now I do remember the last time I cried

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Last week Suus and me went on one of those ‘it’s all getting much too much now, so let’s get out of town for a couple of days’ type holidays to the beautiful town of Ghent, Belgium. Somehow everything was themed ‘the old and forgotten’.

We went to a bar called Den Turk that has been there since the year 1228(!), I bought me a new sports jacket, which had not happened since childhood, we walked around in a town breathing the middle ages, saw Jan van Eyck’s ‘Het Lam Gods’ ['the adoration of the mystic lamb'] and the cathedral (both quite stunning), saw Sebadoh play live in their original line-up in the Trade Centre building (in which according to Jason Loewenstein Mozart had performed in his day), needless to mention it was a great gig of three indierock dinosaurs proving that men who know not exactly how to play their instruments in unison still are able to rock out with an energy seldomly displayed. And last but not least an encounter with an animal we probably won’t see live in our lifetime (not counting captivated zoo animals) anymore. I speak of the mighty polar bear.

What happened was in Belgium the BBC documentary ‘Planet Earth’ still played in cinemas. Belgians apparantly have more feeling with mother earth than us. (Either that, or Dutch people enjoy the DVD experience better.) Anyhow, the documentary made clear that polar bears are practically extinct, given the fact that they can no longer walk the frail ice to get them near seals, which make up most of their diet. In other words: we messed up. At the end of the film we see a polar bear, unable to reach seal territory, weakened from exhaustion try out new dinner possibilities and attack a group of walrus. Of course our fluffy friend is no match for these enormous creatures and the bear finally hits the ground awaiting its inevitable death.

Of course I already knew this, otherwise Suus and me wouldn’t have picked the polar bear as our symbol of collaboration on, amongst other things, The New Earth Group artwork. We came up with it then since we themed the looks for that record ‘the New Earth is the Now’, the old earth is that of the free roaming polar bear. But then, in that Ghent cinema something hit me. The film eventually points out that you can do something about this horrific truth, if you like to know how, visit the love earth website. Now, since we went to see the matinee, there were four kids sitting in the row in front of us and about five in the one behind us. I couldn’t help but thinking ‘yeah sure, like visiting websites could bring back the ice. These animals are dead and you know it, Patrick Stewart!’. Normally I’m all for progress no matter if it seems ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ or ‘cold’ or ‘heartless’ or just ‘inconvenient’. Normally I like to think inevitabillity is something you want not waste your breath on. But now, surrounded by kids, I felt sick and beaten. Sick, because I couldn’t stand these children being lied to, and beaten because I know they simply had to be lied to, for reality simply would have been too harsh for them. Meanwhile, try and keep in mind this film is aiming at an ALL ages audience, not just kids. This says one or two things about grown ups as well if you ask me. But then again maybe I was merely lying to myself and had convinced myself of the worst possible scenario to be ‘the only truth’ simply to protect myself in a weird way. Protect myself from ‘hoping otherwise’, which could possibly have a disappointing effect in the end. And when I say possibly, I actually mean ‘almost without any doubt’.

No wonder we, the HuMobisten, once were in love with ‘doubt’ a lot. I sure hope my getting older doesn’t mean my cleaning up in the doubt department. ‘Cause if that’s so, there lies a pretty sinister future ahead.