BLOG: THE FIRST TIME
So you can only receive one guest in the coming weeks ... well, preferably not even that many. Staying at home is the motto, go to the supermarket in the morning only once a week and lock yourself up for the rest of the week.
Ironically, Rosita and I are currently watching Inside The World's Toughest Prisons. A journalist compares the maximum Security wards of prisons all over the world. We see the most horrible places on Earth passing by, and "hotel rooms," as people will describe them. But these places have one thing in common. The prisoners feel trapped. They have no freedom.
And then there's us. We too have to lock up ourselves until February 9th. We've done nothing wrong and now we are locked up, only to be allowed to go outside between five and nine. We are being robbed of our freedom! Or we can look at it differently. From tomorrow on we will do exactly what we're already doing in the evening and also our daytimes activities will not change.
We took the bike this week to go for a walk and will do it again this weekend. We'll take our dog for a walk, work a few hours in the bar or we'll take a few beers and sit down at the IJssel. Tonight we'll play a boardgame, we'll watch a prison for an hour or play a game of Mario Kart... and tomorrow we'll do something comparable. We'll enjoy ourselves.
Little will change with regard to the activities of our days. The only thing that will change is that young people no longer will visit each other in the streets and that it is no longer possible for someones Uncle Bob and Aunt Viona to come all the way from Den Bosch to Deventer. The only thing that will change is that the brakes are pressed even a bit harder on the chance of infecting each other. The only thing that has changes is the date we'll get our freedom back is getting closer.
I'm going to tell you about my first time. It was quite exciting, unexpected and quite intense. I had already gained experience for a few months by watching others do it, but for now I had to stick to my own work. Until one evening a colleague dropped out ... you do understand that I was talking about my job as a bartender?
I worked in the Elegast. For the newcomers among us; the best pub Deventer ever had. It was an underground cellar with a bar in the middle and a dance floor in the back. There were some seats pressed against the wall around both of these. You entered via a staircase at the front. I was the guy working at the checkroom every Saturday. Walking through a hallway you entered the pub itself where on Friday and Saturday people danced and drank to the best guitar pop.
On Thursdays there were performances, the so-called undercovers that you might know from café De Hip here in town nowadays. We were in the second season of these undercovers. I had visited the first frequently myself and sometime during that first year I applied for a job in the bar. That job became checkroom boy No. 2 ... I had to hang the coats.
Not too long later I was No. 1 and I also did the checkout, often on Thursdays as well. And then, a sick colleague ... the only one who could fill in was the checkroom boy ... so I had to learn how to tap that night. Did I mention that the theme of that cover night was a band called "Normaal"? It's dutch farmer rock ... done by part of local celebrities. The performance was sold out and you don't want to know how much beer had to be tapped that night! GO GO GO! Four, five, eight, twelve beers at the same time! And another round! Quickly, get out from behind the bar, find your way through the crowd to find empty glasses! Go back to the bar! I was exhausted .. it was awesome and I wondered if I could be a bartender more often.
BLOG: BRONCKHORSTER RAMSES
Perhaps the coolest event we planned in the café in recent years was the introduction of the Bronckhorster Brewery Beers. It resulted in a special wall in the bar and, if we get to it, a new lamp in the coming weeks. How this came about began in café de Hip.
There, Ramses was a colleague of mine, a sixteen-year-old dishwasher, a friendly busy kid with a slightly bigger mouth than his friends who had the same job as him. In the summer we needed more terrace runners and Ramses was more than happy to do the work. He did a fine job by the way. From the terrace the jump to the bar was quickly made and with it the access to beer. Of course he had already turned eighteen and he was on his way to his next job. He became a bartender at Fooddock and he learned to take his work a bit more seriously in my opinion. It was no longer a side job, but it was not his future yet either.
One evening he was sitting at my bar talking about a job interview. He was able to work as a representative at a small, local brewery. At that time I was just looking for a second line of beer products to include in our range in addition to Gulpener. "I'm going to be your first customer," I told Ramses and a week later he was on the at the bar with his new boss. After a good conversation and a visit to the brewery not much later, the deal was closed.
But how do you market a new beer in order to quickly recoup the investment of twenty boxes of beer? That became a savings card. Try every Bronckhorster beer we have and we'll write your name on the wall in the bar. On the introduction evening, Ramses was behind the bar with us. The thirty guests who together drank more than three hundred bottles of beer have now been immortalized in the Glas.
BLOG: AKITA IN THE STREETS
I take a break and grab a beer between DIY jobs at home. I Lean back on the chair and put my feet on the windowsill. I'm surrounded by the clutter of ten years of living in a flat. Rosita and I are moving in together and we're refurnishing the place. There are pieces of curled wallpaper on the floor, to my left are pots of paint and to the right the boxes full of books that I have to think about whether to get rid of them or if they would end up on the shelves again.
I stare outside, some people cycle past, a car turns the corner on the other side of the road and in the middle of that road a dog runs into the traffic. My eyes open wide, the animal has a line around its neck. I look to the left, I don't see an owner. Get up! I take my coat off the hook and run downstairs grabbing my keys.
Outside I jump on my bike. On the right I see the owner running. An elderly lady. "I'm going after him!" I shout and bounce into the street. Her animal has now run a few hundred meters further into the street. For a moment the Akita seems to pause at a couple walking their dog on the sidewalk, but nothing could be further from the truth. The dog runs back onto the road!
I'm catching up and throw the bike on the roadside. There are no cars coming towards me. I call the animal and slowly walk over to it. I take his leash and hand it over to the lady who is rushing over. She is grateful, of course.
I walk back to my bike, our flat and my beer. I sit down again and text Rosita to tell her the story. She is at a friend's house and her eyes widen, she is stunned and gets goosebumps. Not from the story ... but from the coincidence that she was watching the movie Hachi: a Dog's Tale at that time. A film about a Akita who has to live without his owner.
BLOG: ZEBRAHEAD IN GLAS IN LOOD
Janneke managed to arrange it. It was April 2017 and Zebrahead performed at the Burgerweeshuis, a local venue. I was not there, I was working at the old bar. It was an evening as always and a night like no other. It was quiet on the Brink and quiet in Glas in Lood.
I got a call from Janneke, she was my right hand in the cafe at the time. She asked if there was still room for people and whether I wanted to stay open for a while. At that time things were not going well for the café yet, and as was often the case in those days, it was much too quiet. "We're on our way," she said.
The door opens about twenty minutes later and the whole band walks in! Zebrahead in the Glas.
"Playmate of the year," that was their hit in 2001. They could be heard on TMF and MTV between Papa Roach, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit. It was homework music and the music that was on the illegally burned CDs that we took to house parties. We were into skate punk.
Jack Daniel's ran empty that night they were in the bar. The few regulars who were there suddenly all had guitarist Dan Palmer in their friends list on facebook. Like now there was a guitar in the cafe back then, so it had to be played. It was getting late and no one was sober.
In the meantime, video clips were shown on the TV screen, including those of the innocent girl Alizee. The gentlemen band members were impressed by the girl. They didn't know her hit song ... even though she made it thirty-six places higher in the charts in their year of playmate of the year. Honor where honor is due.