June 12, 2015

Cor Jaring’s Magical Press Helmet

Filed under: Photography,Weird by Branko Collin @ 6:37 pm


Dutch press photographer Cor Jaring was best known for his association with the Provo movement of the mid-1960s when among others he covered the clashes between Provos and the police.

As Groene Amsterdammer writes: “Wearing a polyester shield underneath his clothes for protection, Jaring climbed on top of cars, stood on window sills, lowered himself into manholes and walked backwards in front of demonstrations” in order to get his shots.

Jaring designed and wore what he called a ‘magical press helmet’, but whether it was part of his personal protection is unclear. “The helmet had everything a photographer could need”, Groene Amsterdammer paraphrases Jaring, “an automatic subject finder, a flash installation, a semi-automatic activity alarm, a flip-flop switch, a radio installation and an escape device which could produce a 30 metre smoke screen in three colours, red, white and blue.”

Provo had a strange relationship with the Telegraaf newspaper that was both antagonistic and symbiotic. Every time Provo organised a happening – an event for which provoking the police into a violent response to an innocent trigger was a requirement – Telegraaf would report angrily to its conservative readers. Telegraaf’s reporting would in return help spread Provo’s ideas.

Provo’s sense of publicity resonated with Jaring, who was considered part of the movement. It is just possible he wore the helmet as yet another thing for people to talk about.

Huis Marseille hosts an exhibition of Jaring’s work until 28 June.

(Photo (1968) by Jac. de Nijs / Anefo, some rights reserved)

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May 29, 2011

New medievalist fantasy show at Efteling theme park—Raveleijn

Filed under: Shows by Branko Collin @ 2:39 pm

Science fiction blog IO9 noticed the new Raveleijn attraction at Efteling in Noord-Brabant, and the steam-punkiness of it all.

The show tells the story of the evil count Graveheart who has his subjects building mechanical creatures that destroy the land. It is up to the ancient Order of Ravens, a order of magical knights, to stop the threat and return, er, order. Six shows are performed each day in the new, 35 million euro Raveleijn compound, and there is also a spin-off TV series.

Both the back-story and the TV series were written by hit children’s horror story writer Paul van Loon, who lives just around the corner from Efteling in Drunen. He is a serial winner of the Nederlandse Kinderjury award, a literary prize awarded by children. Van Loon usually swipes the awards for the younger age group, with Francine Oomen ‘owning’ the 10 to 12-year-olds. Remarkably, when the children were asked in 2002 what the best children’s books of all time were, it was J.K. Rowling who took off with most of the prizes instead of Oomen and Van Loon.

(Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arch who released it into the public domain)

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April 6, 2008

No need to refresh car’s oil says former oil mogul

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 2:02 pm

“Refreshing your car’s oil regularly is nonsense, a myth that’s been spread by the oil and car industries for years now,” says Henk de Groot. And he should know, as he is a former CEO of Castrol Nederland. Apparently all you need to do is regularly top up the oil in your car, and check it with a special dipstick that won’t just tell you the level, but also the quality of the oil, and you should be good for hundreds of thousands of miles. Luckily for all of us, Henk de Groot just happens to have invented this magical dipstick.

De Telegraaf (Dutch) helpfully calculates that the costs of excessively refreshing your motor oil are 600 million euro per year to Dutch drivers alone, not to mention the environmental costs. “I am doing this for my grandchildren,” De Groot explains.

“But the industry’s tentacles reach far. That is why they silenced me, the interests are too big.” Nary a word about the faked moonlandings though.

I welcome links to this magic dipstick in the comments.

Via De Telegravin (Dutch). Photo by Dvortygirl, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license version 3.0.

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