Hans and the Rolling Stones
Hans was a huge German youth who adored the Rolling Stones. He’d never heard them before but took an instant liking to them and became besotted after just one listening.
The Hostel had a Dansette record player and I put on my Stones album. Immediately Hans came over with a look of incredulity. He was smitten. I had to play it through again and again.
Hans was massive – like a lumberjack on steroids. For a snack he would buy one of the large black loaves, slice it open with a huge sheaf-knife, slice up sausage and cheese in big wedges and eat it as a sandwich. It was enormous.
There were two very shy, timid and serious Austria girls staying in the Hostel. They were either mute or simply terrified of everyone. I think it was the latter. They kept themselves well apart from the entire riot going on around them and did not seem at all keen on sharing wine or playing table soccer. They would huddled together round the Dansette, play Strauss and try to blot out the rest of the world. They looked like a couple of baby fauns hiding from the hunters.
Hans would stride over to the table, thump his fist down on the top so that the stylus skipped across the LP, and say ‘ROLLING STONES!’ in his booming voice.
He was very intimidating. The two girls would scuttle about collecting up their LPs and disappear. I felt sorry for them but there was no arguing with Hans.
He’d put the album on, turn the volume up and give us great big bear hugs, grinning and guffawing with pleasure.
I think we’d altered his life. We certainly had not enhanced the Austrian girls lives though.
The other girls in the place liked the Stones though. They kept us happy with their cooking and other delights. I had never tasted so many wonderful dishes.
This hitch-hiking business was proving every bit as illuminating and fun as it had promised to be.
Life would never be the same.