Thursday, August 18, 2011
Stuart Miller RIP
This is the sort of blog-post no-one ever, ever wants to write. I learned today that English UFO researcher Stuart Miller has died.
If you didn't know, Stuart (pictured on the left of this photo taken in 2006 by Paul Kimball of Canada's Red Star Films, with me on the right) was the brainchild behind both the online magazine, UFO Review and the sadly-short-lived newsstand mag, Alien Worlds.
This is terrible, terrible news - chiefly, of course, for Stuart's family and close friends, with who our thoughts and condolences should very much be right now.
But, for those of us within Ufology who came to know Stuart as not just a colleague but also as a friend, it's truly shocking, too.
I first crossed paths with Stuart in mid-2005 when he interviewed me in a lengthy transatlantic phone-call about my book Body Snatchers in the Desert. Then, a few months on, in late-2005, I finally got to meet Stuart in person while I was briefly back in England, where we hung out for an afternoon and yet another interview of the UFO variety.
But, the highlight - for me - was in the summer of 2006, when me and Dana moved back to England for a few months. Our trip coincided with a UFO conference that Stuart planned on holding in his home-town of Altrincham, a market-town in Greater Manchester.
When Stuart asked me if I was willing to speak at his Saturday conference, my answer was a resounding: "Yes!"
At the time of the gig, Dana and I didn't have access to a rental-car, so early on a Friday afternoon Stuart - exhibiting incredible generosity - drove down from Manchester to the West Midlands area of England (where we were staying at the time), picked us up, and drove back to Manchester so that I was able to do the gig.
Attendance-wise the conference wasn't a success; but, in terms of forging and reinforcing friendships it was a resounding success. Particularly memorable were the Friday and Saturday nights - before and right after the event - when me, Dana, Paul Kimball, and Stuart and his wife, Denise, were all able to hang out into the early hours over a delicious dinner cooked by Denise, and much flowing, cold beer.
Then, if that wasn't enough, on the Sunday morning, Stuart drove me and Dana back down to the Midlands, hung out for a while, then headed up to Manchester again and home.
I never saw Stuart again, but I stayed in touch with him regularly for the next few years, particularly so when I began to write for his final, and most ambitious, of all UFO projects: Alien Worlds, which proved to be a fascinating breath-of-fresh-air on the UFO scene.
But, now that's all over. And Stuart - who was a witty, friendly, well-read character with a fine ufological bullshit-detector - is gone. But, he most assuredly won't be - and certainly should not be - forgotten. Rest in peace, mate.