The world seems to have forgotten the queer case of the amnesiac “piano man”. And what a queer case it is. And certainly worth remembering…
On 7 April, 2005, Andreas Grassl washed up on shore in Kent, England, where police questioned the 20-year old. Unfortunately memory eluded Grassl, who wore a suit with the labels removed, adding another element to the mystery. At the Medway Maritime Hospital, doctors gave the lost boy a pen and paper. Rather than writing his name, as doctors had hoped, Grassl drew a picture of a piano. The kid may not have known his name, but he sure as hell remembered how to tickle the ivories. He played for hours, thus garnering the Billy Joel inspired moniker, “Piano Man”. The media swarmed, following the story with tenacity, trying desperately to solve the mystery, break the story and put an end to the guessing game. It wouldn’t be months, however, until we learned the truth: the son of a German farmer, Grassl fled his conservative upbringing and wound up in England.
But why did he leave home? And, more importantly, how did he end up in the English Channel? According to today’s The Scotsman, Grassl’s a gay.
[Grassl’s] friends say the catalyst for his strange journey to Britain, a spell in a psychiatric clinic and on the front pages of newspapers around the world, was a shattered gay love affair.
Two “friends” claim that Grassl left Germany for France, where he met an unidentified men. Young and gay to be gay, the boys fell in love – or, at the very least, lust – and made some memories. Unfortunately, as happens, things turned ugly, plunging Grassl into the deep end of the ocean. The Scotsman reports:
In March 2005, one month before he washed up in Kent, Grassl found himself in the small Breton fishing village of Pornic, a mirror-image of Prosdorf and all he wanted to leave behind.
Most people assume the piano prodigy – who also translated a magazine into Latin at fourteen – fell to the pressure of a broken heart and tried to off himself. One source says:
He met someone in France. It was a love affair. And it all went wrong and he cracked up. That’s it. I guess that’s why he doesn’t like to talk about it.
No doubt Grassl wants to put his near-death adventure behind him. He’s got bigger fish to fry, like finishing school. He’s currently enrolled at Basel University, where he spends most of his time studying French literature. No word on a boyfriend, but we’ve got the feeling Grassl’s too busy producing some genius novel for which he’ll be remembered…