Heaven and Hell
In case anyone cares, I write things down here in Chronological Order, not by importance. Events that affect my whole life are not less important than random spills because they are mentioned later. I just write these things down as the week progresses, an in my humble opinion good habit of recording what I experience. I film anything worth seeing, and I write down anything worth remembering.
The project I’ve been babbling about lately, has finally sprung into action.
What I wanted to do, was to welcome the-lady-I’ve-been-staying-with-in-Norway in Belgium by, quite literally, tell her all about it as she arrives. Neither my friend or myself have the means to pick her up at the airport so I had to find another way to show her around. So! I bought the cheapest (greedy bastard) tape recorder I could find, and took it to the airport. We went as far as we could (with the stewardess har har), and then yapped our way back to Ghent. Where to go, where to look, what to know, how our king is doing, nothing was too stupid to act as tape filler.
After cramming the B-side with music, we sent it to Norway, and now it has arrived. About fucking time too, that’s the last time I spend hard-earned money on an ‘a prior’-stamp. I was starting to get worried it got lost someplace.
So there, that’s what I like occupying myself with. If anyone’s coming to Belgium anytime soon, drop me a note and for an obscene amount of cash I might be tempted to do the same for you. Hey that took me quite a bit of research and working hours, mind you. I think I found a good business here. I might get this stuff patented, as soon as I start giving a shit.
Seriously though, it’s been fun and maybe I’ll do it again. I’m at least glad, if not relieved, that she likes it. Or, at least cares enough to lie about it. I always figured that’s bound to be a good thing somehow.
God, I hate valentine. But shh don’t tell my girlfriend that or I hang. It also happens to be close to her birthday so I have to find 2 original gifts (here’s one: Adopt-An-Otter. Romantic!) in a short time. Besides being a slap in the face for those who happen not to have girl/boyfriend at the time, it is a goddamn nuisance for those who do.
I know I’m not exactly original in this, but to me valentine has no other meaning than materializing the concept of love, so it becomes possible to make money from it. To me, that’s little more than prostitution.
Luckily I learned just, not to care about the zillions of happy little hearts all around town, the sappy love songs playing Everywhere, and the complaining boyfriends. It’s all relatively easy to ignore.
I’m buying 2 spare tickets, packing my bags 3 days in advance and camping smack in front of the main stage. And many will die trying, but no will will be able to stop me.
"What’s the fuss about this band anyway" I get once in a while. It’s kind of hard to explain. First of all, Tool is metal. Better yet, Progressive Metal. Secondary, Tool is Poetry. Maynard James Keenan (remember this name, in jiddish texts he is referred to as Jahwe) does not only have the mental architecture worthy of the name "second renaissance", he owns, and utilizes, the Midas touch. Any project he works on, wether it being A Perfect Circle, Rev 22:20, The duet with Tori Amos, his appearance at a live concert of Rage Against The Machine, or doing lead vocals on the Deftones’ White Pony album, anything at all that he does, he elevates to a completely new level. And Tool is no different, consider it his masterpiece.
What’s with the Lack of fuss about this band?? Their song Schism got them a grammy award, and still no one cares about them. No europeans, anyway. I know they are quite big in the US and often compared to bands such as Korn ans Slipknot. That just makes baby Jesus cry. Neither Korn or Slipknot, with their knee-deep philosophies and MTV appearances, manage to even matter in the shadow of Tool. Not that they make bad music. They just don’t matter.
In case it’s a little vague, yes, music is what my life is about. I live, breathe and work music. I like to think I have a pretty good taste (although some seem to disagree). Tool ascends any other type, but in the end I like all music if it has some actual quality. Which makes Rock Werchter my personal heaven. In fact, this festival was the initial reason I took my current job with shit working hours and worse money; I had heard RoadRunner was the company responsible for building it. Last year I was in fact in the crew, but not during the festival itself. That, and my exgirlfriend (at the time) going with her prince, lead to me not being there, for the first time in 4 years. (The website of last year can be found here, the site of this year here.) Anyone who bothers checking it out will notice that both the quantity and quality of the performing bands/artists is simply unmatched. Rock Werchter was not awarded "best music festival of the year 2005" by an international commite for nothing.
However, much controversy has emerged around TW (official abbreviation, comes from the old name, Torhout Werchter) the last few years. It was bought from the original organisor by ClearChannel, a multi-national company and sponsor of president Bush. Ticket prizes have gone up, and attempts to boycot the festival are increasing. ClearChannel is starting to gain monopoly in Europe’s music business, after taking over 99% of America’s market. Even bands that try to raise voices against Bush such as U2 and R.E.M. have signed with this company. There’s just no getting around it.
Although I think it’s sad to see people getting rich abusing music, I really don’t care about all of this. Small non-profit organisations are trying to make people "aware" that alternative bands will be pushed aside and ClearChannels’s monopoly will cause a drastic raise in prices of albums, concerts and festivals. Personally, I really don’t give a flying shit. First of all, Rock Werchter has over 60 Amazing bands spread over 4 days, and that number increases every year. Rock Werchter lasted just one day up until 1996, when it had to be spread over 2 days. 2 days became 3 in 1999, and "exceptionally" (permanently) 4 in 2003. No Shit tickets got more expensive! And that’s really what these protests are about, they want to see their favourite band but they can’t afford to see the rest, as well. "Alternative bands not getting a chance", oh come on.
So hopefully I’ll be in the crew again this year, and if I don’t make it into the showcrew again, I’ll have my ticket ready. This year, the festival will be entirely mine.
A small ceremony was held for the unborn kid this week. It was a girl, and her parents named her Lisa. The parents are mostly atheists, so there was no nonsense about god, heaven or hell involved and everyone could decide for themselves where they preferred to believe the baby girl went. She was cremated and her ashes were let go over the waters of Ghent at a beautiful spot, along with flowers, candles and incense. Against the law in theory but no one cared one bit.
They nailed a sign against a nearby wall, with the chinese symbol for ‘love’ on it. Later they will make a stencil and put that up there, an idea that I gave them, and that I am particularly proud of. I am compelled to do it myself as a gift to them.
I was asked to take pictures during the ceremony, mostly because no one else wanted to and I have at least Some experience (which I like to make a big deal of). I managed to shoot a few good pictures but god damnit a flash is just so disrespective. Half of them are ruined and the other half blinded everyone who was trying to offer some support.
After the final goodbye the crowd moved on, carrying candles. The procession finallly ended at a very small café where just about everyone (but me, I don’t drink) got piss drunk and basically celebrated the living. I slept four hours that night and I’m still feeling that.
All in all it was more a spiritual thing than an emotional one, I think. Around 40 people gathered, And no one smiled more than the parents who had to face the loss. I think this day meant far more to them than they could explain. And to us, as well. Unlike many people (like me, I admit), who would try and get through this by themselves, they opened up and allowed us to support them. Very little feelings are more satisfying than knowing you are actively comforting a friend who needs it. If it wouldn’t sound so completely selfish I would thank them for it. Maybe I will, some day.
Knowing that the couple can’t hear them, people often bombard me with idiotic questions. Did she have to get a caesarian section or did they use hormones? Are they thinking of trying again? After all, they’re not that young anymore. Gee, hmm. I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll ask them. These questions are often asked before anything remotely like "are they okay" or "can I help with anything". I guess it’s in people’s nature…
So I guess this was it, then. I’m going to continue hopping by their place once in a while, I know better than to think they’ll get completely over it anytime soon. But for me personally, this final goodbye and the realisation that we’re supporting these people just by our presence, will allow me to, well, stop freaking out. At least, I hope so. If anything, the couple’s unmatched optimism has sure as hell been a lesson for me, and probably for many others.