Thursday, 6 October 2011


Yesterday, two men died who changed the way I did certain things. The first was Steve Jobs. In 1988 I needed to word-process in New Testament Greek, and the college was needing to move on from electric typewriters. The local IT firm said Macs were the only thing that could do the Greek, and they would also be the easiest computers for office staff to use. True. I found the Mac bringing together many things that interested me – patterns, logic, maths, graphics, electronics, music, in addition to its abilities with Greek fonts. Networking was a breeze. I became the de facto head of IT (small college!) and went on to develop all the database and other stuff, alongside my day job. Although Steve Jobs wasn't at Apple by this time, the Macs still bore the imprint of his vision of how a PC ought to work. When he returned and OS X came along, using them got increasingly interesting. No one asks any more why on earth we use Macs throughout the college.

The second person was Bert Jansch. I remember his gig at Birmingham uni (?1968) when I was learning to play fingerstyle folk guitar. The sounds and the effects were magic. It was his version of Davey Graham's "Angi" that I learned, along with other songs that matched the mood of the times. The folk blues collaborations with John Renbourn and others fired the musical imagination and made me and others look for new techniques to express what we wanted our music to say.

Steve Jobs made all the headlines. Bert Jansch got a mention on Radio 2. I'm grateful for both of them.

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