Mediamatic Magazine Vol. 6#2/3 Koos Dalstra 1 jan 1991



Koos Dalstra is a Friesian poet and a cheat.


Dalstra -

Under an assumed name

It is apparent that I am dependent on the media just by the fact that I work for several magazines, including Mediamatic, under a false name (John Toledo). How has it come to this?
At the age of six I was sitting on my grandpa's knee. We were leafing through a magazine portfolio. The Russians were occupying Budapest. Photographs of partisans in shot-apart streets, on a leisurely stroll, two men and a woman, tommy guns loosely in the wrist or along the flank. Their eyes are blacked out. Caption: The women too are bravely working for the resistance. Another picture, obviously shot with a telephoto lens. A road runs to the horizon. A forest. A tank, blocking the road, but with the barrel pointing at the camera. Caption: The road to freedom is hermetically sealed. And finally, a picture of a square, with tall houses. Evening. Candles are
burning behind all the windows. Why is that. Grandpa?
Grandpa and his Nieuwe Revumagazine again. The barred trio had stuck in my memory. They were fighting for a lost cause. They were losers, but actually winners, that was why. But the Russians weren't supposed to know that.
What a sensation! Grandpa and I devised a plan of flight to America, in the event that the Russians should come here. Our fictive escape would take place in a fighter jet,loaded full of cattle manure (Grandpa's nest egg for the States), from which a rope ladder constantly hung at the ready. Busy milking until the last second, he could step right onto his old bicycle and I would pick him up at full speed on the runway.
America, the medium of the future. We got television. I was immediately addicted. I sat glued to the tube, three feet from the screen, watching the test pattern for fifteen solid minutes. Already waiting for the children's news. For I wanted to know exactly what those kids in Australia got up to at Christmas. It was summer there, which was really far out. And then of course science fiction. It kept me awake at night. Tomorrow it will happen became a downright nightmare.
It all started very innocently. You had your professor in a spaceship outside earth. He was the only actor. The set consisted of two small rooms, connected by a sort of tunnel, but also by the spiral staircase. Then you had the earth and that was the director at his monitors. Everything went fine until the scholar found a hair. The only explanation could be that someone else was on the spaceship. I didn't finish watching that series. I was told later that it had been some terrible monsters, but I missed that. It was too thrilling for me and I quit watching.
This is how I learned to lie. To be rid of things. When I came back from America, then a 19-year-old boy going off to study, I pulled the leg of a provincial daily paper, told them that 90% of American youths used drugs. I myself had never smoked a joint then. Pure corniness, pure bluff. I went!o study sociology, so I wouldn't have to go into the service. I took heaps of girlfriends, so I wouldn't have to marry. I became a poet in the hopes of becoming a medium myself.
That is what happened. I have become someone else. John Toledo makes art. He specialises in lacquerwork. He has to stay abreast of what's happening in his field. This is the reason, among others, that he reads Mediamatic.
Thus my fraud has become a captioning device for virtual work. I make, as it were, advertising for the medium under a false name but that name sounds better! Granted, l am fighting for a lost cause, yet in the service of a winning medium.

translation LAURA MARTZ