Gaby den Held

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Archive 2016

REÜNIE: Autumn 2017      

After an inspiring talk with the publisher IJzer it has become clear that Reünie (Reunion):

  - Is even more theatrical than Maan (Moon)
  - Eschews all sentimentality
  - Is written in a non-psychological style (people do things without giving you a psychological explanation)
  - Is a literary novel
  - Has a quirky / adventure style

It is planned that Reünie will be published autumn 2017, provided that the necessary funding is obtained.

More on Reünie
More on IJzer

REÜNIE: Boekteaser and -trailer    

Here are the book teaser- and trailer for Reünie (Reunion), manufactured and edited by the author.

REÜNIE teaser 
REÜNIE trailer

Never ending train journey    

While Reünie (Reunion) probably will be published this autumn by IJzer, the 
author took a few months break. But in the coming period he will start on the 
next project. There are plenty ideas for a novel. It will be a science fiction-
like story.

A man has resigned. His life is a mess, but then he meet someone who gives him 
new opportunities. This man would put in a good word for him. Then the big day 
arrives for his candidature. He takes the train at Utrecht Central. On the train he 
meets the man again that would help him find a new job. The office of the 
company where he could work is in the train, he says. After a peculiar interview 
he is hired immediately. Gradually it dawns on him that the train is a society in 
itself with its own rules and a leader. And he is now part of that society. But will 
he ever be able to leave?

Reünie soundtrack

The imaginary soundtrack of Reünie, the novel which will be published autumn 2017 by IJzer. With Wim Mertens, The Cure, Marilyn Manson, Jun Miyake, Mozart and J.S. Bach.

Listen on Mixcloud


In 2013, singer Božo Vrećo took a big risk. In his country, Bosnia, 
where machismo reigns supreme, he came on stage in a dress after 
the break during a concert in Sarajevo... and enchanted everyone 
with his wonderful voice. It is as if God had placed an angel into his 
throat. He chose to be himself in representing male and female, both 
visually and in his music that is deeply rooted in the traditional 
Bosnian melancholic Sevdah. He has convinced his audience, macho 
or not. He is now one of the most celebrated stars of Bosnia.

More on Božo Vrećo
Božo Vrećo on YouTube

INSPIRATION:  Journey to the end of the night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

For a long time I've been putting this novel far away: Journey to the End of the Night (Voyage au bout de la nuit) by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
I read it once in a Dutch translation with beautiful illustrations by Jacques Tardi. I was in my mid-twenties and could not get through. The bleak and dreary view on humanity in this novel nauseated me at that age. Last night I saw on YouTube an old documentary about Céline from the Dutch writer Gerard Reve (1923-2006) which made me curious again. I took the book from the shelf and immediately I was captivated by the vivid language. In the documentary, Reve said he had learned and adopted a lot from Celine. I can understand that. In the expressive style 
I see similarities.
For everything there is a time in your life and maybe it's now time for me to (re)read 'Journey to the End of the Night.' 

Voyage au bout de la nuit,  Erik Lieshout et Gerard Reve (Dutch)
INSPIRATION: Pink Narcissus by James Bidgood

For seven years James Bidgood worked on the film Pink Narcissus (1963-1970) whose images were almost entirely filmed in the New York apartment of the director and photographer. However, the financial backers had lost their patience and the film was edited without Bidgood. He didn't approve of the release and out of protest he let his name be removed from the credits. Long time it was unclear who the director was. Some even thought to see the hand of Andy Warhol in the movie. In 1984 at last it became clear that James Bidgood was the director. Meanwhile, the film had become a cult classic.

What makes this film so influential? Not the flimsy story: a beautiful young male prostitute (Bobby Kendall) is, like Narcissus, completely obsessed with his reflection. Fantasizing he sees himself as a central figure in all sorts of exotic and mythological scenes. He dreams himself a bullfighter, a Roman slave and a faun.

It is not so much the story that appeals to the imagination, but the images. Which are sensual, dreamlike and shot in bright colors. They are like paintings with a kitschy but seductive quality that have come to life. That aspect: gay erotica in a dreamlike bright coloured and kitschy setting would make school and would have great influence on artists such as Pierre et Gilles, David LaChapelle and the film director Pedro Almodóvar.

Interview with director and photographer James Bidgood
The next novel: The train journey of Alex Stanovsky 
(working title) 

It has begun: the train has left. The author has finally begun his 
next novel. The working title is The train journey of Alex Stanovsky,
but that would be a stylistic departure from previous titles which only
 consisted of one word!

FRAGMENT from "The train journey of Alex Stanovsky '
(working title):
"Let Mr. Stanovsky in!"
Alex entered a room which interior was almost entirely made of dark wood. 
On the floor lay a shabby Persian carpet. In the middle of the chamber was a 
sturdy desk. The only light came from a desk lamp. At the desk sat a young 
lady. Her face was lighted up ghostly and her bright eyes looked sternly. She 
had her mouth squeezed. Her jet black hair was tied in braids on her head 
and she wore a green army uniform. There was something special about her 
look. It seemed as if she not really looked at you and she was lost in thought. 
Yet you felt that she observed you with extreme sharpness.

Reünie (Reunion) will be published this fall by IJzer 

It is really a fact: Reünie will be published this fall by Publisher IJzer. After the the aproval of the manuscript by the publisher, Monday I ultimately got the approval of the literary foundation that would provide the grant! The decision is made. Now it can really be proclaimed with a hundred percent certainty that Gaby's second novel will come out this fall!

More on Reünie
More on IJzer (Dutch)
ALEX STANOVSKY: the beginning 

Alex Stanovsky runs to Utrecht Central Station on his way to the Typhoon firm where he has a job interview. On the train he meets a man who accompanies him to an office. It appears that the interview takes place there. He is hired as a personal assistant of Ms. Beyer-Garratt. Gradually it dawns on him that the train is a society in itself and he is now part of that society. But will he ever be able to leave?

More on Alex Stanovsky

23-3-2017The door
Alex stared his eyes out. The part of the train where he came from was 
worn and shabby, but here they had spared no expense on the interior. 
They stood in a hall in front of a door. On the walls hung mirrors in 
gilded frames. The door was artfully decorated with a representation in 
carvings: only dressed in a flowing gown a lady flew through the air 
like a superwoman, her right index finger stinging forward. In her left 
hand she carried a winged railway wheel. 
Victor knocked. A thin voice resounded: "Come in." 
Then he opened the door.

INSPIRATION: Rose Macaulay

Dame Rose Macaulay, (August 1, 1881, Rugby, Warwickshire, England - October 30, 1958, London) is an English author of novels, biographies and travel stories who was widely praised in her time for her acumen, sharp observations, wit and erudition. She was no ordinary woman: first she wanted to be a naval officer, but then she sets her sights on a writing career. She was an ardent feminist who never married but she had a long affair with the Irish priest and writer Gerald O'Donovan. The gender issue intrigued her, just like her fellow writer Virginia Woolf. She was physically androgynous, but also in her ideas and her work she represented both male and female. She was religious, but she had very liberal ideas which she certainly did not hide.
Her best-known work is the novel The Towers of Trebizond (1956). Three eccentric English people are traveling through Turkey, partly by camel, from Istanbul to the fabled Trebizond. The trip has two purposes: to empower the Turkish woman and the conversion of the people to the Anglican faith. Humor prevails in this work but there is also an undercurrent of intense heartbreak.

More on Rose Macaulay

Cover REÜNIE (Reunion)

In recent weeks the cover of the forthcoming novel Reünie is designed 
by Gaby den Held in consultation with publisher IJzer. The proof-sheet 
has been approved yesterday. Another step in the publication process! 
Here is an example of the result.

More on Reünie


‘'Don't let your tea get cold,’ she said. He jumped out of his mind and mechanically drank the lukewarm drink from a white porcelain cup with in blue and gold the railway logo with the winged wheel.
‘'The chocolates are for you. I'm not allowed to eat them anymore, but still they bring them every time.’  
She frowned and slid the plate to Alex. She was quiet for some time and watched him as he ate the chocolates. For the first time he heard the softly ticking of a clock .
'I haven't been out of my apartment for ages,’ she said.


‘The clothes that Alex and his fellow passengers wore were dependent on their ranking. When he was with Mrs. Beyer-Garratt he had to change his daily gray uniform immediately for clothes she had chosen for him. Every day of the week he had to be someone else: Monday he was a sailor, Tuesday a young man from high society in a double breasted jacket, on Wednesday a police officer, on a Thursday, a sports athlete on a Friday, a hussar, on Saturday an Officer in the Army of Salvation and Sunday a footman in livrei.
Music was my first love (my 80s)

The 80's were the years Gaby's taste for music took shape. So now 
he's made a sentimental journey back in time. 
No Blondie, Madonna and Michael Jackson but New Order, This 
Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, Prince, Depeche Mode and... Dr. Who. 
There is one Exception: I feel love from Moroder and Donna 
Summer is from the 70s. But then again it's an exceptional song that 
was way ahead its' time and it suits perfectly in the decade where 
electronic music seems to take over the popscene.

Music was my first love

Movies from the Weimar era are not rarely fascinating. Think of Metropolis 
or Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler from Fritz Lang.  Some have expressionistic and 
beautiful decors such as Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (1920) 
directed by Robert Wiene. In the last movie, the pacifistic ideas from 
scriptwriters Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer are reflected in the figure of 
Caligari. He is a symbol of the emerging  fascism and the crowd who is 
uncritically following a strong leader. The call for a strong leader is very 

One of the main actors of Das Kabinett Des Doktor Caligari is CONRAD 
VEIDT (1893 - 1943). His personalization of the physically handicapped 
Gwynplaine in Theman who laughs (Paul Leni, 1928) would write history. 
The film isbased on the novel L'homme qui rit by Victor  Hugo. 
Gwynplaine has a permanent grin smile, brought to him by Comprachicos. 
These nomads, invented by Victor Hugo, deformed children physically 
from a young age to let them work atfreak shows. The grinning 
Gwynplaine would later be a key inspiration for comic bookwriter Bill 
Finger and artists Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson in creating Batman's 
biggest enemy, The Joker.

Conrad Veidt has another special role in his name: Anders als die Andern (1919) by Magnus Hirschfeld in which he plays
the role of gay violinist Paul Körner. This is one of the first films in which homosexuality is positively portrayed, despite it's bad ending. The story was in fact a charge against the Legislative Act, Paragraph 175, which deals with the prohibition of sex between men.

In 1933, he and his Jewish wife Ilona Prager went to Britain, fleeing the Nazi regime. In 1941, they moved to Hollywood where he played in a number of movies. Ironically, he was often typecast as a Nazi agent. His best-known role was that of the sinister Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca (1942). He died of a heart attack in 1943 at the age of 50.

More on Conrad Veidt
How a 1928 Silent Film Influenced the Creation of the Joker

2-7-2017Groot Handelsgebouw
I took the train to Rotterdam. When I arrived at Rotterdam central, I went to
the business centre: the 'Groot Handelsgebouw.' That was easy to find: It is 
immediately to the right when you leave the station. There it loomed up: a 
beige concrete colossus. His with rectangles covered facade bended gruffly 
within the surrounding roads. And Typhoon would be one of the firms that 
housed in that huge building.
About Laurie Andersons Chalkroom, influences and multidisciplinary cooperation

Gaby about inspirators (particularly Laurie Anderson), influences and
 multidisciplinary cooperation:
One thing about influences and inspirators: They do not take over your mind. 
But I think, if you have achieved a certain maturity you can be influenced 
without becoming an epigon. In addition, I have the convenient certainty of a 
distinctive style. Everything I see and hear: on the streets, on the web, in 
movies, in books, goes through a big blender and what I can use transforms 
into something that really fits into 'my world'.

I have regularly revealed who my inspirators are as a writer: Federico Fellini, 
David Lynch, Mikhail Bulgakov, Jan Potocki. And certainly Laurie Anderson. 
Why Laurie Anderson? Because she is able to get you out of your comfort zone 
and pull you into a very different strange world. This will teach you to recognize 
how you stick to patterns, judgments, paradigms. She can help you loosen up 
those ties a bit.

What also is so appealing about Laurie Anderson, is that she always keeps renewing and refreshing herself. In this project (Chalkroom, 2017) she works with Taiwanese artist Hsin-Chien Huang and people from the game world. She created a virtual reality with them in which you fly through the sky - like in dreams - in an environment in which you find stories. Watch the video and discover why it's so inspiring.

I know that I limit myself to text, writing and especially novels. But I am extremely open to collaboration with other disciplines to create something new together. A small example of this is the collaboration for my debut novel Maan (Moon) with graphic designer Cliff van Thillo and photographers Sander & Sandor. Based on the story of Moon, they have created something from different visual disciplines. Such cooperations tastes morish.

More on Laurie Andersons Chalkroom


They both looked at the box. To the surprise of Alex the lid opened itself. A red shine illuminated the surroundings. Then there crawled an insect-like creature that shone red. It shook a little over the ground and then it unfolded its wings.

Photoreportage book presentation Reünie

The book presentation of Sunday, October 1, 2017 was very successful.
The attendants were surprised by a musical program in collaboration 
with presenter and interviewer Hans Pols, composer and singer John 
van Loon (Guflux) and cellist Saskia le Poole where the lyrics were
being declamated and sometimes even sung!

Photo: Jan van der Veen

See photoreportage
Photoreportage performance Kunstmoment Diepenheim

The quirky performance at Kunstmoment Diepenheim in Irma's Café 
surprised many visitors. There was also a fine interview with Jan Erik 
Plettenburg (RTV Oost, De Roze Golf)

Photo: Jan van der Veen

See photoreportage
Radio interview de Roze Golf, RTV Oost 

About waterbrats and victims who become perpetrators. Interview 
with writer Gaby den Held about his novel Reünie (Reunion). With 
a live performance of parts of the novel on the music of Guflux... 

Radio 29-10: Waterbrats and victims who become perpetrators 
Interview Twentsche Courant Tubantia

On October 27, an interview was published in the Dutch regional 
newspaper Twentsche Courant Tubantia with an interview with Gaby 
about his new novel Reunië. About Diepenheim, bullies and school 
reunions. Interviewer: Theo Hakkert

See: Utrecht based author writes novel with Diepenheim as setting
Alex Stanovsky, nascent novel: fragment 

8-11-2017The fog
In a huge silo, not far from Rotterdam we builded on a train. Some parts were new, some parts consisted of old wagons we recycled. It wasn't just a train. A whole new miniature society was rising.
September 11, 1939 was the big day of leaving. Everything was carefully prepared. A route was drawn up along the track to Sankt Moritz in the Swiss Alps. Without problems, we did Antwerp, then we arrived at Brussels. But when we left Paris we got into a thick fog. Or it seemed to be a fog. In any case, we couldn't see a thing. We wanted to stop the train, but we couldn't. We drove on into an endless fog. It was quite scary. 

Alex Stanovsky, nascent novel: fragment

9-11-2017​. The red room
‘"Where are we going now?" he asked.
"You're so lovely naive," she said mysteriously. She held a card for a panel 
of buttons, a beep sounded and the elevator went on its way. Not a minute 
later they arrived. The doors opened. Natalie grabbed him at his arm, 
causing an little electric shock to him. They walked through a dusky 
corridor with several doors on the right. Next to each door was a red light. 
When Natalie saw a door with a green light, she stopped. She held her 
pass for a sensor and after a beep the door opened. A light was kindled 
that flickered at first and then drenched the room in a rose red glow. The 
small space consisted almost entirely of a bed with pink satin sheets and 


Old news gathered in chronological order: excerpts from Gaby's novels and facts about people who inspired him over the years.

2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012