Saturday, August 21, 2010

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Floortje Zwigtman’s novel ”Tegenspel” (”Defence”) from 2007 is the second of three in her series about Adrian Mayfield, a young gay man living in Victorian London. When I read the first of the novels - ”Schijnbewegingen” (”Tricks of the Trade”) - I was sure that I had never read anything quite as good and I was curious if Zwigtman could keep up the pace in volume two. Now I know, that she can. This Dutch author is a bit of a wonder and I’m quite surprised that she hasn’t been translated into English, yet.

I read volume two of her Adrian Mayfield books in German. Here the title of the book is ”Versuch einer Liebe” (“Attempts of Love”), a title that is just as fitting as the original one. The year is 1894, the place London and Adrian Mayfield is now 17 years old. He has found what he believes is true love with the moral and high-principled artist Vincent Farley, but the problem is that the past is catching up with Adrian. He knows that if Vincent ever finds out that Adrian has once worked in a male brothel, their relationship will be over.
To avoid his former colleagues and blackmailers Adrian moves back to The King’s Arms, the pub that used to be his dad’s, but is now run by Adrian’s first love Peter. Again Adrian’s past catches up with him as Peter is now married and Peter hates gays. At the same time it is clear to Adrian, that his lover Vincent sees homosexuality as a shameful disease from which you have to try to get cured.
Adrian gets work as a journalist, but when he has to cover the trial against Oscar Wilde regarding his love affair with the young Lord Bosie, all hell breaks loose. Adrian has nowhere to run and he is about to lose everything he has ever loved.

Floortje Zwigtman’s second Adrian Mayfield-novel is as good as the first one, but darker and a lot more disturbing. Although the books are regarded a youth books in Holland, I don’t think they are particularly aimed at young people as the subject and the darkness are very mature. In this volume two you get a deeper insight into the characters and their pasts, especially Adrian’s and Vincent’s, and what you get to see is not always pleasant.
The novel takes many unexpected twists and turns and Zwigtman isn’t afraid of taking the story places where other authors wouldn’t dare to tread. At the same time the novel is very well researched and the trial of Oscar Wilde is a great document of Victorian (double-)standard. Personally I can’t wait to read the third and final volume of the Adrian Mayfield-series. Again I have to reward the book six out of five stars: ******

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Ultimate Favourites Survey 150 Questions

For months I’ve tried to come up with answers to the craze called “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” that is sweeping the internet. So far I haven’t been able to come up with 25 things, though, that you don't know about me AND that I would like to share! Instead I found this on the net; a questionnaire named The Ultimate Favourites Survey 150 Questions. Now THAT I can answer, and here you’ll see what I’ve come up with:

Colour: Yellow/green
Food: Swiss potato cake
Animal: Pig
Restaurant: Mauritz Café, Odense, Denmark
(Best) friend: Soren and Mette
Type of shoe: Sandals
Style of clothing: Casual
Type of jewellery: Necklaces/rings
Scent: Apple/white musk
Taste: Salty
Memory: Going to an amusement park with my Nan when I was 8.
Class (at school): Music and German
Day of the week: Thursday
Time of day: After 10 p.m.
Month: May
Holiday: City breaks
Season: Spring
Thing to do when happy: Writing
Thing to do when sad: Listening to music
Thing to do when angry: I’m hardly ever angry, but yell maybe??
Thing to do with friends: Hang out, talk, go to the pub
Bible verse or quote: I’d rather quote Shakespeare, ha-ha!
CD: Brian Eno’s Here Come The Warm Jets
Song: Currently Rage Against the Machine’s Sleep Now In The Fire
Male singer: Donovan/Eminem
Female singer: Janis Joplin/Amy Winehouse
Actor: Donald Sutherland/Johnny Depp
Actress: Jodie Foster/Marianne Sägebrecht
TV channel: Danish DR2 and Charlie
TV show: Monty Python/The Simpsons/The Young Ones/Northern Exposure etc.
Movie: Currently the brilliant movie Twin Town
Type of weather: Sunny and mild
Website: Google Earth
Book: Currently Floortje Zwigtman's Adrian Mayfield series
Manga/anime: Junjo Romantica
Drink: Water/tea/white wine
Hairstyle: Long (both guys and girls)
Teacher: Mr. Clausen (music, drama etc.)
Church activity: I don't go to church. I’m not Christian
School activity: Everything. I loved school.
Type of chores: Cooking/baking
Gift: Surprises
Compliment: About my writings
Insect: Ladybird/grasshopper
Flower: Freesia
Letter: B or X, I guess
Number: 13, 6 and 5
Shape: Circle or triangle
Writing topic: Relationships/magic realism
Type of music: Rock/metal/jazz/classical
Type of books: Fantasy/magic realism/history
Type of movies: Horror/fantasy/British movies
Breed of cat: I’m allergic to cats
Breed of dog: Any dog that doesn’t scare me!
Night time activity (before going to sleep): Writing or watching telly
Morning activity (to wake you up): Taking a shower/drinking orange juice
Design (striped, plaid...): Dunno
TV character: Ed Chigliak (from Northern Exposure)
Piece of technology: My computer
Eye colour (normal): Green or brown
Hair colour (normal): Ginger, dark brown or blond
Gemstone: Tourmaline/emerald
Cookie: Chocolate chip
Candy: Dark chocolate
Dessert: Chocolate mousse
Meat: I don’t eat meat
Fruit: Strawberries/apples
Veggie: Broccoli
Dairy product: Cheese
Bread product: Rye bread
Car: Dunno. I don’t have a driver’s license
Outfit: Dunno
Store: Forbidden Platen in W’ton and Nostalgia Books & Comics in Brum
Water animal: Sea horse
Inside joke: Pinky and the Brain (don’t ask)
Guy friend (closest): Soren, Chris and Oliver
Body type: Lean (guys)/curvy (girls)
Type of phone: iPhone
Type of camera: Nikon
Type of music listening device: iPhone, iPod, Denver surround sound system
Wish: To move to England soon
Childhood toy: Toy dog named Lasse
Video game: HP5
Sport: Football/golf
Shoe brand: Not that interested in shoes
Clothing brand: Fransa/Ze-Ze
Eye colour (unnatural): Husky blue
Hair colour (unnatural): White
Pillow shape: Square
Type of pj's (night gown, etc.): short, silk night gown
Ice cream: Chocolate/strawberry
Country (can't be your own country though): England
Cake: Brownies
Pie: Vegetable pie
Thing to do alone: Read/write
Thought: Thinking about my next book
Person to be with: Friends
Way of receiving mail (email, text, etc.): Email and snail mail
Type of chocolate: Dark/orange/white
Number over 100: 142 maybe
Form of entertainment (TV, internet, musical...): TV/internet/concerts
Artist/band/group: Beatles/Velvet Underground/Mothers/Queen/Slade/RATM/Muse
Beanie baby: Dunno
Body part (on yourself): Lips/legs/bosom
Body part (in general): Eyes/fingers
Body part (on guys): Eyes/fingers/chest/privates
Emotion: Calmness
Planet: Venus
Pet: Budgie
Parent (closest): Both dead, but I was closest to my mum
Sibling (closest): I have one older sister, Ilse
Vacation spot: West Midlands, UK
Cave: Tingbaek lime cave, Denmark
Coffee-like drink: Black coffee, but I prefer tea
Gum: Strong mint
Mint: Not sure
Magazine: The Danish magazine “Hjemmet”
Pokemon game: I don’t play Pokemon games
Kingdom hearts game: Actually I don’t play that, either
Email website: gmail
Blog website: Blogger
Sad song: Sad Song by Velvet Underground
Christmas/holiday song: Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade
Person to shop with: I always shop alone
Type of money (dollar, check, change...): Cash!
Lava lamp colour: Blue
Lotion scent: Scentless
Future vacation spot: Brum
Thing in your room: Paintings/photos
Lesson learned: Miracles happen to those who believe in them
Soda: Coke
Cafeteria food: Fish & chips
Picture on computer: Signed Phelps-twins pic w. personal comments from Oliver Phelps
Diary entry: I don’t keep a diary
Word: Wicked
Social network account: Twitter
Handwriting (of a friend): All my British mates. They are taught lovely handwriting in school.
Type of school project: School plays/school concerts
Writing utensil (pen, pencil): Blue pilot pens
Colouring utensil (crayon, etc.): Coloured pencils
Makeup product: Mascara
Hair product: Nothings special
Time to think: Nighttime
Daring thing to do: Moving to another country for good
Type of light (sunlight, light bulbs...): Sunlight
Beach activity: Swimming
Mountain activity: Not going to the mountains, as I’m scared of heights
Snow activity: Making snow men and snow angels, ha-ha!
Job: Writer (or working at an amusement park!)
Pastime: Questionnaires!


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