Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Dave Laing

I heard today that Dave Laing passed away earlier this week. He was a great pal, and the greatest mentor. Just yesterday I was making a plan to email him for lunch, so he could catch up with another mutual friend. His book on punk, One Chord Wonders, is right there on the table- I've been using it as a source, yet again. He was editing my book on women sound engineers and producers, too.
It's almost impossible to describe what fun Dave was. He had an instinct for the devil's skeleton beneath harmless-looking skin and was never shocked by tales of skullduggery. He was the best disliker you could imagine (although he liked more people than you could imagine). If you described an act of wrongdoing, his lip would curl and he would look into the middle distance; his distaste was palpable. He loved a little bit of gossip (although he couldn't possibly comment). He was immensely kind and patient and honest. He was completely un-racist and un-sexist and trustworthy. He supervised my PhD and countless others, wrote and researched all sorts of music industry material, and provided invisible and unstinting support for a huge range of people who were involved in all sorts of different musical endeavours. He was modest, though, to a fault.
It was great to visit him and his partner in Hastings last year, at his airy house right on top of the cliffs that looked out over the downs and the sea. Hastings suited him: you could imagine him becoming quite Agatha Christie later on in his life.
Alas, he did not get there; I do know that he knew how much his friends and colleagues loved and respected him, because we all made sure that we saw him regularly to stock up on whatever it was he had: what I've described, I suppose. He was an absolute gem of a man. Goodbye, Dave X

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