Thursday, April 2, 2009

February 2007: Amsterdam

My friend Nick turned 23 last week, so I'd like to commemorate his day of birth with a post. When I lived in Ireland, Nick and I shared our love of Guinness, Kings of Leon, and Irish comedy. As the Dougal to his Father Ted, we watched David Lynch films at the IFC, slurped ice cream cones at Howth, and threw a few pints back watching the Six Nations final. Hanging out with Nick was fabulous, but I was never more grateful for his presence than when we went to Amsterdam.
I'm an experienced solo traveller, but it was nice to have company for those first three days. While Nick stayed with a friend, I spent my first night in a hostel. As I climbed into bed, a sketchy dude clearly hopped up on some other shit entered my room. Gesturing to the comatose man in the bed above me, he insisted that he was staying up to wake his friend for their 6 a.m. flight to Denmark.  Plunking down in the corner, he pulled his knees to his chest and proceeded to rock back and forth. Building a fortress with my pillows, I smushed myself against the wall and tried to fall asleep. When I awoke in the morning, Rocking Man was gone but his "friend" still snored in the bed. Whoops.
Fortunately, the rest of my Amsterdam experience was delightful. Dublin's wintery weather made for poor street art hunting conditions, but Amsterdam was a tad warmer. The snug city center allowed for easy exploration on foot. Technicolor spray painted pieces leapt out from every corner. Crackhead cats, Rainbow Bright's Air Force Ones, and a gluttonous drumstick-wielding cat all welcomed me to the Venice of the North. During those three days, I burned through two sets of AA batteries. I think my point and shoot camera is still recovering from the workout. 
In addition to the city's wellspring of graff and street art, I truly appreciated Nick's support. Anyone who's friends with a street art junkie knows the challenges of exploring new places with him or her. With my graffhead tendencies, staying focused is impossible and all schedules go out the window. However, Nick was nothing but patient and encouraging. His second pair of eyes caught pieces I didn't always see the first time through. 
While our itineraries diverged after Amsterdam, the first three days of that trip were a great time. Nick and I practically live on opposite sides of the country these days, but I have nothing but fond memories of our time together. He's an amazing screenwriter and a hilarious character, so he deserves a big break soon. 
One final announcement!French publication PLATEFORM Magazine jumps out of your computer screen and into real life for artist STF's gallery opening. Taking street art inside, the event features acoustic performances from Drou & the Candy Kid and Anything Got Married. William Geslin follows up with a DJ set. Admission is free, so if you're in Paris, head over to le Forum de la Bellevilloise on April 17. Can't make the opening? You can still sneak a peek at the art until May 3. For more info, check out

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