Letting Go


There once was a record store in Amsterdam that treated their merchandise with the love and respect it earned. Fame opened as the biggest records store in Europe and it was indeed huge. At a corner on the Dam Square in the center of the city they had three floors filled with music. It was unprecedented. Every floor had its own specialists that really knew what they were talking about. They had a classical department with a piano where they had small concerts. Jazz was put on its own floor, without being mixed with I don’t know, Country. And wherever you went, personnel knew what they were talking about.

I used to go there for classical music with the idea that I wanted this or that piece. I went there, found they had about twenty different recordings of it. I chose five, then went to the counter and listened to all of them. I was allowed to take my time. When I was finished I asked what was their favourite, so I could compare their opinion. This was a shopping experience that could take hours. Choosing good music might take that time. Sitting there and listening was an inspiration.

They had evenings for the loyal customers, or at least the ones that had a loyalty card. The shop was closed for the rest, with guards at the door to check each customer. You picked up a basket and a free beer from the bar. Usually there were some snacks lying around as well. There were usually some special bargains, but that was not even the reason I liked it. It was a different experience in buying music (or DVD’s back then).

And then one day they had to close. Successful as they were, they were not able to pay the rent of the place. The promise was made they would reopen when they found a cheaper location. They did, but it never was like it used to be. No more sales evenings. No piano in the basement. No more dedicated personnel that knew what they were talking about. The choice was becoming less and less. They had to move to an even cheaper place, but again it didn’t work out. By now, the shop is gone. A sad loss.

Tim Knol is a Dutch singer that made this record in memory of the last day Fame was open. I got it on that day. Shopping for me was never as good anymore. Years later I saw Tim Knol at a bluegrass festival: I think he was doing that a lot better than pop music!

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