Smurfpunx @ Van Hall, Amsterdam

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 09:01

During the X-mas holidays 1988 some of us Smurfpunx  (Mokka, Natasja H., Anmie, Frank, Brob & Fitzjoy – Natasja D. & Guy had to call it off  last minute because his grandma died) drove to the Van Hall squat in Amsterdam in a rented mini-bus to stay there a couple of days and spend some time with Lorelei & Syd (who invited us). I had set up a small tour for my German friends in ‘F.F.F.’ and their mates ‘Upside’ (Italy) and they were also playing there one night. We were able to witness how everything was working there: a bit shocking was how little support L & S got from anyone to set up their shows (Van Hall at that time being the only independent independent concert-place but the A’dam scene seemed to be on the brink of apathy about this…). So we lended a hand while we were there: I remember driving our mini-bus through the little streets/ alleys and on the narrow bridges over  the Amsterdam canals to go pick up the P.A. We also experienced how people lived there and got to know the Italo-Canadian couple a bit better. It was a damn big place (an old bike-factory) where you could get lost easily and where all the people living there (mostly Italians, a South-African girl,…) had more than enough space. One thing though: it was incredibly cold! But most of the nights we could spread our sleeping-bags around the stove (the only one in the whole buidling) in Lorelei & Syd’s bedroom, who were telling us bedtime- and other stories lying in their big canopy bed… We talked a lot and had quite some fun. I remember Syd showing pictures from a book with tattoos and piercings, and some of the younger girls discovering that a ‘Prince Albert’ was something more than just a member of the royal family…  (smile) We also met more interesting people. Two of the three ‘Yeastie Girlz’ were living there (Joyce & Cammie, Jane had gone back to California already). They also performed the same night as the previously mentioned bands… Another person who we were to meet again later was Semolina, a talented dancer from Spain who was taking courses in A’dam and lived in Van Hall. She was friends with Boliche & the lads of ‘Subterranean Kids’ who we would meet later on. At the gig I met Frank ‘Kaboem’ (a very decent zine) whom I’d already talked in Zoetermeer’s ‘Mevrouw Latenstaan’ earlier.


I was 16 years old and I really wanted to go to Van Hall with Mokka, Frank, etc. But what did I have to tell my parents? “Mum, dad, I’m going to stay at a squat in Amsterdam with a bunch of punx…”. I don’t think so! But I also didn’t want to lie. So I told them that I had a very difficult test (sociology) coming – which was true – and asked if I could stay over at a girlfriend’s house for the weekend if I could get a 8/10. You have to know: I was sitting next to Duco for sociology, and he was very good for that class, so he would always let me crib. Off course I got good grades! I let my parents sign for the test and they agreed to let me sleep over for the weekend. My dad drove me to my girlfriend’s house where I got picked up by the rest of the Smurfpunx to leave for Amsterdam a bit later.

We were well recieved at Van Hall by Syd and Lorelei, and I looked around astonishedly. The big factory was filled with junk, there were quite some extravagant people walking around, and Syd and Lorelei’s room was also decorated in a rather special way, to say the least. It was full with X-mas lights and these stayed on even at night. Because I could only sleep in complete darkness, I asked Lorelei why the light couldn’t be turned off. She told me the lights definitely had to stay on because there were ghosts wandering around at Van Hall. There were many but their ‘house-spirit’ was an old woman that kept walking around chattering the whole time and to keep the ‘ghost’ out of their room, the light had to be kept on. I thought she was kidding me but in fact she was dead-serious; and Syd went along with the whole story. As a kid I had watched ‘The Exorcist’ all by myself and then I’d stayed downstairs the whole night because I didn’t dare to go to bed anymore. That had left such an impression that I’m (still am) afraid to watch movies that deal with ghosts or paranormal things. Lorelei also told me that if I had to go pee that night, I would see the ghost in the big space. Of course I didn’t get any sleep and at 3 p.m. I had to go to the toilet. Frank [Brob: Anmie’s boyfriend at the time.] came with me and even though it was creepy, luckily we didn’t see anything. But at 5 p.m. I had to go again, probably because of nerves, and since I was a tough girl, I went alone this time. And for sure: somewhere at the back I saw a twattling old woman walking in the moonlight. I don’t know if it was a lost vagrant or a drunk but I was scared to death. When I told Lorelei about it later, she said “Oh yeah, that is her allright!”. Looking back it was probably a joke but for some reason this is my sharpest memory of that weekend at Van Hall.

Thanks to Syd’s tattoo-book I also learned what a ‘prince Albert’ is. Frankly, at that time I found the idea of a pierced willy to be shocking. After he described how having such a piercing was done in practice, I didn’t want any nose- or other piercings later. Now that I design jewelry as a hobby, I would’ve liked to have a few punctures here and there; but I’m afraid. I got a double trauma at Van Hall, haha.

The performance by the ‘Yeastie Girlz’ was super. The women stood in front of the stage, a few tough blokes more at the back shouting comments. Hurt egos when hearing the lyrics? Haha, I sure thought it was funny.

When my dad came to pick me up at my friend’s after the weekend, he asked if it had been fun in the Netherlands. Apparently he had seen that the guilders in my room before leaving. I’m still grateful that my father trusted me enough to let me go, even though he knew I had plans to go to A’dam in stead of to my friend’s in Aalst. I told him I went to concerts and stayed with friends. He didn’t need to know that it was in a squat. Luckily my dad didn’t say anything to my mom: I would have been grounded for a 100 years, guaranteed!


Syd & Lorelei (pic by ?)

Van Hall (Rise & Fall #2) aVan Hall (Rise & Fall #2) b


1 Comment »

  1. That was a memorabele trip indeed! Like you said, Brob, everybody there had their own ‘studio’: the one even more creative, crazy than the other. Heleen, Fitzjoy and myself went even back there during the summer; I’m sure the guys from ‘GOD’ still have memories about that… Those little trips with Smurfpunx back then and going to gigs with the gang made it for us, adolescents, a wonderful time. Greetings to everyone!

    Comment by Natasja Holvoet — 08/11/2012 @ 10:14

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