Friday, 25 April 2008
Last night I read this book:
Lately I have been writing here and there a certain group of people that in the 60’s were the heart of an movement, that went under many names. They gave Amsterdam the name “magies sentrum” and they made it that for many people. I am most of all interested in the esoteric aspect of these people and the ideas that they had. But there is surprisingly little written about these people and that magic period, and certainly not from the point of view that I have in mind.
The book De bestorming van het onmogelijke, which means something like Trying to conquer the impossible, is written by Marjolein van Riemsdijk. She has a more artistic point of view, and her story is centred around a man that is no always named when this Magic Movement is mentioned: Max Reneman. Max seems to have played a vital role in the scene, as inspirator, facilitator and most of all as the glue that kept all these characters together. People like Robert Jasper Grootveld, Theo Kley, Nicolaas Kroese, etcetera. The book makes use of the many beautiful photo’s that were taken by Cor Jaring, who was also part of the scene.
After reading the book, I finally understand some of the connections between the people involved, and also where al the names come from: De Keerkring, Het Deskundologisch Laboratorium, De Insekten Sekte, Openbaar Kunstgebit, Het Amsterdams Ballongezelschap, The Lowlands Weedcompagnie, etcetera. I was already fascinated by this whole period, but after reading this book I am excited! I woke up this morning with an urge to write a book myself, which doesn’t seem like a very good idea at this point in my life. Earlier I mentioned that I had as a working title for that book The flying Dutchmen, but it should be Magies Sentrum, of course.
One of the many things that I didn’t know, and that I learned form Marjolein van Riemsdijk’s book, is that De Insekten Sekte was asked in 1968 by the Wereld Natuur Fonds to think up something that would make children aware of the environmental problems. Grootveld, Kley and Reneman came with the idea to let children make blue flags with a gold/yellow butterfly on it, as a symbol of the imagination and metamorphosis. Those flags could be hang “half stok” whenever there was another environmental disaster. The plan was welcomed with enthousiasm. But when Theo Kley said in an interview with a Dutch newspaper that the flags should also be used when Prins Bernard went out on one of his hunting trips in Africa, the Wereld Natuur Fonds blew off the whole campaign. Max Reneman, Huub Mathijsen and Theo Kley did visit John Lennon and Yoko Ono, when they were in the Amsterdam Hilton, and handed them one of the flags.
If the book that I have in mind, including a CD of course, would ever be realised, Simon Vinkenoog will play one of the head roles. He made an LP with some friends ( Hans Wesseling was one of them) in the sixties, Woorden, that I don’t have, but here is the track that ended up on the compilation LP Waterpipes & Dykes.
You can order the book of Marjolein van Riemsdijk here.