Wikileaks or Wikirock?

I’m not easily shocked so some of the Wikileaks revelations don’t surprise me one bit. US diplomats, and those of other countries, have been spying for a very long time. I have a friend who used to be a Foreign Service officer and referred to the spies in diplomatic drag at his various posts as “working for the other company.” Yes, *the* company, the one based in Langley, Virginia. So it goes.

What I find most interesting are some of the oddball insights you get into various world leaders.For example, who knew that the son of hereditary North Korean dictator Kim Jong-iL is a fanatical Eric Clapton fan?

North Korea asked America toarrange an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang, saying that it could help to persuade Kim Jong-il to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

A confidential cable dated 22 May 2007 from the US ambassador in Seoul to Washington reveals North Korean officials “suggested” to the Americans that because Kim Jong-il’s second son, Kim Jong-chol, was “a great fan” of the British guitarist, a “performance could be an opportunity to build goodwill”. The report adds that “arranging anEric Clapton concert in Pyongyang… could be useful, given Kim Jong-il’s second son’s devotion to the rock legend”.

The suggestion was unusual: rock and pop are forbidden in North Korea because of their western influences. But it appears to have met with some success: in 2008, it was reported that Clapton had “in principle” agreed to perform in North Korea in 2009.

The request was portrayed by North Korea as a way to “promote understanding” between the communist nation and the west. “These cultural exchanges are a way of promoting understanding between countries,” a North Korean official said at the time, referring to plans by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to perform in Pyongyang, while the North Korean State Symphony Orchestra would perform in London.”We want our music to be understood by the western world, and we want our people to understand western music.”

The plan later appeared to stall, however, with Clapton denying that he had agreed to take part. His spokeswoman put out a statement saying that he “receives numerous offers to play in countries around the world”, and “there is no agreement whatsoever for him to play in North Korea”.

I can’t help visualizing Kim the younger playing air guitar withLayla cranked on the tune box. I wonder what Clapton era the NK Kid prefers: the Phil Collins era? the Cream era? The mind reels just thinking about this so I’d like to thank Julian Assange for putting this genuinely weird story on the internets. Just pondering it has me groaning the blues:

2 thoughts on “Wikileaks or Wikirock?

  1. Is it really so surprising? Stories about Kim’s eccentric (and expensive) tastes have circulated for years. Here’s a clip fromThe Guardian several years ago:

    Like Adolf Hitler, who supposedly loved Disney movies, Kim is fascinated by cinema and has collected 20,000 foreign films. Daffy Duck and horror movies are among his favourites, as are James Bond films, though he was said to have been furious at the way North Korea was depicted as a basket-case evil state in Die Another Day in 2002. He has also produced several films himself, mostly ideologically driven historical epics.

    The paranoid playboy image is born out by the cognac-maker Hennessy who said he spent between £350,000 and £430,000 a year on VSOP from 1989 till 1999.

    Then again, who knows which musical giants someone like Diaper Dave Vitter would be trying to hire if he had that kind of clout?

  2. Kim the elder’s film buffery is indeed well known but his son’s inner rocker was unknown to me at least. In fact, this is the first thing I’ve ever heard about the son.

Comments are closed.