St-Elisabethhospitaal, Oudenaarde, Belgium
It's a clowded rainy day in may, Johan Gerard enters the world, something he'll soon regret. At very young age he loses his grandfather, an immense setback, while his mother is ill, and his father is a nine-to-five-hard-woking-class-hero.
In kindergarden he's an outcast owning to his very majure attitude His daycarenurse notices his great fascination for words. At primary school Jotie is said to have left a great impression far above the average students.
Unforentalty, at the age of 10 he allienasis from his parents, while his mother is most of the time on business trips; and the gossip of her having an affair with her boss doesn't make it much easier. Almost at the same time his grandfather dies an other close relation, under the ground
Becoming 12 years the boy already read ELSSCHOT, TIMMERMANS & CLAES and was on the eve of finishing KAFKA, TOLKIEN, POE en HESSE. HIs great fascination for Hesse undoubtfuly changed his life. Cause after having read Steppenwolf, the young lad starts to rebel against every social group, burning sacred crosses and tearing churches down.
At secondary school he becomes a Problem Child. His school results drop and Oudenaarde, the rather small city in south-western part of Belgium starts to tremble having heard of Jotie's drugdealing. He's soon is expelled of that school in his hometown. Thooft than moves to Gent to study at the St-Lievenscollege. But there too the situation escallates while the young reformist Jotie joined the Armada, an extremist communist mouvement. His drugabuse increases and in 1972 he's advised to leave school, owning to drugdealing suspicions. He returns to Oudenaarde, where he soon quits school. At the age of 17 he returns again to Gent where he works as a journalist for a local newspaper, reporting on concerts and writing for the childrens-section.
His drug-fallout budy Chapo, also an emphasised drugaddict becomes his best friend. They will be close till death did them part.
..what keeps them together is a glorious queste in search of scoring the most outrageous quantities of drugs: Marihuana, hasj, LSD, speed and even shoting astma and 'weight-losing' medicins, in lack of alternatives...
In 1973 when his close friend is shipped to Switserland to follow an intense des-intox-ication program, Jotie attemps his first suicide. He writes :
Took a shower, put on my best shirt
made myself beautiful,
following the good decadent tradition
used parfum intensefly,
previewing the indigestion of the death body
...I created a mixture of sleeping pills,
wich I instantetly fired into my vain.
On the first notes of the song that I've put on
(This is my room (L.REED)) I fell.
Difficultely I got up took the raising blades
breefly sniffed over my lost life and saw,
with a perverse fascination how a big rupture
in my skin opened..."
notice : the extreme similarity with an other contemporary flamish writer, Paul Mennes who wrote in TOX:
......................A hot bath
seems to have a relaxing outwork
.....................Afterwards you can put on the clothes wich you'll wish to wear,
.....................while a bath turns clothing and washing of the death body fairly impossible ............................. . .....................Remember to empty your body completely in order to keep clean.
................'Practical manual for the last act' ( Paul Mennes).
To homepages on Paul Mennes.
Paul mennes TOX
Paul mennes SOAP & WEB
Paul mennes interview over TOX
But (un)fortantly his mother saves him. One day before his 18th birthday, he is arrested by the BOB, fourteendays later he's sent to a youth center, where he writes
Seven weeks later I was released,
Spiritually, I was exhausted,
and for weaks I was astonished
not only by my own fear,
but also from the sincere horror
from wich orphins suffer,
continuously being replaced
form the one to the other youth center,
aimlesly and fustrated lookig at lie.
After this episode Jotie dives into
Tarot, Kabbala, I ching and the occult. In Gent he meets Ingrid
Weverbergh, wich he marries in 1975. Ingrid's father Julien
Weverbergh was director of Manteau, and becomes the promotor of
Jotie's work. After having stolen a cheque from Manteau he
attempts his second suicide, this time with Valium and Alcohol.
But he survives and wins the prestiguous litterary Reine Prinsen Geerligsprijs. But the succes doesn't reduce his drugabuse. His wife Ingrid returns home and on the fifth of october 1977 Jotie T'Hooft OD's in Brugge. His last words on the wall :