I do know that a eulogy would cause him some embarrassment. He had a profound dislike of affectation and was even unhappy with being paid compliments, though happy to pay them himself on occasion. As he once said to me:
"I'm just a railwayman. I read a bit, that's all".
I will therefore spare his blushes. Maddening at times yet uniquely loveable, he was unlikely to be forgotten. Those of you who knew him here will remember him as a stalwart of the post-prog thread and a Zep scholar. He was an erstwhile guitarist and I always wished he would go back to it. He loved Free. And Dio. And Robbo. And, regrettably, Ace Frehley. And Wishbone Ash. I am listening to The King Will Come as I type. The other week I played three albums in a row as a particular tribute to him - posted on Facebook's Now Playing page, I'm afraid. Free Live followed by Strangers In the Night followed by Angel Witch. I was not prepared to listen to Steely fucking Dan.
He was widely read in any case, but he was also something of an authority on military history, German and World War Two in particular. The pain I felt on reaching for my phone to text him a query as to the date the siege of Leningrad was lifted and then suddenly remembering he was dead is still hollowing me out. The manner of his passing was so very sudden, but I don't need to go into that.
His was a restless turn of mind. He had some low moments but could nearly always snap out of those moods in the end. I hope that he was at peace when he upped and left. I am saddened that he never got to Scotland as he wanted to do - he nearly made it in October but had miscalculated his work roster. I wish that I could buy him another pint in Whitstable, and we could go and have another look at Peter Cushing's house.
He was very dear to me and will always be with me. However, if he had read this far, he would now be laughing at me and saying "Why not post a link to my most successful thread, 'Who Has Ever Taken A Shit In a Field?' But I can't find it. It must have been one of the ones lost when the server was changed. Is that some sort of metaphor, I wonder? Anyway, here are a couple of quotes for you:
From the Post-Prog thread:
Belle Lettre wrote:
Describe it for us, Dr B.
It's like a horse chestnut suspended in a skull full of brine. A First World War gasmask gathering dust in a child's playhouse. A lesbian footballer doing battle with cheese.
From a thread called " What did proggers do before prog?"
Mostly knitting and wanking.
But they don't do him justice, and I have indulged myself long enough. If you've read this far, I thank you.
Stay around somewhere beyond my ken, my dear Paul, and thank you for everything.