Cheese, Sausage and New York

File this posting under random thoughts and observations.

I’ve noticed this year that I’ve seen a LOT of people here (usually student-age) wearing the famous I [Heart] NY t-shirts. It seems too prevalent and too much of a fashion thing to be just the result of a lot of tourism to NYC. The other night, while pointing out to G yet another person sporting one of the shirts, he reminded me that the Dutch do have a special connection to NY. I guess those early Dutch expats were sending back t-shirts to their relatives here in the Netherlands with an I [heart] NA(msterdam) logo, the same way American expats now send back wooden clogs to the family members back home.

Yeah, the whole conversation was much funnier in person.

Speaking of jokes getting lost in translation …
Going through my Twitter feed this morning (I finally got the new Twitter!), I saw a link to this humorous “grilled cheesus” t-shirt. Funny stuff, but I realized that I kind of missed the joke about “The Goude News” upon first reading. Sure, if you pronounce Gouda the English way (gooda), it makes sense and it’s funny. If you pronounce it the Dutch way, you miss something. (If you go to the Wiki page for Gouda, you can listen to the Dutch pronunciation.)

As the famous saying goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I know just enough Dutch now to ruin certain jokes for me. Don’t even get me started on this season’s first episode of The Simpsons and their references to Den Haag (The Hague) and such. I guess it was a bit like the Flight of the Conchords‘ joke in that episode when they referenced the Wellington Botanical Gardens. Sometimes jokes work best when you’re not so well-informed! (And in the case of this whole paragraph, if you don’t know what the person is talking about, the whole thing gets confusing. Apologies.)

On the other hand, Dutch pronunciation, when heard by an English-speaker, can be both eye-opening and amusing. We learned about Vocking sausage/meats/liverworst the other night. One of our Dutch friends had a bit of fun with us on that one. Let’s just say that the V in Dutch often has more of an F sound, and leave the rest to your own imagination. I do try to keep this blog somewhat clean. My parents might be reading. ;) That said, I do recommend Vocking if you’re here in Utrecht. Very tasty! I gather it’s only really available in the Utrecht region, though, as the owner wants to keep it strictly an Utrecht thing.

F of the C

The Phoenix Foundation
Can’t sleep. Too excited!

Well, I really couldn’t sleep this morning, and as I lay there tossing and turning, I started thinking about the Flight of the Conchords show I’m going to tomorrow (and Tuesday) and that did get my mind going, making it even harder to fall back to sleep. You try getting back to sleep with Jenny going through your head!

I became a fan of the Flight of the Conchords five years ago, but this is the first time I’ve gotten a chance to see them live. They didn’t bother touring the US until I moved here to Europe and now this is the first European show they’ve done in ages. It’s about time! After years of following them, back when there was so little available we treasured every rare photo or video piece that showed up. Now fans have such a plethora of things to choose from. Kids these days don’t know how easy they have it. ;)

I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting a few people at the shows, as well. I know I’ll be meeting one of the writers from Trippist, as well as two women from Sherry’s wonderful What the Folk website, who have flown in from the US just to see the Amsterdam shows. I know a few more of you are going and would love to meet up if possible, even if just for quick hi. I admit that I’d like to get a chance to meet Bret and Jemaine, as well. I may technically be a Bretaholic, but after the occasional — and completely unexpected, out-of-the-blue — PMs from Jemaine himself about NZ music, I’m particularly curious to meet him, since he seemed to remember me somehow.

Speaking of New Zealand music, the photo above is of The Phoenix Foundation, a fantastic band that I’ve mentioned here before. It was because of FotC that I found out about them (and numerous other NZ musicians). I got to see TPF way back in 2006, for three gigs in New York. I had a fantastic time and they put on a wonderful set of shows. They’re also just a really nice bunch of fellas. I’m hoping they’ll be touring a bit of Europe in the near future, particularly since they have a brand new album out. You can hear it here through their official website. If you want to purchase it and you’re outside NZ, I recommend Amplifier. I’ve bought both downloads and physical CDs from them for years and never had any trouble at all.

By the way, I’ve never been to the Melkweg, where they’re playing, so I’ve got two questions. How easy is it to get there from the train station, and how strict are they about no photos? I’d like to take my camera, obviously (and I don’t use the flash, especially for shows like this), but I don’t want to be turned away because I’ve got it with me.