I know next to nothing about hip hop or rap music, so it was about time I bought Straight Outta Compton, the landmark hip hop album, originally released on 8/8/88. Cool date. Twenty years ago, in April 2000, I purchased my very first vinyl record ever. That was 'Still D.R.E.'
by Dr. Dre, coincidentally, so today's arrival is quite apt. I can't believe it's been twenty years of record collecting. The vinyl landscape
was different back then: fewer releases, lower prices. How the times have changed. A toast to vinyl, and to at least twenty more years of collecting.
New stuff for sale
5 April 2020
* I compiled a book of colouring pages for all ages, featuring nineteen black and white drawings by yours truly.
For Kindle, or as a paperback. Click here for Amazon US | UK | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Canada
* New online shop featuring my drawings on a slew of products: bed sheets, pillows, mugs, clocks, coasters, frames, etc.
24 March 2020
Between 1987-1990, American toy manufacturer Tyco produced the Dino Riders line - probably the greatest pitch in toy history.
Guys riding dinosaurs! Shut up and take my money! The power of nostalgia, and the audacity of resellers and scalpers haven't
been kind to the franchise. Nowadays, be prepared to spend upwards of $1500 for a boxed Tyrannosaurus. Even the smallest
dinosaur in the line, the Ankylosaurus, will set you back at least $100 for a non-sealed boxed copy. Checktheseprices. Madness! Sparta!
In 2015, I met Andrea Hulsbosch (a Belgian linguist and fashion model), and we both talked about our love of and for dinosaurs.
She went one step beyond, and talked about how her Barbies used to ride her dinosaurs. At that moment, I had a revelation,
an epiphany, a vision. Andrea's childhood concept reminded me of Tyco's. And in a 'what are the odds?'-spin of events, the Tyco
brand has been owned by Mattel since 1997. Dino Barbie needs to be made. E-mail Mattel. Call them. Spread the word.
While we're waiting, I'm developing my own concept, Dino Girl. In 2015, I created a first sketch, and here's a second one I made yesterday.
MiniDiscobar with DJ Julian
22 March 2020
Hire me for your garden parties, candlelight suppers, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and more.
Songs are played and mixed on nothing but Sony MiniDiscs. MiniDiscobar
Music from 2016. Oh, the procrastination on these write-ups.
Films of 2018
3 February 2020
The best films of 2018. Oh, the procrastination on these write-ups.
Welcome to the AA
23 July 2019
On 1 July 2019, I had the chance to talk about my book 'Songwriters' in the acclaimed Belgian podcast Welcome to the AA,
hosted by stand-up comedian/vocalist/songwriter Alex Agnew and guitarist/songwriter/social media wizard Andries Beckers.
These guys are passionate, well-spoken, intelligent and always interested in their subjects. Class acts all the way. Major thanks,
props, kudos, shoutouts and love to Alex and Andries. Listen via iTunes, their website, Spotify, or via YouTube.
I'm quite proud to announce my very first book, 'SONGWRITERS' (publishing group Lannoo), featuring interviews
with sixteen prominent Belgian songwriters, with photos by the fabulous Els Vanopstal. In stores nationwide, October 5, 2018. Also available as a legal download for your e-book (Amazon | Google | iTunes).
Films from 2013. Oh, the procrastination on these write-ups.
Julian's Posts turns 15
28 September 2017
Fifteen years, 1 month and six days ago, I started this site. Readers have come and gone. Mostly gone. I'd like to thank
my small but faithful audience, you know who you are. Here's the summary on the past 15 years.
'KRENG', a short film I helped make, is going to CANNES FILM FESTIVAL. Yes, that's actually happening. The six minute effort
will participate (out of competition) in the 'Short Film Corner' during the 69th edition of the legendary film festival in France.
A big thumbs up to director Xavier Arijs and screenwriter Peter De Voecht. They did it, they came through, they delivered the
goods and now, 'KRENG' will rock the crowd in Cannes, France. Nous sommes très heureux.
Music of 2013-2014-2015
1 April 2016
Music from 2013 | 2014 | 2015. Oh, the procrastination on these write-ups.
On 24 October 2015, I was granted the enormous honour of having a short chat with Mr. Alan Silvestri,
one of the greatest living composers and the man who scored my favourite movie of all time. [full article] - [audio file]
19 January 2016
Mr. David Bowie has passed away. What a major loss. On 8 January 2016, he celebrated his 69th birthday with the release of a new album
called 'Blackstar'. That same day, my favourite record store FatKat opened the doors of its new, expanded location in Antwerp. I bought
'Blackstar', went home and listened to the album between 9 and 10 PM. I think it was a first to be able to listen to an artist's new album on
his birthday. Quite a unique experience, one I thoroughly enjoyed. 'Blackstar' turned out to be a masterpiece, no mean feat after decades
in the industry. Just two days later, Mr. Bowie succumbed to the horrible c-disease (I won't dignify its existence by naming it). The next day
(that's a Bowie reference, coincidentally), the devastating news reached our ears. Extremely weird: buying and enjoying a fine new album
on Friday, and hearing about the loss of its maker on Monday. Thanks for everything, Mr. Bowie. You will be missed.
Back to the Future
26 October 2015
Today marks the exact 30th anniversary of Marty McFly's first time travel. On 26 October 1985, he tried to outrun the Lybians,
accelerated to 88mph and travelled to 5 November 1955. The new Blu-ray collection should arrive shortly. I have only seen
a few episodes of the animated series, so the complete inclusion of said series is bound to be a treat. Also available for sale
(but not on my purchase radar in the near future) is a re-release of the excellent Telltale game - now with added Thomas F. Wilson
voice-over work. And lest I forget: a plutonium-powered Monopoly edition has been released last month. It's a good time to be a
Back to the Future fan.
Back to the Future Part II
21 October 2015
Today earns its place in pop culture history as the date of Marty McFly's arrival in the future. Or, as of now, the present. On 26 October 1985,
after an eventful week in November 1955, Marty travelled to 21 October 2015 to save his kids' future. To commemorate this joyous occasion -
after all, Back to the Future is my favourite movie of all time - I'd like to drink a Pepsi Perfect (problem: Pepsi only released 6500 bottles for
the American market) and I'd love to wear futuristic Nikes (problem: the fashionable shoes were produced in limited quantities and fetched
high prices - luckily, the money went towards the Michael J. Fox Foundation), but I will see the entire trilogy for the very first time on the silver
screen later today. The three movies will be screened as part of the Ghent Film Festival. This is heavy! Great Scott!
19 September 2015
Even though I'd love to deny it, I have become an old fart entertainment-wise. Back in 1998, I followed the pop charts religiously. I knew the hits,
the misses, the shits, and the disses. In 2000, I discovered a new-found appreciation for vinyl and started collecting records. I haven't looked back
since, and thus my pop chart knowledge slowly withered and died. My street credibility has never been all that, and I've never been down with the
kids. That's okay. Every cloud has a silver lining, and being a wallflower-esque geeky nerd has its charms too. New music is thus only discovered
by chance. Just two weeks ago, the band Years & Years passed the video waves of YouTube, and I immediately took a shine to their song Shine.
Such class, such excellence, such genius. I bought the 7" vinyl single today, for the wallet-crippling price of $11. Eleven bucks for two songs!? My
parents bought their 45's for an average price of $1.63 in the sixties and seventies. I know, inflation. But still: $11!? The song is worth it, though.
8 August 2015
Isn't it funny how one can come across gaping cultural black holes, and immediately benefit from them? Just this morning, I stumbled upon
the Phil Oakey/Giorgio Moroder collaboration Together in Electric Dreams from the movie Electric Dreams, after someone mentioned the song
in an online LaserDisc discussion. I had never ever heard of it until I read the post. I subsequently found the song on YouTube, listened to it,
immediately liked it, bought the iTunes file for $1.29 and have been listening to it non-stop since. 'So good', as Harry Osborn would say.
Dino Barbie II
7 August 2015
Mattel replied to the Dino Barbie concept with corporate politeness. That's understandable. Read their rejection mail here.
I will, however, pursue that crowd sourcing community idea.
4 August 2015
Between 1988-1990, Tyco made the Dino Riders line - probably the greatest pitch in toy history. Guys riding dinosaurs! Shut up and take my money!
Unfortunately, I was too young to buy the products at the time, and the power of nostalgia and the audacity of scalpers haven't been kind to the franchise.
Nowadays, be prepared to spend upwards of $500 for a boxed Tyrannosaurus. Just a few weeks ago, I was talking to Andrea Hulsbosch (a Belgian linguist
and fashion model), and we both mentioned our love for dinosaurs. She went one step beyond, and talked about how her Barbies used to ride her dinosaurs.
At that moment, I had a revelation, an epiphany, a vision. Andrea's childhood concept reminded me of Tyco's. And in a 'what are the odds?'-spin of events,
the Tyco brand is now owned by Mattel. Dino Barbie (or Dino Barbies, if you will, but I doubt there's more than one Barbie in that fictional universe) needs
to be made. E-mail Mattel. Call them. Spread the word. Here's a first sketch.
On 26 September 1993, my grandparents allowed me to spend 2000 Belgian francs (a mere $50) on a toy of my choosing as a birthday present.
Back then, Belgian toy chain FUN was open for only a few hours on a Sunday. September 1993 marked the height of Jurassic Park mania.
The movie was just around the corner, I had seen the ads, I had read the reports in the Suske and Wiske weekly, I was a dinosaur fan since the big
1992 exhibition had opened in the Natural History Museum of Brussels ... needless to say, I was psyched. Naturally, I opted for Jurassic Park merchandise. The GameBoy game retailed for 1800 francs ($45) - on a par with Nintendo 3DS games of now. Inflation-wise, games could be more
expensive today. (Alan) Granted, this was before the internet and before I had ever heard of a thing called "reviews". I picked the game because
the cover art said Jurassic Park! I honestly liked the game, but it was way too hard for an inexperienced gamer. I don't think I ever made it past the
third level. Not understanding any of the English dialogue didn't help matters either. Flash forward to 2 March 2015. Having just seen Jurassic Park again (anticipating the fourth installment, Jurassic World), I decided to give the GameBoy game another shot. Lo and behold, it proved to be not that
hard after all. Only the fifth level forced me to face two 'Continue? Yes/No' screens. Two hours after inserting the cartridge, I completed the game.
21,5 years after receiving the game, I finally beat it. A footnote in life? An unimportant event? Sure. But also a strangely fascinating and satisfying one.
I know next to nothing about The Beatles. The hits, yes. At least 20 solid tracks of major musical excellence. Album tracks, rarities or
B-sides, however? A big gaping hole. Last month, I purchased the wallet-crippling, mortgage-equalling expensive 'The Beatles in Mono' vinyl box set. At long last, I will get to know each and every track. Musical genius Matthias Meersmans - of Grovgast fame - is a Beatles
expert. In a series of chats, we will delve deeper into the Fab Four's output. The connoisseur versus the amateur. The pro versus the prütser.
Han shot first
19 October 2014
On 17 October 2014, I finally saw Star Wars (or Episode IV, or A New Hope) the way audiences saw it way back in 1977, thanks to a
surprisingly high-quality VHS tape from 1995. For the purists: I know this cut has minor changes too (the A New Hope subtitle, for one,
wasn't present when the movie premiered). Still, until now, the 1997/2004/2011 cuts had to suffice. Guess Han really shot first, huh?
12 October 2014
On 20 September, a-ha fans had the opportunity to ask former member Magne Furuholmen a personal question through a Q&A session
on his Facebook page. Yours truly chimed in, Mr. Furuholmen replied. Not the answer I was hoping for, but kudos for his hilarious response.
24 August 2014
In 1989, impressionable yours truly brought a set of his favourite LEGO line Fabuland to kindergarten for show and tell.
It would prove to be a horrible decision, because one of the minifigures - Lionel Lion, the mayor of Fabuland Town - would
be stolen by some dastardly burglar. For 25 long years, my 3622 set remained sadly incomplete. Until January 2014, that is.
Lionel is currently happily available on eBay. Sometimes steep, sometimes acceptable, but always too expensive for what it is.
But, at last, Lionel is back where he belongs in my collection. Hurrah!
On May 2 (and announced one week later on May 9), Jozef "Pom" Van Hove - the greatest Belgian comic book artist of all time
(in a tie with André Franquin) - passed away at the ripe old age of 94. This is a major loss for the cultural patrimony of Belgium.
A few years ago, I wrote a hero text about the extremely talented man, who had a well-known dislike of journalists and the media
in general. As coincidence would have it, Peter De Voecht and I recently attempted to pay him a visit armed with a few questions,
a bottle of beer and some chocolates. Although we found his homestead, he never opened the door. A neighbour informed us of his
nighttime activity, so he could very well have been asleep when we rang the door during the day. According to his family, he spent
the last month of his life in a retirement home. That would mean, from April to May 2014. We were there at the end of February.
Too bad we didn't get to see him in person, but at least we tried. We sure would have regretted not trying it. Hats off to you, Pom.
5 May 2014
On 29 April, Bob Hoskins passed away. One of the best character actors of all time, and the creator of Hook's Smee -
probably the funniest supporting character in any motion picture. With Good mooooornin' Neverland!, Peter flogging flying Pan!,
Now, let's give him a very big hand (...) 'cause he's only got one, I've just had an apostrophe (amongst others), he stands
as one of the most quotable too. I have yet to see his acclaimed turn in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but enjoyed the fine
thespian in other works like Michael and the mediocre Snow White and the Huntsman (in which he clearly was the best thing).
Mister Hoskins suffered from Parkinson's Disease, but succumbed to pneumonia at the (far too young) age of 71.
Shame I never had a chance to interview him. Take care, Mister Hoskins, and thanks for all the wonderful cinematic moments.
7 February 2014
Interview with the passionate Belgian musicians, about their musical history spanning from 1987-today.
In Dutch, unfortunately, with no English version available. I may eventually subtitle the clip.
Updating the heroes
3 January 2014
Michael Schack, still the best Belgian drummer, sent me a kind tweet regarding this text - after I tweeted him about his awesomeness.
I normally don't alter old texts, but factual mistakes beg to be changed.
@julianbelgium wow, had no idea that such a tribute text existed. A few mistakes: Lenny still around, shack should be schack, bass note...:)
Breaking into the fashion industry has always been one of my dreams, on a par with "owning a DeLorean",
"curing all diseases; stopping world hunger" and "thinking fourth dimensionally". In short: quite impossible.
That hasn't stopped yours truly from producing t-shirts, hats and whatnots with own designs. My generous
friends sometimes ask me to provide them with a piece of clothing. I'm always flattered and honoured.
Don't hesitate to contact me whenever you're in need of some vestimentary attributes. Glad to oblige.
Interview with the relatively new English band Peace, in English or Dutch.
That one song
12 March 2013
Hope of Deliverance. On 7". Since yesterday. After 21 years of searching. Finally. Thanks, Mr. McCartney.
Films of 2011
18 January 2013
The best of cinema in 2011. You could say I'm a little behind with my retrospectives.
Thoughts on the death of Tony Cabana
24 December 2012
Dutch entertainer and entrepreneur Tony Cabana decided to take his own life the day before yesterday.
He had been living in Belgium since the eighties and had opened at least two successful clubs and restaurants.
His true calling, however, was singing 'schlagers' (schmalzy pop/torch songs) that dealt with the issues of the
everyday layman. Karel Crombecq and I first discovered the man in 1997, when we saw a few of his singles
in a long-gone record store in Bruges. Cabana never took the time (or found the necessary backing) to record
an album, but he did bless the world with a lot of 2-track discs. Karel and I were intrigued by this mysterious
fellow with curly hair and a penchant for strange song titles. Back then, there were no iPhones and only Karel
had 56Kbps internet access at home, so naturally we forgot about the man. We even neglected to write down his
name and were convinced he was called "Frank Bacana". The next summer, we stumbled upon a copy of his
Dansen In Het Weekend and decided to buy it. The following decade, the man sporadically made the news with
info on his Kontich club "Copacabana", his exclusion from the Eurovision preliminaries or a devastating fire that
wrecked one of his brasseries. In 2009, we even saw him live, in concert, during the annual fair in Edegem.
There wasn't a huge turn-out, but Cabana gave his all. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, even though the
music was not our cup of tea. Although we can't claim that he's our favourite artist of all time, we had a soft spot
for this ever charming and enthusiastic self-made Dutchman. I would have loved to interview him. May his singles
be collected on an album sooner or later. Rest in peace, Mr. Cabana.
Evo Dash, or the new standard in independent games
2 December 2012
Regular readers know of the legendary, larger-than-life character that is Karel Crombecq. A personal friend of mine
since the wee age of 6, we shared many a laugh and an adventure over the course of 22 years. At just 3 years old,
he made the decision to become a video game developer and he has stood by that conviction ever since. Kudos to
his determination. On 22 November 2012, he finally unveiled his first commercially available game : Evo Dash.
Available as we speak on all major Apple and Android platforms! I'm very proud, even if I had nothing to do with it.
Support him when and if you have a mere 89 cents to spare. And remember that name. Evo Dash. And Karel Crombecq.
Julian's Posts turns 10
25 August 2012
Ten years and three days ago, I started this site. Readers have come and gone (mostly gone). I'd like to thank
my small but faithful audience; you know who you are. Read the summary on the past decade!
17 August 2012
-Lupe Ontiveros, Rosalita from The Goonies, passed away on July 26. I am currently not able to converse in
Spanish, but she taught me my first words in the language of Cervantes. Much appreciated.
-Geoffrey Hughes, Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances, kicked the bucket on July 27. Unfortunately typecast
by just about everyone, he had a rich history on stage with far more complex characters. Thanks for all the laughs,
though. May your catchphrases echo in eternity.
Interview with the excellent and very friendly American blues guitarist.
4 June 2012
Last Friday - 1 June 2012 - Belgian band dEUS surprised the music industry by releasing a new album without
prior announcement. They subsequently crashed a few record stores on Saturday to promote and sign said
new release entitled Following Sea. Just ten minutes earlier, I had bought my very first Polaroid cartridge
(a wallet-munching purchase at €19 for 8 photos). Naturally, I had to snap the band during their publicity blitz.
Legend. Icon. Activist. Pacifist. Cool old lady. Say what you will about Jane Goodall (who visited the Flemish part of
the Brussels Free Universities yesterday), but make sure it's positive. Never before has a surname held so much truth:
she's truly good to all.
Thanks to the live broadcast on http://www.nrk.no, I was able to see the full Norwegian memorial service in the
Oslo Spektrum arena. It was a sober, fitting tribute to the fallen victims. Most artists were completely unknown to
non-Norwegians and sang in their native tongue, but that didn't matter because grief is a universal language.
I did recognize soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø, however, who scored a hit in 1997 when she collaborated with Warren G.
a-ha opted for a toned-down rendition of their 1988 song Stay On These Roads, a very fitting choice. The band was
beautifully accompagnied by the Kringkastingsorkestret (the broadcaster's orchestra), which made me long for a full
symphonic a-ha concert. I was particularly fond of the band Sambandet, who played a laidback, guitar-driven song.
I reckon they're Norway's equivalent to a band like Dire Straits.
The most touching part of the ceremony was the naming of all the victims, photo and name included. All those young lives,
gone in the blink of an eye. Horrible, just horrible. Norway can be proud of the entire, two-hour tribute.
a-ha and Norway
12 August 2011
What happened in Norway on 22 July 2011 affects us all. The horrible, senseless, pointless killing of youngsters alike is
a vile act that should never ever be repeated. When I heard the news, I felt especially bad for Norway. It's a fascinating
country, free of protocol and filled with natural resources, riches, culture & landscapes. They're not even a part of the EU
(European Union), for they don't need it. A peaceful and quiet country that never makes the headlines.
Yesterday, my favourite pop band a-ha, proud Norwegians, announced they would come out of their self-imposed retirement
to participate in a national memorial service in Oslo on 21 August. That's great news, from a fan's point of view. However, I
wish it had never been apt to hold a memorial service. This is not why you want your musical heroes to reunite.
That said, I'm looking forward to hear them again and I'm sure their carefully crafted tunes will soothe the trampled souls of
the Norwegians and, by extent, the baffled rest of the world. I only hope the producer of the service will have the decency to
leave out questionable song choices. The last thing we need to hear is Hunting High And Low, Cosy Prisons or Celice (with its
lyric "it's in the way you hurt me"). Which may be a bigger problem than you would initially say, because a-ha has a lot of
brooding songs with dark subject matter. Even a seemingly touching song as Soft Rains of April turns out to be about a
convincted criminal. My personal picks would be Love is Reason, Minor Earth Major Sky (for the sense of grandness it evokes)
and their farewell song Butterfly Butterfly (The Last Hurrah) because it sounds so cautiously optimistic.
My thoughts are with you, Norway.
7 August 2011
Relatively new band Intergalactic Lovers rocked the crowd in Wilrijk, Belgium for a 45-minute set on the Willrock festival.
The lyrics of their song, Delay, feature the lines "the sound of heavy rain",
"I'll let it just drip-drip-drip on me" and "that's what the weather gods said last night". Quite ironic, then, that it rained during the
entire show. Afterwards, we were soaked - but we had enjoyed a thoroughly fine performance. Intergalactic Lovers. Remember that name.
Buy their album. Do it now.
Nine years ago, Karel Crombecq (yes, the Karel Crombecq) helped me build the foundations of Julian's Posts by providing the necessary HTML-code and site templates. That was a piece of cake for Karel, for he is quite
the computer-savvy chap. Ever since he was a wee lad of 3, he wanted to become a professional video game
developer. The past 5 years, he worked on his doctorate to achieve said goal. Yesterday, he proudly unleashed
his full 176-page body of work. He even thanked me in his introduction, a nice gesture I never expected.
His achievement is entitled Surrogate Modelling of Computer Experiments with Sequential Experimental Design.
No, I don't have a clue, but I do have a link to the PDF version!
[watch out! heavy file!]
Back to the Future
2 August 2011
Review of the 1985 Robert Zemeckis movie. It's about time, for I had yet to review my favourite movie of all time.
Belgian comic book artist Midam (no, that is not his real name) is the creator of two acclaimed series,
Kid Paddle and Game Over. The latter is a spin-off of the former, in which a medieval chap (called "The Little
Barbarian") unsuccesfully tries to rescue a princess. All the while, he tries to reach the EXIT. Indeed,
Game Over is a comic book that reads like playing a videogame. It's quite brilliant, to be honest.
Midam offers budding writers the chance to send their own scripts, which - if accepted - will be turned into a one
page sheet by the artist. Last week, I sent my effort. Unfortunately, Midam rejected my idea.
Not to worry, for I will try again ... until the artist is satisfied. Or fed up with me. All copyright belongs, of course, to Midam.
2 July 2011
Dimitri Sakelaropolus (yes, that is his real name) challenged me to remake my first page-length comic
strip from 1992. I intentionally left in all the weird angles, grammar mistakes and strange colours.
Here's a side-by-side comparison.
Today marks the exact 25th anniversary of Marty McFly's first time travel. On 26 October 1985, he tried to outrun the Lybians,
accelerated to 88mph and travelled to 5 November 1955. To commemorate this joyous occasion - after all, Back to the Future is my favourite movie of all time - I will drink a Pepsi Free (problem : they aren't for sale in Belgium), I'll listen to the Eddie Van
Halen's song (problem : it was never commercially released) and I will try to steal some plutonium from the Lybians (shouldn't
be a problem). I also received the Blu-ray collection of all three films yesterday, in a gorgeous box full of swagger (including
lenticular photo, posters, Gray's Sports Almanac and more). I will however wait to see the restored masterpieces, for I want to
enjoy them with a bunch of equal BttF-loving
friends, comrades and chaps. Great Scott!
Question of the Day
21 October 2010
Can a crooked thief have crooked teeth?
Revelation of the Day
20 October 2010
The word "iris" (as well as the name "Iris") contains the word "eye".
So, "eye" is part of "eye-ris", whereas the "iris" is part of the "eye".
15 October 2010
Interview with the legendary Dutch director of most of the Disney classics!
He also played the Dutch Robin Hood, Kaa, Scar, Lumière and many more.
In an effort to counter the spammers, blog sites (and others) have introduced the word verification method.
The user has to copy a certain word before he or she can enter a comment. These words are plain nonsense
most of the time, but I chuckled while reading this one. Sounds like George Lucas's space opera, doesn't it?
8 October 2010
Can somebody - anybody? - please tell me why so many critics hate Sofia Coppola in The Godfather Part III?
I really think she does a great job. She's not obnoxious as some other teen actresses, she's convincing,
she nails it and she's good.
Funny : the word lawsuit [a case in a court of law which concerns a dispute between two people
or organizations (Collins Cobuild English Dictionary)] contains the word sue. What a coincidence.
Separated at birth?
14 September 2010
I noticed a striking resemblance between English actor Charlie Hunnam and
Belgian politician Jean-Jacques De Gucht. They could be doppelgangers.
What's Your Excuse!?
12 September 2010
Since 1995, comic store Mekanik Strip has organised a yearly competition for young artists
called What's Your Excuse?!. Everything and everyone is accepted, you just have to comply
with the central theme. The theme for 2010 was De Reis [The Journey]. Here's my entry :
De Reis Af [The Slide].
Check it out in Mekanik Strip (St. Jacobsmarkt 73, Antwerp) from 18 September to 18 October!
6 September 2010
Interview with Belgian comic book artist Serge Baeken, in English or in Dutch.
The sax part in Elvis Presley's Return To Sender (written by Winfield Scott and Otis Blackwell in 1962)
sounds remarkably similar to the sax part in Fats Domino's I'm In Love Again (written by Antoine 'Fats'
Domino and Dave Bartholomew in 1956). Bring on the lawyers!
75 years of Elvis Presley. He passed away in 1977, but he's still very relevant and never equalled.
Have a drink on me, together with Sinatra and Jackson. My old elementary school principal, the
legendary Jan Coninx, is still alive and kicking. But he also turned 75 today. What a cool thought :
Elvis and Jan, both born on 8 January 1935. The first one changed the history of rock & roll, the
second one changed the lives of many children with his positive guidance.
3 January 2010
My new year's eve bedtime : 3.30 AM.
My 84-year old grandfather's new year's eve bedtime : 4 AM.
Seniors rule the earth.
My first full-length comic H-Man has been up for sale since May 2007, but a digital copy has never been made available.
Until now : I've scanned the first 9 pages and pasted them together in a PDF-file as an 'extended teaser' => click here.
Full copies (48 black & white pages) can be shipped worldwide. Just contact me and I'll look at the cheapest postal options.
This very first Sony MiniDisc portable player from 1992 is currently playing La Roux' Bulletproof from 2009.
Think about it : in 1992, there were no (commercial) cellphones, no internet (for everybody), no downloads,
no hookers ... and La Roux' singer Elly Jackson was a 4 year old red headed girl. But still, this great piece of
hardware can play a song that's 17 years his junior. It's like stepping into a time machine, Doc Brown-style.
Top songs of 2009
3 December 2009
With little more than a month to go before 2009 wraps up : a top-5 of this year's best tracks.
Morten Harket, the lead singer of Norwegian band a-ha, is 50 years old. A respectable age for a musician.
But the man (the combination of looks and voice) spells sex. How do I know? An 18-year old girl put it like
this : "Morten Harket? He may be 50, but he could end up with me". Well done, mr. Harket! You were a sweet
posterboy in the 80's and you still are very wanted. It must be flattering. After all, this girl was -6 when a-ha crashed the scene.
P.S. I missed yet another Belgian a-ha gig last month (cf. the '13 November 2005' post). I just don't have
any friends that like the band. I never asked 'that girl' about her musical taste before, so I had no clue.
Worst of all, a-ha will call it quits again next year. Come back for one more concert on our soil, guys.
You can't split without me having seen you.
26 November 2009
Disney has licensed a Cars-themed Halloween/dressing party costume for kids. Fair enough, they've done that
in the past. But the kid that eventually dresses up in the Cars outfit will become a ... Cars driver. A driver!? Preposterous! The Cars universe doesn't even have humans, so how could it have drivers? These cars steer,
turn, brake (etc) all by themselves. This kind of unrealistic, shameless milking of a succesful franchise makes
me sick! It's a disgrace to the spirit of the movie. Bah. Humbug. Dear Walt is spinning in his grave.
24 November 2009
My shampoo includes both olive oil and laurel oil. Sounds like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Funny.
23 November 2009
Nemesis by David Gray. I heard the first note and I thought : "This is the best song of 2009". Discover it.
New photos/Improved lay-out/Boss Bashing II
22 November 2009
- For the first time since January 2006, I have uploaded some new photographs.
- Updated lay-out of 'The Posts' : check films, heroes and other to see subtle changes for the better.
- I'm a big admirer of Bruce Springsteen (tip of the day : You're Missing). But some people hate his guts,
which is fine by me. No artist is liked by everyone. I just realised today that his initials spell "B.S.".
Or "bullshit". How funny, for the haters out there.
The Gloved Genius' Best Songs
20 November 2009
Top-15 of Michael Jackson's best songs I prefer to refer to Michael Jackson as "The Gloved Genius". I don't really like the nickname "King Of Pop",
because it implies he only made pop music. What about the funky In The Closet? Besides, Elvis Presley is
"The King". Why do they call Lance Armstrong "The Boss", when we all know who "The Boss" is? I don't get it.
No more male chauvinist pig
10 November 2009
From August 2002 to October 2009, this website featured a Chicas of all time-list, a top-25 of (in)famous women
I wanted to draw. Today, I decided to remove that rundown, because it's sexist to rank ladies in a random order.
Women are women and they should be cherished, regardless of looks.
Guess that's called 'growing up' or 'coming of age'. No more male chauvinist pig, then.
Back in 2006, we had to make a magazine for a graphic design course. It had to be a egoistic, self-centered
magazine that beared our own name. Kind of like Oprah in the United States or Linda in The Netherlands.
It was all about using InDesign; the content wasn't important. However, I wanted to make a magazine I could
read afterwards. As such, I wrote enough articles and made enough photos to fill 8 pages. I can't seem to open
the original file, but I have scanned a printed copy. The quality is not fantastic, but it's still readable. I've covered
up the eyes of all my subjects, because not everyone likes to have an online life. The lay-out had to be an exact
copy of an existing magazine. My influence is obviously Vanity Fair (The Tom Ford's Hollywood issue). But they
don't have to sue, because my magazine was never commercially released. [click here for the PDF file]
At long last, the first two episodes of the Arne Keustermans series [with yours truly as one of the leads] can be
seen. I had written the original pitch way back in 2003 and plans were immediately made to turn the immaculate
script into a short film. Many, many rewrites and failed attempts later, the cameras started rolling in the summer
of 2008. By then, the short film idea had been dropped in favour of a webseries. Short, quick episodes are more
appealing to the YouTube generation. A February 2009 pick-up shot and the absence of a soundtrack further
delayed the production. Until last week.
Visit the official Pink Shades website and give us your honest opinion.
I had previously heard Tom Waits's Martha, but the song didn't seem to leave a lasting impression on me.
Charis De Craene, a dear friend of mine, and Grigore Ionita, my nephew, had pointed out the brilliance
of the track, but I remained oblivious. Two weeks ago, I took the time to actually sit down and just listen to the tune, with the lyrics next to me. I immediately burst out in tears, because the text is so
heartbreaking : forty years have passed, but Tom Frost (the storyteller) still thinks of his love, Martha.
"All I had was you and all you had was me". Just the concept (or the message behind it all) : forty wasted
years. Incredible. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Waits, for this triumphiant piece of music.
Closer to home, the Belgian Arne Vanhaecke has made a very beautiful and touching song in his own right :
Luisje (literally : Little Louse), about a boy who wishes to be a louse inside a girl's hair. Vanhaecke is only 21
years of age, but a bright future awaits him. I hope to be a singer/songwriter one day, so I envy him already.
The Kids Are Allright
9 May 2009
The Kids, Belgium's finest punk band, performed on Antwerp On Stage [6 May 2009].
They truly are amazing : no-nonsense songs about injustice, prejudice and the Belgian
way of life. Their best known song is There Will Be No Next Time, but their best song
may well be Bloody Belgium. At just 1:17, it's over before you know it. The "endless
repeat" button comes in handy, then.
Read my interview with guitar player Luc Van De Poel. Dutch only, unfortunately.
Bill Nighy, Johnny Depp & Marion Cotillard
1 May 2009
I remember seeing 1998's Still Crazy for the first time and thinking : "Wow, that Bill Nighy is hilarious!".
Later on, I enjoyed Love Actually, State Of Play and Dead Man's Chest. He may not be the most versatile
actor in the world (his turn as a soused rock star in Love Actually is more or less a copy of his Ray Simms
in Still Crazy), but he's always reliable and funny (if the role doesn't demand seriousness).
Talking about "versatile" : Johnny Depp has a new movie coming out, Public Enemies. The hype machine
must not be working properly, because I had never ever heard anything about this movie up until seeing
an ad in this month's issue of British movie magazine Empire. Quite strange, considering the strong cast :
Depp, Christian Bale and Marion "Yes, There Is A God And He Is French" Cotillard.
Wow, a gangster drama with Johnny Depp. What a pitch! Depp is this generation's Marlon Brando :
bodacious, audacious and hyper talented. Let's hope Public Enemies will be our The Godfather.
A star is born
28 April 2009
Interview with Belgian musical star Deborah De Ridder [in Dutch].
Best actresses ever
26 April 2009
Even though some prefer to be called "female actors" or just "actors" ...
- Sally Field
- Helen Hunt
- Kate Winslet
- Meryl Streep
- Laura Linney
- Diane Keaton
- Reese Witherspoon
- Rachel Weisz
- Sophia Loren
- Julianne Moore
- Juliette Binoche
- Judi Dench
- Helena Bonham Carter
- Maggie Smith
- Regina King
- Natalie Portman
Two males I forgot on my last list : William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi.
Random order // no explanation // not finite // very subjective
- Matthew Modine
- Jack Nicholson
- Anthony Hopkins
- Josh Brolin
- Sean Penn
- Ed Harris
- Johnny Depp
- Ryan Gosling
- Robert DeNiro
- Jeff Bridges
- Daniel Day Lewis
- Morgan Freeman
- Tom Hanks
- Brad Pitt
- Jeff Goldblum
- Al Pacino
10 April 2009
- "Springsteen is an ugly asswipe!" (Mohamed Fitouri)
- "Springsteen is a douchebag!" (Romeo DH Van Snick)
- "Springsteen is pure crap!" (Elio R.)
- "Springsteen is the most overrated musician!" (Grigore Ionita)
... all valid points, but did these people ever compose Jungleland?
Eligible bachelors ... no more!
8 April 2009
Wow! Up until last month, none of my friends were married. Now, over the course of two weeks, I have
heard no less than three wedding announcements! Three! Is it really time to take the big step already?
Sheesh, I've truly become a (dirty) old man ...
Stop the press!
7 April 2009
For the first time since The Posts' inception, I have changed the top-3 of the Best Songs Ever-list.
Dire Straits' Money For Nothing, while still an awesome song, just can't compete with The Rolling Stones'
Sympathy For The Devil. Money has a terrific guitar solo, but Sympathy has better lyrics. As an aspiring
lyricist, I chose for the latter. The same goes for The Stray Cats' Stray Cat Strut. A brilliant tune, but no
match for Bruce Springsteen's Jungleland. I mean no disrepect to any of the mentioned artists, but some
have just created better songs than others.
28 March 2009
Nand Buyl, one of Belgium's most respected and acclaimed thespians, has died last Tuesday at the
age of 86. I won't claim to be a fan of his work, because I have only seen 1% of his total output, but
I don't underestimate his influence and legacy. It's truly a loss for our cultural heritage.
Wannes Van de Velde, another Belgian icon, passed away in November 2008. Please buy his best song,
Mijnen Auto Is Mijn Vrijheid [My Car Is My Freedom], today. Buy, don't download.
It makes me wonder : how will I react to the death of Toots Thielemans? Springsteen? Dylan? Knopfler?
Spielberg? Burton? Depp? Jackson? MC Hammer? ... it's bound to happen some day. A worrying thought.
I guess there's a lesson to learn : appreciate every day as it comes. Or, to use a cliché, carpe diem.
This Is It (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Buy MJ Tickets)
17 March 2009
It sure wasn't easy to acquire tickets for Michael Jackson's comeback shows in the O2 Arena in London, come summer.
First, you had to register your e-mail address, in order to get a presale code. Mind you : a chance to get a presale code.
Second, you had to log in at the right time last Wednesday (11 March 2009) to start the process. Third, you had to enter
your presale code. Fourth, you had to select the date and the number of tickets. Fifth, you had to wait "approximately 15
minutes" while the software was searching available places in the O2 Arena. You couldn't hit refresh once or someone else
got your place in line. Sixth, you had a mere 2 minutes to enter your name, address, phone number etc. Seventh, you had
exactly 5 and a half minutes to enter the necessary credit card info. Eight, you had 5 and a half minutes to enter a security
code provided by your own bank. Then, and only then, a message appeared saying "Congratulations! You have 4 tickets for
Michael Jackson!". What a complicated process, what a difficult procedure.
But we're going to the man in the mirror, the smooth criminal, the dangerous & bad man!
- For the first time in fourteen-odd years, I have seen Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands again. I can appreciate
it a lot more now, because I noticed the surprisingly complex and thought-provoking morale hidden under the sugarsweet
fairytale coating. Johnny Depp moved me to tears with his incredibly brilliant performance. After seeing his Willy Wonka
in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, I seemed to remember the same mannerisms and tics portrayed in his Edward persona. How wrong I was : it's a completely different approach. Johnny Depp truly is one of the best actors alive, if not
ever. His range is stunning : compare Jack Sparrow to Edward Scissorhands to Ichabod Crane to just about anything he
has done. Unbelievable. 95% of the thespians out there should be ashamed they even call themselves "actors". Johnny
Depp should have won the Best Actor statuette, just as Tim Burton should have won as Best Director. It's a shame both
men have yet to receive any AMPAS attention.
- I have seen the Academy Award winning documentary The Times Of Harvey Milk the day before yesterday.
It's an incredible piece of work, featuring interviews with most of the key figures - Scott Smith is strangely
absent. I got a lump in my throat watching the crying witnesses and I was disgusted with Dan White's advocate,
who claimed it wasn't voluntary manslaughter at all. As a companion to the 2008 movie, The Times is essential
viewing. It was my first arthouse experience too. I've read about these so-called American "midnight screenings"
of (for example) The Goonies for years, but we don't have a tradition of re-releasing past classics. The Times of
Harvey Milk was shown in Cinema Klappei's new "Docu On Thursday" programme. Well worth a look if you live in Antwerp!
We hate it when our friends become succesful, part I/Milk II
9 March 2009
- Joris Jonckheer, one of my co-students who goes by the stage name of Skyve Reuter, released his first vinyl record last month.
Well, truth to be told, it's the second track of the A-side of Sid & Nancy's Kidzz. As such, it's not his first record, but it's super
thrilling anyway. Skyve Reuter is a DJ with the incredible talent to mix two tracks of a completely different genre. "So what?"
you may ask. Well, it's very difficult to find two songs and make them sound as one, without the human ear complaining.
Think 2 Many DJs. Joris, I wish you all the best!
- The gorgeous, funny & sweet Ellen Vermorgen - a dear friend of mine - made a valid point about my Milk-review
(see the previous 'Post'). She approved of me praising the actors, but she also pointed out the importance of Milk [both Harvey and the movie] for the gay community. Harvey Milk paved the way for his peers, but success came
at a terrible price. He didn't shun controversy, he organised marches, he was a very important key-figure in the
(eventual) acceptance of gay people in the United States of America. A great man. Rest in peace, sir.
8 March 2009
- Milk [movie review]
- Paul Harvey, a legendary American radio jockey, passed away last month. Have I ever heard one of his radio shows? Nope.
Am I saddened by his passing? That would be preposterous. But I do know who he is, thanks to my favourite Simpsons episode
ever. In Homer's Barbershop Quartet, Grampa and Jasper listen to Harvey's radio show in the old folks home. They even switch
the channel during Homer's song. It's yet another example of how watching The Simpsons makes you smarter. Well, at least
when it comes to popular culture.
As I've stated before, I'm an amateur photographer. "Amateur" is a word that's easily misunderstood, but I do mean it in
a derogatory way. I make mediocre photos. That's fine. As such, I have a tremendous respect for real photographers.
People who understand the craft. World famous examples include Anton Corbijn and Annie Leibovitz. Herman Selleslaghs
and Patrick Despiegelaere are lesser known gods. One of the youngest, yet brightest talents to emerge from the Belgian
photography scene is Els Vanopstal. Barely 24, she has already built up a steady collection and ditto reputation.
Els's photos range from the surreal to the ethereal to the downright gorgeous. She has quite an unique eye for unique
pictures, with stunning lightning and subdued colours. It's a rare gift.
- Michael Crichton, acclaimed author of Congo and Rising Sun, passed away yesterday. His novel Jurassic Park,
of which I read a junior edit back in 1993, was adapted into the eponymous successful movie. The movie made
a big impact on me when it was released. Thank you, Mr. Crichton, for providing the original story.
- Whether you agree with John McCain or not, you can't deny the man knows how to admit defeat. His concession
speech was honest, fair and friendly towards his rival. He deserves a pat on the back for handling his loss so well.
One of my "Men I Look Up To For What They Have Done Without Saving The World In The Process" has died : Don LaFontaine or 'that trailer voice guy'. You all know him, for he has recorded oodles and heaps of voice overs, trailers and commercials.
Well, not everybody will know him, but you should. I first heard of the man when the great Pablo Francisco (a stand-up comedian
hailing from Arizona) mentioned him in his most beloved sketch. "The previews guy", as Mr. Francisco called him. Fransico even
claimed he met LaFontaine once : "Hi, nice to meet you, my name is Don". Seeing a trailer without Don LaFontaine's ominous voice
will certainly feel weird. Thanks for everything, sir.
I sometimes try to imitate Don LaFontaine, as seen here around the 02:19 mark.
25 August 2008
Why do toy companies make expensive action figures? Just for the adult nerds, right? What do adult nerds like?
Computers, crappy movies, junkfood and loud music. And women, especially the kind they will never ever seduce.
Thus I wonder why Hasbro only made plastic robots in their 2007 Transformers line-up. A Megan Fox figurine
would have sold like hot cakes, because she's quite the hot cake. That's not a sexist opinion, just a play on words.
A stupid decision on Hasbro's part, if you ask me.
I love to unearth previously undiscovered songs. My tips for the weekend : Lucky Town and Open All Night by Bruce Springsteen. I still have a few good of his men, er, albums to buy (e.g. Nebraska; The Wild, The
Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle; Human Touch ...), so it's normal to bump into gems every now and then.
Mind you, I don't know the studio edit of Open All Night (which originally appeared on Nebraska). I'm referring
to the 8 minute long live version Springsteen recorded with the Sessions Band in Dublin. What a rendition :
a sniff of boogie woogie, a little bit of rock 'n roll, some echoes of a juke joint ... and, of course, the 100%
charisma of the singer. Buy it today! Buy, don't download.
b. "They're falling like flies again" is a Dutch figure of speech meaning "we're losing 'em fast". Bernie Mac
was great in Ocean's Eleven ["They might as well call it whitejack!"]. Isaac Hayes will go down in history
as the cool cat who sang "Shaft", but I did disagree with his devout Scientology belief. South Park makes fun
of everybody, so he should have approved of a Scientology namecheck. And according to my newspaper,
the legendary Paul Newman has decided to stop the treatment for his cancer. Will he come to pass as well?
- British talent Jools Holland's birthname is 'Julian'. I had no idea. How nice.
- On a totally unrelated note : isn't it 23 July 2008 yet? I want to see The Dark Knight!
The candy scam/Calley 8
29 June 2008
- Nestlé recently changed the lay-out of their candy bar Bros (not to be confused with
the English band from the 80's). OK. They also fiddled with the content. Instead of the
normal 30gr./1,20 oz. of chocolate, we only get 24gr./0,96 oz. nowadays. OK.
But the price remains the same! Not OK!
- Have you ever made up your own lyrics while singing a song? Yes? I know the feeling!
- Last collection of Swedish quotes
- Seventh Calley Westwood drawing
25 June 2008
- German multimedia chain Saturn fully supports the Blu-ray format.
Very nice, but could they at least check their spelling?
- More drawings of Swedish co-students : 3
- Amy MacDonald's This Is The Life is a fantastic song. Gosh,
it's addictive like Schweppes Agrum. [The girl is cute, too.]
23 June 2008
- Drawings of Swedish co-students : 1 - 2
- Three storyboards for our short film The Flower Shop : 1 - 2 - 3
- Three sketches for my short film pitch Scryscraper Crooks At Large : 1 - 2 - 3
- Stan Winston dead? THE Stan Winston? Without researching : he made the life-size dinosaurs in Jurassic Park & he directed Michael Jackson's Ghosts. Damn, another one.
22 June 2008
'Julian's Posts' has come full circle. I started this site, because I wanted to write about my
(musical/cintematographic/literary/etc.) heroes. Announced since 22 August 2002, I finally
got around to write the article about Steven Spielberg.
21 June 2008
a. A conversation between a couple
b. Two drawings for the Swedish student magazine : 1 - 2
Music from 2007
15 June 2008
At long last, after a series of delays : the records I bought in 2007, in one handy rundown.
14 June 2008
I. Bo Diddley, Harvey Korman, Sydney Pollack & Yves-Saint Laurent ... so far, "2008" has a lot of blood on its
fingers. Bo Diddley was an inspiration for just about everyone who made a record during the past 50 years.
Harvey Korman was the voice of the Dictabird in The Flintstones [I know he's done a lot more]. I have never
seen a Pollack movie, but I know his reputation. I've never worn anything made by Laurent, but a fashion legend he is.
II. "I can't find The Beatles on iTunes" [dixit my father]. Yeah, when will Jobs vs. McCartney/Starr/Ono bury the hatchet?
III. In an interview with British music magazine Q, Will Smith stated that likes to watch the porn version of all of
his movies. These include imaginative titles like Men In Back and Inrearendence Day. Hmm, I wonder how they
will massacre his new flick Hancock.
IV. I'm back. Sweden has been informative, rewarding and fun.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
3 June 2008
Now that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has finally arrived, does it warrant viewing?
Is it worthy of the 19-year wait? Is it grand cinema or just a Crystal Dull? Read on to find out!
23 May 2008
- The second and third video blog for our upcoming short film The Flower Shop.
- Sometimes, you have to admit you are wrong. I always dissed Eminem (and rap music in general)
for being 'too controversial', but I have to admit : the man has some incredible songs. As an amateur
lyricist, I'm awe-struck by the brilliance of some of his raps. The Way I Am, in particular, is a chilling
track. Stan, his most acclaimed, is classy too.
- Bert André, Dutch actor, succumbed to leukemia at age 66. The classically trained theater actor
achieved mass popularity in the Netherlands and Belgium by playing 'Neighour Neuteboom' in Flodder,
the Dutch television series about a crass family. I liked his performances; he had a certain elegance
and dignity. His colleagues described him as "a pleasure to work with". Rest in peace, Mr. André.
21 May 2008
Indiana Jones and the ... (Indy IV!) was released today at one minute past midnight across Belgium.
I'll have to wait another 6 days, because the movie we're making (no competition for Jones) is demanding
more attention. I'm quite lucky to be here in Sweden, because the Swedes don't dub their movies.
Expect a review as soon as possible, i.e. next week!
"According to British newspaper the Daily Mail, the Lost In Translation star made a string of demands to ensure
her appearance at the renowned festival - including a $8,000 a day make-up artist." [source : www.imdb.com].
I know you can't always trust journalists, but IF it is true ... for shame, Johansson. This is not the kind of
behaviour that keeps you at number one on the "Chicas"-list.
"A de facto strike has hit production of The Simpsons, with the key actors providing the principal characters' voices,
Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe)
and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns), demanding raises from about $360,000 per episode to $500,000, Daily Variety
reported today (Tuesday)." [source : www.imdb.com]
Now, I'm one of the big Simpsons fans, but this is an outrage. Isn't $360,000 per episode enough?!
That surely covers the 'expenses' they might have recording the show. How greedy can you be?
At the movies
19 May 2008
People have different expectations and different desires. At least three female friends of mine are counting down
the days to see Sex And The City The Movie. I have never seen one episode of the series, but I can imagine a
fan's anxiety to see the flick. But, as I said, we all have different mindsets.
I am psyched to see Indiana Jones and The Temple of the Crystal Skull! Three days to go! Man, that movie
will rock off every pair of pants I have!
And then, in two months, The Dark Knight opens its wings. Have you seen the new trailer? Heath Ledger, damn,
you are good. Note the use of the present tense : this kind of performance transcends mortality.
14 May 2008
Read all about The Flower Shop, a short film by director Joeri Van Hooijdonck for which I am the camera man.
First video blog & teaser included!
Oh, what a sad day : Danny Federici, the organ, glockenspiel and accordion player from The E-Street
Band, has died. He passed away last Thursday, but I just read the news today. When I saw the band for the
first time in November 2007, Mr. Federici was absent (due to his skin cancer illness) and replaced by Charles
Giordano. Too bad I'll never be able to witness the Federici live skills. Thanks for your presence on 4th of July,
Asbury Park (Sandy). I'm not quite sure what you did on my favourite Springsteen track Jungleland, though.
You're the first E-Street bandmember to go ... take care!
- Charlton Heston : one of my favourite actors (a bold claim, for I have only seen Ben-Hur)
- Ollie Johnston : guess I won't be interviewing him after all - cf. my 7 March 2008 'Post'.
Hope I didn't jinx it. Take care, legendary gent! He was truly "legentary" ...
In my 31 October 2007 post, I sought new ways to avoid the cliché "all killer, no filler". Another one
of those tired, overused phrases is "blast from the past". Magazines use it to introduce a certain something
that was hip several years ago, which has since fallen out of fashion. I mostly use 'gear from yesteryear'.
I'd like to believe I came up with that expression myself, but I doubt it. The following are 100% mine.
If you spot them on a billboard or a website in the months to follow, you'll know where they got it from.
- stuff from the age of bluff
- props from your pops
- pieces from your grandnieces
- fads from ye olde lads
- junk from the Velo's trunk
The Germans/Hugo Claus
19 March 2008
- I was talking to some Germans while eating dinner. Imagine my surprise when I mentioned
The Sound Of Music and none of them had ever heard of that movie. How is that possible?
I thought it was a super classic; a slice of cinema history; a staple on TV on Christmas day.
Apparently not in Germany. How did that happen? Does anyone know?
- Hugo Claus died today. According to those who know, one of the greatest Belgian authors.
He's famous enough to have his own page on the English Wikipedia. He was suffering from
Alzheimer's disease and chose euthanasia to call it a day. Fair enough, I think. When one has
dedicated his life to writing and creatively using his brain, it must be unacceptable to suffer
from said illness. I fully respect his choice and I'm actually glad that he lived in a country that
offers the option to end your own life with dignity.
- As an aspiring journalist, I have names on a list. People I would love to interview, if there were no
boundaries, protocol or obstacles. Regular readers of 'The Posts' can hear me coming : Spielberg,
Springsteen, Jackson ... the usual suspects, right? Well, you'd be surprised. Don't get me wrong :
those guys are on that list, but the first name that pops into my head is Ollie Johnston.
The last living member of Walt Disney's legendary "Nine Old Men". Disney's Nine Old Men were the most
important animators during the early days of the studio. These men worked on Snow White and the Seven
Dwarfs (1937) and all the other classics. In fact, their Disney careers spanned 40 years, because their
last feature was The Rescuers in 1977.
Ollie Johnston is, at age 95, the only one remaining. Imagine, the stories that man can tell. He worked with
the Walt Disney. He co-created the stuff of legends. Yes, I would like to interview that man!
Games of 2007/Quotes
23 February 2008
- I'm a little behind with my retrospectives : here's my Games of 2007 rundown.
- New quotes heard in Sweden.
15 February 2008
The first trailer of the new Indiana Jones movie can be seen online. Wow! I'm all ready for the flick.
May 22? I know where I'll be!
5 February 2008
Second batch of quotes, brought to you from Sweden.
When you are a broad, er, I mean, abroad, your languages greatly improve! You're surrounded by foreign
students 24/7. I already know 6 words in Swedish, 5 words in Italian, 4 in English, 3 in German, 2 in French
and 1 in Dutch (chot-fê-dommêh!).
"You're so old skool"
26 January 2008
"T'es si old skool" the French Aurélie Carpentier told me. Here in Sweden, there are students from all around the world.
"Moi? Old skool?", I responded in my best Miss Piggy French, "pourquoi?". "When you talk about French musicians,
you mention Françoise Hardy, Christoph, Michel Delpeche, Jacques DuTronc et les autres, but those are hardly
contemporary French artists. True, you also mentioned Alizée, but I don't think she's any good." she responded.
"Thanks to Quinten Abadir I know Fonky Family as well!" I tried.
Am I old skool? Maybe. But if old skool means "literature, film, music or architecture most likely of a higher standard
than what's on the market today", then by all means, do call me a proud old skooler. Buy - don't download - Hardy's
La Maison Où J'ai Grandi, Christoph's Aline, Delpeche's Pour Un Flirt, Dutronc's Il Est Cinq Heures, Alizée's J'en Ai Marre and Fonky Family's Dans La Légende.
What a shock : Heath Ledger is dead! One of my favourite 'young' actors! His career is filled with
many highlights : 10 Things I Hate About You, Casanova, A Knight's Tale, Brokeback Mountain etc.
And his biggest role is yet to be released : The Joker in the new Batman movie! The trailer is SO
awesome, Heath is (well, was) so talented. Poor Michelle Williams ... they were divorced, but they
have a child together.
Take into account that this is only one week after Brad Renfro's passing. Renfro, 25, got his break
as a 10-year old kid in The Client, based on John Grisham's novel.
All I can say is ... "another one". River Phoenix. Kurt Cobain. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin.
How sad. So many great performances by Heath Ledger.
All those performances will be saved in time, like tears in a glass.
The future is Blu
22 January 2008
Ok, guys, I've got the message : I bet on the wrong horse. HD DVD is losing, Blu-ray is winning.
Right? Wrong! Read my 27 August 2007 'Post' again. Well, I'll quote myself (how meta!) just to make
it easier for you : "Yes, I'm aware Blu-ray is going to win this current so-called format war"
Warner Bros was the proverbial nail in the coffin for Toshiba's HD DVD. Warner was the last so-called
'format neutral' publisher : they released their films on both high definition formats, that is both Blu-ray
and HD DVD. But Warner dropped a bomb the size of Arne Keustermans' talent on the HD DVD adopters
when they announced their exclusive Blu-ray support on the 2008 CES convention.
The Digital Bits, the bible for everything DVD, announced the first weekly sales of HD DVD after the Warner
surprise. Blu-ray now firmly holds 85% of the high defintion market in its hands, HD DVD gets a measly 15%
(well, of course, because there's no third format - yet? - to claim the rest of the pie).
Fine. Ok. Sony won. For once. Remember BetaMax or MiniDisc? Well, I do and I both love 'em to (digital) bits!
But here's my question : why could Warner deliver the final blow in this format war? Yeah, Warner's
a great studio (The Goonies! Richie Rich! A.I.! Ben-Hur!), but I surely - and clearly - underestimated their
overwhelming importance. What makes them more special than, say, Paramount or Universal!?
21 January 2008
The one word you see in every shop : REA. Do the Swedes love Chris Rea so much? Do they dig Stephen Rea?
Nope, it's Swedish for "sales". Yep, even in Sweden, there are bargains à volonté in January (and supposedly June too).
21 January 2008
Split Second is a 1992 film starring the ever great Rutger Hauer. According to Wikipedia's plot summary,
"In the year 2008, global warming has taken effect" ... Well, yeah, it has! How did they know?!
The Italian Way
21 January 2008
I was talking about movies with one of the Italian students in Sweden, when the excellent "The Godfather Part II"
came into the discussion. Robert DeNiro did an outstanding job delivering almost all of his lines in Italian,
as those of you who have seen the movie will remember. But what did the Italians do? They dubbed DeNiro's lines,
along with all the other dialogue.
Now don't get me wrong : I know the Italians (and the Germans and the French and the ...) like to synchronize their
movies and I don't want to sound like a cultural snob. But this is just mean : DeNiro did his best to speak Italian
and still, the Italians weren't satisfied. Shame on you, guys.
20 January 2008
Swedish Tree : getting dark at 3pm!
Local Supermarket : open till 10pm, even on a Sunday. Hardworking Swedes!
Two Tintin DVDs : only 39SEK/€4.10/$6.04 for the live-action movies from the 60's unavailable in Tintin's native Belgium! For shame!
Back To The Future II : only 59SEK/€6.21/$9.15 for a part of my favourite movie trilogy! In English,
with Swedish - and even Dutch! - subtitles.
Speaking of high definition and DVDs as a whole, I saw some interesting things. You have heard of the stereotype,
"Sweden the super expensive country"? Think again : a new DVD costs 140SEK, which is roughly €14.7 or $21.71
(sorry, Americans). A new DVD in Belgium costs between €16/$24 and €22/$33. Second hand DVDs are widely
available : one for 50SEK/€5.26/$7.75, two for 90SEK/€9.47/$13.95 - not too shabby!
I passed a gas station/convenience store, which was still open at 11.15pm. Inside, they had a fairly large selection
of CDs, DVDs and magazines, in addition to food and beverages. Simpsons Filmet, Bruce Springsteen's Magic and many books on CD (apparently a common thing in Sweden, still in its infancy in Belgium).
A gas station in Belgium rarely has anything more than candy, but the Swedish offering even had two Blu-ray movies : Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Ghost Rider. No HD DVDs, though. And the price? 249SEK/
€26.21/$38.61 for Harry Potter, 299SEK/€31.47/$46.37 for Ghost Rider- way too expensive for this alleged crapfest.
Furthermore, the Swedish daily Aftonbladet offered a selection of 8 movies to choose from : buy the paper, pay
10SEK/€1.05/$1.55 - friendly for every wallet! "Yeah, but what movies? Rancid B-movies at best?" Well, no : Nurse Betty,
Romance and Cigarettes, Out Of Time etc., all in their original English presentation, with "Svenska" subtitles.
First photo of Sweden
19 January 2008
That's a whole lotta apples ...
17 January 2008
I arrived, safe and sound, in Sundsvall, Sweden. "Sweden? The land of chocolate?" Nope, you're thinking "Belgium"
(or Germany, Simpsons fans). "Sweden? The land of ABBA, Roxette, The Hellacopters, SAAB, H&M, Volvo and
Astrid Lindgren?" Correct, but clichés are to be avoided. I'll be down here for the next 5-odd months, to study
journalism and learn the language. Exciting? Sensational? Supreme? All that ... and more!
Two wrongs make a right, right? Well then ... is a copy of a bootleg legal?
Scans from other publications
22 November 2007
- Belgian weekly Story asked 'famous Belgians' (cough) what their favourite superhero and/or
heroine is. Former Miss Belgium Tanja Dexters revealed hers : H-Man.
Why thank you, miss Dexters,
for hyping my comic strip.
- Look at this commercial for V.Smile.
The handheld edition is more expensive than the "console
for TV" edition. That's a first! Well, actually, it isn't. The TurboExpress (the portable TurboGrafx or
PC Engine from NEC) was also steeper than its big daddy. But still, the other way around is common.
Live In Dublin/Brolin
20 November 2007
- Live In Dublin, a 2CD plus DVD set chronicling a Bruce Springsteen does Pete Seeger concert,
was released in June of 2007. Ergo, a mere 5 months ago. The recommended asking price in the
Belgian retail trade was €25/$35. Yesterday, I only paid €6.90/$9.60 in German chain Saturn,
which I critized earlier for their 'too cheap for their own good' policy. Yeah, ok, call me a sell out,
but I could not resist. €6.90!? Must be because I didn't mention the war.
- Josh Brolin, one of my cinematic heroes because he's one of The Goonies, is finally getting the
recognition he deserves. He apparently steals the show in Ridley Scott's American Gangster and
he's getting Oscar buzz for the Coen's No Country For Old Men. Johnny Betts, one of my favourite
cinematic reviewers on the net, has been supporting him for over 10 years. Betts' namechecking
Brolin turned out to be well worth the effort. Well done, Johnny, you have a finger on the pulse!