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On behalf of the family of Neil Suddes (Towny)

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  • After picking up a couple of US Air Force albums at a record fair yesterday afternoon, one of my first thoughts was "I wonder if Towny has these... bet he does" and thought I'd message him here to find out. I honestly can't believe he's gone, I'm so very, very shocked and deeply saddened by this news - not really sure what else I can say.

    I only met Neil a handful of times at VG+ related events in Newcastle and Edinburgh and despite being blown away by his incredible musical knowledge, just found him great company and incredibly down to earth, with an obviously huge passion for music. He'll be very sorely missed round these parts, even by those not lucky enough to have met him.

    My thoughts are with his family and friends, who I hope may take some small degree of comfort to see just how many people's lives have been enriched by Neil through an obsessive on-line vinyl forum.
    Club stuff:




    • Towny, Neil….an appreciation from a friend, drunk in NYC…

      Many of you on this board knew Neil only as ‘Towny’, a pseudonym of a guy with a quick wit and an encyclopaedic knowledge of good music, all too willing to share it. You missed out.

      I was lucky. I met Neil in Cambridge in England, getting on for twenty years ago, and got to know him pretty well. At the time, he was DJ’ing at a pub called the Devonshire Arms, a reggae pub that was experimenting with a ‘jazz night’. I was an early 20-something with a few crates of old-school Hip-Hop and funk records and was just beginning to discover everything else - jazz, latin, soul, etc. – pretty green in other words. Neil was 3 or 4 years older, with a lot more records…

      I remember walking into the bar and hearing him play “Home Is Where The Hatred is” by Esther Phillips. Running up to the booth, I was amazed to find not only was he happy to tell me what the record was but he was eager to chat and really friendly. The scenario was to be repeated time and again, and we begun to hang out together outside of the Devonshire, eventually sharing a house with a few others – many, many records changed hands…

      It would take days to recount the ups and downs of that period - longer the records that entered, left and were traded between my room and his - I’ll just say I don’t think there were too many households in 1995 that had copies of What Is Wrong With Grooving, If, Paris Soul Food, and Danser’s Inferno (somehow Neil ended up with those ;-)

      But I’ll always remember two things: turning up at his flat, confessing my relationship had just tanked, and that I just needed to ‘hang out and get pissed with someone’; Neil’s response was a bottle of red wine, ‘”have you heard ‘I don’t know why’ by John Blair”, and “this is the best house record ever made” (Don’t Hold Back The Feeling by UNI). Made me feel a lot better.

      The other thing I’ll always remember him for is pogo’ing ironically when a DJ at ‘The Junction’ in Cambridge (possibly the worst nightclub ever) played ‘Rage Against The Machine’ – one of the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. A very, very funny man when he wanted to be - for those of you who never saw the picture I posted last year of him jumping into my bedroom circa 1996, this should say it all.

      Others have mentioned his artistic talent. This is where I am at a loss. Devoting the odd hour here and there to music, he produced some genuinely innovative tracks – more than I can say for most artists in the 90s – if you never heard Futile Forays Into Illegality or the Seeds track he remixed with Lee Marvin’s footsteps from Point Blank, you should. But the real loss is what he had an amazing talent for: photography and design. Some of the photographs he showed me when we first met were truly breathtaking. It is tragic that more didn’t get to see them.

      But you know what I liked most? His DJ’ing. “I’ll fuck with their heads” is what he used to say. And he did - Tito Puente playing 2001, a steel band playing Hot Pants Rd. He fucked with their heads alright, but they all danced.

      I met his mother once. My thoughts go out to her and the rest of his family, and I count myself very lucky for having known him. RIP


      • wow, that's really horrible news, even as a medium-term lurker, short-term, long-distance poster, I could see how much he contributed to this thread and the esteem in which he was held.

        all the very best of wishes to his family.


        • saddening news, RIP Neil, you will be missed


          • My condolences to his family and friends.

            RIP Neil.
            records - one a week mixcloud
            records - one a week soundcloud


            • I'd like to add my sincere condolences. Neil seemed like a truly lovely guy and his contributions helped make this site what it is.

              My thoughts are with his family and those who knew him.



              • What a loss. I read the news in the middle of the night on saturday and until this minute words have failed me. All i can say is that Towny was THE REAL DEAL, a genuine bastion of this strange community, an info junkie, a long-term digger, blatant record gambler and ultra-original selector who clearly dedicated his life to wearing and sharing his vast and niche knowledge.

                Needless to say Towny cut his teeth in an era before record digging was 'cool' and in the future when a lot of DJ's and diggers disperse / settle down / grow-up / give-up etc Towny will be the person you'll be pining for... and he wont be here.
                kraut rock ist nicht tot!


                • Originally posted by ricardosevere View Post
                  But you know what I liked most? His DJ’ing. “I’ll fuck with their heads” is what he used to say. And he did - Tito Puente playing 2001, a steel band playing Hot Pants Rd. He fucked with their heads alright, but they all danced.
                  Wonderful post, Ricardo. I loved this bit, and I wouldn't own that steel band lp if Towny hadn't posted about it here.

                  Are there rips of any of his sets around? I'd love to hear them rather than just marvel at the tracklists.


                  • That's very sad and shocking news. One of the real pillars of the VG+ community, a mine of information, and great banter, too! RIP Neil


                    • Originally posted by babycart View Post
                      Are there rips of any of his sets around? I'd love to hear them rather than just marvel at the tracklists.
                      You can download the last Byker Groove set here. You have to download all of the parts to get it to work (although that is, of course, worth it to get the other sets as well). Neil was third on, after me and Davey, so he'd be from about 1 hour 40 or so.
                      Mixes, compilations and the like


                      • neil suddes

                        Hell, can't believe this news.

                        One of the funniest guys I ever met, and we were really good friends for some while. Few people could reduce me to tears of laughter so quickly. One of his best pieces, en route to The Junction in a cab - "When we get in, I'm going straight to see the DJ. I'll tell him, 'I'm off for a nosebag. If you're still no good by the time I get back, I'm going to cut your hair'."

                        Miss you already thinking of all those good times at 48 Panton St. Peace.



                        • r.i.p Neil.. you always had kind words to say and didn't roll with the herd mentality! and a great fondness for the MIND LEAVES
                          so sad


                          • I have just received a phone call informing me of this devastating news.

                            Strangely, I was thinking about Neil this morning as I was pondering cycling in to work, knowing he used to be a keen cyclist and ironically, I think my last text message to him was on that very subject.

                            Up until a year ago I used to work with Neil and we soon became close friends, unfortunately we never met up with each other as often as we’d liked since I got a new job. A fact that is going to haunt me for a long time.

                            What saddens me more is that I was going to call him this weekend, see if he’s settling into his new flat and to tell him I’m getting married. I was sat with Neil the first time I met my wife to be, in the staff room of the school where all three of us worked for a time.
                            Now it doesn’t look like I’ll ever be able to catch up with him and arrange that long over due pint.

                            I have a couple of copies of his Christmas mixes that he distributed to you guys, and knowing he spent a lot of his spare time on this form I felt compelled to write something.

                            And as I struggle to find something fitting to write, all I can say is, Neil you were loved and will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to his family where Neil was a son, a brother, an uncle and grandson.

                            Rest well my friend


                            • Rip
                              i remember when it was all fields round here....



                              • I was with Sie on Saturday when we found out and like many of you have been left devastate... after knowing Neil just shy of 8 years I still can not believe he's gone..

                                He was an instantly loveable guy with a quick wit, an unassuming outlook on life and a passion for music that many would struggle to match, knowledgeable and creative in many ways, but not one to shout about it.

                                If he walked to the decks with his carrier bag under arm with "that" grin followed by "lets open their minds with a not so subtle musical education" you knew what was coming.

                                He could make me laugh until I cried and my sides ached, with one liners and out and out rants alike, as only Neil could.

                                I will miss him dearly and can't really find the words to give a fitting tribute to such a lovely, lovely man.
                                ...I know that you know that I know what you don't want me to know...