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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
alanabit beautiful musical moments you created (32) RE: beautiful musical moments you created 15 Jun 19

Jan was a homeless man, probably in his thirties, whom I often passed by on the street, where he was begging. His body and face showed clearly the scars of a tragic life, which involved a lot of rejection, ill health, drug abuse and beatings. His own family and the one he had started had both disintegrated. I usually saw him sitting near Heumarkt in Koeln as I was either going in or out of work (either teaching or busking). Occasionally I could stop and chat to him for a few minutes or throw him a Euro. He spoke good English with a southern British accent. He would invariably ask me to play him a song. On rare occasions, I did. One time, I sang him the long ballad "Johnny Petto" which is about a young couple on the road in which the "hero" abandons his pregnant partner. Jan listened in rapt attention and then said, "That's a song about people like me, isn't it?" I have played that song at big concerts with Klaus der Geiger on fiddle, but I don't think I ever got a better audience than I had that day.
Jan is almost certainly no longer with us.

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