Jules Deelder, the poet, died. It reminds me.
I was called up one day, one day back in the day when I lived in Rotterdam. The voice on the phone asked me if I would sing in Amsterdam and represent Rotterdam. As the Rotterdammers say “Amsterdam where is that then?” It nearly rhymes in Dutch too.
I was not an obvious representative for Rotterdam. As in I wasn’t born in Rotterdam. Or anywhere near Rotterdam. The voice on the phone told me that I was recommended by the organization of a local opera festival.
I felt flattered. It was paid. The voice on the phone wanted to show the people Amsterdam that Rotterdam had real culture by supporting a student of opera to sing something, anything, on a national holiday. Rotterdam is not known for opera singing.
The voice on the phone was from a radio station.
So I found myself in a van with two radio presenters from Rotterdam, Jules Deelder and my boyfriend, a born and bred Rotterdammer, who couldn’t believe what was happening. We drove to Amsterdam. Jules Deelder was not enthusiastic, he was pretty stoned. The radio presenters were having a blast.
We were dropped off at the Dam. “You think this will do?” The woman presenter asked me waving at the enormous stage with thousands of people cheering and yelling in front of the stage. My pianist met us at the cafe being used as a green room.
We stepped onto the stage and the woman presenter enthusiastically introduced me as Rotterdam culture and erroneously pronounced the name of my pianist as a potato chip snack. We were the warm-up act for Deelder.