Well well, our little spot on the world map has been receiving a lot of media attention in the past few days. The hashtag "#brusselslockdown" has been trending as if it were a new clothingline by the Kardashians or complaints about how much John Cena sucks. The hashtag was mainly loaded with pictures of cats. Yes, cats. Belgium is under terrorist-threat and we post pictures of cats. Obviously, that mania had more to do with a social media-silence, asked for by our government and the police in order not to disturb the current investigation.
But who are those Belgians? Why are we so weird?
A few days ago, my girlfriend and I were heading to a supermarket for some grocery shopping. When we locked our bikes, a lady arrived on her bicycle, put it next to ours and started putting some locks on it. Then she turned to us and said "it's a shame that I have to do this, right?". I had no idea what she was talking about, until she started babbling about closing the borders and throwing all the immigrants and refugees out.
Yes, bikes stolen by refugees is a huge problem here. By now, it should be clear that those people aren't running away from the possibility of being killed, they're here to steal old women's bicycles.
This open racism isn't new. Friends of mine who have a tiny bit of a different skin color often experience remarks, insults and go-back-to-your-own-country advice. Most of those remarks actually come from people who don't realize that they are probably the lovechild, often one-sided love by the way, of their mother and a German, English, French or American soldier who had better things to do during the second world war than being loyal to his own girl back home.
The international breeding also isn't new. History tells us that Belgium barely has an own identity, but we're not admitting that. We have been occupied by Spain, France, Rome, The Netherlands, Germany and most other global powers and of course by Christianity. I think Luxembourg is the only country that never invaded us. Ever since homo sapiens appeared, the ones living in these areas have been overrun by everyone. True, we might have been the bravest among all the enemies of Caesar, but bravery is useless if you're outnumbered 1250 to one.
Of course, all those superpowers easily found the way to Belgian uteri, eventually spawning a vast number of people who can't seem to agree on anything. In the end, we got our own little spot, an area that neither The Netherlands nor France really wanted. We quickly drew a line in between, threw the French speaking people on one side and the Dutch speaking people on the other. When World War II was over, we suddenly got a part of Germany and allowed the people living there to keep their own language and gave them their own government, only making it harder for the rest of us to unite.
That leaves our country with a massive inferiority complex and a constant struggle to find an identity. We actually have no idea who we are or what we are doing on this planet. Whenever we think we do, someone comes in and changes everything, either by war or by buying some politicians. In the meantime, we dwell in self-doubt and self-pity. We hide away from anything that looks, speaks or thinks a little different. We create cocoons, like a baby that wants to lay on mommy's belly in order to feel that uteral safety again.
Perhaps, yes, we are still babies...
Belgians don't unite. We have about fifty governments or so and we hate all of them. Half of the Belgian population is a politician, the other half is about to become homeless within the next twenty years. The first half wants to be as American as possible while the other half just wants to be left alone and watch the grand finale of 'K3 zoekt K3'. That's a show in where Gert Verhulst (a media-cunt) is looking for three new girls for his harem and letting them sing children's songs.
Like most countries, Belgium is actually ruled by bankers, media-cunts and rich assholes. We don't care where those rich assholes come from, be it jews with diamonds, CEO's, braindead women who married Hollywood stars or Saudis with tons of money. They're all welcome here and most of our own population replies by becoming equally braindead piggy banks. We're fascinated by glitter and glamour, fame and money and many people will go through great lengths for their fifteen minutes of fame.
Let's look at some of the people who seem to be very important for our 'Belgian pride'.
First off, there's the Red Devils, our national football team. They're doing great, number one of the Fifa ranking. Hell, they beat Italy by 3-1 just a few weeks ago. Yet, for all those accomplishments, they don't even receive an applause by our ruling elite, the spiteful N-VA. Why? Well, because some of the Red Devils
speak French and quite a lot of them don't really look like they belong to the mighty Arian race.
Yes, we're talking fascism here.
The NV-A is a fascist political party, lead by führer Bart De Wever ('Den Groote Leider' - pictured). They won't admit that they're fascists because that would look pretty bad on their resumés. Yet, in a few short years, they managed to turn Belgium into a police-state, resembling 1938 style Nazi-Germany. They want Muslims to wear a badge and they want to suck out all the fun of being alive in this country.
But don't worry, it's for the sake of safety. Frankly, what they don't tell you, is that more people get killed by alcohol each week than there are people getting killed by terrorists. It's true, alcohol is our number one drug and we fucking worship it.
Other important people seem to be Dimitri Bontinck, a nitwit whose son ran off to Syria, hoping to never see the crazy antics from his dad again, the previously mentioned K3 and mentally handicapped bimbos like Lesley-Ann Poppe, who is currently working very hard posting a series of nude pictures for charity. I didn't see those pictures by the way. I'd rather get tattooed by a bunch of disoriented hamsters.
Which brings me to another important property of my fellow countrymen. Uptil now, I have been whining and complaining about Belgium but we do have some good aspects. Our sense of humor is massive. One way or another, we always manage to make a joke of things. Our stand-up comedy scene is huge and there's a lot of great comedians in this country. We also have Geert Hoste, but let's ignore him. It's way better for your mental health if you ignore Geert Hoste. In fact, comedians are starting to battle politicians, and winning big time as far as popularity is concerned. Yet, I think I would choose Wouter Deprez (pictured left) above Joke Schauvliege (picture right) any time, even in bed and I'm not gay.
Nobody can deny our creativity. We are masters of literature, music and painting. Throughout history Belgian creatives have been on top of the world. Here, Front 242 plays in a 'parochiecentrum' (quite a small, local venue under the church) but they're huge in America. Front 242 are the godfathers of EBM music, Praga Khan and Lords Of Acid have been headlining dance events allover the world. AmenRa is one of the biggest sludge metal bands of all time. We had Soeur Sourire, we invented the saxophone, we have Het Lam Gods, one of the
most enigmatic paintings of all time. The Smurfs, yes, the fucking Smurfs are Belgian.
Nobody can deny our creativity, that's for sure, and nobody can't deny the fact that Antwerp is one of the biggest drug-harbors in the world. The amount of cocaine found in Antwerp is off the charts. If you drink a lot of tap-water, you'll probably start to hallucinate. That's how much cocaine we have and that's not the only drug. We smoke, drink, inject, swallow and snort everything, whatever keeps us from facing reality as it is. You might wonder why there's a paragraph about drugs right after one about creativity. Well, look at those damn Smurfs, they've been created during an LSD-trip.
So what is going on now?
Well, there have been some indications about terrorism in Brussels. Near Brussels there is a little town named Sint-Jans Molenbeek, which is a terrorist hotbed. Apparently, most the jihadists who attacked Paris some weeks ago came from Molenbeek. So now, the police is invading houses, looking for more of them. Schools, bars and shops have been closed. Events have been cancelled. Public traffic has been shut down. Brussels lived under a complete lockdown for days, all in the name of fear.
How do we respond? By posting pictures of cats, and why the hell not? After all those years of political disunity, Belgians are starting to get fed up with it all. We Belgians have been humble people for ages, continuously licking the hands that feed us and we're fucking sick of it. We allowed ourselves to become enclosed in one of the most complicated social systems of all time and now we want out. We want to go to a movie, a concert or a bar. We want to enjoy life and we want it without interference from anyone.
That's what's behind all those cute kittens: a rage, an anger, a complete distrust in anything that everyone above us ever told us. Are we still babies? Currently, we're like adolescents in their puberty, desperately trying to break loose from their parents and their ignorant behaviour. Finally, we are starting to unite across the language-boundaries, against all the bullshit thrown in our faces by corrupt but sneaky rulers. We are Belgium and will get over this, just like we got over our pedophile scandals and our criminal gangs.
Perhaps I should first point out how this column became a reality in the first place. Earlier today a song by the number one on this list suddenly appeared on a compilation I was listening to. I asked myself "why the hell were they even popular?" and before I knew it, a bunch other bands popped up in my head. Now, for the record, I'm (mostly) not talking about how bad their music is. Some bands on this list often appear in my playlists but there are always acts on those playlists that deserve a lot better than the ten listed below.
Of course, there's a lot of music not worth mentioning. No, I don't understand why R. Kelly, Kayne West or Beyoncé are famous but I actually never encounter them because I stay the hell away from wherever they are, and most of their collegues (in the 'commercial' genres) for that matter. What I'm talking about is talent, or the lack thereof. I'm talking about bands that hopelessly try to remain relevant by vomiting the same song again and again, or by leeching off their old hits, or other people's old hits.
The ten bands listed below are just the first ten that came to mind. The ones mentioned above and bands like Triggerfinger (overrated), Das Ich (outdated), VNV Nation (boom boom boom boom, I want you in my dark room) and Manowar or Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio (both nothing but image) could easily be added to the list. However, I already wrote 'ten' in the title so I'm going to keep to that.
I know, B52's aren't really successful anymore but they are the reason why I had to write this article. I was listening to a 'New Wave Club Classix' cd when their seven minutes of pure ennui, 'Rock Lobster', started playing. This must be one of the worst songs ever on the whole 'New Wave Club Classix' series and so would be their other hits, 'Love Shack' and that horrible Flintstones thing. At least 'Rock Lobster' got funny again when Family Guy parodied it.
Once, U2 was the pinnacle of music. Their new wave era was great, although even then many bands were actually better. The last decent song they made was 'Numb' and since then they have been compensating musical mediocracy with technically stunning live shows. It's a bit like professional wrestling, the show has become way more important than the music. The discussion about Bono being an absolute cunt or not doesn't even interest me. Cunts can make good music too, right Lars Ulrich?
Coldplay is the Whitney Houston of the alternative rock industry, period. Once again there's a band with a lot more show elements than musical ability. Just like Oasis several years ago, Coldplay seems to write the same song over and over again, solely focusing on cheap emotions. Here too, I don't care what kind of personality Chris Martin has, his music is just awful - still better than the Belgian Coldplay, named Novastar, but still, awful.
4. Electric Wizard
I hope I don't get death threats with this one but apart from decent doom metal, weed worshipping and showing titties, what does Electric Wizard have that other bands don't? I've seen them live a few times, and each time the support acts were way better. Don't get me wrong, I often enjoy their music but there's way better to be found in the world of doom. If you want weed, check out Bongzilla or Dopethrone. If you want witchcraft, you need Bathsheba or Jex Thoth. And if you want titties, go to Pornhub.
5. The Ocean
Here's another one of those bands, or one-man projects with personnel, who seem to have quite a reputation. I actually overheard conversations about Robin Staps being a bit of an asshole but I don't really care about that. The music just isn't that good when you think of it. Much like Electric Wizard, ever since The Ocean became a headliner in a genre, many bands have stood up who are way better. Just check out acts like Hemelbestormer or A Place To Bury Strangers or hold on to Isis, Neurosis and Cult Of Luna.
6. Sigur Ros
While many post-rock bands evolve, adapt new ideas and keep instrumental music interesting, Sigur Ros has always remained a bit of a Cocteau Twins/Slowdive clone with a highly irritating voice. Musically it's all fine but helium-addict Jónsi needs to keep his mouth shut. This actually reminds me of Nightwish playing decent metal but ruining the whole with the listen-to-me ego of Tarja. So instead of ruminating the same old melodramatic arty-farty hipster crap, try something new, The End Of The Ocean for instance. Yes, that is a band, not a hint for The Ocean.
7. Die Antwoord
Die Antwoord is all about ugliness, grittiness and anarchy, much like The Prodigy and Atari Teenage Riot have been doing for ages with different kinds of electronic music. That's what's wrong with Die Antwoord: most of their songs are cheap rip-offs from modern electronic dance music (especially industrial and hardcore techno), dressed in something with some shock value for the sheeple. This act literally has nothing to add to the music industry. Oh, and Grace Jones was a lot uglier but she still knew how to make decent music.
This is probably the only band that isn't really a surprise on this list. Nickelback is the Simply Red of the alternative industry, with one exception, Simply Red has talent. Ever since they have become popular, Nickelback has been barking out horrible songs with the same recipe, blatantly stolen from grunge bands. They're one of the most hated bands on earth, and unlike the other hated bands, there are some good reasons for that. Apart from the terrible music, I think many male (and obviously some female) rock fans would like to fuck Avril Lavigne but that Nickelback-cunt took that dream away from us.
9. Amy Winehouse
Yes yes, about the dead nothing but good, I know. But I really, really, really don't understand why a drugged out post-hippie should be a musical role model for many people. "But she is singing about problems, frustrations, this horrible world and such". Perhaps, but the girl was no eye opener, her songs were nothing new. Besides, if you want real songs about real problems, maybe Billie Holiday or Edith Piaf are your thing. It was just drugs, same reason why The Doors, Nirvana and the Rolling Stones became popular. Unfortunately, if Amy Winehouse would have been sober all the time, she would have been an Adele-kind of singer, popular but hated.
10. Spin Doctors
Many bands score massive hits with their worst songs, 'Under The Brigde' by Red Hot Chili Peppers for example. But what if your worst song is actually your best song, the only one people actually remember? What if that one song gets you a lot of gigs but nobody gives a damn about the rest of your setlist? And when you finally play that one song, people are already sick and tired of you? Well, that's the story of 'Two Princes' by Spin Doctors. I've seen them live, I do not recommend it.
Some people have asked me how I feel about the terrorist attacks since I've been very quiet about them. I usually don't answer those questions because I feel that my opinion doesn't matter that much. I am just one guy in a massive cesspool of people. Besides, every single outing about the subject provokes a lot of reactions, complaints and even threats, which eventually results in something worse than what happened in France.
Yes, I mourn the victims of the attacks in Paris, much like I mourned the victims of 9-11 or the victims of Dutroux (the infamous Belgian pedophile and murderer). I also mourn the victims of terrorism in Kenya, Syria, Lebanon, just like those who died in natural disasters and the victims of police brutality. Yet, what I mourn most of all, is the loss of common sense and the rise of hate. I mourn the fact that our world is being divided by senseless things like opinions and religion.
I will however not change my profile picture because doing that is something you don't do for the victims, it's something people only do for themselves and their friends on facebook or twitter. I'm not leeching off attention from those things and I certainly don't feel like changing my profile picture will change anything. What we need is not a change of pictures but a change of mind. We need love, compassion, understanding, solidarity. We need to help each other, listen to each other.
This is not about who is right and who is wrong. This is about how we will survive all of this and the way it looks to me now, none of us will. Right or wrong, we'll all die. We all die, currently mainly because of different opinions. Isn't that the most hurtful fact, that people die because of a disagreement in stead of becoming old enough to pass away? That people will be remembered because they were murdered by someone with a different point of view?
Regardless of where you live, what your religion is, what the color of your skin is. Regardless of your gender, your sexual preferences or your taste in music. You are a human being, a creature of this earth, doomed to rot away or be cremated. In one way or another you will always be like that. The building blocks in your body will reappear in something or someone else. In a way, beyond beliefs, you will reincarnate in some form, back into the world you left behind.
So, in what kind of world do you want to come back? Do you prefer the ever escalating violence, hate and distress of this society or do you want a peaceful, safe world where plants, animals and humans can thrive? Choose whatever you will, but always remind yourself that what you do now will affect you wherever you will return. You will always reap what you sow, even over the course of many lives. That is not religion, that's a fact because you will never leave this earth.
I chose positivity. My choice is to make life comfortable, interesting and enjoyable, not only for me but for the people surrounding me. I strongly believe that if everyone did this, the world would be a much better place, regardless of any religious, racist, sexist or any other unnecessary opinion. I don't hate muslims because a few of them are deranged, if that were so I would have to hate you too because someone who looks a tiny bit like you did something horrible.
Het is weer november en zoals elk jaar rond deze tijd barst de zwartepietendiscussie weer los. Steeds weer zie ik de pros en cons elkaar rond de oren meppen met compleet zinloze argumenten. "Hij is zwart omdat 'm uit de schoorsteen komt", "nee, hij is zwart omdat hij een slaaf is". Zwarte piet is zwart omdat hij een zwarte is die door schoorstenen moet kruipen, of dacht u dat Sinterklaas dat zelf allemaal doet met zijn in een carnavalwinkel gehuurd pak?
Telkens ik die berichten zie, vraag ik me af of er geen dringendere problemen op te lossen zijn. Corruptie bij onze geliefde politici bijvoorbeeld, of de toestanden in het Midden-Oosten. Kindermishandeling, dierenmishandeling, vrouwenmishandeling, rassenmishandeling, werknemersmishandeling... noem maar op. Volgens mij is de kleur van een piet van iets minder belang. En ja, ik weet welke dubbelzinnige grappen er nu door uw hoofd spoken. Zo onvoorspelbaar bent u niet.
Persoonlijk vind ik heel het Sinterklaas gedoe trouwens achterhaald en redelijk idioot. Het brengt op zich vrij weinig bij aan het leven van een kind, laat staan een volwassene. Om te beginnen is het hele gedoe al één gigantische leugen op zich. Elke kind zal ooit te weten komen dat Sinterklaas een uitvinding is van papa en mama om de kindjes rustig en braaf te houden, voornamelijk omdat God, hemel en hel al lang geen effect meer hebben op dat gebied.
Wanneer dat kind dan ontdekt wie Sinterklaas eigenlijk is, beseft het ook dat papa en mama vlakaf liegen, iets waarvan ze zelf zeggen dat het slecht is. Op dat ogenblik mag je 'daag' zeggen tegen dingen als gezag en respect voor ouders. Want ja, als ze zelf flagrante leugenaars zijn, hoeft de kleine ook niet meer eerlijk te zijn. Daarbij, of het kind nu braaf is of niet, het krijgt toch weer een boel snoep en speelgoed van Sinterklaas, 'anders wordt het gepest op school'.
Welkom in onze hypocriete wereld, kleine Jimmy.
Kleine Jimmy is uiteraard vroeg wakker op zes december. Nog voordat papa en mama in de woonkamer zijn, heeft Jimmy zich al volgepropt met snoep en speelt hij lustig met al dat fonkelend nieuw speelgoed. Zijn enige verdienste is dat hij de volgorde niet omgekeerd heeft en niet ligt te stikken in zijn splinternieuwe K3- poppetjes terwijl hij met zijn chocolade over het Perzisch tapijt van oma Floep rijdt. Oma Floep en nonkel Bots komen trouwens straks ook nog cadeautjes van Sinterklaas brengen want hij kon niet alles op één plaats kwijt.
Ergens in de late namiddag ligt Jimmy uitgeteld op de sofa, begraven onder een berg speelgoed dat nog de volgende zomer ergens op een rommelmarkt zal liggen. Hij wil de nieuwe Bob De Bouwer film zien maar dat kan niet want die heeft Sinterklaas niet gebracht. Die was namelijk uitverkocht bij Bart Smit. Misschien brengt de Sint die DVD morgen nog, of volgende week want Sinterklaas wil natuurlijk dat Jimmy blij, braaf en stil is en dat is Jimmy niet op zes december.
Jimmy weet ook niet dat die K3-poppetjes uit een stoffig fabriekje uit China komen en dat de koppen erop gezet zijn door een kindje dat heel veel zweet. Maar dat is niet belangrijk, althans niet belangrijker dan de kleur van de man die de zak van de Sint draagt. Bent u weer daar met de schunnige moppen, ja? Als u zo doordoet, krijgt u niets van Sinterklaas en komt piet u in de zak steken.
Hypocrisie en hebberigheid, daar lijkt Sinterklaas tegenwoordig vooral om te draaien. Zowat elke feestdag draait daarom, Kerstmis, Pasen, Hannukah en weet-ik-veel wat de mensen allemaal vieren tegenwoordig. We doen ook allemaal vrolijk mee, 'want kijk hoe vrolijk Jimmy met zijn treintjes speelt (en ons met rust laat met zijn schel, hyperactief stemmetje)'. Papa, mama, oma, opa, peter, meter en lief van de grote zus discussiëren ondertussen hevig over zwarte piet en over hoe schandelijk alles tegenwoordig wel niet is, dankzij de N-VA, de vluchtelingen, de moslims of de jury van 'K3 zoekt K3'.
Zouden we heel de boel niet beter gewoon afschaffen? Weg met de Sint, weg met zijn pieten, weg met de klokken, weg met de kerstboom, weg met halloween (want wat een ongelooflijk kutfeest is dat eigenlijk). Schaf al die feestdagen af en geef elke werknemer gewoon vijftien, vrij te kiezen feestdagen erbij. Ik weet dat er maar tien feestdagen op een jaar zijn, maar maak er maar vijftien van want de werknemers verdienen dat. Behalve nieuwjaar, laten we halsstarrig vasthouden aan nieuwjaar want dat is het enige moment van het jaar dat sommige mensen nog eens een goed voornemen hebben.
Maar ach, wat weet ik er ook van.