A Heavily Subsidised Mini Organ15 November 2010 Zie Nederlandse versie
by Arnold Jansen op de Haar
Elton John was christened Reginald Kenneth Dwight but changed his name to Elton Hercules John. A short, overweight man who chooses the name ‘Hercules’, I find this touching. I consider going by the name of Arnold ‘Hercules’ Jansen op de Haar from now on.
That is because I am a fan of Elton John. There, I have said it. Maybe it is because I am moved by the fact that a stout, balding middle aged man is one of the best selling artists ever. ‘There is still hope,’ I say to myself when looking in the mirror. I have never met a fellow fan of Elton John. I think fans of Elton John prefer to keep it quiet. Yet I am a fan, just as I was a fan of ABBA and Blondie in my teens. I was in love with the latter. So I never quite became like Elton John.
Recently it was reported that regional authority Campania spent 750,000 euros of public money on hiring Elton John to perform in Naples Mr Dario Scalabrini, a former head of the region’s tourist office declared that he didn’t have any regrets. Besides, according to Mr Scalabrini, Elton John played the Neapolitan song O Sole Mio for the first time ever on a piano, the audience was crying with emotion.
I can imagine that a group of corpulent balding men met in a Neapolitan back room and that the capo di capi (the boss of bosses) announced: ‘We are going to screw the EU.’
Luckily Elton John does a lot for charity but to spend 750,000 euros of public money on him is overdoing it.
Well, I recall the one million euros that was spent on the European Laboratory for Hip Hop Dance: ‘To encourage the recognition and visibility of hip hop dance in Europe’.
Moreover, 200,000 euros were used to encourage friendliness: ‘To spread the movement of reaching out and sharing’. It could not get crazier.
Yet the ‘Wind Art Festival’ received a 200,000 euros subsidy to grow audiences at organ concerts, ‘To give the organ its natural place in cultural life’.
This instantly reminded me of Le Pétomane of Paris. I don’t know why. However, Joseph Pujol could because of his gassy farts play the complete Marseillaise from his ‘back entrance’. This he performed, without any subsidy, at the Moulin Rouge.
Another example, a German village called Hotland, was awarded 150,000 euros towards designing an innovative storage facility for bicycles as part of ‘EU’s Village Renewal Programme’. It produced an enormous building. ‘We just needed a simple shed with bicycles racks,’ said Uwe Themann, Hotland’s mayor, somewhat bemused.
On the Danish island of Bornholm they can rejoice about an EU sponsored ski slope. Businessman Ole Harild declared: ‘I never imagined that the EU would subsidise such a daft project.’ He said this about his own project! Well, the slope is only one hundred meters high and located near the sea, so on average, it is available for skiing just one day a year. It belongs to the same category as the 100,000 Euros in agricultural subsidy that went to Schiphol Airport. Yes, this too has been awarded. Yet not a single potato has been harvested at this location.
I am in favour of Europe. After all, for the past 65 years, we haven’t had any wars in the European Union. However the EU has the same problem as many other organisations that provide subsidies: too often they look for a project to spend the money, not for a project that needs the money.
Personally I have never received any public money. Therefore I am about to quickly fill in an application form for a private performance by Kim Wilde in my living room. (An EU support programme for overweight poets and aging singers.) I will accompany her on a heavily subsidised mini organ.
© Arnold Jansen op de Haar
© Translation Holland Park Press
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