Sunny day in June

Summer finally decided to hit Ghent, so my boyfriend and I decided to take a break from analyzing data and went into town

We decided on a whim to visit the Belfry, one of Ghent’s famous medieval towers that overlooks the city. The fact that I’ve been living in Ghent for four years now without having a decent view of the city centre, felt like such a shame to me, that I decided now was the time to be all touristy and climb up the tower to the top.

Sint-Baafs

The Saint Bavo Cathedral, almost packed and ready to be renovated.


On the other side, you can see the Saint Nicholas’ Church. The recently constructed park in front of it, is where we had our little afternoon pick nick.

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with Starbucks Frappuccino’s and a very disgusting snack which is supposed to be an apple donut (Do not get this, ever! It’s so bad). I also started reading the 1Q84-trilogy by Haruki Murakami. I know, I’m pretty late to jump on the band wagon, but better late than never right? I’m loving the story so far, and been very intrigued by the personalities of Aomame and Fuka-Eri. It’s been a constant in my life: whenever I’m reading a book or seeing a movie or series, either the very powerful girls and women or the very bizarre and strange ones are my favorites.


Enjoy the rest of your week. Talk to you soon xx

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Isbells @ Huiskamer Ernest

So… I’m back! I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I’m currently working on my thesis, and I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can hand it in and never have to look at it again! Think I took too much on my plate by doing too much research and using too many different research methods… In a month and a half I will (hopefully) be finished and (hopefully) have passed so I can graduate and finally have my master’s degree in Communication sciences.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, my friend Amelie and I visited this new coffee place in Ghent, called Huiskamer Ernest. This coffee bar simply wants to be a cozy and artsy living room in the city, where you can relax, hang out with your friends, read, study, work, etc… They organize concerts and workshops as well, and on the 2nd of June, Amelie and I went to see Isbells.

Isbells

Isbells is a Belgian band which is mostly known for its melancholic pop-folk songs. To be honest, I didn’t know that many songs, but I still had a great time. They’re amazing live and the music fit perfectly in the intimate atmosphere Huiskamer Ernest advocates. It literally felt like Isbells was performing a private concert in your living room.

For all of you who don’t know the band, here’s a live performance of their song ‘Heading For The Newborn’ at our youth radio station Studio Brussel. Couldn’t find any of the footage taken at Huiskamer Ernest online, so you’ll have to do with this. You can find more about them here and here and here.

Hope you enjoyed and talk to you soon!

Janice

De neus van Pinokkio

On Wednesday, my friends and I headed to the recordings of a Flemish game show called De Neus van Pinokkio (literally translated: Pinocchio’s nose). I guess everyone knows the story about Pinocchio, the little wooden puppet whose nose would grow every time he told a lie. The program is named after the story, because it’s basically all about lies. The panel tells the public different stories – through photo’s, video footage, re-enactment and witnesses. It’s the public’s task to guess which one is correct and which one is false.

To be honest, I hadn’t seen the program before I went to the recordings. I’m not that much of a TV-fanatic (TV in the sense of the classic TV-screen. Online television on the other hand, that’s another thing). So the main reason why I decided to attend these recordings, was to see the whole behind-the-scenes-action and to have a good get-together with friends.

Dinner on train

At 17:24 we left by train to Vilvoorde, where the recordings took place. We decided to have dinner on the train.

We were welcomed by a free drink while we had to wait for the recordings to start

And then finally we were able to enter the venue. I think I had one of the worst seats in the venue, I couldn’t see a thing that was happening on the platform in the middle (or maybe that’s just because I’m short). Luckily there were screens around the venue, so I could actually see some of the things they were talking about.

I got separated from Guyentie, Tjalda and Amelie, who got a seat in another section.

My boyfriend was behind me during the show. As you can see, each participant had three signs, each sign representing one of the stories. We had to vote for the story which we thought was true, by putting the corresponding sign up in the air and pressing some buttons on a little machine we had as well (to make counting the answers a bit easier).

Oh, hi!

I think I got almost half of the answers correct. Which is not that bad, considering I’m the worst at detecting lies

station Vilvoorde

Around 11pm we managed to get a train back to Ghent in what could be the creepiest station I’ve ever been. I’m sure it used to be a more glorious, and less neglected, piece of architecture back in the days. Hopefully someone’s planning on renovating these neo-renaissance platforms.

How about you guys? Ever attended recordings of a show as well?

Antwerp Book Festival

So, one thing you need to know about me, is that I love books. I used to read a lot when I was in primary school. I would go to the library every week and bring back heaps of books and just sit in my corner and read. That’s all I did, reading. When I grew older, my interest in reading and books in general disappeared – guess I had other, more important teenage stuff on my mind.

But that all changed in my last year of high school. My Dutch teacher, who was actually kind of an ass, got me back to reading. He taught everyone in class about classic literature. Whether it’d be famous Belgian, English or Russian authors, we all had to cram them in our heads for what probably was the most feared exam by all seniors that year.

Although I didn’t really like the classes, I just couldn’t wait to run to the library or bookstore again and purchase all these books that I’ve been learning about! This feeling got even stronger when I discovered the new and upcoming blogosphere, where I discovered even more books I wanted to read. After a while I finally purchased the first books in my new ‘literary life’ : Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by J.S. Foer and Special Topics on Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (can’t wait for her new book Night Film to come out!). And many more were to follow.

And that was the start of my now humble collection of books. I hope one day I can fill an entire Billy-bookcase (specifically this very nice special edition).

Now to get to the actual point of this blogpost: I went to a Book Festival in Antwerp on Thursday, where book publishers sell their stock at lower prices. Last time I went to one of these book sales, I scored pretty good. So that’s why I decided to hop on a train to Antwerp and get as many books on a budget of 20 euro’s. Here’s what I brought home with me:
Books 1

1. Frida Kahlo, een vrouw (Frida Kahlo, a woman) by Rauda Jamis: a biography of the famous Frida Kahlo.
2. Eén voet verkeerd (One foot wrong) by Sofie Laguna: hadn’t heard about his author or book before, but for some reason I was drawn to this book.
3. Heldere Hemel by Tom Lanoye: this book I actually got for free. Visitors got send a voucher which you could trade for one of the selected books at the counter. Most of them were crap (which was expected) except for this one. Tom Lanoye is probably the most-read Belgian author in Dutch-speaking regions and has published a lot of award-winning stories. So I was pretty excited to get his most recent piece of work.
4. Don Quixote by Cervantes: after hearing my Dutch teacher in senior year in high school rave about this book, it’s been on my to-read-list ever since.
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert: another classic I’ve got to know at high school, this time in my senior French class. I know I’m actually supposed to read this in French, but I don’t think I’d be able to fully understand it after not reading, speaking or hearing French for four years now.
6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: another classic that’s been on my to-read-list.
7. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: can you believe I’ve never read Alice in Wonderland? Or seen the Disney-version of it? Shame on me, I know!
8. This Side of Paradise & The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald: two other classics on my list.
9. The Great Comedies and Tragedies by Shakespeare: this collection just deserves a spot in my future Billy-bookcase. Probably won’t read it overnight though.
10. Lying Together by Gaynor Arnold: didn’t know this author or book either, I was just drawn to it for some reason. You see, you can’t be picky at these book sales, you just get what you like and hope it will be good.

All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with my purchases. I walked out of that Expo with a huge smile on my face (which no rain shower could wash off that day). But I am definitely on a book-buying-ban. You’ll understand once you see my growing pile of books I still need to read:

Books2

Yes, I know. I just keep buying books and don’t have time enough to read them all. But now I will wait to expand my collection until I’ve read all of these pictured above (well, except for when Night Film comes out in August – but that’s my only exception!). I’ve read the parody Fifty Shames of Earl Grey today (which was meh) and tomorrow I’ll start reading Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I will read them all!

How about you guys? Also an avid reader? How big is your to-read-pile?

Catch you later!

Janice xx

Spring Playlist

When spring finally came (and decided it had better shit to do and just left again) I felt like making a playlist with all of the music I was obsessed with at that time. It has changed a lot since then, but now I’m finally happy with it. It has poppy songs, classics, some hits and a lot of happiness. Enjoy xx

STAM visit

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I headed to the STAM city museum in Ghent. It basically gives you an overview of the history of Ghent in all its glory. This time they also had an temporary exposition about De Vooruit, a festival and arts centre built by the Belgian socialist cooperative in 1913. Now it functions as an independent cultural arts center, which has become a very popular place-to-be with the local crowd. To celebrate its 100-year anniversary, STAM has put together an exposition about the building, which tells the story from it’s beginning until now.

Because Vooruit was – and still is- such a big landmark during my student years (well, I’m still a student, but you know what I mean) I thought it would be interesting to get to know the history of this beautiful building.

Vooruit

Vooruit

Miranda July

A couple of years ago I saw Miranda July’s film The Future during the Ghent Filmfestival. She was there herself to answer some of the questions from the audience.

Daft Punk

Not only does Vooruit host all kinds of cultural expositions and shows, it also rents out its concert venue to artists and organizations to perform or to organize big parties. Here’s a poster from the first I Love Techno party that was held in Vooruit in 1995. My boyfriend, the Daft Punk-fanatic he is, was looking high and low for this poster as proof they did once perform in the small venue of Vooruit. Don’t think they will perform there again in the near future.

Vooruit

Vooruit café is another popular part of the whole Vooruit-venue. At the end of the tour you could take a test and win a 50% coupon for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (yes, I am a cheapo).

Of course there is always a permanent exhibition, and at STAM citymuseum, it’s (what’s in a name) about the city of Ghent. It shows you the rich history of this kind of forgotten city in Europe.

STAM

This must be the most famous room of the museum. The floor is covered with an enlarged aerial photo of the city of Ghent. In the middle there’s a replica of the city centre. I’m sure every visitor living in Ghent has looked for their home on the map.

STAM

The sexy part about this room is wearing these shoe-bag-thingies to keep the floor tidy and neat.

STAM

STAM

STAM
This was actually my second time visiting the museum. The first time was during Museumnight, when all the museums in Ghent open their doors for free to the public. I don’t remember that much of it, just because it was so crowded. Being here for the second time, without the mass almost crushing each other. You actually get to see the museum and take nice and decent pictures without everyone running through your shot!

Rechtvaardige Rechters

Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the painting The Just Judges (Rechtvaardige Rechters) by Jan van Eyck, which got stolen in 1934 and has never been found. This whole room is dedicated to the theft, the ransom and the theories around the infamous painting.

STAM lego

At the end of the museum tour, there’s a huge table filled with white lego pieces and three big lego-replica’s of famous buildings in Ghent. Visitors can make their own version of Ghent with the lego-pieces and show how they’d like to see the city in the future.

lego STAM

More information about the museum you can find here. You can visit the Vooruit and all its rooms and venues until the 27th of October.