Friday, 4 December 2015

Michael Gerzon remembered

Today Michael Gerzon would have been 70. There he is, far left (as he was in life) in Oxford in 1975.  We met at the ultra-geeky Tape Recording Society at Ruskin. He almost burst into tears when I said I did splice mixes with scotch tape. It hurt his ears even to think about that.  He was a brilliant theoretical physicist, and adapted his genius to inventing new concepts in sound recording. Dolby, whom he knew, made money, Michael never did,  though his ideas on ambisonics are still around. I'm not a techie, but we remained close friends for the rest of our lives together. So intensely close that I  needed space but never stopped caring very deeply. That's what real friends are for.

A few days before his unexpected death,  he called me at 9 am. Neither of us are morning people, so I was surprised. He said he'd wanted to speak to me all night and had waited for a semi-civilized hour. (No internet in those days.)  We talked 3 hours non stop, which by Michael standards isn't very long at all. He had a phone "chat" with my father which lasted 8 hours with mutually agreed toilet breaks. Maybe one day I'll tell what we talked about but it was very, very intense and personal. A few days later I phoned but no answer.  That night I had a dream, while still awake, and heard Michael say, simply, "I am on a journey to the stars" or some such, and felt an overwhelming coldness envelope me tightly. Later I had a hunch nd rang the John Radcliffe Hospital, where \I'd visited him many times before. Was he there ? "was" was all they'd divulge.  Michael was a scientist and rational but what was nice about him is that he was intuitive, and very deep  as a human being. By the way, those radiators in the photo aren't radiators but Quad Electrostatic speakers. I still have a pair, vintage 1957, that need refurbishing. Still got the tuner, too.  .

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