Geoff Sedman, who I always called Mr Sedman, has died. He had a business in Chanterlands Avenue, Hull, dealing with Disc Jockey and Public Address systems.
In 2010 the church gave me the task of putting in a sound system. Up to that point CDs as available were being put into CD players and then subsequently they were prepared by me but into a domestic machine with me, the equipment and its speakers hidden behind a curtain. I wanted the church to install a stereo high quality music system.
Now one could either go and buy something and make every mistake, as I'm afraid had been done with yet another domestic player, or go to a shop where they look after you. There was an obvious shop to visit, but there you also pay through the nose.
It was by chance that near to my just moved building society branch there was a Disc Jockey and Public Address equipment repair shop, and so I went in and met Mr Geoff Sedman. Very soon I realised he was the man for the job because he knew his equipment and would sell and install. I went in a number of times and I talked and he listened and advised. I told him how we did what we did, what was wanted, and in high quality stereo. He arranged to come down to the church and look it over, and indeed arranged to install it with assistance. The powerful four speaker, mixer, dual CD system was his recommendation and taken. As we started with it, and the microphone was feeding back, he paid attention to that to come down again as part of replacing it. The point was that he engineered the microphone to be radio connected and free of feedback even when the slider is fully up: the result is people are often away from the microphone and being amplified, and yet nearby speakers are not feeding back. In fact I was only just now talking about a second microphone to be used for the notices or by me for 'how to sing this'; With Mr Sedman's death I shall have to remember what he said and whjen agreed try to purchase elsewhere - the business is simply to fold - and I must get it right.
Friday 6th I'd just dropped off a church member and made my way to Chanterlands Avenue, parked and saw the notice that due to bereavement the business was closing down and to ring a number. So I went to the building society and also asked to borrow a pen, which they said I could keep, and then went to write down the number. I thought I might be ringing Mr Sedman himself and a sudden decision to stop, though I suspected it might be his death. As I wrote the number, the next door newsagent came out and said it was he who had died, on Tuesday, and we agreed that he was very good at what he did.
At home I rang the number and said that I visited something like once a fortnight for chats. I'd given him a Freeview box which he used for a large TV in a workshop, and he was looking at a DAB radio either to tell me how to work it or to dump it. She was looking at her father's stock and wondering what was whose. So I was given the time of the funeral, just down the road, in the small chapel at 3:20 Thursday.
What I liked about Mr Sedman in our both electronics and wide ranging chats was that he investigated what was true. In his fast moving area of business, he would open up equipment and find out what was wrong and put it right if possible. So customers would come in and say what they thought was wrong but frequently it was something quite different causing the fault. And of course often items were almost built to go wrong after say fifteen months (as he once put it) and there was no purpose in repair. But he dealt with big systems like hefty speakers and mixers, and heavy lights. With him I even talked about installing video and computer input. For myself there has been the issue of a tape player not playing at quite the right speed, and he did say if I bought a simple player from him (with all the right inputs and outputs) it would be exactly right - except cassette tapes are themselves unreliable. He knew about computer use to edit and transfer. We joked about people who buy fancy packs to make these transfers whereas it's all available via a few wires and free software.
He continued to ask how the speaker system was doing, and there was always the reassurance that if there was a problem he would be on to it, and he could supervise any extension.
But all that depends on life, and once life is gone that knowledge is gone too. So is another kind of hub. He would shake his head at some of the eccentrics who turned up at his shop, never to buy anything. The DJ world and people fiddling with equipment draws in the long haired and bald male and some I met with the strangest of opinions. He constantly wondered where they came from. He seemed to treat me differently, but I bet I was just one more eccentric. He liked rational thought and not taking the obvious common view. For example, we discussed the level of freedom in Russia with some fidelity, as in it being much freer now but cut off points in the arena where Putin's power matters. These chats really were wide ranging. Religion as commonly given was about how people thought long ago, he stated, and he realised that I agreed with him. So I talked about the sociology of knowledge. I never made any attempt to ask him to try out the Unitarians; the simple fact is if he'd wanted to come along he'd have done so. The last time we met and the phone went I said I'd go, but he said, "Are you going?" So I said OK I'd stay and ended up being there an hour. I don't know who needed to stand and lean on his PA speakers more, him or me, but he often cleared a seat so I could sit down, and from there the conversation went on.
It'll be interesting to see whether any other odd-bods turn up at his funeral. There must be a DJ community that rotated around his shop, even if they are all individuals.
So there we are: Geoff Sedman, one of the little people in this world who kept up with change (he kept learning), has made a practical difference by changing things for the better in a concrete manner.