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Adjiedj Get your Gun

by Norbert Splint in Films & Books , 16 December 2019

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
length: 4 minuten

It is trendy to write or have an autobiography written about your life, even when you’re not half-way through it. Athletes or former athletes, for instance, but also former politicians and self-proclaimed Dutch celebrities have the tendency to do this. Trend watcher and explicit gay man Adjiedj Bakas (1963) now joins their ranks.

Next to the dragon Adjiedj Bakas with Finco David
His autobiography was published on November 15 with the title: “Vermetel: Leven met lef” (Audacious: Living with Courage). It’s not only his life’s story, but it also reads as a lesson in life. Whether Bakas is indeed halfway through his existence here on earth, is left open.
In his review (titled “Annie get your gun”) of Dutch author and historian Annie Romein-Verschoor’s memoirs, Karel van het Reve (1921-1999) divided the genre into two parts: one in which the emphasis is mainly on the events and persons portrayed and one in which the author mainly writes about himself. “Vermetel” is something in between. It should be noted that in the “columns” written by others and also abundantly present, the author is also discussed.

The Common Thread, His Homosexuality

Highly interesting are the circumstances, events and people in Nickerie, Paramaribo, and Tuindorp Utrecht, the places of Bakas’ youth and student days. His heydays as a trend watcher, predictor of the future, seer, shaman (the craziest names pass by), however, start in Amsterdam, where he lived in De Pijp, Buitenveldert and the Sarphatibuurt.

The common thread is his homosexuality, which really does not hinder him in anything. Not many stand in his way to put his orientation into practice. Even in the “failed state” of Suriname, hardly anyone opposes him, and his mother does not go as far as congratulating him on his coming out, but nearly.

Adjiedj Bakas with his parents

Ethnically Bakas is a mix of anything and everything, as well as in a religious sense. All this manifests itself, among other things, in having called on fortune tellers, ladies with a glass ball and other people with a clairvoyant gaze throughout his life. It hasn’t helped, but he isn’t worried about it. Another constant in this book is Bakas’s cheerful nature. Something doesn’t work? Too bad. Moving on...

Getting Laid more Often

Adjiedj BakasBakas says that sexual preference is not relevant to one’s work and does not have to stand in the way of (lack of) success. That is true. The Netherlands has and had countless of Ministers, top entrepreneurs and top managers (m/f) who are or were of a “different persuasion.”

In line with this: women and people with a non-Western migration background can also reach the absolute top in the Netherlands. That explains his aversion to identity politics. People who are involved in this are only concerned with themselves.

Bakas also advises us to get laid more often, a tip that cannot be ignored. He practically is quoting a medical manual that is supposed to show that sex is good for you, not just for your body, but also for your mind. It is familiar ground, but good to see it once again written in black and white. Something similar applies to listening to classical music, meditating now and then and walking a dog.

Paralyzed on the Left

“Vermetel” doesn’t limited itself to Bakas’ heroic acts. The author is also honest about his alcoholic and depressed father, his greedy and religious ex-in-laws, and his financial blunders that nearly drove him and his husband Vinco David into bankruptcy. He ignored the warning signs when he had his first mild brain haemorrhage, and not much later he had a much heavier second stroke, causing him to be paralyzed on the left. The result was a long-term rehabilitation combined with a relocation of his office and home. As a true optimist, he calls that period his “renaissance.”

The nine chapters in this book are alternated with two or three “columns” written by third parties. All have the same meaning and content: I have known Adjiedj for so-and-so long, we had a business or personal relation then-and-then, and isn’t it great that he has recovered after his stroke.

None of these columns contribute anything, in fact: the pieces detract from Bakas’ own honest story. As if that needs to be supported by others. After reading three or four of those “columns” - they are actually anecdotes - you lose interest.
Less is more, but whoever has walked through one of Bakas’ lavishly decorated houses knows that the trend watcher doesn’t do that. However, three external contributions do matter: those by Arthur van Amerongen, Heere Heeresma jr. and Theo van Gogh (1957-2004). They are about immigration, integration and Islam: the problems of the near future. But Bakas - “king of the upcoming trend” - will no doubt write about these in a next book.

    Adjiedj Bakas, Vermetel: Leven met lef. Foreword by Frits Bolkestein. Schiedam: Scriptum, 2019, geb., ISBN 9789491932533, € 24,95

In our youngest issue, Gay News 344, April/ May/ June 2020


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