From the desk of The Irrational Library, Joshua calls out to you Haarlemtown. For the last 16 years he has been among you, seen you and has gotten to know you. And now from the depths of Haerlemse Bodem he will rise to meet you, Haarlemtown. To once a month share and deal with you a little slice of life here in Haarlemtown. A slice of life taken from our communal feast. One for all of us to be nourished upon as we go about our Haarlemtown days.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of looking back on my life here in Haarlemtown, as I prepare for the next steps toward the future. I mean you gotta know your past to get anywhere in the future. It is already five years ago last month that The Irrational Library shop opened its doors. It is about eight years since the last crazy rock n roll party at the Phoenixstraat 13 and about fourteen years since De Fietsznfabriek closed its door. These are just a few relatively important moments, milestones in my life here in Haarlemtown. A life that just sort of opened itself up to me and for all intensive purposes meant to be. For Haarlemtown was meant to be the place for me to meet my wife, raise a family and plant some firm roots into the soil of the 5Hoek and Leidsebuurt.
In all my years spent living here in Haarlemtown what has had a huge impression on me is the oppurtunity to be involved with some many different people and to able to watch them grow. That summer of 2000, when I came back to Haarlem (it was still only Haarlem to me then) I was lucky enough to find a studio apartment in a student house in the 5hoek of all places. I would be taking the space over from a guy who had two young sons and was I believe going through a divorce then. He was going to be spending more time with his boys on the weekend and needed more space, something like that. So he was moving out and I was moving in. I was fucking lucky. When I went to look at the apartment his two young boys were there. The space was small. A fake wall was built to cover the sliding doors seperating the front from the back room. It was small but for a wayward poet who was sleeping on his friends’ couch from the Schalm, it was perfect. After a few months the crazy woman with the room behind me on the ground floor moved out and I somehow afforded to rent the whole space for myself.
Anyway…fast forward, something like fourteen years later. It is the day after being a jury member at one of the evenings for the Rob Acda band competition in the Patronaat. That night I got to bear witness to the downright grunge awesomeness of Field of Steel. I was blown away by their set, especially the relatively clumsy but pounding rhythms of their drummer. He even dropped a stick early on in their set and did not have an extra pair with him. The guy drummed one handed for what seemed like half a song and it rocked! That night I convinced the rest of the jury that Field of Steel should win. They did.
The next day this tall lanky dude strolls into the shop, the drummer from Field of Steel. He introduces himslef as Max and says to me that I know his father. I ask who his father is? He says Christian. I draw a blank. Then Max tells me how it was that I took over his father’s old apartment. Then it dawns on me in a flash. Max was one of those little rugrats that I saw in that studio apartment more than a decade ago. That is when it dawned on me. I actually had sewn my roots into the Haarlemtown soil and stuck around long enough to watch them grow. In the meantime everyone else also around me had of course aged too. I am now married almost 6 years, have a 15 year old son, a 3 ½ year old daughter and friendships that are over a decade old too. My roots have grown into trees that hopefully will last generations in Haarlemtown. For as my roots grow ever more deeply intertwined with this city, I do realize that I had a much fuller set of hair when I started digging into the Haarlemtown soil. That too is a sign of the passing of time.