Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Suspicion and deceit

A couple of days ago I posted a picture of part of a parade in Brussels featuring some marchers wearing splendid green furry costumes. As I had found this, uncaptioned, on the cover of a tourist brochure, I had no idea who they were or what they were representing: The Gnomes of Flanders, perhaps? Die Grünen? The Brussels Lettuce Growers Association? I was certain that someone living in Brussels would write in and tell me.

Sure enough, within a few hours several comments had appeared on the blog, including one in French and one in Dutch. Both of these informed me that the parade was in fact part of the 2007 21ème Festival Gay et Lesbien de Belgique. The Frenchman not only gave me the website but said that his sister Éloise was on the left in the photo.

Well, fine. And yet…

I am ever mindful of Thomas Paine’s dictum: Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society. So I stifled my doubts and engaged this helpful pair in an exchange of comments. Finally, though, the doubts increased and I emailed a polyglot friend who writes under the name of Grumio. He is an unashamed blackguard and, on being pressed, freely admitted that he had written the comments, and that the G&L people of Brussels, had never, as far as he knew, marched in green fur.

By then I really wanted to know what it was all about, and asked a friend in Brussels for her help. She didn’t know the answer but referred me to a website which posts answers to questions about Belgium.

Bingo! Two anonymous people replied to my query with the totally convincing suggestion that "this could well be a group taking part in the Zinneke Parade (which takes place every two years). The theme changes on each occasion, and this sounds like the ecological theme from a couple of years ago".

That seems extremely likely. Anyway, I am going to accept it as the truth and make no more enquiries, suppressing the thoughts that anyone can send in answers to that website, the comments on it were anonymous, and Grumio is a persistent spoofer with time on his hands…

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