The Ghent singer Walter De Buck, father of the Gentse Feesten, is death. He opened last summer, his 45th Gentse Feesten. It were his last. This is his last interview with Knack. “My whole life, I have nothing against my sentence is done’
This is the latest Knack-interview with the on Sunday, 21 december 2014 Walter De Buck. The interview appeared on July 16 in Knack.
Sick or not, the spiritual father of the Gentse Feesten, is eighty, and that should be celebrated. ‘Sorry, I did not. Why would I? I have the full desire to live.’
“My whole life, I have nothing against my sentence is done,” says Walter De Buck. ‘I’m quite content about it, because I don’t think a lot of people can say.” The Ghent-based artist who last Sunday eighty, made his debut as a sculptor at the world’s fair of 1958. In the early sixties, he began in the shadow of Ghent’s Sint-Jacobskerk with vzw Meeting place, a café-cum-arts centre. It was there that the idea arose to historic Ghent Festivities to breathe new life into. Initially, it was only in the vicinity of the Sint-Jacobs partied, but every year the ten-day festival to grow, until eventually the whole town took. By that time, The Buck, the programming and organization of the
ies have long hands. Work enough. He continued to compose, create images, occur. He also started the chair Warehouse 13, an initiative that is unemployed and lived off welfare back on the road trying to help them to learn steenkappen, how to carve, koperdrijven or kunstsmeden.
And year after year he continued the Gentse Feesten open. Also coming this Friday. Though he will this time that is not so in details as different. His group and guest singers are already prepared: if he stops, they take it over from him. The Ghent bard is sick. Very sick. Esophageal cancer, with metastases in the liver. He had previously been told that he from Alzheimer’s disease suffers. His wife Mia is different than not the moment more of his side. During the interview, she sits next to him on the couch and she helps him to his thoughts, to organize and bestofte memories.
Occasionally, it seems as if he is somewhere else, as if he wasn’t listening. An amused smile on his still troublesome bearded face appears. Especially if he is thinking about the heroic stories from the early days of the Gentse Feesten. Such as when he his intoxication was off to sleep in the back of a garbage truck. “That was the morning after the last day of the festival,” he explains. “Yes, I used to be there ten days. Sometimes even longer.’
A few weeks ago you were honored with a large zangstonde At Sint-Jacobs. Was that you spent?
WALTER DE BUCK: Absolutely. Who wouldn’t enjoy it? All those people that my song sang, did well. There was also a lot of people and a lot of atmosphere. Clean that them that for my birthday want to do.
Will you open for the 45th time the Gentse Feesten. You can look there after all these years still?
THE BUCK: Not as a child to santa Claus looks out of course, but I would not want to miss. I’ve always quite like the problem, and that is still so. That is probably because I have a ijdeltuit am. (laughs) I am faster today tired and I sleep a lot. To soon for my audience to be able to stand, do I need to up my strength a little bit spare. But I don’t mind.
Are you still proud of your Gentse Feesten?
THE BUCK: They are my property not, and so I never felt. The Ghent Festivities are open to everyone. So we have from the beginning intended: a city festival that is accessible for all kinds of people. That’s why it is so important that it’s free. The organization should really watch, because there are always people everywhere money from want to save. The last few years trying journalists me sometimes to say that the Gentse Feesten, to become big, but I really believe that not. After all that time the spirit had not yet changed. But that criticism comes, it is normal. Inhabitants complain now once like. Never is good enough. However, I refuse to do that sawing .
Nowadays, it takes the city council happy with the Gentse Feesten. Was that from the beginning?
THE BUCK: not at all. When we only began, they were not happy about it. Even more: they did not know what their happened. All that vuilaards with their long hair! On the zangstonde for my eightieth birthday is the spokesman of the Ghent police are yet to come apologize for all the burden that the cop me at the time to have worried. Very funny. But he had a point: in the first years, came the police, the quantity of time and denial. Not that I really liked. On the contrary, that paste all in the spirit of may 68. (laughs) The situation is much improved when the socialists and the liberals here along came to power. From that moment on, we got a lot more cooperation from the city council. Today, they are on the town hall even proud of the Gentse Feesten.
You is often an anarchist called. Can you agree to it?
THE BUCK: Is that maybe wrong? I have no problems with it that I call, because I’m a real left-wing rascal. All I feel now more of a socialist in the broad sense of the word. No partijsocialist.
Why are you then in 1994, the socialist list for the municipal elections?
THE BUCK: Because the Vlaams Blok is on the rise. In Antwerp was the Block when they are already big and I couldn’t tolerate the idea that it is also in Ghent we could have come to. I was hoping that I could help my popularity in the fight to throw. I got to the socialists on the list went, was obvious: which party ended the closest to my ideas.
Why did you ultimately not in the city council?
THE BUCK: It was never the intention that I elected to hit. I wanted no ships or a council member. That was nothing for me. But I had so many votes achieved that the socialists found that they give me the one or other job had to give. So, I am attaché, it has become the cabinet of Dany Vandenbossche, that when vessels of Culture, and later with mayor Frank Beke. In itself, I don’t regret that I for the city have worked with. I did quite like. All was in retrospect, quite against my nature. I just don’t like to sit still. Used to be, not.
In the meantime, the Flemish Interest, such as the Vlaams Blok is now called, a small party. Agree that you are optimistic?
THE BUCK In Ghent is that party will never become so big as in other cities. That is because most of the Inhabitants of nature links are, and also nothing tell. The power of the Ghent socialists is there anyway for a great piece on based.
Are you the SP.A always, continue to support?
THE BUCK: of Course. I have even campaigned with my bagpipes from door to door. For Dany Vandenbossche, Frank Beke, Luc Van den Bossche. The socialists were my comrades, and that is still really.
What attracts you actually to socialism?
THE BUCK: It is such as in my song: I would want to live in a world without money. Still. My whole life I have tried to use as little as possible in the consumer society, and that is something I have also been largely successful. I am not a fearful man. It scares me not to be against the current on their dues. Though maybe not many with the courage to make: I’m just a goestendoender . (laughs)
It has always been clear that you, the artist would be?
THE BUCK: I come from a very artistic family, so my parents granted me to the academy went and artist. My mother, who is with us at home the boss was, followed what her children did. Not to say that they checked. I now see before me, how was the Meeting point into. I was already a man of nearly thirty, but I was shocked nevertheless when I saw her. My mother was also never a leaf for the mouth. She was, however, very open-minded. When I as a young guest to India and drew, for example, she immediately began books about that country and the ideas there to read.
Has your stay in India had much influence on your way of thinking?
THE BUCK: Very sure. My interest was in the late fifties awakened when I was in Sint-Martens-Latem, a recommendation of an Indian guru attended. His words spoke to me. Then a short time later I received the state Prize for Sculpture won, I am with the show that I had been to India drawn. Eight months I spent in the ashram of guru and I am more engrossed in oriental symbolism.
Later, you have not only the Gentse Feesten, given a new life but also social projects started. Had you not enough to the art only?
THE BUCK: I’m just not the kind of artist that is in a workshop retreats. I’ve always liked between the people stood. As I sit now, once in each other. At the beginning, yes, when I made my images, in my studio. But soon I am in a group start to work. That has in my eyes only benefits: in a collective, artists can help each other and give advice. There are then the governmental employment programmes of Warehouse 13 has grown. That social conscience has always been.
In addition to your images, you also have always made music. Is that love you are also the mother is given?
THE BUCK: Certainly. My mother was a pianist and gave piano lessons. And my grandparents organized regular meetings of artists and then was sung, philosophised and, of course, wine. As children we walked in there just between and we heard all kinds of music, from classical to folk songs.
Also of your great example, the 19th-century singer Karel Waeri?
THE BUCK: Him, I later learn, when I was with Wannes Van de Velde at the academy was. William had a plate made with songs from Waeri, but the Ghent dialect was not to kill him. If you are that texts in the Antwerp sings, they just don’t. Therefore, he found that I had to do. In that time I was already involved with music: I often went on the street busken, sang folk songs and French chansons.
What attracted you to the songs of Waeri?
THE BUCK: The social conscience especially. His texts deal with the life of the workers, about the work in the factories and weaving mills. With his impish, and sometimes spiced texts, he knew his message across to the ordinary people. I have also always tried.
A song for you a message?
THE BUCK: not necessarily, but I did like it. (think long after) The new music I’ve never specifically followed, but when I did occur, came, I naturally come in contact with. Today, there are still Dutch croon singers such as Waeri in the past, but they sound sometimes very different. Like that Gent boy who is a rapversie of one of my songs has made. Very cool, I thought.
Works you have new songs?
THE BUCK: The last time I’m not really with writing and composing involved. Singing is something I do still, since I will probably never stop. Also with drawing and modeling, I go by.
Does you actually good that so many people, especially the people of ghent then, your songs from the head know?
THE BUCK: During the matches of AA Gent, they sing still ‘t Vliegerke. Both the kick-off as after a goal. Now that is not a song that I wrote myself, but it is by me known. When the Ghelamco Arena was opened, I was also allowed to play. Very amusing.
Of my own songs, especially ” k Would be so gere want to live known. I’m quite happy with that, because that is a bit of my anthem. That text is about the way I try to live. Without too much trouble to do for it, I am myself always remained faithful. I am also very to my freedom attached. Now. In my life I can do what I love to do: writing songs, acting, sculpting. Always with full enthusiasm . And I’ve also always my thought said. Or the people that like to had it or not. No, sorry, I did not. Of nothing. (smiles)