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