postcard from italy - tits in Rome

by Jana, Val and Mathilde

We landed in Rome on saturday evening, before the last day of the Crack! comics festival. After an exciting taxi ride where our driver almost ran over a hardly impressed old man, we found our friend Silvia Rocchi from La Trama. She took us to the Forte Prenestino, a prison built in 1880, now a self-managed social center (CSOA) where the festival was taking place. There was an underground labyrinth of little cells painted white, each holding a different collective/organization - Tieten met haar would share a space with La Trama and Inuit, a cultural association and bookstore based in Bologna.

Walking around the maze, we came across the lovely and talented Inès Estrada who designed the festival's poster. "Do you want some Belgian beer?" we asked her. Some drunken italian man intervened and grabbed the bottle. He attempted to drink but missed his mouth or something and spilled beer over Inès' books. "You pay now!" she quickly said to the guy, but there was no reasoning with him. We hung our heads in shame.

Later in the evening, after seeing a brass band play old italian songs, we sat in the garden with some Portuguese and Swiss people who had found an enormous jug of unidentified alcohol and were teaching us to say "hairy tits" in their respective languages.

The sun chased us from our tent at about twelve o'clock the next day. We ate some pizza, had a trip to the supermarket ("no pictures" a shop assistant said as we were trying to pose with melons as boobs) and it was time for the festival to start again. We sold a couple of books, many stickers but mostly had good laughs with the people from Inuit and La Trama.

On sunday, we had some time off and went to the beach in Ostia. Later, we visited the city by night - taking a very early plane has its advantages. There was nobody but us in front of the oversized, ultra dramatic fountains of Rome. "some dudes built this shit", Mathilde said, rightfully so : the thought was amazing.

After our checklist of italian wine, coffee, pizza, ice cream and mozzarella was complete, it was time to go home. We hope to come back for the whole festival next year!


Don't cry for me, Italia

Dear people of the planet earth,

Soon we will have the pleasure to fly to Rome to attend the Crack Festival, which is taking place in the Forte Prenestino. There, we will share a table with our dearest friends from La trama, see a lot of amazing books, and also meet their writers. But we will surely fill our bellies with ice cream and delicious pizzas. All for business, of course.

You might want to stay tuned to hear about our adventures !

In the meantime, enjoy the sun if you have the pleasure to get some.

Last word of wisdom :


drinking in the library - tits in Oslo

by Val and Jana

"This is tieten met haar", our festival friend Bendik introduces us to the Oslo comic people. We are sitting in the Drinky Crow café, a room under the roof in the public library where the Oslo comics expo is taking place. Somebody thought it was a good idea to paint the place black : it's like a dark, friendly oven. We sweat and shake hands while trying to register the norwegian names in our brains.

We had arrived earlier this friday and were taken on a walking tour around the city by photographer Ena Kreso. "That's the ugly part" she said, pacing fast through the streets, although we can't really tell, everything seems gorgeous to us. It's summer in  Oslo. When we arrive at Ena's apartment, Jana installs herself in a chair in front of a huge open window  "I'm making up for months of Belgian winter"

On saturday, we prepare ourselves for the market place. We get some coffee at 7-Eleven, our food-provider for the next couple of days. We are so excited to be there that our hunger has disappeared : we survive on a couple of greasy bread products. In the library, people are already taking books out of enormous carton boxes.

We have brought with us the stickers of TMH#1 contributor Dries Warlop, wonderful detailed penis drawings that contrast with the usual dick-doodles you can find on typical bathroom doors. We were a bit unsure of the norwegian response to this, but once again it's our best selling item and the source of many giggles. Only one man seems slightly shocked "Okay, so who's to blame for this?" he asks. "Is there a blame? Aren't they nice?" I ask, but my question remains unanswered.

A swedish man with crazy facial hair named Stefan buys a couple of them. Later on, we have a chat outside with him. "He's a magician", his friend Svante says. To prove this,  Stefan imitates a bird with his moustache. The impression is stunning. In the evening, we are so privileged as to witness a mini show with many tricks : ballpens disappear and reappear out of pockets, cards are flying from one hand to the other at the speed of light, a shoe appears behind an ear : we feel like small children with gaping mouths.

"Hey, Tieten met haar - this is my language!" a woman dressed as if she lives on a farm in the country says, flipping through the second edition of our fanzine. We are surprised to meet fellow Belgians who are busy cooking bread on a canoe oven (yes, a canoe oven) outside of the festival. They are part of something called the Flatbread SocietyFlatbread Society is a growing constellation of farmers, oven builders, astronomers, artists, soil scientists and bakers aligned through a common interest in the long and complex relation we have to grain, their website reads. Another woman of their group sports a straw hat and a tanned face. "They are people of the earth", we concur.

After the market, there is a party in the library. We are taught to say tieten met haar in norwegian. "pupper med hår. pupppper med hår" we repeat, conscientiously. Everybody is so lovely and friendly that it makes up for the expensive, warm beer. Who said scandinavian people were cold and distant? It's not just comic book people : on the bus, at cafés, we find everybody talkative and easy-going. The evening ends on a roof, where we notice the lack of darkness in the norwegian summer : there is barely any night.

On sunday, we visit the exhibition of Sindre Goksøyr at Briskeby Gallery, whom we have met with Bendik at several comics festivals. Together with other artists they founded the collective Dongery. Sindre's silkscreens are wonderfully funny illustrations. Our favourite was this huge image of what we imagine is a typical norwegian day at the lake.  

In the evening, we go to a popular venue called Blå, where a cover band called Frank Znort Quartet plays every sunday of the month since the 90's. 'We fuck up your mondays', they proudly claim on Blå's website. "They start acoustic, and after ten they go electric", Svante explains. The club is packed and people are dancing and drinking, ignorant of any notions of personal space, pushing each other around in a clumsy fashion. We would forgive those cute norwegians almost anything, including an elbow in our face.

It was the perfect end to our stay, which has been nothing but good times. We take the plane on monday morning after a sleepless night and end as we started : sleepy, on the floor of a belgian train. 
Next stop: Crack! in Rome!


Zwart Wild release party

Thanks everyone who came to get drunk with us at the release party in Zwart Wild. We had fun! So much so that by the time we remembered that we should take pictures almost all the tit-cakes had disappeared. Eventually everything got eaten,  EVEN THE COCONUTS we had put on the table as decoration! You're wild, kids.