Monday, July 30, 2007

Face to Face?

I've never been a real fan of online social networking, and certainly not when I see what kind of horrible pictures people like to post (I won't give any example, just have a look by yourself, it can sometimes be hilarious). I once registered at yonja to find old Turkish friends online, which hasn't been so useful since I'd already managed to keep in touch with friends I really like... Anyway, I started this blog -ok, this isn't social networking but blogging- and still don't know exactly how many people around the world are really interested by my modest posts (I guess people who like to go to gigs?). Still, I like writing so it can't harm anybody and certainly not myself.
Invited by friends, I've finally accepted to register at facebook. I must say I'd never heard of it before, and since the lovely person I happen to share my life with happens to be a new media specialist, I've been able to learn more about it in a very short time. Thanks to facebook, I found very old friends I lost from sight and who now live in Canada and who I might see this summer in Turkey! Only for that, I'm very happy to have discovered this communication tool. It is an incredible tool when you really use it well, that is (for me at least) to communicate, and not to add millions of people you will never want to hear from in normal times just to fill in your list. It will never replace face to face communication, or even voice to voice, or any other physical closeness for that matter, but it certainly works to make the "face to face" go on or happen, and vice versa. The thing is, I guess, to be able not to become the tool but keep on being the user.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Head On

In order not to get discouraged nor lose my present self confidence that I can actually do it... I'm going to write it on this blog, so you can all witness it. But, honestly, I also need to write it for myself, so I know I would be quite ashamed if I don't keep my promise... not only to those who all believe in me, especially one delicious espresso bean I would never want to disappoint, but most certainly to myself.
I got one and a half week of work left, then I will be flying to Turkey where I will spend time reading, discovering, seeing people I love and writing. With one goal for the time I come back to Brussels: finishing my collection of short stories in order to send it to publishers this fall (I'm still quite cautious not to give you any precise date).
Well, that's it, it's written now and, hopefully, read. I've got no more excuses. It is time now to face up with my writing, whether good or bad, I got to go on.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Long live the festivals!

Summer is definitely the time of festivals. After Werchter and Couleur Café, Midis-Minimes has begun during the week, offering Brussels dwellers and working people the opportunity to listen to some very nice classical music in the Minimes Church at lunch time for the whole summer. But apart from the festivals, there are also open air concerts everywhere around Europe. On Friday evening, it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers who were on stage at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Stadium not so huge as the Stade de France, it is still impressing to find oneself in the middle of an immense crowd. A great concert from many points of view, from the set list to the amazingly good performance of all the musicians (as a dear espresso bean said, they're technically at least 50 times better than any other equally famous rock band), I couldn't find any weak points... except for the length. How come that a band with such a repertoire could only play for an hour and a half? Indeed, I wouldn't have found anything negative to say until the too short bis. The can-do-better (in time, not in quality) feeling was unfortunately omnipresent... So the best is to focus on the quality of the hour and a half, trying not to think about the missing half.
Same goes for Björk who performed at Westerpark in Amsterdam yesterday evening. She was mesmerizing, the feelings we experienced with her in Werchter were also with us in Amsterdam. Great set list from the opening "Earth Intruders" to the closing "Declare Independence", with powerful vocal moments like in the so right "Pagan Poetry" or "Joga", we felt that she was quite more relaxed than in Werchter... because she surely had more time we thought... but here again, one hour and a half and then... the fairy was gone. Fortunately, despite of the feeling of "not enough", the time we see these artists spend on stage is really worth the journey. And maybe I got too used to some other artists playing at least an hour and forty five, if not even two hours... (sometimes three, but these are really crazy ones, isn't it Dave?). I guess the conclusion here would be, better short and good than long and boring! Because more than good, they certainly were (but still, I don't believe neither the Red Hot's nor Björk could be boring!!)...
It's not yet the end of festivals and there are still several to go... like the Blue Note in Ghent and the North Sea in Rotterdam... Some Jazzy days are behind us! To be continued...

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Wings from Tool

Extraordinarily moving... I have no other words to describe this beautiful song by Tool. It has been written by Keenan Maynard for his mother who was paralyzed for 27 years, that is around 10,000 days... I can't say anything more, just read the lyrics, and if you don't have it yet, get the sound too.

Tool - 10,000 Days (Wings Part 2)

Listen to the tales and romanticize,
How we'd follow the path of the hero.
Boast about the day when the rivers overrun.
How we rise to the height of our halo.

Listen to the tales as we all rationalize
Our way into the arms of the savior,
Feigning all the trials and the tribulations;
None of us have actually been there.
Not like you.

Ignorant siblings in the congregation
Gather around spewing sympathy,
Spare me.
None of them can even hold a candle up to you.
Blinded by choice, these hypocrites won't see.

But, enough about the collective Judas.
Who could deny you were the one who
Illuminated your little piece of the divine?

And this little light of mine, a gift you passed on to me;
I'm gonna let it shine to guide you safely on your way,
Your way home ...

Oh, what are they going to do when the lights go down
Without you to guide them all to Zion?
What are they going to do when the rivers overrun
Other than tremble incessantly?

High is the way, but all eyes are upon the ground.
You were the light and the way they'll only read about.
I only pray, Heaven knows when to lift you out.
Ten thousand days in the fire is long enough;
You're going home.

You're the only one who can hold your head up high,
Shake your fists at the gates saying:
"I've come home now!
Fetch me the spirit, the son, and the father.
Tell them their pillar of faith has ascended.
It's time now!
My time now!
Give me my, give me my wings!"

You are the light and way that they will only read about

Set as I am in my ways and my arrogance,
(With the) burden of proof tossed upon the believers.
You were my witness, my eyes, my evidence,
Judith Marie, unconditional one.

Daylight dims leaving cold fluorescents.
Difficult to see you in this light.
Please forgive this bold suggestion, but
Should you see your Maker's face tonight,
Look Him in the eye, look Him in the eye, and tell Him:
"I never lived a lie, never took a life, but surely saved one.
Hallelujah, it's time for you to bring me home."

Keenan Maynard (From the album 10,000 Days)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rediscovering Rachel's

About ten years ago, during one of my usual digging at second hand CD and book shops on the boulevard Lemmonier in Brussels, I've been stopped in my search by a very nice cover. Not only was the paper quality attracting my hand, the title printed on it just couldn't help me leave it there as if nothing would have happened... It said "Music for Egon Shiele". Being a real admirer of the Austrian painter, I just had the reflex to look at the booklet... I saw the drawings, some I recognized, some not. Then there was more about the band "Rachel's". I had no idea who they were, what kind of music they were doing... never heard of them. Thanks to Egon Shiele and the beautiful layout of their cover, I got back home with a CD I surely listened to thousands of times. Fortunately or unfortunately, I lost the habit of going to second hand CD stores because of the current digital world. I still miss the touch of a nice cover, so today, I went back digging in my library and rediscovered Rachel's "Music for Egon Shiele". I remember now why I got so mad about this trio. Emotionally and musically strong, the music had been created for a play about the painter. Ten years ago, I wasn't so used to research online, so I did it today, and learned that the band was working on a new project, that their last album went out on 2003, last toured in 2005... I simply decided to join their mailing list, because I don't want to read ten years later that they came to play in Belgium in a very nice and cosy hall... (Yes, I've missed Jeff Buckley like that... no comment...). Those of you who would like to discover the band, which I strongly recommend, visit their website ... and be patient, I'm sure they will come up with some new great project, album, tour dates or anything... until then you can start by discovering them.

Monday, July 2, 2007

In Love Again!

First, I got excited when I learned that she was going on a European tour, even more when we got tickets for her Parisian show... then not anymore after it. Tori Amos had disappointed me a lot that evening of June at the Palais des Congrès. Maybe we were sitting too far, maybe we were expecting too much we thought... then Werchter came by. Me and my sweetheart have decided to give her another chance, because she's worth it, also because he saw her in Istanbul in 2005 and was quite amazed by her performance, but also because we simply love her music.

After a quite good Interpol concert on the main stage, we grabbed some fruit salad (yes yes, they're also selling healthy food at Werchter!) and headed on the Pyramid Marquee at around 5.45pm, with one single purpose: get in front to see Tori from the closest place possible. And we did it (after having listened to Frank Black screaming like hell and Damien Rice's fans doing the same in an even worse way... well, I can't decide which was worse, anyway, we deserved to be in front)!

11.30PM, a crazy brunette wearing a flashy green dress with plastic-like black tights arrived on stage with a superbly strong "Cruel", announcing more than a Pipesque but Toriesque gig. After "Teenage Hustling", Pip has spitted her "Fat Slut" and more, then leaving the stage for a few minutes to give more space to our Tori.

Beautifully mastering her Bösendorfer, given the full if not more of herself , Ms Amos has literally amazed her audience. Starting with a dynamic "Big Wheel", going through a mesmerizing "Cornflake Girl", she ended her one hour and ten minutes long festival show with a touchy "Precious Things". A stage goddess, a powerfully sensitive woman, a stunning artist, we got our Tori back. That night, we fell in love again with our dream-like musician, and like every person in love, we can't wait to see her again... and again... and again...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Festival on fire!

After having seen Marilyn Manson, Björk, Joan as a Policewoman and Oi Va Voi at Werchter on Thursday and Friday, we've decided to move to a slightly different musical atmosphere and went to Couleur Café on Saturday. After an amazing opening concert with Rachid Taha, we went out of the Titan hall to grab some food specialties from around the world. We just had our Burrito and Chili con carne when one of the buildings at Turn and Taxis started burning. It just took a few seconds before the whole roof went on fire. A quite horrible view, especially with people photographing it... (I will never understand this voyeuristic behavior). The festival goers were all asked to leave, and the evacuation went on very softly, without any problem. So we went back home and decided to listen to the radio until there were some broadcast officially saying the festival would open back its doors, which has been the case at 9pm! So we went back to Turn and Taxis, and we weren't the only ones... as thousands of people were entering the festival site quite peaceful and joyfully... well, in the Couleur Café spirit! We ate a little bit more... food is so delicious over there, then we listened to Yuri Buenaventura and watched the fireworks (yes yes, like everybody, we even enjoyed it...). When Ziggy Marley got on stage, we decided it was time for us to move back home and get some sleep to be ready for our fourth festival day back at Werchter. More about Rock Werchter on the next post.