Antwerpen after

(Written last night in the Brussels Airport; a little incoherent.)

Antwerpen ist schon vorbei. Already sitting in Brussels airport, an afternoon in St Gilles with Gala and Giacomo, a late lunch consisting of red wine, potato and mozzarella, Dolce Porcine (ok chocolate sausage, but I forget the word for sausage) with Advocaat, coffee, Limoncello, yes, I felt woozy after, lucky Gala saw me all the way into the train to here, now with late sun angling into the departure lounge.

Prominent absence of blogging the last few days, inflicted partly by lack of internet in our apartment, and long hours in or around Monty, which I shall make some amends for now, having the requisite undistracted hour or so, plus a new battery in my laptop spelling freedom (or at least a moment of unfettered writing). A week in Antwerpen, from rain and cold and winter to warm summer evenings with the spill of people onto the streets, glossy convertibles, leather-clad boys on their road racers, it reminded me a little of St Kilda.

For Isabelle and me, daily we arrived in Monty, into the cool and dark theatre, warming up with a mix of easy, unstrained techniques together, wandering footwards for some Tai Qi and Qi Gong, perhaps a break for lunch or to continue into the fabrics of Der Bau, later into the wrapping, me joining in on the side, a tall shadow to Isabelle, mostly with the fabric also, occasionally with ropes as an idea or approximation, sometimes watching and discussing what was going on; a week to see how we enjoy being in a working space together after some months of dinners, bars, eating, drinking, talking.

Friday, Emile arrived from Amsterdam. Many years of not seeing each other, and the stupidity commenced before he was through the door. A very necessary catching up that night, and us three together on Saturday (me with a revolting insomnia hangover) wandering the city (alas! both Walter Van Bierendonck and Yoji Yamamoto have closed!) and through the house and atelier of Rubens.

Some architecture from Antwerpen, then. The view from our apartment was, well, a little uninspiring, but top floor meant we had some view to a tower nearby with vertiginous spiral staircase. Daily pigeons also. Monty itself, a classic Belgian work of narrow bricks and ’60s modernism, mostly seen from the inside without sunlight. The Steiner school nearby, a joyous riot of art nouveau, somewhat leaning in my photo. Compare with the geometric façade of glass and concrete, or the 17th century merchant rooflines superimposed on 20th century flying buttresses.

And of course Emile, Isabelle, and myself giving it up for Darkness in the garden of Rubenshuis.