Coffee and Youngblood

Another day, another media, another audience, another agenda, another country another interview; contrasts with Monday could not be more stark. Over coffee and pastry the artist and writer Johan Brouwer spends an hour guiding and cajoling me into personal reflections on artistic creation, moments of revelation and transformation. As Johan gently prompts me to think and talk about myself it becomes a touching experience, disconcertingly indulgent. He’s writing a series of pieces for the Noorderzon Festival but a career in psychotherapy is surely his for the asking.

I don’t think we do festivals like this at home do we?

Groningen’s big park was swarming with people last night; the festival had drawn thousands of people. It feels as if the whole town must be here. Between the trees, tents and booths house performances, films and installations. With our tent full of rice tied closed and our fists full beer tokens we stumble past stalls selling food and sweets and beer to the heart of things. Two huge bars, built high on scaffold platforms flank the park’s long narrow lake and look down on a stage set across the lake’s southern end. Tonight. It looks a thankless task playing with your audience in the wings and balconies but water where the stalls should be. The Youngblood Brass Band taking on the challenge. They’re ripping it up. They are fantastic. They have a saxophone, two trombones, two trumpets and a rhythm section to kill or die for, three guys on drums all standing and a sousaphone where the bass should be. It’s so driving and danceable I wish I’d brought my trunks to stage dive.

James



3 thoughts on “Coffee and Youngblood

  1. Yes, the canal trip was fine. A bit of a run yesterday led me to find stacks of brightly coloured shipping containers doubling as student flats. More exploration is required.

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