Formative years part 2: My grandmother and The Rolling Stones

This is a story about my grandmother.
Growing up in East Germany we had limited travel opportunities and access to hard currency. But we had ‘Intershops’, small government owned stores offering western goods in exchange for Deutschmark. They had the vibe of an airport duty free where you could buy Toblerone, Levi’s and (at the time) records. You could also buy Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Marlboro, but as a kidthat wasn’t on my radar.
My grandmother was allowed to travel to the West, so she had small amounts of Deutschmark and was able to shop at the ‘Intershop’.
I might have been 10 years old when I read two articles about a band called ‘The Rolling Stones’. The first one in a local East German newspaper explained the decadence of Rock ’n’ Roll as evident in the infamous Altamont concert, the other one in a West German magazine described Brian Jones’ unique fashion sense and eccentric lifestyle. I had heard a song that went something like ‘I can’t get no’, so The Rolling Stones sparked my interest and I would have loved to own a Stones record.
The nearest Intershop, an hour’s drive away, had one in stock – and Brian Jones on the cover. To get it I needed Deutschmarks and to get Deutschmarks I needed my grandmother. With the determination of a 10 year old I asked grandma, but she refused to spend her valuable hard currency on a band she called ‘screamers’.
Christmas came, I did not give up, put Stones onto the wish list and with the support of my parents the pièce de résistance managed to make its way under the Christmas tree.
And to add to my happiness, grandma seemed somewhat relieved when I put on “Ruby Tuesday” to which she remarked: ‘Not as bad as I thought’.
This was only the beginning of a beautiful friendship with popular music and my grandmother, who, from her travels to the West, started bringing home records that I ended up sharing with my cousin.
Thank you Grandma for introducing me to the wonderful world of Rock ’n’ Roll!