City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Booze n'Blues

Fakir Hindou will tell your fortune, if you want her to.  She sits atop the wooden bar in her wooden box: just yellowing paper and a whole circle of possible predictions.  Only today Fakir's glimpse into my future is erratic, to say the least.

"Tout marche à vos souhaits", she says.

Suspicious, I insert 20 cents again.  My companion has just had the same result and I am not sure I like Fakir's prediction of my future: it is not always good to have everything you wish for!  If we did, what would inspire us to work hard, to plot grand schemes, to try new things?  The landlady admits that the spinning wheel of fortune does tend to get stuck.  So we receive our twenty cents back, for a new prediction, and I only consider afterwards that this is like feeding coins into a slot machine or having my palm read, or refusing to walk under ladders, or praying - we feel it might help in some way, but are not quite sure how or why.

The jukebox is not working either.  That is a pity, because there are few customers and I could have played whatever I wanted, within a certain epoch.  I take a sip of Grimbergen, and decide to talk to the lady at the bar instead.  Everyone else entering seems to think I am the bar lady.  So I get up and talk, and when I return a few minutes later, as if to punish me, someone has drunk the rest of my beer.

Booze n'Blues has been family-run for the last 13 years.  I've come here several times before, when the jukebox was working.  Not much has changed.  The smoking ban has come in, making the interior a little easier on the lungs, but paintwork and memorabilia and the not-for-the-sqeamish toilet and urinal combo downstairs could do with some touching up.  But this sense of timelessness is really the appeal: I know that if I leave Brussels and return in five years Blues n'Blues will still look the same, and the jukebox might be playing Chuck Berry or Johnny Cash.  Nobody seems too concerned.  It's a personal space of Zappa and Zeppelin papered nostalgia: it is what is is.

Perhaps a little sawdust on the floor to add to the wooden stools, tables and bar and Miller Light signs, and I would feel that I was in rural South Carolina or Tennessee.  But I don't feel quite in America.  The lady tells me her brother opened Blues n'Blues after a former bar, Blues Corner, closed down.  Now he lives upstairs.  He has never been to the US due to a fear of flying, so has missed out on annual blues meetings there.  Instead he has his music here: and a bar interior that reminds me of the US, here in central Brussels.

Booze n'Blues
rue des riches Claires 20

No comments:

Post a Comment