We asked some of our residents and guests a list of their favourite releases, labels or covers during 2021. During the last week of December we will post them here in our news section. Enjoy!

Resident: Nadia Kara (No Offence)


In her podcast No Offence, Nadia Kara discusses societal topics from a personal angle, together with two guests willing to draw from their own experiences. Racism, identity, sex, money, anything goes as long as we’re being honest. Listen every last Wednesday of the month on We Are Various

1. Celebrating my birthday in the sun

I was born in February, so I’m used to celebrating my special day in the cold snow. This year, though, it was about 20 degrees, sunny and dry. Remember? Of course you do, because everyone was sitting outside having drinks like it was June. I hate climate change and do my best every day to counter it, but I gotta say I really appreciated being able to experience my birthday in those circumstances, especially in a time when we weren’t allowed to see anybody or do anything inside. Now I’m just even more jealous of people who were born in the summer!

2. Turning my frustrations into a platform

With everything that’s been going on the past two years, I became more restless and concerned with the world than ever. I’ve always been an activist at heart, but I never quite knew how I could use my skills to actually make a difference. Starting No Offence kicked off a new phase in my life, it’s the first step of creating this space where I can use my empathy, give a platform to a diversity of voices and create connection between people. Producing the podcast has also lead me to other hosting, writing and researching assignments, which make me finally feel like I have a place in this wild world.


3. Bo Burnham's “Inside” Netflix special

It was the most brilliant yet confronting cultural production I’ve watched this year. It’s smart and incredibly funny, a one-man-comedy-special like you’ve never seen before, a forever souvenir from the lockdown era.

4. Getting vaccinated

The day before the long-awaited reopening of bars, I received an invitation from Qvax to get my first jab. The atmosphere at the vaccination center was so joyful, especially in contrast with everything I’d seen the past 18 months. I was on a little cloud of hope. Before that, I had been having quite a lot of Covid-related anxiety, and getting vaccinated really helped reduce that drastically. The day after, even though my arm was hurting like hell, I still went to celebrate my euphoria at the terrace of my stamcafé. The midnight curfew had just been lifted. It was one of the happiest weekends of the year.

5. Horst festival

Even though our summer was marked by a steadily increasing gain of freedom, nobody was sure what would happen to festivals: lucky for me, my favourite 3-day gathering was planned in September. By that point, the Covid Safe Ticket system was on point and Horst festival was able to go on with no restrictions whatsoever. I’m glad I can say I enjoyed every minute of it – at the expense of my sleep, but it was all worth it. I met a ton of people, sweat my ass off jumping to the rhythm of the music, I married my best friend (as a joke, I think?), ate fries every day and slept in a stranger’s tent. It felt amazing, being able to dance, hug, drink, kiss like nothing had changed. Being there really felt like being part of something special.

6. Taking my dog on a road trip

About a year ago, my dog Biceps was diagnosed with a nasty, untreatable condition and his health has been degrading since then. I want to make sure I spend as much time as possible with him and give him the best life possible, so when I planned a road trip through France and Spain with one of my best friends, I made sure there would be a seat for him. Now he can say he crossed Europe on the back seat of an SUV, hung out on sunny southern beaches and peed in the French mountains.

7. Getting back into DJing

I’ve been DJing for a long time, it gives me a connection to music that I can’t quite find when I just listen to it. But sometimes, I’ll lose all motivation and quit for a few years – which is what happened when Covid hit. Suddenly, it just wasn’t making sense anymore, I wasn’t surrounded by music and dance, my nightlife environment seemed far from my or anyone’s daily life. But at the end of the summer, a friend of mine who was organising a block party asked me if I could come and play. It was a very low key event, just a few friends and neighbours, a barbecue and beer crates, so I was like okay, why not. I played two hours and I had a blast: the passion, the pleasure, the muscle memory, everything was coming back naturally and feeling so right. Is it time to get back on the horse? Maybe!

8. Britney is officially free

I know it still seems like celebrity-gossip-level-news to a lot of people, but it isn’t: Britney Spears winning her case is a victory against a patriarchal society that watches young women get destroyed for entertainment value, instead of offering them a safe space where they can be themselves. I hope it was a wake up call for the music industry and the public. We need to put people’s mental health and personal development first.

9. Those 8 weeks when clubs reopened

First to close, last to reopen: even with a lack of tangible reasons, nightlife has been the black sheep of the pandemic. And it took a lot of lobbying, investments and safety measures to make it happen, but on the 1st of October, clubs finally reopened nationwide! Making new friends in the line for the bathroom, having deep conversations with strangers in the smokers area, dancing until the music dies and the lights go on… I didn’t mean to, but I ended up going out every weekend: this incredible feeling of freedom and community, I had missed it so much. And I think we all knew somewhere sometime it was all gonna close again, which made it so much more intense. That last night at the end of November felt the most special of all: we were there early, danced and talked and laughed and made every minute count. I was home at 11am, with the feeling I couldn’t have missed out on anything.

10. Feeling better again

The past few years have been a pretty dark place. I’m not going to pretend I’m all out of it, but lately I’ve noticed I’m more able to pick myself up and find enjoyment. On one particular day, I woke up feeling like being outside. I remember it vividly, because for a long time, the very idea of going outside was making me so anxious and depressed that I would order my groceries to be delivered to my place (even though I’m a very loud anti-capitalist). And so, that day, for the first time in a long time, I wanted to be out of the house, just for the sake of it. I hopped on my bike, picked up an iced latte and spent 3 hours at the photography museum checking out Masculinities, a great exhibition (which is still running until mid-March so you should definitely check it out). It was a day I spent doing things for me, by myself but without feeling lonely or guilty for not being productive.

Sometimes it’s hard, as humans, to find meaning to our lives. I don’t think I’ve answered more questions in 2021, I’ve just learned to focus more on interactions with others and on figuring out what I, Nadia, can do on my scale to make the world a place I don’t want to run away from anymore.

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