The Shallow Man looks fondly back at the eighties as a time of bright colours, shoulder pads, Dynasty (What a chap Blake Carrington was!) and, of course, the rise of the King of pop, Michael Jackson. I was in the crowd at Wembley Stadium in the summer of 1988, along with 70,000 wonderful people watching MJ moonwalk across the stage. Happy memories. Having lived through that period, I was not too excited to be invited to a 1980’s party; however, the Shallow Man attended against my better judgment. I’d forgotten quite how many dreadful songs were popular during this period, and for good reason. Mel and Kim? Bananarama? Kim Wilde sang a song with the line ‘view from a bridge, can’t take anymore,’ well, that’s exactly how I felt hearing that song. Another annoying song I’d forgotten was called “We Close Our Eyes”. What an irritating number, sung by a group called Go West, which brings me to the subject of today’s post.

A common request received by the Shallow Man is for advice on where to live in Amsterdam. I’ve already provided my frank and uncensored views of Amsterdam East and Southeast. My views have been duly noted and have caused upset in some quarters. Undaunted by criticism, I will press on, like the Tolpuddle Martyrs of old, with my reviews of Amsterdam. Today I will review Amsterdam West. If, as a result, I am handcuffed to a chair and forced to sit through repeated showings of Soldat van Oranje while being force-fed Zuurkool, I will be bold and shout out, “I am Spartacus!” The things I do for my readers!

Tasty Sauerkraut and potatoes

Tasty Sauerkraut and potatoes

Amsterdam West

To do this part of Amsterdam justice, I will split it into two main neighbourhoods: Oud West (Old West) and Bos en Lommer.

Oud West

According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, Purgatory is the place between Heaven and Hell, where those who have not committed mortal sin are elected to go to heaven. The same could be said of Oud-West. Situated tantalisingly close to the Heaven of Amsterdam South and within smartphone-snatching, easy scooter-riding distance to the Hell that is Bos en Lommer.

If you want to see up-and-coming yuppies in their natural habitat, move to Oud-West. This neighbourhood is hip, consisting of Delicatessens, good wine dealers, and plenty of lively cafes. Back in the day, the Shallow Man could frequently be seen propping up the bar at Cafe Oslo, fighting off the attentions of cheap-boot-wearing ladies with bad haircuts. Think of Manhattan’s East Village, and you’ll be in the right ballpark. In recent years, lots of renovations have taken place in the neighbourhood, making it an incredibly good value place to buy or rent a property. When visiting cafes for breakfast or lunch during the weekend, please be careful not to trip over and risk breaking your neck due to selfish parents parking their bugaboo pushchairs anywhere they please. That aside, Amsterdam Oud-West gets the Shallow Man’s seal of approval, something I’m sure will bring joy to the hearts of members of the local council.

Bos en Lommer

The Shallow Man, being the adventurous chap he is, once visited a shortly-lived nightclub called The Moon. Unfortunately, like its name, it had absolutely no atmosphere. This brings me to the part of Amsterdam West known as Bos en Lommer. If Dante were alive today, he’d have based his Inferno masterwork on Bos En Lommer. For those unfamiliar with Dante, he wrote about taking a tour through hell. I’m sure there’s a Dante Straat in Bos en Lommer somewhere. Like Amsterdam East, Bos en Lommer is at the end of known civilisation.  It’s a long and perilous journey to get there, and upon arriving, you’ll soon realise that apart from the joys of Doner (food, not a woman), some gambling halls and a few local social clubs, there is very little to do there.

Heatlhy food

Amsterdam Bos en Lommer cuisine

The area is also well-known for its entrepreneurial spirit. Many small business people have opened the country’s largest collection of “Thuis bordeel’s” (Home brothels). If you want somewhere incredibly cheap to live in, this is the neighbourhood for you. In fact, many properties there are so undesirable that landlords will practically pay you to move in.

amsterdam west derelict buildng

Desirable low-cost apartments

If you are looking for a neighbourhood where even Taxi drivers are afraid to take passengers (even though many of them live there) and want to be guaranteed a life of boredom and eternal torment, move to Bos en Lommer.

No former eighties pop stars, yuppies or hookers were hurt during the writing of this article.

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