People skills


In 2007 I was hospitalized. There was an old man in the hospital who was apathic. He walked around, but never said anything nor managed to fix his gaze on things. At some point he sat across from me and I noticed his hands were huge. I have slim fingers. Piano fingers, computer fingers. He had working hands. So I asked him: "I guess you used to work with your hands?". Just to say something. I didn’t intend anything. He replied: "Furniture. I created furniture." and started giggling for some time. Afterwards he would enjoy the company of the younger kids and said he had his third youth. He opened up, I guess my remark triggered his memory. After a few weeks I was sitting on a bench next to him and he said: "You're Jesus, aren't you?". I had some problems with a stalker saying the same thing and replied: "That doesn't pay my bills" as it is sometimes pointless to argue with people about this.

Back in school, when I was about 15, a guy in our friends group never said anything either. I got fed up with it and called him really terrible names, he quickly pushed me to the ground. I laughed and said: “finally you’re doing something”. He said: “You’re the one to talk.” And started complaining about others not doing anything. Another friend from that group later made a remark about walking on water which he appears to have stolen from a De La Soul song (tread water). However that guy turned out to be quite grumpy and at times I wondered if I shouldn’t have done it.

I met Shirley Manson at the lowlands pop festival around 1996, I think it must have been. She seemed nice but somehow frustrated or something. She wasn’t right. After introducing specialization in computer graphics in 1995 using the ‘fliptro’ I got quite stressed out and managed to relax by hanging out with friends, spinnning records (dj’ing) and rapping wu-tang clan music. Somehow the wu-tang clan managed to explain morals in a problematic setting. Not the kind of morals of “stay out of danger”, but ‘how to act when you’re in a place that’s not entirely safe’. Wu-tang clan music gave me a means to channel my frustrations.

I thought it would be hard to convey my dj’ing hobby to Shirley, but I could freestyle a bit. And so I did. And it worked. It had quite a lot of influence in pop music at the time.


© Koos Swart 2013