Sunday, 27 April 2008

Flemish fash, Belgian beer and Saddam losing face

Back from Belgium. As usual even when I am on holiday I can't stop myself looking for political and trade union posters, stickers, graffiti etc. What surprised me this time was how little I could find. I was especially surprised to not see anything from the Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party, as Antwerp is supposed to be their stronghold (they get about a third of the vote there).

Although VB has toned down its image in recent years (its previous incarnation Vlaams Blok was shut down), it is pretty much the Belgian version of the BNP. I remember visiting Belgium about 15 years ago and seeing loads of orange Vlaams Blok stickers all over the place. Mind you also saw quite a few from Youth Against Racism In Europe, which I think was aligned with Militant (can any lefty trainspotters remember?).

Anyway, this time around I didn't see a single VB sticker or poster. In fact the only recent political poster I could see was something advertising a May Day event, which looked a bit anarcho-fied.

I did managed to get one fix of political imagery though. Today we visted the Photography Museum in Antwerp and in the museum shop I found some postcards of defaced pictures of Saddam in Iraq. They are quite striking as Saddam's face in the pictures in obliterated, it kind of reminded me of the fantastic Adbusters Design Anarchy (issue 37) cover. I'll scan the postcards and post them up shortly.

Finally I had to try a few of the beers (and the local spirit Jenever, which is a something between gin and vodka) and the pick of the bunch has to be Chimay Blue. Though at 9% I was a bit dazed after one at lunchtime!

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