Drinking in my local pub last week – The Saracens Head – I was surprised to overhear an animated discussion revolving around the subject of one Frederick (Freddie to his friends) Thielemans.
As my fellow drinkers are, in the main, horny-handed sons of the soil, I had naturally assumed they would not be entirely au fait with the latest developments vis-à-vis European politics.
But they soon put me right. One point, repeatedly raised by a Charles Montgomery Martel (Mad Monty Martel, as he is known in the Saracens Head and the nearby Bigot’s Arms) was how extraordinarily ugly mayor Thielemans is.
I must confess that Freddie’s physical failings had until that moment quite passed me by, but with a dextrous flick of a hand more suited to the daily relief of cows, Mad Monty conjured a dog eared photograph from his corduroy pocket of none other than mayor Thielemans himself!
Good Lord, I murmured to myself, as heads craned to glimpse this quite revolting image, Mad Monty is absolutely right. Mayor Thielemans really is quite hideously ugly, how could I possibly not have noticed this before?
With an appalled fascination, we slowly passed the photograph around, shaking our heads more in sorrow than anger. One local farmer, a breeder of the scarcely known pig variety “Brusellius Horriblius” was so sickened he bought up an entire pint of Bitter and Twisted, the local brew much favoured in this part of the world.
Once Mad Monty had dried off his photograph, an eerie calm settled across the pub. The silence one may have heard when the guns fell silent during the war, or a traumatized victim perhaps feels upon receiving his medication.
Suddenly, a stentorian voice, more suited to bringing sheep dogs to heel on those desolate windswept moors nearby, abruptly crashed through the shaken and shocked pub.
“Y’ere” it bellowed, “an I’ll tell ee summat else, e’s a roight fat fookin baastard an’all!”
As I sprang to reappraise yet another overlooked aspect of mayor Thielemans, I realised that my natural inquisitiveness, or thirst for knowledge, had overcome the deference normally shown to ageing farmers, and had pushed ahead of the oldest man in the pub.
I made my apologies, but he waved them away. “No, no,” he said, “I really can’t take any more. You go ahead, take a gander, and then describe it to me, but gentle mind!” He tapped his chest a couple of times, implying that at his age, one shock per day is more than adequate.
When I looked again at the still moist photograph, I had to hit myself on the head at my lack of visual cognisance! How could I have missed this one? Not only is mayor Thielemans hideously ugly, he is also massively - if not monstrously – fat.
Well, after that, the evening turned into something of a haze. Whether it was the alcohol or some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder, I know not. All I can really remember is the final point made by Mad Monty; which bought into doubt mayor Thielemans sexuality.
Now, it is not for me to question the sexuality of the roly-poly mayor of Brussels. As far as I am concerned, if he is heterosexual, then that is his business, and his business alone. I cautioned my fellow drinkers on the litigious dangers in alluding to the heterosexuality of socialist mayors. I am sure some of them are, I explained to them, but you simply cannot tar them all with the same brush. A great many of them go home every night to nubile young Brazilian boys, just as every self respecting socialist mayor is expected to do.
Mad Monty then explained why he had a photograph of Fat Freddie in his pocket. It turns out that on some EU farmers junket to Brussels in the 90’s, he had got very drunk, gate crashed a lesbian wedding ceremony for German MEP Lissy Groner and her unnamed girlfriend (did Ms Groner take the girlfriends name I wonder?) and found none other than Fat Freddie Thielemans conducting the ceremony.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, photos were taken, hence his possession of the damp, but still shockable picture in his pocket. I asked him why he carried out around with him, to which he replied that he used it as a means of inducing labour in recalcitrant cows when all else had failed.
“Better the old bitch die of shock, than a calf die inside her” as he so eloquently put it.
Returning to mayor Thielemans sexuality for a moment, I have recently been given a clipped out article from a very hungover Mad Monty, which suggests that Fat Freddie may not be heterosexual after all. According to the Brussels Evening Echo, an unattractive, corpulent individual, in possession of a luxuriant moustache, was spotted rooting around in the back alleys of the adolescent (built only fifteen years ago) Arab Quarter of downtown Brussels, red faced, sweating profusely and singing the anthem to the Red Flag.
This may or may not have been mayor Thielemans, and I would like to state, quite unequivocally, that to my mind, unpalatable though it may be, I am convinced he is heterosexual.
Mayor Thielemans is many things: The charge of being hideously ugly would have a difficult defence in a court of law, as would monstrously fat, or even viciously treacherous. But I do think we need to draw a line somewhere, and that somewhere is his sexual proclivity, be it procreative or passive. After all, if it turned out that he was indeed homosexual, what would his local voters make of that?
Given his varied physical problems, I think the least we can do is to maintain that mayor Thielemans is heterosexual, no matter what evidence comes to light in the coming months. I should hate to think of the lovely Freddie, swaying gently by his feet from a lamppost in years to come, surrounded by swarthy men loosing their Kalashnikovs into the air, whilst small boys with long memories hit his sad, podgy face with slippers, his magnificent moustache drooping poignantly downward.
C. Paul Weston