Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Wordee Number 5 – Croatian

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

‘Meet me at the national theare, it’s the big yellow building…’

Zagreb National Theatre


Barbara Slade

Big Yellow Building

And she wasn’t lying.  It is very big and very very yellow!  Barbara Slade is the next Wordee I met, in Zagreb – Croatia.  Barbara said she would pick me up outside the striking building after she finished work and drive me to Jarun lake for a beer or two.  Was my first female Wordee planning to kidnap or kill me?

Only one way to find out!

Barbara Slade driving

I turned up early to the National Theatre to wait for Barbara and to pass the time I decided to constantly get squirted by a kid’s water pistol.  Actually wait, now that I think of it, it was his choice.  Just as I was about to throw him in the fountain, my phone lit up with the words ‘Wordee – Barbara’.  I answered and Barbara said she was at the other side of the Theatre.  After a bit of ‘No you’re going the wrong way’ and ‘No, your other left’, I located a stunning Croatian lady waving at me.  Barbara’s driving was interesting.  It was clear that her accelerator foot knew exactly where she wanted to go but the rush hour traffic and ‘granny drivers’ were holding her back…while I was holding onto the seat for support.

(Only messing B…kinda).

No Iron?

We arrived at a beautiful lake surrounded by an array of pubs and after we carefully picked one, we sat down to discuss a range of topics including cultural differences, crime, Croatian economy, adventures in Vegas, jobs, beer, relationships and ‘are Irish guys aware of a new invention called the iron?’ – Barbara making fun of the fact I was in a very wrinkly tshirt.  Come on!  I’m backpacking around Europe, I have no time for Irons!

Our topic of discussion moved on to Croatian law and how it was more relaxed for certain crimes and also how the verdict all depended on who committed the crime.  Eventually Barbara uttered the words: “Because I am a woman and you are a foreigner, I could kill you right now and probably get away with it.”  This led to me thinking ‘have I told people back home I’m currently in Zagreb?’

Barbara Slade

Barbara’s great

But Barbara was a great Wordee and a great ambassador for the word Croatian!  And she didn’t drown me in the lake after all. :) I had lots of fun meeting up with her and after we drank some mysterious green drink we got a free little lighty up thingy. (Only way I can describe it).

A friendly taxi drive took the above photo outside the National Theatre after we came back from the lake.  I went back to my Hostel where the rest of the guys staying there were watching ‘Hostel Part 2’.  What a movie to watch in an already dodgy hostel?!  We were even more freaked out when the phone in the hostel rang at that part where all the phones are ringing around the world.  You know the part I mean.

Thanks again for meeting up with me B, looking forward to getting another mysterious drink with you sometime!

Wordee Number 4 – Cargo

Saturday, November 1st, 2008


Interview number 4 with Jay Martin, who redefined ‘cargo’ and ‘polyamory’ in Cologne, Germany.


Human Wikipedia

First of all I must say, Jay is one of the smartest guys I have ever met!  No matter the topic of conversation (and we covered a lot of topics during the day) he was an expert, from George Orwell to Japanese inventions.  I think he may be the closest thing to a Human Wikipedia.

149 beer

I have now made it to Cologne in Germany, leaving behind the lovely rain of Amsterdam for the…well…cloudiness of Cologne.  Still I cant complain, Cologne is a great place with 1.49Euro for 6 beers.  You couldn’t beat that with a big stick!  Myself and Anna (my newly recruited camerawoman) waited for Jay outside the train station on the steps of Cologne Cathedral.  I enjoy this part as it’s fun guessing what my next Wordee will look like. After a few wrong guesses a man started to make a beeline for us.  We thought this might be him.  ‘Paddy?’ He said.  (I guess we were right.) ‘Jay!’ I said.  After a firm handshake and a bit of small talk we headed to a small cafe on the square for a coffee.


Jay, Anna and myself had a great time discussing the world, religion, relationships, 1984, politics and language to name a few of the topics.  I must say some of the discussions were pretty deep, which was a welcome change from the last week of discussing complex issues like ‘which bar will we hit tonight?’ and ‘Will drinking this kill us straight away?’  Over a few coffees we learned that Jay is an accomplished writer and a member of the German Writer’s Guild.  Impressive stuff!  He told us all about his new novel, ‘Cargo’, a science fiction story. By the way Jay if you are reading this, I could make a great Alien if it gets made into a movie.  Just keep it in mind ;).

Jay redefined two great words as you can hear in the interview above and taught us a lot about the German language among other things.  I really should have been taking more notes I fear as my German is not so hot now :(

Jay Martin

Willy Wonka

We then met up with some friends and we went to the chocolate factory!  Yes Cologne has a chocolate factory!  But don’t get too excited, its not that impressive.  I think we had built it up too much in our minds to be like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and the fact that there was now 5 of us just made it more anticipating.  We all made it out alive though and we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.  Jay joined us and was able to order for us in Chinese.  He never failed to surprise us!

Chocolate factory


So it was great to meet Wordee number 4!  Jay certainly has a love for words being a writer and we’re really happy he is part of The Big Word Project family :) Hope to see you again soon as I am back to discussing ‘Which bar will we hit tonight?’…

Wordee Number 3 – Mono

Friday, October 31st, 2008


Interview number 3 with Wimer Hazenberg, who redefined ‘mono’ and ‘show’.



So here I am in an extremely rainy Amsterdam and after a long day of boat rides, seeing Anne Frank’s House, buying overpriced iPod adapters etc, I’m due to meet Wimer at the quite hidden but really busy DeZotte Belgian bar.  I arrived first and luckily got a great seat just as you walk in the door.


After chatting to the barmaid for a while she was wondering how I had found the place as it’s a bar for locals and I tried to explain to her that it was suggested by someone who lives in Amsterdam.  ‘Ah a friend of yours?’ she asked.  ‘Eh not really’ I said.  I then tried to explain why I was meeting a complete stranger in a Belgian bar in Amsterdam and the concept of TBWP.

I have a funny feeling she didn’t get it and thought I was on some sort of weird blind date with a man I’d met on the internet.

Which when you think about it, that’s kind of what I was doing.

And then an extremely tall, Beck lookalike walked in.  Hello to Wimer :)

Wimer Hazenberg


It has become a bit of a tradition now for the Wordees to suggest a drink to sample from their fine coutry.  Wimer recommended Orval, one of the 6 Belgian Trappists made by monks, so thats what we had!  The glasses were a little bit small for the drink so they pour the rest into a shot with some sweet mixture for you to down after your pint.  Quite a nice wee idea and we gladly obliged.  Myself a Wimer chatted for a long time on what have become the regular topics of conversations with Wordees: relationships, beer, politics, culture, more beer and geeky internet stuff.


We then happily downed some Leffe and Duvel and after a couple of hours I had learnt that Wimer works for a software/web design company and that he is going to be soon employing someone for the first time!  How exciting is that?  Wimer redefined mono with his website, his ‘playground’.  It’s a great site with lots of interesting work so check it out!


We then decided to have the interview outside in the rain as it was really noisy inside. As my trusty cameraman Marty had left for an even rainier Belfast earlier that day we had to recruit the confused barmaid as our camera operator.  She gladly videoed us and Wimer then tried to explain the project in Dutch afterwards.  I still dont think she understood and to this day still thinks we were on a blind date.


It was great to meet Wimer and we at TBWP wish him all the best with the future of his company and hopefully he has a bit of good weather in Amsterdam soon :)

Wordee Number 2 – Context

Thursday, October 30th, 2008


Here is interview with Wordee number 2, Steven Verbruggen who redefined ‘Context’.



Steve was the nicest guy ever!  Steve picked us up in Antwerp after our meeting with Koen.  He drove us to Leuven, the city of Stella Artois.  Jo, our trusty interpreter, sat in the front while myself and Marty, our continually improving camerman, sat in the back.  Leuven is about 30 mins drive from Antwerp and while Jo chatted to Steve in Dutch, me and Marty…well…we fell asleep.  How rude are we?  It was a long day and Steve’s gentle driving was too much for us.

Well when we arrived in Leuven, Steve took us to the local hostel to see if we could get a room.  How nice of him?!  Unfortunately they were all full up due to the Werchter festival (which we were also heading to the next day) so Steve said he would take us to Werchter where we could camp.  Again, nicest guy ever.

Cafe de Curve

So we went to Steve’s local, ‘Cafe de Curve’, for a couple of pints.  Steve’s girlfriend, Lore, joined us and the five of us had a great time.  Steve introduced me to Duvel, a drink that would become my beer of choice during my eurotrip.  It’s 8.5%, maybe that had something to do with it? We chatted for hours about various things including beer, politics, culture, buying words (of course) and falling for Irish girls/guys.  Steve is a self described new marketing/cross-media professional currently working at the interactive agency These Days. He bridges the gap between marketing and technology.  I have never met a man so in love with a word.  ‘Context’ has definitely landed on it’s feet with Steve!  He will surely take great care of it.

Wet, wet, wet

After our long chat and even longer beers, Steve drove us to a very wet campsite in a very wet Werchter where myself and Marty would spend a very wet night in a very wet tent.

Meeting Steve Verbruggen

Blogged back

Steve made a blog post about our meeting on his Minor Issues blog.  No problem about the drink Steve, thanks for all the chauffeuring :)

Further Info

I met Steve on the second day of my trip and 6 weeks later I was back in Leuven where it all started and we met up again for some more Duvels at the Marktrock festival.  Good times :)

Meeting Steve Verbruggen Second time

Word of the day

Context -the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.

Wordee Number 1 – Nifty

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Greetings Internet!

I have finally found an internet cafe that allows you to plug in a camera. So here is interview with Wordee number 1!


  • Wordee – Koen Van der Auwera
  • Word – Nifty
  • Website –


Koen (later discovered to be pronounced ‘koon’) was a fantastic wordee! We met in a big square called the Groenplaats in Antwerp, Belgium in the pouring rain, thunder and lightning. Myself, my trusty cameraman Marty and translator Jo were waiting for our first encounter and didn’t really know what to expect. We were looking around deciding ‘could it be him?’….or ‘is it that guy?’. There was a guy running around the square in the rain….in his underwear. We all hoped this wasn’t our first wordee … well maybe a little.

Smiling Man

Then a smiling young man in a Wikipedia tshirt came towards us. It was a huge square and while we knew it was him and he knew it was us, it took a long time for him to reach us. Kind of like that scene in Austin Powers where the guy gets run over by the steamroller.

Koen was great! We went to a small cafe/pub on the Groenplaats and had some Karmeliet, the best belgian beer according to Koen. We talked for ages about various things, Belgium, beer, Koen being his own boss, the concept of word ownership and more beer.

We had some great chats about geeky internet stuff. Who knew that wordees would be geeky? Koen was wearing a great tshirt, reading ‘Wikipedia is accurate’ and below that ‘citation needed’. Brilliant.


We had a great time with Koen and after taking the picture below, trying to fit in the stunning background, we said our goodbyes and wished him a happy day at work.

Although we did catch Koen riding on his bike later with a McDonalds under his arm. He obviously didn’t feel like heading back to work yet. Ah the joys of being your own boss!


Blogged back

Koen has written a blog post about our encounter. It’s always nice to get the wordee’s opinion on the meeting too. I’ve linked to a translated version of the post but here’s the original post in Dutch.

I’ll be uploaded videos of my other interviews soon :)

Word of the day

Nifty – very good; fine; excellent: a nifty idea.