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    German Genesis Fanclub: 25th anniversary

    Steffen Gerlach






    Who made the clock go fast?

    by Steffen Gerlach



    The words „20 years of IT“ scare me a bit. So the fanclub has really been accompanying me for almost half my life? Incredible. I like to think I am anything but a club member by nature. I also wonder whether I might not be too old for things like „being a fan“ or „a club“. Is not that rather some teenage thing for adolescent girls? In this case, though, I cannot conceive of anything that would the combination of „me“ and „fanclub“ undesirable.

    I still remember how it all started. Collins' You Can't Hurry Love was one of the first vinyl singles I bought, and the '83 Genesis album followed soon after. I was not really a fan by then, but I liked it. Then came No Jacket Required, Mike + The Mechanics and after that Invisible Touch and Peter Gabriel's So, which I bought on a school exchange in France. I am not quite sure whether I realised they were all connected in a way. In 1987 I attended open air shows of both Genesis and Gabriel. I had bought Three Sides Live and really liked the In The Cage medley – it was so different. It must have been at that time when „I enjoy it in a way“ turned into „I like it so very much that I suppose I am a fan“. Seconds Out! Never before or since have I listened to a record that often. I had become a drummer by then and I became even more hungry. As a more experienced fan, my band mate and friend Bernd Vormwald had to 'feed' me answers to my many questions. I think it was an ad in some music magazine that pointed me towards a sort of fanclub. Der Genesis-Fan was an A5 magazine with all sorts of information about my new heroes. In it I first noticed the name Helmut Janisch; he used to write for it. Unfortunately, the era of the Genesis-Fan ended soon after I subscribed. Or is it: fortunately?

    Mr Janisch felt the Genesis-Fan was too amateur – he wanted more, and he wanted to do it better! Almost in time for the new Genesis album We Can't Dance arrived the evidence that it could be done better in the mail. A personal letter, laminated membership card (#32) and the first edition of the Invisible Touch magazine. Goodness, what Helmut Janisch and Peter Schütz (and soon also Bernd Zindler) had accomplished there was really a feat! Though it was only photocopied, I found the magazine attractive both for the content and its appearance. By and by I realised how much there was to discover in the Genesis universe. Besides the official releases the topic of bootlegs became increasingly important for me as the first CD copies turned up at the time. The newest issue of the Invisible Touch magazine with all its detailed background information was an indispensible (shopping) guide, its arrival a feast to celebrate – nobody was allowed to disturb me when I read the magazine. Afterwards I would discuss everything avidly and extensively with Bernd Vormwald. I found it fascinating how much passion the makers poured into the magazine. Not long, and the first contact was made with record companies and the artists themselves. We had in-depth interviews and attractive competitions. In the summer of 1992 I stood with my first club shirt (I even got a special colour!) in front of the stage at the still empty Niedersachsen-Stadion Hannover, Germany, as one of three competition winners, the others being Bernd and Gunnar (where have you got to?). Wow! Awesome!
    When the fanclub invited people to write for the magazine, I was absolutely compelled to do so. I put in as much effort as I could because I was most impressed by the quality standard the boss demanded. I was also always present when there were flyers to be handed out at concerts to promote the fanclub, and that would have been much harder had Helmut not designed so incredibly attractive flyers. Take the Mechanics tour 1995, for example: A pfennig coin had been stuck onto every single flyer. The club conventions started soon after that. And it was – how can I put it – liberating to see that there really were other nerds who were even nerdier than me. It was difficult to find that out in those years before the internet.

    The fanclub kept growing, the magazine became ever larger and ever more professional, the contents more interesting, the competition prizes more desirable and the conventions more exciting. Others may judge whether I have contributed anything to that as part of several fanclub live acts with Bernd Vormwald. One thing is for certain, though: Whatever I did in and with and for the clubs has been great fun. Even more so when the boss take you with him on a business trip to have tea with Anthony Phillips at his [Ant's] house, or to conduct a hilarious interview with Steve Hackett (where I could not get out a single word!) and then attend a closed Mechanics show. Actually, it was not always funny. As time went by and quality grew the magazines began to appear less and less frequently. NOT funny! The intervals of information drought were terrible. The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be the internet. What can I say? That, too, was handled in a textbook operation with the same amount of diligence. When the fanclub cast around to expand their team they made a good choice. Christian Gerhardts, the new lad, applied as much motivation and visionary spirit as the old lads did ten years before. Speaking of ten years: There was an officially sanctioned fanclub CD for the tenth anniversary that has become quite a collector's item! The fanclub remained as attractive as before for me when the fanclub opened up and became an open internet portal. The forum in particular makes it possible for everybody to exchange view and theories also between conventions. As a regular visitor I still feel like part of a club. And they do a lot to keep me coming back: up-to-date news, carefully arranged articles, reviews, interviews, competitions, ticket pre-sales, surveys and other specials. Even better than that, they still have a quiver full of ideas on how to expand and improve.
    Even though there will, tragically, come a time when our favourite musicians will fall silent, I take some consolation in the fact that this fanclub will most likely still be around. Why am I so certain, you ask? GNC has long since proved that there are still lots of people who keep discovering our heroes' music and who are as fascinated by it as I was. And it would be most unlikely that there are no people amongst those who have a similar motivation, vision and professionalism as the current bosses. Thank you Helmut, Peter, Bernd and Christian for the countless great moments you have given me – YOU, too, are my heroes!

    Your fanclub member #32

    it Fanclub


    Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years (CD)

    Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years (CD) Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years (CD) kaufen bei amazon.de
    Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years (CD) Verse kaufen bei play.com

    Second Mechanics-Album from 1988, contains the US-Nr. 1-Hit The Living Years.


    Genesis - Seconds Out (2CD)

    Genesis - Seconds Out (2CD) Genesis - Seconds Out (2CD) kaufen bei amazon.de
    Genesis - Seconds Out (2CD) Verse kaufen bei jpc.de
    Genesis - Seconds Out (2CD) Verse kaufen bei play.com

    Some say it is one of the best Live-Albums ever. Genesis' Seconds Out became a milestone and also marked the end of the classic years.


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