Roland Schlösser: How I Made My Dream Come True
(May 2015)

My name is Roland, born in 1970 and I am a Doors fan since the mid-eighties. I’m too
young to see the band live on stage and I was at cemetery Père Lachaise for the first
time in 1994, when the bust from 1981 was already stolen and the current gravestone
was built.

In 2013 I had the crazy idea to see Jim’s grave once again with a bust on it. My dream
was to be all alone with the bust at Jim’s grave. I never thought of that the bust and I
attend a ceremony at this moment.

But how can I do this? My first thought: I bought a 35cm (14inch) plaster bust from a
German Doors fanpage in 2003, but this was no longer available and I was not ready to
give my bust away. I wrote a mail to the owner of the fanpage, but he did not remember,
neither the name of the plasterer nor if he was still in Germany. After this, I tried to find
an option for a not very expensive bust, but I found only bad versions or they were too
expensive for me. So I searched on the internet and asked some friends for another
solution.

After a couple of weeks, I found the way to make a replica of my purchased bust, but
before I started to do this, I tried several items and different materials for the best
result. In March it was time, I started my project “bust replica”. I used release spray
for the surface of the original not to hurt, and then I mixed impression plaster and water
in a bucket and put the bust in the mixture. After 15 minutes curing I was able to gently
pull the bust from the impression. When viewing the impression the next day everything
looked good, so I mixed plaster and water to make the replica. Okay, the raw form was
not perfect, so I still made some finishing touches. The final result (about 25cm / 10inch)
was not perfect as my original bust or even as the original bust on Jim’s grave, maybe
because I am a perfectionist or maybe because I am not a plasterer, simply a fan.

But then came the next challenge: how to get the bust to Jim's grave in a legal way? I
wrote some (partly virtual) friends in Paris a mail about my idea and at finally I got
contact to Catherine Dalançon. Catherine is the organizer of the ceremonies to Jim’s
birthday and date of death on Père Lachaise. She had to clarify my idea with the
cemetery management, and after another few weeks she wrote me that it will be
possible for us. On Sunday, 8 December 2013 about 9.30h I met Catherine at the café
Obododo and we went a few minutes later to Jim’s grave with some fans and visitors.
Catherine showed the permission for the ceremony to the guards and then it started. I
stood behind Jim’s grave holding the bust in my hands, beside Michelle Campbell, Barry
Sterrick and Catherine. She recited Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Vowels” in french, and Barry
recited it in English, then Michelle talked to the visitors about Jim. I was so excited and
happy at the same time, I did not really realize what was happening around me. After the
ceremony, I put the replica on Jim’s gravestone, so everyone around us had the chance to
take a picture. On the way back to the café Obododo, someone asked me if I sell him my
replica, but I said no. He offered me €150, but I said again no and explained to him that
I will donate the replica to this café. Since this 70th birthday anniversary the bust is on a
cabinet there and I hope that it stays for a long time. I like to see photos from other
Doors fans with the bust, it makes me happy.

I made this replica to see a bust once again on Jim’s gravestone, and to pay my respect
and honor to Jim and The Doors. And to show that most Doors fans are respectful,
especially in a cemetery. I do not like those type of guys that rampage, smear the
graves or behave disrespectfully.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me to make this dream come true,
especially my wife Heike, without her support and patience I never made it.

Finally, I want to let you know: I had my private moments with the bust at Jim’s grave
on 7th december 2013 early in the morning with a couple of friends, but these moment
is only in my head and a few private photos.


© Roland Schlösser for the Doors Quarterly Magazine Online – May 2015.