Some people still know where they were when JFK got shot. I have no talent for such precise memories. I literally only know where I was when 9/11 happened; at work in The Hague. To be more precise: at KPN, the Dutch national telecom provider. It was around 15:00. Internet bandwidth was still an issue back then. All news sites crashed when it became evident that something major had happened. But that’s all. I don’t know where I was when the Berlin wall came down. I don’t know where I was when a Chinese student tried to stop a tank at Tiananmen square. Guess I suck at history.
However, I do know where I was when I first listened to Grunge. In a dressing room of a sports center, just before tabletennis practice. Must have been 1992. One of the guys made us listen to a new song, on a Discman I think. No, it wasn’t Nirvana, it wasn’t ‘smells like teen spirit’. It was Pearl Jam with the first single taken from their new album ‘Ten’, ‘Alive‘. It blew me away. It was so intense, so real and so authentic compared to all late 80’s shit we were used to. The name of the guy was Frank, I still remember his name.
Later I had a similar but more solitary experience with Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’. I probably only remember the situation because of the music. Not a lot of bands ever release an album right in between pure experiment and pure rock (or jazz, or soul, or pop…). John Coltrane did it with ‘Love Supreme’, the Beatles with ‘Sgt. Pepper’, maybe David Bowie with ‘Low’ or ‘Heroes’. And where exactly did I listen to ‘OK Computer’? In the bus from Culemborg to Tiel. There was a major power cut that day, the trains were not running. Kraftwerk was failing.Tweet