Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hello Elections, Goodbye Maksimir

There's a month to go before Croatia's parliamentary elections - hot on the heels of the Polish version - and still no sign, as yet, of the media's usual pre-election obsession: which singers will be performing at whose election meetings.

After HDZ's star-studded rallies before the first multi-party elections in 1990, most other parties tried to keep pace, making the 'they got paid how much to sing that?' article as common in the run-up to elections as the run-up to New Year's Eve. The level of excitement in 2003, when Severina sang at ten rallies for Ivica Račan's SDP for a rumoured €200,000, certainly hasn't been matched yet in 2007. Possibly because Račan lost the election in a display of unconvincing populism, which Novi list's Jelena Lovrić described as 'Mala-je-dala politics' in a reference to one of Seve nacionale's tartier songs.

One of Croatian music's biggest draws (for better or worse) will be absent in any case. Marko Perković Thompson, once upon a time a stalwart HSP supporter, will be otherwise engaged on a tour of the US and Canada in November - unless The New York Sun, which described Thompson as a 'neo-Nazi' singer in an article yesterday, has anything to do with it.

New York aside, there's already uncertainty whether his 4 November concert in Toronto has been called off or not: Thompson's tour organiser says no, but a Simon Wiesenthal Center press release states that the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center had the concert cancelled after a complaint to the venue's owners (much the same route taken by a different group to avert Thompson's Amsterdam concert in 2003).

And it's farewell (eventually) to the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb (the venue of Thompson's largest concert this year), due to be knocked down and replaced with a 53,000-seater affair on the city outskirts in Lanište (near the future handball arena) or Kajzerica. Needless to say, the Maksimir site, now owned by Zagreb council, will be sold off for enough money that 'another football stadium could be built with it' instead.

UPDATE: Leave it to Fox News to intervene in the Thompson case as unhelpfully as possible.

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