I met Ian when he gave me a job at the London Fire Brigade. He took me under his wing, taught me so much and made me think about the world in different ways. He read endlessly, he’d bring whole sheaves of magazines in that he’d been reading on the commute. The whole range of politics plus the National Enquirer thrown in. Resolutely refused to recycle for some reason, and made such a mess. He loved to debate and argue and tested my knowledge endlessly (and was appalled by the lack of it) on so many things.
Ian loved music, playing the piano and singing. He’d bring his piano compositions to listen to at work, handing over his headphones and explaining what he’d made. He once orchestrated an impromptu musical performance as part of a departmental away day, above a pub at Borough Market, something few present will ever forget.
After we stopped working together we’d meet up in pubs or sometimes for lunch and Ian would keep on educating me. He was always trying to teach me things, more than I was ever able to take in, about policies, campaigning, music, ornamental glass, the best places to buy antiques, classical history, systems of government, the United States (in its widest sense), TV shows that had to be watched, books that must be read, sometimes that then just appeared in the post. I loved these conversations, he was always so generous in what he’d share.
He could start a conversation with anyone. He got on with people, wearing his heart on his sleeve and listening. He was a brilliant campaigner, he could be so full of energy it was impossible not to get caught up in his cause.
He loved his family so much, it came through in all the stories he’d tell about his Mum and Dad (and their dog) and his siblings. He’d very often talk about his nephews and nieces, what they were like and how they were finding their way in the world in all their different ways. He was always so proud of them.
The house in Wales, he loved. He’d show me photos and tell stories about the storms there, and playing the keyboard while they raged. That’s how I like to think of him now. I can’t believe he has gone. I miss him.