Dirk2018b
 

to begin with, to do him justice at all, you have to remember a series of gestures-
 
a large hand holding a fork delicately, picking at a terrible plate of restaurant food, glasses at very tip of nose, nose almost touching the plate above where the fork is prying, an earnest examination that ends with him sitting upright, pushing the plate and fork away, towards the center of the table, then one terse sigh and a heavy stare into the distance, while he traces his thumb with his fingers in circles. we saw that one at least 1,000,000 times, on the road. together.
 
or the profundity of his first coffee and cigarette in the morning, sat on different sidewalks, in different cities, beneath all types of weather. knees up, arms rested outright there, his eyes tiny behind those glasses, chin up and faced into dawn. or coming out from underneath the van, scarred arms blackened with grease, holding his stiff back and walking on tiptoes, the tie rod repaired, or the bent caliper. or the time the italian border cops made us walk in circles while a leashed german shepherd sniffed us all. he was wearing these green pants on that tour, made of some material that did not stain or breathe, and that italian dog couldn’t get enough of dirk’s ass and balls, went at them like they were made of hambones and honey, dirk yelping and cursing at every prod. he was a regal and handsome motherfucker even there.
 
he told stories that made you feel like life was just a series of impossible and improbable events, ridiculous and uncomfortable situations that you just had to muddle through, incredulous and tired. just to lay a while at the end, just to rise and do it all again. in almost all those stories dirk was alone. he got stranded on an island in fiji once, nothing to eat but the coconuts that fell from the trees like grenades. when he was young he drank some sort of psychedelic root-tea and went blind for many days, and did not know who he was or why. he got fucked over by many bands, in big ways and small ways. he told those stories reluctantly. if you heard him say “for what?” on any given day, at the end of some story or description, you knew that he would be gone for a few hours, staring into space with a very still intensity.
 
he loved music in a singular way. he focused on esoteric details and went deep. he would point out some tiny murmur hidden beneath a song, and you’d never hear that song the same way again. he believed in the sound of the drums on the first two feelies records in the same way that some people believe in god. he was almost always unsatisfied with the sounds that his bands made live- there was always something missing, some crucial vibration, an absence that only dirk could hear. but he stood up for his bands- he was loyal to us and we were loyal to him. and he took care of us the best that he could. he hated empty words, he hated people who had easy opinions, hotshots who mistake subjectivity for objectivity, or those burdened with undeserved confidence. he believed that patti smith and jean smith were the only true punks. he lived an uncompromised life, and knew that the rare good things were pure, illuminated by the lack that imbues everything else.
 
there was a time once, on an old tour, where the alternator belt on his van started to sag. we were on the highway just outside of town and the sun was setting. the van’s headlights strobed slowly, illuminated only when the belt was able to catch. the sunset was beautiful, and then the nighttime dark. we glowed like a firefly, until the headlights finally gave out. black as a shadowed coffin, we hurtled onward, invisible. we made it to the gig but i only remember the ride. and now he is gone and i miss him so deeply already. this broken world has eaten another of its good ones.
 
and o! the fires we burn,
and o! the silence that follows.
not all of us are safe.
not all of us are guilty.
not all of us sleep gently.
and the last of the sad german outlaws has said good night.
 
i love you dirk.
 
efrim manuel menuck
(gybe/smz)

 
 
Dirk2

 

Dirk Hugsam was a much beloved booking agent based in Germany who’s pure passion for adventurous and authentic music found him bringing over bands like Mecca Normal, Smog, Peter Jeffries, Dub Narcotic Soundsystem, The Mountain Goats, Pinback and many more, on a wing and a prayer, starting in the early 1990s. Together with his brother Rainer, Konzertbuero Hugsam put its roots down in Hamburg, remaining truly and genuinely independent for going on three decades.

Dirk discovered the debut album F#A#∞ by Godspeed You! Black Emperor shortly after it’s original vinyl-only release in 1997, when the band was still completely unknown and had barely traveled outside their Montréal hometown. Through sheer passion, enthusiasm and force of will, he figured out a way to bring over this unwieldy 9-piece group (and their three 16mm film projectors) for a first European tour the following year, against all economic and logistical odds. The band remained loyal to Hugsam through thick and thin, and has been booked by him ever since. Dirk and Rainer went on to book several other Constellation-affiliated artists – Thee Silver Mt Zion, Do Make Say Think, Fly Pan Am, Hangedup, Vic Chesnutt and Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche.

A warm, sweet, kindhearted man with a stern dry wit, unflappable temperament, unparalleled driving skills, and an amazing record collection (which he played on the world’s best turntable), Dirk died on Friday 21 December after a long illness. He became a true and close friend to so many of the bands and promoters he worked with over the years. Dirk was one-of-a-kind and will be profoundly missed. Our thoughts are with his beloved brother Rainer and all those whose lives he helped and touched.
 
Don and Ian
Montréal

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