The first pop journalist in the Netherlands had to get used to Elvis’ ‘degrading screams’



Skip Guardian

When the love for music of one of the first pop journalists in the Netherlands blossomed, there was no pop music at all.

Skip Voogd wanted to write as a boy. A quiet child, born in 1933. After the war he grew up in The Hague with only an older sister and his mother: his father, who worked for shipping company Lloyd, died when his ship was torpedoed by Japanese. When other children were playing outside, Skip would fill newspapers and put them in the mailboxes of his street, he told his friend Cees Mentink during his last interview, in December in Aether.

The young Skip Voogd, named after a cigarette commercial his father saw in New York, was crazy about swinging radio orchestras like the Ramblers and the Skymasters. ‘I went through all those orchestras (…)’, he said to Cor Gout on Soundscapes.nl. He kept a record of where they had played and whether it was good or bad: “I think my feelings on seeing The Ramblers and the Skymasters were comparable to the excitement that later pop music would bring.”

Still, after high school, he went to a training college to become a teacher for a while, because then you didn’t have to do military service. At noon he wrote his pieces about music, which he sent to the music magazine Tuney Tunes sent. Skip Voogd became editor there in 1955. In the meantime, he also worked at youth broadcaster Minjon van de Avro, followed by the program about light music kiosk at the Vara.

Pop music really started in 1964: the Rolling Stones gave their illustrious concert in the Kurhaus in Scheveningen, which ended after five songs because the fans broke down the tent. They were announced by presenter Jos Brink, according to Cees Mentink on the intercession of Skip Voogd, ‘who really discovered him and wrote it up’. Jos Brink then presented the Avro pop program Between Ten+ and Twenty-, where Voogd was the music composer. Later they had a relationship for several years.

Skip Voogd was less enthusiastic about Elvis Presley. From an oft-quoted review: ‘The horrific, degrading screams, accompanied by sinister emitted sounds, certainly do not appeal to us.’ He himself liked the French chanson more. Only much later would he understand how suddenly the music taste of the youngest generation can change. At the time, he didn’t see it, because it was the first time it happened so violently. In NRC: ‘I am now very much blamed for not liking it, but I came from a different culture. This came out of the blue and did I just have to like it?’

Skip Voogd was an ‘extremely amiable man’, says Cees Mentink. Loved good food, liked going to the Bokkedoorns in Overveen (two Michelin stars) and had the bill sent as a fee to the record companies of artists he wrote about.

He was a radio presenter at the NCRV when he met radio and later TV presenter Henk Mouwe there. They stayed together for 32 years. ‘We never discussed it at the NCRV, but it wasn’t a problem either,’ says Mouwe. In addition to the music and the delicious food, he also mentions ‘Skip’s enormous passion for cats. We had five at a time for a while, the whole house is full of pictures.’

Skip Voogd passed away on December 15 at the age of 88, ‘everything was gone’. In a suicide note, he thanked friends and family: “At my age I look back on a pleasant life.”