August 2, 2016

Summer Musing: It Smells of Beer from London to Berlin

I’ve told you before about Maria Gilissen, the widow of the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers, and that once in a while I'm lucky to meet her. Last time we met during Gallery Weekend and we ended up in the Joseph Roth Diele, which is a bar that looks like we’re still in 1920s Berlin. You can eat those old-fashioned Stullen there, a loaf of bread covered with cream cheese, onion and radish. There's only one other place where I know that they serve bread like this: it's in Brussels in A La Mort Subite (At the Sudden Death), a beautiful art nouveau café in the city centre. I don’t remember the exact details of our conversation but suddenly Maria Gilissen started singing this song of Jacques Brel, called La Bière: “It smells of beer from London to Berlin.” I seem to remember that she even told us it’s a song that Marcel Broodthaers liked to sing. I think that fits perfectly with the Belgian “je ne sais quoi” aspect of his art: you can call it “s’amuser”. 


  1. Wonderful post. I'm writing this monthly blog mentions, and it seems you're a good one to feature for next month.

    Berlin to london