Jess Bauldry, pictured, says the tram extension chaos helped discourage people using private cars in the train station district
Photo: Maison moderne/archives
That was the year that was…2019: Delano journalist Jess Bauldry reflects on the main events in the grand duchy over the past year.
I will remember 2019 as the year that Luxembourg…
Successfully cut down on private car use in the capital, by digging up the roads, the car parks, the pavements--everything! It may not have been intentional, but the extension of the tramway to the Luxembourg central train station and the associated traffic jams has done more to stop people getting in their cars than any single traffic calming measure. On the other hand, anecdotal reports about aggressive driving and road rage in the capital went off the radar.
The Delano stories I worked on that gave me most satisfaction…
The most satisfying story for me played out in several articles. During the summer, I had the opportunity to interview young climate and political activists in Luxembourg. From Richtung 22 to Extinction Rebellion, I was awed by the energy and courage of the people driving these movements. Some have risked jail to speak their minds. One camped out in a coalmine in Germany and was awoken by police during a sleep-in. When they arrested her, they had to physically carry her out.
This thread continued in August when I covered the first phase of construction at the Cell Aërdschëff (earthship) with the help of international volunteers. The project, still under construction in Redange, showcases sustainable and circular economy construction techniques. It’s remarkable for the passion and drive of the individuals involved, but also because the take home message is that much of the “passive housing” methods being used in Luxembourg have a detrimental impact on the environment.
In 2020, I am most looking forward to...
Making and listening to more podcasts. I think Luxembourg is still under-represented in this media arena.
The best podcasts I discovered or listened to in 2019…
2019 was the year I discovered “Everything is Alive”, a tongue-in-cheek podcast by Radiotopia in which we hear what objects would say, if they had a voice. They’ve “interviewed” everything from toothbrushes to satellites. I love the simple concept and insightful, comic twists. For pure fan-entertainment, I was also delighted to discover “Office Ladies”, in which American mockumentary TV series “The Office” co-stars and friends Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela) talk about what went on behind in this series which, I discovered a bit later than everyone else.
My favourite journalistic podcasts were “The Dropout” and “The Hurricane Tapes”. The former is a captivating three-year investigation published on ABC Audio, examining the story of Elizabeth Holmes, an American businesswoman who was once held up as the next Steve Jobs. Holmes founded Theranos, a now defunct company that falsely claimed it could accurately test for an array of health conditions from a single finger prick of blood. The resulting podcast is a cautionary, multi-layered tale which shows how easy it is to get carried out with an idea and the lengths people will go to succeed.
“The Hurricane Tapes” is a gripping 14-episode BBC World Service series which re-investigates a triple homicide in 1966 for which Rubin “Hurricane” Carter served 20 years in jail. Based on 40 hours of tape recordings, it’s an uplifting biopic of Carter’s life before and after the shooting. Carter always maintained his innocence, a point which Bob Dylan brought out in his 1975 song “Hurricane”. The twists and turns of this story are like a roller-coaster. I was glued to every episode. Did Carter do it? Give it a listen and judge for yourself.
The best plate of food I had at a Luxembourg restaurant…
I had a very memorable baked potato at Kumpir, The Happy Potato. It’s a little kiosk-type place at the entrance to the Place du Théâtre car park selling soul-satisfying jacket potatoes with a range of different fillings. The service is quick and friendly and it’s a great place from which to people watch.