In memory of Jerry/TRIAD

This article was written in December 2010 by Taper for Attitude#11

On the 20:th of September 2010, Jerry of TRIAD passed away after being ill for quite some time. Even though we in TRIAD knew he was ill, his passing came sudden and was not expected by us or his relatives.

This is without doubt the most difficult article I have ever written. It’s simply impossible to put into words what Jerry meant to TRIAD, the swedish C64 community, the international C64 scene and to me personally. How could I ever conclude all that into a diskmag article?
I gave it a lot of thought and started writing several times, just to delete the file again after
not feeling the slightest content with what I came up with. In the end, I decided against trying to cover Jerry’s whole scenecareer, something I could never pull off alone and would require an enormous amount of research. Instead I’m going to write a bit about my personal relationship with Jerry, because that is the only thing nobody else could write better than me.

Even now, when this article is ready for print, I am not content with how it turned out. However, knowing that I could go over my text a million times and still not be able to put words on all my feelings, I decided to let it leave my hands.

When I got my first C64 back in the 80’s it was bundled with a datasette, and it took me a while to buy my first diskdrive. Diskdrives were expensive, so tapes were the common media for me and most of the kids I went to school with. Lunchbreaks were often used for exchanging Turbo 250 tapes. While most of my classmates slammed spacebar as soon as the crackintros appeared, I found myself intrigued by them. Often I spent more time watching the crackintros and reading scrolltexts than playing the actual games (with some exceptions, ofcourse). I began to understand what cracking was about, and my respect for the sceners who made it possible for us to exchange those tapes with “new” games at school grew. Ofcourse, TRIAD cracks appeared on each and every tape and the TRIAD logo were forever imprinted in me.

Luckily, soon a kid at school wanted to get rid of his Commodore setup to invest in a Nintendo NES instead. So, I ended up buying his 1571 diskdrive, and thus the days of turbo tapes were soon left behind. I started contacting people who had swapping ads in swedish computer magazines and got a bunch of replies. Most of my early contacts were non-sceners or atleast in the outskirts of scenetown.

In one of the swedish computer magazines, Svenska Hemdator Nytt, you could also subscribe to monthly disks with public domain stuff, mainly demos. I took a subscription to get more stuff to send to my contacts. One of the disks I ordered was delayed, and I ended up contacting the man behind the diskservice to complain. Ofcourse, the man behind the SHN disks was none other than Jerry/TRIAD. He turned out to be really nice, even to a complaining newbie like myself. Soon we started writing letters and swapping disks. In the beginning, I had very little to offer in return, but he never seemed to bother. He did however not hesitate to slap my fingers whenever I accidentally crossed any unwritten scenelaw I wasn’t aware of. It was the best of schools for someone who wanted to learn how things worked in the scene.

While Jerry wasn’t my first swapping contact in the scene, he was the first who didn’t just write a little note on the diskcover that I had to send newer wares or be dropped, but instead wrote real letters and didn’t care too much if he already had all the things I sent. Also, Jerry had a wide spectrum of interests. Among other things I remember that he was curious about the village where I lived, and asked lots of questions about the history and background. As a teenager interested in little else than computers, movies and Samantha Fox, I had to do some research to answer all his questions. Eventually his questions sparked my own interest, and in a way he opened up my eyes to many different aspects of life, besides computing.

I also ended up buying my first modem from Jerry. He imported Aprotek minimodems running at the impressive speed of 2400bps, twice the speed of modems I had previously used at libraries and school! Typical of Jerry, he took virtually no provision for importing and reselling these modems, he did it for the purpose of enabling people to call out. For many of us, buying a modem through a computer store was far too expensive, but Jerry came to the rescue!

After getting the modem, I became a regular on his TRIAD BBS The Studio aswell, and called it for many years, until the day he pulled the plug on the board. By then the modem days were well past their prime, but I can still hear the sound of a proper modem connect and see the petscii screens from The Studio roll by when I close my eyes and think back…

All the letters, phonecalls and BBS chats aside, I was fortunate to meet Jerry in person a few times over the years aswell. The first time was in 1998. By that time, I had been in contact with Jerry for many years and thought it was about time to finally meet him. Some other TRIAD members wanted to tag along aswell, but it seemed hard to set a date for a visit. In the end, a few of us decided to set out for a surprise visit.

Since I had no car I managed to persuade Joyride/Noice to drive to Akers Styckebruk from the south of Sweden, and we picked up Quorthon on the way. I remember Joyride had a major lumbago, so I guess it’s about time I thank him for driving for 6 hours to get to Jerry’s place.

When we reached the TRIAD headquarters in Aakers Styckebruk, we met up with Sailor and Twoflower too. I think Jerry suspected we were coming, afterall we had to make sure he had planned to stay at home during the weekend, so I guess he was just semi-surprised. I remember Jerry showing us his collection of hardware, disks and diskcovers. Then we had a great time, hooking up C64’s, working on TRIAD projects, eating pizza and discussing SAAB automobiles. Twoflower made a sketch of a cake that we had made for us at the local bakery. A red princess-cake with the TRIAD logo in the middle and a hammer and sickle on it. Probably the weirdest order that bakery ever got… Jerry laughed his  hat off when he saw the result.

As many of you know, Jerry also had a passion for trains. During one memorable visit at his place, he took me to see old locomotives at a narrowtrack railway in Mariefred. He knew a lot about railway history, and his enthusiasm made him an excellent story teller. An interest we had in common besides the C64 was science-fiction books and movies. During the last years we had long conversation about different flavours of sci-fi and recommending eachother books to read.

I have so many warm and happy memories of Jerry, and a part of me still can’t understand that he is gone. Just last summer he talked about how he wanted to visit me and my girlfriend down in Skane when he got better. It’s hard to realize that I will never again pick up the ringing phone and hear his voice on the other end. One thing is certain, the memory of my friend Jerry will be with me as long as I live.

Finally, I would like to thank Jerry’s son, Sgt.Pepper/TRIAD. Despite the enormous loss he and his family is going through, Sgt.Pepper has taken the time and energy to keep us in TRIAD informed and helping us with practical things that needs to be sorted.

With a deep sense of sorrow, signed Taper/TRIAD

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