Smash and shout: Dutch find new ways to vent COVID-19 frustrations

They are participants in “CarSmash”, a Dutch
project aimed at providing locked-down locals with ways of releasing anger and
frustration built up during a pandemic now entering its third year.

Dutch bars, restaurants and most stores have been closed
since mid-December, when curbs took effect that the government – battling to
contain record numbers of coronavirus cases – is not due to review until Jan

“There is nothing to do these days,” said Brian.
“We can’t work because, we own a bar and we are closed. So we thought we’d
let some of that frustration go and smash a car.”

Merlijn Boshuizen, who runs “CarSmash” from a
breakers’ yard in Vijfhuizen near Amsterdam, says clients begin by
spray-painting “what’s present in their lives” onto their chosen

“The minute that they start wrecking the car, we ask
them to close their eyes, to feel their feet on the floor, feel the power,
every vein in your body, feel what you are doing, and in that way to try to get
it out of your life.”

A few miles to the south in the Hague, vocal coach Julie
Scott runs “Screech at the Beach”, a scheme with similar aims that
she developed while looking for “something physical and something to
release some of the tension” built up by not being able to work indoors.

Facing into the wind side by side with Julie as it whipped
off the sea, client Rozemarijn Kardijk jumped up and down yelling until she ran
of breath while trying to suppress a laugh.

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“You can just – Whaa! Let yourself go,” said
Rozemarijn, a management secretary hoping to learn to speak with more
confidence in her professional life.

“You don’t have to think about other things, it’s the
wideness of the beach and the sea … Your voice goes over the sea and it
doesn’t return to you. It’s a sense of freedom.”

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