Saturday, May 20, 2006
18-19-20 May 2006 Jazz Marathon is de retur. I am having way to much fun this weekend to spend hours in front of the computer.Thus for now only this image to show a bit of the fantasitc time we are having in the capital of Europe these days. I took lots of pictures and will share but right now I go for the Jazz.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The place I always return to. Bartenders are great fun, music excellent patrons drunk and in excellent mood, lights great and photography welcomed. Or rather unobserved given that most people here are tipsy and having a blast. Known to me as Baraca (actually the restaurant on top of it had that name) and now correctly named Java, this place abounds personality. A corner bar with two huge window panels on the two adjoining streets. In the summer people flood the sidewalks and the little intersection as well. A huge v shaped bar were on weekends Chloe and Jaques rule. Last weekend I went back to give the staff the pictures I took on several occasion and it was a blast. Free drinks are not the perk I long for as an unoficial paparazzi of the place but the again. What makes my day/night is rather having a good amount of quality pictures on my cards. Lately this seams to hapen more often. I also have to admit that a big camera can and will sometimes offer a good opening line for conversation. It is rather cool to have this as a side effect of a cumbersom obsession making you tote around with a hefty backpack and stick a lense in the face of people having fun.
In the heart of the Matonge, the mostly African part of Brussels, Place Saint Boniface has a great atmosphere regardless of the time of day, weather or season. Still nobody will deny that nothing is better than a balmy early summer night of chitchat and wine on the terraces surroundings the little square. Less snobby and pretentious then the similarly terraced Sablon this is a relaxed place. In the few hundred square meters around the church and the three by three streets creating a grid there are more then a dozen restaurants and bars. Some are excellent, some just ok, most are relatively cheap. My personal favourites are L'Ultime Atome and Cafe Florian. The first is a big brasserie with a big ego and equally important patrons but also lacking any pretentiousness. Food is not spectacular but always decent and the atmosphere is excellent. Pople are mostly young but not exclusively with an artsy streak that dominates intertwined with the fashonista European crowd that is bored to tears by the Place Luxembourg dating scene and preferese the less agressive and more relaxed Boniface. Quite often I write or read over tea or red wine on the cobblestone terrace or inside on the one step elevated and railed platform in the back. People will hang out till the early hours of the morning. The later is a small tea and coffer merchant that also has a few tables in two tiny rooms and three or so tables on the sidewalk. Both the tea and coffee selections are incredible. There is also the Japanese soup place Yamamoto serving a dozen or so heavy, garlic laden ramen soups. Definitely a hungry man's place as the soup bowls are huge. As an added bonus for my obsession the place also houses two magnificent camera stores. One dedicated to new equipment and carrying Nikon, Canon, Leica, Bessa SLRs and rangefinders and mid format gems. The other is a used material store packed to the brim with excellent choices mostly Nikon, Leica and Canon film stuff. Facing each other the two, belonging two the same owners and equally named Campion, are long established institutions serving the city and its international visitors for decades. I am their loyal and pleased customer. Part of the magic light in this picture comes from their windows so indeed is a tribute to their invisible contribution to our photographic endeavours.