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BBC: straight white men are out

The BBC has set targets for its 2020 workforce. According to this article, these are as follows:

  • 50% women
  • 15% black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds
  • 8% disabled people
  • 8% lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons

I’m completely in favor of equal opportunities. But that doesn’t leave much room for straight Caucasian men without a disability, now does it? πŸ™‚

BBC pledges half of workforce will be women by 2020 – BBC News

From the section Entertainment & Arts Women will make up half of the BBC workforce on screen, on air and in leadership roles by 2020, the corporation has announced. It says it will “go further than ever before” to represent women, disabled people, ethnic minorities and LGBT people with its new diversity targets.

 

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Absurdist Belgium: ‘Balanced’ Flemish budget

The Flemish region of Belgium has just proudly announced that its budget for the coming year will be balanced. A commendable achievement in the current economic climate one might think. Well, kinda. To get their checks and balances in order, the Flemish government has had to keep one of the largest investments out of the books. The Oosterweel connection is a project that plans to complete the highway around the city of Antwerp, turning it into a completed ring road. The investment will require a yearly investment of about half a billion Euro for the years to come. It’s exclusion from the budget is justified by the fact that it will generate a return on in investment, once finished. We would hope so, but isn’t making projections for future income and expenses part of the budgeting exercise, M. Bourgeois? Budgeting is not a PR opportunity. Well it shouldn’t be, at least.

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Playlist: Belpop

This time, a playlist that doesn’t tell the story of a subculture but rather that of a geographical area: my home country of Belgium. This is a collection of records that have an international appeal, but have slipped into relative obscurity. It’s a trip starting in the clubs, moving past trip-hop, visiting rock venues and ending up in a tropical ska atmosphere. Isn’t Belgium wonderfully diverse? Full track listing if you continue reading.

Belpop – YouTube

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Glitterati tune: Slow down, Jolene!

Recently, I’ve told you about two historical Belgian subcultures that featured playing pitched-down versions of songs: Popcorn and New Beat. There’s another fairly recent example of this phenomenon, with a surprisingly pleasant result. When Dolly Parton’s Jolene is played at 33 rpm (in stead of 45 rpm, or slowed down by 25%), a completely new kind of song, with a spooky male voice appears. Eerie, isn’t it?

Dolly Parton – Jolene (33rpm slowed down digital version)

Uploaded by Odinthorsen on 2014-04-26.

 

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Playlist: New Beat Classics

Last time, I told you the story of Popcorn music and how it was the precursor to modern day nightlife and the record culture. Just like its cousin Northern Soul, Popcorn eventually gave way to the disco era. Belgians hadn’t lost their eclectic taste and preference for pitched-down records and soon grew tired of disco. In the mid Eighties, the first sign emerged in Antwerp’s Ancienne Belgique club were legendary DJ Dikke Ronny (‘Fat Ronny’) started playing a mix of ska, synth pop, new wave, jazz and other obscure records. Initially, this was known as AB music. The real spark came when Ronny played Flesh by A Split second at the slower 33 rpm (+8) tempo. The sound struck a chord and Ronny’s successor Marc Grouls labelled it New Beat. The mood was recreated by playing other tracks at the same speed, and the popularity skyrocketed. Because of this, independent labels started producing new records with the same hypnotizing feel and sales went to the roof, unexpectedly. Mainstream media initially ignored the movement which grew to monstrous dimensions, even spawning its very own way of dancing and very specific fashion statements. When radio and television caved, New Beat went mainstream and peaked from ’87 to ’89, in parallel with Chicago’s Acid house movement. New Beat records started being released in extremely high numbers, quality dropped and the audience grew tired. Because of this, many classics slipped into obscurity. The impact and legacy of New Beat should not be underestimated: many producers learned their trade in this short period of time and the movement would lead to the Rave culture in the Netherlands and the UK. That is a story for another time. The playlist contains my personal favorites (track listing if you continue reading). If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend Joseph DevillΓ©’s The Sound of Belgium documentary and this video by the Dewaele brothers.

New Beat – YouTube

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DJ Set: Felix Da Housecat @ Mirano (Brussels, Belgium)

For the enthusiasts, a down-and-dirty Felix Da Housecat set, like I’ve only heard him play on Belgian soil. Whenever the man headlines a local nightly venue he seems to reach into his dark disco and new wave inspired soul and truly goes for it. In the early 2000’s I have personally seen him play even better sets, with a truly superb one in Ostend that would have fit perfectly in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Anyone who has a recording of that one, please give us a shout. Felix, we need you back, mate.

Felix Da Housecat | La Tour, Mirano (Belgium) DJ Set | DanceTrippin

β†’ SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE DJ SETS: http://bit.ly/1M88VsG β†’ TRACKLIST TO THIS SET ON OUR WEBSITE: http://bit.ly/1Nck7VV The infamous Felix Da Housecat got the exclusive La Tour party in Mirano into a state of bliss with another one of his legendary sets. What are you waiting for?!

 

 

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Doorway is worth a thousand words

Don’t you love it when a picture gradually tells a story? This picture of a doorway in my hometown of Vilvoorde does exactly that. Would you enter without a care in the world? Do notice how the unvarnished wood is slightly bending and delaminating. There might be a follow-up in the works. πŸ™‚

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