The Edinburgh festival’s Big in Belgium season features daft whimsy, a Eurovision anthem and a headlong charge into uncomfortable territory
When the Smiths released Paint a Vulgar Picture , the obligatory rock-band moan about the music business, Morrissey came up with a characteristically waspish one-liner. It was the fate of every singer doing the media round, he protested, to “please the press in Belgium”. Behind the joke is the idea of the pop star having to kowtow to a country of no significance.
It’s a stereotype Nele Van den Broeck has no appetite to dispel. When her Belgian band breaks up in Nele Needs a Holiday: The Musical, she makes the impulse decision to flee to London. That, as everyone knows, is the only place to make it in the music business. Belgium, she accepts with an ironic twinkle, does not figure in the international awareness stakes. Even her boyfriend seems to think she comes from France.