Friday, 20 November 2009

A screwed-up ending

In this photo:

  • A small screwdriver.
  • A brass wire paperclip.

Are these items interesting? Not at first glance. The paperclip is utterly boring. I found it at the bottom of my desk drawer under a dried up glue stick and a sheet of floppy disk labels.

The little screwdriver, however, has a little story to go with it. 

Many have heard of Joe Meek, a short-lived electronics tinkerer who produced “Telstar” and a few other cuts of varying levels of obscurity before going out in a dramatic murder/suicide at age 37 (Joe, as it turns out, was a very disturbed individual). [ Wikipedia article ]

But, here’s a part of the story that you will not find in Wikipedia: 

Joe Meek’s parents had to dispose of his belongings after his death, and they came up with a great solution (a great solution for them anyway). Joe’s parents were acquainted with another couple, a couple who happened to have a son who was fascinated by electronics. A son who initially became very excited when he was offered ‘all of Joe Meek’s stuff’—very excited until he actually saw the pack-rat den. There were four rooms stacked to the ceiling with totally worthless junk, which Joe had promised to repair for people and just thrown in there in heaps—mostly broken radios and televisions—which had to be hauled away, smashed up, and burned. Some windfall. It was more of a total pain, actually.

This screwdriver was the only useful item in the lot.

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