The struggle was real. How do I tell my Mom? We’re supposed to be a family. Traveling as a family. How selfish of me to say I wanted to leave Paris a day early so I could head over to Belgium all because my friends’ band was opening up for the Meat Puppets.
The conversation didn’t come easy. As I cautiously navigated my words and explained that it would be a “bonding” moment for my brother and I to head over to Antwerp to see my friends’ show my Mom laughed and asked “what makes you think I wouldn’t want to spend a day alone in Paris with your Father?” Touché! And so there we were. My brother and I caught a train to Antwerp and as we were walking from the hotel to the gig at Trix I noticed a building. Without a definable reason it stood out from all the rest and much like in Prague with Che I found myself drawn to it. I remarked to my brother that I wanted to pop in and he, of course, put up no argument as we soon discovered it was a bar. The interior was unremarkable which, I cannot say, about the people. Several beers later and with complimentary cheese to boot the proprietress had quite literally taken us tourists under her wing and with concern insisted Trix was too far to walk from our current location. After marking up a map of Antwerp and telling us what we must see while in town she called us a car that delivered us safely to the venue. Moments later we were in the green room saying hello to our friends. There was free beer and free food (Europeans really know how to take care of their artists) and quite honestly we were feeling pretty good. As my brother and I explored we discovered that attached to the green room was a patio area where one could go outside and catch some fresh air. Much like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby people, without any sort of provocation, have a tendency to open up to my brother and true to form he soon found himself locked in conversation with Curt from the Meat Puppets who was speaking on friendly and very familiar terms. We still marvel with childish grins at that fact today. The show itself was amazing and the experience as a whole is something I don’t think either of us will forget.
The next day my brother and I headed to the train station to meet my parents. We waited on the platform but as the train arrived and passed through, my parents were no where to be found. I was in a panic. Had we lost them? Had they missed their train? Pacing the platform in high anxiety I didn’t know what to do. Where the hell were they?!!? As the people on the platform continued to thin and after having walked the length of the platform about ten times I looked up and I spotted it. The hair. As a child whenever separated from my Mom in a store I would always look for her hair. Always fashionable and unique and true to my childhood experiences I recognized first the hair then my Mom – both standing above the platform on a little bridge that joined the platform with the waiting area.
Over the next few days my family and I spent time in Antwerp, Brugges and Ghent, splurged on beer, chocolate and fries (my three favorite things which, in my humble opinion, are done to perfection in Belgium) and relaxed as much as our schedule would allow.
Photographically I found the cities to be photogenic but the results quite bipolar. The digital photographs feel calm and serene while the Holga film images are dramatic and domineering. Still there’s nothing that beats the grain on an image even if it’s from a camera that suffers from light leaks: