Interview met volkszanger Marco Schups, zaterdag 27 juli 2013

marcoschupsdoor Jaap van der Wijk

Ik ontmoet de bekende volkszanger bij de plantenbakken voor de Lidl op het Leeuwerikplein in Purmerend.
“Waarom hier, Marco?”
“Hier liggen mijn roots. Hier is het allemaal begonnen. Ik leg het later wel uit.”
“Marco Schups, zanger van beroep, 42 jaar, ras Amsterdammer, geboren en getogen in Purmerend, getrouwd met Nellie, drie kinderen. Wat moet de lezer nog meer van je weten, Marco?”
“Mijn vader zat in het krantenvak. Tja, eigenlijk was hij werkloos, maar dat wist mijn moeder niet. Hij ging elke morgen met zijn broodtrommeltje van huis, en dan ging hij de stad in. Hij haalde de gelezen Daklozenkranten uit de vuilnisbak bij de bushalte, en die verkocht hij dan bij de ingang van V&D. Van de opbrengst kocht hij bier, hier bij de Lidl, en dat dronk hij dan hier bij de plantenbak op. Als je het goed beschouwt was mijn vader toen al bezig met recycling. Ik ging vaak met hem mee, en heb ontzettend veel van hem geleerd.”
“Zoals…”
“Zoals niet bij de pakken neerzitten, maar erop uit gaan en wat doen. Het leven op straat is keihard, weet je, en alleen als je zo’n leven zelf hebt meegemaakt kun je erover zingen. Een kind van de straat, tuich van de richel, dat ben ik.”
‘Maar je vader had toch ook gewoon een uitkering, en hij was toch altijd om zes uur thuis, voor het eten?”
“Ja, dat weet ik wel, maar we hadden altijd veel ellende met de politie. Die vroegen mijn vader dan om zich te verwijderen, want die plantenbakken zijn niet om in te zitten. Daar heeft de gemeente juist de bankjes voor verwijderd, om dergelijke criminaliteit tegen te gaan. Dat was hard, man, om te zien dat je vader door die fucking politie werd weggestuurd.”
Marco huilt. Je kunt zien dat de herinnering hem diep raakt.

“Marco, je grootste hit tot nu toe is “Ik wacht op jou”. Hoe is het leven als beroemde Nederlandse zanger?”
“Echt geweldig! De samenwerking met collega’s als Geer, Goor, Jan, René, enzovoort, is fantastisch! Het zijn fijne collega’s, vooral André. Ik ben pas nog een avondje met hem wezen stappen.”
“André Hazes? Maar die is toch al negen jaar dood?”
“Nou ja, misschien is het al iets langer geleden. Maar ik stond wel vorige week samen voor de stoplichten bij de RAI met Martijn Fischer, die André speelt in de musical “Hij gelooft in mij”.”
“Jij in jouw auto en Martijn in die van hem?”
“Nee, ik was op de brommer.”

“Waar gaat “Ik wacht op jou” over?”
“Over een man wiens vrouw in de gevangenis zit. Hij mist haar vreselijk. Heel aangrijpend.”
“Is het lied gebaseerd op de realiteit?”
“Ja. Ik zal het maar toegeven: mijn vrouw Nellie zit nog steeds in de gevangenis. De kinderen heb ik zolang ondergebracht bij haar ouders.”
“Jeetje! Waar zit ze voor?”
“Onbetaalde bekeuringen. Ik vind dat als je over iets zingt dat het dan ook echt gebeurd moet zijn. Dus heb ik haar verteld dat de minimumsnelheid op de A7 naar Amsterdam 130 kilometer per uur is. Dus nu moet ze al die onbetaalde bekeuringen uitzitten.”
“Maar waarom, Marco. Waarom?”
“Weet je: je moet iets over hebben voor de kunst. Als je de pijn in een lied tot uiting wilt brengen, moet je die pijn ook echt voelen. Anders kom je niet geloofwaardig over. Dat is de essentie van het levenslied.”
“Dat is duidelijk. Wanneer komt ze vrij?”
“Dat kan nog wel een paar jaar duren.”
“Maar waarom betaal je dan nu niet? Dan laten ze haar vandaag nog vrij.”
“Nee joh, het bevalt me wel goed zo. En die kinderen zijn toch niet van mij.”

“Wat zijn de plannen voor de toekomst, Marco?”
“Mijn hitsingle “Ik wacht op jou” wordt vertaald in het Engels. “I Weight On You” moet hoog gaan scoren op de internationale markt. Daar maak ik me sterk voor.”
“Die vertaling, heb je dat helemaal zelf gedaan?”
“Ja ja, daar ben ik best wel trots op!”
“Marco, het was een fijn interview. Bedankt voor dit inkijkje in de Nederlandse artiestenwereld, en heel veel succes met je internationale carrière.”

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So many changes…

My yesterday friends won’t find me in the pub, and if they would visit me, they would look for the wine cellar in vain. My wine consumption has reduced to one glass of white wine at night, as a night cap, and on a sunny Saturday afternoon I could be found in my little patio, drinking one single bottle of beer.

Nothing to offer, nothing to give. Ever since I returned to Holland in July 2011, clueless and pennyless, my dog Boris and I have to get by with only a fraction of the money I used to spend. I made that very clear on the day I arrived. I can’t afford to entertain guests, I can’t afford to travel, at least not during the next three years.

So, no more fancy dinners, no more Chablis and Pouilly-Fumé. My yesterday friends don’t visit me, and consciously I avoid to make new ones. Simply because I can’t be the host I used to be, the host I would like to be, I stopped socialising.

In the old days, when I was still a professional chef, I always drank a few glasses of wine while I prepared food, and a few glasses of wine during dinner. After desert there would be coffee, followed by a few glasses of wine, usually more than a few if the conversation was challenging and the company was good.

But now I’m in a different situation and I have to make choices. If I drink wine the way I used to, I can’t afford fruit, cheese, vegetables, etc. Luckily something happened to me that helps me to make wiser decisions.

A couple of months ago I lost my appetite for food. I found out that a glass of wine or beer before dinner was an appetizer for me – had been all these years. No appetite without a drink; no pleasure in cooking without an appetite. So there were two things I could do: 1. Have a drink or two before and during dinner to regain my appetite, or 2. Change my eating habits.

I decided to choose the latter option. If I would have a drink or two before and during dinner, I would indeed regain my appetite, so I would eat more food, of lesser (cheaper) quality. Without my appetite I would have four or five small meals during the day, with fruit, cheese and vegetables, things I couldn’t afford if I would buy more wine and beer.

Actually I’m quite happy with my current diet. For instance, yesterday I had two slices of bread with salami for brunch, half a melon in the afternoon, two breadrolls with smoked salmon and garlic cream cheese for dinner, and one tomato in the evening. Today I will have two peanut butter sandwiches for brunch, one apple in the afternoon, penne with ham and cheese for dinner, and some grapes in the evening. And then, as a reward for my self-discipline, one medium glass (25 cl) of dry white wine before going to bed. One.

And how I enjoy that one glass of wine. It takes me two episodes of the Simpsons to drink it. Life can be good.

 

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Merry Christmas? 1. Mad Friday and Panic Saturday

Yesterday was “Mad Friday”, the peak night of alcohol-related injuries before Christmas. Last year emergency services counted 6,681 alcohol-related injuries during the equivalent Friday. Offices are closing early, so people start drinking early at office parties. Britain is going mad. Overindulgence at office parties leads to dangerous situations on the night that the nation’s pre-Christmas festivities usually climax. Many people are completely drunk before 10pm.

The problem is that being drunk is socially accetable in the UK. I know a social worker who regularly calls his employer on a Monday morning to say he won’t come to work that day, because “I was so drunk last night”.

“Okay mate, no problem. See you tomorrow.”

These aren’t incidents. Christmas binge drinking is a national problem, and it has been for decades.

The website of the London Fire Brigade warns: “As 60% of house fires start in the kitchen, we want you to think about getting something to eat while you’re out rather than cooking after you’ve been drinking.” LFB advise the public to “grab a takeaway”.

In London, an alcohol recovery centre is operating in the West End and a second treatment centre has been set up at Liverpool Street station. In Birmingham, a similar unit is running in Broad Street.

London Ambulance Service operations manager Phil Powell said: “December is always a busy month for us and the number of people who call for an ambulance because they’ve had too much to drink is much higher than usual.”

In Wales, ambulance crews have joined forces with the police and local authorities to provide a range of support services for Christmas revellers. Dafydd Jones-Morris, Welsh Ambulance Service director of operations, said: “We are not killjoys but we do ask the public to act responsibly and to look after their friends and colleagues.”

Today is Panic Saturday. After a night of drunkenness people need to get in their Christmas shopping. Christmas sales make up 18% of the annual retail sales. £ 1,5 million a minute is spent by Brits today.

And after Panic Saturday binge drinking continues, with Mad Saturday, Mad Sunday, and so on, until January. That’s when the shit hits the fan, because there’s no money left to feed the kids and pay the bills.

Binge-drinking is getting out of control in Britain. One in four adults in Britain are binge drinkers and the UK recently topped a poll as Europe’s heaviest alcohol consumers and alcohol abuse is clearly escalating. The Office for National Statistics reported in November 2006 that the alcohol related death rate in the UK doubled from 4,144 deaths in 1991 to 8,386 deaths in 2005. This year alone these rates have increased by 11%.

Up to 2.6 million children live with parents who drink at “hazardous” levels and around 700,000 children are thought to live with dependent drinkers. Pressure put on women to be “supermums” is felt to be increasing alcohol use as a coping mechanism. Health and social care provider Turning Point said more than 5,000 people who used their alcohol treatment services last year were parents.

The latest data for alcohol-attributable conditions has shown a 9% rise on the previous year, resulting in a doubling over the decade. For 2010/11 the figure was 1,898 alcohol-related hospital admissions per 100,000 population in England, up from 926 admissions per 100,000 in 2002/03.

Merry Christmas?

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Identity Mysterious Grafiti Artist Banksy Finally Revealed

For years the identity of the grafiti artist Banksy has been a complete mystery. There have been numerous rumours and theories as to Banksy’s identity. Names often suggested include Robin Banks and Robin Gunningham. Another theory is that Banksy is actually a collective of artists rather than a single person.

Banksy, himself, states on his website:

I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as being ‘good at drawing’ doesn’t sound like Banksy to me.
 

Known for his contempt for the government in labeling graffiti as vandalism, Banksy displays his art on public surfaces such as walls and even going as far as to build physical prop pieces. Banksy’s work was born out of the Bristol underground scene which involved collaborations between artists and musicians.

A famous Banksy-quote is, “We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves.”

Today we’re finally able to reveal Banksy’s identity. His full name is Banksy Moon, and he was born 13 June 1944. He has some sort of a daytime job in New York and seems to be related to Eastenders’ Alfie Moon and Michael Moon.

Banksy wasn’t available for any comments on the revelation.

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My New Viancée – Al-Maghraoui allows it!

Jack and New Viancée

This is my new viancée. As soon as she’s 9 years old we’re able to get married. I can’t wait!

In 2008 Moroccan Imam Muhammad Al-Maghraoui issued a fatwah in which he said it was allowed to marry girls from the age of nine. He based this fatwah on the fact that — according to Muhammad Al-Maghraoui — the prophet Muhammad married Aisha bint Abu Bakr. Aisha was six or seven years old when she was betrothed to Muhammad and nine when the marriage was consummated.

In 2011 the Board of the orthodox As Sunnah Mosque in The Hague, Netherlands, invited imam Al-Maghraoui to come to Holland to deliver a lecture on a five-day conference starting December 23. Abdelhamid Tahiri, the Chairman of the Board, denies that Al-Maghraoui propagates sex with nine-year old girls. “In the Arab world, and also in other parts of the world, it is custom that a girl as young as nine enters the contract of marriage,” explained Tahiri. “This doesn’t mean that it’s allowed to have sex with her. It’s a simple contract; no more, no less.”

Many people, including the Dutch Parliament, are strongly opposed to Al-Maghraoui’s planned visit to the Netherlands. They feel that Al-Maghraoui’s visa should be denied. Iranian-born political commentator Ferdows Kazemi wrote, “A free country like the Netherlands shouldn’t offer a platform to people who undermine women’s rights and use their authority to spread their ideas.”

“The fact that even Moroccan Muslim women are opposed to this visit, says it all,” Ferdows Kazemi said. “Should he be he allowed to come here to take part in the conference and possibly adjust his opinions? I think that would be naive. To me, a person who refers to a 1400-year old tradition to justify the marrying off of nine-year old girls, doesn’t seem to be receptive to our enlightened views.”

I agree with Ferdows Kazemi. Many people with far less radical ideas than Al-Maghroui have been denied entrance to this country, so why not he?

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Gastronomics Now Ready for use!

No, the International Gastronomic Reference Work is not finished, and it never will be, because it’s a dynamical process and there will always be new words to add. However, it’s ready for use and it will be updated on a daily basis. Enjoy!

Click here to go to Gastronomics, or click one of the letters below to go to the page of your choice.

A

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D

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F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

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P

Q

R

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About Englishness

Wrong. You don’t buy fruit because you want to eat it — the bananas in this photograph would have been binned weeks ago — you buy it for decoration purposes.

For four years I’ve been in a relationship with an English middle class woman, actually a lower middle class woman who moved up to middle middle class (medium middle class?) thanks to a nice inheritage and sending her children to a Jewish school.

Now all these things may sound rather average to you, English people, but to me, being Dutch, they are completely incomprehensible.

Our society is also divided in classes — not nearly as much as English society though — and one reason for that is that the Dutch don’t encourage people to hang on to their local accents. The only reason that the English do encourage them to do that is to re-enforce the class system. Although it seems to be rather tolerant, it’s bloody patronising.

Years ago I needed to get some information from the Dutch Open University, who’s head offices are in Geleen, in the south of the Netherlands, and I expected someone to pick up the phone saying, “Good afternoon, this is the Open University”, but I heard something completely different and I disconnected. In hindsight the woman who answered the phone said exactly that, but in her own southern accent, of which I didn’t understand a word. In Holland we would say this was rather unacceptible from a national institution.

Recently I had an argument with British Gas, and to solve the problem I had to call a certain department. I was connected with a woman with the thickest West-Glasgow accent I’ve ever heard, and I was living in Sussex. Try to argue with a woman with a thick West-Glasgow accent if you’re not from West-Glasgow and you’re fucked. So, to British Gas, this is very functional.

The other day a British BBC journalist from West-Belfast was questioning a Russian politician on national British TV. She was asking him what whas goying on roight noy, and she had to repeat her question three times before he, who speaks English very well, understood what she was going on about. English middle class people LOVE that, because it separates them from the trash, so yes, please, let’s keep the accents! 

The English middle classes divide people into OKAP and NOKAP, meaning Our Kind Of People and Not Our Kind Of People, and the easiest way to do that is to encourage them to hang on to their local accents. So we let the NOKAPs being educated by NOKAPS, and the OKAPS by OKAPS, to avoid them to mix. So English people are quite okay with Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh people presenting BBC News, because they give them the opportunity to maintain the ever so important division between OKAPs and NOKAPs.

Another thing I have learned is that in middle class families, during an argument, you do not raise your voice.  In fact, the more drunk (or tired) they get, the more they will lower their voices, so after three gin and tonics you really have to ask them to speak up. There is another discrepancy here, because in the British Parliament, and institution that sadly enough contains of a majority of middle class people and always will be, never mind if they’re Tories or LibDem or Labour, exactly the opposite is true.  In a domestic argument, however, no matter how good your arguments are, you’re definitely at fault if you raise your voice. “But Jack was absolutely right!” “Could be, but he raised his voice. Absolutely disqualified.”   

English people are always after bargains, and English supermarkets are taking advantage of that inherited defect. Supermarkets like Asda and Tesco try to sell you as much as they can, so they offer you 3 for the price of 2. Although the English people usually only need 1, they buy 3, because it’s an “offer”, and they end up binning the 2 they didn’t need. How clever is that?

Another thing is the wine. Here in St. Leonards we have two Tesco’s — one in Hollington and one in Bexhill. Both sell an excellent white Italian Merlot, but the one in Hollington costs 4.95 and the one in Bexhill costs 2.99. Although it’s exactly the same wine, the same bottle, the same lable, English people would rather buy the expensive one from Tesco Hollington than the cheap one from Tesco Bexhill, because they think that the quality of wine is directly related to the price of it. The more expensive the wine, the better the quality. By the way, the same wine costs 0.79 in Italian supermarkets. Must be crap? I strongly disagree.

English people think that they are the centre of the world. So they try to change the whole scheme of things, even the Latin language, which existed ages before the English language was born. The Latin I (“ee”) is stubbornly and consistantly pronounced as “aye”, the name of the once beautiful (before the English came) Ibiza is — horrifying to the ears of civilised people — pronounced as “Ayebeefa”, and when you try to tell English people, even middle class people,  that this really isn’t the right thing to pronounce foreign names, they will say that you might be right, but it’s the English (dominant) way to do, and if you don’t do it people think you’re a snob. So to avoid any problems, the English call the Italian town with the beautiful name of Livorno (not Laayvorno) Leghorn, which in Dutch means “egg producing chicken”. To many people the British Empire never ceased to exist.

I advise you to learn Mandarin. Hopefully the Chinese, our next (almost present) dominant culture will appreciate that there has never been a painter called Vincent Ven Go in the Netherlands, but surely a Vincent Van Gogh (“Vahn Khokh”)

I’m opening a bottle of Chablis (not “Shebliss”) and will try to enjoy it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if many English people haven’t got an iota (“aye-ow-tah???”) what I’m talking about.

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