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In Memoriam: Arjen Grolleman (1972 - 2010)

Only recently, after read­ing his nec­ro­logy for a local book­store, we com­pli­men­ted him on the way he was able to fill such memorial texts with true poetry and touch­ing words. “Yes,” he said, “but why does it always have to be nec­ro­lo­gies?” Per­haps because we only real­ise what we’ve lost until it’s gone?

On Wed­nes­day Janu­ary 20th 2010 we heard the shock­ing news that Arjen Grolle­man had passed away sud­denly, hav­ing had a fatal acci­dent at home. Arjen was a sta­tion man­ager and DJ at KinkFM, as well as a pro­lific voice-over for national Dutch tele­vi­sion and other media. At KinkFM, he presen­ted the pro­grams Avond­land and X-Rated, the lat­ter of which was the show for exper­i­mental music on Dutch radio. Through X-Rated, together with co-presenter Bob Rusche, he expressed his love for altern­at­ive and exper­i­mental music in a way that was hon­est, remark­able, and mem­or­able, as well as giv­ing it a solid place in main­stream Dutch media, inspir­ing many listen­ers and sup­port­ing a great num­ber of artists and labels. Poetry and the spoken word always had a firm place in his pro­grams as well, with record­ings of Dutch and for­eign poets and other import­ant writers fea­tur­ing along­side mar­vel­lous under­ground music. Where else could one hear a track by Coil after a speech by Noam Chom­sky and a poem by W.H. Auden?

In Arjen, we also lost a dear friend. We remem­ber fondly the long even­ings turn­ing into early morn­ings, filled with deep con­ver­sa­tion, laughter, and wine. Arjen was the per­fect com­pan­ion for a dis­cus­sion about music, lit­er­at­ure, cul­ture, art, poetry, life, per­fume… He was ever inspir­ing; after hear­ing him speak about his Rosicru­cian tour through Paris, you can’t help but want to fol­low in his foot­steps. And we can’t even remem­ber how many records we’ve sought out after hav­ing heard them played on X-Rated.

His friends were always able to fol­low his daily adven­tures and travels on Twit­ter, a medium which he had util­ised to per­fec­tion, with an excel­lent sense of tim­ing and con­tent. A lovely feel­ing in the morn­ing: turn­ing on your PC, and see­ing a first-hand account of Arjen and his radio col­leagues, rush­ing down the slope in front of the KinkFM stu­dio in their desk chairs in the middle of the night.

Arjen was an excep­tional per­son. Excep­tion­ally driven, excep­tional in his ideal­ism, his interests, and his pas­sions. He was able to put his spirit into all of his work and interests, turn­ing it into some­thing more. The way in which he made his job out of his pas­sions is equally admir­able and inspir­ing. He was also gentle, lov­ing, and hos­pit­able. We wish with all our hearts that we would have been able to spend more time with him, but it was not to be. We hope he has found a lov­ing embrace in whatever awaited him in the here­after… the warmth of the sun, float­ing on the æther, a drink with Jhonn Bal­ance?

Our thoughts are with Arjen’s fam­ily, friends, and col­leagues, all of whom we wish much strength in cop­ing with this great loss.

-Oscar & Diane