HarSMedia

july 26, 2009.

[ What follows below is a complete and near literal transcription of item #605 in the Found Tapes Exhibition. It is a tape that I picked up in the afternoon of saturday february 14th of this year, walking through the Eerste Jan Steenstraat in the Amsterdam neighborhood De Pijp, which then was as it is pictured in the following snap from Google's Streetview. It was lying in the mud, at the foot of the small tree that you see in about the middle of the picture.

1e Jan Steen straat

It was a smudgy TDK D-C60, in a jewel case, with an inlay card on which were handwritten names and titles of the Beastie Boys, and Snoopy Doggy Dog. But when some two months later I went about including the find in the online exhibition (as part of the 102nd acquisition), I found that what was actually on it was something very different.

It is a 60 minute spoken letter/diary, that a Greek girl in her early twenties (I will call her Eloise) recorded on her walkman. She did that at home in Athens, in september 1994. She is addressing her Dutch boyfriend (I will call him Abelard). Eloise had just returned to Athens, where she passed the final exams for her studies, and begins a working life. She is involved in media kind of work (television, journalism). She fell in love with Abelard in Holland, where together they spent a 1994's 'Summer of Love' in Amsterdam. Abelard is a student of anthropology. He is also an amateur of gamelan, and he's playing in a band.

Thus there is quite a bit of sound in the four monologues that Eloise's recorded on four consecutive days for her Abelard, whom she misses a lot. She urges him to come over to Athens, as soon as possible ... It is clear that theirs is a pretty 'universal' story. Also this 2009's summer, like every other summer, there will be an awful lot of Eloise and Abelard's all over this world. Reading this entry will remind you, and maybe will take some of you back to comparable times and places ... #605 is a fascinating sound souvenir, which moreover struck me as an interesting and very to the point illustration of many of the subjects that are touched upon in Karin Bijsterveld and José van Dijck's recent collection of articles on audio technologies, memory and cultural practices.

Probably needless to say, but I have not the slightest idea who are Eloise and Abelard (pushing 40 by now), what became of them ( * ), where they might be now and what they are doing. I do not know their real names, as these are never mentioned on the tape. In the transcription I removed all names of friends, family and colleagues, that are mentioned by Eloise. I also removed names of companies and magazines, and have tried to avoid referring in too easily recognizable a manner to the 'media' that in 1994 Eloise was working for.

A 60 minute tape transcript is pretty long. There are about 8000 words to it, that I will post in three consecutive, daily, parts: today, on july 26th, on july 27th and on july 28th. I suggest you save them, for example to your iPhone's "Read it later", and take this text along on your summer holidays.

Read it on the beach, preferably a Greek one :-) ... ]


"You, a bed, the sea ..."
[ 1. Athens, sept. 28th 1994 ]

tape #605

Wednesday

"About 7.30 or 8 o'clock here in the afternoon. It was a very difficult day today. I received your letter ... That was the good part of it. Although I couldn't stop crying when you were talking about dolphins and medusas ( ** ) and seals ... I like the style of your writing. Though I was very angry because you wrote me a whole page about things that I didn't care so much, but still ... it's okay, if you care about them...

...

I was just checking if the tape is writing good, because it is a very old tape and I've recorded a lot of things on it several times. Anyway. Well, life in Greece is the same. That means I am sitting alone in this beautiful house of mine, which doesn't seem to be that beautiful today. I have to clean it up, but I don't care ... The things are in the right position, but there's dust everywhere, and the dirt, you know, I can feel it. I hope other people that come inside the house do not feel it ...
I was so bored today that I did the laundry, but I haven't put the clothes in the sun, outside, yet. They're still in this bucket, waiting for me to put them out. Also the garbage has filled up and I don't put that out either ...

I ate a souvlaki today. You gonna love souvlaki! It's nice. Junk food, but it has that Greek culture thing inside of it, so ... as an anthropologist you will love that...

I'm very blue ... I'm very blue ... That's what I am ...

I started working for [X]. I don't know yet how much money I will get, or if it'll be just temporarily or ... I'm not sure what I want, really ...
On the one hand I really do want to help on the production team, and go there every day. Because that would stop me of from thinking of you, from thinking of going away, from being miserable, being alone ...
There are some nice people working there. Funny and jolly and people that I know already. My sister, of course. We have a great time together.
But on the other hand I was thinking like ... if I'm hired, it will not be easy for me to go away and come to you, or travel away.

What I have to do is, trying to find strange people that do strange things in their lives. Like today I persuaded two skaters to come to the show and perform some skating. And saturday I went to the circus with a friend of mine because we wanted to have some seals on the set. But the seals were too big and they couldn't stay out of the water more than 2 minutes. So it would be really miserable for them to come to [X].
But instead of the seals - they were really cleaver and really cute, you would love them - well, I brought them some dogs. They do ... funny things ...
Oh, and I also found some squirrels. Squirrels you call them, don't you? These ... chippendales ... ? I was at Μοναστηράκι (Monastiraki), which is an area here with a bazaar, and people from all over the world, like from Russia, from Africa, from Albany, from wherever, you know, and they sell things, like in the Waterloo square. But here it's a whole area. I was there and in a really old pet shop I found these squirrels. They were so cute! So tender. I wished I had one for a pet, that would be a nice pet indeed. I arranged for the squirrels to come and eat those walnuts that they have eh ... they look like walnuts, but they are not, because they actually have condoms inside. If you break them, if you smash them, there is a condom inside. So that was quite funny ...

So my job is to walk around Athens with my walkman on, listening to nice music and finding things that would be interesting for the show. I also have to go there, and arrange things and stuff, but that's not a big problem.

I also start working with my daddy. You know my daddy has a real passion for French songs. Piaf, Tino Rossi, Aznavour, Montand, all these people ... Actually he's a legend here in Greece, I mean it's amazing how people treat him and stuff. Anyway, so there was a radio station that wanted him to do a show with French songs, and he took me with him to help him with that. I've been doing the same thing I have been doing to my sister's show last year. Actually he gave me a lot of money for a very small job. I told him not to, but he said, 'Ah come, you take it!' and stuff. My daddy. Always like that...

I did that on monday. I also wrote to [Y], the position for the movies and the books is occupied, but eh ... I don't really care you know, in the end because [Y] is such a mess right now. Two of the most relevant people who were writing there, people that I liked and that were friends of mine, two wonderful girls, they're gone and they're working somewhere else and now really the team of [Y] is stupid. I don't want to work there ...

Maybe I'm going to write some articles about brain machines that are used as drugs. Or about skating. Or about whatever. About alternative methods of gymnastics, like African dance or about strange techniques of massage, like Tai-chi and Reiki.
Do you know them?
No, probably you don't ...
And, well, I do want to work, because otherwise I'm just sitting here and crying and feeling miserable, and doing whatever ...
samsonI have a terrible cough, and I think it's because of Samson. I'm smoking Samson now, because there is no Van Nelle in Athens. We're such a small country, we don't even have Van Nelle ... So this Samson is really probably doing bad to my throat. What else? I'm getting slimmer and slimmer. Now that's good. [...] It's nice, yeah. I think it is nice to be slim. Yeah, people like you more. Stupid people. What else? ... Let me think a little bit ...

What else?

Today we're going with [C] to the movies, to the open movies to see a Chinese film, the 'Wedding Party', it is called I think. It's a great film ...
I've missed movies. I've missed you. I really do.
People, friends of mine, are calling me, and saying 'Oh hello, and how was it in Holland?', and stuff. I'm really bored to tell them again and again the same things.
And after all ... what can I say? ... It was so good ... so good ...

Well, it's gonna be here good as well, if you come. I mean, if you don't try ... at least try to do this Erasmus thing exchange, student thing ...
I'm going to hate you man, really ... You took my soul, and now you have it and now ... I want you to come here. I want you to come here ... I've started masturbating a little bit ... it's nice ... it's good ... it's very good, actually ... but one month is so long ... so long indeed ...

Last friday I went with my father and his ex-girlfriend to the sea. It was so blue, so blue! Fucking blue, I mean, it was nice, it was as if I was on an island. It was nice. I swam a little bit in this wonderful crystal clear sea ... Maybe it's dirty, I don't know, but if I see what's at the bottom of the sea, I have such a nice feeling when I swim ...
And I was thinking, that if you come, and you see this kind of sea that we have, even in Athens, even in the most polluted town in the whole Europe ... you're going to love it! You will not want to go away, no!

When you come we have to rent a bike. Or a moped. Or I do not know what. And we could go around, and swim. In Athens. But we could also go to Σαντορίνη (Santorini), of course, you know, at least for five days. Sure we are going to!

What else?

I see this big fig tree which is outside of my window. I hope it's still alive when you come. It's nice this green thing. It reminds me of Holland. Oh, Athens is so bad ... Okay, the temperature is still high, but I don't care about that, actually I like it. 34 degrees is not that bad. But the smog is, is ... well, stupid. It's a stupid concept, the smog. I mean: 'we should do something about it!' ... Well, they never do ...

The most strange thing is the subway. You know, for a year now the government is trying to make a new line in the subway. We only have two lines now. And they're going to make two more. Two lines which are really useless for me, because I live in the center, so I really don't care. But it's unbelievable, because they have created holes everywhere, everywhere! I mean ... I had a nice park, almost outside of my house. It was a park I'd really liked to go, at least to see, you know, from ... No, not a park like the Vondelpark. You should not imagine anything like that. It was more like a big square, with grass. Still, for us in Athens, it was a park. But now they destroyed half of it. Just to build holes for this machine that is digging for the subway to go inside and start ... digging. And it's such a mess! Everywhere there are holes, and people working. It's like a third world town.
What kind of metropolis is this?
Fuck!

If everything goes well and if ... God's will ... is with me, I'm going to take my degree this october. But I really don't care. Whether I take my degree or not, it's the same thing...
I've been studying a lot last week. That was good, because I didn't think of you that much, I had to concentrate on my lessons. In 3 days I had to pass 4 exams. I hope I did it ...

What else?

Yesterday [A] and a friend of hers came to my house, and we went for a wine in a square somewhere around my house. Then I saw some friends, and we sat in the grass, and we talked and we had fun ... stuff like that. And then I came home at 3 o'clock alone, and I was so miserable. I mean, this, this ... feeling ... I ...
For me independency was a very important thing to have, and when I came inside this house I was so happy that I would be independent. That I would be alone in my home, house and stuff. But now I feel so sick alone .. I'm used to you, to sleep with you, wake up with you, having shower with you, shitting with you, eating with you ... And now I have to do all these things by myself. And it's so boring! So fucking boring!
I don't want to do them. I don't want to have a shower, you know. I suppose this is the beginning of a depression, which I have to stop from the beginning. Because, yeah, it's not good. That's not good at all ...

What else?

I want to say that you shouldn't quit the band. But of course, I mean ... if they press you a lot, I don't know what to say. Well I hope you don't ...
I hope you come to Athens, though, even if the band tells you not to, because you have to give a ... concert or whatever ... okay ... well ... Give greetings to everybody there. Especially [B] ...
I like [B], but you shouldn't be threatened about him. Actually I would love if my sister and [B] were doing something together. That would be nice. That would be really good. I mean, she's a great girl, yeah ... So why not?

What else?

[D] is here! I called him last monday and this girl that is staying at his place told me he came to Greece. I was like 'Wow, man!' And then he called me yesterday. He came with a car, for two days. I haven't talked to him yet, I mean, I talked to him on the phone, but I was expecting him to call me today and go for a coffee or whatever. But he didn't. Probably he's so busy, and he has so many people to see and stuff. But he wanted to see me too. And I wanted to see him so much, you know, he ... he is a part of this summer, of this beautiful summer of love '94 we spent together. I like [D] so much ... I don't know, I think that he doesn't want to stay anymore in Holland, I think he is trying to find a job here, or whatever.

Today Brian Ferry is here ( *** ). He's giving a concert and I had an invitation to go, but it's in an office far away from my house. So I'm just not going. I don't think that I am missing something. Okay, he's good, he's nice, but, I mean ...

...

I don't want nothing, I want nothing for my life, I just want you. You, a bed, the sea, some dope ... I still have dope. Strange, but ...
Monday, I was at [X] and ... well, actually monday was a strange day. I woke up very early, arranged my house. It was very clean and stuff. I went to the [Y], which is in one edge of Athens, and then I stayed there for 3, 4 hours, I talked with the chief-director and stuff. And then I went to my father's house, picked him up, went to another place, to do the radio show, and then I had to do the trailer and stuff. And then I went to [X] about 8 o'clock, and I left there at 11 the night, with my sister and we went to her place and we doped ourselves. So we watched TV all night long and we were talking and singing and stuff ... well ...

I'm sleepy ... Should I drink a coffee? No? Yes, well, okay. I make a small coffee now ... Instant, of course ...

Ajax is playing a Greek team, AEK ( **** ). And there is a lot of people here in Greece that don't really like Ajax. But I do. I'm with Ajax of course. I suppose you are watching it too, with your friends, aren't you? And I suppose that when Ajax wins - and they probably will win -it's gonna be a really mess in Amsterdam ...
Okay, I'm getting ready now. I'm going to the movies.

I love you ... I love you a lot ..."

...

[ tomorrow: 2. Athens, sept. 29th 1994 ]

notes __ ::
(*) As once sighed my daughter when the lights went up in the movies: "Ca c'est dans le film, mais il y a encore toute la vie après ..." [ ^ ]
(*) "A free-swimming sexual form of a coelenterate such as a jellyfish, typically having an umbrella-shaped body with stinging tentacles around the edge. In some species, medusae are a phase in the life cycle that alternates with a polypoid phase." [ ^ ]
(**) Brian Ferry performed on wednesday september 28th and thursday 29th 1994 in the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens. (source: Roxyrama). [ ^ ]
(***) As part of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League competition, Ajax played in Athens against AEK on wednesday, september 28th, 1994, and beat the Greek team with 1 to 2.
"Beforehand there was some anxiety on how this match would turn out, since AEK was a relatively unknown opponent. After AEK took a 1-0 lead, Ajax decided to take control of the game. More pressing was applied and after the equalizer from Litmanen, Ajax never looked in trouble again. The winner was scored by 18-year old Patrick Kluivert. Because of the absence of Frank Rijkaard, the average age of the team was brought down to 22,4 years. [ source: xs4all.nl/~michielh/deweg.html ]
"The 1994–95 UEFA Champions League was the 40th edition of UEFA's premier European club football tournament, and the third since its rebranding as the UEFA Champions League. The tournament was won by Ajax of the Netherlands with a late goal in the final against A.C. Milan of Italy. Ajax won the competition without losing a game, either in the group or the knock-out stage. This year included four groups of four teams each in the group stage, up from two groups of four teams each in 1993–94. It was also the first year in which eight teams advanced to the knock-out stage and the first of three years in which champions of smaller nations entered the UEFA Cup instead of the Champions League." [ ^ ]

tags: Found tapes, Athens, Amsterdam, 1994

# .322.

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