Brownbookproject weekend: Art and beer in Brussels and Bruge and how you can win a Portobello book!

“I think that the best title for a picture is a poetic title.”

René Magritte

Magritte is quickly becoming an artist that the brownbookproject is keen to know more about.   Last weekend the bbp attended the Magritte exhibition in Brussels that chronicles the different stages of his life and work.

The most I am able to say is that his work is extraordinary.  His surrealist paintings, which we preferred over the impressionist phase, have very calming qualities; of which one I found was the there was no pressure to interpret his paintings! How relaxing.

Alina, Queen Bee (QB),  and I,  Hawk Eye (HE), agreed that it also looked like he had a lot of fun with his friends. We came away with our favourites and much to consider.

The exhibition was rounded off with a kebab.

Alina then showed us around Brussels a bit more and took us to some very nice bars, and it can be said of the Belgians (for I make no distinction between the Flemish and the Wallons) that they are very friendly. Brussels: nice and friendly. Unless you are an immigrant that is. 😦

On the cold but sunny November Sunday we took the train to Bruges. The trip was part inspired by the film In Bruge and part inspired by Claire Wrathall’s visit which she wrote about in the FT back in October (click for full article).  On the way I read Sigrid Rausing’s Lunch with FT, which wasn’t really that revealing, but it did remind me of my work experience at Sigrid’s imprint Portobello Books.  So much so that we are running the first brownbookproject competition this week with a prize of a Portobello title published in 2008.  All you need to do to be in with a chance is answer the following question:

Portobello’s plush offices in Holland Park occupy what used to be a pub where my dad used to drink (late 1960s). What was the name of that pub?

Please email your answer to[at] and we will pick the winner at random.

But back to Bruges: The overall purpose though was to just see Bruges rather than to engage with Bruges. Its reputation as a tourist destination did not disappoint and although it is a cosy and inoffensive place, I couldn’t imagine going there in the summer or operating a life within the boundaries of its canals.

And one final word of warning before I wish you Happy Sunday. If in Brussels I would advise that you avoid a place called Ciabatta Mania.

Happy Sunday!


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