A couple of days ago was Queen’s day. I’m a republican through and through, but this was a wonder. I spent two days in bed recovering. Croats, Serbs, Bosnians look to the north and weep! I saw a whole nation united in revelry, yokels and aristocrats alike. A whole nation, not just the north or the south, a whole nation draped in a single color. Orange socks, orange pants, orange leggings, orange sweaters, orange hats. You name it. Orange orange orange. A whole nation chanting – it is said – in honor of their queen. This is a wonder. Never mind that she was up north in Friesland where they speak a strange patois and want statehood; never mind that she was completely dressed in pink, marzipan pink (who advises this woman!), it is nevertheless a wonder. And when I am awestruck, when I am fascinated with the world and its peoples, when my amazement cannot be contained, I drink. I drink like a fucking crazy-man. So very fortunate was it, therefore, that everyone around me was drinking too. Huge quantities. These Dutch guys – I swear – are like Albanians. And at two fifty a beer I was robbed in broad daylight of all my hard-earned xerox-money and potential future-xerox-money too (if Branson will have me back; I worked exactly 1 day, then came this). But my amazement did not stop here, because out onto the streets people poured out their belongings on blankets and tarpaulins, a whole bunch of crap sold at throw-away prices, a sea of bric-a-brac, nick-nacks, stuff-no-one-wants, old toasters, yin-yang balls, The Human League on VHS. And children too, hundreds of them flogging their junk, their skills and their tricks, some legitimate, some highly questionable: I stuck my hand in a black box full of fuzz in the Vondel park and this ten year old charged me a Euro (I swear, these friggin’ kids you give ‘em an inch... I’m not gonna say it... I’m just gonna say: Lord of the Flies). To be fair though, there were some wonders among them too, a young Britney-lookalike banging out the Goldberg Variations on her Clavinova like she was MSNing her girlfriends. Amazing, wondrous stuff this day. The marzipan queen should have been on her knees.
By noon I was coming down, though. And by evening I was fighting all out to stay on my feet. Brendan managed to drag what was left of me to the Waldorf in the Jordaan – not the hotel, but the thirty square meters of hip & hype, congregation point of Amsterdam fashionistas, stylists, typographers, streetologists and suchlike (where are the friggin’ doctors in this city!!!) . I obliged ‘cause I know Anna goes there with Fred and some her friends. She showed up after midnight and I practically fell over myself trying to get a shot of her outside. Big sad eyes, arms flicking – the usual. Not a blob of orange like the rest, though, just a couple of armbands jangling and charm, so much fucking charm it kills. But drunk as a rut, no way was I gonna show myself un-enhanced. So I went and enhanced myself as best I could. Brendan was sweet-talking a German “chick” and I slinked (slunk??) up to her friend by the door, a stupendous beauty – dark-caramel, Amazonian in stature, a killer – she says, “are you going already?”(Full accents!). I was stunned. “In fact I am not.” I said. But she wasn’t talking to me. I didn’t see the blond giant ahead, but being a head taller than everyone else I don’t think she noticed that I slipped my arm practically around her to wave at Anna outside, fully enhanced. And this was my last move before I retreated and slumped irretrievably. All I recall, with Brendan standing nearby, are the words (spoken with a slight German accent) “but you are so muscular”.