Eurodan in English

December 29, 2004

DAB hand

One of the many delightful things which Santa brought me this year was a DAB digital radio set. And very lovely it is too.

I've long been suspicious of the analogue-bad, digital-good movement, primarily since the UK has chosen to use such terribly low bit-rates in its digital TV roll-out.

And surprise surprise, it turns out that the UK is bottom of the league table when it comes to digital radio bit-rates as well.

And Belgium isn't much better, apparently.

And yet... one of the fantastic things about DAB is tuning. In your home country you probably know your way around the FM band, but move to another country and radio becomes bloody difficult terrain to master and find the stations you're happy with. Especially in a tri-lingual country like this one.

It's also an awfully cute little set. Aww.

Off to Sweden tomorrow for New Year - so see you in 2005!

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Posted by Eurodan at 10:07 PM | Comments (3)

December 20, 2004

As you can see from the picture below, it's the season to be jolly. This is Marian and my own impersonation of jolly, given when she came to visit a couple of weekends ago.

Her visit has since been followed by two of my best friends, Richard and Leigh, and work has now stopped for Christmas as well, so all is right with the world, it seems.

Tomorrow I fly back to the UK to celebrate Christmas. Have a really wonderful festive season, whatever it is that you are doing. And if you see me, say hello!

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Posted by Eurodan at 9:02 PM | Comments (2)

December 17, 2004

Världen är ett litet rum

I've just booked a New Year's visit to Gothenburg to see my friend Henrik, and see in the New Year with a couple of his pals. I'm really looking forward to see how the Swedes do NYE... especially as it seems to involve copious amounts of food and drink.

I'm then going to fly over to Stockholm to catch up with a couple of people I know over there, and guess what? My friend Leigh, who is staying with me now for the weekend with his boyfriend Richard, has just told me that he'll be in Stockholm at the same time as me!

We always have *such* fun when we're let loose in Stockholm together. What a felicitous coincidence.

Posted by Eurodan at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

December 7, 2004

Fly Fishing by J R Hartley

With apologies if you've never seen the UK Yellow Pages advert where the author goes in search for a book which he wrote which has been out of print for years.

Anyway - click here why don't you?

Posted by Eurodan at 7:45 PM | Comments (1)

December 5, 2004

It's strange sometimes to realise just how subtle things about the environment around you are important.

One of the things about Belgium which is noticeable if you come from the UK is a certain lack of commercialism here. Whereas in Britain streets and public spaces are just bristling with brightly coloured opportunities to buy - a boutique here, a Boots there, an Our Price record store next to the Natwest bank with its abundance of cash machines, in Belgium it's all a bit thinner on the ground. I'm not saying it's like East Germany or anything, but there's a marked difference from the country's neighbours.

Don't get me wrong, there are high-streets with chain stores, but if you move away from them and onto less concentrated areas the shops seem to be rather quaint and sleepy, with old-fashioned window displays and a home-spun air.

Depending on what your view is it can be charming or depressing. Take the Gare du Nord, for example. One of the three main rail stations in the country's capital city, and what marks it out is the extraordinary lack of commerce and very dated facilities. On a Sunday you can't even buy a paper! If it was in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden or the UK you'd be flooded with opportunities to consume on all sides.

Instead in the Gare du Nord there are bars filled with smoke and here or there a customer or two, of the type whose names are tattooed on their fingers, and a hamburger stand which you might find after midnight in Trafalgar Square.

It shouldn't really matter to me - after all, it's surely just vacuous consumerism, isn't it? But the thing is, consumerism tends to make for friendly, unthreatening environments which get renovated regularly. It generally makes for public spaces where people want to be. Things which are quite important in a big railway station.

So today it was off for a brief escape to Breda, a charming little town in the southern part of the Netherlands. There I was able to bask in brightly lit, modern railway station facilities, inviting counters selling fresh food and - gasp - shops open on Sunday!

Posted by Eurodan at 8:34 PM | Comments (1)

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