Invading Brussels: Book Launch

Invading Brussels

I arrived in Brussels on a very soggy Thursday after a long train journey from Amsterdam. I was not in the neighbouring country to expand my invasion plans; there were already a large group of expat bloggers who had things under control in that regard. In fact, I was about to meet a few of them. I had been invited to the book launch of the blog become book (with pages and words); My Boy Friend is a Twat by Zoe McCarthy.

The first thing I noticed as I tried to find my way around the city was the large amount of chemists. It seemed that every where I turned I was faced with another green neon cross that is the sign of the legal drug givers. The second thing I noticed in contrast was the lack of any where to by an umbrella and that I was just a little lost. At least if I caught a cold from being rained on so much I would not have to go far for medication.

After a while I managed to get my bearings with the help of my very soggy map and found a place where I was able to by the most European looking tourist umbrella ever invented (blue with the EU stars on it).

I arrived at the book launch just before the speeches began. The Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner Margot Wallström, gave a speech introducing Zoe who then gave a reading of a few paragraphs from her book before being joined by the twat himself to read out a few of the well know twattism (a popular feature on her blog).

I had never met Zoe in person before so I was able to stealthily introduce myself as she signed copies of her book for various people at the gathering.

“Who should I make it out to?” She asked as I handed her my copy of the book.

“Invader Stu,” I replied and could not help grinning at the surprised look on her face.

Bloggers are amongst the friendliest people on the planet. I didn’t only have a great time meeting Zoe, I also got to meet Rachel North, Chameleon, Andy Ramblings, Spanish Goth, Tippler and more.

I also got to talk to the Twat himself who took great pride in the fact that he was listed as ‘The Twat’ on the guest list as if it was an official title. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity, a living legend that I had only read about until now.

During our conversation I was even able to get what could be considered a twattism. Hopefully I will not be contacted by Zoe’s lawyers with a cease and desist order for sharing this with you:

Twat: “I’m on my best behaviour tonight. While I was on the podium I wanted to drop my trousers and reveal a pair of jogging bottoms.”

Me: “I’m so glad you finished that sentence with the words ‘jogging bottoms’ and not something else.”

Please don’t sue me Zoe.

11 responses to “Invading Brussels: Book Launch”

  1. zed says:

    trust the Twat to say that! it was lovely meeting you and you must visit more often – Hamsterdam isn’t that far away afterall …

    a lovely write-up – do visit again – i didn’t bite did i?

  2. Chameleon says:

    It was a genuine pleasure to meet you Stu – please do send me that e-mail!
    Very interesting to read about what struck you during your visit. As someone who has been living here since 1991 I only have residual memories of what seemed odd or unusual. If asked now, I would say that one of life’s little irritations in Belgium is the lack of public toilets (and in many restaurants, particularly of the more old-fashioned variety, you have to walk straight through the gents to access the ladies!). On the relieving oneself theme, the national sport for the male native of this troubled (and currently government-less) land is to whip out his equipment in full public view and imitate that icon the Mannekin Pis. I have often thought of installing a CCTV camera on the corner of my house and posting the films on YouTube in a (probably futile) attempt to shame them. Lay-bys, hedges, fences, nothing is safe…
    If you do ever make your way over again, please do give us a shout :)

  3. Elaib says:

    Twas a fun night. Did you go on to the drinks at Offals, if so we probably met, but as I was in deep disguise…

  4. Blue says:

    I envy you! I don’t have many blogger friends and those that I do, I’ll probably never meet.

  5. Brother Tobias says:

    I wonder if there is a collective noun for bloggers?

  6. zed says:

    another thing: pharmacists, hair-dressers and bakeries. that’s what you find a-plenty in this country. i should blog about it one day – in fact, i will. such fascinating research, dontchya think?

    (i was going to ages ago – probably have, in fact ….)

  7. Invader Stu says:

    Zed – No, you did not bite at all but you did hug a lot :)

    I think it is something you should blog about. I just thought it was funny seeing so many. In one area I saw a hell of a lot of music stores as well.

    Chameleon – I have to rack my brains sometimes as well to remember the things that really seemed different when I moved to Holland. I’m slow when it comes to email but I will mail you (right now I am falling asleep at my computer though).

    Elaib – I wanted to go but I had to catch my train back to Amsterdam.

    Blue – That’s what I used to think as well.

    Brother Tobias – A boggle of bloggers?

  8. Dragon Lady says:

    Did you get off the train at Brussels Midi? If so did you get the pre metro into town or did you try to walk.
    Do you remember the first time we went to Brussels, got off the train and immeadiatly thought where the hell are we. It seems as strange putting the international train station so far from the town, just like Waterloo international in Londodn. People getting off of Eurostar must think they have landed in the middle of a very dingy place. At least Brussels is spending money doing the area up now.

  9. Invader Stu says:

    I got off at central station but the area was just as confusing. It took me a while to work out where everything was or where in the city I was. Midi station itself is far much nicer then central.

  10. Daphne Wayne-Bough says:

    Bloggers are very friendly but due to their huge egos (that’s why they’re bloggers of course) (note third person – not first person – plural) not very good at introducing people. If I’d known you were there I’d have bored you instead of the two glazed-over journos I was holding forth at. I was also at Offals later and didn’t meet you there either. When I venture up to NL we should rectify this.

  11. Invader Stu says:

    Daphne Wayne-Bough – I had to leave straight after the book launch so I did not get to go to Offals but I’ve agreed to come over and visit Zoe again in the new year.

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