Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette (1886). Vincent van Gogh.
Van Gogh’s collection of letters to his brother, to me, is one of the highlights of Dutch literature. He’s so lucid about his demons—they almost become your own demons. Madness, insanity, comes in two forms, doesn’t it: either you completely lose yourself in it until you become unrecognizable, or you experience it consciously as it’s all happening. Like surgery without an anesthetic. Van Gogh belongs in the second category, which is why he tried to end it as he did.
According to The Saint Denis Times, famed outlaw Arthur Morgan was recently hospitalized due to severe back pains caused by the burden of carrying the entire gang and their problems on his back for six chapters.
voice message: every fucking single one of the ice trays inside of the freezer are empty. really? really? i mean, how hard is it to fill up the ice trays arthur? if you spent less time worrying about who’s knuckles were in deep and sitting on so-and-so’s face then maybe i could have some fucking cold water instead of this warm ass water. can you please fill them up when you get home? and what the actual fuck is the sticky substance all over the TV in my room? i mean, did you guys have a fucking orgy in here? i mean, really? i’m going to bed, goodnight.
Imagining the early early early years of the Van Der Linde gang (as in literally just Dutch, Hosea, and Strauss) is so fucking funny to me like you got this 19 year old asshole who probably has the biggest ego around, his 29 year old boyfriend who’s also a conman who just wants 19 year old asshole to calm down, and this like 28ish year old Austrian guy who probably doesn’t really know how he got involved with these two but whatever hes getting money and hes not dead so theres that
Like many Dutch children, I grew up with Dutch comic strip, TOM POES (“Tom Puss”), by Marten Toonder (1912-2005). It chronicled the adventures of clever and resourceful Tom Poes, and his friend, Lord Olivier B. Bommel.
The original text comic, which ran from the 40s to the 80s, is still very highly rated, and regarded as literature rather than as “merely” a comic. Apart from featuring a large roster of colorful characters, it coined many neologisms, which are still used today in the Dutch language.
One of my first memories is the creepy story about the living figurehead. At one point, in the middle of the night, it leaves its place at the prow of the ship and attacks the heroes, a scene I found incredibly frightening. With its gargoyle face and black cloak, the villain was pure horror to me.
Another chilling villain was Black Wing. He’d always appear during thunderstorms, throwing open the windows of Lord Bommel’s castle, threatening the heroes like a malevolent spirit from a Victorian ghost story.
The settings were dark and forlorn: foggy swamps, rain and winds, full moons, flashes of lightning, and mysterious dark figures doing their evil deeds. The heroes would often sit in front of the fireplace until adventure called—it was as if the town never knew daylight, or summer.
I’ve always found the names were very ingenuous. Tom Poes is short, direct, light on his feet like a cat. Olivier B. Bommel, on the other hand, is long-winded, official, pompous, with the double, bassy B sounding like the thudding footsteps of a big brown bear. The sound of their names reveal their characters.
Tom Poes and Olivier B. Bommel featured in one full-length animated film, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN (Eng: “The Dragon That Wasn’t (Or Was He?)”), 1983. It used to be a Christmas staple, but I haven’t seen it in a long time; and I think it’s safe to say the comic is on its way to being forgotten by younger generations. The characters are slowly fading into the mist that always surrounded their castle.
Tip, if an app or a site has audios that are just too robotic, try out “learn 50 languages”. The app has audios with pronunciation from natives and there are 100 short audios so it won’t take a long time to listen through them.
If you want to hear only a certain word or phrase, try out Forvo instead.
Been a while since I upload my drawings. I’ve been fighting my demons that resurfaced for a couple of weeks. I’m feeling a bit better now, at least I think my head is in the right place (for now) 😃. Anyways, have some Motivational Dutch here👌✨
(Done with Copic Markers in Strathmore Toned Tan paper)