I'm guessing everybody in Brussels (or who has ever visited) knows this building - it's bang opposite the entrance/exit to the Gare du Midi, right by the taxi stand/spot-where-you-smoke-your-last-cigarette-before-boarding (well, not me, not for the past 5 months anyway :)) ... I'm not sure everybody thinks it's as cool as I do though, so here's my attempt to convince.
Cold evening on Place Flagey. The lights in the church looked welcoming but I'm really not trying to make any big statement here!
Julek Jurowicz is a bit of a celebrity in my circle. He co-founded SMART - a non profit organisation which handles contracts for artists and other people working on short contracts. Thanks to SMART people like me don't have to pay through the nose or suffocate under a pile of paperwork in order to work independently. They also publish helpful guides, provide trainings and fight for the rights of those on short term contracts. It's not perfect - there is still a fair amount of paperwork and my salary is not always paid quite on time...but all in all, it's a great idea/help that is being rolled out in France and will no doubt spread further. Julek is ridiculously busy and has been doing this for 20 years but still lights up when discussing the latest fight with the national employment agency involving artists' right to subsidies. Sam the dog is the office mascot.
Not a new shot, something from the archives snapped from the Porte de Hal.
Corner of Rue de Flandre and Rue Léon Lepage
Henri is back from Bali and followed me on my todos, so we stopped by Place Jourdan for a pitta at Papay. Drove to Paris with Nora in the evening, arriving at Laure's place in Créspières (78 - the Yvelines, west of Paris) around 11h30. I grew up in the area so looking forward to tomorrow's daylight so I can survey the surroundings.
I wrote this woman's name down so illegibly that I'm afraid I can't tell you - What I do know is that she buys pretty much everything she wears in China and that she runs the Lune de Miel, one of the most popular Thai restaurants on the strip leading to st Gery, otherwise known as Rue Jules Van Praet. I met her in the Marolles area where she was scouring the second hand shops for stylish coffee spoons.
Second part of Marie Claire 'shopping à BXL' shoot... so lots of shops, pavement pounding and welcome discoveries which I'll most probably mention in the coming days, weeks, months. The idea of the 'shoppings' is also to catch some of the city goings on/vibe so here's one of those shots.
I proudly fulfilled my civic duty today and voted for the French socialist party primaries... it's been ages since my admin has been in order enough for me to be registered to vote anywhere, so it felt quite satisfying. I was so excited I forgot to snap a photo, and then failed again to shoot anything at Nora's brunch. Instead waited till dark... I posted something about these shapes a while ago, but rather than disappearing, a load more models have been added to the window display, it looks pretty funky.
Rain, rain, lots and lots of rain ... a small confession to make: I actually enjoy a proper rainy day on occasion. I don't suppose you should live in Brussels if you don't. Woke up early and transported myself + sleeved blanket onto the sofa to watch France beat England in rugby, a good start to the day. Caught up on a bunch of editing, bought some food, cancelled all plans, had some cancelled on me and planned myself a movie night (between films now!). No photos today but a tip for the next rainy day - Chez Franz on rue Frank Merjay, the sort of place that makes you want to sit down, order a glass of wine and lose a few hours. Also very nice for brunch on sunny days mind you, since it has a huge terrace. It opened quite recently in place of the Mont Chauve which had a grumpy owner, but good beers and a tasty brunch - and was one of my first hangouts in Brussels - RIP
Traipsing the streets today, shooting for a special 'shopping in Brussels' edition of Marie Claire. Since I don't shop much, I was on pretty unfamiliar territory within my own city and swallowed up loads of fashion related info (you never know when that might come in handy). I did a similar shoot in Antwerp a couple of months ago and, though Antwerp is quainter and generally accepted as more 'fashion-forward', the shop owners and salespeople were (as a general rule) much, much friendlier in Brussels - 10 points (I've probably opened a big can of worms now...). Here's one of them - Sophie, owner of Cachemire Coton & Soie.
This is not a hugely original subject or a very good 'spot', these typical flemish style buildings below the Mont des Arts are virtually impossible to miss! I'm fond of them though, so there you go.
Ciné-ONU organised a special commemorative viewing of 'Taking Root - The Vision of Wangari Maathai' at the Goethe Institute this evening. If you get a chance, you MUST watch it - it is a heartwarming, moving story and Prof Maathai is wonderful to watch; eloquent, thoughtful, funny, insightful. The shot is La Papaye Verte on rue Dansaert, one of my favorite Thai places in Brussels if not the comfiest.
Brussels Style 1953 - José Bové is born