Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Made in Belgium: Kate Ryan

In a shopping center in Moscow, on jeep safari in Cyprus, on an outside bar in Egypt, .... whenever I travel I hear Kate Ryan. Not surprisingly she's the best selling artist from the Benelux and if you surf to her Myspace page you see an endless list of scheduled concerts in Poland, Russia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Canada, .... She surely made it in the international music scene with her pop/dance music.

Her first singles sounded like just one more of the many commercial dance acts that we had in abundance at the end of last decade/start of this one. After covering "Libertine" from the French super start Mylène Farmer, Kate conquered Europe with the dance cover from "Désenchentée" also originally from Mylène Farmer. Although I like the original without the unneeded extra beats a lot more, Désenchantée is simply a hit. I guess I've heard it so often on parties that my brain now automatically thinks "oh cool, party time" when it's on :).

In 2006 Kate won the Flemish pre-selections for the Eurovision songcontest and although we all absolutely loved her song, it shockingly didn't even pass through the semi-finals. Boohoo.

In the last years either Kate's music has been less successful in Belgium, either I don't listen as much to commercial radio stations anymore :p. ....or we know the originals of what she brings too well to appreciate her versions of it. She has a beautiful voice, she can truly sing and she's the sweetest down-to-earth girl (despite her "big star attitude" she picks up in Eastern Europe in order to be taken seriously over attitude that would get punished with 'arrogance' in Belgium really)....but it's so tiring and pitiful that she always brings covers and often harms them with added beats. "Voyage Voyage" from Desireless, "Ella elle l'a" and "Babacar" from France I too old if I love the originals far better??
Only "Evidemment" makes me dream away, not surprisingly as she has kept this France Gall song as pure as the original.

I happen to read on her wikipedia page that her latest album with French covers would be the last cover album and that from now on she'd only bring own original music anymore. Well, that's about time Kate. I'm sure she can do it.

Désenchantée - 2002

Je t'adore - 2006 - Eurovision song contest

Ella elle l'a - 2008

Evidemment - 2009

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rodaniaaaaa in Leuven

On this hot hot summer day Leuven was the scene of the Belgian championship cycling on the road, as announced here already 3 years ago.

Over the last week many signs had appeared along the entry roads to direct the VIP's to their parking lots and team cars to their assigned spot whereas the no-parking zones were flagged as well. After some sweeping of the roads, Leuven seemed ready to host the cycling event.

Already when I woke up, half of the city ring was traffic-free and the police had installed themselves on some chairs under an parasol to ensure no car attempted to ram the barriers at high speed or so. I can't blame them though given the heat rising up from the asphalt.

A bit after 12 I heard the famous & irritating "Rodaniaaaaaa" tune of the preceding race car coming by for the first time. Funny how this jingle on the tunes of Beethoven is so linked to any cycling in Belgium. Since there were 17 lapses of 14,5 kms in and around Leuven, we'd here the Swiss watches quite often.

We watched the beginning of the race downtown when all came by at a rather relax rhythm.

Closer by home we found ourselves an excellent spot in the shade with excellent view on the many lapses. The great thing about the cycling sport is that it is so approachable, it's just all happening in front of you: the race, the disappointments of failing bikes, the speed, ...

My handsome

Relax atmosphere

While taking this picture I feel a hard bang on the top of my head and for a moment I thought that the people surrounding me hit me to warn me of a cycler coming close to the road up to me and warn me not to lean forward. Confused by this sudden burst of pain on top of my head, it takes me a moment to understand the commotion around me to learn that I had just been hit by one of the biker's drink container which landed just behind us (and was treasure hunted right away by the other fans). Oh man that hurts, I can still feel the slight bump on my head.
So far the fun of an approachable closeby sport. uggh.

Philippe Gilbert in the 2nd last lapse when I still thought he'd make it.....the Belgian champion 2010 was Stijn Devolder (2 cyclers behind Philippe Gilbert on this picture I believe)

Anyway it was a fun, hot relax day

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A poster wall

While my sister is having some friends over in her room, I bluntly walk in and jump on her big bed. While I get the attention I stare at her big wall full of music posters from the Joepie that I knew so well.

"Do you think that's a girl? " I ask out loud to whomever wants to listen while pointing at one of them.
"Who.... Boy George?" our neighbour girl replies.
"Yes that one....He really looks like a girl with long hair and lots of make-up, don't you think? But he's really a boy. Did you know that?" I reply proudly of my knowledge.
"...and that one" I continue while pointing at the black-and-white poster with a pale haired guy in a suite with untied tie playing the saxophone "he has one blue and one brown eye!!! Did you know that?"

I get some smiles as reply. The visitors are clearly amused by my very young interest in their popular culture. Now it's their turn to test me
"So who is this" while pointing at one of my favourite posters
"oooh I know, that is Bono"
"And this"
"It's Doe Maar and this is Henny and this is Jan and this is also Jan and this is.... eum I forgot"
while I throw my older sister a begging look
"Come on Goofball, be a little bit serious (= Ernstig in Dutch) " she helps me
"Ooooooooh I know I know, it's Ernst"

By now her guests are tired of entertaining her little sister and I slowly retreat back to my own room where my pink stuffed rabbit Bono and my little brown stuffed dog Jim (Kerr) are waiting for me on my bed.

This is a post part of the "the 80ies Retro Blog Day" to which Poetikat so nicely has invited me to join today. If you feel also like digging out your neon, your teased dos, your pointy shoes and your vinyl, feel free to join and blog about whatever 80ies memory you have. Find other participants at Poetikat's invisible keepsakes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Efteling

You didn't think we were done after one day, right? No no, more family quality fun time!

A treasury vault ATM

Once more at the fairy tale tree

Much more excitement....(maybe I'll get the movies on the wild river & splash etc uploaded if I find some time)

...which exhausted some...

Guess which boat was feeding the ducks & geese :p

Even without all the rides , the park in itself is simply beautiful

A family get-away at the Efteling

Last weekend we celebrated my father-in-laws birthday with a big family get-away to the Efteling. That's the worlds oldest theme amusement park in the south of the Netherlands, famous for its fairy-tale nostalgic themes, little child-friendliness and its excellent quality.

For 2 days we (being 8 adults, 2 hyperactive enthusiastic 5-year olds and a 2 year old) listened to fairy tales, rode little trains, mono-rails, boats, ate ice-creams, watched imaginative decors and looked for speed , loopings and screams as well. It was great & fabulous and very tiring. Much to my surprise the 2 days weren't too much of the same at all. It was my very first visit to the park (yes I know ! shame on me) and it was much better than I expected.

Staying in the Efteling hotel was a fun treat as well, especially with little kids. They are so well equipped to those little guests right from the start with a little staircase at the front desk leading to the "princess check-in spot" (with candy on the counter in front of it), to princesses or female gnomes coming for a nice chat at the table and bed-stories read in the entrance hall after dinner by those same princesses, to the bathroom equipment clearly designed for little guests as well and drawing pencils in the room and fairy tale paintings at a lower level.

The entrance to the fairy-tale forest where the park opened with in 1952...

The famous long-neck

The fairy-tale tree telling tales and the king of the trolls grumbling much less clearly in his own tree throne

Dancing elves of all sizes

Who would have known harpsichord music made by the gnomes in their mushrooms are such a dance hit

A snail mono-rail

Old fashioned caroussels never get out of fashion


Rotating pots at Mr Cannibale doesn't always need to be sophisticated tea-cups, right?

While some were having fun in the cars....

we seeked some more adrenaline on the pirate boat , the python etc...

Made in Belgium: 't Hof van Commerce

In a small country like Belgium we're blessed with a lot of dialects enabling us to determine a person's hometown/region by his or her accent & vocabulary. Due to the school education, people moving around & commuting to the bigger cities, currently the true dialects are all more and more blending into one general Flemish accent. In the most Western & Eastern regions the strongest dialects still survive, to the extent that other people can sometimes hardly understand what they are saying. People who have grown up there can often hardly conceal their accent even when they try, although Jan is an exception to that rule.

't Hof Van Commerce is a succesful hiphop band from Izegem rapping in their own dialect. Don't worry if you don't understand a word of it....most of the Belgians don't :D.
Nevertheless I think "Totentrekkerie" is one of the most brilliant words. Haha I love it.
"Tote" is face in Westvlaams ...the word can be translated literaly as making faces and should be interpreted as being fake.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blogging can have fun consequences

If you blog, you might start reading other blogs as well
If you read interesting posts, you might want to leave some comments
If you do that quite often, you might start communicating directly with some of them.

And when you travel, you might have a chance to meet some of them eg SMID or Jenn in Holland or you might even find out that you live in the same city, right Rozebril?

And one day you might get an e-mail that their friend is travelling in the area and before you know it you are showing some Belgian beers to your new interesting house guest. Hi Q, it was fun meeting you. Have fun on the rest of your trip!

She did it again

Jodi Picoult had me hooked on one of her books again. This time it was "Vanishing acts" that kept me captivated for the previous weeks.

The story about a woman finding out that her dad kidnapped her as a little child reminded me of the TV movie " the face on the milk carton". I've seen that years ago and I remember that it made a big impression on me as I sympathized with all characters: the biological parents searching for their child, the parents raising the kid in good faith (not knowing their daughter had kidnapped the child and then left it behind with them), the daughter being torn between 2 worlds, etc....

Jodi Picoult also has an excellent way of putting us in the shoes of each main character as she always alternates the narrator in each chapter. As a result you get a lot more nuances and you get more emotionally linked to the story

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Made in Belgium: Superdiesel

7 years ago this was a summer hit in Belgium. An totally unknown group launched this single and was quite successful. Later on it turned out that the same members from the rock group Yum were behind 'Superdiesel'.

I've not heard from Superdiesel anymore afterwards although they would have recorded an album with Dutch-speaking pop songs. But this one sticks and cheers me up every summer again. It really reflects the lazy feeling after a dinner in the garden in the sun after which you remain sitting a bit nipping from your glass of wine...or waking up on an easy summer day with not much to do, no rush, just time to enjoy the sun.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy fathers day and happy birthday!!!!!!

It was father's day today and in a few days my dad celebrates his birthday. Time for a family party!!!

Congratulations to my young & fit looking dad!!

Time for presents which of course need to get photographed

Stef goofing around but also proudly showing off his progress on this bike