Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Despite the Hardships

 Last December during our Video Production course we were supposed to make a MOS short film (if you want to have a look behind the scenes, go to the "goodbye Hello" entry of my blog and look for the confused people outdoors). MOS stands for "Motor Only Sync" or "Motor Only Shot", ie. images without music and dialogue and the sounds had to be re-enacted separately from filming. A popular (presumed to be mythical) origin theory is that MOS stands for broken-English "Mit Out Sound", that is, "Without sound" as a 1920s German-émigré director might have said it.

In The Screenwriter's Bible, David Trottier credits the term to Austrian director Erich von Stroheim, who allegedly would tell his crew "Ve'll shoot dis mid out sound."

After the short intro, here is our film "Despite the Hardships" finally online. This was filmed in the cold, luckily for only five hours thanks to our talented crew and actors.

A big thank you to the crew and actors for making it happen. And Frituur Christ for de lekkerste frietjes van Nederland.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cross-Linx Rotterdam

"Takes me a day to remember a day, I didn't mean to let it get so far out of hand ", this is how The National's front man Matt Berninger sings in their song Lemonworld, which is one of my favorite songs from their latest album High Violet released in 2010. I can somewhat relate to the feeling that it arises; here my dear readers you have one reason, why it takes me a while to update my blog. I have a bad short-term memory; it could take a week or two for me to process a happening properly in my head, however I do manage to update something within a day. Seldom. 

In mid-February took place this festival called Cross-Linx in four Dutch cities during four days. Wanting to see The National (an indie band originally from Ohio, now based in New York), I got my ticket to the one in Rotterdam. Being an Interpol fan and hearing constantly about how I should listen to The National, I finally did last spring, when the first song I heard from them was Bloodbuzz Ohio, it immediately impressed me. But it wasn’t until late autumn that I learned to love them. 

A day before the concert I listened to the other bands which were also going to perform. A Danish band called Efterklang sounded interesting with their umm “a lot of beats, horns, piano, electroish”- sound. Not that easy to describe, you just have to listen to it yourself. Or they do belong to a genre, but we don’t learn this stuff in music and media management school. If it helps, they have artists such as Jónsi, Grizzly Bear and Dirty Projectors related to them. Those who know these, congratulations, we’re on the same page.

Anyways, I was glad to realize that there will be more than one good band playing at the festival. Then I noticed that there will be even more, when I familiarized myself with New York based Buke & Gass. No, it is not written or pronounced with a P. It’s pronounced “HELL YEAH I’M GONNA GO SEE YOU GUYS!” 

It’s always good to find out more about the bands playing a few hours before they’re going to play. 

So, the first to go were the Danes. There were only sit tickets available, which was a new experience for me, and hopefully the last one. There was always someone’s head in front of me and I felt uncomfortable sitting, who goes to a concert to sit? PFF. After finding a comfortable standing position somewhere in the side, their show was already over before I noticed. It took about 40min, but it felt only half of it, probably I was just so anxious to be the only one standing in the venue area. But they had this great orchestra playing with them, which gave even a more majestic touch to their music. Good bands keep on coming from Legoland.

Then it was time for the NY duo. The area in which they played in looked more like a place to store big boxes. And apparently to play awesome music. The band’s name comes from the instruments they’ve created themselves. Buke= electrified six- string ukulele. Gass= cross between guitar and bass. A rocking cute duo. Bought their CDs, got one of it signed and the set list. YEIIII. Oh look there’s the girl’s gum wrapped in the set list. And it’s still soft.

I was already by then happy of all the brilliant music I’ve heard, but there was still the icing on the cake. The use of the strobo board, front man Matt with his wine bottle and running through the crowd with a 50m mic wire and eventually disappearing somewhere for a while and then literally rolling back to the stage and just pure rock n’ roll made the icing delicious. Pity that we had to run to the train station just before the show ended. I need to jog more.

It was a great day of great music. 

It's 5am, I’m listening to an artist, which we missed in Rotterdam; Canadian Owen Pallett. Though we did see him playing violin with The National, his music alone is too good, that I hope I’d have the chance to see him on his own show. 

Friday, March 4, 2011


Half a year already. PUUF! It feels like only yesterday, when I was unpacking my luggage in my new room. And yes these six months have been great. A lot has happened, though at the same time it feels that I haven't done anything. Only after the Christmas holiday it felt like the trip is just beginning.

I really haven't talked that much about what I've realized about the culture, people and what I expected before I came here. I apologize now, if I offend someone, but here we go:

1. I thought that the Dutch would pronounce my name better than the Finns, but it's been surprisingly difficult. My German teacher once asked, is the "j" pronounced as in "j" like "jungle". Yes, at least at home. Apply that! No, but actually I don't care anymore, and this shows, when I tend to say my name differently every time someone asks. And actually nowadays it sounds pretty cute how the Dutch pronounce it.

2. Before I came here a family friend said that the Belgian cuisine is better than the Dutch. Well, I haven't tasted anything Belgian except for chocolate and beer, but all I can say that the Dutch cuisine is quite non-existing. They do often mix mashed potatos with all sorts of veggies, and that is yummy. Other than that I only find food, which are either deep-fried, full of sugar or in green cans.

3. I once saw this cartoon of a Dutch person's reaction to different weathers. When it was raining, snowing or hot there was a sad face, but when it was cloudy the face was happy. I didn't really understand how can someone be happy with a dark sky. Until I experienced it myself. It was raining for two weeks, which was terrible, after that one week of no rain, but still a dark cloudy sky; I was in a good mood. I actually was thinking in my mind, what a wonderful weather it was. And when the sun comes out, it puts you even in a more good mood. Though I love snow, I hate it here. Kids start to throw snow balls at you, that's when  I want to hit them, but no point, since they are all my size. Riding your bike gets difficult, because the snow gets stuck in your tires and everyone is late for everything, due to public transportation and your own car being stuck somewhere. Yes, weather can be very surprising here; there have been many sunny, warm days, which has felt like April in Finland, but on the other hand it snowed a bit this week. I can't wait to do some bike trips again and go to the park for a beer.

4. Train trip durations are so short here. So short that sitting 2 hours in a train feels like forever, which would be the minimum in Finland. I've gotten so used to the 30min trips that I will probably go crazy when I get back home.

5. I was disappointed to not find more than 3 German beers here. Luckily we have the Belgian ones to make up for the lost. And why does Heineken taste better in Amsterdam?

6. I've wasted (invested) most of my money on gigs and band shirts, but if you have the opportunity to go see the bands you love, you must. Quite often bands have Stockholm as part of their tour, but Helsinki is missing. I know, it is pretty scary to cross the Baltic Sea, when you have those vikings sailing around, but remember vikings are not Finnish! Another thing that I love about gigs here, is that you can take your drinks to the concert area, in Finland you just suffer of dehydration, faint and get carried to the backroom. Also it's pretty easy to get in front of the stage and have space to breathe.

7. About the people, well, they are quite similar to Finns; same kind of black, sarcastic humor and straight-forwardness. Though I would say that the Dutch come across as more rude, Finns say things a bit more gently, however there is also that keeping everything to ourselves and snapping later.

8. This is a mini-Germany. A lot of Germans, but also Spaniards. There's these stereotypes that Dutch are laid back and Germans stress. Never have I thought it to be true. E.g. on Facebook a German would have in their status "Woke up at 8 to study", for a Dutch "One hour til deadline and still haven't started". 

I think that's everything for now, once again sorry if I offended someone, but remember to not take things seriously; they don't take you.

Here is one of my favorite moments during those six months:

Less than five months left and surely that will pass quickly. I remember some people saying during Christmas that it's a pity that they did not get to know some people better before they left back home. If you don't want to feel the same in July, now would be the time to say hello on Facebook.