Monday, January 31, 2011

A big blank

Oops January is over and I'm not sure what I've done over the last month
  • besides laying in the sofa complaining that I must be getting a cold again because my sinusses hurt and make me think I'm looking cross-eyed....alternated by days where Jan is complaining that he'd probably is getting ill
  • Despite complaining all the time for being tired , being awake at night as way too many thoughts are racing around at the most impossible hours causing myself to be...very tired 
  • working very hard and coming home where my energy level deflates like a little failing soufflé after which I cancel some of my regular week activities to conserve my energy levels in the sofa...
  • and then drawing a big blank when I realise I haven't blogged in a while but have not been up to anything to talk about (and typing while looking cross-eyed isn't that easy anyway).


Seriously my energy has sucked lately and I really hope it gets kicked up again in February.  At least I have a trip to look forward too. Not the perfect Egypt diving get-away that we had planned (  :( bummer)  but a little escape anyway. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Perfectly clear chat conversation

G:  Come on...
S:  Ouch
G: Hmm not good
S: Come on
G: Aaah nerve-wrecking
...
S: Ah that was good
...
S: Damn
G: Shit
S: Shit
G: pfffff
....
G: it's not good
S: nope
G: Alleeeeeee, push now
G: Damn
...
G: Hup hup hup
S: :(
G: Fuck it
....

G: yes, it's turning
G: Hup hup hup, come one
S: Yesss
G: hahaa the little fist is back
S: ok now it must happen
S: YESS
...

G: aaaah that's how it should be
S: yesyes
S: Nice
G: gosh she can look angry....nice skirt by the way
S: nah, doesn't look good with the trophee
G: ;)
G: I'm gonna go continue cleaning the kitchen, seems that it works way better then
S: yes leave it does make a big difference

...
G: YESSSS, (can I come back already)
S: Damn
G: Shit
S: go back to your kitchen please
....
G: woooohoo kitchen is very clean and all is going alright
S: party party!
S: YESSSSS yes, allright
G: wooohooo serving for the tournament
G: I promise I'll go back to the kitchen ;)
....

S: matchpoint
S: YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS
S: :) :) :)
G: Yipeeeeeeeee
G: ooooh so beautiful


Kim Clijsters just won the Australian Open and is back #2 in women's tennis. Brilliant, we love her! :)
And the 16-year old An-Sophie Mestach from Ghent won the Australian Open junior's titles, both singles and doubles.  Yeaaaaah the Belgians still rule women's tennis. Too bad Justine Henin had to quit the WTA circuit this week because of her continuous medical problems with her elbow :(.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Made in Belgium: Holywood Porn Stars

I've said it before that this series mostly features Flemish artists and the groups from the south of the country are greatly under represented because....well yeah, in Belgium there's 2 cultural groups and we're sadly not very aware of each other's idols.

So today I bring you a group that I had not heard off at all but which was recommended by a Frenchspeaking friend.   Let's discover them together.

Perfect Storm




The Fugitive - 2008

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shame

So it seems the Belgian apathy to the political problems has come to an end.  Since a few weeks lots of little initiatives have sprouted on the internet:
  • a few successful youtube videos complaining about the situation
  • website that counts down until we break the world record held by Iraq for country with the longest period without government
  • a virtual campground in front of the prime minister's house to ask the politicians money back if they don't do their job
  • A theatre evening with lots of (Flemish) artists themed "Separatism, not in our name"
  • Students organizing a protest in Brussels today via FB with the theme "SHAME"
Today 35000 - 45000 people marched through  the streets of Brussels protesting against the fact that we have no government yet.  Isn't that ironic: most other countries protest against their government, but we must ask our politicians to form one.

The point is that most of the politicians and most politic parties do want to form a government...most , maybe not all.  But we've voted such a scattered political landscape and rewarded those politicians with the most bold stubborn point of views that they can't come to an agreement together.  So what are we asking in fact?  To quickly compromise and break their electoral promises? To form a government no matter what, regardless the quality of their agreements?  If we'd select a subset of the protesters, would they be able to come to an agreement or wouldn't they struggle with the same issues? Aren't we all secretly convinced that it is the "other" parties that are taking impossible point-of-views, not "our political party, we voted for"?

Well the difference is of course that the protesting civilians aren't paid to do a political job and rule the country and the politicians are. And I hope the big turn-out might make it easier for the different parties around the table to indeed swallow some painful compromises and sell it to their voters.  They'll all have to lose somehow for sure to move forward.


Personally I'm kinda happy that the turn-out wasn't so Frenchspeaking as the comments on the organization's website beforehand predicted (although 21% Flemish still isn't that great). If not it would have once again only stressed in what sort of enstrangered country we live. On the contrary, despite the organization's call for a non-political statement protest, a high number of people were wearing Belgian symbols and pro-unity slogans.   I must say that it felt good to see that, especially since we are so often flooded with separatist messages and the counter opinion usually remains silent.


Despite the awakening of the Belgians last days, I still believe we're moving forward to break that world-record of goverment-less country quickly.  Only 65 more days.  Bleh.   Shame indeed.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sleeping in

A slow awareness rises about the fact that I'm aware. Aware that it is 7 AM, Saturday and no urgent plans in the morning. Slowly I turn around, curled up in my little warm nest that has grown over the night in the belly of this soft duvet. Hmm I still love this wonderful mattress, it's the best in the world.  Hmm it doesn't take long before the low level awareness fades aw.....zzzzzzz

....

I register that Jan is turning, I turn as well, back to sleep

...

After a while I am aware again that the alarm clock numbers have jumped quite ahead and immediately much more thoughts are already going through my brain. Clearly I rested enough but it's so nice to still lay still for a few more stolen moments, relax, enjoying the fact that there's no need to rush into the day at all.


Aaaaah sleeping in, I'll never grow tired of it :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Made in Belgium: Kadril

It's been quite a while since I've featured folk in this series.  Time to introduce to you all to Kadril , the folk group of folk groups in Belgium. They originated in the 80ies and have not only continuously contributed to the folk scene with their own traditional music, they've also discovered/introduced so many talented artist and colaborated with them in many projects   eg Eva De Roovere, Ialma, Patrick Riguelle, Laïs, ...
They are at the origin of revival of folk music in Belgium and the popularity of traditional instruments such as the hurdy gurdy.

Rozemarijn -2004



Louise




The Americans have stolen my love - 2005



Lutine - le canal en Octobre - 2005




Nachtvrijage - 1999



Venus - 2009

Sunday, January 16, 2011

An evening walk in the melted countryside


Little arrows pointing to nowhere in the green fields,
patiently waiting for snow and skiers to return
while listening to the swollen creeks rushing downwards
in the golden evening sun

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Made in Belgium: The Blackbox Revelation

This week I'll reveal to you the Blackbox Revelation, a garagerock band that has grown over the last couple of years to a successful live rock act, featured on all major rock festivals in Belgium and The Netherlands.  They were just rewarded a MIA for best rock/alternative artists and best live act and they leave today for LA to start recording their 3rd album. Their first single "I think I like it" is played before and after each game of the Pittsburgh Pirates and their first album got already a review in The New York Times.

Not bad for 2 still very young Flemish boys. Way to go.  



Love Kicks - summer 2010




High on a wire - 2009




I think I like you - 2008



Do I know you - feb 2010

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unwilling

We broke the European record last Friday and are now up and running to break the world record  currently still held by Iraq, for the country with the longest period without government.

And the thing is....we seem to have forgotten and do not care anymore. It's not like it's the topic of discussion at work or so.  For months the Belgians don't seem to care much...hey we still have 5 more governments, why would we need a federal one? Maybe the financial speculators worry us a bit, but we surely enjoy watching our popular quizzes on tv.
We go from political crisis to political crisis up to the point that the national tv has a rule not to call it a "crucial" phase anymore as that word has lost any meaning. Other words that have become useless are "deadline", "last chance", "minimum requirements", ...

There was a time I enjoyed myself to report on these government negotiations in Belgium, making long series explaining the difficulties, triggers, tensions as a big puzzle to be analyzed and resolved. But the desperation, frustration and disgust took over me.  There's only so much false stubbornness and egos one can take at the detriment of one's country. What can I say?  This generation of politicians, at both sides of language border, is unwilling to compromise at any point, feeling constant electoral fever. For political parties such as the NVA, grown out of non-compromising militants tearing off themselves from their mother parties whenever disagreeing and profiting from their reputation not to give in,  this isn't surprising  but the way the other parties are willing to blow up negotiations constantly for their own image is simply shocking. A compromise by definition hurts everybody a little bit...and that's what kept this country in balance.  But we've lost that skill.  Demanding a compromise that only hurt the opponents is unrealistic.   But realism and statesmanship and progress are no longer the goal, only profiling counts anymore.

So after a failed formation of Elio Di Rupo,  a paper written by Bart De Wever but immediately thrown out by the others, and several months where Vandelanotte had to clear up the air again (during which weirdly enough he never put all the parties around the same table....they did not talk to each other directly over the last 2-3 months!?) and launched in my mind a fairly balanced proposal to work with, it was once again sent back to the paper bin by the other parties.  The entire week I've read news papers and opinions and figured I was going to write a kick ass analysis of the entire situation.

Well guess what....I don't feel like it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Made in Belgium: the (Flemish) music industry awards

The MIA's , music industry awards have just been awarded for 2010 in Belgium.  Interesting to see who has been featured on my "Made in Belgium" series already  and who should get featured soon :-) (nope I didn't run out of inspiration yet) .   If any of you has missed these great artists on my blog...here's chance to revisit them as they are truly some of my favourites :)



Stromae:
  • 6 nominations (hit of the year, male solo artist, video, pop artist, dance/electronics, breakthrough)
  • award for hit of the year (not surprisingly with a number 1 position in 13 countries and getting remixed by Kanye West in the US)
  • award for breakthrough of 2010
Daan:
  • 2 nominations (male solo artist, hit of the year)
  • award for male solo artist
Bart Peeters:
  • 4 nominations (best Dutchspeaking, live act, author/composer, album)
  • award for best Dutchspeaking
Goose:
  • 2 nominations (artwork, dance/electronics)
  • Award for artwork
  • Award in category dance/electronics
Triggerfinger:
  • 5 nominations (best group, rock/alternative, live-act, twice best musician)
  • award for best musician
  • award for best group
Ozark Henry:
  • 3 nominations (best pop artist, album, author/composer)
  • award for best pop artist
Selah Sue:
  • 1 nomination (best female artist)
  • award for best female artist
 Tom Dice:
  • 4 nominations (hit of the year, male solo artist, pop artist, breakthrough)
Flip Kowlier:
  • 3 nominations  (male solo artist, musician, dutchspeaking)

And other awarded artists will show up in the coming weeks on Wednesday over here ....stay tuned

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Made in Belgium: Arbeid Adelt

Aaah I'm still in the mood of the end-of-year 'best of...' hitlists  so here's some more oldies. 
Arbeid Adelt brought at the start of the 80ies, and then again at the start of the 90ies  absurd anarchistic experimental electronic music. Never quite mainstream popular music, but strong cult music in the Belgian archives now :).

The group had changing members around lead singer/media personality Marcel Vanthilt. Enfant terrible in the 80ies then famous VJ at the growing MTV Europe  to return to the Belgian tv where he is now more or less settled as a tv presenter with an eccentric side. I think he should bring Arbeid Adelt back to live :)

De dag dat het zonlicht niet meer scheen -



Lekker Westers - 1983



Stroom

Monday, January 3, 2011

Miscelleanious thoughts from previous year

* "As from the start of the new year, all postmen will receive a helmet" it was announced on the news "and they must put it on".   Glad they specified that :)

* Some of our friends moved recently and in the new house was no digital tv yet.  Their son was watching tv and wanted to pauze the program in order to go to the toilet.  The fact that this was not possible and that there was no pauze button available on the remote control was incomprehensible too him.
...interesting to watch his honest confusion.

* if you're shoveling your driveway, I can recommend you to not throw the snow on your waste bin. It's rather silly to dig it out again afterwards.

* Did you know they now sell bird seed balls with different tastes? Seriously should I hang one with curry flavour or more tomato mozarella, what do you think?

* 2 weeks of vacation are gone and I am late in finishing my library books. ...oops. (let's not even look at the ironing baglog).