Album for life

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In Flanders, more than 100,000 people suffer from dementia.

1 out of 5 people will get dementia in later life. And yet, dementia is still a taboo subject, something we would rather not talk about. Studio Brussel wants to put dementia on radar so that people won’t ‘forget’ the disease. From December 14 to 21, people can send their song for life to the radio station together with a memory glued to that song.

I once read the following sentence: In one life, it happens at most 7 times that a music tune is completely in harmony with the moment when it is heard. As if it was composed for that special moment and the corresponding song can  subsequently not be listened to afterwards without the memory of that perfect day that will never come again.

I’m happy to share with you the story behind my ‘Album for life’. Let me take you back in time to the summer of 2011. Imagine you’re at a long stretched Belgian beach, rays of sunshine are peeking through a sky that looks like the clouds are photoshopped on it. Picture perfect. You are an American tourist who sees two lifeguards, a young man and woman, sitting on the beach, listening to Bonobo and watching the sky. You walk a bit closer without losing sight of them.  In their eyes, you see little traces of profound happiness. You ask them if you can take a picture of them as they look so ‘beautifully relaxed’.

One year later, the young man who was sitting next to me on the beach that day, became my lover.  Listening to Bonobo’s album Black Sands still puts a smile on my face, and that will never change.

Happy listening (:

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August

August is the month to which I am looking forward to during the whole year. (For real!) It’s the month when I am doing my summer job as a lifeguard at the belgian coast. The nice colleagues, the work outside, the parties, the (sometimes funny) people on the beach,… There is always something going on in Blankenberge and that’s why I like this job so much.

Belgium has a small coastline, with a length of 68 km. Despite its small size, the coast is highly urbanised over practically its entire length and is visited by many thousands of tourists each year so a good lifeguard service has been built up over the years. Because the North Sea only borders Flanders, more particularly the province of West Flanders, the training of the lifeguards is organised by the province. Beach lifeguards in Belgium are trained by the WOBRA (Dutch abbreviation for West Flemish training centre for firemen, lifeguards and ambulance crew). Beach lifeguards in Belgium are mostly students who are employed for a month during the summer holidays (July and August). Some municipalities also employ lifeguards in June and September. In order to obtain uniformity, all municipalities from the Belgian coast are joined in the IKWV (Dutch abbreviation for intercommunal coast lifeguard service of West Flanders). This is the coordinating organ for all the municipalities regarding the organisation of the lifeguard service.

A picture of a crowded Blankenberge. (by Gertjan Tanghe)

 

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