I'm sure I won't be the only person in the Deep Purple fan club to be shocked to learn of the death of DPAS member Ian Smethurst just a couple of days before Christmas.
As well as being a passionate Deep Purple fan, Ian was also a keen cyclist. He died after being knocked off his bike not far from home. Fellow DPAS member Cliff Massey rang to tell me the news.
For a long while now Ian was almost a permanent fixture at Deep Purple shows, and had come to know members of the band so well that he was accorded passes to their shows on a regular basis. On the recent UK tour Ian was there as ever - usually sitting quietly with his partner Alyson. He wasn't someone who took the whole scene too seriously though, and you could always have a quiet laugh with him about some of the more ridiculous goings on which cropped up in such surroundings.
We met Ian a number of times on the tour, and I still find it hard to believe he won't be there in 2003. I took this picture of Ian and his partner Alyson backstage at the NEC in September and was going to surprise them with it in the next DPAS magazine. This is one time I'm truely sorry to have missed a deadline.
Our sympathies to Alyson and Ian's family.
Simon Robinson, 25/12/02