As mentioned below, last Satuday night I had an awesome time, biking round Amsterdam, in low-digit temperatures, with some crazy cultcha-huntin' cats from a large-international-ngo-that will remain nameless.
First, we congregated at the Leidseplein, the big, tourist infested square, with a dozen bars, street performers, and now an ice-rink in the centre. Although not so salubrious, this is an established point of reference for people from all over Amsterdam and especially visitors to congregate when they are not confident they can find that little out-of-the-way bar on the Van Harleem Voorboorgswaalstraat, let alone pronounce it.
We had a bit of a group consultation about which museums and events to attend. The way it works is you buy a single ticket for 17 euro, and then you get entry to everything that is open, about 40 venues all up. The Rijks Museum had the star centre piece, Damien Hirst's For the love of God, the most expensive piece of work ever sold by a living artist.
We however, avoided the big show-stoppers because of the queues. Our schedule involved one or several beerjes at each of the following:
9:30 pm Mediamatrix exhibition xxboys - a multimedia and photo exhibition on transgender, specficially female to male, by the look of it. We didn't see the photo room (which was contructed entirely out of black crates inside a bigger room) because the queue was too long. But we did see a performance of a girl with multiple temporary medical piercings right along each arm, on her knees while a man dressed as doctor lifted her arms and moved her torso using two over-sized 'puppeter' contraptions connected to strings that were connected to all the piercings. Some people in the queue for the photos were a bit sqeamish and were turned away from the performance while we were trying to see it live.
11:00 pm Something to do with animiation at some kind of art school facility near the Dam square. They has a night-clubby room with a dj apparently mixing images in some way along with the dj mixing music. But they had two much cooler things .. a guy with a dj rig in the foyer areas, who was mixing aromas to go with the music he was playing, he had a burner and a cooking pot and a bench. At one point he was doing a fragrant meat stew with his balkan gypsy music. Earlier he made an overwhelming and delicious mix of something indian and fragrant - also using a stick blender to good effect. You can't get that on the internet. At that venue our wee group was lubricated enough to take part in interactive art, where someone had rigged up a stop motion camera over a big white carbdboard canvas on the floor. We acheived a none-too-bad hippy canvas, complete with rainbows a host of little stick figures marching over the page. Then we got to watch its creation compressed into about 10 seconds. neat.
12:00 am Replica dutch merchant vessel that is moored in the Ij river. Chillout room on the maindeck, with sailors hammocks strung along, plus caught the end of some African drumming in the hold.
1:00am Nemo interactive science museum. A very strong rival to Questacon, this place was jam PACKED with toys. Fun fun fun for well oiled 30 somethings, but it was impossible to keep the group together as everyone just wandered away to the shiniest spinning thing that they were drawn to. Reminds me now of Johnny Depp saying that having toddlers is like living with drunks. Or hanging with drunks is like marshalling toddlers.
2:00 Ushered out in an orderly (Dutch) fashion, as per the advertised finish time. Cycled home with mr B in the icy chill, wrapped in jackets, scarf, wooly hat (thanks Ali) and gloves, to a lovely cosy bed and a lie -in on Sunday morning.
Go Amsterdam, city of funky wholesome fun.