Brecht Plays The Beatles

Well it’s today, and I was all set to talk about my sweet experience at the Gregor Samsa Bookshop last night.  But first to get my hair cut.

Julia in Canada has been my hairstylist for over twenty years but she’s there and I’m here.  Anouk is finishing up with another client and another woman just washed my hair.

As my hair sung, she asked me if I’d like a drink.  Huh?  In a hairstyling place?  “If I had my choice, I’d pick a beer!” > “Sure.”  Sure?  And here came a Duvel.  Belgium offers me daily wonders.

Back to last night: Harry’s bookshop on the Oudburg welcomed Brecht, and Brecht welcomed us with soulful tunes on his electric guitar from later Beatles albums – Revolver, Rubber Soul and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. We the fifteen lovers of John and Paul and George and Ringo sunk into our chairs.

The books on their shelves trembled a bit as Brecht smiled … “while [his] guitar gently weeps”. He lost himself in Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane and In My Life. I had asked Brecht beforehand if I could sing along and he sweetly said no. As his music unwound, I was happy to just drink in his melodies and harmonies. Full and complete.

The space is magical. Just two tiny lights illuminating Brecht’s guitar and the ancient wooden ceiling. The soft rub of my upholstered chair. Setting my wine glass just so beside an author long dead. Many thousands of pages nearby, filled with the best that a human being had to give.

The seating was the opposite of what you see in the photo. Brecht sat at the back of the room. I imagined folks walking by on the cobblestones behind me peering through the window at the marriage of fiction and music.

Harry’s is a place to gather, to feel cozy, to let the tune go deep inside and become you. A sip here … a sigh there. It is enough.

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