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Belgium

On Modern Art
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Halcyon In Kal… 29 September 2016

To Bozar in Brussels for the final days of the Facing the Future exhibition, which shed light on about 180 works created between 1945 and 1968 by artists from Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Notwithstanding the tensions between Eastern and Western Europe in the years following the Second World War, artists on both sides of the Iron Curtain experimented in similar ways: from media art to action painting, conceptual art and sound art.  

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On Dawn

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If you've ever wondered why bird species sing in a particular order as the sun rises, rhe UK Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society, which run the Big Wildlife Garden competition, explain what you might hear and when.

Up at 5am on 17th May 2012; the Belgian dawn not only full of unseasonal frost, but also alive with an almost deafening inter-bird competition to see how could rule the airwaves. Need to do that again as the longer days have arrived in Spring 2016.

 

On Biomimicry
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Halcyon In Kal… 18 April 2016

Visiting Luc Schuiten's Vegetal City exhibition in Brussels back in 2009 served as an eye-opening introduction to the potential that biomimicry might play in helping us design a sustainable future.

Many projects are already underway; some young architects are designing structures made completely out of living trees, while others are imagining how our great cities might return to their more natural state.

A related website tried to organise all biological information by function and asked the question - what we can we learn from this organism (e.g. any inventor, anywhere, at the moment of creation, could ask "how does nature remove salt from water?")

On Waterloo

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Living, as I have done for the past 14 years, just 5km or so from the battlefields of Waterloo, means that I have visited the site often.

Only now, however, following last year's commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the battle, and a visit in March 2016 to the excellent new visitor centre, does its full ongoing significance become clearer to me, not least the suffering of the wounded and dead, many of whose final resting places have never been discovered...RIP all who fought there.

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On Singing

Singing, like dancing, seems to lift people's spirits, taking them out of their daily troubles and into a flow state. It also has strange effects on people: yes, for those that know her, that is my wife gazing lovingly at the choirmaster (who also happens to be her boss's husband!) Mind you, she's had a thing about Gareth Malone for years, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

On Marriage
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Halcyon In Kal… 22 July 2014

Our wedding, 25 years ago today, 22 July 1989. Thank you for the days...so far, and here's to many more.

On Shakespeare Halcyon In Kal… 28 February 2014

My relationship with the Bard's works has always been a complicated one. Over time, I will try to develop some of my thoughts, inspirations and reservations here.

For now, some others' more interesting observations:

  • According to Harold Bloom, Shakespeare invented modern humanity. If this seems to go too far, he at least captured human complexity with greater inventive skill than any English writer before him, and possibly after.
On Detours Halcyon In Kal… 5 May 2013

"The really happy man is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour." - Anon

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On Jethro Tull Halcyon In Kal… 17 November 2012

 "Spin me back down the years, and the days of my youth; draw the lace and black curtains and shut out the whole truth." To Cirque Royal in Brussels to see Jethro Tull. Another blast from my Edinburgh past (saw them at the Playhouse on my 19th birthday). Ian and the gang still in fine form; and he can still perch one leg on the other while giving it some serious welly on his flute!