Saturday, September 29

Tuesday, September 18

More Belgian negotiations break down

The Witloof can exclusively reveal that top-secret negotiations between high ranking Flemish and Francophone politicians on the break-up of the country have broken down.

The talks, taking place in a crowded pub in downtown Brussels, had been progressing well according to one well placed source. There was broad agreement that Flanders would keep the economic growth while Wallonia would keep large numbers of unemployed.

Flanders would get the majority of the beer, while Wallonia would take the lion’s share of the chocolate. Wallonia would also get the royal family, a key Flemish demand.

Experts had expected the most difficult aspect of the talks to concern the future of Brussels but there was apparently unanimity that this should be given to the Moroccans.

The breakdown of the break-up negotiations actually came as those involved failed to agree on how to divide up the family silver. In addition to the embassies in Washington, London, Paris and Moscow, Flanders wanted a rather expensive looking crystal chandelier and a set of six ceramic dinner plates. Flabbergasted Walloon negotiators are understood to have stormed out without even finishing their 33cl glasses of Jupiler.

The question now is whether the two sides can be tempted back to the negotiating table. Those familiar with the key players estimate the chance of a resumption at about 30%, coincidentally also the average strength of a local beer.

Inside: Mannekin Pis refuses to take sides.

Monday, September 17

The End

It has reached the guardian, it must be serious.

Saturday, September 15

Lessons Learned

A world record was broken at the Memorial Van Damme athletics meet last night in the Heizel Stadium, Brussels. Meseret Defar ran the 2 mile in a time of 8:58.58.

It is an improbable story. Defar arrived in Brussels from Addis Ababa only the day before the race having, wait for it, taken part in Ethiopia’s millennium celebrations on Tuesday evening.

More improbable, in a stadium which saw 39 football fans crushed to death in 1985, was the following:

“Jupiler Blue offers every single spectator of the crowd of 47000 a free Jupiler Blue should a world record be broken at the Memorial Van Damme on 14 September 2007.

As soon as a world record has been broken the audience can collect their free Jupiler Blue at the bars.”

I hope the queue was orderly.

Sunday, September 2

Michael Jackson dies

Michael Jackson passed away on 30 August.

Admit it, you are shocked to be reading about this first here. Several days after the event.

The renowned beer expert had been battling Parkinson's disease (stop sniggering down the back, he was not drunk) for some time and was suffering from other undisclosed health problems.

Jackson put Belgian beers on the map almost singlehandedly, writing the Great Beers of Belgium at the beginning of the 1990's in the days before Leffe was available in any self-respecting hostelry.

It was a dirty job but someone had to do it. Now, I'm off to the Brussels Beer Festival to raise a Geuze to the great man.

Saturday, September 1

Belgium on the rocks

Belgium on the rocks. Sounds like a dodgy cocktail. Well as we all know Belgium is a bit of a dodgy cocktail. Of different language groups and regions. And it is on the rocks. Le Figaro asks if it is all going to end in divorce? And quite unbelievably the author urges French President Sarkozy to prepare for the annexation of Wallonia by France.

But enough about dodgy Belgian cocktails. Let's talk about something much more important. Beer. If you are in Brussels this weekend, DO NOT miss the annual beer festival. It takes place on the historic Grand Place/Grote Markt (I don't want to upset anyone, I am a guest here..) and has about 200 hundred beer types just waiting to be tasted.

Santé. Or should I say Gezondheid!