|Ray Palmer (pic Tony Mottram)|
The legend known as Ray Palmer was born on November 9, 1955, in Greenwich, South East London. From a very young age, he always wanted to be a photographer. He lived in Kent until he was 15, before moving to South West London.
In 1972 he met Chris, his wife-to-be, when they were both working at the same London press agency. They married in 1974.
1981 saw Ray's photographic career veering into the world of rock, when he started working for the then-new magazine Kerrang!. He quickly established himself as an amazing character, becoming known for taking the magazine's glamourous 'Ladykillers' shots, as well as travelling all over the world. 1982 saw the birth of his and Chris' first child, Ross. Faye would follow two years later.
I met Ray in the early 90's, when I started to travel the world myself, as a freelance Kerrang! journalist. By now, Ray was a seasoned pro, while never losing his appreciation of this priveleged lifestyle. Going away with the man was some of the best fun I ever had - he would show you the ropes of basic maneouvres such as finding airport check-in counters or navigating US immigration, and regale you with anecdote after anecdote in various bars. Have one pint with Ray Palmer, and you would hear more great stories and insights than if you spent a day with 10 people - especially in the rock business, where few people would dazzle you with their conversational skills.
|Ray with wife Christine|
We went to Japan with the Manic Street Preachers, to Seattle with Paradise Lost (the picture to your left was taken during this trip - sadly, it's the only picture of Ray and I which I can find), Sweden with Misery Loves Co, LA with Bad Religion and a whole host more. As the '90s went on, I'd find myself praying that a trip would come with Ray's name attached.
|Ray and Jason Arnopp in Seattle|
We lost touch over the last couple of years - neither of us were particularly good at staying in contact. Yet Ray was one of my best friends, whether we saw each other every week or every ten years. The last time I saw him was Christmas 2000, when I surprised him in a Raynes Park pub.
Ray died on December 2, 2002. His funeral took place on December 12, and was a very small, private family affair. A non-religious ceremony, it was followed by a pub wake which saw Ray's son Ross playing Aerosmith's 'Living On The Edge', among other examples of Ray's favourite rock songs.
December 16, 2002