Police brutalities in Belgium

by Ingrid Robeyns on October 11, 2010

I was very shocked reading “this account of police brutalities in Belgium”:http://www.mo.be/index.php?id=340&tx_uwnews_pi2[art_id]=29989&cHash=c7f254ce3e. I really have nothing to add, except that I am going to write, tonight, to the two members of parliament I voted for (one for the senate and one for the chamber), and will ask them (1) what we, concerned citizens, can do, and (2) what they can do to make sure this is properly being investigated. I know most Belgian politicians have other things on their mind (the political difficulties of forming a majority coalition look more insurmountable each day), but surely that cannot be an excuse for letting the police getting away with treating innocent people like this.

Suzanne Vega

by Harry on October 11, 2010

Regular commenter Tom Hurka expressed complete dismay a couple of years ago when I told him that I hadn’t seen any live music for 16 years or so (the last concert being Pentangle at the late lamented Palms in Davis CA). I did nothing to correct this omission at the time. But in February one of my undergraduate students invited me to go see her and her dad perform together at a local coffee shop: the kids (who know her a little as a babysitter) were riveted, so much so that the girls wouldn’t leave, and forced me to come back and pick them up an hour after we’d had to leave with the little horror (quite understandably, as you can tell from listening to her here — our horror was singing Jolene, with most of the lyrics gleaned from a single hearing, for months afterward, and her version of “Bad Romance” inspired our 13 year old to start playing Lady GaGa songs on the ukulele at her school talent shows). This experience prompted my wife to say we should go to live music sometimes which, indeed, we have started doing (our first outing, oddly enough, being to see Neil Young, supported by Bert Jansch who, therefore, constituted the bookends to our long drought of live music, and there’s no-one I’d sooner play that role).

So we went to see Suzanne Vega last night, with a couple of friends. I had completely forgotten that I once owned her first two albums (when they were actual records), and was therefore surprised to find that I knew about half the songs she sang, rather than just the three hits I had in my head. The venue was what I think they call “intimate” — in other words, she can’t have made much money from it (I reckon there were around 300 people in a 500 capacity theater, with tickets selling at $30 each, and she is touring with a sound mixer, a bassist, a guitarist and someone else). Anyway, she was great — her voice still pure, her songs good enough to please my wife and our friends, none of whom had as much prior interest as I did, and, most surprisingly, her stage persona quite at odds with the tenor of her songs. While the songs are reserved, reflective and not really cheerful for the most part, she is, herself, funny, self-deprecating but confident, and relaxed. After listening to a somewhat harrowing song the audience would burst out laughing at her stories and jokes.

She was promoting a series of retrospective albums that started coming out a few months ago. The second is released tomorrow, but, looking for it, I saw that the mp3 version of Close-Up, Vol 2, People and Places (Deluxe Edition) is for sale for only $3.99, today and tomorrow only. Worth it, if you have fond memories of her. UPDATE: I found a plausible explanation of the economics of the tour and album here.