Archive for the ‘Belgium’ Category


[READ: December 25, 2021] “How Wang-Fo Was Saved”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

So here’s yet another story translated by Manguel.

The last few stories in this collection just left me feeling unhappy.  I didn’t really enjoy them, and found them mostly tedious.  A lot of them felt like stories that took an idea and kept building on it with more an more examples. Rather than advancing the story, it just reiterated the story.

Yourcenar evidently wrote many

Oriental Tales, stories set in the Near and Far East, a few based on traditional legends and folktales. According to Yourcenar, the story of the painter Wang-Fo and his disciple is her own invention, though inspired by a Chinese Taoist classic. Scholars, however, have pointed out that Yourcenar seems to have taken her inspiration from a collection of Japanese tales collected and retold by the nineteenth-century Greek-Irish scholar Lafcadio Hearn.

So, yes, another old story, which is what this reads like.

First we meet Wang-Fo’s disciple, who gave up his life to follow the amazing painter Wang-Fo.  He was very wealthy and slowly gave up everything so that Wang-Fo could continue to do his work. Everything he painted felt better than life–more vivid, more real. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2019] Amenra

I had heard of Amenra, but I really didn’t know anything about them.

I had no idea that they were from Belgium, which I find weirdly exciting.  I also didn’t know that they’d been around for twenty years.  In that time they have released six albums: Mass I, Mass II, Mass III, Mass IIII, Mass V, and Mass VI.

They were founded by vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout and guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove, (Belgian names are awesome).  In this incarnation, they are joined by drummer Bjorn Lebon, guitarist Lennart Bossu and bassist Levy Seynaeve.

I was running a few minutes late when I got to Union Transfer.  Amenra had just taken the stage, but I needed to use the restroom.  The good thing about metal is that it is loud, easily heard in the restroom.  The good thing about Amenra is that they started the show with a lengthy section of almost ambient music.  Over strummed guitar, van Eeckhout clacked two rods together.  His back was to the audience as the tension built. (more…)

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