Well, it’s May all of a sudden and here we go with the Marching Season. OK, it’s not quite the same as those Orange jobbies that set the Paddies on edge - we go more for ‘rainbow’ in Brussels.
That’s a colour scheme covering a lot of bases (pink among them) and one that arguably pisses off more people than the Prods, albeit without the Great Annoyed feeling the need to grab sticks, knives, guns and other implements designed to make participants go ‘Ouch, ya bastard! That fucking hurt!’
Tippler’s mate Denzil is normally too preoccupied to give out more than a ‘Pah! Bloody ponces!’ when it comes to gazillions of guyliner-wearing gay boys, loose-limbed lesbians and tarted-up trannies gallumphing down the high street of a Saturday
afternoon. This because he’s usually ensconced in front of a big telly at The Oirish watching 22 men in very short shorts kick a ball around. You will doubtless draw your own conclusions.
Another mate, though, Deaf Bob, has an altogether different view. While being an otherwise decent bloke, on certain topics Bob is to tolerance what Denzil’s dangler is to a girl’s naughty bits: never the twain shall meet.
His view of the Belgian Pride march, for example, is this: “I can put up with the existence of arse bandits and carpet munchers (he can’t) but they’ve got their bloody rights sorted now, have had for years, so why can’t they stop poncing about, stop banging on about it, stop blocking the bloody streets and just leave it?”
Any argument along the lines of “well, actually, in some parts of Belgium/the world/the universe their rights are still being ignored,” is likely to fall on deaf ears. Well, obviously.
God only knows what Yer Man will make of the Zinneke Parade a week later, when residents of this beautiful mongrel city gather together to celebrate cultural diversity. The kind of diversity that can only come about through immigration. It’s a sore point and Deaf Bob won’t hear a word in favour of it. Again, obviously.
But he’s a good lad who gets his round in and, let’s be honest, it’s bloody funny getting him to shout when we all pretend that it’s too loud in the bar to hear a word of what he’s ranting on about.
Anyways, Tippler Towers just happens to be slap-bang downtown, with the inevitable result that noisy marches, police and ambulance sirens plus pissed-up punters puking in the streets at 3:00 are all par for the course. Part of life’s rich vomit- and/or rainbow-coloured tapestry, in fact. So, come to that, is seeing girls kissing each other. This happens so frequently a few streets away that relocation may well be in order. A bit nearer to the action, obviously.
No, what gets your correspondent’s goat - in fact the whole friggin’ farmyard - is big football matches involving (usually) Italian and Spanish teams shown live - and ‘free’ - down the pub.
What happens is this, lovers of the beautiful game such as Tipps, Denzil, Deaf Bob and Sam J Weerd turn up at some palais de libation, only for the way to the bar to be blocked by three-times-a-year footie ‘fans’ talking bollocks, wearing too-tight pants and, get this, NOT drinking. It’s possible that the ‘tight pants’ bit may be more an Italian than Spanish thing but the fact remains that many southern Europeans cram the pubs, get in the way of real drinkers and fail to buy a drink themselves.
They are way worse than any marchers and should be charged on the door (to be redeemed against a beverage). Alternatively, we all pop ‘round their place, turn on the TV...and block the bloody door.