Koseški bajer, Ljubljana.

You are that broken body in twilight, smelling of fire since it has never been tamed.

– Dimitris Angelis

Everybody tells you that you will never come back the same, nobody tells you how easy it is to fall back into the same old traps and patterns. Continue reading “”

The buzz of Slovenian music

The emptiness of the scene, its lack of quality and diversity, the awfulness of the general taste. Nope, don’t know what you’re talking about… I think you’re just looking the wrong way!

What I miss most after leaving Ljubljana, besides the walks on its riverbanks and its art markets, is those (semi)local concerts, some of them so unexpectedly good, others just as excellent as I imagined them to be. Those moments when you’re really not sure what kind of hopelessness people talk about. The emptiness of the scene, its lack of quality and diversity, the awfulness of the general taste. Nope, don’t know what you’re talking about… I think you’re just looking the wrong way!

N’toko and Moveknowledgement : The Slovenian music scene’s favourite guy, probably. His insightful lyrics on the atmosphere and mentality of the country, followed by the commentary articles in one of the most critical magazines, and we can’t imagine our culture and intellectual society without him. Leaving the exaggeration behind, he is good. The group he’s with when not solo, even more so. Never say boredom and numbness and inertia again. Instead hear them live!

Ludovik Material : One single was enough for me to fall for them. The female singer voice and presence are mighty, the lyrics only add a necessary red cherry on the rock top kick.

Severa Gjurin and Olivija : The best female voice and singing with the gentle music accompaniment. Can it get better than that?! The Sunday morning melody. And the Monday evening tune.

New Wave Syria : When it comes to electronic music, this is where I go. To shake, dance, shout out the necessary, tell everyone to get lost and then chill still lying on my bed alone.

All Strings Detached : Another proof that to follow the cream of the scene, one needs to follow the student radio’s record company, the alternative one, they say. In this case, to ease the melancholy needs.

Zircus : Saw them with my ex for the first time. Bought the two albums they had released at the time on the spot. Never regretted meeting my ex thanks to them (and a few other bands, I admit). I still prefer them live, but I’ve always considered that as a weird compliment for a band.

Res Nullius : For some time, this was the rock band I adored the sound of the most. Don’t ask why. Something so sombrely cheerful about it. Couldn’t resist putting them on the list, although there’s no English here, sorry!

Thanks to this post I just took the trip down the memory lane! Nostalgia it is for a week!

Ljubljana.

The city that will always, no matter how I try to escape it, be my home. The one where I’ll notice the little things and the little people who have changed or haven’t.

Ljubljana is pretty and welcoming, perfect for walking through the old centre and relaxing on the river banks or in Park Tivoli. It won’t fascinate you with its majesty, but will grow on you in a matter of seconds. It’s hard to get away from its simple and modest charm, although I am biased – to me, it is the family I never got to choose, but love profoundly, because it was always there to imprison, gently bite or comfort me. It does it all well. One day is already enough, in two days you will know it as the inside of your own pocket and then… try to resist the temptation to just move there for good because it is oh so pleasant and comfortable. Or be like me and only come back when you need a bit of time off.

The city that will always, no matter how I try to escape it, be my home. The one I will always come back to, for a week or two or three. The one where I’ll notice the little things and the little people who have changed or haven’t.

The same men who sell newspapers from one café table to the other. The man with the homeless’ magazine at the same spot at the train station and the woman who still plays her saxophone a couple of ten meters before him. My favourite cinema still being as nice as ever, although some people left and others stayed. But then some shops in the centre closed and a few restaurants changed. Does it matter? Seeing how things go on and you get to notice them when they are already over.

How tourists are now reigning the main streets. How for the first time in your life you can hear more stolen phrases from foreign languages than from your own while you’re taking your ordinary stroll. So, they discovered our little precious stone, the cutest capital, so long forgotten in the shadows of the big ones? Are you pleased? Or, to be completely honest, does it annoy you? Our jewel transforming into just another one of the European metropolises. But does it really? Or is it all just the surface, under which you’d still be suffocating from the same old air?

trnovo
Trnovska plaža / The Trnovo ”beach”

The Beauty of Slovenia

I used to be a local and now I’m an outsider – in a strange, still interconnected way. My top vacation place is now what I used to call my home.
So, I started thinking how and why it sincerely is a place worth visiting.

I used to be a local and now I’m an outsider – in a strange, still interconnected way. My top vacation place is now what I used to call my home. Does this weird position give me a different perspective? Maybe, but then it is a kind of love-hate relationship. I understand very well why I left it and still want to stay out of it, but at the same time it has never for a minute lost all the possibilities of being absolutely gorgeous to me. There has been more and more talk about our little precious country, though still not as much as about our beloved seaside destination Croatia, and while I travel or make new friends more and more people are asking me about it. Those at least who know where it is or are not ashamed to admit they don’t.

So, I started thinking how and why it sincerely is a place worth visiting.

1. The cutest capital. It is one of the smallest ones, yes, but that is not so important – besides the fact that you’ll probably never have to use public transport to get around. Ljubljana is pretty and welcoming, perfect for walking through the old centre and relaxing on the river banks or Park Tivoli. It won’t fascinate you with its majesty, but will grow on you in a matter of seconds. It’s hard to get away from its simple and modest charm, although I am biased – to me, it is the family I never got to choose, but love profoundly, because it was always there to imprison, gently bite or comfort me. It does it all well. One day is already enough, in two days you will know it as the inside of your own pocket and then… try to resist the temptation to just move there for good because it is oh so pleasant and comfortable. Or be like me and only come back when you need a bit of time off. Climb the castle hill, chill out on the ”beach” or Metelkova at night (or Trnovo, especially in the month of August), and check out the markets, food, art or antique ones.

ljubljana

2. Diversity. While in Ljubljana, you are never more than one or two hours away from climbing and skiing destinations, beautiful lakes and rivers, seaside, vineyards, caves and Pannonian fields. It is all there, the richness of different landscapes on a small hen shaped land. It is something we keep repeating to ourselves as some kind of comforting mantra, a solace for our inferiority complex. It is no less true, though – we are caught between Mediterranean, the Alps, Karst and Pannonia, and of that at least we can be proud of, sort of… Let’s not even begin to dissect all the dialects and accents a seemingly unimportant Slovenian language can boost about!

3. Culture. No, it is not a cultural history of one of the Grand European Nations, still there is something about it. It might be a culture of a peasant and too-long-opressed nation as we keep seriously joke about it, yet it is there, it survived, although it never triumphed. When I think about it like that, I feel there is beauty in this fact alone. An old history that is very far from being uninteresting. The pacifist hymn and all the beautiful paintings, writers who seemed to be so close to the heart of the people in its misery and drunken joys…

4. Expansion. A certain youth of our country (it is of my own age) and culture gives me a feeling of growth sometimes, even though I’m far from being patriotic. I know most Slovenians wouldn’t agree and would only see a naive or idiotic child, nevertheless I do see it in the occasional buzzing of the actual youth and its projects. In the midst of suffocating simple-mindedness, there are living and breathing and beating individuals and groups. We have a tradition of meaningful art and even rebellion, and it is good to notice it is still there, in music, films or lines worth paying attention to and it might even be finding some new grounds, precisely because not everything has already been done and seen. Best of all, it is not only happening in the capital.

5. Nature. We could go on forever. When you get out of the city, green surrounds you everywhere, and even in the city it’s hard to avoid it. Still, go far out. To Soča, for example, a pristine river of stunning colours. To Bohinj, a lake to meditate next to. Or Cerkno, to wonder about all the holes in the ground. To Postonjska jama, the cave, to indulge your touristy needs, or Rakov Škocjan if your needs are less touristy. Or turn to the other side and explore the charms of Štajerska and Prekmurje. Climb some hills, appreciate the forests, observe the fields. Just find your own little haven.

6. Food & Wine. We won’t pretend we are France or Italy, but if you want to, you can eat and drink so well in Slovenia. A few restaurants that would definitely deserve Michelin stars and vineyards that are already gaining international reputation. Traditional food might be heavy, yet finding a good place to eat with a bit of an effort shouldn’t be so hard. And what you get for the price you pay it’s usually still far more satisfying than in some other corners of Europe. All in all, quite a few chances it might positively surprise you.

Just like the whole country can, I believe.

Take music to the streets!

I have to ask: Do you imagine London markets without music? Port Vell in Barcelona? Lisbon or Paris metro? Jardin de Luxembourg? Sacré-Cœur? Prešeren square, Tromostovje, Čevljarski most in Ljubljana?

I know you can, but I don’t want to. After seeing and experiencing them with awesome melodies and rhythms, that is how I always remember and hear them.

Folk on Brick Lane, salsa and reggae at Barcelona docks, a girl with an acoustic guitar at Terreiro do Paço station, l’accordéon in a metro train, classical piano in one of the pavilions, a high-powered Italian guy on the stairs that lead to the basilique and countless acts at my best known places in Slovenia: from gypsy to country, from African drums to jazz saxophone, from people who have it – that special something, the energy – to the ones that… well not so much.

I have to admit: I’m not a huge fan of Barcelona. It’s a lovely city with fantastic energy, but I prefer Paris or London. But it’s the best city as far as street musicians are concerned. The best, really! All the tourists in Park Güell drove me crazy, but the fact that there was an interesting or excellent musician/band on every single corner captivated me. And I still remember every single one of them: the fado band, the bossa nova guitarist, the blues singer, the crazy hippy electric-guitarist, the trio with the most passionate and charismatic female voice I heard in a while.

Music is what defines the city’s atmosphere for me and leaves the long-lasting impression on my personal vision of the place I’m in (hometown included). And after all the lessons in walking through various, mostly European cities, a fascination with street musicians and their quality has only grown bigger and higher in my soul. I might be biased because of the adorable acoustics of charming streets, but aren’t artists in truth the ones who make them so delightful?

Forever young.

”Don’t be such a grown-up.”
One of my favourite graffiti in Ljubljana.

”Ne bit tok odrasli.”

”Don’t be such a grown-up.”

One of my favourite graffiti in Ljubljana, at least after they demolished the building with the one saying ‘Nasmehni se – nekdo te ima rad.’ : ‘Smile – someone loves you.’

Right next to NUK – National University Library.