André is not the first of his kind, indeed the bogan was charmed 15 years ago by Vanessa-Mae, an attractive young violinist who plonked techno beats over Bach, Classical Gas, and some other stuff. She went on to cultivate x-tremeness by playing on a Prince project titled “Xpectation”. Her ability to cater to the ADHD market’s desire to seem sophisticated was successful, setting her up for life.
In a provincial town in the Netherlands, a middle aged man was surfing the internet, and saw what Vanessa-Mae had done. “I wish to extract much cashmoney from the bogan also”, he said to himself, “but how can I do this when I am not a sultry young woman?” André pondered this further, and clicked his clogs together with glee when he realised that there might just be a way. “Am I not a slightly rogue looking, well dressed gent with a regional orchestra and a cynical mind?” André muttered to nobody in particular. With no responses forthcoming, he interpreted the answer to be in the affirmative.
And, for better or worse, right he was. After a few years of flitting here and there, André Rieu became aware of how to charm the Australian bogan female into revealing to him the soft, pink lining of its purse. He pairs his own appeal to middle aged bogan females with that of an attractive young female soprano singer in his live performances, reducing the resistance of the bogan male to grant his wife the expensive wish of attending one of Rieu’s stadium shows. André depicts his critics as members of a stuffy musical elite with narrow aesthetic tastes, which the bogan gratefully assimilates into its own resentment of ambitious people who do not wish to be bogans.
Being aware of the bogan’s reluctance to dwell too long on foreign music pieces it is not already familiar with, André intersperses his Australian shows with singalong favourites such as Burke’s Backyard, Bananas in Pyjamas, and Neighbours. Indeed, he even guest-starred on Neighbours in April 2009, bringing his brand name to the unwashed masses when they least expected. He released a schmaltzy localised appeal to the bogan female in the lead-up to Mothers’ Day 2008, with “Waltzing Matilda” getting to #1 on the album charts.
While a competent musician in his own right, Rieu is not the superior of dozens of other less acclaimed Waltz violinists around the world. What he and his record label (Universal) have done better than anyone else, however, is to simultaneously allow the bogan to see itself as sophisticated, while pandering to its short attention span, need to be validated, and latent xenophobia. He’ll even perform in a suburban megamall foodcourt, for those bogans who grow anxious when their pop-classical music consumption becomes separated from their Boost Juice and Krispy Kreme consumption.