Zwolle in Shanghai

This vinyl record made it to Shanghai and that’s a miracle. It makes me wonder about how this music was composed around 250 years ago in a candle-lit room in Germany, and played over 60 years ago by an Englishman visiting a small city in post-war Netherlands. I wonder about the church that was built across 60 years in the 15th century, and the many people who built it. I wonder about the person who drew the map in around 1580, as well as the person who designed the vinyl-cover centuries later. I wonder about the Taobao salesman and how he or she laid hands on this record. And I often wonder about myself, sitting in a Shanghai apartment writing this.

This vinyl record brings so much together.¬†This is their story. This is my story. Zwolle is the city which I once looked at as huge while I grew up in a small town across the river. For 9 long years I cycled back and forth to high school and the graphic lyceum. Zwolle was my place for going to the movies, buying computer games and my first MP3 player, as well as drinking my first beer. Those memories are part of me, and I don’t escape them because I look for them. I found this record on a Chinese online-marketplace and saw on the cover the map I know so well. Because even though it’s drawn centuries ago, little has changed and neither have I.

Buddhist say everyone of us carries within the whole past of everything, and they say that we are the product of everything that has preceded us. I will agree with that and note that sometimes this comes in the unlikely form of a vinyl record.