This is a little account of some memories
In June 2006 I received an e-mail from somebody who was at the same school for teachers as I was in 1984 and he tells me that Christian Nijs committed suicide. It is also noted on the website of the Nederlands Popinstituut. They list a year: 2002. The last time I saw Christian was in june 1999. One early morning I went to the supermarket as I was up early, having a baby means no longer sleeping in. The supermarket is quite empty but I see someone that I also saw some weeks before, which could be Christian Nijs. I go up to him, and ask for his name. His reply was 'you are Frans de Waard'. He had just finished working the night, waiter at the local casino, which he did for years already. I tell him about my daughter and tell him that I am in the process of re-releasing all cassettes of Korm Plastics, including a two CDR set of all works by Kapotte Muziek, which includes work done by him. We swop e-mail addresses, and after a few weeks I mail him that I have a copy for him, even when he showed not much interest in the original talk. Not that he wasn't totally uninterested, but it didn't seem to matter to him. He never replies and I leave it as it is.
The time before that I met him in a small student room he is living in, already for some years. IF Records had just released 'History Is What Was', the first LP by Kapotte Muziek, and this LP is a sort of recollection of the first years as Kapotte Muziek. I gave Christian a copy that afternoon, and we listened to the record. He says 'I don't remember very much about all of this', and while he doesn't seem to enjoy it, he also doesn't mind hearing it. He tells me about his work at the casino, which he enjoys: it's night work and pays him lots of money. He tells me likes to play chess and is thinking to buy a chess computer. The LP however makes him think to buy a four track recorder. After that I don't see him again until 1999.
I first met Christian Nijs during the introduction at the school for teachers in august 1984. He and I were enlisted to become teachers in history and geography. For some reason we don't stay in Nijmegen during the week long introduction but move to small village, in a small building that is too small for everybody to get a proper sleep. I decide to sleep outside as it was beautiful, hot summer. Christian joined me, and we get along well. He tells me he likes the sort of new wave music I like and he has keen interest in guns and knives. In october 1984 I release the first cassette, 'Katacombe Vol. 3', on my own Korm Plastics label. Christian sees me xeroxing the covers at the school and buying blank tapes there, and asks me if he can buy one. He's one of the first customers. He quite likes the tape and we decide to create music together. Christian lived in another student flat, sharing it with several people, who all played music. He could easily borrow their instruments and improvises his way on them. He records everything on cassettes, which he hands to me, and I do my bit, before releasing them. Some of the works released as Kapotte Muziek were entirely his work: 'Rock N Roll' and 'Aircraft' as well as one side of 'Split'. Christian likes the idea of cassettes and starts his own label, Disabuse Transmissions, by releasing a C15 called 'Chemical Warfare'. The label releases five tapes in total, mainly due to my connections.
It was Christian's idea to do a live concert, in the house he lived in. All the instruments were dragged into his room in the summer time, August 1986, when everybody is gone. Only one student is there and witnesses the concert. It includes Christian's reading of the 'cultural terrorist manifesto' and lots of noise. The softest two minutes of the concert end up on 'History Is What Was'.
In October of the same year we start planning a second concert, at V2 in 's-Hertogenbosch, together with THU20 and Odal. It's in this time that Christian looses his interest in experimental music and during our three day stay in V2, preparing the concert, he tells me it will be his last thing for Kapotte Muziek, and that he is going to learn to play the guitar properly. For various reasons, the event is a memorable one.
After that I see him very occasionally. He already quit school, worked in the casino and started playing the guitar. He invited me to see him play with a punk band, whose name I forgot (if they had any). Christian wore a mickey mouse t-shirt and was good. Their drummer suffered from Korsakov's syndrome and leaves during all songs in the middle. A pretty chaotic evening. That must be the last thing I saw of Christian, until the meeting described above.
Christian was an obsessive character. If he would do something, he would do it good. He bought arms, semi-illegal. Corresponded with the Flat Earth Society, had works by Alistair Crowley in beautiful bound editions. Played the guitar, played chess and also collected watches. He never struck me as a happy kid, but who is happy in the 80s and being 22? I could never imagine him committing suicide though, and I am sad to say I hear this four years later.
If anyone has information on Christian Nijs, please let me know. I'd very much like to dedicate more words to him, and perhaps even release all his works as Factor 6* on CDR, along with a booklet.
frans [at] beequeen [dot] nl
* the Factor 6 release on Opus Dei Society was not recorded by Christian but by me, as he never wanted to one, despite his initial interest in making one.
picture: Michael Sanchez for www.watchuseek.com