March 6, 2016
Sam remarks that when he’s in a new city he mostly finds a place to have a quiet coffee and sits all day. This is to say that we inspire each other to greater feats of tourism than we would achieve on our own. Yesterday it was the very great Van Gogh Museum. His range was greater—and somewhat gentler—than the art books would have us believe. I wanted to transport magically home and paint. You almost think you could paint like he did, for his strokes are so evident, his intentions so unguarded. We lunched, and then it was the museum next door to the van Gogh, that I forget the name of, that has modern and contemporary art and design, and which was largely—though not completely-- a waste of time. Sam knows something about everything, so the conversation never flags. We bought tickets at the Concertgebouw. That evening we ate at the Irish bar—Aran—across the street, then made our way to the great concert hall for Brahms and Sibelius. Played well, these pieces seem like living organisms, bulls or cheetahs moving across the landscape, full of life and intention. For several hours in midday the weather was not dreadful. Nightcap at the hotel. Sam brought me a bottle of absinthe, which we have not yet dared to open.