As opposed to the editors with whom I discussed and disagreed on the ideas of the overall  content, I often butted heads with the art directors. Lucky for the editors that in most of the cases their texts were in a language I couldn’t read or understand. But I could see clearer the graphic ideas of the art directors and have an opinion of my own. And I would have ideas of my own to contribute. Art directors also being an emotional bunch and extremely possessive of their talents  would resist the most. When Dirk came up with the re-designed front of the book pages, splitting two or more rubrics on the same page instead of devoting a page each to Music, Books, Films and other sections, he was up against resistance from me. That’s altering the basic design and the format of the classic Playboy.  My job it was to preserve and guard them.

‘We neither have as much material, nor space and ads like the US Playboy to afford that kind of luxury. While the U.S. Playboy has an average of 230 + pages every month, we would l have about 130.’ Dirk throws a bewildered look in my direction.

That logic of his did it for me. Those pages looked nice, if a bit cluttered like a small Dutch house, where every single centimeter has to be judiciously utilized. The steep stairs with an incline only a slightly more than a stepladder against the wall, every nook and corner had to be used in the most productive way. Furthermore, his improvised design gave more editorial flexibility. Made imminent sense. In the end we would agree on a compromise, and from all our disagreements, the magazine benefitted the most. I thought of Dirk a couple of weeks ago when I saw the grand old dame The New Yorker’s, front of the book pages similarly split after 83 years of publication. Dirk did it with their issue # 0.

There was rarely animosity between us and we got along famously at and outside of the work.  Dirk was also the man about town and would be often consulted as to where we should go out for dinner.

So it is no wonder that Dirk wants to introduce me to the best of what Holland has to offer in terms of the culinary excellence. One evening, he picks me up from the hotel with his live-in squeeze Ans and we drive into the Dutch countryside to the restaurant de Hoefslag in Bosch en Duin. It is awarded no less than two Michelin Stars and its cuisine is known to stack up to any

I am flattered and I am curious. Really looking forward to it as Dirk builds it up how exquisite and exclusive the place is – not to mention how expensive! Soon as we walk in, Dirk and Ans are fussed over by the co-owner, chef Gerard Fagel who ran the restaurant with his brother Martin. We are given a prime table in the middle of the restaurant that allows us the generous panoramic view of the ample space that the dining room occupies. A bottle of champagne appears without being ordered and while the chef and Dirk are babbling away excitedly in Dutch, catching up, Ans and I look at each other like Alice and Alex in the Wonderland.

The dining room is spacious and airy. It’s lit just right with enhancing and highlighting plants and other inanimate objects. I am presuming that this is Ans’ first time also, from the way she surveys the place, as if in awe.

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