back to article Guy Kewney, pioneer, guru, friend - RIP

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 …

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  1. Stanislav
    Unhappy

    Heavy heart

    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.

  2. SteveCogan

    A gent who'll be missed

    Sad news. Remember meeting Guy in the late 80's and he kindly gave me (as a, then, youngster) a leg-up in the industry by commissioning me to write a piece for PC Dealer. He made a big impression on me with his patience and generosity.

  3. Duncan Robertson 1
    Pint

    Shocked!

    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.

  4. Ancient Oracle funkie
    Unhappy

    How embarrasing

    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.

  5. moonface
    Unhappy

    RIP Guy 'not black' Kewney

    Lets hope he is not just remembered for a temporary a loss of 'sense of humour'.

  6. pbright

    Now he really is late...

    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.

    Peter Bright

  7. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Devistated

    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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Teaching right to the end

    Looking at his last blog entry was so educational. What an intellect he had. I only met him once, briefly, at some function or other he was chairing, and it made my day. What a loss to his loved ones.

  9. David Janda
    Unhappy

    RIP

    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.

    David Janda

  10. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Will be greatly 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/

    1. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: RIP

      I thought it was. They were impressively cross, AIR. But weren't your features usually in bits to start with? (-:

      Good to hear from you, even under the circumstances.

      1. David Janda

        Yes I was John ....

        ... it was a review I wrote for Dick Pountain's mag - Soft I think it was. Was wanting Guy's opinion, and he gave it. But, as said, he did it in such a manner and with so many good pointers that I walked away from it feeling good!

        Not many people have that ability.

        :(

  11. Robert Ramsay

    one of the people who got me into computing.

    Sorely missed. Sorely missed.

  12. Brian Morrison
    Unhappy

    I have been following....

    ....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.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Sad loss but he gave so much

    He may be dead but his memory will live on.

    Cheers Guy, for all you gave us and nobody had a bad word against you, nor will they. I'm now going to cry.

  14. Gianni Straniero
    Unhappy

    Very sad news

    GK was required reading throughout his carreer. Sometimes controversial. Never dull.

    Probably the only tech writer to (briefly) become a household name following *that* BBC News 24 interview.

  15. Ol'Peculier

    Like many...

    Been familiar with his writing since my early days with Pets, MZ80-As and Apple II's etc... and am shocked and saddened to hear about this. As mentioned above, felt like a friend has gone.

    I do appreciate the irony that he had the regard for deadlines as much as DNA did!

  16. JimC Silver badge
    Unhappy

    And I never got round

    to giving him a ride in my race boat... capre diem folks, you never know when it may be too late.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Very sad

      Another one who read his columns from the early PCW ones, and recalls the branch out into that little computer industry scandal sheet. Very sad to hear this.

  17. Adam Buckland
    Unhappy

    Met him when he was...

    editor at PCW.... many many years ago. He was probably my favourite tech journalist...

  18. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Dibs

    Bags I get his Acorn Archimedes. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/11/pcw/

    Well, no, obviously.

  19. Terry Kiely
    Thumb Up

    Thanks Guy,

    for encouraging an interest in so many, and for inspiring my entire career. Rest in bits and bytes

  20. ScientiListener

    Life, don't talk to me.....

    I remember him and John from a stint I did in tech PR with Graeme Mitcell in the late eighties, when Microscope and PCW etc were prime targets for stories :)

    A great writer who often made me think differently..

    RIP

    Peter Williams

  21. BlueGreen

    One tech journo I really respected

    His stuff was thoughtful and thorough, and just plain good.

  22. Simon Rockman

    I gave up reading hunkymouse

    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.

    Simon

  23. Phil Arundell 1
    Unhappy

    RIP

    Like other comments, I am deeply saddened by this news. I have read Guy's stuff for what feels like a lifetime and he will be sorely missed. RIP, GK

  24. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Fuck...

    I've known Guy for many years on CIX. Always a good person to chat to. He will be sorely missed.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably

    The only IT journalist I could actually *name* off the top of my head.

    Very sad...

  26. nowster
    Joke

    Let's hope there are no more mix-ups

    And they don't bury Guy Gomer instead.

  27. anarchic-teapot

    I bought magazines just because he wrote for them.

    "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.

  28. Alexander Forrest
    Happy

    So Sad......

    He will be missed, but a big smile to celebrate his life and his contribution.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Sad indeed

    Condolences to friends and family alike.

  30. Mike Hartley
    Unhappy

    Truly saddened by the loss of a great writer

    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 :'(

  31. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    @Thad

    Same here.

    Always found his articles clear and easy to follow - a rare thing indeed.

  32. Pugwash
    Unhappy

    Happy Memories

    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 :(

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aw bollocks :(

    Guy's articles and PCW were part of my childhood and teens growing up with computers. I wish all his family and close friends well with this sad news.

  34. John_C

    RIP Guy

    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.

  35. Chris Bidmead

    Bye, Guy. You got there first. Again.

    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.

    --

    Chris

  36. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Goodbye Guy

    The place won't be the same without you.

    I still remember buying the first issue of PC World, you helped change my world.

  37. John 62

    a name in a sea of words

    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.

  38. Julian 4

    El Grando

    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

  39. CalmHandOnTheTiller
    Pint

    /me Gutted

    Condolences.

  40. Ned Leprosy

    RIP

    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.

  41. Peter Cathcart
    Unhappy

    A history of the PC era

    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.

    1. Trollslayer Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Good idea

      Not at all, it would be about his life.

  42. Lucy Sherriff 1

    Thank you

    Thank you John, and everyone who has posted. We'll miss him, for sure.

  43. SynnerCal
    Unhappy

    Echoing sentiments

    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.

  44. Jon Green
    Dead Vulture

    So sorry

    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.

  45. Toby 9
    Dead Vulture

    Some Guy

    Sadly missed,

    T.

  46. Alan Lewis 1

    A great loss.

    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.

  47. Paul Gomme

    Will be missed

    I remember reading his stuff as a kid in the early 1980s - probably responsible for my choice of career. He'll be sorely missed.

  48. GreyTech
    Dead Vulture

    A smart professional

    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.

    Bob Robinson

  49. Clairemoran

    RIP Guy

    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

  50. Kevin Reader
    Flame

    His name is Legend

    Remember his articles in PCW far back in the mists of time. What tragic news.

  51. Philip Virgo

    He checked his stories

    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.

  52. Armus Squelprom

    Sadly missed

    A stellar figure in UK 'puter journalism.

  53. xjy

    "He was almost the only journalist who..."

    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".

    1. John Hobson

      A bit of us all,,,

      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.

  54. Simon Williams

    Giving journalists a good name

    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.

  55. proto-robbie

    Sad news

    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.

  56. Dick Pountain

    The Late Guy Kewney

    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.

  57. Icouldbethestig
    Pint

    Are you Guy Kewney?

    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

  58. Richard Howell

    A sad day

    I too briefly had the pleasure of working with Guy far too many years ago. He was a good man and an outstanding journalist. I'm genuinely sorry to learn the news.

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