vol. 5 #5 â€“ 31 Januari 2012
The Sentinel Amsterdam
Integrity, heart, humour
ON THE GRASS lifestyles
eat this perspectives Opinion REVIEW Technology FILM TRENDS Sport Classifieds
In this issue FEATURE
p. 04 LIFESTYLES P. 8 review
No Walking on the Grass
‘Cycling the outback of Australia, covering more than eighteen thousand kilometres’
‘They immediately got busy creating a Christmas tradition of their own from scratch’
TechBit: Sio-Bytes – Death of specs
‘One of Asia’s most formidable economic tigers’
p. 40 more:
The Gold Room
Perspectives p. 14 What I really wanted for Xmas SPOTTED p. 34 Where is this in Amsterdam?
‘The personal computing (PC) era is ending’
FILM REVIEW Room 2C
book REVIEW p. 35 The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle TRENDS Don’t take it off
CLASSIFIEDS ColoPHon The Sentinel Amsterdam e-mail: email@example.com website: www.thesentinel.eu The Sentinel Amsterdam does not intentionally include unaccredited photos/illustrations that are subject to copyright. If you consider your copyright to have been infringed, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors – Gary Rudland & Denson Pierre Design, realisation and form – Andrei Barburas & No-Office.nl Webmaster – www.sio-bytes.tumblr.com Webhost – Amsterjammin.com
Contributors: LIFE, Marta Parlatore, Valeria Scimia, Sharmin de Vries, Simon Owusu, Monica Lopes, David King and Dirkje Bakker-Pierre
No walking on the grass
by team LIFE
‘Four daring adventurers will set out from Darwin, only to return to the exact same place just seven months and 18,000 kilometres later’
Cycling the outback of Australia, covering more than eighteen thousand kilometres in seven months. Have you ever dreamt of completing the cycle of a lifetime? One that brings you closer to nature and creates proud moments of strength and passion? This is exactly what team LIFE are preparing to do and you can follow the whole story! Bringing LIFE to Australia; a cyclist’s dream realised Starting in June 2012, four daring adventurers will set out from Darwin, only to return to the exact same place just seven months and 18,000 kilometres later. Their goal: a round-trip of the entire continent in one amazing tour. Nick Scaife (GB), Tommy Gurr (GB), Jimmy McGee (USA) and Markus Schorn (DE) are all avid cyclists and love the challenges that cycle touring brings. All four have completed cycle tours in different parts of the world but this epic trip is the longest any of them have ever contemplated. McGee met Scaife through an online cycling network and soon decided to join him in his trip around the perimeter of Australia. Scaife has previous experience of a cycling trip in the region and is familiar with most of the route. Communicating via e-mail and Skype conversations, the two men have never actually met each other. Schorn joined the team in October 2011, when the real planning got underway, closely followed by Gurr, in December.
Schorn has been working in the central Australian desert for more than eight months and this is where he first met Scaife, in 2009. Gurr met Scaife through Facebook and is an artist who has been longing for an adventure that will expand his horizons; reshaping an Australian tour on bikes into art.
‘It is about living a life that we all love, living in the moment and doing so on two wheels’ The true adventure will begin once McGee finally meets up with the other three just a few days before setting out. “Riding under the banner of LIFE (Living In Full Euphoria) reflects what this project is about,” says Scaife. “It is about living a life that we all love, living in the moment and doing so on two wheels. Living in full euphoria and, more importantly, helping the planet to share that full euphoria.”
‘We are bringing LIFE to Australia by planting a native tree species’ “We are bringing LIFE to Australia by planting a native tree species and creating habitats for animals,” adds Schorn, “so it‘s a very fitting name for this trip”. The four are not riding all those kilometres simply for fun but are raising money for a great cause: supporting Green Fleet, an Australian non-profit organisation whose main goal is to raise awareness of global warming and to plant trees to offset carbon monoxide. The ultimate goal of the four cyclists is to raise AUS$ 35,000 for Green Fleet; enough to plant 8,000 trees on Australian soil!
‘Supporting Green Fleet, an Australian non-profit organisation whose main goal is to raise awareness of global warming’ As if cycling the entire continent was not enough, they will spend two weeks volunteering with Green Fleet, planting trees and seeing the hard work that goes on behind the scenes on the way towards making this world a better place in which to live. Green Fleet has promised that every €3 donated to LIFE’s cause will guarantee the planting and upkeep of one tree, resulting in a self-sustaining forest.
a film set as perfect as all this natural beauty and there’s no better way to capture this country on film”. McGee adds, “We are an international team, so the film and ensuing book will be published in English and German”.
‘We’ll be spending time in new surroundings and experiencing everything nature has to offer’ Speaking for the group, Scaife says, “We are undertaking this trip because we love this lifestyle. It’s simple and everything you need is on your bike, being pushed around under your own power. We’ll be spending time in new surroundings and experiencing everything nature has to offer. On top of that, we’re doing it for a good cause and protecting what we all find so valuable in the process.” You can find the latest trip updates on the website www. lifeuphoria.com, along with videos and written blogs once the trip is underway. These will be updated weekly during the course of the journey and you can also follow the trip on Facebook (living in full euphoria) and Twitter (lifeuphoria). As Schorn says, “Any support you can show us would be greatly appreciated. No amount is too small, either in the form of a donation to our charity or to the team. If you are unable to make a donation, write a message in our guestbook… We need all the support we can get.” Finally, if you are reading this and thinking, “This is amazing, I wish I could do that,” you can! Team LIFE are inviting as many people as possible to step forward and join them on their cycling trip around Australia. Make a small €100 donation towards the charity fund and you can join them for up to 4,000 kilometres. Simply contact Nick Scaife and he will guide you through what you need for the trip and how epic it will be. Cycling the Australian Outback under the banner of LIFE, experiencing nature at close quarters. Let’s make sure we help our world LIVE IN FULL EUPHORIA!
Big thanks to our sponsors: Extrawheel – www.extrawheel.com YHA – www.yha.com.au Buff - http://www.buff.eu/es/ESP/buffAlMon A big trip calls for big plans and these include a documenTubus - http://www.tubus.com/ tary DVD of the epic journey. As Gurr says, “I can’t imagine Schwalbe - http://www.schwalbe.co.uk/
â€˜You are doomed to endless hours of hollow dinner conversations in the company of toxic aunts and boring cousinsâ€™
‘The thing that accounted for more than ninety percent of their attention and effort was something way more sensual than Christmas’
By Marta Parlatore
Christmas and the end of any Old Year are never an easy time, for anyone. If you have a family, you are doomed to endless hours of hollow dinner conversations in the company of toxic aunts and boring cousins, and the memory of any childhood traumas you may have experienced. If you don’t have a family, it’s even worse. The feeling of solitude is unbearable. Since this was to be their first Christmas together, Betty and The One decided to take advantage of the fact that they live abroad and politely informed their families that, this year, they would not be travelling. Instead, they would spend this significant moment in each other’s company, in the peace of their living room and, most of all, kitchen.
Technically, Betty and The One are foodies. And foodies have behavioural patterns very close to those of drug addicts. For one, they easily binge. Two weeks before the holiday season began, Betty and The One were already spending hours at their kitchen table, discussing menu options for three days of meals, looking up recipes in cookbooks, food magazines and on the web, combining them on paper, considering how to effectively employ the leftovers and orchestrating shopping lists. They argued over what sauce to choose for the Christmas Eve salmon, they struggled about whether there should be duck or hare on Christmas Day, couldn’t agree on a recipe for the puree to go with it. Hours on strategic thinking, hours pushing supermarket trolleys, hours cutting carrots and onions, their phones turned off.
You see, being a foodie is not just about consumption, but about experiencing that single moment of almost sexual pleasure when a very flavoursome bite slides into your mouth, down your throat and melts in your stomach. A This does not mean they ignored the celebrations. On the feeling you crave to repeat over and over, and at every contrary, they immediately got busy creating a Christmas meal. Nor it is just a trend of the past few years, followed principally by vibrant creative people who can afford to tradition of their own from scratch. Hence, they bought travel kilometres to visit restaurants, in order to have a huge tree and spent seven full hours decorating it with fashionable stories to tell at their next dinner party with white lights, tiny wooden figurines and paper snow crystals they fashioned by hand. Yes, they also bought presents, friends who enjoy molecular cuisine and foie gras. No, the wrapped them and placed them under the tree. They deco- love of food is much more spiritual than that. rated walls and doorframes with mistletoe and glass balls, The Zen master said, “Talk when you talk, walk when lit candles in every window and listened to Kerstradio all day long. But all this was nothing, merely a backdrop. The you walk, die when you die”. Betty would add, “Eat when thing that accounted for more than ninety percent of their you eat”. Don’t just swallow blindly, try to understand the attention and effort was something way more sensual than things you choose to put in your body to feed your cells. Yes, we are what we eat, but we are also how we eat. When Christmas decorations: food.
‘Don’t just swallow blindly, try to understand the things you choose to put in your body to feed your cells’
‘Making a set of raw edible material become a good meal is an excellent exercise in patience, attention to detail and timing’
you love food, you also develop a curiosity about what food is, where it comes from and how it should be prepared to make it taste its best. You want to pay respect to the matter you ingest by putting effort into the whole process of buying the products, preparing, cooking, frying, baking, blanching, marinating and steaming them, and then putting the result on a plate with attention to how it looks. Taking that first sip of wine before diving in with the fork. This is the best way Betty knows to give thanks for what she has: cherishing it. Whenever she cooks, she feels more grounded in reality, more aware of the world in which she lives, more present. Not least because actions such as peeling, smelling, deboning and grating are, in fact, sensual experiences which stimulate her tactile receptors and sense of wonder. Every time Betty cooks her signature mushroom risotto, for example, she inevitably travels back to the first Christmas Eve her mother put her in front of the stove, stuck a wooden spoon in her hand, a ladle in the other and explained what to do, some seventeen Christmases past. She likes to celebrate that memory by reliving it over a steaming pan and sharing its taste with someone she loves. Plus, carrying out the process of making a set of raw edible material become a good meal is an excellent
exercise in patience, attention to detail and timing. Not to mention that it activates the brain’s right hemisphere, where creative thinking resides, and soothes the stressed soul. Almost always, that is. Because, for what a harmless and purely joyful act cooking may seem to be, it is, in fact, far from being tragedy-free. Good cooking is not easy, it is a challenging dance and therefore forces you to grow. To sum up, during their first ever Christmas, Betty and The One crafted, executed and consumed: a loaf of The One’s Mum’s Kerstbrood; a whole salmon filet baked in a white wine and black olive persillade; a tray of homemade pecan bars; a tray of brownies; half a pot of mushroomand-pecorino risotto; a bowl of pink grapefruit and chicory salad; an entire roast duck with maple syrup and balsamic glaze; a medium bowl of celeriac puree, a kilo of honeybaked parsnips; two dessert bowls of lemon panna cotta; twelve muffins with red pepper and goat feta; a large pot of Thai red curry with shrimps and coconut milk; four servings of basmati rice; two baked apples; and three ‘leftover salads’, all washed down with ten bottles of wine. And when, on the first days of January, they stepped onto their bathroom scale, they could not believe their eyes. Against all gravitational law and nutritionist logic, their body weight had mysteriously remained unaffected.
‘Good cooking is not easy, it is a challenging dance and therefore forces you to grow’
What i really wanted
‘I wanted a pink hairdryer, because the black one I have is no longer fashionable’
for christmas By Valeria Scimia
“This year, Father Christmas made a few mistakes. I requested a couple of really useful things that he forgot about and I am pretty angry.” “What did you ask for?” “I wanted a pink hairdryer, because the black one I have is no longer fashionable. I asked for a new purse, because my collection is not big enough. And then just a simple pair of diamond earrings, but I guess he hasn’t worked hard enough this year to afford those.” What most people want for Christmas, these days, are just material objects, and some people get really upset and irritated when they don’t get the presents they wished for. A brand new trimmer? A lamp that changes colours and makes your mornings brighter. Really?! A lamp can brighten up your mornings and wake you? I can understand that buying something you really want gives you a moment of excitement; it has been proven and re-proven by psychological research. We buy to solve problems, to make our lives easier and more pleasurable, to burn spare time and, at the moment we receive the object that will help us through our life, we seem happy and grateful for it. The problem is that, after a while, our level of happiness goes back to the way it was before we got that particular object. The object provides short-term stimulation, a sort
of adrenalin kick, at the moment of purchase and for a short time thereafter, but it soon loses all of its charming powers once we get used to having it. Recent studies show that humans are, in fact, happier when they purchase experiences. It might be study courses, practical courses, workshops, relaxation holidays or other holidays; anything that involves a learning experience and the making of new memories. As explained by the researcher Ryan Howell of San Francisco University: “Purchased experiences provide memory capital. We don’t tend to get bored with happy memories like we do with material objects.” Experiences, therefore, lead to longerterm satisfaction for the buyer. This past Christmas I received the most beautiful presents; no objects, just experiences. I made new memories and have learned things that will be useful in the years to come. Next time I am down or in trouble, I can look back and pick up self-learned tips from these experiences. While experiences may fade with time, they never lose their importance and you can learn from them over and over, because every time you remember them you see them from a different point of view and see things you had not noticed before. Forget the pink hairdryer that will soon be out of fashion. This year, start wishing for something a little more important for yourself.
â€˜Purchased experiences provide memory capitalâ€™
‘I can understand that buying something you really want gives you a moment of excitement’
‘It is Singapore’s abundantly unique cultural and ethnic make-up that defines the city state’s true culture’
Singapore: sultry and culinary haven By Sharmin de Vries
Singapore conjures up a wide range of feelings and associations. Most notable are those that are in no way a true reflection of its culture and are usually uttered by those who have not visited one of Asia’s most formidable economic tigers. Boring, terribly efficient, sterile, one big shopping mall, soulless and highly regulated are among the most commonly voiced correlations. The truth of the matter is that the age-old saying ‘different strokes for different folks’ applies here, too, and while some connotations may not be far of the mark, it is Singapore’s abundantly unique cultural and ethnic make-up that defines the city state’s true culture.
Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, yet no bigger than the Dutch province of Utrecht. While the more adventurous traveller may see nothing but beaten tracks, I, who rate myself as a semiadventurous traveller, cannot hide a huge grin from ear to ear as I land at Singapore’s Changi airport and walk through the perfectly sculptured terminal. Wall-to-wall tropical plants, gentle piano music softly playing in the background and spacious, comfortable lounge areas that offer free internet use everywhere (Schiphol, please take note). In fact, the airport consistently receives top marks for its excellence and facilities, which even include a Balinese-type swimming pool and fresh orchids next to baggage carousels. Of course, you don’t want spend too long at the airport, because then you would miss out on actually experiencing the lion city itself.
‘Wall-to-wall tropical plants, gentle piano music softly playing in the background and spacious, comfortable lounge areas that offer free internet use everywhere (Schiphol, please take note)’
While a week is more than sufficient to discover a large part of Singapore, be careful not to get stuck in the countless shopping malls with their over-zealous air-conditioning of Siberian proportions and sense of sameness in architecture and offerings. The key to unravelling Singapore’s history, culture and ethnic make-up, (consisting of more than 77% Chinese, 14% Malays, 7% Indians and others) is through its absolutely fantastic cuisine. Singapore has been hailed as the food capital of Asia many a time and its signature dishes are a true testament to the multi-ethnic blaze that has been in place since colonial days. These include fragrant chicken rice with a touch of red hot chilli in a soupy broth; crispy toast with a special ‘kaya’ spread, consisting of eggs, sugar and coconut milk, flavoured with pandan and a blob of salty butter; and a local noodle soup called ‘laksa’, to name but a few. Laksa comes in two varieties: the curry laksa (my favourite), which is a coconut curry soup with noodles, and the ‘asam’ laksa, a sour fish soup with noodles. Forget about counting calories or worrying about your cholesterol while in Singapore, it would be completely soul destroying. If shopping for big brands and upscale designer labels is your thing, the place to be is Orchard Road: a shopping mall-littered boulevard with lush trees on either side and beautifully and fashionably dressed girls. Not bad for the true shopaholic. If you want a more alternative shopping experience, first head to the ethnic districts of Little India and Arab Street. Little India houses one of Singapore’s largest wet markets (Tekka), with a heady mix of fresh fish, the nauseating smell of meat cutlets and endless bundles of fresh fruit and vegetables. On the streets of Little India, be prepared to be greeted by loud thumping Tamil music, the scent of numerous spices wafting through the shops, cheap and cheerful Southern Indian ‘dose’ (pancake) houses and Mustafa’s; Singapore’s only 24/7 department store, that sells everything from regular toilet paper to electronic devices and typical Indian groceries. Mustafa’s has even been branded the number one tourist hot spot for Indian tourists. I kid you not.
Arab Street is your one-stop shop for everything from Middle Eastern rugs, various Muslim-infused restaurants, from Malay to Turkish, colourful fabrics and Singapore’s most prominent mosque, the Sultan Mosque, a beautiful building at the end of the street. If, like me, you’re an absolute vintage-lover, you’ll be able to shop to your heart’s content on Haji Lane, just a few blocks away from Arab Street. Singapore’s vintage scene has rapidly gained momentum over the years and offers a chance for visitors to sample some of the local designers’ finest work and find some hidden gems, as well as beautiful costume jewellery and other trinkets. Make sure you bring loads of self-esteem while out shopping, as some of the outfits are designed for the über petite waistlines of the predominantly Chinese-Singaporean female population. While you’re at it, don’t forget to view Singapore from a great height, by visiting one of the city’s latest features, the Marina Bay Sands Skypark. Renowned for its luxurious casinos and designer shops, which are really not worth bothering with, it’s straight to the top of this three-storey building for the most remarkable view over the city, not to mention the impressive sight of a large outdoor swimming pool on top of the towers. Last but not least, Singapore’s nightlife is a force to be reckoned with. Whether you seek sleek gleam in one of the many hotel bars, a refreshing Tiger beer at a brown café or a multi-storey clubbing experience in Singapore’s most famous club, Zouk, which attracts top DJ’s from around the world, there really never is a dull moment in what is supposed to be one of the most efficient and regulated cities in the world. You can have an absolute whale of a somewhat debauched time until the wee hours of the morning in bustling Singapore. Just enjoy yourself, don’t litter and always leave room for more food.
‘Make sure you bring loads of self-esteem while out shopping, as some of the outfits are designed for the über petite waistlines of the predominantly Chinese-Singaporean female population’
â€˜Singapore has been hailed as the food capital of Asia many a timeâ€™
The rise of the Ultras
TechBit: Sio-Bytes By Simon Owusu
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a technology-related trade show held every January in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is for tech companies to release or preview their upcoming products. The talking point of this years’ gathering is the numerous Ultra-books being either announced or released.
Ultra-books are super-thin, super-light, aluminium-cased laptops equipped with a solid state drive, which is just memory replacing the slower mechanical drive. The Ultrabooks do not have optical drives for CD’s or DVD’s, are super-responsive with an instant-on ability, like a tablet or smartphone, and have longer battery life compared to traditional laptops. CPU (computer processing unit) manufacturer, Intel, defined an Ultra-book, based on specifications they created, and are vigorously promoting the rise of Ultra-books for what some might think is a purely altruistic reason – ‘to provide people with light, long-lasting, yet powerful mobile notebooks’ – but there is a hidden agenda. Intel would have you to believe that, with Ultra-books, they are reinventing personal computing, but don’t be fooled, they’ve been here for years. Four years ago, in January 2008, an ultra-thin laptop was launched that would later come to represent the future of all laptops. It was truly the reinvention of the personal computer and the precursor to the Ultra-books
being touted at this years’ CES show. This laptop was the MacBook Air. The MacBook Air is what all Ultra-books aspire to be and the shameless copying or cloning of it at CES is astonishing, yet unsurprising. We have seen this before with the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad where, in all three cases, Apple radically changed the design of an existing product, subsequently initiating a wave of clones by other companies trying to capitalise on the Apple products’ hype and financial success. The Apple product would be mocked by the very companies that would later clone it to try and capture some of its success. So, how come it took four years for us to see the first clones championed by Intel? Well, firstly, because of the success of the iPad (more than 45 million sold in 2011, on top of 10 million in 2010), which uses a uses a non-Intel processor, fewer laptops containing Intel processors were sold. Since no one predicted how successful the iPad would be, by the time everyone realised, it was too late for Intel or its laptop
‘To provide people with light, long-lasting, yet powerful mobile notebooks’
‘Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years’ - LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
‘The Apple product would be mocked by the very companies that would later clone it’ makers to react with a product to stop the downturn in sales. Even the subsequent Intel tablets did not diminish the iPad’s success, so Intel needed a new Intel processorbased product to dominate the market. Secondly, Intel and its laptop makers did not foresee the MacBook Air as the next phase in computing with its lack of an optical drive and its smaller than traditional drives, solid state drive and miniature form factor. Therefore, they decided not to compete with the MacBook Air, as it was ‘doomed’. As the MacBook Air reached its third iteration, there was a huge demand for it and this generated a lot of panic in the Intel camp. Slowly but surely, the MacBook Air had matured into a dominant post-pc era (see previous issue) mobile device that iPod, iPhone and iPad users, familiar with the Apple ecosystem, started buying as their first Apple professional computing device. This resulted in the MacBook Air being the best selling laptop in 2010 and throughout 2011, sending a clear indication to Intel about where to focus its resources. So, Intel
pushed and allegedly subsidises laptop manufacturers to release clones to try and guard against the MacBook Air’s steady dominance of the traditional laptop market, which was previously heavily cannibalised by the iPad. This was based on the idea that the casual consumer would not know the difference between a MacBook Air and a similar looking Ultra-book, and would therefore purchase the latter. While this strategy has yet to work against Apple, as they still dominate the iPod, iPhone and iPad world regardless of the clone-filled marketplace, it is interesting to watch this scenario unfold time and time again. While Apple will continue to take a concept, improve on it and release it as a product that consumers will love, their competition will copy instead of trying to look into the future beyond the current Apple product. As Wayne Gretzky said, “Skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been”. Apple, Think Different.
‘The casual consumer would not know the difference between a MacBook Air and a similar looking Ultra-book’
Where is this in Amsterdam? By David King
Answer to: email@example.com
Room 2c film By dpmotions
Flatliners (1990) The ever-sexy Kevin Bacon is joined by a fresh-faced Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and William Baldwin, as young doctors looking for the ultimate kick, literally playing a game of life against death. With wellcrafted thrills, as well as rather dark and frightening parts, the movie retains its freshness compared to many of the current dull obsessions of film and television, such as characters coming back from the dead as vampires, werewolves and zombies.
A book at lunchtime By Monica Lopes
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami, 1997
A cat disappears, a mysterious woman shows up, strange things keep happening and you think you’ll understand the entire plot in the end but that’s not what matters. The message of the story is not in the outline of events. Such is your typical Murakami novel, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is no exception. Translated from Japanese to English by Jay Rubin, it tells of Toru Okada, an average man whose cat has been missing for a few days. Or rather, his wife’s cat. Unemployed at that moment, Toru has time to wander about the backyards of his house in search of the missing pet. Instead, he finds a teenage girl sunbathing in one of the gardens and they initiate a conversational relationship, smoking cigarettes and lying under the blazing sun of Tokyo in the summertime. If you have never read anything by Haruki Murakami, you must wonder why he is one of the best-loved contemporary writers. His storytelling is both relaxing and suspense-filled, and before you know it you’ve read six-hundred and eleven pages much faster than you ever thought possible. Besides, he introduces you to a dimension that you have probably never visited before. I certainly hadn’t and the experience was very refreshing.
Don’t take it off By Dirkje Bakker-Pierre
Well, it’s not exactly been a harsh winter, so far, but it sure is getting chillier and downright uncomfortable to be outside. A huge trend this winter is keeping your head warm in a fashionable way with hats becoming an essential part of your wardrobe. Hats of every shape, size, style, colour and material. Hats from all over the planet, styles from all ages, modern designs and traditional designs. These days, hats are something that enables you to make a statement, create an image, show some original style and creativity, be totally yourself and fashionable at the same time. A whole smorgasbord of styles is available to complete your look, and the challenge is to be as inventive and unique as possible. A truly great hat has a story to tell, either because of its heritage and origin or due to the vintage shop, flea market or outlandish outlet in which you found it. Some go for the obvious knitted hat, but it becomes more interesting when you choose to be brave, bold and dare to find the hat that really is the perfect fit for you. Many moments in history have turned certain headgear
into true fashion icons; there is something special about wearing a top hat like Marlene Dietrich, or choosing to style your head like Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn or even Abraham Lincoln or Che Guevara. Hats have a meaning that goes far beyond fashion alone, but can actually evoke a piece of history or a belief. They can also symbolise a greater cause or make a political statement. There is an entire language hidden in this simple accessory, which is good for much more than simply protection from the rain and cold. You just have to learn how to speak it.
‘A truly great hat has a story to tell, either because of its heritage and origin or due to the vintage shop, flea market or outlandish outlet in which you found it’
Get advice on housing, rental contracts and apartments in Amsterdam www.wswonen.nl/english
your objective, our resolution.
The Gold Room By Denson Pierre
After five seasons, the time has finally come to profile one of my own teams in the FFG-CL (http://thesentinel.eu/ffg/Latest-FFG.htm). This is especially interesting at a moment when something pretty exceptional is needed in the final third of the season to bring me anywhere near the entry fee return possible with a second place finish or, indeed, the dazzling prize of the golden envelope in May. So far, it has been a season let down by a few players and an absence of luck in second-guessing the tactics of some of the Premier League’s real-life managers. Injuries have played a hugely influential role but I offer no excuses and only a resolution to fight during the last third and try hard to pull off something special. Game-changing substitutions are still possible. Xenomorphs United GK: Petr Cech (Chelsea) 5m – Still the best keeper overall in the league, according to the points statistic and despite uncharacteristic wobbles on a few occasions, especially during matches against lesser teams. Rating 9.0
DEF: Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea) 4m – Andres Villas-Boas, his manager, is not half as good as his arrogance and histrionics suggest. Bosingwa is heavily rotated at Chelsea, who have already squandered too many clean sheet positions in the dying phases of matches this season to remain properly feared defensively. Rating 8.5 DEF: Andy Wilkinson (Stoke City) 2.5m – In a team playing rough and ready, towering defensive football, based on set-plays and innovative throw-ins, this squad player has not been able to consistently hold down a place. Should his team show resilience in the Europa League, his selection here may be yet justified. Rating 8.5 DEF: Marc Wilson (Stoke City) 2m – Steady in the system and hopefully willing to show attackers what they should fear in the European Championships with Eire. Rating 8.75 DEF: John O’Shea (Sunderland) 2m – Another Irishman hoping to see steady improvement towards the summer, when he may captain his nation. Rating 8.5 MID: Dickson Etuhu (Fulham) 1.5m – Appearing to be a steal at this price, the powerfully built athlete has instead been made to scratch around in a Fulham team
Kieran Richardson - Sunderland
trying to come to terms with Martin Jol’s average tactics. Rating 8.5 MID: Kieron Richardson (Sunderland) 1.5m – Has shown signs of getting that sweet left foot of his swinging through the ball more often towards goal, so likely to justify his price by the end of the season. Rating 8.5 MID: Ashley Young (Manchester United) 5.5m – A bright start was followed by niggling injuries and an overall first half of the season he should try to forget. It is strange to see Young suffer Old Trafford stage fright and painful that he has been this disappointing, so far. Rating 8.75 MID: Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur) 5m – It would be quite understandable if Modric left Tottenham this month. How should a player of his quality feel when a manager of no great tactical nous allows games to go past and not through him, instead hastening towards the wasteful and lacking in top condition, Rafael van der Vaart? The Dutchman is a good goal scorer but at the very top of the game there is no hiding place from defensive and long, hard running duties. Too many times Modric has gained the freedom to call for the pass, only to be ignored
by teammates in favour of Van der Vaart or the selfish option. This has been evident during the matches Modric has played without the annoyance of the egocentric Van der Vaart. Rating 9.05 FWD: Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) 3.5m – A goal scorer now in the process of filling-out physically and learning the final few tricks of the craft. He will be an absolute force in the game over the next five seasons, or more. For this season, at least, he still has to dwell in the shadow of the increasingly sporadic Wayne Rooney. Rating 8.75 FWD: Robin van Persie (Arsenal) 7.5m – The season when he confirms his place in the Dutch master class. Rating 9.15 Ratings total (maximum 110): 87.20 Likely final position: Beaten
CZECH REPUBLIC STUNNINGLY DIFFERENT !