30 years later I still remember what he looked like: in his late thirties, although he looked much older from my teenage perspective, already bald with only a tiny bit of hair left around his ears, quite tall and serious but friendly brown eyes. Bambi eyes. He had a bit of a hunchback posture, but nothing serious, just something that is not uncommon for big and tall guys. He was my best friend during my High School years, although we never spoke and I just admired him from a distance. He was managing the music section of Soest public library and as such responsible for much of the music I would listen to during those years. His magic was that he kept adding great music to the library’s collection. I trusted his judgement and many of the records I borrowed I actually taped.
Every once in a while the library would sell old or unpopular books and records. The music I listened to was almost always not popular and therefore those public sales offered me a near perfect opportunity to buy more great music. On the scale of things, a new record would cost 20 guilders at the time (9 euro against official conversion rate, but like most Dutch I believe the real conversion rate is closer to 1:1), a second-hand one you could get for approximately 8 guilders. By contrast, the library sold their records for 2 guilders a piece (4 guilders for double albums ). I bought many ex-library albums during my teenage years.
Some by artists I already knew. David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Roxy Music, The Ramones, John Lennon, Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Beastie Boys, The Pogues, A Certain Ratio
Some by artists I knew from the band they used to be in. Syd Barrett, Topper Headon, Poly Styrene, Adrian Belew.
Some by artists I was afraid to admit I was interested in. Prince, Madonna, The Wee Papa Girl Rappers, Afrika Bambaataa
Some by Dutch New Wave bands. Klein Orkest, Blue Murder, Fatal Flowers.
And some that were just a blind gamble. I got ‘The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady’ (Charlie Mingus) like that. Seems to be one of the greatest albums of the 60’s (nr.17 on Pitchfork’s Top 200 of 60’s albums). Did I know that back then? Absolutely not. Am I grateful? Most definitely.