Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Made in Belgium: Sandra Kim

After yet another (unsurprisingly) unsuccesful eurovision song contest last week, I realise I have not yet posted our one moment of fame in 1986 when Belgium won the contest.   It was Wallonia, the frenchspeaking region in Belgium that was sending in a contestant as in Belgium both regions alternate each year.  They had selected the 13-year old Sandra Kim (although announced as a15 year old)-, bringing a happy song on how she loved life.

I have not seen the victory live on tv as a kid as it was past my bedtime and my parents had clearly  not anticipated this victory. I couldn't belief it when I woke up in the morning and asked who had won the contest. Gosh, we did!

What a followed was a Sandra Kim hype...half of my class got her haircut, we were all play backing to her song and in French class we were al of a sudden studying her "J aime mon pays " (see below) even though that never became a hit.

Poor Sandra will be doomed to be our eurovison girl for as long as we do not get another victory....every year in May she's getting interviews again and airplay and is asked her opinion on our new participant etc etc. I'm sure she must get so tired of it all and hate to repeat her "child song " for eve over and over again.  Unfortunately her singing career never truly got off the ground and I had to search to find other recent werk from her ...although I find her voice still impressive  and would wish she is taken more seriously.

The contest

A very nice 25 years later remake of the original video

Jorge castre + Sandra Kim : The Player

Crying out for you - Sandra Kim and Udo

J'aime mon pays - with Toots Thielemans

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Leuven in Scène: Le Grand Volant (Les Pépones)

Think of burlesque shows, think of slapstick,  think of the old black and white shows where people still seemed to walk in a funny way due accompagnied by cracking piano music full of noise, think of the black text signs that sometimes appeared in the middle of the show to frame a situation or context, ...
And transpose that on a dazzling high trapeze.

Well that was Le Grand Volant brought by Les Pépones (Fr).

Acrobats swirling back and forth, releasing, grabbing again on the other side in a very gracious way while "fighting" over a girl, accidently dropping someone etc...Too early they all "fell" down across the sunset, ready for their big bow to take our applause.  Well done.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Leuven in Scène: Animation throughout the city

Bands, Street performancers, ... you could cross it all this weekend in Leuven.  And since there were program (location) changes not well advertised, you had to cross them a bit at luck, unfortunately.  But when  you did, it was fun.

After waiting idle for 30 min at the Oude Markt in Leuven for the 'Propere Fanfare', we gave up and went on, only to discover that they were performing at the nearby Grote Markt with a big enthusiastic crowd around them.  This crazy bunch of band players that have a great love for cleaning materials and sort alike things as props, come from Ghent where I've seen them already at the Gentse Feesten.

De propere Fanfare

De propere Fanfare

De propere Fanfare

De propere Fanfare

Scryf is a tiny machine rolling through town, writing bewildering one-liners in sand on the pavements and cobblestone. 



Rather unexpectedly we walked into the Goulus from France which I had also already seen with their Horsemen show at the Gentse Feesten 4 years ago. (go check out the pictures there and compare the facial are the same men!   They performned Horsemen in Leuven this weekend too but I missed that performance). This time they walked the street as Krishnou's bringing salvation to those that dared to follow them.

Les Krishnous (les Goulus)

Les Krishnous (les Goulus)

Les Krishnous (les Goulus)

Leuven in Scène: Circus at the city park

It should always be Leuven in Scène...not just because it's such an awesome program...our own small version of the Gentse Feesten,   but because each edition has managed awesome hot weather.  And then there's nothing more delightful but to hang around in the city park.

Theme there was circus which a lot of smaller acts for kids to try out while the parents were picknicking on the grassfield.

Kids have no fear to try out trapezes.  Every now and then a dwarf German talking elephant rode it's little bike through the park , gazed by many kids & adults.  Jochen der Elefant also seemt to enjoy the weather and the festivities in Leuven.

Jochen der Elefant

The smallest "Grand Café" opened at night in the park.  A very cozy welcoming place to hang around. 

For the performance of the clown Leandre , I've really been laughing with tears (not only because hayfever attacked severely this weekend).  With just mime he managed to invite people over at his improvised home, set-up a little birthday party for 2 kids etc. Even when his guests didn't always cooperate as he might have wished (several kids had the courage to take his invitation to go on stage but quickly ran off again which all of a sudden turned in a game where he found many kids in his "home" running in and out which he handled absolutely hilariously).  Somehow he had also managed to pick the perfect guy to be his house "mirror" who managed to play along quite well and started taking some funny initiative as well. Oh well you should have seen it, it was fun!

Leandre at Leuven in Scène

Leandre at Leuven in Scène

Leandre at Leuven in Scène

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Leuven in Scène: Magic fire installations, Don Q and La fille d'Hestia at Keizersberg

The Leuven in Scène weekend is booked long beforehand . I sure don't want to miss the 2-yearly weekend where Leuven is tranformed in a huge street theatre festival. 

The program is quite a challeng for choice making this year as the previous edition was so succesfull the crowd-handling had become a bit of an issue. So now multiple closing acts were scheduled at the same moment at quite disperse locations in the city.   For the first evening we chose the furthest destination to our home:  the park around the impressive abbey at Keizersberg.

After the climb uphill we were welcomed at the park entrance where little lights were distributed so that the people in front of us were spreading through the darkness in the park with a line of little lights. Big nice lighted up installations guided us to the first performance brought by Jonna Theatre from Leuven. It took a while before we had found a spot with some view on the performance (Note to the organisation: you reallly need someone directing the crowd to sit down as you did in 2010!).

The idea to bring an own interpretation of Don Quichote is quite ambitious and they had cool & orginal ideas. Yet the choreography could professionalise further when performing on a festival with lots of international acts.

Don Q - Jonna

Don Q - Jonna

Don Q - Jonna

Don Q - Jonna

After their end, there was lots of confusion where the next promised top act would be.  Lots of people left, forming long lines through out the park going in all directions while others quickly moved forward thinking they had conquered a very good spot for the next performance.   We were in doubt, started wandering along the fire installations of the park and heard lots of people asking where they had to go....Nobody knew.  Crappy organisation. We returned to the first stage, heard confirmation that Jonna would only clean up and were wandering again.  Due to all confusion we did not truly enjoy the magical fire installations we passed.   In the end we did arrive with many others at a dark (!!) field were a big circle had formed.  Ha found it, just in time for the start.

Fille d'Hestia by La Salamandre started very slowly in the dark where someone was trying to make fire during 10 minutes.  Ugh, could they  not skip that part, not quite that interesting to watch in the dark.
Fortunately fire came as well as a slow but poetic performance of a young women getting initiated to the mysteries of life.

Fille d'Hestia - La Salamandre (FR)

Fille d'Hestia - La Salamandre (FR)

Fille d'Hestia - La Salamandre (FR)

Fille d'Hestia - La Salamandre (FR)

Fille d'Hestia - La Salamandre (FR)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pictures on the wall

I promised to make this room a bit more colorful and so we did. A floor, a chair, bed sheets and some pictures on the wall.
While in the process we added more pictures in other rooms. This one is my favourite!

A sunny evening in the Ardennes

I'm still wrapping up some work with one arm in the sun, holding a hot black computer mouse and one arm in the shade to ensure that my screen is positioned in the shade and remains visible, when a Dutch car pulls up: 

"Do you speak English?"
"Even more, we also speak Dutch"
"We are searching street x in this village "
"Euh...all of the streets around here, this is village x"
"Oh so x does not have streetnames?!  "
"Do you know where is a weekend rental place"
"Sure, there's multiple"

Since they had no name of the house neither a description we could not help them but to assure it had to be very closeby. They had to drive off again to check the house numbers a bit further down the street and look for their place to stay


A tiny bird is flying in and out of its birdbox attached to one of the side buildings of the tourist gite across. 


The neighbour is running through the field behind us trying to launch a kite up in the air.  Running through a field isn't so easy.  Their cat races up and down, overly excited and confused by the chords flying up and down. The big cow however isn't disturbed by the invaders and continues to chew while refusing to acknowledge their presence.


Jan and I are laying down a little bit while the BBQ is heating up. All of a sudden I recognise the sound of driveway stones being scratched and when I look up to see the neighbour 4-year old waiting shyly until I discover him.  The he comes running with little jumps just next to me where he waits until I start the conversation.

"Hi there, cooool, I see you are wearing your beautiful Cars shoes again"
[big grin]
"So it's a fantastic day, did you have fun playing?"
"Yes I did, but I'm not done playing yet!"
"Oh that's great"
"Yes, I'm still going to play, can I continue on your pod thing?"
(last week he wanted to see my iPad and had managed to activate Angry Birds with one random touch ...he was an immediate fan)
"Oh I'm very sorry but that's not possible right now, its battery died and it has to recharge first"
[disappointed face for a second, then a thinking face]
"ok, can I maybe come back another time to continue to play? "   (he completely ignores Jan next to me, playing with his's common knowledge that only those with red covers are fun to play with)


I realise I have a red sunburnt arm  and one pale one.  I'll have to try to balance that off this weekend ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Made in Belgium: Iris

Traditionally I post the Belgian contestent for the Eurovion songcontest.  Here she is....and she's righteously kicked out of the semi-finals already yesterday.  Booooooring song, awkward movements,  despite her good voice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


View at 500m from the parking lot....Run run run!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank goodness we opted halfway for the short itinerary rather than the long one where the road split.

(damn, a bit wet after all, but just inside before hell broke lose) (actually had to pull the car to the side of the road a few kms further because we hit a wall of rain & hail with no more visibility at all).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Some walks in between hanging out

While hanging out in the Ardennes, we did a couple of short walks too.   After all hanging out on the couch or taking a first sun-tan of the year gets boring too. Well...not the sun-taning but clouds came back.

Swollen Warche river after weeks of depressing weather

Wirtzfeld church

Bütgenbach lake

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hanging out

We had a long weekend and I don't think I've ever looked so much forward to some time to sit down, to catch up sleep and simply relax a bit. My schedule is always busy but previous 2 weeks was a bit too tough with a building up lack of sleep.

It started with a last minute mandatory meeting thrown in at Amsterdam for which I had to drive down 2 days early, followed by a bad night of sleep and lots of work piling up.  The rest of the week was too much fun at our global conference with too little sleep, lots of socializing and interesting subjects.  Then a long drive through the Netherlands, Germany towards the Ardennes.
Last weekend I varnished our cork floor with different layers until late at night after which we got home just in time to sleep a bit before we went to my nephews communion party the next day.
And then the short but extra work week started where we took an Irish colleague out of dinner in Leuven at night and the next day I managed to do a one-day up and down commute to Amsterdam. On Wednesday I had a wonderful day meeting Canadian relatives (for which I found no time yet to post) and on Thursday we were again at a communion party.

In the mean time my RSS feed shows a scary number of unread posts while my klout score is crashing down.

But Thursday evening the rest of the extra long weekend could start in which I had gloriously nothing planned except sleeping in and hanging out with friends in the Ardennes. No obligations for 3 days at all.   Great I start feeling human again and that's a nice feeling.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Communion party inventory (3)

After the communion party 3 weeks ago and the one from last week, we had yet another 6-year old in the family

1) a child who just did his/her first communion: check

2) Food  ...and more food   and some more followed by desert  : check

child-friendly menu

Traditional icelamb

3) Family and friends who preferably bring a lot more kids along: check

4) A great location: check

5) Room to run around and play outside for the kids (or to diligently try to cut a tree down) : check

Cutting down trees is clearly a man's job

A trampoline show performed by the girls

5) Sun that graciously joined us at the start of the afternoon and gave me a sunburn and made me so adventurous that I took my nylons the evening we were huddling under some fleece blankets but at least we have sunny pictures :)