The word "GRY" (which roughly translates to "dawn") and a strange logo with some palmtrees, this marked one of the havens of my youth...
Situated in Copenhagens old town it was THE alternative record shop in Copenhagen in the 1980's and the place you went to buy your Joy division records or your Nick Cave concert tickets.
Like most oases of this kind it was also a gathering point for those who considered themselves to be "punks" or just "black-clads" (lousy translation, but "men in black" was taken...) and behind the desk you would usually find "Martha", a women of American descent who was close to local superstars like the Danish punk band Sort Sol, and I believe she was the person who actually owned "GRY".
Martha also had a keen eye for the young men in tight black trousers invading her shop and would sometimes display an almost motherly approach to "the kids".
She must have been thirty-something at the time, but she was the type of person who was very hard to place age wise. To me, her slightly exotic presence and American-style openness only added to the general good feeling of the shop; this was the place to go.
My first encounter with GRY was in highschool when my class went on a school trip to the national museum. At that time (1983) I had a classmate who would drop out of school after a few months (and today is a renowned Danish poet)
Besides provoking everybody with his pranks (like writing "glad to be gay" with chalk on the back of people's t-shirts) he was also, a punk.
After the "glad to be gay" incident (yes, he wrote it on MY t-shirt...) I think he felt he somehow had to make it up to me. After all, I was one of the few people in class who also listened to punk music (along with the only guy he befriended, a skinhead dressing bloke who would later become a policeman)
Well, maybe he just needed company, but to get to the point; When the school trip was over he asked me if I wanted to check out a cool record shop...
Filled with pride that this real life PUNK wanted to spend time with ME (at the time I didn't do the "punk thing" with the spiky hair, leather jacket and all that, that came later...) I of course agreed and off we went to: GRY.
After this introduction I often went there to buy music, or other subcultural artifacts, and get a whiff of the atmosphere. Then It was off to the train station for that long journey back home to my parents house where I could go to my room and place the records on my turntable for close scrutiny and deep contemplation.
As I mentioned earlier my classmate dropped out of highschool and today is a well known Danish poet. A few years ago I met him at a poetry reading and asked if he remembered me.
Not my people
Not my war