Tony Hollick; colourful, angry, articulate, tormented and reflective gentleman, 1942-2016


David Davis

I would like to write an elegy for Tony.

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For, out of all the surviving early members of the Libertarian Alliance, I probably knew him best and got closest to him as a friend for a time.

In the mid-1970s this wretched Planet was being steadily consumed by “social democracy” and (worse, locally) “Eurocommunism”. Anyone remember that one then? No, I thought not. In this time, Chris Tame  – who needs no introduction on here – Tony Hollick, and others including me as a latecomer, formed the core of the current Libertarian Alliance. The Alternative Bookshop [40 Floral Street, Covent Garden, WC2] of which if you are on here now, you will know, was the hub.

Now, Tony had had a somewhat exciting life previously, as a capitalist-entrepreneur, being in a rather comforable “good way of doing”  – as they say down in Liverpool. He had previously owned a Facel Vega motor car, when these were new and extremely expensive, and of which he had been very proud. When I met him, he was working at The National Association For Freedom (later the freedom Association) and he was living in the back room of the Alternative Bookshop with his very very large ginger cat, Beeper, who himself became a minor character of the British libertarian movement. Somewhere in my Library is a photograph of early LA members, posed behind Beeper in a foreground commanding position. Beeper was a Free Cat.

In 1980/81, Tony and I shared a rented house at 86 The Heights, Foxfrove Road, Beckanham, (Kent – well…South East London really…) with another rather strange young man whose name mow totally escapes me, but who, together with Tony, made my telephone bills to come to about £470 a month; my name was on the account, not theirs… The Internet and Skype/Wattsapp were post-invented for Tony in particular, but sadly not then!

Tony loved his close friends so very much, that he would often keep them up all night in intellectual discussions. These would be of course about proper issues,so you had to concentrate all the time. If they were not physically present with him [as I mostly then was], they would be phoned up by him if he decided their opinion or further instruction in matters was vital to him.

If Tony in his old age had known how to get hold of Hillary Clinton on the blower this year, he would have given her a very, very, very hard time.

Tony’s gifts were, in order;

(1) To be a loyal and steadfast friend to those he loved, and who he would try to help to the end of his strength, and it is important to love and helpone’s friends,

(2) To be able to mightily piss-off these very same friends referred to above, repeatedly, without any shred of residual rancour or bad-feeling on his part towards those he had upset,

(3) To be able to completely demolish any random leftoid/non-libertarian presented to him (God help them) in an argument.

I remember being dragooned into trying to help Tony build a “computer” which he’d commanded the three of us to help build. It was The Future, and on the carpet of 86 The Heights, all night for a number of nights. It had 32K of RAM and cost him almost £500…I don’t think there was a keyboard. There was for sure no screen. We had to press little printed-circuit buttons and switches in a particular order, and lights would come on, or not. I wasn’t allowed to shamble off to bed till at least 3 am each time.

I remember a little lunch I had with Tony in about 1982, in WC2, when he was working for the husband (I think?) of author Wendy Perriam.  It was never exactly clear what Tony was actually doing for any of the people he “did stuff for”, but it always seemed exciting on the telling!

In that lunch, Tony ordered various usual things as I did, and then said to the waiter, “And…could I have quite a lot of butter.” [Emphasis down to Tony, not me!] The waiter shortly brought about four of the usual commercial foil-wrapped butterpats on a special plate to Tony.

Tony exploded all over the room. In the next three minutes, Tony got offered what looked like another 20 pats.

The libertarian movement will miss Tony, except that the tragedy is that almost nobody left alive in it today has known him. He is the finest example perceivable to me of the notion that to get libertarians to agree about anything is like trying to herd cats. At one time in the past, happily now well gone into forgotten night and fog, it was needful to moderate Tony’s comments on this blog. Tony will fully understand why UKIP today is cracking into pieces.

Tony had “very well and highly articulated views about all matters, and indeed many more than that”. Now that God has been pleased to receive Tony fully into His bosom, as is right, I do pray that Tony’s over-exercised but yet-giant mind can find rest at last.

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16 comments

  • I remember him and wish I’d known him better.

  • I won’t say he was a good friend, but I’m sorry he’s gone. We shall all miss him.

  • Good grief, what a loss. I am thinking hard as to when and where I first met Tony and I believe it was probably in the 1990s, online on the ‘Cix’ online conferencing system where he went under the user name of ‘anduril’.

    Having met him online on Cix and later having got to know him more directly through a mutual acquaintance, I found myself speaking to Tony a great deal on the phone. A very great deal!

    He was never short of interesting thoughts and projects, from contacts at the NSA to powered roller skates to a computer project named ‘Blackbird’.

    I’d not heard from Tony for some time and I was wondering how he was. I wish now that I had tried harder to get back in touch with him.

    May I just add that if you find yourself wondering how a person is getting on then give/send them a call, email, letter, etc.

    I’ll miss him.

  • With the wisdom of age I wish I’d been more patient with him. Chris, so maligned by some, was endlessly patient and loyal to Tony when he was at his most difficult. Tony had his demons but they hurt no one other than himself. He was a good and loyal soul.

  • Will be greatly missed.

    😦

    Does anyone know what has happened to his research / work, as it would be such a shame to see it end up in landfill.

    A pity we wasn’t allowed Segways in the UK like in the US, otherwise we could have seen Anduril’s powered rollerskates common place on our streets.

    He had so many brilliant ideas, an endless fountain of knowledge about everything under the sun, and willing to push the envelope.

  • Tony told me that he put his physics papers onto Wiki. A simple search has not found it. Is there somewhere because people would write to him agreeing with his views. I found this link about Relational dynamics http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/dynamics.htm

  • I never knew him well but met him a number of times in the early 1980s. One thing not mentioned that I recall was his fascination with NLP. It was obvious that he would use NLP in conversations to gain an edge. Quite annoying actually.

    Interesting that he stayed in the back of the Alternative Bookshop. Was that the same space later occupied by Brian M?

    • NLP?

      • Neuro-linguistic programming.

  • Tony was a great guy: at his best he was charming, intelligent, full of ideas and optimistic. His activities on radio phone-in programs were brilliant. What was really sad, was how he was shattered by recurrent periods of mental illness. Such a shame.

  • Hello Jeremy! It’s been years — nay, decades — since I saw and talked with you. So good to hear from you. [In case you are confused, I changed my name back in 1990, not long after moving to the USA from “O’Connor” to “More”.] I was still in my early 20s when we met and while I was involved with the Libertarian Alliance.

    It surprised me when David mentioned the very few remaining people from the earliest days of the L.A. I didn’t imagine that included me but it seems that 1981/1982 was actually not far from the beginning. I fondly recall my monthly visits from Bristol and then Oxford to London to talk with a few friends about futurist topics at Imperial College, along with an inevitable trip to Mecca (I mean the Alternative Bookshop).

  • Tony Hollick’s funeral will be held at 12.30 for 12.45 on Wednesday 7 December at Beckenham Crematorium, Elmers End Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 4TD.

    There is plenty of parking at the Crematorium. The nearest train stations are Elmers End or Birkbeck.

    There will be refreshments afterwards at a local restaurant within walking distance.

    If you can come please email Petrina Haywood … petrinahaywood@btinternet.com … so she has an idea of numbers for Service programmes and refreshments.

  • Service for Anthony Hugh Hollick, Wednesday 7 December 2016
    I attended his funeral today and it was a dignified and an enjoyable remembrance of Tony’s life. A number of people gave short talks about Tony. The music was uplifting and added well to the occasion. The service was actually pleasant.

    If you would like to view the proceedings they should be viewable 24/7 for the next week only at:
    http://www.wesleymedia.co.uk
    Username 12170 and password vtjpqxyk …

    On 30 Oct I posted a link to Relational Dynamics. That link was actually to Tony’s physics paper, probably one of his greatest intellectual achievements.

  • should be viewable 24/7 for the next week only

    Having just recovered from a hard disk failure, I’ve just seen note of this, and time has run out for me to view it, any chance of a viewing elsewhere ?

    • Dear Nigel
      In three to four weeks I should receive a copy DVD. Please send your email address to rgs hat? creasehuggett.co.uk
      Robin

  • If anyone would like to download the recording of Tony’s funeral service please contact me via my email below. I will send a link to you so that you can download the files.

    rgs hat? creasehuggett.co.uk

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