Remember to click G+1 if you like a post... It will make me happy :-)

16 February 2013

A Taste of Bruges

I was lucky enough to get some time off this week and even luckier that I got to spend it with my family on a ferry trip across to Bruges. What a busy couple of days. We've had highs and lows and as always I was busy snapping away, getting a few memories to take home with me. Here you go... enjoy...

Avida Dollars - Salvador Dali
In 1939, André Breton coined the derogatory
nickname "Avida Dollars", an anagram
for "Salvador Dalí", and a phonetic rendering
of the French avide à dollars, which
may be translated as "eager for dollars"

Big Eye Art.
I see that this style of art is growing in popularity at
the moment. It reminds me of anime cartoons.
I don't know who the artist is for this particular
piece. I snapped it through a street window.

Saucy Hotel Art
This was a picture hung in the hotel room that had the kids sniggering.
I quite like it. :-)

Is this the inspiration for the "Whomping Willow"
in Harry Potter? Bruges is home to a number of trees
that have been pruned to within an inch of their lives

Churches, churches everywhere...

Bruge... famous for Beer! Hold on a second... who's that handsome gentleman hiding
in amongst the bottles?

We wanted to climb the clocktower, all 366 steps,
but some TV show was being filmed and it wasn't
open to the public.

Cubist Horse.
Look at that sky!

Haven't got a clue when or
how I took this one...
But I like it!

By the evening of our first night in Bruges, things
were starting to look up. The rain had stopped, the
wind had subsided, and the creatures of the night
were coming out of their lairs...

This took my fancy. Okay... so they're dismembered hands... but
look at the shadows! Fantastic!

Lannister Gold: Hear me Roar!

Sculpture of a Head

Did I mention the cold and ice?

Bruges is known as the "Venice of the North". This particular stretch of
Augustijnenrei reminded me of something that might have come stright
out of Lord of the Rings.

Always room for Kiwi Art

"Hook ladder over bunk side here"
Got that?

Magritte ransom note
It has something to do with smoking opium! :-O

A print by Matisse.
Picasso and Matisse started out as bitter rivals and ended up as the best
of friends. I'm going to misquote here, but Picasso fell into a great
depression on Matisse's death. He was reported as saying that there
were things that he wouldn't be able to discuss with anyone other than

A wall-full of prints by Miro. I can't view his work without
being transported back to the 70s. There was a time when
Miro was considered to be the bees knees and it was
definitely in the 70s.

This was one of a collection of metal
sculptures. My guess is that is that they
represent the four horses of the apocalypse?
There is something decidedly unsavoury
about this one!

This might have been a snippet of a letter by Picasso. I didn't take note,
which is a bit of a shame because I love it! And the words might
translate to "masterpiece or the mysteries of the horizon."
What do you think the significance might be to the three crescent moons
floating above the bowler hats? I'm reminded of Tin Tin.

Update: Through a strange synchronicity, I have managed to track this
one down! The letter is by René Magritte and the picture it inspired
eventually became The School Master.

I have my son J-Uke and +shankti oviedo to thank for this. When we got
back home from Bruges my son decided to teach himself the piano and has
even invented his own musical notation. It is artwork in itself. I shared a
picture of it and asked if anyone could guess the name of the song. Shankti
suggested the beautiful Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie and sent me a
link to it on YouTube. The video was uploaded by DistantMIrrors who
uses The School Master as their profile picture. That was all I needed to
track this down! Thanks J-Uke. Thanks Shankti-man!

J-Uke - "Payphone"

Update #2. Hold on a second... Magritte actually turned this entire
sketch into a picture. Check out this slightly later piece: The Mysteries 
of the Horizon. And the moons are the right way round this time! Aha!

This statue outside the Picasso art gallery
grabbed my attention. I love that you can
easily see the line where two blocks have
been joined midway up. It's an odd
composition too. Is it of two monks
consoling each other? I can't help but reminded
of the statues that stand at the base of
the Argonath river in Lord of the Rings.
It's a similar style.

Some great murals on the side of the Museum Arentshuis

"View from a porthole"
An original work from the King Uke
post-apocalyptic collection.

I visited the Picasso art museum, which I think I actually got more out of than the Salvador
Dali art museum. On display were a number of letters penned by Picasso and his
contemporaries. Whilst there were personal items written to friends, there were also
letters of authentication for his work. I loved the beauty of the handwriting.

Picasso - Don Quichotte en  Sancho Panza
This is a famous picture that puts me in mind my current
musical collaborations with +Daniele Bianchini. In case
you're wondering... I'm the one on the donkey! ;-)

I was a bit disappointed by the Salvador Dali art museum. There were a lot of pieces on
display, but in my opinion they weren't his best. That's not to say that there weren't some
gems hidden away. Take this one... which may be my favourite of all of them. It is
fairly ordinary; a simple ink on paper sketch... but isn't it fantastic!

This is a little more typical of the sort of sketching
that Salvador Dali is famous for. I've purposely
picked one of the less "sexual" ones here for your
viewing pleasure... although... what's Death
got barely hiding beneath that gown of his? :-s

There's a glaring omission from this picture by
Salvador Dali. I can see a Jack. I can see a Queen...
nah... go on, tell me... what's missing?

Salvador Dali Elephant Print

Salvador Dali
A crown for a King!

Salvador Dali Butterfly Print

It looked and felt like
rain in Zeebrugge on that
first day... but it froze on
contact.  I haven't been
so cold in a long, long

Bruges River Houses

Bruges River Scene

Salvador Dali and his ocelot. If I ever get a portrait done,
then this is the sort of look that I think I would go for.

Art is everywhere in Bruges. This is a shot of the ceiling
in the Salvador Dali exhibition. See the beams; They
have been gilded with gold leaf. Beautiful!

Wouldn't it be cool to have received a
postcard from Salvador Dali!

Before I left, I kidded on that
I was travelling to Bruges on
Ray Manzarek's 
Solar Boat.
Look what I spotted!
A Golden Scarab!

Bruges is famous for chocolate, beer, lace,
mussels and chips. Nobody told
Salvador Dali.

"Me and my monster"

Ferry Adventure... a true story...
Kids: Can we have a look outside Dad?
King Uke: Sure
(Less than a minute later)
Kids: Can we go back inside now?

There was lots of wonderful art to look at,
but not a great deal to hear. One notable
absence was music shops. This was the
closest that I found to a ukulele on the
whole trip. It's a Sesame Street electric uke.
And is it me or does Cookie Monster have
four eyes? Maybe it's a Belgian thing?

We left snow and ice, and
arrived to more snow and

"View from a porthole #2"
More original work from the King Uke
post-apocalyptic collection.

Spooky Street Lamps

Bruges Street

Rust Art #9

Valentine's Day Massacre!
Here's a picture of Godzilla about to wreak havoc in
Bruges on Valentine's Day. Star-struck lovers had to
clutch roses in their pearly white teeth and run for their
lives as buildings were leveled by the wayward Kaiju! 

Update 17-Feb-2013: I've been inspired to produce some "original" King Uke artwork as a result of my trip to Brugge. Let me know what you think...

King Uke - Horse

King Uke - Ladder

King Uke - Mysteries

King Uke - Salvador Dali

King Uke - Wanted

King Uke - The Mystery of King Uke

King Uke - In Search of the Golden Scarab

King Uke - Lost

King Uke - Reboot!


  1. Love all the photos from your trip to Bruges. My two favorites (besides that great photo of Dali and his Ocelot) are the Big Eye Art (I grew up with that stuff and collect Blythe and other Big Eye Dolls - I also have a signed Keane print) and Ernie on the guitar. Yeah, when my kids were little, Ernie rocked to them!

  2. Thanks Lisa. I'm still on a high from the visit! My kids are wanting a dog. I wonder if I can convince them that an Ocelot would be more fun? Ha ha. I couldn't remember the Sesame Street character's name, but yes... it's Ernie isn't it! When are we going to hear a tune on that new plastic uke of yours?

  3. Hey King was Pancho with you over there and did you guys have anything to do with this -

    I still have that wanted poster of you guys...I wonder if there is a reward out for this heist?-)

  4. We had nothing to do with this :-S
    According to the latest song in the pipeline, one of us (it may be me) is on the run in Mexico after shooting a Sheriff in Virginia. I think it might have started with a game of cards where the Sheriff lost everything... including his life. Diamonds haven't come into it yet... unless... the winning hand was a royal flush... all diamonds!

  5. Next time, shoot me an email - I live here. There are two music shops inside the town, one is even right next to the Burg square.

  6. If only I'd known Karl! Thank you for that offer. I've got a feeling that we will be back... but maybe next time we'll go when it is a bit warmer!

  7. Great pictures. I've been to Brugge twice and now will be going again. I'm hoping to find ukulele activity there; but regardless, you're pictures gave me a feeling of Brugge that I haven't experienced before.


  8. You lucky person Silicon Valley Uker! I'd love to go back. Yep, my pictures aren't your usual run of the mill snaps! :-D
    Please report back if you find some ukulele action! Thanks for commenting.