HOME SWEET HOME - part 1

Name, Age, Nationality: Diego, 28, Spanish-American

City: Haarlem

Living space: 8m²

 

"It is the most perfect child's room"

 

Tell me a few words about yourself.

Computer science student and a musician. I’m working from home, I teach music online, I’m a copywriter and an editor. I’m also working on gypsy jazz, it is never going to make any money, but I love it. I love it very, very much. I'm kind of a nerd. I'm going to school for IT so that I can play music.

Why Haarlem?

I had a cool place in Amsterdam, Westerpark. Basically a palace, it really was, it was huge. There was an attic that I could turn into a recording studio. You see I have tons of instruments around here. Basically I had a free right to do whatever I wanted, except for the fact that I lived with this horny, alcoholic, Dutch lady, who creeped me out quite a bit. So I kind of moved here out of desperation as a refugee.

 

How do you like it?

I found it pretty nice, I can't complain. It's just a little sleepy city, it needs a little bit more life. Haarlem is a city where you come, if you want to start a family. Which I'm not against, but maybe not this year.

 

How long do you live here?

It is almost 1.5 year now.

 

What do you like about the city?

I like this city for exactly the opposite reasons that I like Amsterdam. I like that it is more compact. I like that you can pretty much see the entire thing in a day. Haarlem is the right balance of historic and natural beauty. For example the dunes (part of the National Park Kennemerland) are very peaceful.

 

Do you have any favorite places?

Oh yes well I do have some favorite places. There are two really good breweries. Haarlem used to be a brewing city, that's how it gain fame, power and prestige back in the day. I think the only brewery left over from that period is the Jopenkerk. It is a really nice, old church where everybody is getting drunk instead of praying. It's cool. Really good beer of course.

Some of the bartenders from the Jopenkerk actually left and opened up their own brewery - Uiltje Bar (Little Owl). Pretty much right across the street. I go there quite a bit as well. It's a good place to see bearded hipsters talking pretentiously about beer. There's a cat and that's always a selling point for me.

"It is a really nice, old church where everybody is getting drunk instead of praying"

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about this place?

This place is the least funny place in the world. It is so unfunny that it is funny.

Ohhh...There is one funny thing. There are no pictures or anything in this entire place except for in the bathroom. I talked about this with the other housemates. We all find it a bit strange. So if you go to the bathroom, you close the door and when you sit on the toilet, the first thing you see is this stock IKEA close up photo of... children. It's deeply unsettling. They are just staring at you while you are on the John. No one asked the landlord about this children. We are way too afraid to actually learn the truth behind this picture.

 

How many people live here?

This entire house? Five, so two girls on the bottom floor and then, one guy on this floor with me and the landlord at the attic.

Any struggles?

Oh my god,  yes, the space. One of my best friends came over from States and he brought his girlfriend with him. They stayed for a week. If I had to go to the bathroom I had to climb on my desk, jump down and try to open the door.  When I was building this room from the IKEA catalog I was trying to make it structured.. I have to have the option to not to live in filth. So this child’s bed is killing it for me with the storage space underneath.


The other thing is the public transportation to Amstelveen because that's where my school is. I literally go there every day and that totally sucks. Over 1.5 hour every single day, it drains me a little bit. Sometimes I’ll listen to the podcast, sometimes I'll just turn everything off and enjoy the silence. But most of the time I wish I wouldn’t have to be on the bus. Buses are uncomfortable, they are stinky. Bus drivers are fucking crazy. I swear every time I go on the bus I think he is trying to kill me or make me vomit. They don't even try to drive normal. And nobody on the bus is happy. The misery makes it more miserable.

What is the music you're playing most often at home?

Like out of my speakers or myself?

 

Either, or.

I teach music lessons online. Each instrument has it's own role right now, so the cello is what I generally use to teach. I wish I could play on it more often, but this thing is LOUD. These are paper thin walls, so if I want to practice classical music I’ll do it on this electric cello. But it doesn't quite feel the same, so actually my classical music playing is not very hardcore these days. Right now I'm working on learning jazz, gypsy jazz like Django Reinhardt. It is really up beat, swing jazz. It doesn't have anything but string instruments. People who don't really know it, say it is like Woody Allen music.


Below you can see Diego playing the gypsy jazz transcription.

"Maybe except of an obscure, old, bearded guy in Italy who has done this"

This thing here is the mandocello, this is a weird instrument, you probably won’t see another one just like it. It's like a mandolin and a cello had a baby. I do play classical music on this one as well. I have a book of Bach, he wrote these suites for cello (it is a form of music that has six movements, so all together there are thirty six of these movements) and nobody on the Internet has recorded these suites on the mandocello. People record them for the cello all the time because it's one of the most famous pieces, but it is my goal to make that sort of video recordings for mandocello.


And for some music from the speakers?

Actually I've been kind of taking a blast to the past recently. I have been listening to Radiohead. I'm kind of revisiting my roots.

How would you describe your style, when it comes to a living space? What do you like?

I do kind of geek out about this table folds, I've never had that and I thought that was cool. I think , if I had enough room, I would like hardwood floors. I like stone as well, actually it would be really nice to have a stone fireplace.

I would like not overly modern but not archaic interior. I wouldn't want antique leather chairs, I don't think that's really my style. I would probably expand on the minimalist sort of features. I mean I'm kind of hermit in a way, I do believe that my place should be sort of a sanctuary. And ummhh… I would definitely like a bigger bed.

 

And what kind of colors would you choose for?

Yeah I probably wouldn't go for white, just because it is pain in the ass. I’m more of an earth tones kind of a guy. I like kind of rustic, modern, hipster look.

 

Are you are organized or messy, we talked about that a bit already?

Yes, the answer is yes. :) I’m both, organized and messy. Organized in the way that everything has to have exactly the right place. But I'm a naturally chaotic person. At the end of a busy week this place literally looks like a bomb hit it, because I don't function well in the morning. I'm a horribly unorganized person trapped in an organized person's habits.

 

What would be your dream house?

I have a very specific answer. I think in Zwolle, there is this teahouse that was made entirely out of recycled materials. It is built in such a way that it doesn't require any heating or air conditioning like it's perfectly isolated. I think it generates all of its own electricity, it recycles water and you can grow food on the roof. This type of architecture is called Earthship, bio architecture. I would love to live in one of those giant façade, Dutch houses on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, because they look so good and it is totally bad ass. But at the same time, I'm thinking about the future and emissions and carbon footprints and stuff like that. Being self-sustainable is important. Earthship houses are made out of tires and soda cans, but they are really beautiful. I say they look like hobbit holes.

What is your favorite item?

If there was a fire, I would have a really hard time getting all the shit out of here. The cello is worth the most, but it is my least favorite instrument. I know it sounds bad. It was good enough for the price I paid for it, but it's not as fine of an instrument as I have owned. The mandocello value wise is the least expensive, but it's the rarest and I would never be able to find one again. So it would probably be the first thing I would grab. I would be a nervous wreck without my laptop as well. Because it kind of rules my life, it's how I make money, it’s how I contact people and it’s how I go to school.

Two short questions at the end. Are you a shower or a bath person?

If I had a bath, I would love to take a bath. I actually hate showering, I don't do mornings very well. I have long hair and it takes extra time for everything to dry. It is pain in the butt, I'm uncomfortable for a little while. I'm going to say bath, even though I think my mom gave me a bath last time I had a bath.

 

And I think that I know the answer to that question, but coffee or tea?

Tea.

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