So. Yours truly brought you to the point where we have to start to tell the tale of Hurricane Willem. And we do have to admit: sad and all alone with his thoughts next to his father’s death bed it really doesn’t look as if little Willem will ever become a hurricane. But one has to start somewhere. And by now we have already firmly established that death is a perfect starting point.
It’ll also still take a while before the Hurricane will keep me company, day after day through radio waves, in the orphanage in an almost empty room. Thus to escape the forlornness of being there. Surrounded by each saint one can think of, but left alone by God and his team of ill repute broddlers.
It’ll take even longer to arrive at the point where Hurricane himself makes sure that John Paul Young loses his image of a mayfly and has a huge hit with War Games (in the video arcade….)’.
Far inland between three cities and two rivers, where the ground laboriously aches its back to distance itself from the lowland, where coarse macadam roads, like wavering ribbons, nit villages together, that is where lay Hurricane’s transmission area.
Between then and now the world only became smaller, people who are well placed to know such things tell us that. Villages kept growing, until it became difficult to tell them apart: one pile of bleak and grey. But now, just as then, this patch is no man’s land. As if it doesn’t care about the rest of the world, it withdraws from the disconsolate mating ritual of houses with gardens, threes and children, and other illusions of superficial happiness. And right until this day it is the only place on earth where John Paul Young isn’t Mister Love Is In The Air, but Mister War Games himself.
The song firmly charted forty–three weeks in the regional top 10. A record that never got broken. Although Gangsters D’Amour with ‘S.O.S Barracuda’ came close with thirty-nine weeks in the same year.
Record companies and distributors noticed the strange events going on in the record stores of that unsightly patch of the country. And many observer were set out to investigate this phenomenon. They all came back with the same piece of evidence: the Hurricane-proof sticker.
Every first monday of the month Huricane Willem turned a stencil sheet in his typewriter. And then, every month, he turned the sheet through the stencil machine.
Finally he pulled the lever twenty-four times. And then he brought twenty-four envelopes to the post office: one for each record store residing in radio Hurricane’s transmission area. That way the stores knew which kind of music was Hurricane-proof that month. At the bottom of the stenciled letter Willem reminded the stores of the prices for the hurricane proof stickers and how to order them. And boy did they order. Because everything with that sticker sold like hot cakes.
Everything is a bit exaggerated. Almost everything. Because once in while Willem had it wrong. It was somewhere around the end of 1989, when Willem returned from Londen, –always on the look-out for good music, with 146 copies af ‘Blew’ a nice little record from a great sounding band from Seatlle.
Immediately he fell in love with ‘Been A Son’, because it sounded like a smack in the face. ‘This is something different, this is good,’ Willem judged, and he bought every single copy he could lay his hands on in the city.
At home he immediately put Nirvana on top of the stencil sheet, with three pluses next to it. A rare privilege, because Willem used his pluses scarcely and well thought through. He kept two copies of ‘Blew’ for himself, and handed out six copies to each store. With the promise that had ordered more in London to keep up with demand.
But no mather how he tied, no matter how he loved the band, nobody seemed to feel the same way. Only a few copies got sold and landed on a turntable. It was such a disaster that Willem had to buy back all remaining stock from the stores, because he felt ashamed about his misjudgement. He even tried to give them away or free during his weekly radio quiz, and he called London to see if he could cancel his order. He could not.
During his last broadcast in 1990 he couldn’t resist reflecting back on many a great year. And he carefully placed the recod on the turn table one last time.
‘Listeners, buckle up for a bit of Nirvana. The first caller is welcome to pick up a copy of Blew here in the studio.’ Nobody called.
But, let us not forget where we were at the beginning of this chapter. Willem still has a lot to learn first.