Gracious, infuriating and funny: Goodbye Guy, and thanks

Jon Honeyball
8 Apr 2010

In the grand scheme of things, in the realms of The Great And The Good, Guy Kewney's passing might not seem worthy of mention. He didn't found a multi-billion dollar software firm, he didn't run a bank or get into the House of Lords. In truth, he did more than all of that. Do not underestimate the influence that Guy Kewney has had on an entire generation.

He was the first computer journalist, and was there right at the very beginning. When Guy said "and I told Bill that this wasn't a good idea", he is referring to Gates and it really happened. Guy knew everyone. Everyone read Guy. Some of us were fortunate enough to either work with him or call him a friend.

He was gracious, infuriating, funny, deeply caring, humane, generous, inspirational, annoying, difficult, learned, witty, awkward, and just about every other term you care to apply. I recall furious arguments with him over the years, but will treasure the inevitable get-togethers, chats and putting the row behind us.

He had a famed Kewney Distortion Field which meant that any piece of technology would break within minutes of exposure to him in person. Much was down to his inability to stop fiddling, but in reality this often said more about the true fragility of the item than anything wilful on Guy's behalf.

Guy knew everyone. Everyone read Guy. Some of us were fortunate enough to either work with him or call him a friend.

Press trips and briefings were always more fun with Guy. His insights always made me stop and think. He worked hard at doing what he did, and put his heart and soul into it, but knew when to stop, take a break and have a beer too. An almost inevitable consequence of his chosen field was that he was often wrong, but in his wrongness there was always a spark of rightness that made you think. That's why he was read by so many, for so long.

He never wrote for PC Pro, though I confess I tried my very best on several occasions to get him to defect from rivals to our title. His depth of industry knowledge put all of us to shame. He was one of the kingpins of the IT journalism world, and when I last saw him a few weeks ago for afternoon tea in a hotel in Soho, his parting words were "look after our friends".

His health was failing fast, the cancer was unstoppable, and he knew the end was close. He left us in the same way he worked - quietly, and with a dignity and grace that is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all who knew him.

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