April 19, 2017

"Doel: the ghost town that's a paradise for graffiti artists"

Pictures by Pol De Witte

How did a 400-year-old Belgian village now threatened with demolition become a magnet for the world's best street artists? Doel's last 25 residents explain why they're fighting for their extraordinary town 

"It's noon in a cafe in a small Belgian town. People are eating sandwiches, popping in for a chat or to read the paper. So far, so normal. But the view from the window tells a different story. The cafe overlooks a square full of boarded-up shops and homes. Graffiti covers almost every available surface, including a forlorn children's playground. In the neighbouring streets, row upon row of vacant and abandoned houses are covered in eye-poppingly colourful doodles or large murals by street artists. To add to the dystopian feel of the place, every so often a large pile of rubble shows the spot where a house once stood, and the giant smoke-billowing cooling towers of Belgium's first commercial nuclear-power station loom on one side......"

April 07, 2017

Spring, train, country

Springtime at the Countryside 
by Jay Harold*

the smoggy streets of the city struck my fancy for a week
but now it’s time
to say good-bye
and i take a train to the countryside
listening to jazz
but all i hear is drum and bass

a crooner sings of a spring day and it washes over me
i’m feeling good
the sun is high
as a train takes me to the countryside
contemplating jazz
and the poetry of place

i savour the sweet smell of the countryside; i disembark
and as i walk
through this small town
i think i’m feeling good, therefore i am
digging all that jazz
as the sun shines on my face

*Jay Harold is studying Creative Writing
at the University of Essex.