dryly: "Are you sure?"

July 26th, 2002
During the soon 2 years of an (almost) instantaneously published diary I have a number of times quoted in this diary the description of a book (or of maybe some other kind of item) from the stock list pages of this web site. I think that it was what I was writing which made me think of the books of which I then quoted the descriptions. This quoting has not once resulted in an order, though I think I added occasionally something like: order now! Luckily the stock list itself makes people order occasionally. I remark this because it puzzles me and I drift off into speculations. Holland one hears saw times with taxes on curtains - if you didn't need to hide so easily, you were cheaper off, one hears. If that story is true, publishing pays or at least, it reduces spending. - I feel I get once again into too complicated matters, I rather stay puzzled, which probably means with some puzzle pieces missing.

July 24th, 2002
I suddenly saw something which I had had a good chance to see for years, but didn't. The very moment I noticed what I saw, I was struck with how funnily meaningful it was. I'm speaking about 3 metal lids to some underground system of pipes, probably, or access to valves, maybe, of the water system, I suppose. The lids are in the pavement, just in front of the door of Boekie Woekie where I like to stand when the weather is nice and when the work situation allows it (or when my being nervous demands it).  The lids are placed almost in a row and are from cast iron (I believe), they show a surface of about 12 by 12 cm, and there is a distinct w in each of them: www. The world wide web spelled its name long before it was known as such! It dates from before computers could communicate. - As an afterthought, I should learn how to illustrate this www-site with pictures.

July 23rd, 2002
That's how short-lived worries can be - Michael was back in town on Saturday, fixed what had gone wrong with our web site on Sunday, and on Monday it could be entered again through its boekiewoekie.com door. Thanks, Michael. At the same time our Amsterdam forms the background for the beginning of the honeymoon of Karl and Margrét. Congratulations and good wishes to them. And I have bought an airplane ticket to Iceland. I'll leave in 2 weeks to now in earnest assemble from the books by Dieter which are there the material for "my" Dieter Roth reader. I must have spoken here about my project before -  there are no books with texts by DR obtainable for prices people who like to read have accepted to pay for books. All of DR's many books have prices according to their quality as objects of art. This obscures in a way the view on their author. My hope is that I can contribute to change this.

July 18th, 2002
I am worried since a few days about our web site - when attempting to open it in what has become the usual way (i.e. typing the address www.boekiewoekie.com) there appears on the screen instead of our logo-like, bird-like head with the hairs standing on end and with a book in the hand, as the first page of our site, something totally alien! If typing the old address (www.xs4all.nl/~boewoe) the site opens up fine. Then I more or less by mistake didn't dump this morning an e-mail of the type I usually don't look at - and it proofed to be from the company we have one and a half year paid money to for the web address which now doesn't function anymore. Amongst all sorts of other rubbish there come many e-mails which I think I have learnt to recognize as to belong to a type that if I read them, I'll be asked to upgrade something I didn't know I had, and maybe don't have. The e-mail I read this morning shortly after arriving in Boekie Woekie a little before midday contained sort of an apology of the sender for having lost details linking our site to their service, and instructions what to submit to them in order to fix it. I tried to do what they asked for, but the result is another disappointment. Now, when I open our site I via the boekiewoekie.com address, I get a blank screen. The company gives in their e-mail the telephone number of its help desk, but I couldn't gather the courage yet to ring them. I feel my acquaintance with computer and internet terminology might not be sufficient. And just now Michael is traveling abroad.

July 12th, 2002
Hetti has returned from Iceland, the complete Boekie Woekie crew is back on board, and we can enjoy again together the bobbing up and down of our shopship. Motor and winds are failing us namely, the majority of the users of the letter b puts this letter at this time of the year for us into the wrong context. Instead of b-eer and b-ooks it will be for the summer months, b-eer and b-each. We have learnt that the number of swimmers from the shore which will make it to us have, for practical reasons, no money with them, and also usually they don't trust themselves to swim back to shore with books which are after all from paper, and for which it rather would be better to stay dry. Though we could row to the next pier, find a cart with broad tyres, load the books on the cart, rent a horse, and have it pull the cart up and down the beach, and have us as coachmen when approaching the beach dwellers and sunbathers, and the mono- or bi-kini inhabitors, shout something like "ARTISTS' BOOKS, BEAUTIFUL BOOKS BY AARTIISTS!!!", we won't do that, it would be too much trouble. We are too lazy for it and it is only that the bobbing is real and gives our minds the opportunity to think of it as an opportunity. (In case someone gets confused, our bobbing really takes place in Berenstraat 16 in Amsterdam - from where it would only be 25 km to the beach. Horses drawings carts conquer on hard ground stressless I'm told around 10 km per hour. Leaving Amsterdam at 8 in the morning and aiming at being back at 8 in the evening would render 7 hours for many shouts of "ARTISTS' BOOKS, BEAUTIFUL BOOKS BY AARTIISTS!!!")

July 9th, 2002
I had written a piece for this diary when I left Boekie Woekie to bike home last night, which was rather this morning. I remember I wanted to read it again before publishing it, but when I opened the computer today, 9 hours ago, it was lost. I must have while I wrote it become too drunk to think of saving it. But the entry was made with much attention and of an unusual kind: I was expressing my admiration for a work of art. I think I seldomly do that. I'll try (partly from scattered bits and pieces of what I found after all with the search function in the start menu of my pc) to reconstruct what I wrote: Helgi phoned the other day, and asked if I wouldn't want to come to look at what he was exhibiting as part of his final art school examinations. He is about to graduate from the local academy. The academy is named after a man who is called by the Dutch with the word for "reeds". There is a building bearing his name and this building houses so to say a field in which each year grows a new generation of those slender high plants as I want to call the students here. Each reed plant is bent a bit under its heavy head, or maybe sways in the wind a little in order to show its elasticity. The plants root in shallow water. Here Helgi was registered for some years to become a reed look alike, but has chosen not to. He really sticks out. I feel the influence of the challenge to say for once something encouraging in this diary, but I'll put it this way: I can't praise the ability of Helgi to hide in the reed fields. Somehow I couldn't see any reed where he was. I saw a complex, inspiring work of art, which for me by far surpassed any student level. It was a real pleasure and I was happy to have had the opportunity to experience its presence.

July 6th, 2002
Much has recently changed for the visitor of the Boekie Woekie web site. The main menu is no longer what it was. Michael removed 2 of the possibilities to click on, and added 3 new ones. I'll work on developing the new possibilities. The ones which were discarded, the "search" and the "gallery", had proven to be insufficient. "Search" did not really deliver, "gallery" was too difficult to maintain. The 3 new clickabilities aim at displaying the lists of publications of Roths' Verlag, Rainer Verlag and Boekie Woekie. We hope on the one hand to serve our clients better by offering those lists. The publications of Roths' Verlag and Rainer Verlag and of course those of ourselves have always been central to what Boekie Woekie wanted to stand for. Since Dieter Roth and Rainer Pretzell have both entrusted us with the exclusive representation of their publishing efforts to allow access to lists as complete as possible seems only natural on the site.

June 28th, 2002
At the end of this shop keeping day I don't know how many thoughts appeared in my shopkeeper's head and how many have vanished again. I remember though thinking today a few times, that I should not forget what I thought - it could be good for this diary. But now, in the process of writing, what I thought before turns out as something else. Okay, nevertheless there is a story and this is how it goes: one of those diary reminders came when I noticed that people in the street were stopping and looking. They were looking in my direction - well, almost. I was looking out of the shop window at them. Their faces, in the sun bathed street, were looking as I said almost back at me, but up a little, like they were too shy or maybe naughty to look straight at me. This allowed the shop keeper to feel like an artist: like someone who is traditionally speculated about as if it would be difficult to see him clearly in his assumed remoteness. While I still interpreted the way they looked it dawned on me that it really was not our shop window, and certainly not me they were interested in. It was the cat probably of the people living above engaging in some window acrobatics which had caught their attention. After this confusing beginning that thought machine hurried to do better and produced explanations why shops need windows. Of course they are there for the shop keepers to have a good view of who and what goes on out there, in the street. Furthermore the shop windows certainly can serve the passer-by as a mirror. He can straighten tie, lipstick or hair seeing his reflection. The window is like a  mirror for the one outside, because he who looks into it expects to know what he'll see. The shop windows are transparent from the shopkeepers' point of view, because they would like to think they know who is interested enough in their stuff to look at it lying in the window. In exceptional cases the window can help a shopkeeper to get an idea of how tiny his enterprise is when for example mounted police steer their horses over the pavement  (because e.g. a truck unloads and blocks the lane). In that case the shopkeeper may see a police boot moving, hanging down from the upper edge of the shop window frame, with another boot appearing behind the other side of a bit of a horse's belly which also hangs into the picture, behind the first boot! The fun machine reminds in this context of an instant when Malcolm who then was visiting, was alert enough to grab a camera and take a picture of the Boekie Woekie shop window from the shop's inside when the window worked so to say as a bill board for the country's biggest, albeit not best brewer. A huge truck of this company was passing, with the company's name spelled big all over the side of it. What a shop window filler that was! (I wouldn't know where to look for that photograph now, and anyhow this is a written, and not a picture diary, and only in writing the name of this brewer can be avoided.) The Boekie Woekie shop window is about 3 meters 50 long and 1 meter 60 high. The world is big but it seems to come in more or less fitting pieces.
 
June 26th, 2002
I'm in a mood which likes to find the words which point at the difference between Boekie Woekie, books by artists, and other enterprises which promote artists' books. I have to compare them to us. - Our "books by artists" are of course a double-decker: the books we offer here are made by artists, and we who claim that, we are artists. That holds like a double, actually triple, stitched seam. (Triple because the artists say they are artists, we say they are artists, and we say we are artists ourselves.) But since we are so secured, I think, those other enterprises need their partners too. I feel mostly they grasp for some art history as a partner. (They won't stock books by artists which haven't had the blessings of at least some current "art history".)  An art history which at least is well enough advertised and therefore can produce something fashionable/sellable. Anyhow, quite a few besserwisser are ready to advise. We are  occasionally put into that role of besserwissers too, when it befits to include our voice. I'm getting bored to think of it and will stop now. Moody things are boring. (boring = stuck)
 
June 20th, 2002
I have no idea what to write. That box full of words is there somewhere of course. And the regulations of how one is to chain those words are in reach. But I lack the idea of what I would want to paraphrase. Can that be a problem? If so, can it be solved? Should it be solved? Is a white sheet of paper not better than one with typographical stains? Dirty paper! A matter for librarians to hold in trust a lot of it. Poor people! I feel like reading books with blank pages. There Boekie Woekie, books by artists, comes in handy, because we have for sale, thanks to Cornelia who makes them, something we call

(empty book) by BW, various sizes, differently many pages EUR 4.- to EUR 11,50

 
June 16th, 2002
Fredie and Fritzi came for a visit to BoeWoe. Fredie, Fritzi's father, is never short of a story. This time he said that when they were entering BoeWoe, Amsterdam's mayor had just been looking at our picture postcards out on the pavement in the display mills in front of the shop window.

Boekie Woekie Picture Postcards by BW & friends, PICTURE POSTCARDs presently available around 150 different cards in editions of up to 200 copies, Amsterdam since 1986 EUR 0,80 size 10,5 x 15cm, or EUR 1,60 double this size

And that the mayor had held a telescopic umbrella squeezed under his arm, though rain was hardly to be expected. We briefly speculated whether as mayor one might feel the need to show the insignia of power, if only in this subdued way of wielding the scepter. When we went to verify, the mayor was gone, of course. Fritzi, 10, hadn't followed our interest in the subject,  but soon caught our attention by repeatedly standing on her head. She used a bit of our gallery wall to balance herself with her feet, and I suggested she could stay there for the next month as part of the exhibition.

June 13th, 2002
There is little business here, but a lot to do. Both owners of this business establishment, Rúna and Hetti, are far away. I, their handyman almost live now in the shop - I cook here for myself, and think about sleeping here too. I have been working for the shop all day, and now, since I'm still here in the evening (it is 11pm) and the shop has been closed for 3 hours, in this surplus of time I got of course an idea. (Because what else is an idea if not the nucleus for new, more time?*) The idea isn't far fetched, at the heart of it is this diary. I shall publish this ongoing diary, together with documents of the history of Boekie Woekie which the diary covers, as a book!
-----
* for new, more time which no-one may ever have. Not all ideas unfold.

June 11th, 2002
Hetti flew to Iceland today, it is her turn now. It is nice weather there, and a grill party is planned outside the building where the DRA exhibition still is on. Pétur and Gunnar were on their way to get the food when Hetti phoned, just now. Before her call came there was one from Documenta, also a woman, with a nice voice. She asked for 5 books by Dieter. But for the rest the day was slow - little business. If there hadn't come a photographer to take pictures for a tourist guide to be published in California this day would be among those I would put on the scale if I wanted to argue that BoeWoe is a lost case, and that we should stop with it. - However, to publish such a negative thought instantaneously charges this day with a mental challenge - and doesn't that make everything good afterall?

June 8th, 2002
I'm back in Boekie Woekie, books by artists, Amsterdam. I haven't been here for a while (one month). It seems a great place, I like it. Since I feel surprised that my absence may have lasted only for one month I allow myself this bit of second thoughts: One hears about those guys who fly about. If they return it is usually called outer space from where they return. And if they have been away only for a month, but they find they are many years overdue paying their parking ticket at the airport, and their grandchildren don't seem to know them and vice versa, Einstein may start to clear his throat. Luckily when I left I didn't leave any car at the airport, and no children to present me with the bla bla from any grandchildren. It made the return less troublesome.

June 3rd, 2002
I forgot to mention in the entry to this diary of May 26th that the opening of the DRA exhibition which among other things I talk about on that day, has been video taped and photographed, and that this has been put onto the internet. Here is the address: www.simnet.is/bjornroth. It was Hildur, the neighbor who had the skill of doing that.

June 1st, 2002
Iceland is a great country for Central Europeans to catch colds. (Everyone knows it's good for salmon catching, but I'm speaking about colds (which are no misspelled cods).) It can maybe be explained. There is an abundance here of natural phenomenon. They act on us Central European optimists as a call for the sleeves to be rolled up, and the readiness to tackle the tasks. Put the boat into the sea, here we go! We Cen.Europos haven't generally put boats into the sea for long, we play at home rather on the pc keyboard. And I have heard the advice to wear gloves while doing that. Rolled up sleeves, pulled off sweaters, put aside, beer sweat while shoveling stones to fill up the puddle in the road in front of the door. And a breeze from Greenland, then and a juicy cold. There is here a variety of brands (Softis, Lommeletters, Uniks) paper hankies in the supermarket shelves. It seems to show there is enough business. Maybe even a native can catch a cold here, even out of the cold blue air. Anyhow I got one shortly after I had arrived, 3 weeks ago. It is still with me, and I made an observation, which I want to put into words. I have this cold, it is a drag, I blow my nose for several days and I'm disgusted by what I blow out, and I blow and I blow. The green part of what I blow out gets less and less, the watery part gets more and more. My nose begins to tickle. My eyes start to itch. I know the symptoms very well, but the season for me to allergicly react to grass pollen does in this part of the world not come before in about one month. My nose, and that is my observation, has thoughts of its own. I think it thinks that it is hay fever time again. After a long sleep it wakes up. It does not mind my, the nose owner's, or, okay, it does not mind our cold (the cold of me and my nose). It just minds my blowing it, as in the heydays of the fever. And then this nose of mine happily delivers, opens the faucets for the watery slime, without any pollen around, but as if there was pollen around. If the reader hears those bells ring which the dogs of Mr. Pavlov heard I have conveyed my observation well.

May 29th, 2002
There are today for the 2nd day in a row fighter planes flying towards the inland over our fjord. I have never heard or seen them here before. Trained to think they are flying to defend I can't help thinking what they might think they are defending. Not the birds, do they, so that they can lay their eggs in peace? They don't frighten the high tide so that it recedes for the low tide? The more silly the question the more polemic it seems to be.

May 26th, 2002
Eventful days have passed. I think 17 Icelandic people of the Dieter Roth Academy, staff and students, together with 20 who had like me come flying over the ocean put up the exhibition I anticipated in my last entry to this diary 21 days ago. The opening attracted a great crowd of some hundreds of people, maybe 4 to 5 hundred. Before it was so far I had to work for a day with concentration in order to install a mini Boekie Woekie, focussing on books by Dieter and colleagues from the Dieter Roth Academy, plus books by Icelandic artists. I made a price list on Björn's pc and marked all the near 250 books in Icelandic Krónur. For that I needed 250 beers. My work was nothing in comparison to what Gunnar and Björn and their people had achieved. (See the May 5th entry.) Next day came a 6 hours drive. I joined those in 2 cars who went in sunny weather to Dieter Roth's grave on the west coast of Iceland. The day after that came the long haul to the east coast, my 2nd time to Seyđisfjörđur this year, this time I traveled with Rúna. (Hetti is taking care of Boekie Woekie Amsterdam.) The weather was getting more and more autumn- and then winter-like the more east we got, more so than 2 months ago. In the highland desert of the east, on a route with very little traffic, approaching Möđrudalur, one of us who traveled in his cross-country vehicle together with one of the students of the DRA, crashed into 2 cars which had collided there before. When he came over a hilltop stepping onto the brakes didn't make his car stop on this stretch of icy dirt road. When I came near the spot I was warned by another car that had positioned itself for that purpose and I could slow very much down and pass the scene of horror safely. Knowing that several cars full with friends and colleagues where on their way ahead of us, Rúna and me were afraid to see any of them involved in this. The car with the torn off front wheel looked luckily totally unfamiliar. But the one 10 meters or more out off the road in the mud to the left, with the spare tire attached to the back door wouldn't that be Kristján's Kia? No, I determined, it could not be what I did not want it to be: I knew that on the canvas cover of the spare tire the brand name of the car was printed in big letters, and the canvas cover we saw there was just brown, and the color of the car did luckily not match the dark gray of my memory. We felt relieved. Later however, when we heard the truth, we felt embarrassed and bewildered that we could be fooled by the layer of splashes of dirt from the road to believe in our wishful thinking. Luckily no one in this accident was seriously injured, but Kristján lost his car in it. Still later, it came to me that what had happened could be seen as something coming true since in a way it was predicted in the poster and print for the founding conference of the Dieter Roth Academy. The link I mean is to an image I have used as my part for that poster. There is a drawing of a road leading into the distant depth of the picture, and by the side of it in the foreground stands a traffic sign saying "Roth Work Ahead".

Roth Work Ahead original offset print (46 x 64 cm) by Björn Roth and Jan Voss (the poster for the Dieter Roth Academy founding conference and exhibition in Basel May 2000 without the informative text), signed by both, EUR 90.-

I certainly, 2 years ago, did not think of suggesting any Roth or Road work of the kind which staff and students of the DRA got a practical lesson in on their way to Seyđisfjörđur.
The phonetic likeness of how the name "Roth" is pronounced in German and "road" in English has before been noticed. At the Dieter and Björn Roth exhibition of big sculptures at the Wiener Secession early in 1995 (and Boekie Woekie operating a branch office for a couple of months there) we laughed about Dieter's term "Wanderzirkus" for this exhibition. We knew he had translated it back from the English "road show".
Another DR pun of a similar kind, dating back more than 30 years, when asked which pictures he liked most: Die mit viel rot (or Rot(h)) darin. (Those with a lot of red.)
Seyđisfjörđur was our chosen place for the Academy conference, here Dieter used the term "Dieter Roth Academy" and described what he had in mind with it as far as we know for the first time in the summer of 1995. I think under the impression of the perils of the day, but also since it has become clear that considerable work can be involved with it, Björn asked those present whether they wanted the DRA to continue, no one supported the idea to stop. Bernd suggested that the meetings would not necessarily have to happen each year, or that maybe only some of us meet, that the meetings would not have to go along with an exhibition each time, that the DRA pot could be put occasionally on a smaller flame. Then he took his hat and left. He was to be driven over the Fjarđarheiđi pass road to Egilstađir to catch his plane to Reykjavík and Berlin.
At both meetings subsequent to the founding conference not everyone was present who had come to the first, and at the first not all were present who have come since then. It is one of the wanted features of the DRA that its
structural lines as well as its outlines are not stringently described.
That Bernd had not left his hat behind was regretted, because it delayed the decision on the next point. I had namely suggested that the DRA could start to award a prize in Dieter's name. And the hat would have been so handy to throw in a piece of paper with a proposal by each of us with the name of a possible prize winner. Klein Moritz from Vienna, the son of Renate and Dominik, would without doubt have pulled the best name out of the hat. But maybe some were also relieved to gain some more time before deciding whom they would want to propose as their choice to become the first prize winner. Dieter has collected so many awards himself, that it might be appropriate to continue with prices though of course on a new level. Whether there should be money connected to the price, or just an invitation to the next conference, or whether the winner might be named a member (of honor) of the academy was not discussed fully.
The discussion of what to do with the exhibition: sell, maybe sell as a whole, and in case of selling, is the DRA to get a share?, let to the conclusion, that we would not want to expect from the DRA to become our sales agent for art works, but that we would rather pay a yearly amount into an account still to open, in order to fund the return costs of works from exhibitions, for example. Rainer suggested (again) to institute a body of honorable members of the academy, who could have this status by paying for the academy. However the thin line between doing what we want to do and doing what we are expected to do, some feared would then not be clearly recognizable anymore. For the next publication, to be gathered from material  which came and will come about in the preparation for and during this round of meeting in the name of the DRA, plus material we hope is in the make on the writing desks of some further people who knew Dieter, we appointed unanimously Klein Moritz and Eggert.
A DRA interactive web site was envisaged.
Finally the where-to-meet-next question brought about a number of possibilities, but no decision.
Beat after the conference regretted that we had not concentrated more on Dieter himself, by listening to his recorded music or reading from his books.
The next day saw us all split up. Several cars went along the south back to Reykjavík, 2 took the northern route again. The winter had taken on a bit milder looks, and when we reached Eyjafjörđur, the sun was shining. I needed a few days to drink myself down from the intense binge the DRA days had among other things meant for me. Then there was a relapse, Rúna opened an exhibition of her "paperflowers" at the "Kompan" Gallery Ađalheiđur is operating in her studio.

Thorkelsdóttir, Rúna Paperflowers ORIGINAL offset carried quite far, with contributions by several other artists, numbered/100, signed, Amsterdam 1996, out of print

Since the book is sold out, but single pages are left, Rúna wallpapered the space with them, and Ađalheiđur has a surplus of pages to sell. (Rúna has made before impressive exhibitions with this wallpapering idea.) Anyhow, the friends from the town which likes to call itself "the town of the midnight sun" came out to our place, which made me the second next day take the hard measure of not drinking anything at all. A phase in which I still am, now, 7 days later.
 
May 5th, 2002
The opening of the third conference and exhibition of the Dieter Roth Academy is coming closer - and as the reader of the entry of Feb. 25th knows, it is going to take place in Iceland. The friends there are busy to fix for the exhibition of staff and students of the DRA the adjoining spaces of Ishamar, the carpenter's workshop of Gunnar, and the studio of Björn. Fix in this case means to build to 2 flights of stairs, temporary walls in front of existing walls of a length of about 150 meters, build a walkable floor in the until now unused attic, fix the roof so that the art works have a chance to stay dry and build about 200 picture frames. The opening is on the 10th of May, the conference will be in Seyđisfjörđur after the next weekend. It is going to be a meeting of some 35 people, of which I think 10 are Icelandic living in Iceland, the others come from abroad. Today Rúna was the first to board a plane for this occasion. The day after tomorrow I will go, Beat and Erika and 3 students of Andrea will arrive at about the same time with a flight from Copenhagen. The DRA is organizing a transport service to the exhibition spaces in Mosfellsbaer near Reykjavík for those who come from abroad. Dieter posthumously triggers off quite an event - and I'm proud to point out that there is no public money involved (except that the Hamburg Academy of Art helped to pay the tickets for the students of Andrea).
 
May 3rd, 2002
I have an idea for a new work! The thrill of tapping this kind of fresh brain juice is hard to compare with other sensations. I think it makes me realize something which must be at the bottom of what makes artists like to be artists, the superior feeling of having an idea. I know of myself to have been often in that lucky situation of having an idea, but lately - I mean the last 15 years or so - I paid attention more to the functioning of an idea, to that idea which is called Boekie Woekie. I seldomly have applied in those years my getting-an-idea techniques. And I have even started to look down on this short lived sensation with thoughts like "it is only another idea". Chance wanted that I just read a poem in a boek I want to add to the stock of Boekie Woekie, a poem by Peter Huckauf, which ends with the lines "bedenke aber dass grosses zu tun nur allmählich gelingt und das kleine immer sehr leicht für sich allein erscheint" (consider that great things take time to succeed and that what is small easily appears to be on its own). I thought that fits. Now, a little later I think how relativ this is. What is great, what small? Is something great because a lot of time and effort has been invested? Small because the inspiration came by itself and was so to say for free? Isn't it simply neither one of this, nothing great, nothing small, and if it is anything at all, isn't it shadow-boxing?

April 26th, 2002
Stephan stayed with us for 2 days. He and me were among those who passed the entrance examinations to the Art Academy of Düsseldorf 36 years ago. Some years later some then young artists got the label "Düsseldorfer Szene", we somehow were seen as belonging to that group. Stephan has a few times before visited us in Amsterdam, and also in Iceland, there he was maybe 15 years ago. But for the last three years about we only spoke occasionally on the phone. He had abandoned his art vagrancy in order to take care of his mother, which meant that he had to be ready for her for 22 of the 24 hours of each day. She has gone home as he puts it, early in February. He was in an extended moment of poetic concentration able to verbalize how he sees his picture making. He spoke of a darkroom and of fluid layers. The day before yesterday he left for the airport to meet old friends arriving from Japan to go to install with them an exhibition in France. He's back on the road. I wish him good luck, I like him. The morning after Stephan had left, more old friends arrived. Hans Peter, Maja, and their daughter Anouk from Zürich. And now I expect the phone to ring to tell me that Björn has arrived from Basel. For later tonight, Hanneke and Jos have announced their visit. I expect all tempering of thirst to be forgotten in the later part of this evening.

April 21st, 2002
Back in Amsterdam since 24 hours, from a week in Frankfurt. There I was framing with the help of Gunnar, Rúna and Jackson a series of 365 offset prints an insurance company has bought via Boekie Woekie from me. Since each of the 365 sheets of paper is printed on on both sides the frames have 2 glass plates, so that they can be hung up either way. Gunnar produced them at his firm Ishamar near Reykjavík, and send them by air freight to Frankfurt. The glass was bought in Frankfurt, the weight of the 730 plus some plates we were told was close to 2 tons. The frames came in 2 crates, Gunnar had made. We were opening the crates in the hall where goods are received for this gigantic office complex. A man who worked there emerged asking whether we would have use for the 2 crates after we would have emptied them. He said he was in his spare time a beekeeper, and needed to send his honey pump for repair. The wood of the crates would come in handy. For a moment I thought my knowledge of modern art was being tested, but he didn't look the type for such a joke. When we had emptied the crates on Friday he came with 3 jars of "his" honey as his thanks for the crates. He told us that as of German descent he had come 20 years ago from Romania. I was happy that at least the packaging of the frames of my art had been appreciated, because another man from the same receiving-the-goods department revealed his dislike of the art buying of the company he is working for. The company bought recently much much more art than my 365 double sided prints. He said they are 12 now working in this internal post station, but that 10 of them were due to be fired. Jackson, our sometimes helper was from Congo, studying informatics in Frankfurt. He was now at the verge of his exams, after which in May he would go back to see his wife, 2 small children, and the rest of the family (24 brothers and sisters) for the first time in 6 years. He said he noticed racism in Frankfurt much less than where he had lived before in Germany but I saw how he was looked at in the restaurant were we took our lunch. At the end a man from Iran drove Gunnar, Rúna and me in his taxi to the station. He had not been able to go home for 23 years. That emerged after on the car radio a demonstration, due because of the date being the birthday of Adolf Hitler had been talked about. But today is the next day and the birthday of Dieter Roth and and I write this as a demonstration because of that.

April 13th, 2002
The noise of a helicopter, standing for a long time still in the air above the city center was to be heard this afternoon on top of all the other noises a city makes. The police was watching demonstrators from the air, demonstrators expressing their being upset about what's going on in Palestine and Israel. As a German born at the end of April 1945 from parents who by not much more than luck had survived the previous 12 years (not as Jews, but the one as a communist and the other as a soldier) I got in my youth a substantial portion of awareness of how complicated the subject was for my parents. When I was 5, I think, the man who became my uncle Ernst and his wife, aunt Hilde, returned from Israel to West Germany and, they with their 2 children, often came to visit us. Their children were born in Israel. In the early 30 ties "uncle Ernst", I learnt much later, had been my mothers' lover. They were sentenced separately already in 1933 or 34 because of their involvement with the KPD. He had to serve 2 years, I think, in the work camp Börgermoor. His luck then was that those who had sentenced him had not realized that he was Jewish. He was released and fled, to Israel. He recited from memory, sitting in our living room, unforgettable for me (I may have been 10 by then) a poem of a certain Heine, Heinrich. The poem contained the lines: "Krapulinsky und Waschlapsky, Polen aus der Polakei, fochten tapfer und entkamen Moskowiter Tyrannei" ...they make it to Paris and there at the end of a meal in a restaurant: "und da keiner wollte leiden, dass der andre für ihn zahle, zahlte keiner von den beiden."  (I can't now, were I write this check whether I quote the spelling right, and I will not attempt to render those lines in English.) Uncle Ernst enjoyed reciting  this poem. I don't know of course if he felt, back then in 55 or so, that the lines which engraved themselves in my memory described for him the situation in the part of the world he had been living in for more than 10 years. For me those lines offer now that possibility. The right of refugees to eat without paying for it seems to me at the core. - When I had written the first few lines of this diary entry I had run out of beer and went across the street to get 2 more bottles. They are people from Egypt there who work in that shop. The customer in front of me in the queue before the cash desk turned around and called when he had paid and was about to leave to the guy who was making the sandwiches "hey, de mazzel!". I don't know, mazzel is maybe also an Egyptian word. But we are in Amsterdam, and to ponder on a situation so far away means firing long shots. Long shots need good marksmen. If it only was clay pigeon shooting! - Now, a moment later, I think: for me, here, this wish is granted. How could I anyhow get with my ponderings at more than clay pigeons, clay pigeons which I have cast myself up into the air! That helps to make my shots not all that long.

April 8th, 2002
I sometimes change the entries to this diary when I read them again though they may have been made public for some days. I don't want to withhold from my readers the hint that they may find the changes more revealing than the actual text. Reading the first published version, they may want to compare it to a possibly changed version, published later. I plan to publish this diary also in a printed format. But this publishing will not include the possibility to call back in order to alter contents from one day to the other. That then will be, for some time being, the final form. But the fun is to be had before definitiveness takes over, I find.

April 5th, 2002
Björg was getting 50 yesterday, her husband ţór invited on the occasion for a dinner at a Spanish restaurant in the middle of what they call here the red light district. We enjoyed ourselves, but we weren't tired when we left the restaurant. To continue the quest for joy and follow the others, I had to go and unlock my bicycle from the railings of the near canal bridge. It was around 11pm, and the streets, or rather alleys, were packed with people who like me, I thought, had packed full their bellies. As I saw it, they were on their constitutional (the dictionary says that that is the English word for "Verdauungsspaziergang"). The thrill of what is disreputable seems to help to melt the stomachs' contents. The women in their windows I imagine bill this after dinner hour to the tourist board, or union of restaurant owners. The men walk arm in arm with their women. They are not now doing what they possibly are doing here at other hours. A pause for the regular business in this quarter. While I am unlocking my bike I hear a guy standing next to me (me bending to unlock the bike) say "Viagra". A word spoken into the noise of a crowd is as audible as a whisper is during a period of silence. It belongs to the red light district that disreputable transactions are proposed, for example the buying of all sorts of drugs or stolen bicycles. But Viagra I hadn't heard before. I asked the speaker whether he meant I should get him some. He didn't respond, but the guy next to him said that he had just been speaking to himself.

April 3rd, 2002
I'm looking for a lighter tone. To find that, I'll have to avoid words like autopsy. But as I think that, I also think how, when I use words with a horrifying reference, I feel I am over the top of the worst of what those words stand for. It seems a complicated subject though. Am I relieving myself from the weight of what the words I use stand for by using  them, and am I tricking you, their reader, to carry the weight I was supposed to carry? The use of words is complicated, unless of course one takes it lightly. I must be one of those who take the use of words lightly, otherwise I wouldn't leave so many behind (see, for instance, below). Or do I have to unload an exceptional lot because for a weight-lifter of the vocabulary my muscles are too week?

March 29th, 2002
Finally the Amsterdam days begin to feel again as I remember them. Boekie Woekie as our platform for relaxed visits of customers and friends and the work of three people carried out in near silence, when none but us is in the shop. No outbursts of complaints are mentioned. I don't remember whether somewhere in the earlier entries to this diary I have written about the brass sign at our shop door reading "Dieter Roth Academy" - there is such a sign. Boekie Woekie is by this definition a place of learning (including learning to teach). At first I wanted the last sentence to go like this: BW is by this definition a place of teaching and learning. But then Robert Filliou's book came to my mind. I'll paste our description of it underneath this line, since the book is available from us:

Filliou, Robert Lehren Und Lernen Als Auffuehrungskuenste / Teaching And Learning As Performing Arts together with J. Cage, G. Brecht, D. Iannone, A. Kaprow, Marcelle, D. Rot, B. Patterson, Vera, Bjössi, K. Rot, J. Beuys, and the reader if he wishes, Köln New York 1970 EUR 80.-

or in the later French version

Filliou, Robert Einseigner Et Apprendere, Arts Vivants par Robert Filliou et le lecteur, s'il le désire avec la participation de J. Cage, G. Brecht, D. Iannone, A. Kaprow, Marcelle, D. Rot, B. Patterson, Vera, Bjössi, K. Rot, J. Beuys, et une post-face de A. Moeglin-Delcroix, Paris Bruxelles 1998 EUR 36.-

What I was trying above to get at was something like this: also without the DRA brass sign at its door, BW was already an academy - a place of exchange (and by exchange, you know it, I don't mean now that of money for books). The not so secret reason for the existence of BW has always been the joy to be able to offer the opportunity to men learned, as well as to those learning, and without distinguishing much between them, to meet and compare notes. If the brass sign at the door in that sense is an invitation card for coming in, those who do come in should not be mistaken, they are welcome to those who are already inside as artists' material is welcome to artists. (They may become, for example material for this diary.) The more so since we gave our academy Dieter's name, the artist we have come to respect the most. What we saw in him as his most outstanding ability was just that: in his Real Dieter Roth Academy just about everything was artist's material. The idea that whatever line between art and life he could detect needed to be erased, made him spent his energy for decades. He used up a big lump of eraser gum to move really and freely in life and art, and when that dreadful autopsy claimed his heart was weighing more than 2 kilos I thought that's where the eraser had recollected.

March 24th, 2002
We were continuing the party, with different party personnel, back in Amsterdam. Boekie Woekie opened yesterday the exhibition of Klaus Müller. I still have a bump on my forehead, from when I fell from my bike which was more than 6 weeks ago.

March 21st, 2002
The painting got into a state which I liked - for the German readers, it has this title: 2 Eier im Schnee. I took it off the stretcher and rolled it up to be able to transport it by car. It will be my contribution to the Dieter Roth Academy exhibition in May in Mosfellsbaer. On the way to leave Iceland, I brought it to Gunnar who will reframe it for me. With him, Hlynur, Eggert, Kristján Solveig and finally, this morning with ţórđur, Hetti and me partied our way to the airport. Now it is 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I'm just back in Amsterdam and Boekie Woekie, where the computer is which allows me to change our web site. The entries to this diary from Feb. 25th on can finally be published - if I still know how to carry out the necessary steps.

March 17th, 2002
I have stretched a big canvas for a painting probably 2 years ago, and improvised an easel for it, but since then I haven't done much more than to pencil sketch the picture I intend for it. It is a picture of which I know if I release it, those who know about my work will rank it among my main works, anyhow of those works which play in the genre of painted pictures. I gave this picture a push during the last days, before going to Seyđisfjörđur, thinking it would be practical if I would not have to bring a work from Holland for the Dieter Roth Academy exhibition (planned for May) in Iceland. At first I was happy with that push, but then I ran the picture aground on a selfcreated beach. The material I needed to get it afloat again was white acrylic paint. I think I used too much of yellow recently. But white is harder to get than yellow. For yellow there is a state run shop guaranteeing to supply it. For white one has to turn to the artistes material shop. I did that, they didn't have it. To want to buy white towards the end of the winter when everyone has been painting snowscapes since months! Luckily Ađalheiđur could help out.

March 16th, 2002
A night, and one day, and that days night, and the next days morning in Seyđisfjörđur. Hetti drove us to Egilstađir, where we picked Gunnar up at the airport. Gunnar had come from Reykjavík. It had been his idea to go and see Björn, to sharpen the plans we made 3 weeks ago regarding the coming Dieter Roth Academy meeting and exhibition which Björn and me have announced in a circular to take place in less than 2 months. The only white on the road we saw was on Fjarđarheiđi. I witnessed that I thought the words "to go down into Seyđisfjörđur is like going up into heaven". Already on the steep way down into the Seyđisfjörđur Valley the road became yellow, and it stayed yellow, even while we went out on the water of the greyblue fjord under a blue sky on Hilmar's boat. Björn, teaching art here a group of students of the Reykjavík art academy for 2 weeks, had asked Hilmar to go with him and them on this short vacation. Björn invited us to come also. I brought the beer. Haven't I been a student of his father! Dieter also taught what he was good at, and often how to paint the road yellow. Björn is good at hunting seabirds. Dieter's classes took place at the "Ohme Jupp". Though in Düsseldorf, and by no means halfway to Norway, they were in their way quite far out from the coast. Luckily Hetti, Björn and Gunnar have learnt similar lessons.

March 12th, 2002
Jón, Ađalheiđur, Brág and Guđbrandur came from the south and Haraldur and Kolbrún and their kids from the north for what became a party lasting for 2 days. If one counts the recovery of the spilled strength into it, it took twice as long. Jón I saw first in the summer of 1979, then he was sitting reading in a book which had the word "Nietzsche" on its cover on the stairs which lead to the gallery in which Erlingur, Kristán, Hetti and me were opening an exhibition. The staircase had big windows towards the north, and the light from a sun just above the horizon poured in. And it poured in what a relative of Erlingur had provided us with: a box of 24 bottles of Chinese red wine. In the distance we noticed a peculiar outline. Some buildings sticking out into the fjord. The locals spoke of it as a ghost town, a former Klondike. What we saw then is were I'm sitting now. Much natural, and if this distinction can be made, much artificial energy has been build up and spilled around here.

March 8th, 2002
Hetti's first real drive on her own to get some beers from the state run shop in the smaller of the two places in the vicinity were it is possible to buy alcoholic drinks, north of here. I avoided to go with her to the car, but saw when she left that she had forgotten to put on the lights (obligatory here). I ran out of the house to make her aware of it before she would be out of sight, but slipped and fell on the ice for the second time I'm here. Hetti was of course gone when I was back on my feet. When she came back to the house an hour and a half later, she told the police had stopped her, and that the officer had been nice and had reached into the car to switch the lights on for her. No fine, he had just laughed.

March 5th, 2002
Am sitting at the pc, working for Boekie Woekie, or reading in Dieter's books and photocopying pages from them which I consider for the D.R.reader I'm compiling. Solveig and Kristján came for the weekend. Solveig hasn't been to this house and this area during the winter period for 20 years, when Kristján and she moved to Reykjavík from here. Hetti has come together with them and stays on with me, main task to practice her car driving abilities. But now she is busy with the BoeWoe bookkeeping. From her window one overlooks the fjord, and I've been called over by her many times to see what there is to see. A rubber dinghy being put into the sea, tide and wind flocking the shoreline with lumps of ice, a kind of bird we don't recognize. Agnar has helped with his blow torch or flame thrower, I don't know which, to get the water to run. Rúna runs Boekie Woekie in the far away Amsterdam, telephone, fax and e-mail keep us in tune.

February 28th, 2002
I'm in my house in Iceland, finally, since Sunday evening. It was minus 10 degrees on the Celsius scale when I started the housewarming efforts. Outside it has been cold since then, but calm, even sunny winter weather. Inside it was cozy 24 hours after I had switched the electricity on. But I haven't been able so far to get the water to run. Luckily outside there is no lack of snow. Yesterday Edith and Steffen stopped by on their way to Seyđisfjörđur, filming wintry Iceland for the Dieter documentary, Edith is working on. I had told Edith some months ago, either in Amsterdam or Basel, that I had recently bought, together with Kristján, Ívar and Reynir, a new boat. (See further down for more about it.) She wanted Steffen to follow me with the camera while I would walk to it. Once there, I would say why I think that Dieter liked it in Iceland. She was surprised to hear that we had sold the boat again. Obviously she didn't know or remember that the new boat's engine had not been reliable. But luckily for the planned shot our old boat Bliki would render in its state of decay a likewise good backdrop for what she wanted to hear from me. Why Dieter had liked it in Iceland. The batteries for the camera were okay, Steffen had to get his gloves. I mentioned, since I would be filmed coming out of the door of my house that there has someone (an actor) been filmed coming out of it before, close to twenty years ago, showing him grasping the railing of the landing (in faked distress). In that movie, Land og Synir, (land and sons) which I happened to see at Bruno's home in Zurich on the telly, - and Edith, you are from Zurich, don't you know Bruno? -, in that movie my house was used as the hospital in which the father of the hero of a social drama, placed around 1930, who appeared out on my landing, had just died. While he was standing there holding the railing with his shoulders trembling, the white shadow of a nurse appeared behind him. But here, in the now of yesterday, I set my feet, watched by the eye of the camera, decidedly on the few but thickly snow-covered steps of the outdoor stairs and then walk briskly in the direction of the graveyard for boats. Steffen, with the camera, is in front or behind of me, films me from the side, and I'm walking like I can not wait to declare why Dieter Roth has liked it in Iceland. Luckily its not only Edith and Steffen who take care that a documentary is not a movie. The director of the real reality movie lets me slip after a few strides on the ice and fall on my elbow. No damage done. Later back in the house Steffen rewinds what he has recorded, to see how that scene looks. I also look at it. He doesn't follow me falling, I just glide out of his picture. I remember me, seeing this, saying "looks like I disappear into a hole in Iceland". Anyhow, readers and writers alike are stuck with metaphors. That's all, folks. More merry and who knows thoughtful melodies tomorrow, otherwise soon, I hope.

February 25th, 2002
Gunnar and his and my friends paid for me more than 3000.- Guilders worth in car repair and want this to be a gift for my 5 recent and 5 to come birthdays. My model '94 Lada looks like a 2003 model, like a dreamcar. In the winter, in the snow, you can't see it. It is so white. In the spring you won't be able to see it either, it will have gotten as rust so brown (and as the crust of the newly ploughed earth). On my way north I spent a few days with my Dieter Roth Academy colleagues preparing the meeting for this year, which is intended to happen here in Iceland. That is where I am right now.

February 19th, 2002
The attentive reader of these pages must have noticed that after the 1st and 2nd of December no more mentioning is made of our offset printing. Since some days: Happy news! The machine works again. Now lots of new postcards are being printed. We were running out of them. Hetti had finally reached Meenheer Lippes, gentle old man with a life long offset experience. When he came to check what was wrong, he at first seemed a bit puzzled and fixed a few minor defects, but then he measured the circumference of the rollers, and found one worn off a bit (worn off less than 1 mm). The machine worked well again after he had replaced one of the rollers with the corresponding one from the almost identical machine Boekie Woekie formerly used for printing and which we had to abandon years ago. Many hurrahs for Meenheer Lippes! The core of our self understanding as artists running a bookstore had been at stake. Because before we ran the bookstore, each of us ran a press. And to run a bookstore but no longer a press would have meant to have to redefine our identity as artists. Actually we are doing that redefinition as a permanent process, but aiming at including and not at excluding.

February 18th, 2002
Finally I have a ticket in my pocket. On Thursday to Iceland! Hetti is to come there one week after me. Gunnar is activating the Lada. Boekie Woekie will be in Rúna's hands, I am to work on the Dieter Roth reader. Here in Amsterdam, I see my face in the mirror in the mornings. It has been funnily colorful for days now, much yellow and violet. I hope I'll resemble, in the eyes of the passport controller, the image which is given of me in my passport picture. If the controller thinks I'm not the one the picture shows, I'll tell him it is the achievement of someone whose wish it is to apply for a role in the next alien movie. Thus I am prepared for an audition in Iceland: Edith and Steffen will visit me there. I think they want to drive around the country on bumpy roads to collect material for their Dieter Roth documentary. If my bump then will still be substantial enough I'll pull out of it something special, for them to record.

February 15th, 2002
Jan, one of the two Hoedekoois, helped BoeWoe once again. He drove with his car the boxes we had filled with books we feel certain not to have customers for immediately to our storage space. I came along of course, with the keys, and because of carrying, and to have a moment of exchange with someone I know for more than 20 years. Cornelia, the other half of the Hoedekoois, had been earlier to BoeWoe bringing many empty books. The empty books she makes are listed under the letter E, here in this site:

(empty book) by BW, various sizes, differently many pages, from EUR 4.- to EUR 11,50

Cornelia delivers to us empty books (books with blank pages). In her mind seems to me is a book of which the pages are not at all blank. Somehow she manages though to create a kind of white blur which could look like more space to write on. She had asked me about the Dieter Roth reader, which I have set out to prepare soon four years ago, shortly after Dieter had died. I told her I still didn't know, summing up what implications are there to hinder me. Later, in the car, Jan asked about the Dieter Roth reader too. I thought Cornelia had briefed him, but that he wanted to hear the sensitive parts from me. Anyhow, as a result of those two verbal engagements, both friends encouraged me to consider to self publish this book.

February 11th, 2002
I was reading aloud a poem by Dieter today, Hetti recorded it with her video camera. The poem was "mein auge ist ein mund" - "my eye is a mouth", a beautiful poem. I think the Moore Galleries in Philadelphia, USA, made an English translation of it, maybe those who read this diary and are without access to German can get it from them (or those who do read German can find the poem in vol.13 of Dieter Roth's collected works). It was a strange reading. Hetti would have liked to film only my left eye of which the upper and lower lid were so red and swollen, that they looked like lips. In the first shot she did only film my eye as I moved the lids a little - as much as my shiner would allow me to. From outside the picture frame like the voice of a ventriloquist ideally my voice would have come, reciting the poem and that would have been it. But as I did not know the text of Dieter's poem by heart, I really had to use my eyes to read it, and to read I need glasses, and who ever saw a mouth wearing spectacles. Therefore in the first shot I open and close my eyelids as if I speak. In the second shot I read the poem with my glasses on, from vol.13, and the camera shows me holding the book, wearing my glasses, and shows my forehead which is quite bruised. I fell namely off my bike and on my head last Saturday night, returning from the opening of a group show I participate in. (Readers with a long memory recall me mentioning being invited by Fredie to show with others under the title "Waldeinsamkeit". That title was changed to the Dutch word "boslucht". Other interesting stories may have to continue to sleep in that forest. It is half past one. I want to go - to sleep.)

February 6th, 2002
Am back with the feeling I should try to write about an aspect of Boekie Woekie which possibly even devoted readers of this page may not yet have put as knowledge underneath their feet. That feeling is enhanced (or maybe even triggered off) by a friendly line on a postcard I received from Los Angeles today. The sender must have visited us in reality because his postcard says that this diary is as crazy as our shop is. - I call the line on the card friendly, because its writer ends it with "but I like it", meaning no doubt "I like the craziness of shop and diary". Someone likes our and my craziness! I like that! We have, though there is some "but", achieved to be liked - amazing! 15 years ago, when BoeWoe was begun, I think I remember what we wanted was to be liked for our craziness. If only by ourselves of course. So much the better if others join in! If this continues however (that we are liked by more and more), in a distant future that is, once when everybody will like us, I foresee a problem of diagnosis. Who will declare us to be crazy then?

February 4th, 2002
Happy birthday to those to whom this wish fits. My day was a day of relief, things I have been busy with for weeks were taken off me. The beer recently gulped down, begins to taste again. My benevolent readers allow me to excuse myself.

January 27th, 2002
All those recent whimsical considerations made me forget to mention the parties. Michael had his birthday - I think 2 weeks ago. I brought him a brick onto which I had smeared some cement (and because the cement wouldn't hold, I had later to glue the cement down to the brick with Pattex): a multiple of mine which goes under the name of "the bildding". Since it just doesn't want to sell I have to invent ways of getting rid of it. Henriëtte and her man, Eva who is Michael's wife, and the wife of a gentleman farmer from Finsterwolde, who has a gallery there and showed last summer works of Michael, David and Neill, Michael's sons, a crate of beer on the balcony "just for me", and enough for everybody else were there. We enjoyed ourselves. Biking home late (a longer way than I'm used to bike when returning home from Boekie Woekie) I experienced no pain in my chest. An exceptional ride for half a year now. Then Barbara came to Amsterdam, from Chicago, we met last weekend. Rúna invited us to her place, which by now she has turned back into "her place", having had to improvise, live out of boxes, and actually leave it for months, while it was under reconstruction last year. Michael, Eva, and her daughter Lonneke were there too. An Icelandic leg of lamb had come down from the Polar Circle on its own, just to be devoured by us, and how the crate of beer had landed on the balcony, I just don't remember, because I was so exhausted from getting it up the stairs. Barbara is Ira's wife, the friend of Dieter I mentioned recently (on Jan.12th). She had accompanied Chicago museum art on its way to be shown here at the Van Gogh Museum. After I had been to the balcony a lot, and when the taxi was waiting, and when Lonneke had signed the drawing Barbara would accompany back to Chicago, we kissed good bye. Somehow Barbara passed at that moment the message on to me that I was too sentimental in regard to Dieter. The next day I think Peter popped up with another crate of beer, in Boekie Woekie. On street level one doesn't have balconies. Luckily Peter didn't bring his crate with him from Cologne, but bought it here. His story was namely that his car had broken down on its way to Amsterdam. One would not want to picture anyone having to hitchhike with a crate of beer (and god knows what other stuff). Now, yesterday, it was Paul. He had done his business, and came to catch his breath, I thought. He was to leave on a plane to Edinburgh a few hours later. The weather situation had all day been bad, planes were flying lowly over the city center, which they only are allowed to do if there is no other option. Amsterdam's architecture is an ingredient of its attraction for tourists. It is a baroque city. Maybe its authorities would like to be persuaded to let Amsterdam join Disneyland, but they knew they had to set the rule that roaring jets are too much. Don't make the houses tremble. Our Paul, sleep- and food less for record length, wanted to swallow something before he would embark on this turbulent looking mission of going home. He asked me to come along, and we soon faced a steak. Being people with a knife and fork routine, that was no problem (though as an airsickness pill Paul maybe should have swallowed the steak uncut). Mentioning the word "problem" though, repeated glances at wristwatches became necessary, when a northern Norwegian happy homo and his friend, a lovely young woman, suggested they would sit with us and did. He very soon after sitting down tore the protective plastic off an immaculate white canvas-on-a-strecher, he said he had bought together with other artist material to send home to a friend, and went to bother the people on the next table to get some leftovers of salad dressing to start the picture. It sadly didn't become much of a picture, though I signed it. Paul had to split, I had to open up the shop for him to grab his belongings. I suppose he is in Edinburgh now. If not it would have been on the radio.

January 25th, 2002
I think what I began to tell 2 days ago needs to be continued, if it is supposed to make sense. But do I suppose it to? I don't quite know myself. I had an idea of what I wanted to say - that the Rhine runs down as a transporting vehicle for all which needs to be forgotten or forgiven (in Switzerland, Germany and Holland). I should have mentioned that it was in Hamburg, when I saw the big ships on the Elbe and they hadn't come downstream, but upstream of course, potentially returning the cargo of all which had been flushed down the Rhine. But why I began to speculate 2 days ago about this other than that I felt it somehow remarkable, I don't know (any longer).

January 23rd, 2002
The rhinewards oriented Germans say that there is anyhow much water running down the Rhine. So do I, I am a Rhinelander. I have lived there during my 25 first years. We mean with it: all is forgiven, even forgotten. But it was on the river Elbe that I saw the big ships. That was when I was eleven.

January 16th, 2002
Today a brief note only, one about an "m". Towards the end of the last entry of Jan. the 12th, one can read now the word "somber". For four days the internet public was reading there instead "sober". I added the "m" only now. I don't really know why I did it. I like the adjective "sober" better than "somber", and "sober" did cover most of what I wanted to say - maybe I should have changed it into "sober and somber"?

January 12th, 2002
Wilbert and Simona were looking late last night into the shop window, seeing me working, though at first they thought I was asleep. I went to open the door for them and with a few beers we found each other soon in a conversation. We came to speak about artists who don't find recognition while they are alive. Wi.Si. had just been visiting an old aunt, widow of such a one. I spoke about my father, also in that row. Then I remembered a moment with Karl Ludwig. Karl Ludwig and his wife Babs had come to Amsterdam together with Malcolm and Brigitte on the 29th of Dec., 2 weeks ago, from Heidelberg. (See the entry of Dec.28th.) We didn't know them before. Karl Ludwig told us that he was busy preparing a Nolde exhibition for an institution and that he hoped that in the wind shadow of the famous name there would be in future other less predictable shows possible. I mentioned to him the name of an artist who had volunteered for and then died in the Spanish Civil War, Heinz Kiwitz. (I know about Heinz because my mother has told me he courted her around 1930.) I thought I had mentioned the name of an unrecognized artist. Karl Ludwig however knew him, and even immediately placed him in relation to a friend from back then, Günther Strupp. When sitting together with Wilbert and Simona, telling them about this incident, I heard myself say that at that moment when I learnt that there was a professional person who knew, I had felt like giving him, my hero Karl Ludwig, a kiss. Of course there came second thoughts. They were caused maybe because I recently noticed in a letter by Ira that his understanding differs from mine in regard to the Eichendorff poem Dieter quoted, writing it into the guest book of the gallery in which he had his last exhibition a few days before he died. Ira was a friend of the late Dieter. The line in question goes "und es kennt mich auch keiner mehr hier". Dieter said (in the words of Eichendorff) that soon nobody will know him here anymore, feeling undoubtedly, that he wouldn't live much longer. For someone who was well aware of his fame, it is a somber statement. To me Dieter with this poem shows that it is no question for him but that he will have to be ready to join ranks with those artists, about which Wi.Si. and me worried. Dieter seems to me to claim that he will soon have to be unrecognizable by anyone. As anyone else who dies. And that what the living ones are saying about those who are dead is at the most some part of the process of forgetting them. - Before I'm lost too deep in the mist of paradoxical thoughts, I'll call it a day as an artist who attempted to be recognized but knew in the long run he wouldn't.

January 9th, 2002
Today was different (from the 5th). Joris, who once considered to become a student in the Dieter Roth Academy, came back from Copenhagen with a book parcel from Jesper. In it my favorite

Andersen, Finn Thybo At Bćre Vand  Carrying Water drawn picture story, (Köbenhavn) 1995, EUR 10.-

and

Inflated Constructions Part III a flip book with quite a long - er - "movie" by Hanne Nielsen + Birgit Johnsen on the occasion of an exhibition, Köbenhavn 2000, EUR 14,50

and other books, which also are very delightful. This is as near as I can get to ordering the reader to order. Read also the NEW ITEMS section of this web site!

January 5th, 2002
When of marks a day made some are to be written down, and the one who supposes (selfinflictedly supposes of course) to have to write them down, - he, who is me, the one who is writing: I can only say what a shitty day it was. Shit marks all over! Something wrong here today, at least grammerwise. Little Kaspars are sticking their tongues out.

January 3rd, 2002
Well, that was the season, and now it is over. The season had looked like getting a tail, Dizy and his wife from Berlin had announced themselves for a few days right after the change of the year, and Heide and Jörg wanted to pass by from a holiday at the seaside, but both couples called their visits off. Hetti, Rúna and me are quite happy to be able to fall into a slower pace. I began to calm myself down yesterday by cutting up a piece of cardboard tube lengthwise into half. Then I cut 7 slits for 7 cardboard bulkheads crosswise into one of the halves of the tube to make 8 separate compartments, one for each of the 8 different coins the new currency has. This makeshift till is now in function, the Euros have begun to roll in and out of it. Who opens the first few letters of our book list in this web site can see that we are in the process of making the new prices known potentially world wide. Rudolf suddenly appeared, on a day trip from Cologne, with bars of chocolate in his pockets. He was disappointed that I had to give him the copy of

DIETER AND DOROTHY Dorothy Iannone Dieter Roth  Their Correspondence in Words and Works 1967-1998 edited by D.Iannone, a big, colourful and interesting book, Zürich 2001. As was mentioned before in this diary (Oct.20th, 2001) we take orders for it. (EUR 106.- plus postage)

- that I had to give him his copy unsigned by Dorothy. He had bought it when he paid a visit to the Boekie Woekie booth at the last Frankfurt Book Fair but left it with me because Dorothy would be present at the reception we had organized for one of the next days on the occasion of the appearance of this book. I had promised him to ask her to sign it for him. That I had to give him his copy after all unsigned by Dorothy triggered off bits of a complicated story which wouldn't have been easy to tell anyhow but since Rudolf is a nervous type who can't listen to many words in sequence but rather makes them himself not much came of it. He left with his book, and I continued to change prices from Guilders to Euros until after midnight.

December 28th, 2001
Rúna bought today for Boekie Woekie an Euro-calculator. There was still a piece of soft eraser - we begin to adopt the new currency. One of us will have to be here tomorrow already at 9 am, while usually we open only at 12.00. The delivery of the ordered amount of new coins has been announced to take place between 9 am and 4 pm. Guess who will be here early tomorrow morning. Yes. And it is getting midnight soon. And a visitor just came by train from Paris, announced by phone only this morning by Vera, from Iceland. She is going to meet him here the day after tomorrow I think. If they don't find a hotel we'll put them both up. But more guests will arrive tomorrow - Malcolm and Brigitte from Heidelberg. Our Amsterdam friends know that in the afternoon of tomorrow the finisage of Malcolm's Boekie Woekie exhibition will take place, since there was no opening. Malcolm and Brigitte will have friends with them. The house may get quite full of guests. Let's say it is the season.

December 21st, 2001
I was in a hurry to leave a big city last night - in what one would call a dream. Since I didn't know where the bus I would have to get would stop, I was crossing hastily the big avenue, to read the destinations on the schedule boards of other bus stops too. I saw with a bit of surprise, that I had sandals and no socks on my feet. Under my arm I held a large drawing pad, which I knew was empty because I just had got it. Though it was night it was not dark. The light did not come from the street lights, but from the moon. Everything was visible and very detailed, but only the details I account for, now in this description of my dream, I can recall. That "everything" was visible and detailed is a description of how I felt it was, when dreaming. The earth was also up in the sky, blue and green, green the tiny but recognizable continents. A bus came, in the window above the front window it said Central Station. I thought I would better take it. The driver asked whether the airport wouldn't be better for me. I said if he could make it, there would be a plane at a quarter past eight. He knew the time: in three quarters of an hour, and he thought he could. Out of this acceleration I woke up. It wasn't much past seven. I almost right away thought it was strange that I had in my dream not thought that, since I had seen the earth up in the sky, I had been on an other planet. How inappropriate of me to want to take a bus to the station for a train to come back to earth! And who had been the driver of the bus? Hadn't it been his intelligence (to suggest the airport) which had made it possible that I could come back? This morning, I didn't even remember whether I had seen his face.

December 18th, 2001
I had just opened the shop when someone came in - a Japanese looking young woman. After a while she put what she wanted to buy in front of me. A conversation ensued, she had been visiting us before - 10 years ago. Then she must have been here as a child, I thought, but suppressed to say it. She wanted to know how to pronounce Boekie Woekie, and what it meant. She showed me a booklet with for me strange handmade signs - Japanese writing. Tomorrow she said she will fly back to Japan. Amongst her Japanese signs in Western World signs the 2 words in question appeared: BOEKIE WOEKIE. I let her hear the pronunciation, and explained what those 2 words mean to me. That "boek" is Dutch for "book" and phonetically the same. That of course "boogie woogie" is the name of a kind of popular music of some decades ago, and a way of turbulent dancing. And that we had felt when we began our enterprise 15 years ago, that what we were embarking on, would probably proof to be a shaky business. And that therefore a fusion of book and boogie woogie had seemed to us not at all far fetched. Then she said that if she would come next time, in 10 years time, she would very much hope to come back to Boekie Woekie. I said I would hope so too.

December 15th, 2001
It became early today morning last night in BoeWoe, sitting with beer and Helgi and Magga and Rúna talking once more about everything. Hetti was disappointed that her marinated cabbage and smoked and boiled sausages did not lure us to her dinner table. I don't claim it was a trick of mine not to go home for dinner yesterday, in order to get today a bigger portion than I would have got last night, when 3 of us would have had to share the meal, and now only 2. Though the sausages are something special, Hetti brings them in the wintertime from a butcher in her hometown Zwolle, when she returns from one of her occasional visits to her aunts, 3 ladies in their 90 ties.

December 13th, 2001
Guido gave a hint in BoeWoe today about our "German folk art" (see the entry of Dec.7th). He said that in case we wouldn't have sold "it" (the more than 100 pieces of it) by Christmas, those Christmas Fathers which would remain might still make good merchandise, if bundled up, as firewood. We always like the clever people. But as we are who we are in BW it doesn't make much of a difference to us since we anyhow sell close to nothing and at the best we sell the dust the stuff we don't sell has collected. (See the entry of August the 3rd.)

December 10th, 2001
Today an old friend called who was worried about what she had read further down, about my health. She had an idea for what I could do. We'll talk again about it. For the moment I'm surprised and glad - in the entry before I mention my health, the one of November 23rd, I express the hope that this published diary could be read as an ongoing letter by those with whom I am used to share what's going on by writing to them personally. It was read! At least by one of them.

December 7th, 2001
Madeline and her mother Cornelia came with more than 100 examples of "German folk art", as they call it: branches of trees sawn to pieces of various length of up to about 25 cm. The one end is cut flat, so that the piece of branch can stand on it. The other is cut diagonally. That end they have painted with Father Christmas faces. When a group of these branches is standing close together, with their faces so to say looking up at you, they are quite a comical sight. Of course they are meant to be sold. It is the season. The arrival of those funny Father Christmas fellows coincided with a not at all funny scene. The entrance to Boekie Woekie has frequently been used by homeless people, as it offers some shelter from rain and wind. (It is that season.) Pieces of cardboard, left behind in the entrance hall, having obviously served as a mattress were bearing witness of those guests. Or, as several times recently, the homeless is a late riser (mind Boekie Woekie only opens at noon!) and who of us was first to open the shop had to climb over her (the recent guest was a she) to get to the door and into the shop. Before our branch of Father Christmas arrived that day the situation culminated and the police had to come. And the shop could only be opened at one o'clock, and impatient words were used, and I felt thoroughly lousy.

December 2nd, 2001
When I think about the struggle I have with the Boekie Woekie offset machine, that it doesn't want to make the pictures as I want them, I get ideas. Ideas one gets when one needs them, is one of the ideas I get. Another (not altogether new either, but newer) idea is why should the offset machine not know better how the things should look which it makes? It is a professional tool after all. Of course I'm a professional too, my profession is learning, and learning is learning to appreciate rules and, of course, how to circumnavigate them. So what shall I say when the stem in the flower image of my postcard with the 4 words "Two Lips From Amsterdam" appears juicily green on the cardboard I'm printing on, but the petals of the "tulips", the "two lips" are staying pale, as much as I struggle to get them juicy too? In all former editions of this card there have been juicy lips/petals, now my machine thinks they should be very faint. I have to say "aha". But there is, just in time, a 3rd idea: No more thinking!

December 1st, 2001
I wasn't really awake yet when Rúna phoned. She pointed out that we were in a hurry to get the picture postcards ready, which a Japanese museum has ordered. It didn't take me long to know again what she was talking about because I hadn't forgotten the subject: almost all of last week I have been trying in vain to get our Rotaprint R 40 Automat-offset machine to cooperate with me to make the images more or less like I would want them on a kind of cardboard which our machine and me have little experience with. So I got today some cardboard the machine has liked for years before. Tomorrow I'll see more clearly, where we are at.

November 29th, 2001
Ineke stayed with us for one night, just to be able to catch an early plane to Ireland, where her parents live since they retired. Ineke is the owner of what we think is an outstanding painting by Rúna, and has become a friend. She lives 2 hours by train away from Amsterdam. We drank a not too late beer with her around one of the near corners and I took the opportunity to tell her about a sensation I feel since a few months after biking to, or home from BoeWoe - some sort of pain in my chest. Ineke is a GP, and found I would better see a doctor and mentioned the word arteriosclerosis. I pointed out that for a more serious check-up my health insurance would make it necessary that I would go to a doctor in Germany, and that that would not be all that easy - I don't really have a place of my own there any more. She suggested that at least I should take an aspirin a day.

November 23rd, 2001
I know I owe letters. To not yet have answered must put me into a bad light with some of my pen pals. I am under pressure. The best is I give everything.
But no more of it tonight, only this thought: Couldn't I get away with delaying to write those personalized notes by making those who expect to hear from me aware of this diary?

November 20th, 2001
I was going through the pockets of my clothes before I gave them to be cleaned, and came across a stiff, carelessly folded A4 sheet which originally was handed to me as a Vehicle Identification Pass when I drove on to the grounds of the Frankfurt Book Fair, more than a month ago. I mention it because on it is a hand written note I must have made during a train ride. (I think I only took the train twice, since then, Basel to and fro.) The note says in German something like: During a night train ride a child opens with the help of its father the tiny window which still can be opened in German trains and frightens the darkness by shouting out "Booh".

November 15th, 2001
Hetti and I agreed that it would be more appropriate in the present situation, if we delayed our departure for Iceland until early next year. Besides the daily responsibilities of running a shop, postcards need to be printed, and the whole administration needs to be made fit for the coming new currency. Just to think that some thousands of books need to get their old prices erased, and the new ones written into them!

November 4th, 2001
Now I'm back in Amsterdam from 5 days in Basel. I went from A to B to in order to check the contents of card board boxes Dieter had stored in his cellar. My intention was again to list the contents of what I would find there. I thought only 8 boxes were left of about 120 which I hadn't checked so far. But then on a shelf unnoticed before, there were some more boxes, at least another 8. That's why I have to say I returned from a mission not yet completed. Gunnar and Björn are still building shelves, and they are organizing the transportation for all those plus/minus a 130 boxes from the humid basement into the dry. The day after my return to A Malcolm came, he installed his second exhibition in BoeWoe. While he was busy, Pieter and Marianne walked into the shop - it is long since we met, maybe more than a year. I have respected Pieter as an artist and liked him as a friend for more than 20 years. I saw in him for long the only artist/collegue in Amsterdam I could really talk to. But his spells in Amsterdam have gotten fewer and shorter and those in the South of France more frequent and longer. When asked he says he works on his house there. He will soon go again.

October 25th, 2001
Gunnar has gone to Basel. He is to build shelves in dry surroundings for the contents of the more than humid cellar in which Dieter stored his archive. While in Amsterdam Gunnar was taking the waters in my company. Doing that we talked among other subjects about the Dieter Roth Academy. And about my Lada, which is stored in a dry place not far from where Gunnar has his workshop near Reykjavík. I hope he will, when back in Iceland put the number plates back on and see to it, that the obligatory checkup takes place, without which it would be forbidden to drive the car. And boy, do I long for to drive it. And Hetti has to practice driving. When she was in Iceland last January, early February, she made her driving license. I think I maybe didn't mention it. But since then she hasn't touched a steering wheel. I hope Rúna will soon have settled in her renewed apartment, so that Hetti and me can "go for a drive".

October 20th, 2001
It feels to me like I took a long leave from diary writing. But I stayed away from it only for 12 days. The feeling probably is due to the permaturbulence of those days. From the second last Tuesday to this week Monday it was Frankfurt and the 53rd Book Fair and from this week Tuesday to Thursday, the day before yesterday, it was Rainer and Agnes from Hungary. They were visiting. And from today until next week Tuesday we have Gunnar, from Iceland, as our guest. What should I mention? I learnt from Martin, from Kirkireton, near Derby, and temporarily even nearer, as neighbor in  hall 4, 1st floor, aisle M, I think booth 111, since our address was at 109, and between him and us was only the booth of Simon an Erica, that that which we were doing there in Frankfurt in English was "taking the waters". We (mainly Simon, Björn an me) took our cure seriously. We never waited longer than noon, before opening the first beer bottles, to then continue non stop for the rest of the day. As always there, endlessly many unknown faces streamed by. A few known ones occasionally stopped, words from the English or German vocabulary played their role. Orders were placed. Two forthcoming publications were shown around in our vicinity as big dummies, both part of the aftermath of the late Dieter. The one showing colorfully the collection of originals a Hamburg lawyer has compiled, essentially with Dieter's help, the other a collection of interviews Dieter gave throughout his life. Barbara has compiled it. For the one Lazlo brought his long awaited text. The other looks like it is going to contain besides a lot of text and a number of photographs also a photograph of Dieter and me. This photograph shows clearly the benefits on my face of "taking the waters", while Dieter is portrayed in this quasi healthy mode a couple of times. There was also one new ready book which without Dieter wouldn't have been there. It got called

DIETER AND DOROTHY Dorothy Iannone Dieter Roth  Their Correspondence in Words and Works 1967-1998 It also is big and color- and also beautiful. We take orders for it. Until the end of 2001 it costs 170.- of our Guilders. (EUR 77,50)

Björn and me stayed at Aldo's and Karin's new home - and Dorian's second home. Dorian, their son, is now one year old, and doesn't find me as frightening when he is up on the arm of his mother, it seems, than when he stands on his feet holding her leg looking at me from down there.
Hardly back in Amsterdam Rainer and Agnes came. We knew they would, they were invited. It is 20 years since they last were here. Now they were en route from Pécs via Passau, Frankfurt (were we also met), Cologne, Amsterdam, Bad Salzuffeln, to Berlin in order to let their 17 years old Audi undergo the biannual obligatory checkup, without which it wouldn't be allowed on the roads. Rainer wants Boekie Woekie to be the sole representative for the books of his 30 years of publishing. Though this intention honors us the Dutch will hardly buy his books. Titles in German are not necessarily popular here. (I hear every so often someone say "dit is 'n duitse boekenwinkel" and then leave.) Wilbert and Simona sat in their car when they left. For them a day trip, they would drive first to the Kröller Müller Museum in Otterlo whence they would return by train. The wild boar watches over his sow and their young ones near this museum, as I witnessed the 2 times I came there. So far I haven't heard that Wilbert and Simona are back, or that Rainer and Agnes have reached Bad Salzuffeln, but there is nothing in the papers either.

October 8th, 2001
There are now 100 copies of the catalogue, or more appropriately, of the price list, of the books of Roth's Verlag and Boekie Woekie. 100 must be enough for the book fair. 100 beers have been processed to get them accomplished. That must be enough for the time being. Good night everyone (in case you are as tired as I am).

October 7th, 2001
No laughter so far today, but work work work on the book catalogue for Roth's Verlag and Boekie Woekie which I have to take with me when I go to the Frankfurt Book fair the day after tomorrow. And no longing to laugh either, certainly after I heard from Hetti just now on the phone, that the politicians want the military to make worse what they themselves have spoiled in the first place. Heide had phoned earlier today, and I remember I have said something like fighting terrorism could only be effectively done by allowing no reason for it to occur. By allowing all to get a fair deal. It's almost 10 pm, I have the manuscript of the catalogue ready for photocopying it tomorrow. The first copies of "Til Dćmis ...", the new Dieter Roth Academy publication got ready today too (see on top of "new items" in the opening menu) - what else can I do than to go home and get sadder by watching tv.

September 30th, 2001
The laughter of today came when it showed that I had forgotten the back scratcher (or what it may is called, that practical prolongation of ones arm and hand one uses to relieve the itch which ones anatomy does not allow one to easily get at) - that I had forgotten the back scratcher under my shirt. It was still there after I had come to Boekie Woekie. I thought I remembered I had used it half dressed with my first coffee. Somehow I had forgotten it there, and only felt it when sitting and leaning back in my chair. The laughter of today was for me mixed with the worry that here and there my functions fail. I couldn't help to think that that must be the work of the Ruďnettes!

September 28th, 2001
We happened to stumble over a new name today, it triggered off our laughter: The Ruďnettes. Hetti, short for Henriëtte, and Rúna, short for Guđrún, when they work together, they are the Ruďnettes. Boekie Woekie knows all about it.

September 26th, 2001
Often people mistake Boekie Woekie for a stationery shop and enter to ask for anything from pencil sharpeners to telephone cards. When one was asking actually for stationery the other day I began to think that that is what one might call Boekie Woekie really, a stationery shop. Don't words get attached to every item here, written, spoken or thought words? Doesn't every item change sooner or later hands and thus simply becomes a legible message from one to another? Or is Boekie Woekie maybe a letter box - one into which senders deposit their letters, and out of which receivers take those which they understand as meant for them. Or is it all only words, words not attached to anything real, and what are the items then, in case they are no potential word carriers? In case one needs to sound interesting, it is handy if one can pull out from ones sleeve a little paradox. However, this is the wrong time for me - I'm stuck in the middle of organizing a complex book, to be ready in 100 copies in a few days. No time for paradoxes.

September 20th, 2001
Back, together with Rúna, from Iceland. Ibby's funeral. She only got 51. Poor Sigrún. Her parents, now both dead, made my first 10 years in their country possible. Kristján's retrospective exhibition opening in the municipal museum of Reykjavík. Many of his friends have been my friends for a long time. His opening was a long, wet affair. Kristján and me own since 22 years a house together out there on the shore of a fjord of the north coast. (See also the entry of June 17th.) It was by no means dry during the remaining 5 days, but they were short in comparison to the amount of work that had to be accomplished. Together with Björn, Magnús Reynir, Eggert, Gunnar and Rúna and Gulla we worked on the manuscript of the 2nd Dieter Roth Academy book, and even printed a few first pages. After arriving yesterday afternoon, I had to sleep for 15 hours. Today I was happy to see that Hetti had managed Boekie Woekie well.

September 10th, 2001
There is a quite serious time pressure to get the before mentioned second  Dieter Roth Academy publication ready for the Frankfurt Book Fair, which begins in just one month. Tomorrow I'll fly for a week to Iceland to organize the manuscript together with Björn, and Magnús Reynir is going to help. We had planned to work on it in Amsterdam, but Björn found it on several occasions impossible to come.

September 3rd, 2001
The Dieter Roth Academy exhibits from May/June in Pécs have been brought by friendly Dutch summertime neighbors of Rainer and Agnes to Holland and finally also to Boekie Woekie. Rainer delegated the return of the works of the participants in the exhibition to us, though their return would have been his obligation. Two cardboard boxes, 2 big suitcases, and quite a sack are messing now up the first back room of Boekie Woekie.
It is the same room were work is picking up speed and volume for what will mainly be a text and only to a small extend a picture book, and the Dieter Roth Academy's second publication - I'm sure I will have reason to write again about it. (It was first mentioned in this diary on Feb.17th.)

August 30th, 2001
For once it is easy what subject I shall pick for the diary of today - I'll pick the pictures of chairs I found while tidying up my room earlier today. The pictures are 8 drawings on cardboard I made back in '85. I picked then pictures of chairs I had found in works by Hopper, Klee, Spitzweg, Lissitzky, Holstein, Matisse, Rot and Bosch. Each drawing I headed "Pick Chair!". Often in my picture making career a phonetic twist has triggered off an image. I took the drawings with to Boekie Woekie when I went to take the shop over from Hetti in the afternoon. There I took my monkeys down and pinned the pickchairs up.

August 25th, 2001
I closed the shop punctually at 6 in order to go to, and am now back at 7 from, an opening of mainly video works by Nan which took place in a big building reserved for modern media arts around the corner from BoeWoe. Raul and then Michael, who obviously had had invitations, had dropped into BW on their way there, and had made me aware of the presentation. Now back, I started the pc again to give my opinion here on what I have seen  - I am fervently negative. To collect my thoughts I go to stand for a moment in the door to the street, when Raul appears again - I without problems lure him in with the prospect of more beer, and instead of writing do the much easier job of telling him of my dislike. On top of which he tells me something, and I tell him something and he me and so on, until we are happy to grasp the chance to forget what we have been saying anyhow and go each to his home.
 
August 21th, 2001
I had taken a few steps out of the shop on my way to the mailbox, when I was approached by someone who asked me directions for where to buy a mosquito net. I said I had no idea, and walked on. Only later I thought maybe this was a staged meeting by this someone who politely expressed his criticism. He may be reading this diary, and may not agree to my nightly action paint activities! (See the entry of Aug.10th.) He may have meant that I should rather buy a mosquito net, than that I hunt them and turn them into pictures!

August 17th, 2001
In my entry for July 28th I mention the back room behind the back room I had written about before. Those 2 back rooms are separated by a small patio. This patio is almost entirely covered by big gray tiles and many potted  plants are usually standing there. 3 weeks ago we put them higher up, on makeshift tables because green stuff lovers were coming for a visit, we feared for the plants. Among the visitors is what I thought was a young hare, but it is what would have been a wild rabbit, if it had not become a foundling. Foster mother is 9 years old Fritzi, daughter of Fredie (see further down) and his wife Yntse. They went off to camp in Belgium. I see the small animal many times a day and each time I see it I'm stunned how beautiful it is.
Since I was ready to call the spots slammed mosquitos would make works of my art I'm insecure now what nature, art and my love for it is.
 
August 15th, 2001
It is hot in Amsterdam, and heat and books by artists we know since long don't go together - in more than 4 hours, that we are open now one lost lady has walked once around the main book table and then left.

August 10th, 2001
Raul was visiting the shop today, amongst other topics speaking about my monkey paintings. Whether I would lend them for an exhibition. (See my entry of June 20th.) I have let him include before some of them in a gallery show here in Amsterdam. But I said I was more into action painting recently. Mainly red paintings, quite small, made at night, murals. Not easy to lent because of them being murals: they are not hanging, as pictures, on walls, but have become part of walls, and those walls are needed where they are. I was speaking of my slammed tormentors, those itch creators, my bloodsucking muse, those goddamned mosquitoes. He got it and smiled.
Later I thought I'll cover the wall of my bedroom with sheets of paper - like some artists prepare several white canvasses to work on simultaneously.

August 7th, 2001
Rúna is off again to Iceland - her flat is under reconstruction, and instead of waiting for it to get ready in an alternative flat the landlord would have provided, she took the opportunity to switch for a month from her home to her home country.
I think it is today that 30 years ago I myself arrived there for the first time. Shortly after I got there first, the dress rules they had for going out became a problem for me. In Reykjavík you needed as a male to wear trousers which had no seams along the outside of their legs, and a tie. No blue jeans, which were all I had come with! I was introduced by someone who understood, to a man of my build, who lend me a pair of his trousers. Later we became friends. On our first meeting I remember his wife in a dark kitchen washing dishes, smiling. There was a new born baby. Now she has to get morphine in a hospital and cannot live much longer, and he his dead since 15 years, having half fallen, half thrown himself in front of a car on a highway. But their baby daughter from then is now 30 years old and has a child of her own.
 
August 3rd, 2001
We are running for 15 years a bookshop which carries artists' books - as we understand that term. In most of the cases a book in BoeWoe is not bought by us from its maker, but it is given to us on consignment. The owner gets his money only after his book is sold. We feel it is right that the maker of a book in an edition of copies who chooses not to have behind it the launching power of the book making industries, experiences reality similarly to us. BoeWoe is investing the rent for the space the book is lying (or standing) on, he has taken care of making the thing. BoeWoe is sharing with the maker the risk that the happy moment of selling it might be long from now. I have found for us though our own sneaky way for a chance to profit from the calamity of maybe having to wait forever.  This shows:

Voss, Jan Implodierte Skulptur vacuum cleaner bag full with dust from books waiting to be bought in Boekie Woekie, numbered, signed, since 1994, 500.-

That this multiple does not really sell either, who would be surprised. It's mainly show business.

July 30th, 2001
It is late, it is already the 31st since 34 minutes, but for me it is still today, which was the 30th. There is another bottle of beer. Last night I was uncomfortable, mosquitos and sweat. I think it will be the same tonight. I'm tired but since I can't avoid it, I 'd like at least to delay another nightmare. (The more tired I'll be the better the chances are that I'll sleep through, is what I tell myself, knowing it will not be so. More tired means more erratic bits of sleep.)  I'll be waiting to have the tv on for "Der Landarzt", a treat. This television series is about as inconsequential as the best of ones dreams, it feels I could say it is as refreshing as sleep to watch it.

July 28th, 2001
Boekie Woekie has a back room which is even further in the back than the room I have so far called the back room. It is our storage room and some time ago we paid quite an effort to tidy it up. But arranging the book and picture storage space more according to our needs luckily rendered space for a small table, next to an ivy clad window. I have spend some late night hours there recently, working on a book I'd like to present in the fall at the book fair in Frankfurt.
An offspring of it, which was quite easy to make and therefore already now available in Boekie Woekie is:

Voss, Jan Es Dämmert brief text- and picture story, numbered, signed, Amsterdam 2001, 25.-

But what I was setting out to say was something else: The table I made in the back of our back room proofs to have a slightly bent top. A round thing, a writing tool for example, will roll down and over the edge of it, so that it falls to the floor. Hearing it roll and land down there, and having to lean out of my chair to pick it up, is distracting and makes me forget what I was thinking about. And when I have put the pencil (for example), this time more carefully, back onto the table top, and while leaning back in my chair, there is a new idea: I think the distraction did not only let me forget what I was thinking before but it lets me think of my table making self as of the impish husband of the mother of all invention. And then I'm quickly off to the front room, where the pc stands, to proclaim to the public my newly found out martial status. - You are not surprised, are you, if I say that by now I have forgotten many times what I was going to write, and what stands here is a totally different story from what I thought it should be shortly after I had picked up the pen from the floor.

July 25th, 2001
Fredie is quite efficient in finding more drops for the museum. I have one too, but rereading the fairy tale of the brave dressmaker by the Grimm brothers, I see that out of the stone which the giant squeezes, water drips, but the juice runs out of the cheese the dressmaker squeezes, cheating the giant. (I had hoped the brave dressmaker wouldn't have been all that strong, I find dripping cheese a more fascinating picture then cheese out of which the juice runs. And with the drops which fall out of the hand which presses the stone - who tells us it's not sweat which is falling.) - I haven't had the nerves yet to return to postcard printing. - Solveig is in Amsterdam with her eldest grandchild, a girl of 10. They stay with Rúna, amidst the mess of cardboard boxes - Rúna has to leave her apartment for a fundamental reconstruction of the house she lives in and has packed almost all her belongings. The house from the end 19th century started to sink (on one side more than on the other) for more than 10 cm a few month ago - we are in Amsterdam. We all ate there the marinated haddock Solveig had made and brought with her from Iceland. The marinade from sugar, salt and dill makes the fish, just because it is so much less fat than for example salmon, a real delicacy, nobody minded for a while how tilted the house is.

July 19th, 2001
It is the end of my holidays, however before I'm back to print postcards - an activity I dread under the circumstances (see below why),  I take the opportunity to loose a few words on what the holidays of my holidays were, just now, I mean recently, the last few days. They began with that I couldn't see right what I saw one morning because my still sleepy eyes wouldn't adjust to the tele text page which I had awakened by remote control in order to kindle my interest in the world. Through some blur I was let to read "Tropfen Museum", but after enough blinking, it became "Tropen Museum" (Museum of the Tropics, the Dutch colonial museum in Amsterdam). But "Tropfen" (drops) I liked better - imagining a river with all its particular drops, or a permanently suspended rain fall in a museum. To begin, I wrote on an empty card board box "Tropfen Museum" and put it into the shelf, ready for the rain to start falling. Then Fredie (the Fredie of the Waldeinsamkeit, see the entry of March 10th) came with a booklet by Paul Gallico he had happened to find and bought for me on the flea market. It contains (in Dutch) a story called "The Snowflake". He had bought it because he knows I collect books referring to or are about Iceland, in German, Dutch or English. This book from 1953 had caught his eye because he found it "nicely made" - it is made in the style of the time, which is about in the middle between his and my birth date, which almost automatically makes me find it "nicely made" too. When Fredie had opened it on a random page, he had stumbled over this bit of conversation between Snowflake and Raindrop: "Tell me now about your birth, how did that happen?" "It was above Iceland, I believe." - I dropped the book into the Tropfen Museum as a 1st exhibit (and will have to be on the look-out for a second copy for my Iceland shelf).
 
July 17th, 2001
I have had a quite mixed week. Bad luck, or my inability to deal with the matter accompanied me for 2 days when I was trying to print new BoeWoe picture postcards on a for us new kind of stiff paper. We have bought a lot of it. I'm afraid that may have been a mistake. Anyhow it is frustrating when one sheet after the other tears up in the machine, because the 1st one gets stuck to the rubber mat and then all those which follow pile up in a messy mess. I was really relieved to come out of our printery when Hetti and Rúna asked me to attend to the now urgent request of the authorities to pay them the value added tax. It is that calculation I'm taking a holiday of when I write this diary. Twice relieved: no printing, no bookkeeping, just diary writing! Yesterday I had a spare relief, that was when Thomas came on a visit. It got later than it will get tonight.

July 8th, 2001
When I opened, just now, the diary page in my computer and read over the last entry, I saw I had put it on the world wide web without finishing the text - the 2nd last sentence was incomplete and unreadable, more spelling mistakes than I'm ready to permit myself, real computer confusion, due of course, to real me confusion.
I corrected now what I saw was wrong. At least one person has read it in the wrong form. I have an e-mail from Ana, who quotes from it. But she doesn't tell me I must have fallen asleep before finishing what I wanted to say.
Yesterday, on my way to Boekie Woekie I happened to meet Cheng on Nieuw Markt. He just was coming from the dentist. His upper lip was still artificially made stiff. It was the first meeting since he closed his restaurant we used to go to for so many years. I had for some time imagined to meet him or his wife, knowing they live in the neighborhood, and I had been planning to propose a dinner at our home where she would do the cooking, because in spite of all the China town restaurants around, their duck was singular, and I would enjoy to once wait on him. The roles were the other way round for so long, and Rúna or Hetti or both and me could maybe learn some tricks of the duck cooking trade. But with some dried up blood on his lower lip I was too shy to mention it.
Our Fins are back home. Anja checked out some of the diamond places in town, but felt rebuffed, because of what she thought the diamondtiers thought was her Russian accent in her English. Matti ate a whole pot of chocolate pasta sandwich spread.

July 4th, 2001
My hay fever medicine can't cope with the amount of pollen in the air. I had a bad day today. Yesterday it was better. Because the English language has it in it, I'm saying "Since then it is going badder all the time". Yesterday Holger came with his student Klaus S. (the S abbreviates his 2nd first name) a former architect, around the same time that all the Fins popped in. One of them smoked together with his mother his first joint on our patio, back home in a few days he must become a soldier. Holger enjoys his sabbatical (but speaks much about how involved he is with processes around his art school - it seems they can't really function without him.)
I break the line because it wouldn't be straight thinking if I where to continue.

July 1st, 2001
Ulla with her son Matti and her friend Anja came from Finland. Ulla, when she studied here, was Hetti's friend and they stayed in contact ever since. Ulla and Anja are psychiatrists. We went to a restaurant and while reading the menu we pondered on the question, why one eats. I offered that we might have started to do it "back then" in order to muffle the sound of the constant chattering of our teeth and that, once we had learnt how to suppress that sound, it became quite easy to get new sound absorbing cushions for in-between our teeth: the bison wouldn't hear us approaching. A couple of thousands of years later, the cushions began to taste, the origin, to overcome the symptoms of fear, was forgotten, and if the steak hadn't come, we could have speculated about Pavlov and his dogs in that new technique called speech, which, I would then have claimed, after all is nothing but the return of the chattering of teeth in a new guise.

June 27th, 2001
Today I got 2 pages of writing by Dieter in the mail. As this sentence reads, Dieter would have been their sender. But it was Aldo. The 2 pages are part of a publication of an improvised appearance on the occasion of an exhibition in 1985 in Munich, together with one Michael Seeger. I never saw this photocopied text (type-written with many corrections in D.'s hand)  before, but I don't doubt its genuineness. Aldo had asked me on the phone a few days before where the Dieter text on Picasso could be found, and I had had no idea. And now he was proud to have found it in his own collection, where he knew he had seen it. I'll try to translate this "Picasso text" from the German (as good as I can do now):

"Dear Listeners, some of those sentences, which you always have longed to hear being said, or have wanted to read, - which however you never have asked for - they might possibly appear in the text which we now permit ourselves to read to you:

Artists pretend to give something useful to those who look, or buy to look at, in their 3 dimensional stuff, or they act as if they were showing in their 2 dimensional flat stuff something like a plan that reveals what useful things the artists have discovered for the spectator, or one sees the road marked or described, which leads to where it's good, or where something good can be had.
It's a pity, but nothing is to be had there. The apples are made of oil, the clouds of lead, the advises of blah blah. That's annoying, especially for those who are already in difficulties. For them the artists have nothing to give (the artists' stuff stays in the exhibition, or on the wall), it only talks about the artists' power & (an illegible handwritten word follows).
One can say, then, that what they are giving is art! And art apples are from oil, and art clouds are made of lead, and so on. Art shall be, art makes people happy. Art is like the good Lord, he exists, and he is kindly disposed towards people. Though many say, he doesn't exist, only a few say there is no art, art that gives you something. One buys the works of art - as an individual or as a club - and beliefs one receives in the art work a value that gives one something - even though one cannot see it.
It becomes difficult to recognize, whether the acquired item is, or at least can be called art. (It would be as difficult as recognizing the consecratedness of a bit of water, whose consecration happened without witnesses and without any consecrator being present.)
There people like Picasso come in handy, who produce objects which look like what has been - unquestioningly, because for so, so long - called art, which simply "is art". Who would contradict someone who says: The Greek vase makers were artists; the sculptor Gonzales was an artist, and his stuff that is standing around, is art, Giacometti, he produced art; the negroes, obviously - where for us there are apples sitting on our art surfaces, for them there are idols.
Picasso also makes such objects of art. For the attention of all those who can not belief in the art of his examples, who experience them as too sad, bitter, hopeless, gone wrong. Those objects among the objects of art, which have gone wrong, are sad, hopeless, are the only objects which can give something, namely the opportunity to detach oneself from the respect for art. And Picasso puts in front of those who don't like that, but who want to continue to belief and hope, things that are made like those which so far were called art.
If his examples can be called objects which can't give anything in their gone wrong, sad, furious ways and make it easier to people to maintain their respect, their fear of art and artists, then one can call Picasso's sculptures objects which demonstrate their successfulness in their successful, funny, cunning ways. - To be looked at with that fear and that respect, with which works of art - unhappily for the viewer or owner - oppress the people. Picassoesque successfulness; he succeeds in pretending that the piece went wrong, he does so as if he were one of those bitter, sad, art-respect-dissolvers. To me however he appears smiling - whether in the triumph of success or in the triumph of failure, I can hardly say, but since Picasso's creations seem to be meant to maintain the uselessness of art - here at least of the sculptural art - and to maintain the false pretenses of salvation, I call them dummies. Cardboard - and bronze silhouette targets put up under protecting roofs, which simply act as if one could call them art, one of the manifestations of misery.

DUMMY (title at the end)"

I hope my English transports the complexity of Dieter's text. (From today, Sept.2nd 01, the translation of "Dummy" appears here in a revised form - I had asked Malcolm to check it through.)
To mention something from a really different level: Hetti has started to come to Boekie Woekie on her bike again!

June 26th, 2001
Alec phoned a few days ago, that he was in Amsterdam, but couldn't be sure that he would make it in time (before 6 pm) to visit Boekie Woekie. We said we would anyhow stay on in the shop longer, and would look forward to see him, regardless whether he would be a little late. Before he hung up, maybe in case he wouldn't make it at all to come, or that he would find the shop after all closed, he said that Hans is hopelessly sick and that he had come to Holland (from Scotland) for a last visit. We were shocked. Hans is one of the artists we have books by, and we have known him for more than 10 years as a man to whom his art is very important, but who never pushed his point but very gently. Today came the announcement that he has died, 51 years old..

June 20th, 2001
Dick came to pick up his monkeys. He is the owner of 5 of them. Although 12 more unsold ones are still up on the walls of the back room of Boekie Woekie, - without those 5, my monkey exhibition seems to be over. I had namely an almost unannounced exhibition here of monkeys. My monkeys appear on used cleaning rags of our offset presses while I fiddle around with them a little, fiddle with brush and paint. Heide and Jörg have another 4. I have maybe another 100 used cleaning rags, I still can fiddle around with. As far as I'm concerned, monkeys are no endangered species. I shall, if necessary, recreate them.
Petra came by, happy to see that we (still) have the first issue of her newspaper "Kronkel" on display. During 3 weeks, we only sold 1 copy, but the selling she says now isn't what it really is about. "Kronkel" aims at being the mouthpiece for those themes which are of importance to people with a vital interest in psychiatrical dealings - of course the patients,  then the public and especially the law makers. Petra has a very good point. Because of taboos, few areas, in which people (have to) live are as easily manipulated. Her will to give reason a chance makes in my view "Kronkel" worth its 3 Guilders - please order, to convince yourself!

June 17th, 2001
At the end of the former entry to this diary, I seem to (me now) coquettishly want to tell something about that week, that instant, that split second. But by now, 2 more weeks are behind me (and everyone). I spend one more in Iceland, and another one here in Amsterdam.. Most of the details of that potentially long, long story are now hidden behind a good deal more of split seconds. That is how it goes, of course - but there were in that week about 10 minutes on the waters of Eyjafjörđur which I suppose I will not forget, how ever long those 10 minutes may really have lasted (especially if counted in split seconds). During them (and during about 70 before, and 40 after) I was together with Eggert, ţorđur and their apprentice on board of Bliki II on its first trial sail. It so happened there and then that the engine ran out of diesel and stopped.
Kristján and me had been looking for some years for a new "Bliki" and finally he had found it in April near Reykjavík and bought it for himself, Ívar, Reynir and me. The being put into the sea at "our" harbour had been my reason for going to Iceland this time. Those 10 minutes ended when Jón Forseti, the beautiful oaken fishing vessel from Olafsfjörđur came sailing into our direction, and luckily became aware of our distress and towed us back to where we had come from.
I can't help to think about this book:

Thorkelsdóttir, Rúna Blind Navigation images of small boats as if lost on a big sea (of paper), numbered/50, signed, Amsterdam 1987, 120.-

Please order!

June 3rd, 2001
I will not be able immediately to place this new entry on the diary page of the Boekie Woekie web site, which  reflects on the more remote position of the pc I'm facing. More remote means fewer friends near by to help with computer questions. I'm in Eyjafjöđur, in the north of Iceland. What the pc here needs to enable me to change our site isn't easily installed. I could e-mail though what I am writing now, to Amsterdam. I'm sure Rúna, in Boekie Woekie in Amsterdam could, if told on the phone, copy it from our e-mail inbox and paste it into the appropriate spot in the diary section of the Netscape page composer program, and then call back the diary page from the computer of our server and send back to it the renewed version with the FTP program. But then, in one week I'm back in Boekie Woekie! With me will be what I have written here, stored as a copy on a floppy! I'll publish it only then. Were, for centuries, readers not used to wait for years, for decades for diaries to be published! What is a week, in comparison to the instantaneous. I'm for a week now in Iceland. It was a mere instant. But as any split second, it can be a long, long story.

May 26th, 2001
Reading over the entry of 3 days ago, I find I don't do justice to what I experienced in Pécs. Of course my first concern wasn't Laszlo's attitude. It was the joyous feeling of being among people who know whom to thank for their acquaintance.

May 23rd, 2001
Back yesterday from Pécs. However short the trip was, or shall I say the spree, it left some memories. Laszlo had given his welcoming address for the Dieter Roth Academy show, of course, in Hungarian. But that he didn't give the translator into English, which was present, the opportunity to translate, but just to bundle up in a very much abbreviated form what he had been saying, left me disappointed, since I'm quite curious about his stance. He must have felt  something, or read and understood the entry to this diary of Nov.20th of last year as my gloomy prediction to his capacities, or something I'm not aware of which may play a role. Anyhow later that or the next night in the restaurant "Noah's Ark" (the Hungarian name I did not register well, therefore I can only give what the Hungarians said it was in English) Laszlo offered to those sitting near by to consider, how negative I generally was. Luckily the Barak Palinka had made them immune to the word negative. At an other occasion before or after, probably the day after the opening, but before eating and drinking at Noah's, we had visited under Laszlo's guidance the museum for the works of a painter (his name is Csontváry), which I was very happy to be introduced to. Even more touched I had been by the hundreds of keyless padlocks locked to each other in a big cluster to a fence on the way to the museum. Nobody near me knew to say where they had come from, but the idea amongst us visitors prevailed, that the local people were just adding locks as a form of poetic sport. The locks reminded me of what Robert Filliou once said when he saw someone with a big ring full of keys: "Many keys and no place to go to."
Here in Amsterdam Hetti obviously is recovering, in good spirits, but carrying anything or going up and down stairs won't be possible for her for some time still.

May 17th, 2001
Hetti at home again, recovering, Hanneke has an eye on her. I'm off to Budapest and Pécs tomorrow - the second time friends and collaborators of Dieter Roth meet under the caption "Dieter Roth Academy". (The 1st time was last year in May in Basel.) There will be 2 openings in Pécs tomorrow afternoon, the first of an exhibition of works by Dieter from the collection of Rainer, who lives in a village near Pécs, the 2nd will be the Dieter Roth Academy show. Lazlo, himself Hungarian by origin, who is to write in the coming Hamburg catalogue of the DR originals in the collection of a lawyer, will give the welcoming address. The show has 26 participants, of which 20 will meet there... Rúna went already a few days ago to help to put up the show. Magnús Reynir and Pétur visited Boekie Woekie yesterday en route to Hungary from Iceland. They hadn't slept the night before, and their connecting flight to Budapest left Amsterdam so late, that they had to take from Budapest the slow night mail train to Pécs, arriving after 3 in the morning... and Pétur was going to test the sniffing abilities of the ex-socialist custom dogs... and suggesting that in future it should be Amsterfjörđur and Seyđisdam...

May 9th, 2001
Now it is Hetti who is in the hospital recovering we hope, from an operation which went well. That the operation would come one day we had known for more than 2 years, but when the date was finally set, having known it would come did not help much. I had for days felt a little pain in my right foot, as it often is the case with me, but when the hospital had phoned this little pain became a serious thing - making walking almost impossible. Then I saw Hetti after the operation, yesterday, saw her alive, and heard from the doctors that all had gone according to plan, and within a few hours the pain in my leg was (almost) gone.
All this means I can not go to Pécs to help install the Dieter Roth Academy exhibition which I have helped to prepare and which is to open in 9 days. Rúna will go already next Saturday, others will come to help on Monday and Tuesday. I hope they won't miss me too much.
Hansjörg was here, over from London for a day. He had a stack of about 160 b/w photocopies of colour photographs of works by Dieter with him, which will be the section of big reproductions in the catalogue of more than 500 originals which a Hamburg collector has accumulated of DR works. Hansjörg wanted us to comment on the sequence of the images. But there wasn't enough time to get ideas.

April 30th, 2001
Queens day, the streets of Amsterdam are full of people, many wearing orange clothes, or other signs of devotion to the monarchy. Now it is early evening, and don't they start to look like loving Heineken and Grolsch even better than their monarchy! And it would hardly be Holland if there were not some drops of rain thinning the 5%. That makes me think of this morning - around 10.30, when I sat at the edge of my bed with coffee Hetti had come with. The television was on, but because of mouth-and-foot disease, Beatrix was not shown visiting some area of the country as it would be usual for this day. Instead there is a film about her mother's life, Juliana, now today 92, one year younger than my mother would be. Hetti thought they had this film in the drawer to be ready for her death. Tears roll out of my eyes, caused, I think, by the official solemnity of the tone of the telly in contrast to the fleeting quality of the night's dreams which have not yet quite left me. Then I get ready to go to Boekie Woekie, leave my orange scarf behind, and there are words with Hetti about those tears, when I'm halfway down the stairs. She wants me to belief she found it stank when she came with the coffee into my room, and that I should take a bath and change cloth. And I say I washed my face as good as I could.

April 25th, 2001
Just back from a week in Basel, where I went through 15 more of the cardboard boxes Dieter stored as his archive in the basement of one of the 2 places he had in Basel. Eight more boxes to go, then all 120 will have been checked for their contents, the contents listed and placed in time.
Back in Amsterdam, Cheng has closed - Moy Kong is gone, is now called Good Fortune instead. Nearly 20 years of a loved kitchen, and Cheng, our unique man! When Ludwig came there with us for the first time and talked and talked instead of that he ate, Cheng finally took his hand, stuck it with the fork into the rice on his plate, and lead it into Ludwig's mouth. Rúna was for him Groote Bier. He used to call Dieter Groote Vodka. His son Björn became Kleine Vodka, and he marinated us steadily in Rose Snappses, and in what we called Moth Ball Juice, or Liquid Dungeon Dust, products of China which make one drunk - we were very happy with them.

When I was writing the entry for this diary on March 10th, I should have remembered that Malcolm had come with 2 cds he had burnt. Those cds namely became the reason that we founded the Seedy CD company. The name had been M.G.'s proposal. The 1 of the 2 CDs I have entered into The Boekie Woekie stocklist is mine:

Voss, Jan My First Mobile CD with the sound of what the answering machine of M.Green recorded, after J.V. had left his message, but didn't know he had a button to press to stop the phone transmitting, with a brief text by J.V. about his 1st, and his very 1st mobile, signed by M.G. and J.V., (Heidelberg Amsterdam 2001), 40.-

What is good about this CD is that it saves time by not making one want to listen to it twice.

April 13th, 2001
Recently (recently meaning half an hour ago) Rúna realized that though she always knew that there takes place a "diary" on the Boekie Woekie web site, she never had read it. I showed her the way to read it off-line, because of the money the telephone costs, otherwise. I asked her to not voluntarily or involuntarily play around with the keyboard while reading, because all changes would probably be made public together with the next entry without me noticing them. There occurred a moment in which the question whose diary this is played a roll. - Now I sit thinking, within Boekie Woekie 3 diaries should be kept, Rúna's, Hetti's and mine!

April 11th, 2001
I have tried to figure out why the MACBA has canceled our presence (see the entries of March 4th, 18th and the 2nd of April). I think it is because Dieter's big sculpture, the "flat scrap", which was lend to the museum in Barcelona by the collection of a Mr.Flick of Zurich, got unforeseen by the museum such a high insurance price tag that for our participation no money was left. Tonight the Dieter Roth exhibition in Barcelona opens.
Martha from Mexico was here. She roamed with Hetti through the Chinese super markets of which there are quite some in Amsterdam. Future cooking will include different flavors. Martha prepares the financing of a catalogue of artists' books she has been compiling. Her interest is to deliver a survey of the phenomenon including the Americas and Europe, with at the centre, Ulises Carrión. (See the entry of  Nov.2nd, 2000.)  I found her amazingly energetic - coming home at 2 o'clock in the night, and leaving the house again before eight in the morning for the next appointment. When I mentioned this to her husband on the phone from Mexico, he explained her being in good shape for our low lands because her being accustomed to the altitude of her Mexico City. I hadn't thought of that.

April 2nd, 2001
Rúna has returned from Iceland. We think she is okay again.
The MACBA has made us understand that they won't be able to have us with a bookstand of Dieter's  books during their DR exhibition, which opens in 10 days, not even for the few first days until after Easter, when they expect many visitors. A pity - a big Dieter Roth show without his books!
One recent evening, when coming home, I found a note on the door. Dizy had rang the doorbell in vain, and was now sitting in a beer bar down the street. (Hetti had been at home, but the doorbell gave up its function years ago.) In the bar I met Dizy. He sat in front of a beer and was in company of a man who drank water. We embraced and stated mutually, how long ago it was that we had met. We thought it was close to ten years. Dizy has been a musician for many years, but I got to know him as the first serious alcohol seller in my life. While I studied at the Düsseldorf art academy during the later years of the 60s and early 70s, he ran the Uel, which we then loved to go to. Now he and his companion were a little nervous about their car full of instruments - they knew of the reputation of Amsterdam, being an unsafe place. So we unloaded a banjo, a guitar, a trumpet, a tuba, and a saxophone into the frontroom of the place where Hetti and me live. Dizy's companion went to the hotel they had booked, when they started to think they might be waiting for me in vain. Dizy and me had a few drinks at another bar, and then finished what Hetti and me had at home. Hetti had already gone to bed when we got there. Dizy preferred then not to have to go to the hotel anymore, and slept at our place. While I went to open Boekie Woekie the next midday, they were loading the instruments back into their car, to drive to Hoek van Holland, take the ferry boat to Harwich, drive through an area of mouth-and-foot disease to reach the ferry to Ireland, where they have appointed a concert tour. The friend will sing and play the banjo, Dizy will play the wind instruments. The last topic I remember of our long talk through almost all the night was Dizy explaining to me the benefits of fruit vinegar for an untroubled sleep.
Today Martha phoned from Copenhagen, she'll come to Boekie Woekie in time for the "happy hour" and stay for a few days.

March 26th, 2001
I was in for a surprise when I read our e-mails of today. Among them was a letter from a reader of this diary! That, after I pondered on this subject whether there ever would be any reader at all the last few days. One is found who has read (some of) this diary after that I wrote it!
But the pleasure of the reassurance that I don't write this for nothing is overshadowed by a complaint my correspondent makes. She finds she reads about a "closed society" or "private party" (the translations Collins German Dictionary offers for "geschlossene Gesellschaft") and argues that she looked in vain for a reference I might have made early this month about my visit to the home of her and her friend.
Of course one can't give an account of events and thoughts omitting nothing. Omitting may happen by chance or more or less consciously. The writer's secret!

March 23rd, 2001
In my last entry of March 21st, reading it today, it seems to me I suggest, that anyhow nobody takes notice of whoever steps on top of a soap box at Speakers Corner, so to say. To have a place in public where you can utter yourself, doesn't mean that anyone listens to you. Today I think this suggestion is right.

March 21st, 2001
Writing this diary and publishing it (almost) instantly is not much different from what has been usual for me for 30 some years. I have (had) printed, more or less spontaneously, more than 100 books by me during those 30 years. What maked it different to this paperless form of publication seems mainly, that for those 100 titles I had to perform a variety of acts - from preparing to print the idea to - well, all the way to opening a shop which would carry them. In the case of publishing this diary not more is asked of me than to press the keys I have been told to press to get it there where all pc-with-a-modem owners can possibly read what I wrote. Some must read it. The rate of visitors is 3,5 to the cover page of Boekie Woekie per day, if the counter can be trusted. How many of those who find the cover page also open this diary I have no way to check. And even if the diary is opened it is still quite uncertain that it is read. Chances are that who ever will read this diary after me, will be the first. I ask myself, can it be a triumph to state that nothing has changed - internet or not? Because hardly anyone ever wanted those books of mine, already long before the internet came about.

March 18th, 2001
The end of another day. Gunnar was on the phone from Iceland a few times. He prepares the flights to Hungary for himself and the other Icelanders in May for the Dieter Roth Academy manifestation. Cornelia came and we were drinking coffee and had a lot to talk about. Cornelia has been for years operating Boekie Woekie together with us, and follows our affairs with continuing interest, but she hadn't been able to come by in the recent weeks. I tried to get Björn on the phone, but in vain. The application form for the Frankfurt Book Fair needs to be filled in and send to the organizer. I did that for Roth's Verlag at the earlier occasions, but feel I should have his consent. Hetti had a bowl of delicious fish soup for us. The bookkeeping for January got ready today. If we are going to open a branch office in the MACBA in April (the museum in Barcelona, where on April 10th an exhibition of works of Dieter will begin) we should not have to be busy that month with calculating the VAT which we have to pay quarterly. When I'll get home soon I'll slip away into sleep out of which the song of an astonishingly unmusical blackbird will wake me up. He (I think, or is it a she?), I think, thinks, that it is springtime. The room I spend my nights in has a battery driven clock on the wall. The batteries gave up one of the last nights hours before the bird began to sing. So it was the bird that told me springtime comes awfully early in the morning.

March 10th, 2001
Rúna is out of the hospital and staying now with her son and his wife. She sounds confident on the phone that she is better now than she has been for some month.
Fredie came by today to bring a few copies of one of his books:

Beckmans, F.F. Woorden Zonder Dichter numbered/99, signed, Amsterdam 1994, 10.-

He also had parts of a turning picture postcard rack with him on his bike. He said he was collecting turning picture postcard racks. (I'm not at all certain that turning picture postcard rack is what the English speaker calls those things which in German would be Ansichtskarten Drehständer or in Dutch postkaartmolen, but I hope you get what I mean.) He intends to use them for his part in a group show he plans for the coming summer here in Amsterdam. Some days ago he had already asked me if I also wanted to contribute to it. There is a romantic title to that coming show, Waldeinsamkeit, - some German words are scoring high among the Dutch. Fredie had a forest in mind of turnable picture postcard racks. He didn't know, but I have a history - well, not so much of forests, more of groves - of those racks in art exhibitions. I'm the owner of about 20 of them, but I would love to have a few hundred, storing them is the main problem. An aim of mine for years has been to fill a large exhibition space densely with those racks of which each compartment should be filled with different picture postcards. For example with:

Voss, Jan Ansichtssache by Jan Voss & Co, PICTURE POSTCARDS cut-outs from all sorts of printed matter pasted as pictures on postcards, since 1989, 1,75 each

Visitors should walk in the forest and turn the racks by moving around amongst them and be tempted to take cards out of the compartments and by that continue to change the picture of the installation, which could be recorded by video cameras. At first Fredie said something like "oh, shit", but then we thought we could combine our efforts to get really many postcard racks, and have a joint work at that coming exhibition.

March 4th, 2001
Rúna flew to Iceland last Wednesday for what was to be a month of visiting friends and family, but on Thursday she was taken to hospital. That what had bothered her early in the winter has come back, the doctors think they'll have to operate on her. Hetti and me think it's good for Rúna that she is in Iceland as this overcomes her, a surrounding which feels more like home to her than the Netherlands. Though one of us sick and not near by does not feel right.
Roland, whom we did not know before and who prepares a Dieter show in Spain came to see us, we spoke about the possible contribution Boekie Woekie could offer by providing a book department, maybe as a temporary small branch office shop. We'll see.
Then came Malcolm for the weekend, with more books:

Nitsch, Hermann The Fall Of Jerusalem the drama-to-be-read from 1974 translated by M.Green, numbered/300, slip cased, with a large folded print, London 1997, 160.-

(Duchamp, Marcel) Marcel Duchamp  A Life In Pictures  text by Jennifer Gough-Cooper & Jacques Caumond, illustrations by Anrdré Raffray, translated into English by A.Melville, a cute little book, London 1999, 28.-

and more copies of his own print:

Green, Malcolm Spot PRINT offset reproduction of a painting of a dalmatian looking into a mirror as if worried about a spot, signed, 35.-

Among other topics we spoke about how little we do by way of gymnastics to keep the body fit, but Malcolm pointed out an exception: our talking muscles are very well trained.

Feb.26th, 2001
The most remarkable event since the last diary entry was my trip to a museum in a northern German city, were I was expected to give a talk on the subject "The artist as producer, publisher and salesperson. About Boekie Woekie". The museum is situated across the river from the brewery of a very reasonable beer, and it houses - owns by now - the archive Guy has compiled of artists' books of the 60s and 70s. There was quite a space taking exhibition on, recruited from the archive. We know Guy because he has been a partner in a consortium of firms which for some years in the 90s were present at the Frankfurt Book Fair under the heading of "United Untied" - Boekie Woekie was one of them. (The name was my suggestion). Lately the consortium has been untying more than uniting, and no one likes to mention it any longer. When I found out in Bremen, how few of my books are kept in Guy's archive, I was a bit shocked. I do consider myself an artist from the 70s. My first books are from the late 60s! I gave my talk. At the end I sang a song about monkeys running through the forest. That was a compromise. One of the listeners had suggested I would dance the Boogie Woogie... Later I ate with Guy and Dr.Anne in a Bavarian chain restaurant - I ate haddock. That the people of the coast of the North sea have to bring in the Bavarians, in order to construct an excuse for the fish being no good, is somehow sad.

Feb.17th, 2001
There was another storm, and that has abated too. No more work on the metatext was carried out. But days in Pecs and Abaliget, airplanes and gipsies. And Rainer and Agnes, and Björn and Oddur with whom I flew to Budapest, and then took the train to Pecs. Björn and me wanted to check out the situation which arose around a new Dieter Roth Academy manifestation. Oddur is the son of Björn, still young, and catching glimpses of the world. But for his father and me in this case, it wasn't much more than that either. A uranium mine fogged us, with near by a prison, where the miners, forced to mine, had lived until only a few years ago,  plus of course we fogged ourselves, by way of drinking local fruit snappses and beer, for which nobody who fears my anger should take responsibility. The new manifestation would, or will be, two exhibitions, one of DR's works from the collection of Rainer, and one of works of "the DR Academy staff". There are two official places in Pecs ready to stage those shows. But "the real aim" is to assemble another Dieter-Roth-Academy-book from the works of the "DRA staff". (The book published last year has appeared in the following 2 editions:

Dieter Roth Akademie 5.5.-1.7.2000 founding report of the academy, texts mainly in English, and book on the occasion of an exhibition of the founding conference members: E.Einarsson, K.Gudmundsson, S.Gudmundsson, G.Helgason, D.Iannone, P.Kristjánsson, R.Pretzell, B.Roth, A.Tippel, R.Thorkelsdóttir, H.v.Egten, J.Voss, T.Wasmuth, many pictures, normal edition, Basel 2000, 48.-

Dieter Roth Akademie 5.5.-1.7.2000 founding report of the academy, texts mainly in English, and book on the occasion of an exhibition of the founding conference members: E.Einarsson, K.Gudmundsson, S.Gudmundsson, G.Helgason, D.Iannone, P.Kristjánsson, R.Pretzell, B.Roth, A.Tippel, R.Thorkelsdóttir, H.v.Egten, J.Voss, T.Wasmuth, many pictures, special edition: numbered/100, signed by all participants, with the hardest hard cover we have seen so far, Basel 2000, 350.-

That is from the Boekie Woekie stock list, which forms the reason for this web site. We are ready for your orders.)

Björn, Oddur and me left Hungary after 3 days, as planned, and came to Amsterdam. The chained, barking dogs, yet waggling their tails, are now memory. In Holland dogs have no tails. In Holland dogs are tales. (I have to put in here this tip from the Boekie Woekie list of books:

Thorkelsdóttir, Rúna Heads And Tails Of Fairy-Tales numbered/75, signed, Amsterdam 1985, 140.-

Thorkelsdóttir, Rúna Heads And Tails Of Fairy-Tales SPECIAL EDITION with a watercolor picture, numbered/10, signed,  280.-)

Before he had come to Amsterdam to go to Hungary Björn had been repairing in Hamburg parts of the work of his father Dieter, at the center of which are recordings of the sounds dogs made which were locked up in kennels somewhere near Barcelona. Back in Amsterdam we composed a letter to inform those of whom we think they belong to the DRA, or at least belong into the vicinity of the DRA, of the latest developments. It will reach close to 100 people in the next days. Am curious of the outcome. - Björn and Oddur returned to Iceland yesterday, today I saw Peter and his wife, from Hanover I think, walking back and forth through our street, they seemed to be looking for something. I thought it was Boekie Woekie they tried to find and went to the door and shouted their name. They reacted and came over, but didn't recognize me - I understood it was their daughter which they expected to show up. But the couple, once they had put together on which occasions we formerly had  become acquainted, where happy - one was on the watch out for the daughter, the other talked. Then the daughter appeared, and soon they went - they had asked me for a recommendation for a Asian restaurant.

Feb.7th, 2001
There was a storm, but now it has abated. We had Rod and his wife Liz, they had brought their own tea, plus milk, and sleeping bags. At the same time Gunnar from Iceland and his whole firm, 7 carpenters, were visiting, but 5 of them were in a hotel. They needed though all the beer of all the breweries of all the Netherlands. A storm, and a flood. Rod's opening was bringing us many new faces. Liz sat in the easy chair. The sound for the occasion of the opening was played through loudspeakers, now, if you visit Boekie Woekie, you get the easy chair and a pair of head phones and you can listen to 9 CDs of digitally manipulated sounds, if you like. Moritz is putting more words into the metatext of the pages of our web site, in the hope that the search engines bring more people to look at what we can offer. He'll soon be off to live again in Toronto. I hope he can finish what he began, and that it works ... Hetti is back from Iceland.

Feb.2nd, 2001
Tomorrow Rod will come for his opening - Jan (another Jan, than the one who writes this, but since a long time closely linked to the BoeWoe enterprise) brought yesterday in his car an easy chair from his study which he is letting us have for the time Rod's sound presentation will last. One problem solved (see the entry for Jan.17th). - I'm back from that "Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in southern Germany" which I mentioned I would be going to in the entry of Jan.27th. It is a bit much to do a trip like that by train in 2 days. The bones in my meat sack got a little soft during the rides. But being invited to that academy, you must know a plane ticket will not be refunded, and the train only from and to the German border station. Luckily the Netherlands are not very big. Holger, my host, paid that part of the ticket out of his own pocket. - Writing this, I think of my writings in English. My English gets corrected sometimes, though maybe only after I have been made it public. Michael, Malcolm, Dorothy. Dorothy, for example, has just pointed out a "since" in the invitation mailed by post to Rod's presentation. In a fax from Berlin she says that particular "since" was confused with a "because" the way I had put it. She does not access the internet and therefore doesn't inform me about the mistakes in this diary. Also M. + M. have not commented on the diary yet. I admit to feel a bit silly to show off my insufficient knowledge of English. But if I were to write in German I also would make spelling mistakes. 25 years of loose contact only with German speakers, and the new rules of spelling which were introduced there only a few years ago - which never reached me in detail, and the Dutch idiom being in many ways so close to the German, so that it almost can feel the same, have send many details of my mother tongue into oblivion, and even fogged large areas. Those who read Dutch of course should be relieved I don't write in that language. And it is maybe funny to remark, that more than 30 years ago I became Dorothy's first German teacher.

Jan.28th, 2001
Midnight in Boekie Woekie, Rúna and I are listening to a CD with the Audio Events of the MOB SHOP 1981. The MOB SHOP stands for Mobile Shop, twice it was a summer conference of young and more experienced artists Magnús, who send the CD to us, was organizing back then. Rod (the Rod, whose audio "show" opens here next Saturday) has restored and transcribed the original recording to CD. We listen now to the voice of Robert Filliou, who speaks about his idea of an Eternal  Network. There are musical sounds, we just listened to an interview with Robert and his concentrated way of speaking, and one with Margrét í Dalsmynni who quite fanatically stated, that there is not much new in art, since Hreiđar heimski did it all before. Rúna helps me to understand this. About Hreiđar one can read in the sagas, she says. Robert sings: Poetry is here to stay.

Jan.27th, 2001
I'm invited to talk to students and guests of a Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in southern Germany next Tuesday about Boekie Woekie, books by artists, and in particular, about me as artist, book making artist and artists' books bookseller. Holger, who teaches there and invited me, has made, together with his girl friend, a poster to announce the event. He has send me a copy - a picture postcard of mine is reproduced there, which shows a drawn figure encompassed by its (empty) speech balloon. It is quiet in the shop again today, time to make up my mind with which words the speech balloon shall be filled on Tuesday.

Jan.24th, 2001
One month after Christmas business is still slow. But that rather undisturbed time has allowed the book-keeping for 2000 to be done and ready and put away on a high shelf in the storage room. A relief. Rúna seems to get better. Another relief - thanks to penicillin? When she'll be good enough to manage the shop, I'll be able to draw, print, paint, write and look out of the window for a while. Will that be a relief!

Jan.17th, 2001
Boekie Woekie is preparing for an exhibition of works by Rod Summers, the sound specialist from Maastricht. To come from Maastricht to Amsterdam for the opening of his "show", Rod will take the train. Since his show will be more something to listen to than to look at, Rod wants, for the listener (he obviously thinks of one at a time), an easy- or armchair. He has asked us to find one for him (since to take such an object along in a train would be a near impossible thing). We Boekie Woekies don't have an armchair. Whomever we have asked so far, they can't lent us theirs, because they don't have any. Amsterdam staircases seem to be too steep to transport them, too narrow too, though bigger pieces of furniture are moved up here on ropes and in through the windows. Or should I recognize that Boekie Woekie can not borrow such an armchair because the mental frame of the people we know here and ask for such a chair, does not allow them to own such a gadget of lazy- or, at least relaxedness? Do the people in The Netherlands have nothing to sit on, or uprightly in, than these kitchen chairs which are in reality sawn of pieces of churchbenches, measured of course to each persons needs (width of ass)?
Maybe it is the picture of an armchair licking its lips after having consumed the one who came to sit on it, his slippers remaining as prove.

(Today, 4.7.01, I have "embroidered" the original entry of Jan. 17th and want to add, that the image of the hungry armchair can be found in:

Voss, Jan Tägliche Einfalt 365 folded sheets (Din A2) printed recto verso and bound as 12 books in wooden container with display window for 1 opened book, wheels, handles, numbered/100, signed, Amsterdam 1990, 8500.-)

Jan.16th, 2001
The mailman who brought the mail yesterday made the usual few steps into the shop to deliver what he had for us. He said, when I held the small mail stack in my hand "You don't happen to have a plaster?" Well, there was one in our not too impressive first aid kit, it had the picture of a blue elephant on it. I stuck it onto the finger he held up, first time in my life that I bandaged a postman. There had been a little blood on his finger. He did explain he had been stuck with his hand in a mailbox. When he was gone, I came to remember that mailmen have had traditionally to lead a life in the fear of dogs. Soon afterwards an idea popped up, -namely that, if mankind could teach the slits of mailboxes to bark, they probably wouldn't  bite mailmen any more. Such were an artists' book bookshop caretakers speculations before midday, now, a day later, and after eight, I'm off to go to Mr.Cheng again, following a strict program to eat his ducks with the aim to teach my belly to quack. Sometimes, at night, it does it beautifully well, but then there are usually no witnesses.

Jan.8th, 2001
Rúna is sick, Hetti takes off to Iceland the day after tomorrow, Boekie Woekie can be found now on the world wide web under a much simpler name: www.boekiewoekie.com  -but the old address continues to be valid too. That once again happened thanks to Michael.  At a recent late night moment in the middle of bookkeeping I jotted down "ein Schiff voller Ersoffener" - a ship full of drownies-, if that makes sense in English. And in a dream in a recent night I explained to who ever it was, that we in Amsterdam had no drug addicts, only duck addicts. Ask Mr.Cheng, he can verify this statement as far as it concerns me.

Jan.1st, 2001
Edith and Steffen stayed for 2 days because of us in Amsterdam between the holidays. Edith prepares for a documentary movie on Dieter. She has visited several of the people who knew Dieter well, now it was our turn. The main thing was probably the interview she took - we spoke for one and a half hour in front of the camera Steffen was operating. I hardly remember what it was we talked about. Part of it though was what I think I remember of Dieter and Joseph, long ago in Düsseldorf. Steffen was just letting the legs of the tripod of the camera collapse, because the tapes were fully recorded, when 2 people came into Boekie Woekie, one of them I recognized, but only at the 2nd glance: Barbara. (We have quite a few Barbaras in our world, this was the one who has lived for some years in Australia, and she had her reason for doing so with her, a chemist, who does research without chemicals, on a computer. Edith and Barbara, both Swiss, happened to know each other slightly.) Barbara and her fiancé were in Amsterdam to visit jazz concerts, and since there was none that night, they joined in when we went to our Chinese restaurant around the corner of where I live with Hetti. Cheng, whose place it is, has the habit of giving presents to his guests. We went home with calendars and little Chinese figures, where we gave it an effort to get a headache the next day.

Dec.25th, 2000
An exceptional month lies behind Boekie Woekie. We three who run it (Hetti, Rúna, Jan) have in the last years arranged our lives in a way, that always at least two of us would be in Amsterdam together to take care of the shop. Now for the first time we left it to one of us. Rúna was alone with the responsibility, while Hetti and Jan were in Iceland. It went well enough to think it could be done again, especially since December sees all those x-mas bunnies running around filling their baskets, keeping shop keepers on the alert. Of the recently deceased Emil (Zatopek) one heard in the 50s that he trained for his marathon performances barefooted in loose sand: if the busiest month can be handled by one, shouldn't we be more than capable to do all the others easily alone? That is potentially good news for Iceland Air, to whom we are used to pay the entrance fee for nature's wonderland (to borrow a term which is the title of a book we have in stock:

Weijer, Mark de Nature's Wonderland reproductions of paintings made in Iceland and 7 brief life accounts of local people, a text by D.Ruyters, Dutch/Engl., Den Haag 1995,  20.-)

And it has to be said that Heilco helped Rúna out on a couple of occasions.
 
Nov.20th, 2000
Jan, me, the one who writes here: I, I came back today from Basel, where I had gone to, once again, in order to run through the contents of the cardboard boxes which Dieter left behind as his archive, more than 2 years ago, when he died. There are well over 120 of them, and  a good 2 thirds have been done now. The most remarkable I came across this time was the BBC interview of Richard with Dieter, from 1974. Barbara who in Berlin is editing a book of interviews with Dieter, I believe hasn't yet been able to find it. But it is thought to be important, as I understood from Hansjörg. And indeed I recognized much of his singular way of expressing his insights when reading the answers Dieter gave to questions about his life and art. Lazlo came also to Basel, to research aspects of the life of Dieter, about whom he is asked to write for a catalogue which is to document the collection of Dieter's original works a Hamburg lawyer has compiled. I hope he can find the right words - at least if the words will be words of evaluation.

Nov.12th, 2000
Peter-Michiel from Utrecht opened an exhibition of collages in our gallery space - the back room of the book store really. It was the first show since almost a year, and the reason for some people to show up which we hadn't seen in a while. The "fan club" of Peter-Michiel we had not met before. At the end of the evening I found myself waking up in a chair when the last people were leaving.
 
Nov.2nd, 2000
Michael came to try to install the search engine from out the Boekie Woekie pc, since he hadn't been able to do that from his own computer. I felt the stir of a bad conscience, because I noticed a sense of relief to see him having difficulties with it. On the one hand, this computer stuff makes me an idiot because everything is as easy as pressing the right button (and I'm told which one to press). And on the other hand it creates idiots because daring and confident people who hold their intelligence in esteem are made to feel stupid because of manuals which they can't understand.
Well, into this situation walked Martha, on an unannounced visit from Mexico City. It is more than 2 years that I saw her, then it was over there in Mexico, on her invitation, where she had pulled off an artists' book exhibition, combining books from Latin America and the so called Western World. At the center of her exhibition had been book works by Ulises Carrión, the Mexican pioneer in Amsterdam, whose artists' bookstore "other books and so" in the 2nd half of the 70s of  the last century ranges for us from Boekie Woekie of course amongst that which is unforgettable. In a way Martha is a pioneer too, because Ulises' work isn't known in Mexico, and even the projection for a map in which to chart him hasn't been developed.
Martha didn't recognize Michael for a while - they hadn't met for years, and Michael without a beard really looks like a different person. That is what I remember I thought when I saw him first after that he had cut off the extra hair. But then they embraced and kissed. Michael had provided, about 30 years ago, if I have it right, the first premises for the founders of the "beau geste press" in Devon,  which were Martha, and her then husband Felipe.
Well, the search engine was not installed from the BoeWoePeCe that afternoon, but the happy hour was extended, and the next day, yesterday, Michael managed that the thing works, after all from out his computer. He phoned, when he had succeeded, and we joked, that we should add a line for the user to disregard the advertisement which automatically goes with this search engine.
 
Oct.27th, 2000
Back in Amsterdam from the Frankfurt Book Fair, I think it was our 13th participation in succession in this yearly event. Heilco drove us and the books to and fro. Rúna and Hetti kept the shop in Amsterdam open,  and came only for short visits to Frankfurt, the one at the beginning, the other at the end of the fair. We exhibited 5 new books - but were unusually unsuccessful in selling them. Most of those of whom we think they are our Frankfurt customers didn't show up.
In Amsterdam, in the shop, where I sat in the midst of the returned cardboard boxes, Michael showed up, asking whether we wanted a search engine for our web site. I had before asked him to install a diary file. The search engine hasn't yet started proper function, but I suppose this diary will work, and that it will open up the possibility of adding another tone to our web communication. After all we declare since more than a year in the introduction to our site that Boekie Woekie is an artist run store for books by artists - and as artists to present an alphabetical list alone, doesn't contain enough of a challenge.