On Friday, I began the story of my friend and colleague PK, and gave you a basic outline of the man. But nothing that I have said there really strikes at the heart of the person he was in those days (and hopefully still is).
PK was a catalyst. Everything revolved around him, and he was the organiser of most things that we did. Yet, if something went awry, he was first to try and sort it out. So when he led a party of us to Edgbaston to see England play Australia in 1985 everything was going well until buying our tickets from a tout outside the ground used up all of our cash. In those days there were no cash machines inside the ground and we were left penniless for the day. It was PK who went in search of the club shop and used his credit card to pay for food and drink for all of us.
He was an American Football enthusiast, often to be found in his LA Raiders (as they were then) shirt. He was, therefore, beside himself with excitement when Ronald McDonald came to town, to take part in the town carnival. As two of the biggest members of staff, he and I were chosen to dress as footballers and provide a sort of bodyguard for the burger-loving clown. Indeed, so excited was he that I spent as much of my time pulling him out of the crowd as I did the loon-panted idiot we were supposed to be guarding.
My favourite memory of him, though, is of a stag night. It wasn’t a big night out in the end. Because it was the town that we all knew, the groom’s party and the bride’s party had both gone out in the same town on the same night. Paul and Karina were never the most stable couple (and the marriage lasted barely eighteen months), so it was inevitable that the two groups would bump into one another, the supposedly happy couple would have a row, and things would go downhill from there. And they did, ending with Paul smashing the windscreen of Karina’s boss’ car. He stormed off, leaving her distraught.
At which point PK entered the fray. As well as acting as peacemaker, he paid for the windscreen to be repaired as his gift to the couple. It was the consummate PK moment – a calming influence, a generous presence, and a night of alcohol. He was a great guy.