Tram Lines 18/1/24

Railway lines and red lines as Jon Worth assesses the chance of new services through the Channel Tunnel to compete with Eurostar. Summary: don’t hold your breath.

Bruno De Wever, the historian, is retiring and has a long interview in De Morgen. He reflects on family and politics, but it’s interesting that he sees both N-VA and his brother as being on the horns of dilemma as to whether to ally with the mainstream parties or with the far right at regional level after next year’s elections. He’s more hopeful than a lot of people are about the future of Belgium, while also saying that he wouldn’t shed a tear if it disappeared. [NL]

The broadening of the idea of “Classics” to a wider view of ancient cultures and where we come from is a very good thing. Emily Wilson writes in Prospect about how AI and digital imaging are giving the Sumerians their chance to shine

The Democracy Disruptor NextDoor. Long read about how the localised digital platform that promises more authenticity can help political bad actors. 

Quelle doctrine pour les gauches européennes? Four people on the political (centre-)left discuss the future strategies available to progressive parties. [FR]

Tram lines 17/1/24

This interview (Pointe) with ballet dancer and choreographer Brett Fukuda (declaration: partner of a colleague) gives interesting insight both into the creative process and the life of a ballet dancer.

Just before Christmas, I missed a short new paper from two of the academic experts in the failed Parliamentary Commission on the Colonial Past. It is worth a read, not just to understand why after intensive work the Commission ultimately was wrecked on the issue of apology and reparation, but also for its discussion of what history means in this context.

Research shows that under no circumstances should you “do your own research“. Not in itself surprising if you’ve ever talked to anyone who told you to do your own research.

Vijfhoek 14/1/24

Good interview with Bas Devos, the director of the new film Here, set in the marshy north east corner of Brussels, where the urban region meets the platteland. [NL]

Tom Moylan of Restless Brussels wants you (international resident of Brussels) to go and vote. And so do I.

Knack covers the new plans for the Noordwijk/Quartier Nord. I’m largely positive about the idea of (re)creating a better mix of work, life and commerce – but the starting point of towers and broad boulevards is hard to change. [NL]

Radio-télévision Bruxelles 6/1/24

🎬 Past Lives – the second recent Korean film with a migration story at its heart. Nora moves from Korea to North America aged 12, leaving behind a school sweetheart. 12 years later they find each other online. 24 years later, they meet again in New York. A beautiful film about migration and missed connections.

🎧 The Theory of the Leisure ClassIn Our Time looks at the work of Thorstein Veblen, who worked during the gilded age of the US.