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Geoff Meade

Bruxelles, Belgium
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About Geoff
Geoff Meade is a journalist based in Bruxelles, Belgium.
Feature Stories Content Writing Corporate Content
Fact Checking

The heart and soul of the paper-pusher

03 Jun 2024  |  www.brusselstimes.com
The author recounts personal experiences with bureaucratic errors, including being mistakenly identified as the owner of a 10-storey block of flats in Brussels and receiving a parking fine for a place he had never visited. The narrative highlights the frustrations and occasional absurdities of dealing with administrative authorities, while also acknowledging the necessity and occasional efficiency of bureaucratic processes. The story concludes with the resolution of both issues, restoring some faith in officialdom.

Priority from the wrong

02 Jun 2024  |  www.brusselstimes.com
The article discusses the author's frustration with the Belgian political system and the 'priority from the right' traffic rule, which gives priority to vehicles coming from the right, even on fast highways. The author reflects on the complexities of voting in Belgium compared to the simpler political landscape in Britain. The article also highlights historical and current debates around the traffic rule, mentioning figures like Neil Kinnock and organizations such as the Belgian Institute for Road Safety and VAB. The author concludes by expressing the difficulty in identifying election candidates who align with their political agenda.

Windows of a world gone by

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
Thomas Vandormael, a resident of Schaerbeek, Belgium, is on a mission to create a photographic inventory of stained glass in private homes as part of his PhD research. Unlike public buildings, private stained glass windows are undocumented, and Thomas aims to preserve this aspect of the Belle Époque architectural heritage. He has been distributing leaflets, urging citizens to contribute photos of their stained glass. Thomas, who works for a regional car parking management agency, is also an art historian and has faced challenges due to the lack of scholarly resources on residential stained glass. His own home, a Belle Époque house filled with original stained glass, reflects his passion and serves as inspiration for his research. The article also briefly mentions an encounter with a dishwasher repairman who shared a personal story related to the author's house's past as a restaurant.

How an incorrectly labelled parking sign in Brussels cost us an arm and a leg

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article recounts a personal anecdote where the author's dinner guest's car was towed away due to being parked next to a no-parking sign with an illegibly written end-date. Initially concerned about the car being stolen and their social reputation, they discovered the car was towed to facilitate traffic flow due to road works. The author and the guest visited the police station and were directed to a 24-hour car pound. After navigating through confusing road works and receiving guidance from a stranger, they retrieved the car. The story highlights the challenges of unclear signage and the author's reflection on the helpfulness of those involved in the incident. The author concludes with an observation that new, clearer parking signs have been installed on their street.

Our weekend as undercover Brussels tourists

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article narrates the author's experience of taking a short vacation in their own city, Brussels, using a long-forgotten birthday gift voucher. Initially considering various locations in the Benelux countries, the author settles on staying in the City of Brussels, despite living in the Brussels-Capital Region. The author and their partner set rules to make the experience novel, such as pretending to be first-time visitors and avoiding familiar places. They explore the city, dine at new spots, and engage with other tourists. The article reflects on the joy of rediscovering one's city and the benefits of a mini-break.

A toast to the bar staff of Belgium

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article discusses the challenges faced by bar staff due to a law that prohibits them from encouraging customers to consume more alcohol. The author learned about this law during a visit to a bar in Brussels, where the landlord explained the awkward situations it creates. The law aims to tackle alcoholism but is difficult to enforce. The author suggests that more effective measures might include requiring the drinks industry to display unpleasant images on alcohol bottles, similar to the tobacco industry. The article also humorously compares the situation to other consumer experiences, such as buying clothes or cars, where upselling is common. The author concludes by accepting the need to order drinks without the encouragement of bar staff and questions the necessity of such a law in influencing consumer decisions.

Becoming Belgian: A British expat's unconventional road to Belgian citizenship

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article narrates the personal story of Geoff Meade, an English expat in Belgium, who reflects on his identity and experiences after being compelled to seek Belgian nationality. Meade humorously recounts interactions with his Belgian neighbors, particularly a young man curious about English identity. He discusses the quirks of Belgian culture, including the use of the English word 'EXIT' in supermarkets and the significance of the Eurovision song contest to Belgians. Meade also mentions his friend John Makin, who wrote a song celebrating Belgian identity, and touches on the practical reasons behind many expats' decisions to apply for Belgian citizenship post-Brexit. The article concludes with Meade becoming a Belgian citizen and the irony of his English sports car also taking Belgian nationality.

The Brussels that Boris Johnson almost broke

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article reflects on Boris Johnson's time as a foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in Brussels from 1989 to 1994. It discusses his unique approach to journalism, often involving exaggeration and inaccuracies, which contributed to the spread of Euroscepticism. The author recounts personal interactions with Johnson and his father, Stanley Johnson, and critiques Boris's reporting style, which frequently involved sensationalist and unverified stories. The article also touches on Johnson's personal life, including his marriage and his purchase of a red sports car. The author suggests that Johnson's legacy in Brussels could be ironically commemorated with a blue plaque, acknowledging his role in shaping perceptions of the European Union.

Dog-walking as Diplomacy Training

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article humorously suggests that dog-walking offers valuable lessons in diplomacy and people skills, which could be beneficial for civil service diplomats. The author describes various scenarios where dog owners must navigate social interactions with other dog-walkers and the public, often in challenging and comical situations. The piece touches on the natural behaviors of dogs that can cause embarrassment for their owners, such as public urination and defecation. It also discusses the unspoken rules and judgments made by dog-walkers when encountering each other and the need for diplomacy in these interactions. The article concludes with a story about local dog-walkers rebelling against new regulations requiring dogs to be leashed in a park, hinting at the need for high-level diplomacy in resolving the issue.

Who is the real menace from across the waters?

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article is a nostalgic reflection on the British comic magazine Beano, particularly its character Dennis the Menace, who shares a significant birthday milestone with the author. The author reminisces about his childhood connection with the comic and its characters, including Minnie the Minx and Roger the Dodger. The article also touches on the Beano's influence on Frits Bolkestein, a former Dutch European Commissioner, and the cultural impact of the comic over the years. It discusses how the characters have been toned down to reflect changing societal norms, with Dennis losing his weapons and Gnasher becoming less aggressive. The Beano's recognition as a collector's item and its celebration in a London exhibition are also mentioned, highlighting the comic's enduring legacy and its role as a 'bible' of childhood for many.

Brexit and the mushy pea conundrum

04 Apr 2024  |  brusselstimes.com
The article discusses the impact of Brexit on the availability of British food products in Belgium, focusing on the Stonemanor store, which has long catered to British expatriates by providing UK food staples. Due to Brexit-induced customs issues, the store faced supply disruptions, leading to empty shelves and a temporary closure. The store resumed operations by sourcing products from Ireland, which has become the new norm for British food supplies in Belgium. The journalist, a British expatriate, reflects on the cultural significance of food from home and notes the adaptation to Irish alternatives in the wake of Brexit.

Luca Brecel: The New Addition to the List of Famous Belgians

05 Apr 2023  |  brusselstimes.com
The article discusses the impact of Luca Brecel's victory as World Snooker Champion, making him a globally recognized Belgian figure. The author, Geoff Meade, reflects on the challenge of naming famous Belgians and how Brecel's win adds to the list of notable Belgians. The article humorously touches on the concept of fame and how it relates to Belgian nationals, both real and fictional. It also mentions the historical dominance of British players in snooker and the rarity of non-UK champions. The author concludes by sharing an anecdote about foreign diplomats in Brussels using lists to remember famous Belgians, providing a list of 19 names deemed worthy by one embassy.

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Dec 2014

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