Photos from around Lower Northumberland

A building demolition in progress around a busy intersection.

It’s the end of an era in Newcastle, however short it was, as the temporary shipping container food court–cum–public square–cum–shopping centre Stack comes down after three years. The former site of an Odeon cinema was set to be turned into a mixed-use development, but the pandemic caused a change of direction from the developers. The plans have since been slimmed down to just comprise what lockdown proved was truly, 100% necessary:


A grassy path surrounded by bright green bushes and trees and a clear cerulean sky.

You’d never guess it, but this luscious green path (carefully cropped so that you don’t see the yawning gravel service road behind the camera) is on the former site of a colliery in Bedlington. There’s not much left to see — the neighbouring pit town was bulldozed in the ’70s, and the farmers have done a bang-up job of hiding any traces of the mines that lie underneath.

An old-fashioned railway station.

After 2.3 million pounds and a skyscraper’s worth of scaffolding, Morpeth’s central station has finally been restored to its former Georgian glory, red fences and all. The locals will be pleased to know that Lumo, a sparkly new Ryanair-ified third-class train service from Edinburgh to London, have no choice but to stop here thanks to a sharp bend in the track.

A crackpot theory about the song “Creep”

Alright, hear me out: Radiohead’s “Creep” is about gender dysphoria.

This is a crackpot theory, of course — none of the members of the band have ever even suggested that they might be transgendered, and if they did Jonny might have something to say about it. But it just makes sliiightly too much sense.

The chorus is about ostracisation from society, and the feeling that one doesn’t belong in spaces of one’s gender (take the whole bathroom debacle). There are more thematic hints in the first two stanzas — “You’re just like an angel / Your skin makes me cry” — but the real smoking gun is the third verse:

I don’t care if it hurts
I wanna have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul

Do I even need to spell it out? “Creep” is the trans anthem of the 1990s and noöne will ever convince me otherwise.

I remember

This is a repost from the now-deleted old archives of the blog, originally posted on the ninth of February, 2021. I thought of doing it up as its own page, like the article about our Christmas tradition, but it seemed wrong — this is capturing a very specific moment in my (and everyone’s) life, and it would be gauche to put such an emotional rant on the front page.

I remember watching grown-ups’ TV late at night on the sofa in Oma and Opa’s caravan, nestled between them, a tiny TV in the corner, subtitles on, those black circles with the advisory ratings.

I remember watching us lose to Spain, watching crime dramas and not understanding a thing, i remember just being there, the inflatable pool waiting outside for tomorrow, the sofa unfolding itself into a bed. The smell of kitty litter in the toilet, the view outside, the jar of sweets, my bedroom decorated on the walls with maps, like the one under the desk at their house of the 12 provinces, those big books, that one of shape-sjablonen, that maths puzzle book for five-year-olds, the decorated plate, the chicken schnitzel, the horrid smell of their fish dinner, jumping on the trampoline, chlorinating my eyes in the pool, the gravel road, the endless journeys in.

I remember the tacky ceramics, the awful internet back then, falling through the chair (ow!) while browsing on Windows XP, messing with Paint Shop Pro 8, Internet Explorer 7… me always taking down the ‘For Sale’ sign in the window, that little book of the planets and stars, i think there was one about seasonal plants.

I remember them moving the caravan from Schagen to Ede. I remember going to Deventer and meeting that family who lived on a boat (the girl was nice).

I remember Papa’s house, i remember the blackboard where i learned the passcode — 0420 — to an iPod i acquired at far too young an age, i remember that time i sat inside watching videos instead of going outside in the sun, the Chocomel, the Wokkels, that frog-shaped bowl, those letter-shaped stamps op zolder, Opa’s model railway. I remember that tiny “bathtub”, i remember Oma’s scrapbook, her Scooby-Doo plush, i remember watching Finding Nemo over and over, the pond, the playground, the train station, how much the giant robot at Nemo creeped me out, Mouse Paint, that board book teaching me how to tie knots, Corpus, that weird video from the library with the wireframe man, trying in vain to find that specific top-ten episode of Garfield & Friends on Windows Media Centre, that elephant thing at the preschool fundraiser, that kid who would only drink orange juice out of a specific blue cup, my first day at school, watching Nieuws uit de natuur then going home early on Wednesdays, fighting with Nuri over who got to keep the paper Einstein doll we made, founding a country with Emiel, not understanding Ewout’s Pokémon references, the trip to Aeolus, that time a teacher went to go on a pilgrimage along the Way of St. James, de Speelhoorn, de Waterhoorn, toasties, poffertjes, the pick-and-mix at Kruidvat, the climbing frame–treehouse–sandpit thing in the back garden, the stoomtram to Medemblik, visiting the Zuiderzee Museum on a snowy day, swimming lessons, going to Hema for a sausage roll afterwards, accidentally pressing ‘stop’ on the escalator, Cars 2 being the first film i ever saw at the cinema, Fristi, ads for ‘Taxi’ soft drink (never had it), curly fries at Burger King (how i wish they had those over here), the paintings around the house, Papa’s exercise bike in the attic, him playing trance music in the car…

I remember crying when i found out me and Mama were moving back to the UK.

I gave a PowerPoint presentation about Eurovision on my last day of school. I cried as everyone filed out of the classroom. Both because of me leaving, and because i’d made a mistake in it.

They gave me this little booklet as a farewell gift. It’s bound up in a cover of the solar system. Everyone in the class made a little something for it.

I don’t know where it is, and i can’t bear to look at it.

It’s been a year and a half since i last went for a visit. I’ll probably have to skip this year too.

Ik wil naar huis.

Three years now… and i never got to say goodbye to my grandfather. See you on the other side, opa.


Hey, kid, wanna hear a secret? Don’t tell anyone i told you this, but i’ve got some Secret Links for you. This isn’t your usual weekly shit — these are the links i’m saving for the big satyrs dot ee you slash linkroll. Deluxe links. Gourmet, even. Straight from my “Work (Copy 3) (final)” folder.

Mx van Hoorn’s link roundup, Volume VII

A dirt path reroutes itself around a fallen birch tree under a canopy.
Desire paths have started to solidify around the trees felled by Storm Arwen. (Human) nature is healing.

Good lord, has it really been a month since the last one? Anyway. New month, new URL, new links. You know the drill.


10 April 2022

I think Morbius might legitimately be the worst film i’ve ever seen on the big screen. The basic idea has potential, and for the first 15 minutes or so, i was cautiously optimistic — but then it all gets smothered by a mountain of pure gobshite and some of the worst dialogue ever put to screen.i

I am not good at computer

Non-techies, you can safely ignore this post and go on with your day. But, tech people, if you’re still reading… a little help for an ignorant soul, please? 😅

I’m planning to add a comment section to the main part of my website. The problem is, of course, that i’ve barely ever touched PHP and Sql before, let alone tried to make something like a comment system, and as such, i have no fucking idea what i’m doing.

I’ve got a design figured out — see above — and a rough idea of what the database will look like:

  • postId: Integer, generated by adding some random digits to the end of a Unix timestamp
  • timestamp: Integer, just a Unix timestamp of when the comment was submitted
  • commentLocation: Unicode string, max. 32 chars?, indicating on which comments section the comment was posted
  • displayName: Unicode, max. 128 chars?, is what it says on the can
  • emailAddress: Unicode, max. 128 chars?, used to generate the avatar via Gravatar and maybe filter spam if it comes to that
  • website: Unicode, max. 128 chars?, used to… link to the commenter’s website
  • commentText: Unicode, max. 4096 chars?, the actual text of the comment; will be processed as a subset of Markdown
  • planet: Unicode, max. 16 chars?, any comment for which the response isn’t earth will get thrown out

So, erm… any suggestions? Improvements? Ways of not getting my site hacked? Polite ways of telling me that this was a terrible idea? are welcome in the comments below.