Smurfpunx

10/05/2011

Oilsjt Carnaval – Pitbull Boys

Filed under: Gele Limonade, Aalst — Tags: , , , , — smurfpunx @ 08:30

Aalst (or Oilsjt, in their regional dialect) is known for its lively, animated carnival (Mardi-Gras for you Americans) in Belgium. The weekend before Shrove Tuesday, a period of 4 days of debauchery, guzzling, vandalism under the guise of ‘fun’, etc. starts until everyone participating is lying drunk in the gutter (well more or less). Some pub-owners/shop-keepers lock up their businesses (barricading the windows with chipboard)… People from outside Aalst are supposed not to understand the emotions and dedication of true Oilsjtenoars (inhabitants of Aalst) related to the dressing-up, building immensely developed floats, singing scabrous songs, etc. A participant of ‘Aalst Carnaval’ wants to express him/herself and experience freedom to the max.

Smurfpunx helped at the Gele Limonade pub for some time (see Smurfpunx @ Gele Limonade) and kept it open during one of these carnivals…

Myself, I had to opportunity to witness the whole thing working the bar… People – already totally drunk at 2 p.m. – entering the pub with ‘trophy’s’ (such as a traffic-sign on a 3 m pole e.g.), pulling down their pants and unashamedly pissing against the bar, etc. etc. No-one interferes… “If you can ‘t take it, don’t go to Aalst during Carnival!” Coming from another province, I didn’t know it was gonna be that over-the-top… I was sober, my ethics were fine,…and I was shocked!!! Left the place gutted after a mere few hours…

In this context I want to tell a bit about the ‘Pitbull Boys’, a fun-punk band from Aalst. Their MySpace mentions they were founded in the late eighties by Bart Ravyts (Bad B) and Jean-Claude Roosen (JC of ‘Violent Mosquitos’). The instruments they used at first were a small synthesizer/drum-computer and a guitar. Later Koen ‘Kotz’ Taeleman (‘Rough Justice’) joined on bass-guitar… After a few years the ‘PB.B.’ exchanged their synthesizer and drum-computer for a real live drummer: Ben Notaert (‘Benimal Bonzo’). ‘Kotz’ left the band and was replaced by a new bassplayer: Manu (‘El Manuel’). Also some guest-musicians (‘De Piep’ & ‘D-Day Danny’) came along… They were frequenting the Gele Limonade when Smurfpunx were working there as volunteers (some had connections to the collective) and played there sometimes aswell. Later they even made up some real carnival-songs…

Brob

Bart – J.C. – Koen (with the obligatory crate of Safir, locally brewed pils…)

Bart – J.C. – Koen …& Frank

The pictures [Brob: taken by Nathalie G. during a concert at the Gele Limonade] show the first version of the ‘Pitbull Boys’ with Bart Raveydts, Koen Taeleman, Hans Van Ooteghem, Jean-Claude Roosen, Jean-Yves Bogaert and Frank ‘Drank’ Parewyck [the latter 4 of ‘Violent Mosquitos’]. Mind you: this was probably the actual line-up of that evening; who played live changed regularly. Koen, Bart & JC were regulars, the rest was guest-musician. Later also Piet Marcoen, and others that I forget, played. The second generation ‘Pitbull Boys’ of the late 90s (at first Bart Ravyts on vocals, Emmanuel Cambier on bass, JC Roosen on guitar and Ben Notaert – ‘Funeral Dress’ drummer) recorded a CD. After a first gig with Frank on bass, Bart took another direction (hip-hop) and Frank replaced him doing the vocals.

Manu Cambier

J.C. – Jean-Yves – Frank – Hans

Jean-Yves

Carnival = Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday. The ‘voil zjanetten’: men wearing women’s clothing, high heels, net-stockings, fake boobs, a shopping-cart filled with beer and your own stereo, and – typical attributes – a bird-cage and a dried fish. Carnival is also escaping the daily grind for a moment, dressing up, making fun, laughing, partying, meeting friends, satirize local (and national) politics. Anything goes. No censorship. Prince Carnival possesses the keys of the city during those 4 days. Party like animals. In the parade all political scandals are tackled, openly and frankly. Often a whole year’s work goes into the floats.

One carnival it snowed and there was a snowman inside the Gele Limonade…

Keizer Kamiel is the official emperor of carnival, and that’s for life. Since many years Kamiel has been doing all kinds of charity (e.g. distributing food) for the poor in Aalst; a fulltime occupation – supported by many volunteers. For many poor families that makes the difference between the gutter and living with at least some dignity. During carnival he also visits the de old people’s homes in Aalst.

Carnival is a lot more than boozing, boozing and boozing.

Anmie G

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4 Comments »

  1. Here’s some vids of ‘V.M.’ performances:
    ‘Violent Mosquitos’ in the Gele Limonade, Aalst, May 6th 1989
    ‘Violent Mosquitos’ in Netwerk, Aalst, Dec 23rd 1989
    ‘Violent Mosquitos’ in Netwerk, Aalst, Sep 19th 1992
    [Not Smurfpunx concerts]

    Comment by Hans Van Ooteghem — 10/05/2011 @ 20:16

  2. Elitist and arrogant as I may sound: I always found Oljst carnival to be the ultimate loser fest.

    Comment by Duco — 10/07/2011 @ 10:17

  3. Sorry to hear you guys think about carnival this way, you’re clueless I think. First of all: please correct the spelling, it is Oilsjt and Oilsjteneers. I do agree that in the past stupid shit might have happened. The extensive use of alcohol makes people do stupid things but people pissing in places they should not be pissing does happen every weekend. Just walk around in the city at a Saturday night and you see youth doing the stupid shit. Second: I’m sure you guys have no clue how much time, money, effort it takes to make it happen each year again. Building the floats, making the costumes, getting the money to accomplish this all… It’s very hard, believe me. You have to be very dedicated to continue doing it, trust me. Also, a true Oilsjteneer NEVER EVER will do something that will bring the city he loves so much in a bad spotlight. Never ever! Most people who are in a carnival-group are not stinking drunk during those days, not! They worked too hard the whole year to be vomiting or be passed out on the floor. They do consume a lot of alcohol, correct but will never ever get so drunk they don’t remember which planet they came from. Myself, being straight edge, have celebrated this event having the greatest fun without drinking any alcohol for years. Saying it’s the ultimate loser fest is a bit over the top for me and I feel kinda insulted. But hey: I think you should educate yourself a bit, before making up your mind. Just want to say that it kinda hurts to read this; as Anmie said, it is so much more than boozing. Really.

    Comment by Bart Van Mulders — 11/06/2011 @ 11:57

  4. Of course, I mentioned it already: I’m not an Oiljsteneir… Can’t really understand the city’s true spirit… I just described how I experienced it and I’m sure that wasn’t the full view. Sorry if you (Bart, the float-builders,…) feel offended. (I can ‘t speak for Duco.)

    Comment by Brob Tilt — 11/06/2011 @ 15:48


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