The End of Everything – a short story from The Netherlands.

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In June 2010 I arrived in The Netherlands with the notion of finally ‘settling down’. Young, in love and still just a little wet behind the ears, my girl and I had all the typical rat race dreams: Get the jobs so we could save money. Save money so we could get the house. Get the house so we could have kids. Have kids so we could be a happy family, a regular functioning cog in this big old machine we call society. What could possibly go wrong?

S moved out of our apartment sometime in early July 2013, leaving me with our cats CJ & Charlie and a home full of memories. Each evening, when I returned home from work, I existed only in a fuzzy stupor as I tried to come to terms with what was happening. I spent a great deal of time working my way through the towering pile of movies stacked up in the living room. I also re-watched The Wire, just for the hell of it. I took long baths, overate, under-exercised, over-analyzed and underslept.

Nights were particularly difficult. Unable to sleep, I’d sit playing with the cats for hours or simply stare at the ceiling as my mind trudged uselessly through the events of our relationship, from our early days in Belgium right through to our travels around China and our eventual arrival in Amsterdam. I listened to a fuck load of new music. I’d always wanted to collect Marvin Gaye, so I bought a whole bunch of his stuff and binged on it.

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Wall of Sound – a short story from The Netherlands.

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In June 2010 I arrived in The Netherlands with the notion of finally ‘settling down’. Young, in love and still just a little wet behind the ears, my girl and I had all the typical rat race dreams: Get the jobs so we could save money. Save money so we could get the house. Get the house so we could have kids. Have kids so we could be a happy family, a regular functioning cog in this big old machine we call society. What could possibly go wrong?

It was a Saturday morning mid June 2013 when I woke up and instinctively realized it was game over. S was curled up on the far side of the bed, about as far away from me as it was possible to get without falling out. She’d gotten home late the night before, so late in fact that I hadn’t even heard her come in.

Gingerly lifting myself out of bed, I felt my heart beating a million miles a minute. Jesus, this was it wasn’t it? I shuffled off to the toilet for a pee before making my way to the kitchen where I instinctively flicked the switch on the kettle and stood there for a moment shivering. It was the steam of the boiling water in my face that eventually shook me from my coma, forcing me to the fridge. Grabbing the milk, I set the carton down on the counter, popped a teabag into my cup and began pouring the water. Adding the milk, I clutched my brew in both hands and turned to find S framed in the doorway.

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The Voice – a short story from The Netherlands.

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In June 2010 I arrived in The Netherlands with the notion of finally ‘settling down’. Young, in love and still just a little wet behind the ears, my girl and I had all the typical rat race dreams: Get the jobs so we could save money. Save money so we could get the house. Get the house so we could have kids. Have kids so we could be a happy family, a regular functioning cog in this big old machine we call society. What could possibly go wrong?

Leighton: Welcome to your weekly dose of Films & Stars!!! Coming up this week… Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis don’t exactly see eye to eye …

Robert Downey Jr: I despise who you are on a cellular level!!!

Leighton: Charlie Sheen definitely has no issues with acrophobia!…

Charlie Sheen: I just wanna get high!

Leighton: …and Daniel Radcliffe claims to have nothing in common with his character Harry Potter!

Daniel Radcliffe:  I think I’m allergic to magic!

Leighton: But first… sit down, buckle up and hold on tight for this week’s movie news!

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My Photographs: Top 5 Queen’s Day, Amsterdam.

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Queen’s Day, April 2011. Some say you haven’t truly experienced Amsterdam until you’ve seen it in the incredible carnival mode of Queen’s/King’s Day. Right enough, the entire city is transformed beyond recognition every April as hordes of patriotic Nederlanders take to the streets, pubs and canals to celebrate the life and times of their glorious monarch.

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My Photographs: Top 5 The Heineken Experience, Amsterdam.

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The Heineken Experience, October 2010. You can’t miss the imposing form of the old Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam. Plonked on a narrow stretch of pavement on Stadhouderskade at one of the city centre’s busiest crossroads; the building dates back to 1867 and functioned as the original brewery until 1988 when a larger more modern facility was constructed on the outskirts of the city.  

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My Photographs: Top 5 EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam.

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Amsterdam Eye Film Institute, April 2012. The Amsterdam EYE Film Institute is a stunning building located on the north bank of The River IJ, just across the water from the city’s Central train station. Opened by Queen Beatrix on the 4th of April 2012, I was lucky enough to witness every stage of its construction as part of my daily commute. I was working as a writer, script editor, voice over and interviewer of Hollywood stars for the Dutch media production company FCCE. Every day I cycled through Amsterdam’s most picturesque canal streets before wheeling my bike onto the free ferry for the short chug over to Amsterdam North.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Amsterdam.

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Waterlooplein, September 2010. With its ramshackle market stalls and no-nonsense traders, Waterlooplein is probably my favourite Amsterdam Square. While the tourists selfie themselves silly on Rembrandtplein, The Dam and The Flower Market, for me the real magic of the city lies here. I spent many a Saturday afternoon leafing through boxes of black and white movie stills and piles of dusty antiques. On the day I took this shot, a middle-aged Amsterdammer pulled up right in front of me, hopped off her bike and darted into a nearby café, leaving her bemused dog in the back basket.

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