Dishwasher Wisdom

Dishwasher Pete is a friend of mine. Like me, he’s an American who moved to Amsterdam. Like me, he’s also a European of another country living here in Amsterdam. And that is only the beginning of what he and I have in common.

Pete had gotten in touch a few days ago about getting help posting a video from when he was on Letterman. See Pete’s book has just come out, and the buzz coming from both sides of the atlantic is that DISHWASHER is a smash-hit. I’m two chapters in and honestly, I already knew the thing would be good because only inspiring things can come from the mind of such an excellent person.

As I was sorting out the video issues with him, he asked that classic question, “So hows it going.. are you able to live off your website?”…. I’m sure I’m misquoting him, but I know the question well.. as Im lucky enough to have concerned friends everywhere.

But the great part was his answer to my answer. I told him, “At this point, no… no I can’t. But I don’t care, this is what I want to do.” (something to that effect) Pete responds very quickly and calmly with his great brand of wisdom — “Just keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing. Corporations and media groups can’t make the type of connections with an audience that you’re making. Keep going… you’re building something very special…” (again I’m misquoting, but I remember the good parts)

Then I remembered, just as he reminded me… before the whole book thing.. Dishwasher Pete had a zine and a dream. He published a zine and traveled from state to state, washing dishes. He had amazing experiences, and saw the entire US is ways that the average person will never get to. And throughout that experience… plenty of people cast doubt on him… but he kept doing what he was doing.

Fire escapes.

I digress, Pete is not my idol (though maybe he should be!). But it was his way of reminding me and assessing my goals… one of those moments that reminds me of how far Ive come, and where I’m going.

Flattr this!

Humans Arise from Amsterdam Caves

Although my mind is on my journey to New Orleans, which is just one week away, it is impossible to ignore Amsterdam these days.

Yes, the city I call my wife is in bloom. I guess we skipped winter this year, because our first string of sunny and cool days is here, and it seems any human that can move on something or be moved in something is out on the town. They have emerged from the Dutch winter slumber, and by god… they’re everywhere.

As I rode to Krizu’s, to continue her new apartment painting, I zigzagged between runners, skaters, stoners, seniors, and wheelchair racers. Or so I think. Maybe they zigzagged around me as I struggled to snap shots from my fancy camera phone thing.

Park.
And of course, in the great tradition of Amsterdamers, I’ve also found time to work in the garden. Mostly cursing the neighborhood cat for using my garden as a litter box. Things are budding and Ive cut back the perrenials and shrubs. Now I can begin construction of a security system to scare the crap out of cats who are not welcome in my garden. Now the neighbor’s rabbits, they’re always welcome, cause they have nice attitudes.

Anyway what was I saying, oh… its suddenly spring and this is the part where you remember why you love this city and endure the bleak grey winter.

Tomorrow I’ll get back to global concerns and social justice… for now as I continue to plot the course from New Orleans to North Florida, here’s me covering the magical Lloyd hotel for Trippist.com.

Flattr this!

bm183 Amsterdam Creative Spaces, The Story of OT301

The city of Amsterdam is famous for many things, among them, the great movement of creative people who occupied abandoned buildings over the past 30 years. Yet slowly the movement is changing, as are the laws, and squatting has become increasingly difficult. OT301 is performance space, restaurant, printshop, cafe, cinema, and much more; a unique example of a building and a group of people who have found a way to keep their dream alive amidst the wave of buyouts and evictions sweeping the city. One of the original founders, Colin, sat down with me to discuss what they’ve done and more broadly – what is happenning to such a famous movement in this town.

we talk about:
– The initial squatting of the building
– Relations with the local community
– Functions of the building
– Negociation with the local government
– The squatting scene historically
– Changes in the scene in the past decade
– The politics of squatting
– other European squatters and cities
to know more you’ll have to listen…

The building.

Colin mentions: Broedplaatsen Amsterdam (english version)

also recommended at the end of this program: Euronews (no comment segment now in podcast format)

Flattr this!