Commentary: ‘The Water Fountain Dog’
0:00: Stuff on the wall behind me includes a Toy Story 3 poster, a couple of Amsterdam artworks, a minimalistic piece inspired by The Blue Umbrella, a map of the Isle of Wight (an island just south of my island hometown, Portsmouth), a couple of my design commissions for local events, the card insert which came with my Amazon Kindle, Lindt chocolate packaging, and a postcard featuring a photo of Grand Central Station in New York.
0:19: Joost van den Vondel, perhaps the most prominent Dutch poet of all time, doesn’t just have Amsterdam’s biggest park bearing his namesake — he was also featured on the Dutch five guilder banknote between 1950 and 1990, before the whole Euro thing started happening.
Joost van den Dollar
0:46: This spawned the birth of one of the stupidest inside jokes Lauren and I perpetuate. It involves baskets, sheep, Judaism, and biscuits. It makes very little sense.
1:29: Whenever Lauren and I lose one another in crowds, we yell ‘MACAW!’ to find one another again. We also do it when we’re stood next to one another. We don’t really need a reason to do it.
1:30: Here’s the song:
3:27: Here’s what I knew: the Annie Leibovitz was gargantuan, and the Mendo website showed you pictures of Post-It Notes and iPads next to books to give you a sense of scale.
Here’s what I didn’t know until now: they’ve since updated the website so your mouse cursor turns into various objects, again, to give a sense of scale. Unbelievably cool.
The book is 476 pages long, measured 590 x 690 x 90 millimeters, and weighs 39kg. Oh, and it’ll cost you $2,500. Impressive.
4:03: Dutch people are born on bikes — they more or less cycle straight out of the womb. The number of bikes in Amsterdam has actually exceeded the population, before, and there are 400 kilometers of cycling paths. For every car in the city, there are roughly four bikes. And there are roughly 7,800 bike parking spaces around Amsterdam Centraal (the central train station), but more than 8,200 bikes are parked there at any one time, on average.
4:13: “We started snapping away at those bikes” is one of the strongest signifiers of how scripted my first five vlogs were. I felt like I had to explain everything — even transitions between video footage and still photos. Terrible.
4:23: Notice the way I land on the letter ‘t’ in these words — photo, pretty, city, etc. I recorded these videos before I fully accepted the American twinge in my voice, and just rolled with what feels natural to me, which leans more towards a ‘d’ pronunciation. Now, it’d be phodo, priddy, and cidy.
4:38: Photography time!
5:39: I later learned that they were actually Lithuanian. Here’s the photo: