Little big newspaper
Little big newspaper
“There are no small parts, only small actors.”
I heard many directors observe this back in the days when I still regularly haunted the amateur theatre circuit. During rehearsals, there was always someone who complained that he had too few lines, that a monologue offered by his character would add just the perfect touch, and that it was imperative to have a spotlight focused exclusively on him the moment he came in bearing a letter during a dramatic scene.
The weary and exasperated director would respond with that hoary cliché, of course. However, small parts really do exist. I once played the front half of Jan the donkey, who already up and died by the middle of act two, so I can speak on this subject with some authority.
What doesn´t exist, however, are small newspapers. Yes, on paper perhaps. One can conceive of regions in the Netherlands where those of us from Het Parool scarcely exist. When I happen to be there and I´m asked “Don´t I know you from somewhere?”, my eyes always light up for a brief moment. Do they read my little paper way out here? After which I invariably get the follow-up question. Was I with her in that pregnancy yoga class, at the Saturday market bake sale or did I grow up in Zierikzee (“No, I’ve never been in Zierikzee.” “But I could swear.” “Maybe you know me from one of my columns, there’s always a little photo of me.” “I never read columns. No, you definitely come from Zierikzee.”).
Frustrating, naturally, but you miss more than you experience, as Martin Bril wrote. And what I experience is that the flower seller in Mokum grabs my arm: “Your columns always double me up with laughter.” That the Little Comedy theatre each month during our Parool talk show draws dozens of people who have been reading Het Parool for decades (“I remember, back in Carmiggelt’s day…”). That we columnists receive huge numbers of e-mails and handwritten letters and that once an enormous bouquet of roses was delivered. For my mother, who had been attacked in her doorway. Sender: an anonymous reader.
It’s that kind of reader involvement which makes a newspaper great.
This little big newspaper. Which deserves to be in the spotlight once in a while.