Signing off

Deon Schoeman
Deon Schoeman

My dad was a man with many talents, but playing, listening and recording music was one of those that he was particularly passionate about. I became very aware of this passion when I, a youth of probably no more than eleven, discovered that Deon had indeed some good taste in music when I unearthed some White Snake recordings from his LP collection. This did not completely forgive him for owning lots of ‘jazzy’ albums in the eyes of a budding metal guitarist, but it was a start and I wanted to capture that for myself.

I proceeded to load the record player of unquantifiable value with aforementioned White Snake LP, looted a pair of Maxell MX 90 blank tapes from a draw, and popped them into the tape player/recorder. The cellophane wrappers, carelessly discarded to the side, ended up on the pre-amp, and were slowly transforming into a pile of toxic smoke and embers to the sound of Here I Go Again. Unbenounced to me Deon had just walked into the room and was processing what was going on, molten plastic and all.

Swifter action was never given.

He was more worried about the potential fire hazard than the equipment, but I realised then that these black boxes and wires were probably also very important. But this is not news to regular readers who are familiar with Deon’s writing, because he injected that passion for HiFi into every review, opinion piece and comment that he wrote.

My grandmother tells the story of how one evening my grandfather, Stan, had a pressing deadline to complete but Deon and a friend of his were in his room blasting away music. Finally Stan could not take it any longer and pushed the door open to my dad’s room and was greeted with a cacophony of sound (their description not mine) and a visual representation of Frankenstein’s laboratory if Frank was more into NAD than resurrection. I was assured that there was an equal amount of cabling involved.

I like to think that this was the birth of Audio Video for my dad. Maybe not that day but one just like it; music and equipment and experimenting with how to make it sound better with whoever would listen. His study is still like that and that is how I remember him: a passionate man, a loving father to my sister and I and the perfect partner to my Mom, truly in his element when he was writing and listening to music as loud as the walls would allow.

He passed away Monday morning, 17 June 2019. If anyone wants to send their thoughts please do so to me, at adam@avsa.co.za