Monday, August 03, 2009

Lovely Amsterdam Moments.

Lee Bridges, Cannabis Poet.

Basjoe Coffee Shop, Amsterdam

Leidseplein, Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Cafe Terraces.

Comedy Cafe, Amsterdam.

Slept soundly until a loud sound woke us both up, thought right away that was the end of sleeping but it went very quiet again.

Next thing I knew, I was awake again and Richie told me that it was 11 am, which is amazing and very welcome after Saturday night.

Never experienced that here before, that the temperature went up so steeply at midnight, thought it was just me.

Had resigned myself to Richie examining the catheter for a kink in the tube that was stopping the urine flowing.

As this often happens I thought immediately that was the cause of my discomfort, was relieved that it was not the reason.

But also quite disappointed as heat could not be sorted out and we would have to wait for the weather to change.

The rain certainly made the temperature drop at last and was welcome relief and meant we could finally get some sleep at 6 am.

So no wonder that we slept so long today; feel quite restored now, obviously really needed the extra zzz’s.

Have noticed recently that I have been reminiscing alot recently, have really enjoyed doing so very much.

It is funny the things that trigger memories, like bread yesterday which reminded me of bagels and Mr. Ross’s bagel bakery in Hackney, London.

This hot weather reminds me of when we used to go to the Comedy Café by the Leidseplein for the open mike evening.

One evening we were there early as usual and the compere (mc) called all the comedians who wanted to perform that night to come over to him for a briefing.

Richie went to join the others and a friend, Alex and I were left chatting at our table, when someone came up and asked if we minded if he sat with us.

We did not mind so he joined us at or table just outside the café on the edge of the terrace.

It was a balmy soft night and TJ that was the man’s name who joined us, was quite a figure and we were not surprised when he told us that he was a dj and tattoo artist.

We were enjoying chatting with TJ and when the briefing was finished everyone came and sat with us.

One of the comedians, a large handsome man from Los Angles called Marshall asked Julius (a very flamboyantly dressed fellow, who looked like he had stepped off the set of Shaft, or was Huggy Bear from Starksy and Hutch) whether he was a pimp.

Julius reply was classic, he looked at Marshall and sniffed and adjusted his hat saying

‘’ Hell no I am not a pimp I just make my own clothes’’

Everyone laughed and the whole group of 10 people were enjoying the moment and each others company.

It was one of those lovely Amsterdam moments when a group of people find themselves sitting with like minded people on a terrace.

And the conversation flows unhindered as the participants enjoy the unexpected interaction with each other.

The humour was exceptionally good with all the comedians playing off each other before their performances; jokes were being batted around joyously.

We were all having a great time; this of course attracted others to join us on the terrace.

By the time the performance was due to start there was quite a crowd keen to see the comedians.

Especially those who had been enjoying the terrace performances and were keen to see what the real sets would be like.

Turned out that it was an exceptionally good night for the Comedy Café with great performances from all the comedians.

The place was really buzzing that night Amsterdam at its best.

Never experienced another night quite like that it really was a special.

Sometimes this can happen on the terrace of a bar but in my experience this sort of thing happens
mostly on a coffee shop terrace or in a coffee shop.

The Basjoe was always the place for getting into conversation with other people.

Remember sitting out on their terrace on many an occasion and having a good laugh with other customers.

We met Lee Bridges there, the Cannabis Poet, a lovely man; he was a jazz poet a very charming and friendly man, who was born in Georgia, America.

No one believes Amsterdam
Will ever stop swinging when
So much real freedom is truly
Felt, especially in the smoking
Coffeeshops where tensions and
Hostilities melt and
What a beautiful scene
The Scene (Part C)
Copyright 2000 by Lee Bridges

Lee was a fine fellow; we got talking to him on the terrace at the Basjoe, the day we had just got back from a visit to Cork in 2000.

We were in a particularly good mood as we had just been offered a new apartment by my landlord, after they admitted that they could not fix the damp problem.

Life was looking good for us that sunny afternoon when we met Lee by the Basjoe.

We became friends and would often bump into Lee on our frequent visits to the coffee shop, it was very nice to meet such an intelligent fellow as Lee, and we both enjoyed talking to him.

Lee was in big demand so would not always sit with us but he always came over and greeted us and stood up talking for awhile before departing with a sweet smile to go back to the lucky people he was with.

He generally gave us a a taster of the hash he was smoking and often gave me a piece of chocolate, it was a delight to meet him.

He was always well dressed and told us often about his jobs as a photo model and that he would ask for the clothes he modelled as part of his payment.

He had a very elegant cashmere coat from one of his modelling jobs, in which he looked extremely elegant.

When we got married in 2001, Lee was one of the people who came to our party, he enjoyed the party very much and especially the feast Richie had prepared.

One of the things we had bought was Stilton, which looked amazing on the table amid all the quiches, salads, dips and bread and cakes Richie had made.

Lee had heard but had never tasted Stilton before and was amazed at how good it tasted, it was a revelation to him.

We had a very good wedding party and many other parties at the new apartment which we moved into not too long after we met Lee at the Basjoe.

We only moved from that apartment because I was marooned on the second floor as there was no lift so was dependant on the mobility bus for carrying me up and down the flights of stairs.

Sadly we did not get this place as quick as we had hoped to get it, when I could be independent.

Real shame that I was cooped up in our last place from July 2006 until May 2007, 11 months indoors, in the kitchen or the front room.

In that time I only went out twice a week to appointments at the Rehabilitation Clinic, who took me in for one month so I could have a break from being isolated at home.

The appointments stopped in March to give me a breathing space and to concentrate on getting a new apartment.

By the time we were allocated it at the end of April 2007, I could not go out independently as my hands would not function well enough.

Could not operate the key nor could I open my purse or even get it out of my bag as I no longer had any useful sensation in my fingers.

Still this apartment is brilliant as I could roll freely from room to room and because the windows go from ceiling to floor finally I had a good view.

Glad we are here in this neighbourhood which has always been a favourite of ours.

It is a lovely warm day again today and looks all set to be quite hot according to weather forecasts and my physio who was here making me work this afternoon.

Hope that it is a nice day for everyone today.


Jen said...

Hi Herrad. I like the story about the Cannabis Poet. Amsterdam sounds way more fun than around here :)

It's been pretty hot here too. Spells of 90+ degrees and (what feels like) 90% humidity. UGH.

Gonna go get my car inspected now. It's way overdue...



Anonymous said...

Hi Herrad! What a great story! I laughed about the pimp comment, lol! When I first saw your post, I thought I was looking at the American actor Samuel L Jackson! You know, I also have fond memories of hanging out on terraces, yacking it up with people on hot sultry Montreal summer nights! That would be the only thing I miss about the city! Hope you have a great evening!!!

Lisa Emrich said...

The pimp comment got me laughing out loud. I could picture the occasion so well from your rendition.

Sounds like you and Richie had a fine wedding party. Sounds like great food with fine friends.

Stay cool.

Herrad said...

Hi Jen,
Glad you liked the story about Lee.
Amsterdam can be fun at times.

Hi Rain,
Nothing beter than those chance pleasant encounters with strangers on cafe terraces on balmy summer nights and great discussions taking place accompanied by lots of humour and good feelings.

Hi Lisa,
Lovely to see you comment, the pimp comment had everyone who heard in stitches.
We had a great wedding and a wonderful party with good friends.

Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment it is much appreciated.

Richie said...

Lee was a lovely man. A great figure. Time passed so quickly with his company- and even in his seventies the magic worked on the ladies! and he always had the best hash hoooooweeeeeeee!
Remember Hilton playing at the wedding? A real original member of the Animals playing at our wedding!
Shame I only found out it was that Hilton after he had died. I thought the two guys talking about cutting some new tracks before the long haired one was flying off to Hawaii was usual Amsterdam bollox: so they were real rock stars- I wonder who the little hippy was- nice lad, he reminded me of Dylan... no not Bob, the Rabbit on the Magic Roundabout.Boing "Time for bed" sad Zeberdee