REDEEMING A PROMISE.
One of the major problems that occur at the start of a rather serious fan club, is the financial side of the matter. In the FFA this was also a hot item.
Very soon we found out that the subscriptions of members were not enough to guarantee a continuing release of the Foclubs.
After several hints from our side in the direction of mainly Jan Akkerman and Thijs van Leer, they let us know to fully support the fan club and they also agreed that money had to be provided by the Focus management.
Yde de Jong (the manager of big F.) had no negative feelings about this and very soon he promised us an amount of money from RTL.
Together with this promise they made an arrangement that all fan mail would be sent to us and should be answered by us. You can find some of these letters in the Letters Section on this site.
Although we now had the promise for financial support, it still took some more months before an appointment was made to collect the amount of 1000 guilders at the office in Brussels (Belgium). So this happened after all.
On a Wednesday afternoon in May1974 we went to Brussels together by car (a red VW beetle with black back lid).
When we arrived there we found out that it was a terrible city for us. It is beautiful, but for Dutch car drivers a terrible ordeal. We did not know our way around at all, so after 3 minutes we were already lost (a new record, see Guinness Book o. R.).
We thought that the gendarmes could certainly help us. No way! Those people only wished to speak French, although as coppers they were supposed to be bilingual. As speaking French was (is) not our strongest skill we werent able to understand much of what they told us. The only thing was that we had to drive straight on. We soon found out that it was a one way road and later also that it was going in the wrong direction.
Then we better asked the milkman! He did speak Flemish, but did not now the road.
Conclusion: They dont drink milk at the RTL-office.
Finally a friendly old lady helped us out, she told us after 2½ hours of "Brussels by afternoon" the right direction. The office was just around the corner.
We were welcomed in a friendly way by the secretary of RTL, she offered us coffee and cake and finally the moment was there.
Yde (de Jong) already had the envelop made ready for us. Also present was the P.R.-manager of Polydor Benelux, a young lady called Lieve (which means darling), she had a lot of publicity stuff, like a beautiful portfolio released in restricted copies in support of the Hamburger Concerto album to give to us.
It contained a complete biography of the band members of Focus, a photo of the band and an official press communiqué. We both also got a beautiful poster, on which Focus appeared in the way of an old Vermeer painting. Jan (van Beek) still has it!!
After this we raced back home to give Focus what they deserved: a good fan club.
Hans and Jan.
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