Mia by Gorki was the first Belgian song I learned by heart. This song is on my lovers’ mixed tape, on my office playlist, on the soundtrack of my life in Belgium.
Someone once said that Luc’s lyrics couldn’t be translated into English. That confused me. I thought everything could be translated. It has taken me years to understand. You can’t translate heart. You can’t translate love.
I didn’t yet know the bones of Luc when I saw him in his gold chain and awful shell-suit. I thought it was for carnival. The truth is he was free from the weight of peoples’ opinions. Like a child with eyes lit up.
In return, people and the media did not judge him, scandalise him or put his life under the microscope.
Why? Because people loved Luc.
It was pouring pouring pouring rain when we took this photo. Despite the dramatic weather, the festival field was packed full. A thousand drenched people passionately singing every word aloud.
Why? Because people loved Luc.
While the rest of the artists at Casa Blanca festival enjoyed the fancy backstage catering, Luc slipped out to get a burger and fries.
Luc lost himself in the love of performing and stripped off his t-shirt in enthusiasm. I heard urgent requests on the walkie-talkie from his management requesting a new t-shirt for him. A coca-cola t-shirt was located and delivered to Luc who wore it for half a song before it followed its predecessor into the crowd. It was funny to realise that the management were running around trying to take care of their Luc, while he was dancing in the rain like a happy child.
He was down to earth. He was intelligent and funny, a sharp-witted gentle soul. He had a lust for life. The world needs more people like Luc, not less. I have a short clip from a video of an interview where he says “Zot zijn doet geen pijn, baby”. I love it.
Luc’s death sent a dart through my heart. With a dark fear that I would read the word ‘suicide’, I searched frantically online for answers. ‘No no, please don’t let it have taken another one’. The loss of Robin Williams to suicide a couple of months previously still haunting me, I hoped that Luc’s heart had given up, full of love. It was not suicide and not drugs. It was not our business either, I suppose.
The tributes flowed in. Stories of how he would talk to anyone. Listen to their life stories. Spend time with young bands. Encourage them. He knew how hard it was to carve a place in the music scene. He told them they could make it if they put in the work. Gave them a chance to dodge the pitfalls. He welcomed and reassured them. He believed in everyone.
Luc leaving us is heart breaking in every way. His body failed him on the 14th birthday of his son Bruno. His advice for his son in an interview weeks previously, was: “Listen to songs that tell you how beautiful it is to be in the world”. Good advice for us all.
Mia is the caring figure. She didn’t let anyone down. She had time to help everyone. As for translating her song, I want to share a couple of lines with you. Tell me if they remind you of anyone?
“You find people like me everywhere”
“Mia saw the light, she says no one is lost”
“Give them a chance before they mess it up”
“You can eat, if you wash the dishes”
“Can you keep on dreaming?”
Lying on his back, reading a book, on the ground of an empty corridor in a deserted abbey. That is my favorite memory of Luc because it is mine alone. He seemed to be enjoying his book and the peace so I didn’t disturb him.
Pity. It would have undoubtedly been a warm, wonderful conversation.
First published on Charlie.