The best water skier in Luxembourg
(JB) Being a specialist in a marginal sport like water skiing is tough enough. But when that expert lives in one of the smallest countries in Europe, their chances of making a splash on the global scene are slim.
That could be about to change though if British academic Dr Keith Kahn-Harris (pictured below) gets his way. The specialist in heavy metal and the British Jewish scene plans to write a book about specialists in esoteric fields or, as he puts it: big fishes in small ponds.
The Best Water Skier in Luxembourg will explore the lives of sportspeople, musicians and writers around the world, who just don't get the press they deserve.
And his first port of call will be Luxembourg, a country he has never visited, where he plans to get to speak to experts in two sports which are alien to him: water skiing and wake-boarding.
“I want to hear their life stories,” said Keith, adding: “I want to know what motivates them, about the frustrations of being an expert in a small field in a small country. I'm not sure what I will find and that's the exciting thing about it.”
The academic had the idea for what will be his third book in April this year, after regularly using the best water skier in Luxembourg as an analogy for his own niche specialisms.
“I used to say that I'm just a big fish in a small pond like the best water skier in Luxembourg. The idea came to me this year, wouldn't it be interesting to find the best water skier in Luxembourg. I found there was a scene in Luxembourg and took it from there,” he said.
Keith will travel to Luxembourg in December in order to meet the main players on the water skiing and wake-boarding scene. Among them, he plans to talk to Luxembourg national and 1961 water skiing world champion Silvia Hussleman.
“It may sound from the title that I'm taking the piss. I'm just trying to draw people in with a catchy title. I'm not suggesting that water skiers in Luxembourg are funny. In a way, part of the book is about how people like that are more interesting and heroic than well-known celebrities. The best water skier in Luxembourg is to me a more interesting character than Wayne Rooney,” explained Keith.
Interviews with water skiers and wake-boarders in Luxembourg make up only the first chapter of the book, which is being funded by crowdfunding site unbound.co.uk
Other chapters are expected to follow in a similar vein, focusing on characters such as the best bassoonist in Finland, the top heavy metal musician in Botswana and the greatest novelist in Surinami.
All are aimed at inspiring people to travel to these unusual destinations by highlighting the lesser-known features of each country and its unsung heroes. For Keith the book will also help him pursue his personal fascination with “small countries” and their struggle for identity.
To find out more about The Best Waterskier in Luxembourg- Tales of big fishes in small ponds, visit kahn-harris.org