Life was good at Elementary. Some kids flirted with Punk but I was still a huge Beatles fan. They decorated their fake leather jackets with safety pins and big buttons, I just had a small white button with the name of my favourite band, and long hair of course.They whispered ‘no future’ without really knowing what it meant, I was just silent. I felt protected and safe, even after the death of John Lennon.

In 1981 I started High School. It was a jungle and I hated it. There was no safety at High School, just every kid for himself, I was in desperate need of a new shelter. First year I stuck to my old beliefs. We all did, too much occupied with finding our way through this new place with new rules. Second year everything changed. A friend gave me a tape of The Cure’s ‘Seventeen seconds’. It sucked me into a new world of depressed, depressing and unconventional songs like ‘M’ or ‘At night’. I could now start building my shelter.

I was shy and madly in love with dozens of girls who I never talked to. It left me angry and bitter (yes, kids can be bitter at the age of 13). I felt completely Punk; a frustrated outsider who didn’t expect a bright future, or any future at all. So I bought myself big boots and army pants, started wearing over-sized sweaters, and spiked up my hair. Ideologically I developed a fascination for socialism, anarchy and the Spanish Civil war. And…much against my nature I even demonstrated against nuclear weapons. To top it all off I started buying my own records.The first one was ‘Combat Rock’ by The Clash. They were Punk, at least used to be. I didn’t dare to buy their 1977 Punk debut yet. This was as far as I could deviate from my old self, for now.

However,I had no record player of my own, and this was the next challenge. There was a record player in my parent’s living room, but I knew my father would judge me for replacing the absolute icons of pop with this noise producing gang. He did, of course. ‘Know your rights’ was the noisiest song of the album. I loved it, and I sweated like a pig the first couple of times I listened to it. Afraid that anyone would notice, afraid that anyone would comment. Music stress quickly disappeared, it took me much longer to combat and overcome my shyness.