The curious, motivated and positive writer of NAR Magazine

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The June issue usually gives way to a new 20-something list, featuring models, musicians, actors, illustrators, fashion designers, photographers, artists, architects,... and so much more. The people who are a representation of young society in Belgium, a generation ready to rule our world. In 2020, hence the double number, we’re serving you, hungry hearts, 2 editions of our acclaimed list. That’s right, we’re doubling the amount of features, starting a bit earlier. Let us introduce you to the faces you didn't realise you wanted to meet!

Dries Verhaegen  

Writer, Ghent

What do we & our readers need to remember about you?

That I’m really curious, which guides me through my writings. Also, I’m always looking for new things and input, but in the end, what I find is not so important. I really am convinced that the searching part is the most important one; this is - for me - what must be found.

What is the (near) future bringing you?

I’m working a lot on new writings, but mostly I’m working on a project with young people I know in Ghent, which is called NAR Magazine. It was always something I wanted to create and now we’re working on the first issue, which is quite exciting.



What are you up to these days?

Finding new ways of doing what I like. There actually hasn’t been one ‘same’ lockdown day for me, which, I think is really good. Writing, working for school, listening to music, watching and analysing movies, spending time with my girlfriend .... And it continues without displeasing me, so I’m fine.

What artists are you listening to?

A lot, but the ones that return these days are: Shht, Prefab Sprout, Gabber Eleganza, Panda Dub, Jeff Buckley, Paolo Conte, ... a weird mix a bit [laughs].

Which records are you playing most right now?

Mostly Noneketanu by Shht. I think I’ve listened to it almost every day. Also Songs by John Maus was a really good discovery.

I'm finding new ways of doing what I like

What makes your heart go faster these days?

So many things; but maybe, even though it’s a weird time right now, seeing the things develop in a positive way. Also, somehow discovering new things always excites me more when I don’t actually need them. This often happens now, by reading for example, and it makes me happy. Also the possibility to create and share, makes me very confident.



What are you doing daily at 9pm/9am?

Coffee and cigarettes

How do you bring some routine into your days?

I don’t really play the ‘routine game’ anymore, because it never worked for me. By remaining who I am, despite circumstances I guess.

What does your face mask look like?

Piercings and a straight face which doesn’t match my feelings on the inside at all.

What’s your personal utopia?

I think that’s hard to say as a Belgian kid with everything I need; of course, I want a ‘better’ and a more justified world. But this statement would be very out of context I think. It’s easy to want something to be better, or at least easier than actually providing things for those that really need it. When people most of the time, take what they, themselves need. So, in order to wish for a better world, I wish for a better me. This could be a wish for anyone.

What brings you satisfaction?

Acceptance of things that at first, I couldn’t comprehend. I realised there are different ways of using them. For example, I used to be very resistant when I didn’t like something. Now, I can accept it, and realise that even something ‘bad’, is perfectly okay too. By accepting, I learn.

Piercings and a straight face don’t match my feelings on the inside at all

What’s your favourite lockdown Instagram account?

@leukeplaatjes97. I think every person that likes this type of humour, is let’s say [laughs].

What’s your favourite lockdown book?

I recently finished Dixit by Ivo Michiels. I really loved it. But also N30+ by Jeroen Mettes remains amazing to read, especially in times like this. 

What’s your favourite lockdown film?

I (finally) saw Enter the Void by Gaspar Noé. The first part of the movie amazed me so much, it stuck in my head for quite a while. I have to say that the last part of the movie didn’t really work out the way I liked, but the movie was still very special and a nice experience.


How do you keep healthy?

I don’t.

What’s one of your sources of inspiration that may surprise people?

I write a lot, inspired by kitschy things: like teenager blogs or diaries. Also pop songs that are actually bad ‘but everyone loves it’ really intrigue me. This so-called pop culture is an inspiration to me.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years time?

Writing ;-) but maybe a little bit different. Who knows. No really, actually I don’t care. I would prefer to ask myself: ‘What would you NOT be doing in 10 years?’

How does the current crisis make you feel?

Difficult, you could say. I’m young, so it doesn’t affect me like it affects many others. I don’t literally feel or experience the crisis. Of course, I see what’s happening and what it creates: I hope for a lot of things, but mostly, that solidarity remains. People need each other, but it takes things like this to realise that.

I would prefer to ask myself: ‘What would you NOT be doing in 10 years?'

How important are fellow companions now? How do you reach out?

Important. We keep motivating and looking for each other, only in different ways. It’s interesting to see that in different times, people adapt and find new ways to stay in contact.

What is the latest/future project you are working on?

I recently finished my first short story Q&A-Verslag, something I’m really happy about. It was interesting to write in lockdown about lockdown.

Did you have an exhibition/concert/show on your agenda these days? Which one?

Normally Nick Cave and Einstürzende Neubauten, but these were cancelled.



What will the second part of 2020 bring you?

New first impressions, I hope.

Who is the person that most influenced you throughout your development in life?

Hmmm a tough one. Eckhart Tolle inspired me a lot, but to inspire is something different than ‘to influence’. Then again, he also did that; I think Eckhart Tolle because he gave things I already knew a new meaning. Still: tough question.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned lately?

That accepting things can mean ‘to start over’. Or let’s put it differently: by accepting situations and people, you can actually ‘renew’ yourself, over and over again. It’s something amazing to realise.

Is there anyone in your scene who needs more attention?

I really like what Nooit Meer Naar Huis and El Sistema Pasota are doing. So, you could go check them out.

Comfort food/specialty dish now?

Pasta pesto with brrrrrrrroccoli.

Lockdown hobby?

I recently started mixing electronic music. So yes, that’s my lockdown hobby.


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