Author: <span class="vcard">Aksel van Elteren</span>

Teenage Wildlife

Friends are like clothes, they are either in or out of fashion, they make you look good or not. As a teenager I defined style as the point where politics and music intersected.The Clash were the only band that mattered and after reading Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia’ I ruled out communism in favour of anarchism…


Living too late (the death of Mark E. Smith)

The artists who defined my youth all die at a frightening pace. It almost feels like routine. Soon my youth will be erased. Soon I will look at the musical landscape and feel nothing. No joy, no hate, no melancholy, no nausea. Losing my youth also means losing originality, chaos, excitement and unpredictability. What’s the…


There is a light that never goes out (best of 2017)

Light goes out. Of course, it always does. Even the sun will one day stop to shine. There is no light that never goes out, unless it’s love, as Morrissey proclaims.I tend to believe him, both in romantic and societal sense. I also believe Leonard Cohen, whom I quoted last year. There is a crack…


You want it darker? (the end of 2017)

Towards the end of 2016 I was in shock. Not about Brexit, Trump’s election or right- and left-wing cultural wars that dominated the news cycle. Not even about the failure to systematically report on the one real problem facing humanity; climate change. No, Leonard Cohen’s death in November 2016 made a bad year truly horrible….


The loss of my youth

In 1985 I composed my first poem under the friendly light of a lamppost after crashing with my bicycle in the middle of the night. I crashed because I was drunk, the result of spending yet another night at ‘De Boemerang’. It was a bit of a strange place. Mopeds parked outside, routine fights between…


This one goes out to the one I love to hate

I’m not starting a political blog, but with the days of contemplation approaching, I dare you to think about the following: “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” (Isaac…


Funeral songs

It could be my last act of musical education, the one no one really wants to be confronted with. It would definitely address my annoyance with the way most funerals are being run. I don’t expect happiness and joy, but a bit more tasteful and unusual music would be nice, if nice can ever be…


Punk and Puberty in three episodes

Scene 1 – Iggy Pop playbacking ‘Lust for Life’ on Toppop. I was 8 years old. Toppop was our primary channel of (new) music in the 1970’s. I didn’t see at the time how drugged up Iggy was, nor did I notice how paper-thin he was or the sloppy make up on his body. I…


Ghost in the machine

When I was 17 I read Arthur Koestler’s ‘Ghost in the machine’ (1967). I didn’t understand half of the book, but it still left a big impression.Taking the relationship between mind and body as a starting point, Koestler tries to explain why people have a tendency towards (self-)destruction. According to him it all boils down…


Rearview mirror

  My son plays electric guitar. I wish my parents would have given me something similar when I was young. All I got was a flute. Maybe I could have gotten more. Not a piano, our house was too small for a piano, but even a saxophone or a drum kit would have been fine….


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