Famous house guest…..or possibly not!

When I was young we were a struggling single-parent, four-child family and every Easter and summer we had foreign students staying at the house to give my Mum a bit of extra money.

One year, when I was about twelve or thirteen we had a German student (they were usually German) that claimed he was a famous musician in his native Germany. I have a very vague memory of him bringing a tape downstairs and playing it in the living room for everyone and I remember that it sounded really electronic and a bit weird and had the repeated line in English “Time operator, I operate the time”.

I’ve carried this refrain in my head for the last 25 or 26 years without discussing it with anyone, giving it a second thought or properly knowing where it came from or whether it was a real song at all. I was sitting at my desk today searching for creative inspiration when the line popped back into my head, “Time operator, I operate the time”. So, I Googled the line on impulse and there it was: 1998, Germany, band called OFF (Organisation For Fun) featuring the godfather of 90s Teutonic techno, Sven Väth and two producers (Luca Anzilotti & Michael Münzing) who went on to revolutionise UK dance music by producing SNAP!

Wow! Had we unwittingly hosted the future of European dance music in our overcrowded suburban enclave? I immediately e-mailed my Mum to see if she remembers any German students called Sven, Luca or Michael. She was online and came back with an instant……….”Definitely no Sven or Luca, maybe a Michael, but I don’t think so”.

Oh, well…..perhaps our guest had an overactive imagination or was just trying to impress an impressionable 12 year-old English boy just beginning to become obsessed with music. But, I still like to think there’s a small chance that that summer we may have played host to the future!

5 thoughts on “Famous house guest…..or possibly not!

  1. Nice but frustrating story… will you do any further detective work?

    (Not sure I need to listen to the song again though)

  2. Reminds me of years ago when I worked in a hostel for teenagers. I’ll have to keep the names out of it for confidentiality but you’ll get the gist…
    I came on shift one afternoon and my colleague, knowing I was “into music” asked if I’d ever heard of an artist called ********. The name rang a bell but it was a bit generic and I wasn’t sure. She explained that a couple of the lads had played her a tape and said it was something they’d recorded. The thing that had her wondering was that the generic dance artist was called ******** and the two lads were known by the nicknames ***** and ***. So ******** meant ***** + *** (if you see what I mean). She showed me the tape which looked like a professional factory produced cassette (in the days when they still sold) and I was pretty sure that they were winding us up based on the coincidence. I liked them, they were nice lads who had a bit of cheek, and passing themselves off as a generic dance act was always better than going out nicking cars or like a lot of the other residents. I still bump into one of them occasionally, but always forget to mention the tape.
    This does mean I suspect your guest was having you on as well though

  3. Wiki says he’s also known as Astral Pilot or Barbarella – that might jog your mum’s memory! (Sorry, not helpful …)

    • Yes, I think she would remember those! I haven’t explained the full story of my random question to my mum yet. If i give a bit more background, it might spark some memories.

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