8 July 2023

Then take me disappearin’


I have an ear worm.....  For some reason, the words, Let me forget about today until tomorrow, have attached themselves to a circuit and they turn and return, rattling around the inside of my largely empty cranium.  The words come from Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man, released on March 22 1965 as the first track on side two of Bringing It All Back Home.  I must have heard it several thousand times and probably sung it hundreds as well, but this particular line never struck me as particular until yesterday (which was tomorrow the day before.....)

It was 11.00 pm on Wednesday June 14th and La Grande-Place in Brussels was busy.  Earlier we'd got off the train from Frankfurt, checked in to a small hotel near Brussels Midi, and stepped up to Brasserie Ploegmans on Hoogstraat in Les Marolles, where a warm welcome and great food greeted us.

It's an old fashioned place - founded in 1927 as a bar, but a restaurant since 2005, though not much changed in almost a hundred years.  My kind of place.

The food is generous and excellent. I start with Crevettes and Endives in a creamy sauce, accompanied by Vin Rosé:

Continue with Dorade, and end with Tarte Fine aux Pommes (Faite Maison), paired with a glass of Genièvre.  Let me forget about today.....

But today isn't over. The night is young and the streets are abuzz. Next stop is my favourite bar (well, certainly one of....) À la Mort Subite:

Inside of which the late great Jacques Brel used to frequent, and which brings to my mind his spirited song La bière:

Ça sent la bière
De Londres à Berlin
Ça sent la bière
Dieu ! Qu'on est bien
Ça sent la bière
De Londres à Berlin
Ça sent la bière
Donne-moi la main

It's quiet inside now, and Jacques' voice only briefly relieves me of my ear worm, as tomorrow fades rapidly into yesterday, even with colour:

I love the faded decor, the scruffy tables, the no-nonsense waiters, the pretty poisons on offer:

Yes, I love Brussels, a tumbling mess of a city, sprawling from TinTin to Brel, from Hepburn to Magritte. I love the heady beers and the weighty food.  Even just a few hours there waken something deep inside the foggy ruins of my time. Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky, with one hand waving free, across the cobbled floor of La Grande Place:

Yes, for a moment, all memory and fate are driven deep beneath the stones - I'm not sleepy and I've nowhere to go....

Let me forget about today until tomorrow


Oh, take me disappearin'

Ça sent la bière
Dieu ! Qu'on est bien

[Or, as John reminds me,
The road to hell is paved with good intentions]

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