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    20 Jahre – some thoughts about 'it'


    by Bernd Zindler


    The German Genesis fanclub it has been part of almost half my life – sometimes more intense, sometimes at a slower pace. It is easy to write about it as an institution; perhaps it has actually become one. First and foremost this club is what clubs are all about: a congregation of like-minded people (music freaks in our case) who get something started with a lot of enthusiasm and then keep this unique something going. I could imagine it when Helmut and Peter asked me whether I would like to participate as a staff member in the budding flower that was then called the Deutscher Genesis Fanclub Invisible Touch. It is all the harder to imagine that all this should have been 20 years ago.

    The People
    Deep gratitude is what I feel when I consider how many great people I have met through my work. Club meetings and various events introduced me to unique characters and people who have grown close to my heart. Mentioning names here would be unjust, unjust towards those who I may forget. To all those who feel I am talking about them: My love to you. The great thing about it was that I have met fans from all over the world with whom I had great conversations and long-lasting friendships. A big thank you to you, too.

    Travel
    Oh yes, I did it a lot. I have never added up the kilometres or the miles I have travelled on motorways, hovercrafts and ferries, in the air or on foot for the club. When I look back there are three trips I will remember forever, the Genesis UK theatre tour 1992 (including Carpet Crawlers in Southampton), Steve Hackett’s Italian band tour in 2000 (including helping out at the merchandise stand and several after show parties), and the first UK tour of The Musical Box with a grandiose tour finale at the Royal Albert Hall. Helmut Janisch was always there with me, and I still love the idea of listening to all Genesis albums chronologically in the car and only stopping once we reached our goal on the island (you make it to Duke, if you happen to drive a VW Golf). Having Peter accompany us on the Musical Box tour was another great thing. And, yes, Karin, our tour in the Beetle in 1991 is unforgotten too (we got caught taking photos at Fisher Lane studios), but that was before my time in the Fanclub.

    The Band
    Some of you may think this is bragging, but I need to mention the incredible privilege this simple fan from Braunschweig had. Facing those stars that you only know from the record cover, from papers or TV and interviewing (almost) all the members of the  band (the backstage smalltalk with Peter Gabriel in 1994 in Hannover does not really count as an interview) or at least having met them is incredible. Years ago someone complained that “you would also interview Phil Collins’ cleaning lady, wouldnt’ you?” We replied, “If she has something interesting to tell, we will.” Following up this principle I have realised that the interviews we did with people from the Genesis camp produced the most remarkable stories and content, whether it was Kim Poor, Peter Cross or Chester Thompson.  That meant a lot to me. One of the highlights certainly was the interview with Tony Banks right at the mixing desk at The Farm. I guess I have never been as nervous as that day. Well, actually there may have been a day when I was even more nervous...

    Sabine
    ... the day I married Sabine. I met the love of my life thanks to a Peter Gabriel concert in Munich. The meeting was arranged by Helmut (aye, not only can he set up a great club, but he is also a great “envoy of the heart”). Thank you, Sabine, for all your support.

    Changes
    And then they began to happen, those big changes in my life. My career took off, I had a family, and I found it more and more difficult to put in as much work for the club as in the beginning. This was quite drastic for me, but time changes all our lives. Had it not been for Christian Gerhardts who brought a breath of fresh air into the club work there may not have been a 20th anniversary. I hardly write anything for the club anymore for many different reasons, but that has never diminished my passion for the club.

    Website
    Is this still a club or only a website? I have often asked myself that question. The new ideas Christian brought with him introduced a new era. What was planned as a side project to the magazines has become the flagship of the club: The website. Many members have become 'users' in the 'community' and are still around. For them it is probably more than a website; for others the club is nothing more or less than a website, and both melt into one. Perhaps that was a logical consequence: individuals join up and become a community that keeps the thing going. The move towards a website was certainly right and good. But, frankly, I miss those days when I sat in Fulda with Peter and Helmut and tacked magazines together and stuck photos into them. I guess I am, as Mike Rutherford said about himself, a fan of traditions.

    Love
    My love for the fanclub and all the people who are involved with it is strong. I am very conscious of this while I write these lines. It would have been easy to throw it all away and walk away, and I have often been close to doing that. The 'fear' of probably closing that chapter of my life for good, never to return, has saved me from doing it.

    Future
    It sounds a bit trite to wish the club all the best for the next twenty years, but I admit this is what I wish for. It would be a shame to see all the work of so many busy hands (and they were a lot over the years!) that created this community to wash away in the bits and bytes of the internet...


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