For three decades, Bruce Dickinson has been an object of worship in the head banging world of hard rock and heavy metal music. Last May, the Iron Maiden frontman became a hero to an entirely different crowd—namely, a political establishment desperate to claim industrial revival.
“This is exactly the type of investment needed,” declared the Welsh business minister of Mr. Dickinson’s plan to “create hundreds of highly skilled engineering jobs” with a new aircraft-maintenance venture in Cardiff. His own statements at the time had featured the words “cautious projection” and “up to,” but no matter: “Iron Maiden singer pledges 1,000 new jobs to Wales,” read one typical headline. The U.K. Trade and Investment bureau promptly began figuring the top-end projections into its tally of “jobs new and safeguarded.”
Seven months and a few reams of paperwork later, Mr. Dickinson was good enough to meet me for coffee and an update: Cardiff Aviation Ltd. now employs a grand total of 40 people, and expects to have between 100-125 by the summer.
“And, well, that’s not bad!” says Mr. Dickinson, who’s quick to note that even rock gods live in “the wonderful world of practicality.”
That can be easy to forget, given Mr. Dickinson’s record. His tenor belting has helped sell more than 85 million Maiden albums since he first joined the band in 1981, and created more jobs for T-shirt vendors than any ministry could hope to count. The 54-year-old superstar—also a competitive fencer, successful novelist, licensed pilot and serial entrepreneur—has resurrected heavy metal from the commercial trash-heap more than once. Surely he could do the same for heavy manufacturing.
Read it all. It’s…well, stunning, frankly. Kudos to Dickinson. Lots of ’em, all clearly well-deserved.
(Via Damon Root)
Update! It just occurred to me: “jobs new and safeguarded”? Hmm…sound familiar at all? Guess socialist regimes really do smell the same the world over.