Monday, 16 March 2009


… and nothing can ruin Jelle’s day like getting his car broken into and the radio stolen while he and Maja were performing. He thought he was safe with an unglamorous car and a cheap radio, but apparently car thieves need smaller cars to practise on (they only bother stealing the Mercedeses and BMWs; with Suzukis or Sudokus or whatever Jelle has, they take the radio and leave the car). Plus the – predictable – indifference of the police, who just shrugged and said that’s what you get for parking in Molenbeek.

And people shrugging and saying “if it’s the kind of place where you only see men in the street, you don’t leave your radio in the car.” It’s not true about only men, by the way, although almost all the women are veiled. I’ve been walking around all weekend in a dress and heels, and I haven’t had any hassle at all. It would be different in the city centre, which is like Paris in all the wrong ways.

But then two old Moroccan men came out of their houses to apologise for the break-in and ask Jelle not to judge their area or Moroccans in general. They went round the neighbours asking if anyone had seen who had smashed the window. I’ve met more nice people this week than in the three whole years I worked in the city centre. I went back to the baker’s this morning with the 2 euros I owed him and a poetry book from the book fair.

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