Saturday, March 31, 2007

Scott's pub in Luxembourg

Today is the first day of the Easter break which means holiday for some (lucky ones) but for all of us, students, the beginning of two weeks of hard study. If some of you guys feel depressed or have had enough of studying one of these days, the Scott's pub in Luxembourg could help you to unwind a bit and to get a change of air. Even if you do not live near Luxembourg, this pub is really worth-going at least one time.
The Scott's pub is an Irish pub in the Grund of Luxembourg city, by far my favourite one. It has been opened for a long time now but is still full-house every weekend. There are good reasons to explain this success.
Having a large typical Irish style interior, the Scott's attracts a multicultural crowd at any time of the year. Foreigners on city trip in Luxembourg usually go there at least one time during their stay and so a large number of different nationalities meet every day at the pub.
If you go there on Friday or on Saturday night, you will enjoy the great atmosphere: lots of people (young and old), good music and of course the Irish beer...On Sunday the atmosphere is rather cosy, it is ideal if you just want to drink a cup of coffee with some friends.
The big terrace in summer offers a lovely view of the Grund of Luxembourg. Looking down on water, you will feel like if you were in Venice.
The Scott's pub is also part of a stand-up comedy club. About once a month the pub receives theatre troups, musicians,... The shows are of course always given in English. The next comedy night will take place on wednesday 18 april.
This pub is thus a good way of having fun and meeting people while practising your English skills.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Collective -- the BBC's interactive culture magazine

If you're at all interested in culture, as you all should be ;), Collective is a website that you should definitely check out. Every week a new selection of articles on music, film, books, the arts, and even games is published, including lots of multimedia content (full album tracks to listen to, video interviews and film clips to watch, etc.). The site is explicitly designed to be as interactive as possible: users are invited to discuss articles online, to write their own reviews, to create their own 'space' which other people can visit, and so on.

But even if you're just a passive user like myself, you'll find plenty of things to keep you happy, especially once you start browsing the archives. To name just a few of the interesting features in the 'music' category, there are reviews of, interviews with and features on the likes of Patrick Wolf, Amy Winehouse, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, !!!, Aphex Twin, Daniel Johnston, Amon Tobin, Devendra Banhart, Four Tet, Low, and many, many more.

For a TV counterpart to Collective, you can tune in to The Culture Show on BBC2 on Saturday evenings at 8.10 pm.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A place for the genuine

Robert Frost once famously said that poetry "makes you remember what you didn't know you knew". In a similarly evocative fashion, Marianne Moore in her poem aptly entitled "Poetry" wrote that "one / discovers in / it after all, a place for the genuine". If ever you find yourself in a poetic mood, you will easily find lots of poetry in English on the internet. As a useful starting point, here are some of the better poetry sites that I know of, very different in aims and scope (ranging from anthologies or official websites aiming at representativeness of a period or a region, to smaller but highly personal selections), but all well worth a virtual detour:

If, apart from reading poems, you like hearing about them, feel free to join the BA3 students for their student conference on poetry on Monday 26 March, between 3 and 6 pm, in the English Linguistics seminar (click the image to see a bigger version of the poster):

“Wat zou je doen?”

Who would be able to name at least three Dutch bands? I imagine most of us would answer: “Are you kidding? The Netherlands have no musical culture...”. Needless to say it is not true at all. Actually, before having lived for five months in this country, the only Dutch bands I knew, were Epica or Within Temptation. You might know these bands but you might have thought they came from Scandinavia. As a matter of fact, their music is close to the so-called ‘Symphonic Metal’, the pioneers of which were first to be found in Northern Europe, such as Nightwish (which I greatly invite you to listen to).

But have you ever heard about BLØF (please, pronounce ‘bluff’)?

During my erasmus experience, I got in contact with the Dutch culture, which, of course, includes Dutch music. I thought it would be interesting to share my new love for Dutch music and to ‘annihilate’ those prejudices. I would especially like to present BLØF (please pronunce ‘bluff’), a Dutch band coming from Zeeland – the south-Western part of the country. The band was founded in the early nineties, at the initiative of the bassist, Peter Slager. They especially wanted to revive the Dutch rock music and to sing in their native tongue.

They travelled a lot and met new cultures, which would have a huge influence on their new album. They introduced new instruments, let us say “more exotic”, which give some kind of origininality to their songs. I greatly advise you to listen to them. It would be “two birds with one stone”: the pleasure of listening to good music and the opportunity to improve your listening skills! So, GO FOR IT! By clicking on the link above, you would be given the opportunity of listening to some of their songs and of watching some video's!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The National Short Story Prize

The National Short Story Prize is a project whose aim is to make readers more attracted and more interested in short stories. This project is organized by a group of passionate who believes that: “the short story is one of the most exciting and important literary forms” ( It is funded by NESTA which is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and supported by BBC Radio 4 and Prospect Magazine.

Other projects and even competitions are organized in order to make the short story more and more popular not only in the United Kingdom but also in the rest of the world, the aim being to have the most possible readership.

The name of the winner of the National Short Story Prize will be known in April 2007.

More about it on

Sunday, March 04, 2007


A 'linkdump' is a short entry pointing to a website of interest. Allow me to dump the following links here:

Saturday, March 03, 2007

In November 2004, Frank Warren gave out 3,000 self-addressed postcards randomly to people on buses, in art galeries, in between library books, and so on, inviting them to send him their secrets. The cards he received initially formed the basis for an art exhibition, but when cards kept coming long after he had stopped handing out postcards, Frank decided to post a weekly selection of about 20 secrets on his blog at, out of a total 1,000 received every week (as he explains in an online video interview). Some of the secrets shared by people are funny, others sad, others still bordering on the obscene perhaps, but all without exception are interesting. Even if by now, due to extensive media coverage of the blog, perhaps not all submitted secrets are real, they may still ring true to other people reading them, and recognizing in them something relating to their own lives.

Recently the idea was taken up by the Dutch language newspapers NRC and De Standaard, who invite people to submit their (paper or electronic) postcards with secrets to Whereas on you can only see the weekly selection, does keep an archive which is well worth browsing through.

A different but related initiative in Dutch is ('thought brothel'), where in exchange for a random thought you submit, someone else's equally random thought is returned. The name of the site refers to Peter Verhelst's novel Tongkat, subtitled 'Een verhalenbordeel'.