Jay Vaughan ibisum at
Fri Mar 22 11:16:38 CET 2019

Like some of us, I knew Gert through the years as a bold, adventurous spirit who was capable of immense kindness and sanity in the face of the hostile universe.  I was always attracted to his delight at recounting happy tales, his willingness to share the sunshine and other simple beautiful things in the world with his friends and loved ones, and his infinite capacity for weaving creative threads into the crazy times we had.  His love of music, of good wine, good times and the attention of his fine lady Kristin, with whom he always seemed capable of engaging in a giggle, as is the sign of a true gentleman.

Gert and I first introduced ourselves to each other in 1997 on the music-bar mailing list, a community he and I both had much hope for - so long ago now, it doesn’t seem real that we were ever strangers.  Perhaps we never were.   I was living in  LA at the time, and grew my friendship with him and others on the music-bar remotely, a distant, faceless Internet person, discussing music and music technology and so many other things - for the most part, familiar to each other but strangers anyway.  That changed for Gert and I when I moved to Germany and paid him one of my first social visits once I arrived in his neighborhood.  We knew right away, that eventful night in Arnhem when he picked me up from the train station and took me in with his lady Kristin in Ede-Wageningen, that we were going to be pals for a long time.  Well, not long enough, anyway.  And, we were instant pals - there was no pretence, no judgement.  Just acceptance, and trust. Gert was very good at that.

I remember with much joy and happy tears the time we had, on our way to Zürich to meet other music-bar members - some of us, again, meeting for the first time (Music-Bar Peace Tour 2003).  I benefited greatly from his insight into our little social group and the structure, as he would have said, of all our relationships.  I’ll never forget his incessant snoring on the overnight train, and how he lit up with joy at a simple breakfast as we rolled through Switzerland together.  Our trips together to Cambridge for Synth-DIY meet-ups were some of the happiest times I’ve had - just a bunch of mates hanging out, nerding out over synthesisers and the people who built them.

And the weekends I’ve spent with Gert and Kristin in their comfortable home, so welcoming, will always be a part of my fond memories of moving to Europe, a stranger becoming friends and eventually, in some ways, family.  

Sure, we had our political, creative and musical differences - Gert and I never saw eye to eye on a few things, precisely, which are so irrelevant now.  But the thing we always knew was that we had more in common than any other difference, and no matter what we would always come around to forgiving each other and focusing on the things that really mattered - the reasons we had for being friends, rather than the differences that would have driven us further apart.  The music and the technology and the art and science of life in the modern world - so much changing, drastically, every day - and the two of us doing what we could to keep up with it all, keep a handle on it, and continue our lives as contributing members of a society we believed in.  Our little group.

I was lucky to have seen Gert last week, as I paid him a visit upon hearing the news of his poor health.  Just like all the fond times, I’ll also have our last moments together - the recognition in his weary, sick and battled eyes, that it was me, really there, really come to pay him a visit in the physical world.  We hadn’t heard much of each other over the last year or so - the occasional ping to be sure - but our friendship didn’t need a lot of high-level maintenance after all.  It was such that we could enjoy each others company for a few hours every year and know full well we’d do it again next year.  Somewhere else weird, perhaps, maybe with our music-bar buddies - maybe not.  But we knew we’d survive if we didn’t get the chance to meet in the real universe, also - such was the nature of our friendship.  We always had the music-bar.  And indeed, music-bar is a different thing now, with him gone.  I will always have the memory of my friend in his final days, reaching for me with a strong grip and clear eye, and letting me know he was still there, underneath it all, no matter how sick he was.

Well, dear Gert - old friend - we won’t get the chance to sit in the European spring sunshine again, drinking odd beers, arguing about the latest and greatest music technology, discussing aliens and conspiracy theories until one of us is blue in the face or there other, drunk.  We won’t have a chance to groan and moan about our musical outputs - and you’ll never hear the album I’ve started this year.  

But I dedicate a little bit of all those times ahead of me, where you could’ve been there, to your memory and your presence.  If ever there were a reason for religion, remembering friends like Gert would be one of them.  I know he’d hate me saying that, but I also know he’d agree, a little bit, from his own perspective.  And for those neat tweaks in life, I will miss you Gert, my friend. 


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