>One of the many things I like about Belgium is that the towns there are so photogentically grungy once you wander off the tourist offices’ map.
Central Brussels and Ghent feel like cities as lived by their citizens. Graffiti, litter and in Brussels’ case – the stench of urine (yes, I know we have all these in London too, but that doesn’t count). These images were taken within a stones-throw of Ghent’s visitor honeypots. As I clicked away, I was conscious of being watched. Old ladies peeping at me from behind slightly tatty net curtains and grubby art-nouveau windows. A codger in a trilby putting on glasses and squinting down from his dormer window. This is something you’d never see in the West End and seldom in the central arrondissements of Paris. The British and French capitals are becoming cities where huge areas are given over solely for the gratification of tourists and global chain stores; the central zones are increasingly lived in only by the rich.