The Holy Grail | 25 November 2013

On 14 April 2013, and for the first time in many, many years, I visit the huge international record fair in Utrecht: a day I will remember.

It is my intention to have a fun day trying to get some Japanese ABBA singles or LPs. For a little money or, if necessary, for a tiny bit more.

I don't know beforehand, but I soon realize that there are record traders from around the world at the fair, including quite a few ones from Scandinavia. So imagine the shock when I notice that one of those traders offers an original Hovas Vittne 12" single for sale. It's one of those moments when your heart skips a beat.

There it is: in absolute mint condition. For "only" 1800 Euros. Full of envy I am looking at the extremely rare single on red vinyl. After 30 years I finally see a copy. I start to drool. But what an asking price! I simply won't spend that much money on a record. Ever!

Besides: I don't even carry that amount of cash with me. And though Hovas Vittne is avery nice record to say the least, this is way too expensive. The decision not to buy it is taken swiftly. Fortunately I am not the kind of collector that will lose sleep over a missed opportunity, so I start browsing through another million records or so.

But then there is another Swedish merchant and my heart skips a beat or two again: it's the second Hovas Vittne of the day and I almost faint. The record may not be in mint condition, but the price is much better: the guy wants only (!) 800 Euros.

This of course still is an excredible amount of money for a bit of plastic. There are smarter ways to part with your money: you can have a lot of fun with your family if you spend it on a holiday.

But, just for the fun of it, I send a small tekst message to my wife Jolanda. I ask her jokingly if we have some 800 Euros lying around somewhere, because I have a great idea of spending some money. In complete awe I read the answer: "Yes we do have that money. Buy the record!". My lovely wife knows how many years I have been looking for this vinyl and she wants me to have it. Oh the joy!

I now have a critical medical condition: my heart skips another couple of beats. Is it really true that I finally purchase one of my ultimate dream records? Am I going to make the buy of the century?

With the money retrieved from one of the building's ATMs in my sweaty and obsessed little hands I return to the record dealer. I've never been so bloody nervous. I offer 600 Euros and we ultimately agree that 700 Euros is a fair price. For that little sum he parts with the 12". Which means that I finally have a Hovas Vittne. MY Hovas Vittne.

Trembling like a leaf and literally with tears in my eyes I sit down at a table. Right now I am the luckiest man on the planet. I am the proud owner of a little piece of red plastic. And what an emotional roller coaster it is. That's what a simple vinyl record can do to you.

What begins as an ordinary Sunday is now a spectacular day: I have found the Holy Grail.

picture belonging to column The Holy Grail

All editorials:
At last
What if?
The Visitors Revisited
CMP 2.0
Moving on
The Wembley album
Songs Of Innocence
What's left?
Once in a lifetime
My, my, at Waterloo
Money, Money, Money
In the year 2025
The Agnetha year
The Holy Grail
ABBA The Museum
The Visitors: 2 million and counting
Finally I listened to A
It Was Thirty Years Ago Today
A Regime Change?
Not So Happy New Year
Oh not again
The Universal truth
The Winner Takes It All
Crisis? What crisis?
Hall of Fame
ABBAWORLD – Count me in
Kristina - The verdict
I am a snob
All those years ago
Story of a heart
ABBA for sale
No more awards please!
A big cheer
The museum
The worst of ABBA
The birth of a myth
ABBA on eBay
Casting a shadow
Givin' a little bit more – yeah right
So long
Dum Dum Diddle
The ABBA clothes
1976 - The point of no return
Number One - at last
The end of the rainbow
No more champagne
Creating a bootleg
The history book on the shelf
A sense of pride
If you change your mind
Goodbye Polar Studios
A single line
True Colours
I have a dream
The heat is on
ABBA Naked
Happy new year
Just like what?
Mamma bloody Mia!


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