A hint of mortality

Today Guy Kewney died of cancer.  He’d been ill with Liver and bowel cancer for a year.  For those of us who got involved in personal and home computing ‘at the start’ Guy was effectively ‘Mr Personal Computer World’.  He didn’t own it, but his column was often the one we all read first.  One of Kewney’s claims to fame was that he invited the ‘Uncle Clive’ persona for Clive Sinclair – true or not I guess we’ll never know, but it did wonders for Sinclair and his machines. Kewney also had a massive amount of influence in terms of how he got a lot of folks interested in writing for the magazines – even those of us who never wrote an article for Kewney felt motivated by him.  There’s a nice piece here by Jon Honeyball, which sums up Kewney pretty well.  The sad thing is that for many people he’ll be remembered not for his journalism, but because the BBC ended up interviewing a taxi driver called Guy Goma instead of Guy Kewney a couple of years ago.  Typical BBC….

I had a certain sympathy with Kewney because he wrote the ‘NewsPrint’ section of PCW which gave industry news- I did a similar job for a few months for a small technology newsletter, and the job almost killed me.  Guy, thanks for the articles and the inspiration.

Over the years I’ve been saddened on a number of occasions by writers that I first encountered in my childhood or teens.  Back in 2008 I commented on the passing of Sir Arthur C Clarke, and a few weeks ago I learnt that a radio amateur called Norman Fitch, who for 21 years had written a column about VHF radio communications for the UK Amateur Radio movement’s ‘house magazine ‘Radio Communications’ had died.  Way back in 1989, I remember reading about the death of a chap called MG Scroggie, who’d written one of the books that got me interested in amateur radio in the first place. 

When Johnny Cash died I was saddened – another part of my childhood passed away.  I guess that when people that we grew up knowing, or those that are our contemporaries, die, it’s a constant reminder of our own mortality.

And oddly enough, whilst I’ve been writing this piece, I heard that Malcolm McLaren, one time manager of the Sex pistols and arguably the creator of much of the UK Punk Scene – and very much a figure from my own teens – has also died today at the age of 64.

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