Archive for the 'de wallen' Category

A’dam…sleeps…alone…tonight…

sexist advertising

Yesterday, Amsterdam’s government announced that they intend to close down even more coffeeshops, brothels, and sex shops in the city’s center. So visit while you can. I hope they don’t wipe the center entirely “clean.” For the sake of tourism, I don’t think they will. But they do need to flush the place of shady drug dealers.

Here’s what pisses me off, though: it seems like the government legalized everything without proper regulation. They were a little too laissez- faire about it. Now all the people who are legally working in windows or selling pot with a license will get screwed trying to look for new work. Meanwhile, the pimps and hard dealers will simply move elsewhere. It’s easy to work as a pimp or dealer anywhere! It’s not like they have to file paper work or reassess their resumes now; unlike their law abiding “underworld” counterparts. Mind the epic fail up ahead, Job Cohen.

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by the Postal Service

“Girl, I’ll love you… tonight.”

I  was taking a break from reading religious texts and banging out seriously typo-ed posts (thanks for the heads- up, Martlock) when I discovered this classy “Eros Centre” standing a mere three blocks from my house. Leiden doesn’t have a red light district, but it’s still in the Netherlands. I was bound to run into a brothel/ sex club eventually.

At first glance I thought it might be a dance club or a sketchy singles bar, but the hours posted on the door were something like 12:00-16:00. Probably not a dance club. There’s no Grolsch or Heineken sign above the door. And it literally has red lights out front.

Like most things seedy and inappropriate, this made me miss my undergrad thesis.

Speaking of seedy and inappropriate, this Diplo/Spank Rock remix is great. It’s re-fried 2 Live Crew with a catchy Beach Boys sample. Beautiful.

Download Put That Pussy On Me (Diplo Tonite Remix)

Very Young Girls

It might be weird way to spend July 4th, but I’d really like to see this movie at the IFC Center tomorrow. As the title suggests, it’s about Very Young Girls involved in prostitution in New York City. Many of them started at the age of 13. I usually gravitate towards alternative narratives of sex work (i.e. people who willing get in, male prostitution, fetish work etc.), but unfortunately, there is a large and ugly reality involving trafficked women and girls that needs to acknowledged.

“She needs more of ze punishment!”

So you know how this blog has turned into a sex scandal newsfeed as of late? Yeah, that’s not ending today, thanks to this Max Mosely story courtesy of the Times.Now, I’m the last person who thinks that people should be punished for their fantasies, especially if they are carried out between consensual parties. But I can understand why they would want him to resign; this is some scary, awkward stuff to know about someone. Here are some highlights, put in bold for you perusal:

Few scandals in recent years have provoked as much anger and dismay across Europe as the saga of Max Mosley, the overseer of grand prix motor racing who made tabloid news last weekend in a front-page exposé and accompanying Web video showing him in a sadomasochistic orgy with five supposed prostitutes in a London sex “dungeon”…

The video showed Mr. Mosley counting in German — “Eins! Zwei! Drei! Vier! Funf!” — as he used a leather strap to lash one of the women.

“She needs more of ze punishment!” he cried in German-accented English. One woman appeared to search his hair for lice while another called off items on an inspection list. Mr. Mosley, naked, was bound face-down and lashed more than 20 times.

It quoted – Mosley associates as saying that the prison garb worn by the women were “American convict uniforms” and as dismissing the Nazi allegations by saying, “The scenario was more Alcatraz than Auschwitz.” (Because that makes it OK…?*)

*Italics mine.

This unmade my day

How did this sweet little Oxford math prodigy become a $260/hour prostitute?

No idea. I mean, yes, her father was the Joe Jackson of mathematics. He pushed those children way too hard in one area of life, and in the end, it wasn’t worth it. He was probably also sexually abusive, which ruins people in ways that we are only starting to understand.

According to the website she works through, Sufiah Yusof aka “Shilpa Lee” is “available for booking every day from 11am to 8pm.” That doesn’t leave time for anything else, except prime time television. Everything is gone. It’s absolutely terrifying to think that something led her to completely die inside like that.

In de Boek

Writing a book during Book Week in Amsterdam. Nice! I just wish I knew why the week was ten days long.

I went to the Bijlmer and the Red Light District (tour), and a boat ride with Paap! I just wish I could be here on Queensday again (minus the ridiculous trance music.)

It’s been a productive week, but it’s been too cold in the city. The days start out sunny, but by 10 AM it’s overcast. The painful ice storms are back in town, of course. I only brought one really warm sweater, so I’ve been wearing the same thing everyday like a cartoon character. Whatever.

I’ve done what I’ve needed to get done. I’ve got about 80 pages so far, but it turns into 68 when I turn it from Helevetica to Times New Roman. It’s a little scary, but I’ll manage. At least I have wiggle room. It won’t last long, but I’ve got it.

Niewe Oogen

I’m back in Amsterdam. I took this picture on my cell of the Amsterdam theater by 42nd before I left. I guess I just liked the red.

My luggage got stranded in Prague, but they should be back later. I forgot that everything is closed because it’s Sunday, so I did some useless running around.

I can’t wait to just walk where the characters I’m writing about “walk” and see where they’re supposed to live. I’ve been so bad about filling in their lives properly.

Meer morgen.

So exciting!

As a New Yorker who’s writing about hookers, I can’t tell
you how exciting this is. (Granted, I’m writing about Dutch hookers in 1992.) I have nothing against Spitzer, and I don’t take any joy in his demise, but this is still a very satisfying time for this to happen.

So here’s a roughest of rough sketch of what I’m writing about: two prostitutes. A is female, in her thirties, works in a window. B is male, in his teens and works on the street. Both of them either live in or have family in the Bijlmermeer district, right around the 1992 crash. There’s lots of sex, a sprinkling of drugs, and somber lack of rock and roll. It’s very fun to write.

Fashion Week, Dutch Style

This is an older story, but I’ll tell it anyway:

As of January 21 of this year, the city of Amsterdam commandeered 16 windows and turned them into high fashion display windows. The Red Thread is probably pissed. Fashionistas are thrilled.

I’m personally with the RT on this one. If it was a few places here and there, I’d understand. But sixteen windows? That’s excessive. Target. The. Crime. Not the tax paying women. It’s sort of like the age lowering thing; I know it’s meant to fight pimps and drug dealers, but they should really target the pimps and drug dealers.

Raising the Prostitution Age

Dutchnews.nl had an interesting little article today: “Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin is to consider whether the legal age for prostitutes can be raised from 18 to 21 years as part of a package of measures to combat forced prostitution, reports ANP news agency on Wednesday.In November MPs rejected a proposal by the right-wing PVV party to raise the age for prostitutes.”

This makes me really wish I could read Dutch, cause then I could look at Telegraaf or Volkskrant and get some kind of opinion on this. I wonder if age is the real issue behind the trafficking. Is an 18 year old that much more malleable than a 21 year old? It’s only three years. I wonder if the proposal is misguided and overlooking a major issue here. No, they shouldn’t be Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver young, but it’s so easy to fake an age that all the government might end up with is a false sense of security.

Shouldn’t they go after the pimps rather than making it harder for prostitutes to work?

Girl! I wanna take you to a dark room!

…although I doubt that girls are allowed in the dark room. I think these places are slowly closing down one by one, since anonymous sex is less necessary to the queer community (less full closets, therefore allowing more of a variety in levels of intimacy other than solely anonymous) and even if some people want it, it’s shifting to the internet. I don’t know which one is safer: Hundreds of preordained meeting points or one building? Hard to say, really.

This is a photo of the top of the threshold of Dirty Dick’s in Amsterdam. I’m shocked that they even have a sign. I should have taken a photo of “Cockring” when I was there. That place was downright intimidating. It was a leather bar/club down the street, with a windowless green facade, and the club’s name stretched across the front in large iron letters. There’s a slot in the door for the bouncer’s eyes, and they figure you out right then and there. I’ve jokingly threatened to try to get in, but it’s just too scary.

Sex work research leaking into entries much? Yeaah…

Speaking of sex work:

Yab-Yum, one of Amsterdam’s most “exclusive” and expensive brothels, has just been shutdown because Hells Angels have been running it behind the scenes. Hells Angels in America is a quaint little motorcycle gang, but in Amsterdam they’re a huge and scary deal, with their fingers involved in organized crime. Apparently, three bodies of Angels members were recovered in a river in Limburg up to 2004. They’ve had a lot of legal issues, and are fighting to government not to get banned.
It seems strange that a motorcycle gang would try to take over a city of bicyclists.

I wonder why they didn’t just open up their own documented Hells Angels brothel? Everyone knows that they’re there. Might as well put your name on it. Yab Yum is quite legendary.(I think  one of my professors lived on the same street as it, actually.) It was in a canal house on the Singel, and had a tawdry, baroque decor meant to attract “high-rollers.” I wonder who will fill the upscale brothel market now?

Everyday Lives of (some) Sex Workers

There really needs to be a lot more written on male prostitution, in the Netherlands or not. I have checked websites, articles, books (including this one) and even a magazine specifically for sex workers. There’s barely anything about men. This lovely book had two whopping pages about it. Very irritating. What makes it even tougher is that there are no men in the red light district windows, so they’re not even there to be interviewed. They aren’t in the Tippelzones either, but I suppose that’s a good thing. Those places are scary. More on those later.

Politically Correct Netherlands

The Politically Correct Netherlands: Since the 1960s

Very useful book from Strand. It was originally $99 but I got it for $30. Nearly everything that I’ve found in the library is from below 1992. It was written in 2000 and is an overview/criticism of when the Netherlands’ liberal policy. Surprisingly, there are no mentions of prostitution. It does not explain the Bijlmer crash as extensively as I want, but there is a useful part about it. It does touch on a lot of things that I wanted to know about; race relations, AIDS politics, all of the social taboos. Except prostitution. But it’s decently comprehensive. Does anyone have any book suggestions for:

-The Bijlmer Crash
-Surinamese Immigration to the Netherlands
-Prostitution in the Netherlands (and I want it for BOTH ALL sexes)
-Dutch Schooling
-Anything in the Netherlands in 1992

Ghost Sculpture

Dutch Word of the Day
geheim:
mystery, secret

Het is een geheim…
It is a mystery…

There’s this strange sculpture by the Oude Kerk in de Wallen. It’s right in the ground and I have no idea what it is. Does anyone?

I can only imagine that is has something to do with the proximity to the red windows, but the real momument to sex workers was just unveiled a few months ago and its a few feet from this.I saw a tour group pass by it, and the guide mentioned it, but said that no one knows where it came from.

The following will not be of any interest unless you’ve watched Ghostwriter on PBS:

It just showed up one night. [WORD! Ghost Sculpture] What is it? We think it be a sculpture. Be serious! That means it wants you on the team.


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