Philip Kalisvaart (57) is process coordinator for collection management at the University Library and, in his own words, an “extreme fan” of Bruce Springsteen. In 2016 he had the words of two of Springsteen’s songs tattooed on his upper arms: ‘Thunder road’ on the right and ‘Two hearts’ on the left.
“Everyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan. Colleagues often pass newspaper clippings on to me and nobody was surprised when I got the tattoos. I have a big Springsteen collection: more than two hundred CDs, books, DVDs of concerts, mini-guitars of band members and much more. I’ve got framed posters, quotes and lyrics hung all over the house. In the car too. I went to my first concert of his on 12 June 1985. Since then I’ve not missed a single one in the Netherlands. In the law few years I’ve been trying to go to concerts in other countries too; Germany, France or Ireland. I’ve been to 54 in total.
I’m also co-admin of Tramps of the Lowlands, a fanatical Belgian-Dutch Bruce Springsteen fan group. We talk about Springsteen together, go to concerts, arrange tickets for one another and we share music, experiences and news. There are never enough tickets. We have one important agreement: no profiteering. So the page is only for genuine fans. Once a year we organise a gathering with a tribute band; Springsteen himself is far too expensive, obviously.
I share my passion with my fiancée, Marieke. I got to know her through Tramps of the Lowlands and we’ve been together two years now. It’s fantastic to be able to share your enthusiasm with your partner.
The first tattoo I got is of the words ‘Thunder road’. The song is about searching, finding, and getting the most out of life: a poetical masterpiece. Not long after that, together with Marieke, I got the title of another Springsteen song on my other arm: ‘Two hearts’. She’s sick at the moment and we’re fighting for her recovery together. It’s a difficult time and the tattoos and music give us strength and support. The text of our tattoo is in the handwriting of Bruce Springsteen, which of course is one of the fonts on my computer. Soon we want to get one last, larger tattoo across the top of my back with the title of another Springsteen song, ‘The promised land’, and the image of a rising sun. That’s what I imagine when I listen to that song. Our promised land is in the near future, when this period is over and Marieke feels completely good again.”