Never met him, never knew him, but I've been reading his stuff for nearly thirty years.
I feel like I just lost an old friend, although this can be as nothing to those who could genuinely call GK their friend.
When I first met Guy Kewney, who died early this morning after a long struggle with cancer, he was already firmly established as star columnist at Personal Computer World - then, and for years to come, the UK's flagship IT publication. Until he started working for The Register a couple of years back, that was one of the few …
Just read the story and am totally shocked. I have been reading IT mags such as PCW since 1985 and always enjoyed Guy's articles. I'm sure I will not be alone in saying that he will be sadly missed by all. Best wishes and condolences to his family at this awful time. I'll be raising a glass to Guy tonight.
Some years ago I was working at ZDNet and was introduced to Guy. I was a huge fan of his writing and decided I would be cool about meeting a hero. Who knows, I thought, we might even be on nodding terms in the office, maybe even the odd "good morning".
So why did I only manage to gush like a pre-adolescent girl something like "I'm your biggest fan!"?
My ZDNet contact mercilessly took the p!ss out of me for weeks after that. As for Guy - I think he avoided me, just in case.
I remember being awestruck by Guy when I started working on PCW in 1983. His knowledge of the industry was only matched by his disdain for deadlines. It was a monthly ritual watching the editor go even more grey as the presses waited to roll and Guy's column still hadn't turned up...
People like Guy just don't exist in the industry any more.
He will be missed.
I've been reading Guy's work for over 30 years, since the early issues of PCW. He was one of the computing journalists who made it worth buying a magazine just because he had written an article for it.
I cannot say how much I will miss seeing his clear and concise style of writing.
I especially remember his reviews of the original Acorn Archimedes in Byte, where he was able to do a quality job of reviewing a world-class product in a US publication. This is one of the few issues of Byte that I have kept in my keepsakes collection, and it will become all the more treasured as a result.
My condolences to Lucy, and everyone else who had the privilege of knowing him personally.
I remember meeting guy for the first time when I was freelancing for PCN - BTW John it was What Micro's kit you swiped - and I was in awe.
But what a down to earth character he was. Once sat me down and ripped a feature I wrote to bits and made me feel good about it! I learned a lot from him.
He will be missed.
Guy Kewney's monthly piece in the late lamented Personal Computer World was essential reading for me from 1982 (when I bought my first copy, aged 13) throughout the 1980s. His writing was reliably interesting, informative, insightful, and funny. The most recent piece of his I remember reading was his goodbye to PCW, here on El Reg. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/11/pcw/
....Guy's blog since he revealed his illness, it was part of his gift and intellect that he could write about his life ebbing away and the indignities that came with that with such clarity, humour and interest.
I remember how his was always one of the first contributions to PCW and PC Mag that I read, and I enjoyed the far too few occasions on which I chatted with him and his friends on his IRC channel.
I'm sorry to see that he didn't manage to enjoy another summer before the end though, I know he would have liked that to be possible. He was aiming to survive his 64th birthday, but fell a few weeks short.
I found Guy's detailing of his illness too upsetting. As someone I've always looked up to it was depressing to think of him as frail. From reading his copy on the bus to school I knew him as the oracle of all things microcomputing. And there was nothing more exciting than the latest 8 bit computer.
When I started at PCW I was told that the major part of my job was extracting copy from Kewney. He'd always be late. And he always was.
But now, the phrase The late Guy Kewney moves me to tears.
"but he'd clearly become the man that any self-respecting tech publisher mounting a big push absolutely needed to have on board"
He was. You'd read his stuff and actually learn something useful about the product reviewed, or whatever he was discussing.
He will be missed.
I just saw the headline on the front page and was genuinely stunned and upset. Guy has been a part of my life ever since I got into computers back in the day (Vic 20 - classic computer) and I've always loved his journalism, professionalism and insight.
Condolences to all who loved him, and whom he loved - we all share your loss :'(
Part of the reason that I'm where I am today is down to Guy's work in PCW. Were it not for him I might have done something useful with my life instead of spending my working hours pretending to write dealing applications while reading BOFH and shill-bidding on ebay. He will be sorely missed :(
I too have been reading Guy's work for well over 25 years and he is a sad loss to journalism.
Reading his blog I realise that he was also a brave man who had a great sense of dignity. I had no idea he was suffering from this evil disease but his final piece of great journalism was documenting his cancer. It has helped me understand my own grandmother's death from the exact same disease, something I was too young to cope with at the time and something which has been too painful to go into in the years since then.
RIP Guy, even in death you are still making things I didn't understand clear to me.
I've a nasty feeling I never made the most of you. Seems only yesterday we were talking on Skype. Currently off-line, it says. I'm leaving you on my call list just in case you want to surprise me. Which would be typical, you super-smart, sneaky bastard.
I confess that instead of PCW I bought Computer Buyer (which John Diamond wrote a column for if I remember correctly) after I moved on from Mean Machines Sega, so my first exposure to Kewney was in the Register. He was a true talent, who made me look forward to reading an article when I saw his name below the headline.
Gosh Guy Kewney's died!
I certainly found his regular Newsprint section in PCW absolutely essential reading since the first issue I bought: December 1980 ("Yes, but is it art?"). Memorable articles include "El Grando" (announcing the availability of the 68000 CPU with an astonishing 68000 transistors!) "A Mess Dos" (lamenting the unforgivingly crude features and limitations of MS DOS in 1984). And of course his full-page spread where he insisted he didn't actually design the astoundingly good value £599 Amstrad PC1512 in 1986.
Guy Kewney was consistently witty; cynical, prophetic, irreverent and everything I wanted to keep myself abreast of the state of play in the industry. An exceptional Journalist, I'll miss him.
-cheers from Julz @P
Very sad news. Guy consistently wrote some of the most readable literature in the computing press, always offering some sort of interesting angle that would grab my attention, and seemed a thoroughly decent chap; if I didn't read anything else in PCW, I would still check out his stuff.
Thanks, Guy. You'll be missed.
So saddened to hear this news. Only knew Guy through his writing, where he shone as one of the best and brightest the industry has seen. He will be sorely missed.
Does anyone else think that a book compiling Guy's writing from various magazines over the years would make one of the most readable and compelling histories of the evolution of the personal computer possible? I for one would buy a copy.
I apologise if those closest to Guy feel it is too soon to suggest this, I don't mean to be insensitive.
I've been reading Guy's pieces since I was at school, so I guess he was one of the folks that was key at getting me into computing in the first place. I definitely didn't agree with everything he wrote, but that didn't lessen my respect for him. So if anyone is collecting tributes to this great technical journalist, then I'd have no hesitation in adding mine, along with my condolences to his familiy/friends. I never had the honour of meeting with him, but it speaks volumes that his was one of the few names that you could see and have a good idea of the quality of the attached article. It also didn't hurt that he bore a striking resemblence to the computer department manager at my first IT job...
As an aside, I'm heartened to see how many of his ex-PersonalComputerWorld colleagues have written in here. It's only a shame that this august publication pre-deceased Mr Kewney as I've no doubt that the magazine would have generated a worthy and interesting tribute, making others aware of the breadth and depth of his contribution. I just wish someone would have the courage to bring back PCW, as I really miss it.
Lucy, and everyone at El Reg: I'm so sorry to hear of Guy's death. I'm pretty sure I was reading PCW from Issue 1, and very quickly Guy's articles became my first read when I'd opened the latest copy.
I'd like to reinforce Peter C's suggestion. Guy's articles were so incisive, and often so amusing, that they stand as an invaluable eyewitness record of the most important technological movement since Ugg dropped a flint on the floor and sparks set light to his fur thong. I would love to see them published, and they would be a most fitting memorial.
Like many others, my introduction to Guy was through PCW. Articles and photos such as 'Applying his head to micro-computer design', or the worlds first and foremost review of the Commodore Amiga in 1985.
Somehow, probably via Cix, I met Guy in 1997; he was always eager to meet industry professionals, and at the time I was responsible for BAT's UK IT/network. We'd meet up and have a couple of beers whenever I was in London. It was simply awesome to pop into the office, and meet Guy in shorts and sandals. He was also genuinely interested in my limited [extremely limited!] 'journalistic' career; I'd had a few articles published by ICPUG and Amiga User International in the early-to-mid 90's. We' would meet up several times, discussing industry trends and the challenges at the coalface, until I moved north in 2000. When I was with GX I always /meant/ to give him a shout whenever I was 'down south', and now bitterly regret I didn't.
So long Guy, thanks for the inspiration.
I first crossed swords with Guy in the early 70s. Those were the early days for memory and microprocessors. We had a few beers and a few lunches during those years, I won't say they were all a pleasure because the tough smart investigative journalist that he was, often found out more that I wanted published at the time, sometimes leading my marketing plans by several days. However he was always the first I called when there was a piece of info I thought he could use.
I always tried to read his column whoever he was writing for because he always had a good handle on the industry, and was always prepared to lead with a new slant on it.
To me Guy was always the smart professional. I will miss his contribution to the world.
Very sad, he was a great sounding board for stories and a great help on media training, and one of the few iT journalists who was patient with PR people if he thought they respected journalists and knew what they were doing Condolences to his family. Is it a private funeral? If not would like to pay my respects
When I ran the NCC Microsystems Centre (New Fetter Lane 1982 - 4) he was almost the only journalist who took nothing on trust - he checked it all out. A great source of knowledge and also very discrete on his sources. He never quoted any of my youngsters on anything not cleared by myself or one of my consultants. He independently checked what we gave him to use from our tests when we were not willing to be quoted. He was also happy to sit beside the youngsters explaining what he was looking for and showing them how he looked for it. A lovely man - and a very good, and patient, teacher.
Philip V's right. He was unique. "He was almost the only journalist who..."
Perfect example of the difference between "sceptical" and "cynical". He "took nothing on trust", "checked it all out".
Straight as a die.
He wrote "as one having authority, and not as the scribes".
Malcolm Mclaren and Guy Kewney, in may ways totally unrelated yet both formed quite a big bit of my past in the Seventies and Eighties. Both punk and the early days of pcs shared the idea that anyone could be part of it. Guy certainly wound up some of my employers with his articles. And he was of course spot on in picking out the flaws.
Guy's PCW columns were a key reason I took up technology journalism as a career. I met him later on several occasions, including a 'jolly' to Copenhagen, which was all the more entertaining, thanks to his insights and good humour. I was very sad to hear of his illness last year and much sadder to hear of his death, though I'd been following his brave blog. Thanks for everything Guy.
I'm very sorry to hear of his loss. I think it's true to say that Guy Kewney was almost as big a force in the British microcomputer industry as Sinclair or Acorn, by means of disseminating his knowledge, opinions and enthusiasm for the new technology to a generation of fresh consumers. They were interesting times, to which he added a great deal. RIP.
John - a feisty obit of the sort Guy would have approved. I enjoyed working with him back in the early PCW days, when he used to push deadlines past the safety point and into printer's penalty time to keep his exclusives ahead of the competition. "Newsprint" was *the* source for IT news back then. He helped us win the fierce circulation war with IPC's Your Computer. I did try to poach Guy back to do a PC Pro column but he was too used to being his own master by then. He will be missed.
Very sad indeed, I too was an avid PCW reader back in the 80's.
But I couldn't help thinking about the time he was called to the BBC for an interview about the Apple vs Apple court case, and left him sitting in the reception while they interviewed a BBC job applicant also called Guy, live on air... I'll hoist a wee dram for Guy tonight
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