We learned today of the death of KOLYA VASIN. Kolya was famous in Russia as 'The Beatles Guy' or as he liked to describe himself: 'The Number One Beatles Fan'.
We met him several times - usually in 'The Temple of Love' - a crazy, crowded couple of rooms in St Petersburg which he had set up as a shrine to the Fab Four - and specifically John Lennon who regarded as a deity. We interviewed him for our book and documentary and last saw him at the X-Ray Audio exhibition in St Petersburg last November.
When Kolya was young in Leningrad in the 1960s he was introduced to Western Rock and Roll - on x-ray records. He immediately became addicted and spent all his money (including cash his mother gave him for school lunch) on buying them. One day he brought home a disc and played it. It was the Beatles and it is no exaggeration to say that it completely changed his life. From that time forward he devoted himself to their music. He told us what it was like to be a young music lover in the oppressive years of the Soviet Union and about the culture of getting the music he loved from dealers on the street.
In some ways he was crazy - or at least very eccentric - but he was a genuinely good person, a free spirit: he believed in love, freedom and the transformative power of rock 'n' roll. He was living testament to the potential liberating power of music - and it all began for him with x-ray records.