Review of 2009


It was a strong start to the year at London’s Double Club – a temporary space that transformed a Victorian warehouse into a buzzing, cross cultural, party venue.  The ‘West’ met West Africa in this exuberant show of music, food, lifetsyle, arts, and design.  The project was undertaken by reknowned artist, Carsten Holler, in order to inspire perspectives on double identity as well as on cultural coexistance.     



The ‘love it or hate it’ Tectonic dance craze that swept across France and Belgium from late 2008 reached its zenith with Yelle’s video: A cause des Garcons

French comedian Jamel Debouzze sold out and had a stab at it too.  

La tectonic soon lost its appeal (comic or otherwise) and was assigned to the history books early on in the year.


More seriously, wildcat strikes in Britain take a hold of the media landscape.  Issues of worker’s rights, immigration, and the EU are lumped together in the British and French press, with the race card being grossly overplayed.  This media malpractice would have been highlighted by The Cross Frontier which would have called for an honest and thoughtful debate on the real issues at stake.

It wasn’t make or break everywhere.  One of the best breakdancing I’ve ever seen took place in Lille. Click Lille!


Museum Night Fever hits Brussels.  Fourteen city-centre museums not only stay open late, but organise electro-architectural performances, concerts, tours, and dances til 1am.  Bozar was speical though, with DJs pumping out music til 3am, and Red Bull providing the drinks, this museum turned out to be one of our club experiences of the year!

The Rugby Six Nations tournament finished with an emphatic title decider between Ireland and Wales.  England and France ended on equal points.

The media highlight for me though had to be these two short interviews.  Cut the silly talk, straight to the point.


Swine Flu comes to the UK!  The Cross Frontier would have taken a step back from all the scare mongering.   We would have reported on the unfavourable internal politics at the WHO, and the need to strike a balance between preparing for the worst and simply carrying on as normal.  While most media reverted to alarmism we would have shared the story of this poster; a never-released Government campaign poster from the early 40s advising the public in the event of a Nazi land invasion. 

With only two months to go to the European Elections, The Cross Frontier would have provided links to engage, clarify, and encourage the electorate to take an interest in their Europe.  This site would have been a good place to start.


The Parliamentary Expenses Scandal is exposed in the media unleashing  public outcry.  The Speaker of the House of Commons was forced to resign, as were many politicians.

In France, the prize for Young Economist of the Year was awarded Yann Algan, a professor at Sciences Po.  His research takes an interesting look at civic trust and its effects on public policy and the welfare state.


The 2nd June saw the opening of two new heavyweight museums, le Musée Magritte at the Place Royale in central Brussels, and le Musée Hergé 30 km south east of Brussels. 

The Magritte Museum contains over 200 of the surrealist’s works.

The opening ceremony was littered with drole cameo performances around the square.  From groups of black bowler hat men flexing umbrellas, to ballet dancers playing the piano with their feet…

The Musée Hergé building alone is enogh to warrant the trip down there.

A more in depth article on the two new museums can be found here.

And at the Economist.

5th June was World Environment Day.  French Naturalist, Yann Arthus Bertrand released his non-profit film Home in over 50 countries, with a large scale free showings in many iconic surroundings such as the Eiffel Tower and Trafalger Sq.  Pity the non exitant media drive in London meant it was ineviatbly an underwhelming congregation in Trafalger Sq.  Or perhaps we’d already seen enough environmental films…

The European elections took place alongside local elections in the UK.  Generally a poor show for incumbent parties across Europe. An in depth coverage in the run up and aftermath of the elections would have been reported by The Cross Frontier.


Open air free festival, Paris Sous la Plage, brought together a hip crowd of young and old to dance to some bon son.  You can check out some of those sounds and all other related info here.  London Girl is a big tune.

A treehouse gallery community takes root in Regent’s Park until September, organising talks, music performances, and plenty of opportunites to meet interesting people.


Notting Hill Carnival.  The last bank holiday Monday of the year before xmas is the biggest outdoor urban party in Europe.  Hundreds of sound systems, thousands of procession dancers, millions of vibesters.  Colour, food, and music aplenty.

Check this article for a snippet on funky music history and in particular the photo.


The first weekend of September, bargain hunters and vibes seekers descend onto La Braderie de Lille – the biggest flea market in Europe.  Other than the endless bric-a-brac, people can’t get enough of mussels – as you can see from this photo – the restaurants do battle to see how large their mussel mountains can get – pretty large.  

Brixton in the London Borough of Lambeth, launched its own independent currency – the first urban area to do so in the world.  The Brixton Pound, equal in value to Pound Sterling , is designed to encourage people to spend locally, boosting the local economy.

The Cross Frontier woiuld have done a report on this and how it sits with the overall arguments for and against adopting the euro.

The chap on the B£20 is a young Vincent Van Gogh who was in fact a resident of Brixton for 2 years! 



Sophie Calle, one of France’s most revered artists, arrives in London to open her exhibition, Talking to Strangers, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery.  Many Londoners became big new fans of her work.   


The identity of Belle de Jour – a famous anonymous writer – is  revealed.   

We cover the story of Belgian’s man fight with ‘locked-in’ syndrome.


Steven Spielberg reveals he will direct a Tintin trilogy.  The first instalment is due out in October 2011.  More in French.

London mayor, Boris Johnson, finally unveils plans to launch a new cycle hire scheme next summer.  The scheme is very similar to Le Vélib in Paris.  More info from TFL.