Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stay switched on

Since the last 3 years, I have been living without a television. My parents both have TVs home and I used to live with its sound when I was sharing their house. I must say that I even enjoyed watching it a lot... all the series, cultural programmes, news broadcast, documentaries, movies... But let's face it, most of what's on TV is... JUNK. And now that I am spending the week in a TV friendly environment, I just feel I get more headaches. Only the sound of it is disturbing me. I feel like my head is full of unnecessary noises, no matter what they are. Music, commercials, series... I don't need the television to know about what's happening in the world or to watch a good movie. Here I have experienced once again how happy I am not to have a television. It's a personal choice, one that gives me more space to read, write, enjoy the company of my lover, converse, go out, meet people, discover the world. I'm glad I can do it all without having a TV. I intend to keep it that way. And I don't feel I know less about the world. I'm always switched on so I can better see what's around me and far beyond.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Angels in Amsterdam

The beautiful play by Tony Kushner, Angels in America, has moved the whole world already. I had missed the French version, with the music of genius composer and conductor Peter Eötvös, staged in Paris in November 2004, which I still cannot forgive myself for! So I thought I would get some consolation with the TV version on DVD, which has actually been a revelation (I agree that with actors like Meryl Streep and Al Pacino, it can hardly not be good). So I kept on dreaming about someday when I could experience the stage performance of the stunning play. I would never have thought I would be so motivated to see a 5 hour play in Dutch! Indeed, toneelgroepamsterdam is preparing to tour Angels, starting from the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam. You can either go for a marathon performance or split it into two parts, which I will certainly do since my Dutch will not permit me to focus on 5 hours of strong text in a row. First thing tomorrow, I will head to the Leidseplein and buy my tickets. I will go on dreaming until I see it for real... the Angels will soon be in Amsterdam.

From 1 to 8 March and from 26 to 29 March 2008 in Amsterdam
More tour dates on

Monday, February 18, 2008

Images Moving

I have been deeply moved by a work of art a few minutes ago. A book of drawings, images talking to me without using a single printed word, except for its title: The Arrival, and the name of its author: Shaun Tan. One artist to discover for certain. The Arrival has won the prize for best comic book of the year at the Angoûleme Comics Festival. One immigration story among billions one might say, so what makes Shaun Tan's story so original? Without spoiling your pleasure to discover the book by yourself, I will just tell you how I felt when I started to watch and read the images one frame after the other. The absence of written language just made me feel as lost as the central character of the story, I could follow and experience each one of his feelings: the arrival to the foreign land, the tasting of new food, the meeting with people, the search for a job, the loneliness... And the awkward need to belong. Frame after frame, I was trying to decipher each drawing as the character tried to decipher his new environment. I could write pages and pages about the technique Shaun Tan uses, comparing his work with other graphic novels... But I will not break the spell: I have been deeply moved by the story of a man who leaves his daughter and wife to search for a better life on an unknown land. Nothing new, same old story for hundreds of years. And I am still moved by the humanity in it, only this time was the feeling even stronger.

Photo: 'Four Seasons' Shaun Tan, pencil on paper

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Flying up on an Air Balloon, bis

The 'bis' part of a concert is usually one of the best moments of it, I think. It is sometimes the case in everyday life too, when you see something for a second time, especially when you didn't expect it. Well... today, on my way back from Zutphen to Amsterdam, I saw the air balloon with the purple and green stripes again. And this time, it was flying even higher...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Flying up on an Air Balloon

Today, I have become a Japanese, Israeli, Polish, Romanian and even Russian young woman in the mind of several young people involved in a training about diversity. During an exercise about prejudices, I have experienced others' perception of me. Yes, I have an unusual name, and yes, it isn't clear rightaway where it comes from, and yes, I have quite a pale skin, eventhough I can easily get tanned under the sun. And to make it more confusing, I speak good English, and Dutch, my Spanish is correct and my mother tongues are French and Turkish. But these kids didn't have all that information (they just knew I spoke English and Dutch and they knew my name), so they thought of me as everything but Turkish or Belgian. I understand it pretty well, and furthermore I don't like to identify myself with a nation in the first place- it is part of my identity, not my whole self to be a Turkish-Belgian. But I still couldn't understand why suddenly I have become Japanese or Israeli? I thought of it a bit, and on my way back home to Amsterdam from this little town where the training was held, I saw a huge air balloon with green and purple stripes starting its ascendancy to the bright blue sky. I forgot about being Polish, Romanian, Japanese, Belgian, Turkish... I just thought how beautiful it was to be a free human being.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Do you know Iceland?

You will say that you know Björk and maybe also 1955's Literature Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness. You might even know about the Hofdi House, built in 1909, one of the most beautiful buildings in Reykjavik, best known as the location for the 1986 summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov, that effectively marked the end of the Cold War. And of course, you might have heard about the Sagas, the trolls, the harsh and breathtaking nature, the geysers and the blue lagoon... And if none of these ring any bell to you, don't worry, it's never late to learn! And if you live in Brussels or not too far from the city, don't miss the Iceland on the Edge festival that will take place at BOZAR from 15 February to 15 June. They also have a blog where artists and Iceland lovers (including me) write everyday:
I will make the trip from Amsterdam, at least for the opening AIRWAVES concerts on 15 February. I admit that I am not only go for that event only, but while around, there's no reason why I should miss it.

John Eliot, Nick and Beth

What do the Monteverdi Choir, Bach, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and Portishead have in common?


And moreover, they are all coming to Amsterdam in the following months and I will be there, from the Concertgebouw to the Heineken Music Hall.

So they will also have me in common, at least in Amsterdam!

Check their websites for additional tour dates:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Stuck between two scenes

I'm literally stuck between two scenes in my play. I shouldn't think of it now but I just can't help it. It's just words on paper for the moment (and might stay so if no one gets any interest in what I'm writing), but I can't stop thinking "what if"... What if it takes too long to move from one background to the other, will the play lose its dynamic right from the start? What if I move the first scene to the second part, would it then lose its impact and strength? What if I can't get the rights to use any music I want... and it goes on.
I should stop, really... I'm gonna try something new: what if I could just go on writing and then I'll see. If any director gets interested in my text... then only will we see.
Well, it feels good to talk sometimes, just talk, even if it's nonsense to most of the people hearing or reading about it. Even to me it sounds like nonsense, put I'm gonna post it anyway.