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Monday, 5 January 2009

A Music (and comics) tour of Europe

Before the big holiday season, I took some time off to tour around Europe with my band, Think About Life. It was my first time in Europe (outside of Bulgaria) and although I was mostly locked in a big red van or a venue, I took every opportunity I could find to get lost in each city I went to.
Here's the crew- those are my guys in the foreground, and Land of Talk are the three in the background.
Here's the Centre Pompidou and the view from the top of it. That's the Eiffel tower in the background there (you already knew that). Seeing a city so vast and so densely planned, and from such a height, virtually forces you to reach for your camera to click as many times as you can through the one clean window at the top. If you're from North America, the view also makes you feel extremely North American. How did it all come to be? How does it all work? If only David Macaulay were there to explain it all.


Our show in Paris was at the Mains d'Oeuvres, which is a community center in the suburbs. Another major difference between Europe and North America: Suburbs are not for the manicured-lawn set there.

Lucky for me, I had an extra day to spend walking around, so I headed over to Shakespeare And Company.

As I was already sleep deprived, I briefly considered taking them up on their offer of residence to anyone wishing to type up their life story using the rickety old typewriter. I couldn't help but feel proud to notice a few of our books showing off their pretty covers within the beautiful, labyrinthine, book-laden passageways.


Then later in Gent, Belgium, I found this little gem: Epic Comics. The owner (who really didn't want to be photographed) and I chatted for an hour about the woes of working in a bookstore (too many books to read, too many books to buy, etc.) He was fairly down on contemporary Belgian comics, but gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to the Tintin series.

It was eerie to see how similar their inventory was to our own here at 211- even though they're an ocean away. Loads of D&Q books on their shelves.

And in the city of Berlin: Moomin Winter Madness. It was great to see our favorite little guy hanging out with the likes of Spiderman and Magic the Gathering.



And on the subject of window displays, I leave you with one featuring Black Peter, the blackfaced Santa's 'helper' who kidnaps bad Dutch children and takes them away in a sack to Spain.. What the--?
Hmm, I since found out that Canada used to uphold that folky tradition as well until the late 1800s when we decided the connotations were just no good.

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