Procol Harum

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Reassuring in Java


Wilfried van Damme sends BtP a newspaper snippet, which concerns the extraordinary 'naamsbekendheid' of Procol in the Netherlands to this day

My Dutch-English dictionary doesn't mention the word 'naamsbekendheid', but it means something like 'familiarity of the name' - I suppose advertising people have their own terminology for that in English ('brand familiarity'??) - anyway, in the present case one may simply say 'renown'.

The Dutch national newspaper De Volkskrant has a weekly supplement dedicated to travel. On the first page of this supplement the topics to be found in it are announced by a brief heading or caption.

On Saturday 1 April 2000, one of the captions read: 'Procol Harum reikt tot op Java' [Procol Harum reaches all the way to Java]. It is supposed to lure the reader to an article on p 5 of the supplement, 'Sassaka Domans, sprak de Baduy' ['Sassaka Domans, said the Baduy'], by Kees Buys.

Nothing spectacular: the author recounts how he is spending the night in the village of Ciasaban. He is quite nervous when he hears someone walking around his cabin. But this person appears to be merely heading for a radio, as the author realizes when the radio is switched on.

An "amiable female voice" then announces a song in English (it turns out be a Radio London broadcast). "It was A wither shade of pale [sic] by Procol Harum. Creaky and thin and hardly audible due to the sounds of the forest, the melancholic sound flowed into space ..."

Isn't it wonderful that the 'koppenmaker' of this newspaper [the sub-editor in charge of writing captions] assumes the name Procol Harum to be widely known among present-day Dutch readers!


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