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A tribute to Unusual Rigging's Paul Taylor who passed away on 17th August
UK - “We are extremely sad to report that our dear friend and colleague Paul Taylor lost his battle with cancer on 17th August 2020.
“Known affectionately as PT, he entered this world on 7th June 1956. He often joked that he was born a day too late and the 6th June would have been more fitting given his passion for the history of the second world war and military vehicles. In fact, he loved tanks so much that I have always been amazed that he didn’t call his kids something like, Sherman and Challenger 2.
“PT started his ‘Unusual years’ in March 1988. He joined the company because he felt that as he was now a family man, he should have a quiet nine-to-five job! It did not quite turn out like that. He soon became one of the foundation stones of the company.
“PT was a pioneer in the field of automation and quickly established his position as our electrics and automation guru.
“I remember him being astounded, when introduced to a new member of the crew, at Drury
Lane, when he received the response: 'Paul Taylor, you’re actually the Paul Taylor?' He seemed strangely unaware of how well liked and respected he was by all his friends and colleagues here at Unusual, and indeed across the industry … his leaving us has created a huge gap.
“He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Theatre and Automation and was happy to pass on his
knowledge and expertise.
“In an atmosphere of impossible deadlines and challenging problems, none of us can remember PT ever raising his voice. He retained a serene disposition and a dry sense of humour.
“On one occasion, PT found himself chairman of the jury for the Clive Ponting trial. The Guardian
added a codicil to the cartoon depicting PT’s delivery of the verdict: 'Not guilty, so there'!
“During the 2012 Olympics, PT spent his time raising the flags for the swimming event medallists. People would ask him the daftest questions. One day he gave into his dry wit and advised someone who had asked what the big red button was for (the emergency stop), that it was to empty the pool if any of the swimmers were in distress. Satisfied that they now had insider knowledge they wandered off happily.
“One project PT was particularly proud of involved programming and operating the automation
desk for New York aerial choreographer Elizabeth Streb, for the cultural events leading up to the 2012 Olympics. He managed, against the odds, to turn Elizabeth’s vision, through sequencing clever and ambitious cues, into cohesive aerial ballets. He used technology, to facilitate art, with
safety in mind. A speciality of PT’s, and not for the faint hearted – a task he undertook again with dedication (whilst battling the cancer) in October 2018 at the Musée d'Orsay, in Paris.
“For the past three years or so PT and I sat at adjacent desks in the office. He spent many an hour telling me stories about various pieces of military paraphernalia he had bought from E-bay, whilst I tried to stay awake.
“I remember walking around the yard at Unusual one afternoon, looking in through the various workshop doors. As I passed LX, I saw a truck mounted 50 Calibre machine gun pointing at me. Guess who was responsible?
“I am sure that many of us in the coming months whilst working on-site, up to our elbows in wires, drives and winches, from time to time, will hear a reassuring whisper from above “Oooo you don’t want to do it like that” – a catch phrase of his. It is hard to imagine how we will cope without him.
“We have lost an encyclopaedia of knowledge, a depth of experience that spanned many decades, and a dedicated colleague. But mostly we have lost a true gentleman, enthusiast, mentor, father figure, and friend.
“It might be that he and AJ are already putting their heads together to make celestial events even greater.
“On the other hand, PT may be spending time at the 24-hour Army Surplus Store in the sky.”
A note from Vera Taylor: “Next year, on the 5th or 6th of June (Covid19 willing) the family will be holding a memorial/damned good party (the latter was PTs wish). If you have a tribute to PT that you would like to have included please let them know and/or if you want to join the party drop them a note and they’ll share the details with you individually.”
14th September 2020
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